Will You Follow Them One Last Time?

The countdown to the final Hobbit movie is upon us, and going by the trailer, it is going to be quite the spectacle. Retitled The Battle of the Five Armies, it will wrap up the second Middle-Earth trilogy (that was never meant to be a trilogy in the first place, but I digress) with fire, wizardry, battles, death, and (apparently) a reprise of the haunting “Edge of Night” from The Return of the King.

All of this has made me realize something, though–I am really going to be sad that there are no more Hobbit movies after this one. Geeking out about them with my friends and then posting reviews on here have been high points in my life since I started this blog. I’m going to have to find more stuff to write about after this!

Well, I won’t panic too much just yet. I’ll just enjoy the end of the series (and try not to cringe too much at the changes I fear Jackson has made to this part).

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Happy Birthday, My Turn to Talk!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the two year mark on My Turn to Talk! Can you believe we actually made it this far? Honestly, I never thought I would make it this long; I thought I would run out of ideas. Seems kind of silly now, huh?

A lot happened this year, same as last–National Blog Post Writing Month was another rousing success (complete with loads of posts for Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary), my review for The Desolation of Smaug, and getting to see the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera! But the biggest part of last year was you, my faithful and loyal readers. I can’t believe there are over a thousand of you now (where did you all come from?). I may not always respond to your comments, but seeing them appear on my posts and getting new emails whenever I get a new subscriber bring me more satisfaction than I know how to accurately express. Just…thank you.

And now for the traditional posting of “One Day More”:

Here’s to the next year!

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An Impressive Raoul

I just happened to watch this video of Phantom‘s original Christine and Raoul, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton, and I was so impressed that I had to share it here. You see, I was never too familiar with Steve Barton, and I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve heard him sing for more than five seconds. Now that I have heard him, I am officially impressed. He has got to be the best Raoul I have ever heard. He just encapsulates the character so well, bringing out both his gentle nature and his firm determination. I mean, I loved Hadley Fraser’s performance in the 25th anniversary, but after watching Steve Barton, I was ready to stand up and applaud–and it was just a video!

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Mauve Alert! New Doctor Who Trailer!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Doctor Who will be exploding back on to our screens on August 23, but now we have definitive proof…now we have a trailer.

All I can say is I am about ten times more excited now seeing Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Such gravitas! Such presence! Such flat-out awesomeness!

…when is August 23 again?

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Slowly but Surely, We’re Getting More Sherlock!

The BBC announced earlier today that filming for the fourth season of Sherlock will begin in January 2015, with the show itself returning at a later date. This time we’re getting four episodes, a special episode followed by the three regular installments.

We still have a ways to go before the great detective returns to our screens, but at least Holmes and Co. are starting to plod in our general direction. Ah, well, at least Doctor Who is coming back next month.

http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2014/07/surprise-sherlock/

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Violin Review: Mendini MV300

This is a slightly different post today. I’ve decided to talk about the student violin that I own, the Mendini MV300 by Cecilio. I’ve had it since December (I started playing in October but had a different violin then), so I suppose you could say I’ve really had a chance to break it in and get the hangs of its pros and cons. The MV300 tends to get a bad rap, but I think that’s rather unfair. For a beginner violin, something to just get you started with playing, you’d be hard pressed to find something better.

In every aspect this is a real violin–it won’t get you into Carnegie Hall, but it will help you learn the groundwork for getting there. (If I’m wrong and someone out there did play this for their Carnegie Hall audition, please post a video because I would love to see that.) It’s made of wood, which is important. Mine did have a few dings/scratches around the peg box, but it isn’t anything that negatively impacts the playing; it’s really just cosmetic. And speaking of pegs, the ones on mine were a little hard to tune at first; however, after a few weeks my violin became the easiest thing ever to tune (way easier than my old one–some frustrating memories there).

According to a violin repair man who checked over my MV300, some Mendinis have had problems with wood quality; I’m putting that out there to try to provide a balanced review. And you might want to put some new strings on it (and possibly invest in better rosin). But honestly, I am really happy with this violin and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning.

If you need some extra persuasion, check out this review from Alison Sparrow the Online Piano and Violin Tutor. She’s a professional violinist with twenty years of experience who reviewed the Mendini MV300 and was really impressed.

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Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon”

Today’s classic Who serial stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as his Time Lady companion Romana, with David Brierley replacing John Leeson as the voice of K-9 (although Leeson reprises his role in future episodes). This was a peculiar little outing; it was a combination of an intriguing plot and some over-the-top acting.

First, though, let me get my biggest complaint out of my system–the Nimons’ design. They looked like hairless bipedal guinea pigs with horns attached. The Nimons themselves were a great concept; they were just let down by poor costuming. This is why people laugh at us! If the Nimons ever grace our screens again, I really hope the powers-that-be make some modifications. With as much potential as the Nimons had, they deserve a second chance to knock our socks off and send us cowering behind the sofas, and they can’t do that while resembling hairless, bipedal, horned guinea pigs.

Soldeed, Chief Scientist of Skonnos, was their unwitting ally. He was your typical power-hungry mad scientist, but it was a role I believe could have been more interesting if the acting hadn’t been so over-the-top. It wasn’t always played that way; Soldeed had moments of seriousness that really made him stand out as a character. I only wish the character had been played that way throughout; it would have made him far more fascinating and sinister. He did have a great evil laugh, though, and I must admit I really liked his facial expressions always made him look unhinged.

These flawed aspects don’t counteract the story itself, which I found to be even more interesting as the episodes unfolded. Tom Baker was in fine form as the Doctor, and Lalla Ward really had a chance to shine. Separated from the Doctor for part of the story, she takes charge fluidly and effortlessly, and it’s easy to tell just how much she’s learned from the Doctor during her time on the TARDIS. So I would say that if you don’t want to watch The Horns of Nimon for anything else, watch it for one of Lalla Ward’s most memorable Romana performances ever.

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