Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten REVIEW

NOTE: FULL EPISODE SPOILERS

If I were to describe this episode in word, this episode would be epic. Note because of any great fight scene, or a proverbial bomb that the Doctor Who team dropped on us, but because of the message, the back story, and the mood this episode gives.

the rings of akhaten review 3

When I first began watching this episode, it was off to a slow start. some back story about Clara’s parents, and learning that her mother had been died about 8 years ago. Then, before you know it, the Doctor and Clara are on an alien planet, observing their sun. And, in the distance they can see a gold pyramid, the Pyramid of Akhaten. Clara is curious to see more, so they go into a market.

the rings of akhaten review 1

The episode continues, going through the usual market-goers procedures, until Clara meets the Queen of Years, Mary. She says she is afraid of getting a song wrong. Clara doesn’t realize the importance of this, and encourages her to try it anyways, one of this episode’s many themes – never run away, a theme that resurfaces when Mary sings the song in front of a massive stadium. Suddenly, she is pulled away towards the pyramid, where the “grandfather” is sleeping, to awake rarely to feast on the queen’s soul.

the rings of akhaten review 7

Definitely not running away, the Doctor and Clara follow Mary to the pyramid, where they get trapped in the grandfather’s chambers and protect Mary. After both Mary refuses to sacrifice herself and the Doctor refuses to let her sacrifice herself, the Vigil come. They are a group of cyborg-looking beings that deliver the queen’s soul to the Grandfather.

the rings of akhaten review 10

Once the Grandfather is fully awake, however  it sends a signal to the real Grandfather, and it is revealed that the being the inhabitants of the Seven Planet system have been fearing is just an “alarm-clock”. The real grandfather is the sun, and it desires memories and treasured items. After giving the grandfather all of his memories, the Doctor is shocked to discover that it still wants more.

the rings of akhaten review 6

In a daze, Clara offers to the Grandfather “the most important leaf in human history”. Contained in that leaf are an infinite number of “what-ifs”. That leaf led to Clara existing. Revealed in a flashback in the beginning of the episode, if that leaf had not grown that way, on that branch, on that tree, and if the wind had not blown that way, at that time, on his face (Clara’s father) then nothing would have been the same. Because of that leaf, he met her mom, and possibly because of that, she died.

the rings of akhaten review 5

This leads to another one of this episode’s themes, “what-if”. If a strict progression of events had not been followed meticulously, if one thing had been out of place, the world would be different. This is known as “the butterfly effect”, coined after Ray Bradbury’s story “A Sound of Thunder” (can be found here: http://www.lasalle.edu/~didio/courses/hon462/hon462_assets/sound_of_thunder.htm).

No episode of any TV show I have ever seen has not really made me smile as much as this one did. Not because of the aweesome special effects, but because of the message it conveyed. A message so sacred and time-tested, I know it’s true. The universe is a miracle, every life is a miracle, and we need to be grateful for it and not waste it.

 

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with feedback in the comments below!
~Jacob Montgomery

If you like this, please comment, subscribe, complain, or critique. You can contact me at neuroticglader@gmail.com, like me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/NeuroticGlader, or follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/NeuroticGlader.

Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John REVIEW

NOTE: FULL EPISODE REVIEW, MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

 the bells of saint john review 2the bells of saint john review 1

Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John REVIEW

Finally, the wait is over! The Doctor has returned in the second part of Series 7, continuing to delve into the mystery of The Doctor’s new companion, Clara “Oswin” Oswald, who we first met in “Asylum of the Daleks” earlier in Series 7, and again in “The Snowmen”, the 2012 Christmas special. This episode, written by Steven Moffat, is about, in short, the dangers of being immersed in technology. The Spoonheads, the featured aliens of this episode, are attempting to “preserve” human souls by downloading them from the internet. Of course, they don’t think anybody will notice, so they carry on. That is, until The Doctor comes along. When a call from a woman asking about her WiFi, The Doctor recognizes the voice.

the bells of saint john review 8

The Spoonheads

She has died twice, and seems to be impossible, yet here she is. He rushes to the house she is staying in, taking care of a family friends kids (hmm, that job seems familiar?), where he finds that she doesn’t recognize him. All would be fine, except for the aliens trying to kill off the human race, until Clara clicks on a certain WiFi network.

the bells of saint john review 6

the bells of saint john review 7

Don’t click it. Once you’ve clicked it, they’re in your computer. If they’re in you computer, they can see you. And if they can see you, they might choose you. And if they do, you die.

After that, The Doctor has to save Clara. With the help of his ever-so-handy Sonic Screwdriver, he can relinquish her from The Spoonheads grasp, if only temporarily. When The Doctor realizes that the WiFi is controlling everyone, he rushes Clara into the TARDIS to avoid a crashing plane. The episode continues, with The Doctor trying to save the human race. By using a bike ridden in the Anti-Grav Olympics, the Doctor scales up the Shard, the headquarters of The Spoonheads, and convinces the head there to let all of the souls go, to free them from a “living hell”.

the bells of saint john review 3

The episode ends, with Clara waking up, and all of The Spoonhead’s “employees” finally free from their grasp. However, Clara confronts The Doctor in his TARDIS as to why he is still there. After a conversation, The Doctor asks Clara if she would like to join him. When she replies with a casual “come back tomorrow”, The Doctor is confused. He is offering all of space and time, anything beyond your imagination’s reach, and she says “maybe”? We’ll see in the next episode, “The Rings of Akhaten” what her answer is, premiering April 6, 2013.

the bells of saint john review 5

Overall, this episode delivered what fans expected, but not more. The promises The Doctor Who team gave, such as that it was like THe Bourne Identity, just didn’t size up. The chemistry between The Doctor and Clara is intriguing, and I can’t wait until the next installment to find out more.

the rings of akhaten

Final Rating: 9 out of 10

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with feedback in the comments below!

~Jacob Montgomery

If you like this, please comment, subscribe, complain, or critique. You can contact me at neuroticglader@gmail.com, like on Facebook www.facebook.com/NeuroticGlader, or follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/NeuroticGlader.

Check out my other Doctor Who coverage here:  https://neuroticglader.wordpress.com/category/doctor-who/

PRODCUT REVIEW: Rico Multi-Instrument Reed Storage Case with Humidity Control Pack for all Clarinets and Saxophones

I have been playing clarinet for almost four and a half years now, and saxophone for almost two. However, it wasn’t until now that I considered getting a case for all my reeds. One of the top priorities for me was its ability to hold a variety of reeds, as tenor saxophone reeds are quite a bit bigger than clarinet reeds. Thankfully, this reed accomplishes this, and more.

This reed case is a square, about 3.5″ on each side. There is a hatch in the front that you must pull down to open. The case is not air-tight, which allows the reed to moisturize, even if you do not have the included humidity  pack. For example, I know that some people prefer to place reeds in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel. Although that is fine too, I know prefer to use this case. It can fit up to 8 reeds, of any size; whether it is clarinet, bass clarinet, or any saxophone. The humidity pack has a few clasps in the bottom of the case, so that it holds in place, but can still be replaced when it loses its usefulness in only 45 to 60 days. Although I have not had this long enough to have that pack expire, I will probably not buy another one, as they are at least $15. Another of the problems that I have found is the huge size, although I guess that can be offset by the wide range of sizes available for the case to hold.

Overall, I believe that this is a great product, with a few flaws, including its size and the humidity pack.

If you like this, please comment, subscribe, complain, or critique. You can contact me at neuroticglader@gmail.com, like on Facebook www.facebook.com/NeuroticGlader, or follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/NeuroticGlader.

 

Thanks!

Jacob Montgomery

Product Review: Logitech x140 Stereo Speakers

Logitech x140 Stereo Speakers

Okay, this is my first product review I have done, so please bear with me and give me some suggestions for the future.

I received the Logitech x140 speakers about a month ago, for Christmas. I needed new speakers since I just got a new laptop a few months ago. I wasn’t really expecting much from them, considering that they weren’t especially high-end. While they aren’t amazing, these speaker s are definitely worth more than the $30 that they are priced at. They don’t have the best bass quality, or music reproduction, but they are excellent for casual listening.

Technical:

These speakers require 5 W of energy. Has a 3.5 mm audio jack, which is fine for almost all MP3 players and computers, and has a headphone and audio-in jack on the front. There are controls for volume(power also) and tone, however they are only on the main speaker. As far as I have tested them, the headphone jack works just fine , although I haven’t experimented with the audio-in.

Physical:

As seen in the picture above, the speaker are about 10.5″ tall and 3″ wide. These speakers have a sturdy base, so that they will not fall over, and they haven’t. I haven’t had any trouble connecting them, as the cord is plenty long, at least 4 feet. There is a green L-jack that plugs into the audio jack in a MP3 player or computer. The speakers themselves look nice, and the material used is nicer than some on other speakers. There is a hard plastic grid over the speakers grilles themselves, but the panel with the dials and the dials feel cheap, like they could break off anytime.

Audio:

As mentioned before, these speakers are not amazing. The bass and reproduction are not top-quality, but they are suitable for the price range. The volume range on these is decent; I could probably hear a song from about 30 ft away. The x140 is obviously not Logitech’s best, however they are all around average. If you want something with more bass or equalizer, you may want to try the Logitech Z-4s.

Conclusion:

As you may have seen from my review up to this point, these speakers are average. However, the nice, sturdy bass on the speakers and good price range are definitely good things about them, while the sub-par bass can dissuade some potential buyers.

Thanks,

Jacob Montgomery

Please comment with suggestions, tips, ideas, or critiques, or follow this blog! Neurotic Glader is on Twitter (https://twitter.com/NeuroticGlader) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NeuroticGlader)! Make sure to follow/like!