25 Christmas Eves: A Retrospective

I wanted to say a few parting words about this series, both because I'm proud of it and because it was a pretty intense experience. I don't have exact notes on this, but this definitely felt like the vast majority of time I devoted to the blog this year. By my calculations, I wrote more than 55,000 words of fiction for the blog this year. The total word count for the stories published is actually a little more (just shy of 58,500), but three of these stories were started last year, then finished and published this year. If you're interested, those were "Mistletoe", "One Night in Bethlehem", and "Tribes of Gypsies". Actually, Mistletoe's inclusion on that list is misleading: I had a version started but completely rewrote it from scratch. The first third of "One Night in Bethlehem" was already done and was basically unchanged. "Tribes of Gypsies" gets complicated. I had about a quarter of it done, but that got overhauled

Tenth Doctor Christmas Specials! (2005, 2006, 2007)

You knew we were going to get to these eventually. They’ve actually been on the list since the beginning, we have them on DVD, but we kept holding off on them, keeping Doctor Who as a sort of fallback option for when we ran out of other stuff or got too tired of terrible things. And then that didn’t happen. So one day last week we just decided to finally re-watch these. Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (2005) I have very fond memories of the first time I watched this episode. It introduced David Tennant’s Doctor and I loved it. I loved it a little less on this viewing. The murderous robot Santas and trees are still fun, but a lot of this hour is humans being whiny. Whenever Tennant is on it really picks up, but there’s a big boring chunk in the middle without him. The writers were still sort of trying things out with Ten at this point; his character doesn’t solidify for a bit, and that adds to the surreality of watching this episode. Plus the end with Harriet Jones is kinda nas

Fiction: One Night in Bethlehem

We're finishing 25 Christmas Eves up the only way that seems appropriate. We've looked at quite a few Christmas Eves so far, but it's time to take a gander at the granddaddy of them all. So, without further ado, Mainlining Christmas presents the greatest story ever told... now improved. By: Erin L. Snyder Based on a TRUE story The innkeeper was a fat man, and he was exhausted. These were the first two observations going through Joseph’s mind upon setting eyes on the owner. And why shouldn’t he be tired? It was late – nearly midnight. And here was a couple, the woman clearly in labor, on his doorstep. The innkeeper rubbed his eyes. He didn’t wait for Joseph to start in. “Look, kid. We’re full up. Sorry.” “What? You can’t be,” Joseph said. “You must have, what, two dozen rooms in this place. Who’s renting two dozen rooms?” “Almost three dozen,” the innkeeper corrected him. “And it’s these damned stargazers. Pouring in from every town for a hundred leagues. Astro

Tales From the Crypt: All Through the House (1989)

This is only the second episode of Tales From the Crypt produced, and it was directed by Robert Zemeckis (keep in mind this is Zemeckis in '89, back when he making the Back to the Future movies and still awesome; not the current Zemeckis who's been producing CG abominations). I saw a handful of episodes of Tales From the Crypt back in the day, but I certainly never watched religiously. Actually, I suspect I would have watched it religiously had I been able to, but I never had HBO growing up (this also means the episodes I did get to see were tragically edited for content). Lindsay tracked this down on Youtube, and we just finished watching it. I'm really, really glad we did: it was a lot of fun. The episode starts with a woman brutally murdering her husband for the insurance money while her daughter's asleep. When she tries to dispose of the body, an ax murderer dressed as Santa Claus shows up. As you can probably tell, there's not much in the way of plot here.

Itsudatte My Santa! (2005)

Japan has an incredibly bizarre relationship with Christmas. Without getting too involved in the details, the holiday has been appropriated and transformed into something akin to Valentine's Day. That said, they do seem to understand what Christmas means to Europe and America and the concept of Santa Claus. They understand, but they clearly have no problem reinventing it as something completely different, as they did in the two-part OAV, Itsudatte My Santa! I suppose I should mention the first episode is based on a manga. Before we go on, I want to make it clear the episodes we saw were dubbed, not subtitled. Setting aside the fact dubbing is usually pretty bad, it injects an element of uncertainty around whether or not what we saw accurately reflects the original. There were plot points and ideas here that seemed absurdly random, which adds to my skepticism. I tried to find some indication online as to whether this was accurate or not, but I had very little luck one way or t

Craft: Archangel Statue

One more Angel before I leave you for the year. This one was actually the inspiration for the whole project... I bring you, Archangel! (Somewhat gender-bent) Like the others, this project started out with a statue I bought at a craft store. I sanded it down and primed it with my plastic-friendly spray primer: The next step was painting all the silver areas. I got the depth of color I wanted by starting with a coat of dark blue, purposely dark in the cracks and rubbed partially off of the raised designs: The silver got the reverse: only lightly in the depths and bright on the high parts. Then the rest of it needed paint. A good deal of paint later, and I'm very happy with the finished product.

Die Hard (1988)

We held off on this one for a few years, because it kind of felt like cheating. But, when you look at it, Christmas permeates Die Hard a hell of lot more thoroughly than it does Holiday Inn. There's a lot of Christmas woven into Die Hard's soundtrack. Along with the background of the Christmas party and the (brilliant) elevator sequence, it gives the entire film a holiday feel. Beyond that, Die Hard is arguably the quintessential action movie. At the very least, it's the quintessential action movie of its generation, and it could easily be the best action ever made. It's been a few years since I last watched it, and it holds up marvelously. Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman are both amazing in their respective roles as the ultimate cop and robber, and they've got great material to work with, thanks to some fantastic writing and directing. Decades of knock-offs would follow this, but none would figure out what made Die Hard work as well as it did. There'