"So, who MADE the Daleks?" "Are the cybermen an old thing or a new thing?" "OMFG DONNA!!!!"
I’ve recently introduced my Best Friend In The Entire World to Doctor Who, and he has fallen head-over-heels for the Doctor (as we all do at one point or another).
I’ve shared other shows with him … but he’s never responded quite so … FANBOYISHLY before. It tickles me to no end to wake up to 4+ Doctor Who related texts almost every day (most of them deep, complex questions about Time Lord lore and the history of the show); to see him experience each season’s story arc with the same wide-eyed wonder that I did.
He’s finishing up with Season 5 (he’s trying to get it all in before the show returns from mid-season break in March) and his excitement just keeps on building.
It makes me so very happy to see him so happy to be captured by the wonderful universe Doctor Who has to offer.
Can’t Get Much More Off Topic Than This
Since this post is about a bit of a TMI topic, I’m gonna be merciful and hide most of it under a cut.
However, I think it’s a good story, and that everyone should read it. If you are a dude, and are grossed out by the fact that sometimes ladies menstruate, here’s something you should know:
So are we. And unlike you guys, we can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist.
Another Empty Bottle, Another Empty Promise
I have often likened myself to a pillar. To wit: a structure that provides support yet seemingly needs none of its own. When stable, very little can deter it from its purpose.
And besides, pillars don’t crumble if they don’t get enough hugs.
I’ve been told that point of view is a little depressing. While I can kinda see why some people might see it that way, I really don’t. I’m the kind of person who will go to the end’s of the Earth for the benefit of someone else, yet it’s hard to get me to cross a room to benefit myself. For whatever reason, I’m compelled to prop others up, for better or for worse.
This hasn’t always served me well. Many people have exploited my kindness. In fact, the majority of the heartbreak I’ve experienced in my life stems from my desire to please others. I have a bad habit of giving my whole heart to the wrong people, and I never realize they’re the wrong people until it’s much too late.
While I have learned from my past mistakes, I sometimes have to work extra hard not to repeat them. Sometimes, I need to put my own instincts aside in order to preserve my own sanity. Logic must prevail over emotion, even when the logical choice just plain sucks.
There is a friend of mine that I love very much. In fact, love is hardly a strong enough word to convey my feelings for him. Nothing sexual, mind you, but I share a strong bond with him on a very deep, very personal level.
My friend struggles with depression, low self-esteem, and alcoholism. While he is taking steps to deal with his depression and self-esteem issues, he is so deep in denial about his alcoholism that it’d be funny if it weren’t so terribly sad. His drinking has caused him (and everybody else around him) a lot of problems, but he is adept at playing the blame game. It’s never the alcohol that’s the problem, it’s some other factor, some other person that is at the root of it all.
He carries a lot of sadness with him. Sadness and pain that he doesn’t need to bear, but he insists on dragging with him wherever he goes. He cannot let go of past hurts, and he re-opens old wounds before they even start to heal. He punishes himself for a million and one things that he cannot change. I’m guilty of some of those things myself, but my methods of coping are very different (see also: not self-destructive).
My instinct is to try and help him. To try and make him see what a wonderful person he is. I try to make him see how important he is to me and to a lot of other people. I try to reassure him that it doesn’t matter to me about the kind of person he was in the past. The person I know is flawed, yes, but still … an amazing human being. One that I love implicitly and without condition.
My instincts are as flawed as his self-medicating.
My love can only do so much. My support can only take him so far. There comes a point when he, himself, has to pull up his socks and start moving forward. I can’t do that for him, even though I would if I could.
It’s coming to the point where caring for him is starting to hurt me. I am perfectly willing to be a shoulder to cry on. I am perfectly willing to hold him and tell him that I and many others give more fucks about him than he gives about himself. I am willing to listen for hours on end about the horrors of his childhood and about how his current living situation is driving him insane.
I am unwilling to do this, however, if he is unwilling to make any changes. And there are things he could change that would make his life a lot easier. I’m not even talking about quitting drinking, this goes much deeper than that. He says he is willing, but his actions betray his words. I realize that this is partially the disease, but that is hardly an excuse.
It’s incredibly frustrating for me, because this guy is so much better than he gives himself credit for. He’s better than the bullshit he puts himself (and others) through. I am at a loss as to how I can get through to him. I’m not even sure that I can at this point.
Here’s where logic comes in, and here’s why it sucks.
Since his problem is fast becoming my problem, I need to throw in the towel. I need to step back and let things be. He doesn’t lose any sleep at night worrying about whether or not he’ll wake up in the morning, why the hell should I? And believe me, I have lost many nights of sleep worrying about his fate.
I don’t like this option, but I can’t sacrifice my own health and sanity anymore. Whenever he and I spend time together, it gets to the point where I feel more like a babysitter than a friend. He needs help walking, he needs help when he falls down, he needs someone to dress his wounds when he hurts himself, and on nights when it’s REALLY bad I’ve even undressed/redressed him when he pissed and or shit himself. There’s a definite point when I lose him to the alcohol, and all I’m left with is weepy apologies that he won’t even remember when he wakes up the next day.
Whatever I’m doing is obviously not helping. So, a change in tactics is in order. I’m still not sure what that entails, exactly, but a major part of it is going to involve driving an emotional wedge between him and myself.
I’m not gonna lie. It hurts like a bitch.
I’m sure a lot of you are scratching your heads and wondering why the fuck I’m telling you this. This kind of stuff surely isn’t what you’ve signed on for, and it’s dead depressing, I know.
I had a myriad of reasons for starting this blog, one was so that I may offer my silly little thoughts about the TGWTG producers and their wonderful content. Another was so that I might impart my own life experiences to others, hopefully intertwined with TGWTG-related stuff. I couldn’t find a way to tie this theme in with anything else, so you’re getting it as is.
And what is the general message I’m trying to convey, here?
Well, nothing that you guys probably don’t already know.
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes, good people damn themselves to awful fates. And sometimes, you’re powerless to prevent it from happening. But, you can’t let that get you down. You can’t let that stop you from achieving your own goals.
Most importantly, you need to remember that one of the most powerful ways to say “I love you” is knowing when to say “goodbye”.
Videos and Violence
Today is a story of … Violence. Video Violence to be exact. My friends and I have a long and complicated history with the movie, and it was Brad’s review of this particular flick that introduced me to his work.
Flashback to about ten years ago, my friend A (the Letter A let’s call him) worked at a local chain of video stores. He used to bring home the shittiest b-movies that he could find. Troll 2 was just the start, there were plenty of shitty movies to keep everyone entertained … the works of Scott Shaw (the fella that’s been the subject of Lupa’s recent reviews) included.
One of these movies was ‘Video Violence’. It was bad, it was SHITTY beyond all belief. It was GLORIOUS!! But… something tragic was afoot. Right at the climax of the movie, where the townspeople are confronting the main character, the tape cut out. Flat out wouldn’t play beyond a certain point. The Letter A took it back to the store and tried his best to mend it with the equipment there. No dice. The tape was pooched, nothing could be done about it.
So … the movie was stained in the consciences of the Letter A and the rest of my friends. Even though it was the shittiest of shitty movies, they still wanted to know how it ended.
Flash forward about five years and that’s where I come into the picture. We were bopping through the local record store (which has since closed) and the Letter A stumbled across the Video Violence DVD in the discount bin. After quickly relaying the tragic story of not knowing how it ends, I said that there was no way we could leave the store without it. Besides, the sequel was on the DVD … so not only would it solve a long-standing mystery, it provided new shitty content to laugh at.
We got it home and popped it right in the DVD player, and the journey began. Finally, the climax came… and when the ending was finally revealed? … It was more than a little disappointing. It wasn’t as bad for me, I hadn’t had five whole years to speculate about what might happen.
Final verdict? Terrible movie. But there was one thing that The Letter A, myself and our friend J couldn’t help liking.
The parts of the movie that take place in a video store reminded us of our childhoods. All three of us went through the weekly ritual of picking out a movie to spend our weekends with. The look and feel of the store in the movie is exactly like the video stores of our pasts, not polished and modern like Blockbuster… but rough around the edges and lit starkly. I remember us having a long conversation about that “video store smell” …
We talked for hours about our childhood adventures in video rental. Indeed, this was one of the conversations that three of us had that really cemented our friendship into what it is today. Somehow, this stupid, SHITTY movie brought all of us closer.
Then we watched the sequel, which was a complete waste of time. Well, the fake commercials were a bit funny, but the rest of it was so unbearable that even they couldn’t redeem the movie. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter how inept the film was. The three of us still managed to have a bit of fun while we watched it.
Jump forward another couple of years to when The Cinema Snob was picked up by TGWTG. I loved his stuff immediately, and started going through his archives to catch up on all the pre-TGWTG content.
That’s when I saw the ‘Video Violence’ review. Immediately I called up the Letter A, who was right along with me in TGWTG fandom.
"Dude! You know the new guy on TGWTG? The Cinema Snob?"
"He reviewed Video FUCKING Violence!"
Can you tell that we’re 90s Kids?
It wasn’t long after that when Brad reviewed the sequel, which was even cooler. Since we already had a laundry list of complaints about it, we were eager to see what The Snob had to say.
So, that’s my story of Videos and Violence. Or … Video Violence, as it were.
The Tuesday Night Ritual
I exit my classroom at night school and immediately reach for my phone. I’d gotten a text about an hour ago, but even without looking I know who it’s from and what it says. With a quick glance at the screen my suspicions are confirmed, my best friend has texted me a single word:
Just before I shut down my computer for the evening, I’d hopped over to blip.tv and had a look around just so I could be prepared to answer that very question:
"Yep. It’s a movie called ‘Ponyo’ this week. It’s an anime movie, I’m actually really excited to see what he says about it. I’m out by the way, how long ‘til you’re here?"
"Be there in 10" he replies.
I step outside and light a smoke. Nothing to do but wait for him to arrive … and then we can get our real night underway.
The same way we have for over two years now.
I can’t remember exactly how or exactly when I happened upon the Nostalgia Critic and http://www.thatguywiththeglasses.com/, but it was somewhere in twilight of 2009. I don’t remember which review I watched first, but I know I watched every single one of them in a very short amount of time. I was completely bowled over, looking at the list of movies the Nostalgia Critic had reviewed up to that point was like looking at a Cliff’s Notes of my childhood. Naturally, I couldn’t keep something that amazing to myself, and I immediately shared it with my two closest friends.
Like me, they were in their late 20s and lovers of all things nerdy. While most of our tastes overlap (we’re all huge music nerds, for instance), we each branch off into different areas of nerd-dom. My best friend, who we’ll call J, is the resident Star Wars geek and Marvel Comics expert. He’s on his way to pick me up from class. My other best friend, who we’ll call Other A, is a lover of shitty b-movies and console gaming. He’s waiting for me and J at our destination. I’m the old-school anime nerd, and the only one of us who’s ever played a tabletop RPG. Needless to say, TGWTG had something for all of us, but the Nostalgia Critic ruled as our sentimental favorite. Every week Doug managed to stir up fading memories of trips to the movie theater, Saturday mornings spent in front of a television, or wandering through the aisles of the video store. You know, the best parts of being a kid in the 80s and 90s. Even when the memories that are brought back are of being disappointed, confused, or downright frustrated with the subject of a review … there’s a certain sweetness in recalling it all. We could hardly get enough of it.
Somewhere along line, we started congregating on Tuesday nights so that we could watch the new Nostalgia Critic reviews together. I don’t think we ever specifically planned to do things that way, it just started happening. That time was so hectic, so … uncertain. It’s no wonder none of us can remember exactly when we started convening for Critic Time…
My friend pulls up to the curb just as I finish stamping out my cigarette. I run to the car and hop in, and before I can even buckle my seat belt we’re well on our way.
"How was class?"
"Pretty good. Flash is fucking complicated. How was practice?"
"Killer. We have at least two new songs to play at the next show, maybe three."
"Sweet. We stopping for food?"
"Nah, Other A is picking up tacos from Armando’s before he heads over to my place. We might even beat him there."
"Shit yeah, tacos!"
"So … Ponyo, huh?"
"I think I’ve seen it up on Netflix, that name sounds familiar."
"Yeah, it is up on Netflix. It’s a Miyazaki movie. You remember that movie I showed you? ‘Princess Mononoke’? The one with the girl and the wolves and the forest spirit and all that? The guy that did that movie did Ponyo."
"Ohhh okay. Is it any good?"
"Umm … I liked it, but mostly because of the animation. Story wise it wasn’t as strong as some of his other movies, but I enjoyed it. I don’t think you’d like it much, but your girlfriend would love it."
"Oh yeah? I’ll keep that in mind."
"Yeah, it’s— oh, shit! Turn this up!"
We take a momentary break from our Ponyo talk to blast some Mandatory Metallica at max volume while we both sing along at the top of our lungs. Because if we don’t air drum and thrash around at a stop light, who will? We take our work very seriously around here.
By the time the last chord of ‘Battery’ has faded away, we’re pulling into J’s driveway. Other A is sitting on the front porch, chuckling at us as we emerge from the car grinning like idiots.
"I could hear you guys coming all the way from the main road."
We file into the house, into J’s room and get straight to business. J flicks on the 60” plasma screen, I start booting up the computer while Other A is busy putting tacos on to paper plates and divvying up the guacamole.
We didn’t always have it this good. When we first started getting together for Critic Time, we would crowd around J’s old laptop. The video card was a piece of crap, so the video was always jerky. Sometimes the damn thing would overheat in the middle of a review and shut off. Oh, and it didn’t help that we were sponging off a neighbor’s internet connection and often lost the signal. We put up with it, though. It was very important for us to spend that time together. Because …
Back then, our time together was really all we had.
I won’t bore you with exact details, but a few years ago … my friends and I had fallen on some pretty tough times. Financially, physically, emotionally, it was coming at us from all sides. In each of our individual lives, and in our shared existence as friends, our limits were being stretched and tested on a daily basis. There was a lot of sadness, a lot of anger, a lot of pain and a lot of fear.
But not on Tuesday nights. At least, not for us. No matter how terrible we felt, no matter what else was going on in our lives … we always had Critic Time to look forward to.
A lot has changed since those days. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since then, it seems like it’s been much longer. We’re all in much better places than we were back then, but our little ritual has remained important to us.
"After the new Nostalgia, I’ve got a movie for us to watch." Other A says as he hands me my plate o’tacos, "It’s called ‘Rubber’."
"Is that the one about the killer tire?" I reply, bringing up blip.tv on the big screen.
"Yep. It’s pretty fucking weird."
At last … the time has come. I navigate to the Critic’s show page and scroll down to the new review. I click on it and let the ad play, then pause it to make sure that everyone is prepared.
"Hell-o-o-o-o I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so YOU don’t have to!"
I can already tell that this is going to be a good week.