International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I have two thoughts on this.

One of my thoughts is this: we shouldn’t have only one day a year where we recognize women. There are so many amazing women in this world, order in our present and our past. I think that we should appreciate these women every day, not just on a day like this: Elizabeth Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Hilary Clinton, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey. Your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters. Yourself, if you’re a woman. There is so much we have accomplished and so much we are capable of accomplishing. And we should be aware of this every day, both men and women. Women should be aware because this is their legacy and they should believe in themselves and be proud of their gender. Men should be aware because they need to recognize women as their equals and realize how much we are capable of and realizing how much we already have done.

But it also makes me very aware of the strong female characters that I am surrounded by every single day. Hermione Granger. Ginny Weasley. Minerva McGonagall. Molly Weasley. Lily Potter. Clary Fray. Tessa Gray. Isabelle Lightwood. Lady Alanna the Lioness. Lady Keladry. Daine the Wildmage. Alianne of Pirates Swoop. Annabeth Chase. Katniss Everdeeb. Princess Leia. Susan and Lucy Pevensie. Tris Pryor. Eowyn. Arwen. Arya Stark. Catelyn Stark. Emma Swan. Buffy. Inara. Kaelie. Zoe. Rose Tyler. Martha Jones. Donna Noble. Amy Pond. Clara Oswald. Anne of Green Gables. Elizabeth Bennett. Jane Eyre. Scarlett O Hara.

I could literally go on and on and on. And I was quite tempted to do so. But I think you get my point.

The point is I am amazed and yet so happy at the amount of strong female characters that we are constantly surrounded with. The strength of all these characters, though they are all fictional, inspires us the same way that a real person does. As a reader, these characters are real to us and the amazing things they do, the obstacles they face and conquer, the decisions they make and the accomplishments they take…it makes me very proud to be a woman.

So, it’s International Women’s Day…so celebrate it. Embrace being a woman. There are so many amazing things about being a woman. This isn’t about men versus women or what sex is better. This is about equality and bringing proud of who are you and what your gender has accomplished and will accomplish. It’s a reminder that we will do what we have to do, we will fight for our rights and for that equality and we will stand up and be proud because we’ve proved ourselves, both in fiction and in life.

You know, and I’d say the same for International Men’s Day. Men should be proud as well, for the good men that are out there. For the men who have fought and accomplished and who have changed the world. For the men who recognize women as equals. Those men deserve that pride too.

So soak in the pride and remember all the amazing women that we have been privileged to have in our past and present and that we will continue into our future.

Who are some of your most inspirational women? Are they your family members, or women of our past? Are they some of the successful women of our times or fictional characters? As always, share below. :)

And you men out there, you share too :) I know you have some inspirational women in mind too!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Fictional Bromances

I was reading one of my favorite blogs to follow, sickness over at The Urge to Write (which, incidentally, you should all check out. She’s a great writer and her blogs always keep me interested) and she recently did a list of top ten fictional bromances and I loved her list, which you can see here.
But anway, I really liked her list so I decided to make it one of my Tuesday Top Tens. I’m starting to write and plan my top tens before its even Tuesday because I can get SO busy. Like, I haven’t done a Book of the Week in a couple weeks and I meant to write a post about my experiences at Gallifrey One (which I finally did yesterday!) and I just went to a Conan taping on Wednesday for my birthday and I just haven’t done it. I’ve just been busy and when I’ve had a free moment, I just want to do NOTHING. Or read. I am SO far behind on my 200 books this year goal…I think six books behind. I gotta catch up.
And now that I’ve gotten sufficiently off topic…here is this week’s Tuesday Top Ten, my favorite bromances.

10. Damon and Stefan Salvatore 

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Okay besides the fact that these two are insanely hot and look absolutely nothing alike…well okay a big factor is the fact that they’re hot. But what I like about this pair of vampire brothers is that they are actually legitimately brothers. They were close before they were turned and even though their relationship grew tumultuous afterwards, you can tell they would still do anything for each other and they both do. When Elena chooses Stefan, Damon concedes even though you know it has to hurt. Stefan makes a terrible deal with Klaus, an evil Original vampire, in order to save Damon’s life. They’re obviously important to one another and they accomplish so much more when they work together. And they fight like normal brothers do, which gives them some humanity. And they are so pretty to look at.

9. Grover and Percy

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Percy’s fatal flaw, according to the series, is his deep and unwavering loyalty to his friends. We see that in his love for Annabeth and we see it in his love for his Cyclops brother, Tyson. But we also see it in his friendship with Grover. He firsts friends Grover at their school because he is handicapped, shy and nervous. He sticks by his side no matter what, and when he finds out that he is a demigod and that Grover is a satyr and his protector, he continues to stick by his side. These two are basically inseparable and are even connected at one point. I was sad to not really see Grover in the Heroes of Olympus, even though he doesn’t really need to be. Percy just seems kind of empty without his best friend. Grover and Percy are an awesome bromance because they stick together no matter what and have crazy, dangerous adventures together.

8. Will and Jem 

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Will and Jem have an epic bromance because I swear at times, I think they’re going to just ditch Tessa and start making out with each other. Actually, sometimes, I kind of wish that would happen. Ha! What kind of ship name is that? Willem? Jemill? Anyway, I like the bromance of Will and Jem from the Infernal Devices because of their epic loyalty to each other. Will loves Jem, would do anything for him. He never stops believing there could be a cure for Jem’s illness and he is the one who gets the drug for him. Even though Will thinks he is cursed so that everyone he loves will die, he lets himself love Jem, as his greatest sin, because he can’t help loving him. They are parabatai, warriors closer than brothers and you can see that. Jem loves Will, no matter the horrible things he does and says to push people away. That’s brotherhood and love right there. Will also is the same way back, even though he can’t show it for most of the first and second books. Even though he is madly in love with Tessa, he toasts in happiness her engagement to Jem.

7. Buzz and Woody

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Is there a better pair of best friends than Buzz and Woody? I honestly don’t think so. Sure, they’re toys. Not only are they fictional characters, but they aren’t even people or beings of a sort, they are TOYS. And yet they have one of the most real and beautiful friendships that we see in fictional worlds. The friendship starts off rocky, with neither one willing to become friends with the other, both of them thinking they are better than the other. But through out the trials and tribulations of making their way back to Andy’s house before they move, they realize they are more similar than they know and become the best of friends. Throughout the two following sequels, they fight, bicker, both trust and distrust each other and say goodbye to each other. They make fun of one another and help one another and they have a great, great friendship. Its what I would imagine a friendship between two guys to be and you kind want to be their friend too.

6. Legolas and Gimli 

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Haha I picked this picture because its SO funny. I love the dynamic of Legolas and Gimli only because I kind of feel like its similar to that of C3PO and R2D2 (who, incidentally, do not make the list…if only because sometimes my patience wears thin on C3PO haha). Middle Earth is literally going to HELL and there are some serious things going down here: death, starvation, annhilation, sacrifice…this are some epic, epic stories. But you have the friendship of Legolas and Gimli, which is both completely endearing and touching, but also hilarious as hell. They are the comedic relief in the epic battles. While everything is going to shit, they are laughing and counting how many enemies they are taking down, in a contest. I can imagine that Gimli and Legolas stayed friends for years after the war. I can imagine both of them helping to create a less hostile relationship between the elves and the dwarves. They’re both so funny, and they remind us of the heart of the story. I do believe that the hobbits show a lot of the heart but I also think that of Legolas and Gimli. While they are obviously taking things so seriously and fighting hard, they remind us what it is that they are fighting for.

5. Sirius and Lupin

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For some reason, I actually kind of like this as a ship. Like…I totally ship Remus and Sirius. Wolfstar. That’s so weird haha. I mean, let’s make this clear, I love how everything turned out in the novels, and who ended up with who. I know all you Neville and Luna shippers were disappointed but I was okay with it. That being said, I totally ship Remus and Sirius outside of canon. But moving on, I think that these two make a great twosome, a great pair of friends. These two have lost so much, have been through so much. They’ve lost two of their best friends to death, James and Lily, and they lost a best friend to cowardice, Peter. Sirius has spend his entire life in prison for a crime that he never committed…right after hearing of the deaths of his friends. Remus has spent his entire life being judged for being a werewolf. And yet these are two of the strongest men in the book, some of the best teachers for Harry, and even though they’ve lost so much, they have each other, and it shows when they reunite. They are whats left of the Marauders and when they die too, they complete the circle.

4. Jace and Alec 

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I like the friendship between Jace and Alec for several reasons. One reason is that they are parabatai, just like Jem and Will, which makes them closer than brothers. But I also think they have such a great brother dynamic. Alec is the first child that Jace as ever seen in his life, when he comes to live with the Lightwoods, and they become best friends. Jace would do anything for Alec and vice versa but I also think they need each other. Alec is shy, sometimes lacking of courage. He is afraid of his own sexuality and he’s even afraid of killing demons, because he is so busy protecting Jace and Isabelle. But Alec is loving and caring and passionate. He is so true and pure, even if he doesn’t even believe in himself all the time. Jace, on the other hand, is so avoidant of emotions, of love, that he is overly confident and overly outgoing. He pushes people away, even those who just wish to be his family. Without each other, maybe Alec would have never had the courage to come out, accept his love for Magnus and tell the world. Maybe Jace wouldn’t have let his guard down and become brave instead of just reckless. I have them this high up because they are best friends, brothers, parabatai and they need each other.

3. Sherlock and Watson

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Okay, I’m just going to say one thing first: when searching for a picture of John and Sherlock for this post, I had a hard time finding something that’s appropriate and that’s because people ship Johnlock like no other. I must admit, I kind of do too. For anyone who has never watched the show Sherlock, you need to. The first two seasons (which are 3 episodes each) are available on Netflix and the third season probably won’t be out for awhile. But its fantastic; and much, much better than the US version, Elementary. Trust me on this. Its so good and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have excellent on screen chemistry. They need each other. John Watson is content to wallow in self pity, living a half life. Sherlock doesn’t have a whole lot of humanity in him, because he’s so busy showing off his intelligence all the time, using it to figure out impossible puzzles. Together, they make a great time. John gives Sherlock some humanity, though Sherlock still is kind a jerk. Sherlock gives John an exciting life, as part of their crime solving duo. They’re equals in a way; even though Sherlock can spout off some crazy information about a person or a situation, John can often times see a humanity behind, a reason behind it. I am dying for the third season to come so I can have some Johnlock again.

2. Han and Chewbacca

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What would Han Solo be without his Chewbacca, huh? Nothing, I tell you. Han Solo is a badass smuggler but he wouldn’t be half as intimidating if he didn’t have a 7 foot 3 wookiee by his side. If you know anything about their relationship, basially Han saved Chewbacca’s life and so Chewbacca owes him what you would call a life debt, and will serve him for his life. But I think its much more than that. I think that Chewbacca and Han Solo have a serious friendship. They copilot the Millenium Falcon together and go on crazy, dangerous smuggling runs together. Chewbacca is beyond upset when Han is frozen in carbonite and does some serious work (along with others, of course) to get him back from Jabba the Hutt. I think they make a good pair because they are an unlikely pair but it just works for them…especially since I’m pretty sure Han Solo is the only person who actually understands what the hell a wookiee is saying. “You said it, Chewie”. I’ve always wondered what exactly Chewbacca says when Han responds. I guess we’ll never know and that’s the beauty of the friendship.
 

1. Harry and Ron 

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Is there a better friendship between two guys than Harry and Ron? Don’t answer that; you all have strong opinions and I don’t want to hear it haha. I love the Potter universe above any and all other fandoms and that makes the bromance between Harry and Ron my absolute favorite. They need each other, just as much of the pairs before. Harry is THE Harry Potter and his entire life is laid out before him, and he has to be so serious at times. All the pressure is on him. Its opposite for Ron, he’s one of seven children, the youngest of the boys, and he’s more apt to make jokes than anything else. Ron is there to usher Harry into the wizarding world and to help loosen up, and be happy, even when it feels like it can’t be happy. Harry is there to help Ron believe in himself, to help him because the badass wizard that he can be. Even when they are pissing each other off, they always end up friends again: The Triwizard Tournament debacle, the Half Blood Prince drama, the separation in Deathly Hallows.
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What do you think? Do I realllly want to ask? You guys are so opinionated! Haha! But I really do want to know so tell me your favorite bromances below!

My First Trip To Gallifrey One

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I know. This is late. This is insanely, story abnormally, ridiculously, inexcusably late. Normally I am so good with writing blog posts like these when they still have…you know, validity.

But man, February is SUCH a busy month. Right after Gallifrey One, I had an exam, my birthday party, a LADA event and then my actual birthday. I am such a busy girl.

March is even better as well. Lauren Oliver’s new book, Requiem, is coming out tomorrow and I’m attending a Q and A/autograph event on Sunday. And on and on…

So I apologize. Immensely. For delaying this as much as I did.

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This is the first year that I attended the good ‘ol Gallifrey One, which makes sense. I started watching Doctor Who on Netflix right around the time of Gallifrey last year, in 2012, so obviously I hadn’t quite gotten addicted yet. Of course, I finished the series in a few weeks and was immediately donning a fez, brandishing a sonic screwdriver and running around saying “Allonsy!” and “Geronimo!”

So when my friends told me about Gallifrey One, and urged me to join them, I couldn’t say no. I love cons and I’ve been so disappointed in San Diego Comic Con and the INSANE badge prices and RIDICULOUS crowds so I was so down.

I had SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, it was a weekend of epicness. I came home with absolutely no voice, which you know means I had a good time, because that almost never happens. I have a nice strong voice. But it was an epic weekend.

There are so many good, good, GREAT things about this convention. Here is a small compacted list, not in special order, but all good reasons.

First off, the fact that the convention itself is in a hotel. This is an amazing thing. I advocate this 1000 times. Its so insanely convenient. The hotel itself has decent prices, at least from what I know of what I paid with my friends, and its just so insanely convenient. All you have to do is take an elevator up or down. Just woke up at 9:30 and the first panel is in 30 minutes? No biggie! Throw some clothes on, slap on some make-up and take the elevator down and you’ve made it with time to spare. Hungry? Go upstairs and grab some food that you’ve brought along with you. Thirsty? Ditto. Sleepy? Go upstairs and take a nap. Brilliance. It also means that everyone can stay up super late (430 am, anyone?) and there’s no worries about drunk driving or drunk nerds in public. Its also a nice safety issue. I loved it.

Oh and the ribbons? The ribbons thing is the first thing I’ve ever seen like this at a convention. Basically you can order your own unique ribbon; it could advertise your club, maybe have your favorite quote, whatever. Ours personally said “Expelliarmus! Good ol J.K.!” of course, referring to the Harry Potter reference in the Martha Jones episode, “The Shakespeare Code” in series 3, because all of us are Harry Potter fans. You can collect them, attach them to your badge, as seen above on mine and laugh at all the different ones you get. Some people get intense about it too so that they make skirts or dresses out of the ribbons from the previous year! Crazy! But its fun though, and its fun to see what different quotes are on there, or what silly things people have come up with.

The panels are great, and I never really saw a line for any of them. If you wanted to see a panel, you saw a panel and the guests were all super awesome. Some people may say that there aren’t enough things to make panels from one TV show, but they would be very wrong. I went to panels that were director’s commentaries on different episodes (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three). I went to panels for Sylvestor McCoy (the 7th Doctor), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), and Mark Sheppard (who has pretty much had a role on every nerd show ever). I even went to a Game of Thrones panel. And they were all personable and awesome. Some panels I’ve gone to in the past at cons have literally made me want to go to sleep but all of the actors, writers, directors, etc. are all so funny.

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The people. One, its just great to be around a bunch of nerds. Its always where I feel the most comfortable, when I am surrounded by people like me. And everyone is so friendly and ready to party. How many places can you go, where you can see a Dalek and a few different Doctors, Madame da Pompadour and some Cybermen hanging out, sharing some drinks and doing karoake (which mostly consists of Les Mis songs). These are all people just like you, obsessed with a TV show because they know its so much more than a TV show. I met a lot of really cool people, mostly at early hours of the morning, and it was a great, great time. There was also the awesomeness of timelessness. When you go to Comic Con, it seems more and more nowadays to be an overcrowded blob of twenty-somethings, where Doctor Who had people of all ages. Think about it, Doctor Who has been on since the 1960s, and it continues to dazzle audiences of all ages.

And yeah, I got up and did some karoake. Didn’t even know I had that in me!

The GUESTS. Freema Agyeman. Sylvestor McCoy. Mark Sheppard. Finn Jones. Nicholas Briggs. Tony Lee. Richard Dimmick. Anjli Mohindra. Neve McIntosh. Ian McNeice. So so many.

They all had great panels and they obviously care about the fans. They really are there for us. I mean, Mark Sheppard ran his own panel, basically, and was hilarious. Sylvestor McCoy didn’t sit up on stage while he took questions, he got up and walked around, and he’s no young sprout anymore. And he was hilarious as well. They all were amazing guests. And the best part of it is that none of them had this special air to them. You didn’t seem them walking around with bodyguards, heads down until they were on stage. They were in the crowds. I shared an elevator with Nicholas Briggs (who voices the Daleks). Ian McNeice was hanging around the lobby the entire time. Tony Lee and Richard Dimmick were hanging out, singing karoake with everyone. I think I ran into Finn Jones (who you may know as Ser Loras from The Game of Thrones) at least four times.

And everything was so decently priced. I mean, food prices sucked but that’s to be expected. Food prices always suck. But the prices for pictures and autographs, prices for different artworks and such in the auction room, and prices for Doctor merch in the vendor room were all decent. I didn’t bring a lot of spending money because, well, I’m a full time college student working ten hours a week and I’m broke but I managed to get a 10th Doctor screwdriver, 11th Doctor screwdriver, a Doctor Who shirt for Her Universe (which you should check out, nerd shirts made for GIRLS! Finally!), Doctor Who buttons, River Song’s journal and a badass dragon artwork from the art auction. I hate going to cons where I’m like “Okay, you have 100 dollars to spend…and you’re probably going to spend it all on one thing…”

All in all, the convention was amazing. It was a place where you could just be a fan, you know? Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy being a fan. That’s why you go to baseball games, its why you go to the movies…and its why you go to conventions. And its always that much better when the convention is a good as Gallifrey One was. Tickets go on sale for next year, this Friday the 8th, and I’m already really excited about next year. They are 80 dollars for the whole weekend, which may seem hefty but they’re a WHOLE lot cheaper than Comic Con and this convention is way more personable and awesome than Comic Con. (Not that I’d turn down free tickets to Comic Con…) This con will be hitting its 25th year, just months after the Doctor Who 50th anniversary so there will be so much in store.

I can’t wait.

Doctor Who returns for the rest of series 7 on March 30th.

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The Tuesday Ten: Favorite Pixar Movies

One of the best things about being a nerd is that you get to act like a kid, viagra 100mg and there’s a bunch of other adults who are acting like kids just like you. Its the best part, treat easily. Its like John Green said, side effects you don’t just say “hey, I like stuff”; you get to jump up and down and yell and squeal and get excited. There’s no holding back and its GREAT. You get to show all the excitement you feel for things and it makes you feel like a kid.

And being a kid is fun. And being a nerd is the best of both worlds: I get to be an adult without all those rules of being little but I get to have and enjoy things like we all do when we’re kids. I’m still going to cover my walls in posters and photos like I did when I was younger but instead of NSYNC and the Spice Girls, I now have Harry Potter and Doctor Who on the walls.

But that kind of inspired my Tuesday Top Ten today. One thing that has always really drawn me to Pixar and their movies, especially as an adult, is how you really can have the best of both worlds in their movies. You have all the awesome and fun of a kids movie, with the humor and silliness, and fun stories but you also have these very adult themes, and these incredibly touching moments and lessons.

Over the years, Disney has produced okay movies, but I was a child during the amazing golden years of the 1990s (Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, etc). So while movies that have come out in the last ten to fifteen years are good, none of them with the HUGE exception of Tangled, have really jumped out at me the way they did when I was a child.

The exception to this (besides Tangled) is the Pixar animated films. Ever since I first watched Toy Story when I was a child, I have enjoyed each and every one that has come to pass and I have as an adult as well. Pixar captures the amazing stories of a kid and an adult and you can enjoy them and love them no matter what age you are.

Sounds a little bit like a nerd kind of thing, doesn’t it?

So that brings us to this week’s Top Ten.

10. The Incredibles 

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Robert Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible, was used to a life of action and worship as a superhero, and he completed the circle by marrying a fellow super, Elastigirl, and started a whole super family. But superheroes are forced to go into hiding, to acclimate into normal society. But Rob doesn’t want that, he misses the day of being a superhero and when he finds an opportunity to get back in the game, he jumps in. It doesn’t take long to realize his enemy has reeled him in and its a race for survival, and to save the world one more time. Everyone wants to be a superhero so whats not to love about this movie? Its a funny, family movie that has its humorous moments (Dash is probably the HIGHLIGHT of this movie-“We’re going to die!”) but it also stresses the importance of family, and appreciating the love you get from the people you care about, and less about the applause you get.

9. A Bug’s Life

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I swear, this Pixar movie is the most underrated movie of the Pixar collection. I feel like everyone forgets this one when listing Pixar movies but it is is so awesome. Flik is a little ant, determined to make a difference, to be different from all the rest. And he’s also determined to protect his colony from the evil grasshoppers who terrorize them. He finds a group of circus bugs and convinces them to pose as warriors to save the colony, to convince the colony that his inventions and ideas are not crazy. Of course, the secret comes out and the colony isn’t happy…but then they realize that together, they can stand against the grasshoppers and eventually defeat them. Its a super sweet movie, and the story teaches us just as the others do: if we can stand together, we can accomplish so much. We should believe in ourselves and think out of the box. Anyone can be hero, no matter what size you are…which is one of my favorites. As a little person (I’m nearly 25 and only four foot eleven), those kind of lessons, that sort of themes, well, they’re awesome.

8. Ratatouille

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Isn’t that picture cute? Its a rat that makes food. A RAT that makes FOOD. Put those two together, and it sounds like something awful. We had rats in our house a few years back and it was awful. Remy is a rat living in Paris, where some of the most delicious food in the world exists, but he is surrounded by his family, who will eat whatever they find. After sneaking into a kitchen and preparing a soup, he is spotted by garbage boy, Linguini, and they pair up to become awesome chefs, to bring back the glory to a formerly five star restaurant. But this movie has so much charm, and its so deliciously French. And it involves food. I love food. Who doesn’t love food? Dumb, skinny people. I’m kidding. But this movie is so CHARMING. Its the first word that pops in my head when I think of this movie. The characters are all lovable, the storys is unique and great and its a fun movie to watch. And it teaches us that you can judge people on what they look like, or your preconceived judgements. Remy is a rat, and you definitely wouldn’t let him into the kitchen, but it turns out he is a great chef, a fantastic one, and he would never have gotten the chance if it wasn’t for Linguini believing in him.

7. Brave

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In response to the fact that Pixar did not have a strong female character, they created this most recent movie, Brave. Brave follows the character, Merida, who is the princess of Scotland. However, she isn’t quite the princess material, not like the princesses we know of previous Disney movies. She likes archery, eating, belching, riding her horse. She wants her freedom and she wants to break the rules. Of course, this doesn’t endear her to her mother, and they disagree often. Then when her mother is transformed into a bear by a spell, they have to work together to fix it and they both learn a little about ecah other. I love this movie because straight up, Merida is badass. Its about time we get a REAL princess. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love Belle (BOOKS! She gets a library from the beast!) and I adore Rapunzel, but they’re so classically beautiful and skinny and perfect. Merida is short, has amazingly wild flaming red hair and can shoot better than anyone in her kingdom. Its a nice movie to show little girls, showing them that they can accomplish anything.

6. Toy Story

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As the first Pixar movie I have ever seen, as the first one to come bursting into our hearts, it has to make my top ten list. I don’t know anyone who didn’t wish their toys would come to life when they were a child. I don’t know many people who didn’t think they actually did. Wouldn’t that be absolutely wonderful? Woody is a cowboy toy, the favorite toy of Andy, and he enjoys being basically the king of Andy’s room. That is, until brand new and hip space toy, Buzz Lightyear comes into the room and everything changes for Woody. In the end, friendship conquers everything as Buzz and Woody realize that despite their differences, they are friends first and foremost. This is a story about friendship, hands down and you continue to see this sort of theme in the other two movies.

5. Finding Nemo

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I LOVE THIS MOVIE. My boyfriend doesn’t really like this one (He’s got this sort of negative bias when it comes to Ellen DeGeneres…and oddly, Kevin Costner) so I don’t get to watch it as much as I wish I could. However, I have seen it several times and I adore it; it really is a jewel in the Pixar family. Marlin is an uptight and overprotective father to son, Nemo, after his wife and the rest of their potential children are killed. One day, Nemo defies his father, in order to gain some freedom and is “kidnapped” by a fisherman. The movie continues as Marlin embarks on an epic journey to track down his son and bring him home, making friends and enemies along the way. I have always been into sea creatures, and I love that every creature in this movie has such a personality from Marlin to Dory the fish, Crush the turtle, Bruce the shark, and so on. And it really teaches us that we have to get out there in the world, experience things. We should always approach things with caution of course, but we won’t experience life or live life unless we loosen up a bit. Brilliant movie.

4. Monsters Inc

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I know a lot of people who would put this a lot lower on their list (Dad!) but I adore this movie. Its monsters, but unlike we’ve really seen them before. We learn of Monsters Inc, a company that uses the screams of children to power their city. They have “scarers”, monsters who sneak into kids rooms and scare them in order to get the screams and the energy. They don’t do it because they enjoy terrorizing us; in fact, they’re kind of scared of us. They just need the energy. Then one day, something goes a little wrong and a little girl, Boo, sneaks into Monstropolis and chaos ensues as Mike and Sully try to get her back home. I like this one because of Boo, mostly; she’s damn adorable and even though she’s a toddler, she’s fearless and she’s able to change the views of everyone in Monster world. It goes back to that idea of preconceived perceptions; they thought children were evil and hazardous but it turns out that they’re not, of course (I mean…most of the time…) and that laughter is actually a better source of energy than screams. I am still waiting for the sequel where we see an older Boo but I can’t wait to see Monsters University this summer.

3. Wall.E

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THIS MOVIE IS SO DAMN CUTE! It is one of the cutest and most romantic movies in the whole world and there isn’t even a lot of talking in this movie. Wall.E is back on earth, an earth of the future, where we have trashed it to pieces and have abandoned it for space. Wall.E remains, cleaning up the mess because that’s his job…until one day, EVE appears and he falls madly in love with the female robot. He follows her into space, on to the great ship where the humans are, and we see them try and convince them to come back, to bring the earth back to where she used to be. Its a beautiful story. First and foremost, its a love story and its one of the most sincere love stories I’ve seen in awhile. Most love stories nowadays are so chaotic and tragic and this one is just so simple and awesome. Some people think this movie is a little preachy but I like it. It may be a little bit extreme but the movie shows a lot of the truth. We need to take care of this planet, no matter how badly it gets and we should never abandon it, because it takes care of us. I also think the whole fat people in hover chairs on the space ship was a little dig too, that we need to get outside and enjoy life more often. I hope that I am able to do that and I know sometimes I am not. Another fantastic Pixar movie.

2. Toy Story 3

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This is one of the most emotional, raw movies I have ever seen…and its an animated childrens movie. We have now reached the end (or so we thought until they brought up Toy Story 4), and Andy is about ot go off to college. The toys haven’t been played with for years and they’re feeling neglected. Woody is going off to college with Andy but the rest of the toys are going to be put up in the attic…until the accidentally get donated to a preschool, and they are suddenly under the tyrannical rule of Lotso Huggin Bear. It really gives the toys a chance to think about their lives, even though their toys, and whether they need to hold on or move on. The scene where the toys hold hands together as they are heading toward death…tears. One of the most mature and real and raw portrayals of death and the acceptance of death I’ve ever seen…and in a children’s movie. The scene where Woody makes the decision that the toys should move on, go on to make a new child happy, and Andy realizes how much the toys have done for him…beautiful. I first watched Toy Story when it come out back in 1995 and to come full circle with these characters that I fell in love with as a child in 2010 at 22 years old is a wonderful thing.

1. Up

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I have seen this movie a hundred million trillion times. I can quote this entire movie. I quote this movie randomly throughout my daily life. (“I like you temporarily”. “But its a talking dog!” “Tomorrow, come back tomorrow and I will have the bird”) Its a sweet movie, it has romance and adventure. It begins with Carl as an adventure loving child, who meets Ellie, another adventure loving child. It shows their entire life together (to the tune of “Married Life”, which I am totally walking down the aisle to…and is the BEST part of the entire movie) all the way up until Ellie’s death, before they are ever able to go on their adventure to South America. Then we see Carl as an old man, stuck in his familar world, afraid to move on, talking to Ellie as if she’s still alive…and then he decides to go on an epic adventure, tying hundreds of balloons to his house, and taking off to Paradise Falls, meeting young Russell along the way. The movie shows an epic romance, a traditional classic romance that we all wish for, and it shows the sadness after the romance is over, after your partner dies. But it also shows us that we can find love in other ways, in the way that Carl finds love in Russell, and he is able to move on. Its such a wonderful, beautiful movie and I will never tire of it. Never ever. There is a reason that this movie (along with Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story 3) is one of the few animated films to ever be nominated for Best Picture.

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So there’s my top ten. I am so eager to see what else Pixar brings us in the future. They have never disappointed me (except maybe in the case of Cars 2, but I’ve never seen it so who knows) and they continue to make fun, and life changing movies.

I left off Toy Story 2, Cars, and Cars 2. I adore TS2 and Cars very much, but they just didn’t quite make the list. I also have never seen Cars 2 because, well, I don’t really have a desire to see it :/ However, I am very, very excited for Monsters University this summer!

Coming soon: post on Gallifrey One! I know, its so LATE but its coming, I swear! This month is insane! SO much going on. Its my birthday tomorrow!

What are YOUR favorite Pixar movies? Share them below!

Book of the Week: Clockwork Prince

Hello all.

Hope you are all having a WONDERFUL week this week. I definitely am. I am mostly having a good week because everything has just been so good lately. There’s been a ton of awesome TMI and TID (Cassandra Clare) news, recipe with stills released from the City of Bones movie and the newly released book trailer for Clockwork Princess, viagra dosage the final Infernal Devices novel.

I recently went to Gallifrey One, look the Doctor Who convention, which was a ton of fun. My birthday is less than a week away, and that is insanely exciting. I was finally picked for World Book Night, where I hope I get to hand out either Percy Jackson or Looking for Alaska.

In the next few weeks, new books will be released by both Lauren Oliver and Cassandra Clare, and I’ll be meeting both very soon after. I will be seeing Andrew McMahon in concert, going to Anaheim for Wonder Con and watching brand new episodes of both Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.

So much excitement.

And because one of my favorite authors, Cassandra Clare, is releasing her final installment of the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, in less than three weeks, I decided it would make a fantastic Book of the Week to do the previous book, Clockwork Prince.

So here it is.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Genre:
young adult, romance, contemporary fantasy

You May Like if You Liked:
The Mortal Instruments series, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Tithe by Holly Black

Plot Summary:

In Clockwork Princess, we meet Tessa Gray, a normal New York girl, coming to London to live with her brother, Nate. She ends up kidnapped and soon learns she has the power to shift herself, become an entirely different person, as long as she’s holding something of theirs. When she is rescued by Will Herondale, she is brought into the Shadowhunter world, where she learns of that world and that her brother isn’t all what it seems. She’s different, and she doesn’t fit into the normal classifications that the Shadowhunters know: demon, vampire, warlock, werewolf or fae. In fact, Tessa seems to be one of a kind. And she’s wanted, wanted desperately by a man by the name of Mortmain, going by the Magister. She is left with a ton of questions, about her life and her presents and who or what she really is. The Shadowhunters are left with a crazy mad man, equipped with strong automatons, ready to do whatever he can to take over London and to take Tessa back. She meets friends in the form of Shadowhunters Charlotte and Henry Branwell, Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs and Jessamine Lovelace, humans like Thomas, Agatha and Sophie Collins and warlocks like Magnus Bane.

In the sequel, Clockwork Prince, the Institute in London is left kind of in shambles. Two of their very loyal servants are left dead by Mortmain’s hands, Nate has been revealed as a spy and nothing seems to have been accomplished. To make matters worse, Benedict Lightwood is making a bid to take the Institute away from Charlotte Branwell and has made this demand: that she must find the Magister in a fortnight. Everyone is needed to pitch in and things are starting to be revealed: there’s another spy in the midst, Benedict Lightwood isn’t exactly what he’s made out to be…but his sons are a different story. We learn more of Will’s past and we see Jem and his sickness in a way we’ve never seen before. And we see Tessa struggle: struggle to come to terms with her brother’s hatred of her, her love for two incredible boys, and her determination to discover herself.

The Good:

Though my heart always belongs to the Mortal Instrument series, the Infernal Devices were just written better. I am a TMI fan through and through, mostly because I discovered her books when I was going through a ridiculously hard time and those books were my saving grace. I grabbed on to them and held on, and fell in love with the characters and story. I still adore these books; they’ve done for me what a lot of books haven’t. I understand they are a version of a fan fiction that Cassandra did once upon a time, and that’s a whole ‘nother story. I honestly do not get why people give Clare such a hard time. I don’t think she copied the worlds of Harry Potter and such, like people say. I love this series.

But the Infernal Devices are a series all on their own. This is a work of her own imagination and you can see that. They are written very well and the story is captivating. There is something about Victorian England that captures your attention. You can’t help but be drawn in by the gentleman and lady lifestyle, the clothes, the behaviors, and all that sort of thing but you also see the beginning of the changes, with women fighting for their rights and the working class protesting their work conditions and that sort of thing. Clare chose a good era to produce these prequels to the Mortal Instruments series.

What I liked about this book was that it bounced back and forth between the different stories that were going on in this novel. Everyone has a story, everyone has an issue. Tessa is being hunted, and for reasons she still doesn’t understand. She hasn’t even begun to understand herself quite yet. Will is searching for a cure for his deepest and darkest secret. Jem is facing his mortality and his illness head on, as well as his love for Tessa. Charlotte has a huge weight on her shoulder, to find Mortmain before she loses the Institute. Jessamine doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter; she wants a mundane life with a mundane love. The stories that are all going on at the same time weave together to make a fantastic novel.

I also like the strength of all the characters. I love that we get to see so many characters and their depth. I love that there are strong female characters, not only in just Tessa and Charlotte, but also in the servant girl, Sophie. I love that we learn more of all the characters in this book. We learn so much more of Will Herondale than we learned in the last book. I love a bad boy; I tend to go for the bad boys but Will almost seemed too bad. Jace Lightwood of the TMI series was sarcastic and biting but he wasn’t cruel. In Clockwork Prince, we learn much more of his past and why he acts this way and he won me over quickly.

I also like that Cassandra is really building up the anticipation of the ending. She gives you a second book that leaves you panting for more, if only because you want more sexy scenes like the one between Tessa and Will on the balcony. My god, I had to splash my face with cold water after that one. But you’re dying to know what happens to Jem and Will, you want to know that Charlotte and Henry’s baby is going to be okay, you want to know all about Tessa and what and who she is. You want to know what Mortmain’s grand plan is. Clare builds up suspense in the best way possible. She leaves you wanting more, wanting to know more about everything, and she spins a lovely romance in several characters. She leaves a ridiculous cliffhanger with the appearance of Will’s long lost sister, Cecily, who shows up at the Institute, wishing to be trained as a Shadowhunter.

The Bad:

I love Tessa Gray, I do. And I adore Jem Carstairs, for all his goodness, his sweetness and his maturity. And I am half mad in love with Will Herondale. But the one downturn of this book is the love triangle. I don’t like love triangles and I try to avoid books with them, but nowadays you’re hard pressed to find a book that doesn’t have one. So that kind of sucks.

One thing I can say is though, you have to kind of get over the fact that there are love triangles there as long as the story is okay without them. If you can remove the love triangle and still have a very strong story, then you’re in a good spot. While the love triangle drives me absolutely mad, there is an extremely well thought out and strong story in this novel and it makes up for it. Sure Tessa is being wooed (in very sexy ways) but she is also very focused on the problems at hand: Mortmain, his plans and his plans for her, and finding out more about herself. That is the most important thing at hand.

Also, at the end of Clockwork Prince, Tessa becomes engaged to one of the boys, which is a very strong move on her part. She has made a decision, or at least it seems so. I still feel the question of Will or Jem? will be present in the third installment but for all intents and purposes, Tessa has stood her ground and made a choice.

Rating?:

I give this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.

Recommended Or Not?

Definitely. Obviously, please please go pick up Clockwork Angel before you read this, but you won’t be disappointed. It has everything that a young adult fantasy needs: action, adventure, mystery, drama, strong male and female characters, romance, the works.

 Even if you’ve read the Mortal Instruments and weren’t a fan, I still encourage you to read this series. This series is her finest work, and I only hope that she continues to get better and better. You will not read this series and be disappointed, I can guarantee it.

The fact is, while the Mortal Instruments holds my heart, Infernal Devices is the diamond of Cassandra Clare’s writing. They are written very well and have a wonderful and new story. While people can claim that TMI is based on a fan fiction, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince stand on their own and really help Cassandra Clare to stand out as a strong author.

The Tuesday Top Ten: Doctor Who Episodes

In honor of the fact that I just attended my very first Gallifrey One, seek the Los Angeles Doctor Who convention, recipe this past weekend, I decided to make a Doctor Who themed Tuesday Ten this week.

I swear, a blog post telling you alllll about my seriously awesome times at the con will be coming very soon. I’m hoping tomorrow but let’s not get too optimistic, shall we? I do have some exams this week.

Moving on though, because of Gallifrey One, I’m on a Doctor Who high right now.

Can I just say that it was really hard to narrow this down? And now I really want to go back and start watching some of the old school Doctor Who episodes, especially that of the 7th Doctor, because Sylvester McCoy was the funniest little British man alive. Hilarious.

Anyway, here are my top ten favorite Doctor Who episodes. Enjoy!

10. Vincent and the Doctor by Richard Curtis

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If you didn’t shed a tear while watching this episode, you are a heartless person. I ADORE this episode. One, I really like the period episodes. I like the ones where the Doctor goes back and time and meets someone famous like Charles Dickens or Shakespeare or Winston Churchill or Van Gogh. I love the history episodes. They are so much fun. Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, though don’t hate me for being so cliche. (Renoir is my favorite, if you care haha). I think it was really cool to see Van Gogh as a person, a real person, and a person fighting a monster with the Doctor. You see some of his most celebrated paintings, almost as a casual thing, instead of behind some glass at a museum. Even though its fiction, it makes these people feel so real. And everyone had to have shed a tear when the Doctor and Amy show Vincent how much he means to the world nowadays and he just sobs. Its beautiful. Damn you, Richard Curtis. It’s not even fair…

9. Fires of Pompeii by James Moran and Russell T. Davies

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This is one of the earliest episodes of Donna Noble and its one of my favorites because it convinces you of her worth as a companion long before she’s convinced of it herself. I think Donna spends most of her series thinking how unimportant she is, how insignificant she is, but I never bought into that. I felt she was more important than she knew and it came from this episode. The Doctor is ready to book it out of Pompeii, letting the events unfold as they were meant to, and Donna is so determined to save everyone. She is so determined to make a difference, even if only a little bit. She’s strong in her own determination and she convinces the Doctor to save at least one familiy, and there aren’t a lot of people who can change the Doctor’s mind. Donna is my favorite companion and this episode really brings in the love for her. 

8. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances by Steven Moffat

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Okay this episode is one of my favorites because it is so damn creepy. I don’t like creepy little kids. I could do without them. Poltergeist is one of those movies that freaked the hell out of me because of that stupid creepy little girl. Anyway, I liked this episode because it kind of gave me the heeby jeebies and they kept sort of creeping up on me as more and more people grew these gas masks out of their faces. Let’s also add to this fact that its the first episode that we get to see the super charming, super awesome and extremely sexy Captain Jack Harkness. He is also one of my favorite Who characters and he comes swooping into the episode, dancing with Rose on top of an aerial in the sky next to Ben Ben. And I liked the resolution of this episode, that the little boy just wanted his mummy, that he was tearing apart the world just to find his mummy. So adorable…even after being fantasically creepy.

7. Doomsday by Russell T. Davies 

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Another absolutely heartbreaking moment in the Doctor Who world. Damn you, Russell T. Davies, damn you. We’ve spent the entire second series of the newer Doctor Who, rooting the Doctor and Rose on, just wanting them to be together, forever, traveling in the Tardis and just when you think its possible, that despite all the odds, they’re going to be together forever, they aren’t. They are ripped away from each other, sent to two completely different dimensions, two different worlds and they will never see each other again…as far as anyone knows. They get one last moment, on a bay in Norway, where they get to say their final goodbyes, which are just tear-inducing. Rose worships the Doctor, loves him, her entire existence had been wrapped around him, and now she has to say goodbye forever. And we finally get to see her tell him that she loves him and just seconds before you just KNOW he’s going to say it back…he fades and thats it. I was crying like crazy watching this episode…and then of course, a few minutes later, Donna Noble randomly appears in the Tardis and reminds us that the adventure is never really over.

6. Rose by Russell T. Davies

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I’m going to be completely honest right now: this is not one of the best Doctor Who episodes of all time. In fact, sometimes, when I go back and watch this, I find myself giggling a bit. Its just so bizarre and hilarious, this living plastic idea. The mobile mannequins just make me laugh; its so silly. But its one of my personal favorite episodes because its the first ever episode that we get to see of the new series and its the first ever episode I have seen of Doctor Who. Whether it is one of the best or not, it was good enough to keep me watching. It was enough that I continued to watch and finished six seasons in a matter of weeks. Its the episode that introduced me to a fandom that I never, ever want to leave. Its the episode where I first fell in love with the Doctor, where I first fell in love with Rose, and where I saw the Tardis for the first time. It was the first time and you know what they say…”you never forget your first Doctor”. Christopher Eccleston was my first Doctor and I will never ever forget :D

5. The Girl in the Fireplace by Steven Moffat 

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Again with the period pieces. I love the historical pieces and its probably because I am a history nerd. I think this an episode where we really get to see the human aspect of the Doctor. He watches the Madame de Pompadour grow up, her entire life, while it only takes him hours. She holds a very special place in his heart so fast, he wants to take her way in the Tardis, show her the universe and she dies before he can come back and do that. You can see the heartbreak on his face and its very human of him. He does feel, of course, but I think he forces himself to continue to move on, no matter what happens: when he regenerates, when he loses a companion. He is sad but he moves on. I think you can see his humanity in his quick attachment to Madame de Pompadour and his loss of her in this one episode. Plus its just a fun episode, the quick time travel through the portals, the history in the episode, the Doctor bursting through the portal on a horse. I love this episode.

4. The Eleventh Hour by Steven Moffat 

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This is one of my favorite episodes because there was so much lying on this episode. There isn’t just a new companion in this episode; there is a new Doctor, and TWO new companions. Its been awhile since David Tennant and Catherine Tate were in the Tardis, having adventures, as Journey’s End premiered in July of 2008 and Matt Smith’s first episode as the 11th Doctor hit the television in April of 2010. Plus David Tennant was such an amazing Doctor. It was huge shoes to fill..and for me, I moved on right away. I was on a David Tennant high. But this episode really was great, and completely sold me on Matt Smith as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. It was a bit of new, showing the change since David Tennant and Russell T. Davies left, but it also remained that classic Who awesomeness, especially with the montage of all 11 Doctors. And they’re such an attractive trio :P

3. The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End by Russell T. Davies

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The biggest part of why this is one of my favorite episodes is because of everyone that comes together in this episode: The Doctor, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith…they’re all there and its beautiful. They all work together to save the day, to save the Earth and to bring it home. They all work together to defeat the Daleks. Its all of the favorite people in one place. But its also Rose reuniting with the Doctor and getting her happily ever after, even though its not quite the way anyone expected. Its the awesome moment where you see how many people love the Doctor, how many of them band together to help save the world, to help him. But its also a very sad moment when Donna becomes the most important woman in the universe, saves the day when no one else can and then she has to forget everything. She can’t remember all the amazing adventures she’s had and the amazing thing she’s done. And its one of the last episodes that David Tennant has as the Doctor and it holds a very special place in my heart.

2. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang by Steven Moffat

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I think I have a love affair with Steven Moffat, because his episodes keep appearing…and I love this double episode because of everything that sort of happens in this. I love that all these episodes of this series sort of culminate into one. Some of the seasons just have these standalone episodes and end in a different story and some don’t, like in series two with Bad Wolf or Donna with her importance, her coincidences and all that. I like that the end of series 5 ends with all the events of the season coming together in one important story. Things are happening because of this points of time all over time, and I just love how it all comes together. I love that this is the moment when we see the Doctor with his fez, a very iconic moment in the Who moments, I love that we finally see Amy and Rory married. And it holds one of my favorite moments ever, when Amy is at her wedding and she is remembering the Doctor, and by remembering the Doctor, she brings him back…and as the Tardis is appearing, she says the old wedding saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” and its an absolutely perfect way to describe the Tardis.

1. Blink by Steven Moffat

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Damn you, Steven Moffat, again, but this time not for the heartbreak but for creating one of the scariest monsters of all time. So simple, this angel statues, but still one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in a movie or a tv show. I  think Carey Mulligan is absolutely adorable as Sally Sparrow in this episode; I almost wished she could’ve been a permanent companion in some aspect. I say they bring her back. Its a fun episode, even though the Doctor is only in the episode in the form of easter eggs on DVDs but the story is great and the Angels are super scary and they introduce a fan favorite villian that appears several more times. The Weeping Angels are my favorite bad guy of the series and so this makes this episode my favorite because Steven Moffat does a great, great job of introducing them so that every time that you see them again, you know to be afraid.

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What are some of your favorite Doctor Who episodes? Let me know below!