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Top Ten: Fandom Vehicles

Give me a TARDIS any day, but this list is just for muggle vehicles.

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Fandom Spotlight Day 1: Highlander

For the month of April, I’m breaking out of my usual “format” and showcasing one of my favorite fandoms a day, so I will have shiny things to make me smile every day of my birthday month. When I sat down to write the list of my top 30 fandoms, I found the task terribly hard. How do I choose just 30? My apologies to all my beloved fandoms left off the list. I’m starting with my favorite fandom and then using random.org for the rest.

Highlander: the series


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Top Ten: Favorite Highlander Episodes

This is a list I had on my Highlander website years ago, but my favorites haven’t changed at all over the years. It was nearly impossible to chose just ten—just ten episodes that I loved more than the others—so I have some extra favorites at the end :-)

Top Ten Favorite Highlander: the series Episodes:

10. Band of Brothers
This episode was brilliant. One of the classics, it presented us with fresh tastes of characters we were just beginning to know. We learned of Darius’ ways, his past. We got a taste of Duncan, the warrior, toying with his conscience. In such scenes as Richie helping to train Duncan, we learned more of immortality and of the noble morals Darius instilled upon Duncan. In a brilliant move, flashbacks were not simply the typical look back at Duncan’s previous conflict with an immortal. Instead, as he was facing a stranger, the very essence of his warrior self reflect present day’s fight. This episode also gives us one of the all-time best baddies out there- Grayson (James Horan).

9. The Gathering
The Gathering is the episode that started it all. It was a wonderfully done introduction to the premise as well as the characters of the HL Universe. We saw Tessa learn of the reality of immortality & the game, and what it meant to both her and Duncan. We saw Richie Ryan (in stunning Green Jacket, LOL!) break into the store and stumble upon the world of immortality which he would one day join. And we saw Conner and Duncan together as teacher and student and as friends through time. It was the perfect beginning, the torch being passed, to an amazing series.

8. Til Death
Oddly enough, this is my only really funny episode on the list, and yet they’re the ones I can easily watch a hundred times without being bored. While Double Eagle bravely paved the way for such episodes, my favorite is Til Death, without a doubt. The premise of married immortals is a wonderful base to a hilarious interplay with Fitz, Methos, and Duncan. One of my favorite baddies(from the Vampire) returns as a hopeless romantic nobleman. Every line is beautifully placed and hilarious, especially when Methos is concerned. “My boat now” and “Opera, opera- he’s got a lot of opera here. Where’s Springstien? Where’s Queen?” are only starters. The agreed-to fight for jealousy had wonderful improved zingers. And the last scene never fails to make me laugh. “I just went with a toaster!” Crash!

7. Indiscretions
More fondly known as ‘The Methos and Joe Show’, this episode was fabulous. The humor weighs with the seriousness perfectly, and the two characters have such wonderful chemistry for their backgrounds and point in the series. It explores areas the rest of the series didn’t even try to hint at, and did so with the sort of bonding, friendship, and morality that we have come to expect from any episode with Duncan. Joe’s daughter, Methos’ past profession and love, watcher verses immortal, poker faces, and hitchhiking-LOL. As Peter put it at the Legacy con in DC, “I came, I saw, I did a Highlander!”

6. Comes a Horseman/Revelation 6:8
The four horsemen. How could anyone not put this in their list of favorites? It was simply amazing. The goodies were heroes, the baddies were evil, and the lines were so blurred and skewed that you’re not quite sure which site to route for by the end. We catch the first glimpses of Methos’ past… and none of us will ever be the same. He was death! Duncan falls into protective mode, and Joe falls back to the sidelines. I must admit, I fell in love with that sweet, brutal Silas- I’d let him have a monkey :-) The quickenings are wonderful, especially the series’ first and only double-header. And fabulous acting all around (except maybe Cassandra…) The four horsemen ride again! Good, evil, guilt, judgement, love, hatred *sigh* One of the best, without dispute.

5. Modern Prometheus
More of Methos’ colorful past! In fact, I liked this episode so much I started a fanfic which went back to the flashbacks. Again, the ideas of futile immortality come to center stage. Emotions are gone, death is gone, and Methos and Duncan are pitted against the very concepts of life vs death, loyalty vs justice, and friendship vs friendship. Lord Byron, one of my favorite poets, is as degraded and downcast as Gregor from Studies in light… but as a former student of ‘Doc’ the tides turn and bonds break. Poetry, music, history, and artistic expression all show prominently in this Adrian Paul-directed episode about a doomed immortal- a Modern Prometheus even worse than Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

4. Something Wicked/Deliverance
Legend has it that if you took in too much evil during a quickening, you went below. The opposite was said for dear Darius, but this time it falls upon a friend of Duncan’s… and he feels morally responsible to try to make the futile save. Several times in the past, Duncan has ‘gone after’ Richie, and it happens again as the evil overcomes him. He breaks away from Richie, Joe, and home, distancing himself perhaps so he won’t hurt them, perhaps so he won’t be stopped. We see what evil his dark side is truly capable of, and as much as we enjoy the brilliant acting, we long for him to become his ‘boy scout’ self again. After a helping hand and a helping head, Methos lowers him down to the holy hot tub with his father’s sword to combat himself. He realizes that it is not the quickenings that he is fighting against, it is the evil inside himself which has always been there and will always be there. When he is victorious, he knows it is only a matter of time before the real battle is to take place, but now he is himself again to deal with it as it comes.

3. Homeland
Ah, Homeland. What more could I want from an episode? Adrian Paul’s directing, wonderful acting, a homecoming, romance, angst, lost love, clan loyalty/betrayal, Scotland, jokes, and a powerful quickening. *sigh* Duncan returns to a home he was cast away from, which he has not seen in 400 years to replace his first love’s bracelet and avenge his father’s death. We relive the past and feel for him, and I never fail to cry when the first few chords of Bonny Portmore begin. Joe’s being there gives it a modern sense of reality, for we learn much more in the unsaid looks and movements, and we know they understand their places there and with each other. And we realize that there is much more to Duncan MacLeod than we could ever have imagined.

2. Studies in Light
Studies in Light. My favorite episode until the end of fourth season hit. Even if it was early in the series, this episode had a certain je ne sais quoi. We are faced for the first time with an immortal who does not want immortality. His mortality tries to leap out through his art, but it’s such a fine line, and one he cannot cross unless an immortal takes his head. I love his angst, I love his actions, and I love the last scene as Duncan shows him that he doesn’t really want to die after all. The side plot with the dying Linda Plager (versus Tessa) is amazing, as well. To tell or not to tell… to love or not to love. This episode deals with the issues of life and death so strongly and bluntly that it brought me out of my own depression with messages such as my all-time favorite, “Look for the light, instead of the shadows.”

1. Through a Glass, Darkly
I could never say enough about this episode. It’s my favorite for many, many reasons. First and most superficially, Dougray Scott. I could listen to that man say ‘gunpowder’ or look worried and scared all day long and not get bored. He is an amazing and adorable actor. Second, the Methos and Duncan interplay is fantastic. For once Duncan asks Methos for help rather than Joe, and gets it and a few quick retorts as you’re welcomes. Third, the Scottish history. I’m a sucker for the Jacobites and this episode was drenched with it and more: history, traditional music (Will Ye Nae Come Bak Again!), idealism, reality, and the Jacobite spirit. Fourth, the deeper issues of an immortal’s mental insanity. We got a brief taste of it through immortals in the past (Moore/Barnes, Gregor, Cullen) but a trauma so intense that amnesia results is incredible. Methos: “It’s a human trait to remember history as we wish it had been. Ask the Americans, or the Germans” Duncan: “Or the Scots” We finally learn that it is from poor, sweet Warren murdering his own student. It is the first time such an extreme and unimaginable event occurs on the show… and one of the only measures to gauge Duncan against at the end of season five.
There is more to this episode than a small paragraph could explain. But in a few words, I find it heart-wrenching, intriguing, and inspiring.

Top 15 Finalists (in no particular order)

Prodigal Son
The Darkness
An Eye for an Eye
The Vampire
To Be/Not to Be
Forgive us our Trespasses
Double Eagle
End of Innocence
They Also Serve

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Top Ten(ish): Fandom Holiday Moments

Some of my favorite Christmas or holiday moments in fandom. I’m utterly indecisive (why did I think that weekly top ten lists was a good idea?). So here’s my top ten… and a couple others thrown in. I expect this post will contain possibly a spoiler or ten.

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Top Ten: Fandom Merch I Don’t Want for Christmas

When searching online I found far too many fan-made or non-commercially produced fandom products that creeped me out from Edward Cullen’s giant face staring at me from a shower curtain to inappropriately printed thongs. So I decided that all the items on this list had to be officially licensed items.

Top Ten Things I Will Not Enjoy Receiving as Christmas Gifts:

  1. Planet of the Apes Sky Diving Parachutist- Did I miss the part of the movies where the apes sky dive?
  2. I Heart Ron Weasley Pillowcase- I love Ron… but not in these dress robes, of all things. Also, I already own one of these
  3. Thor Alarm Clock Weight- Why does a god need a weight? And why would you make an alarm clock shaped like one? Hammer, guys. Thor’s got a hammer, not a weight *facepalm* And Thor doesn’t even need to sleep. Double-fail.
  4. Downton Abbey Lip Gloss- Because when I watch Downton Abbey, the one thing I notice is the glossiness of their lips
  5. Destroyed Cassandra Doctor Who Action Figure- First off, Cassandra in her “skin” form is barely in the episode this action figure is from. Second, this isn’t an “About to be Destroyed Cassandra,” it’s a frame where the character used to be and isn’t any more. The character isn’t even alive at this point and isn’t even included.
  6. Hunger Games Lightbulb- Put a bird on it! I saw this at Toys R Us a few weeks ago. It was super cheap but even that wasn’t enough to make me buy it. I don’t have the faintest idea what I’d do with such a thing
  7. JarJar Binks Lollipop- First off, it’s JarJar, and who needs that? Second, did anyone in charge of creating this even imagine what it would look like to suck on his tongue? I do NOT want anyone to be that intimate with JarJar.
  8. Star Trek Metal Detector- Oh dear. It looks vaguely Enterprise-like. But I’m not sure what this has anything to do with Star Trek. But there’s not a lot that’s less pathetic than a metal detector
  9. Twilight Perfume- “The Forbidden Fruit Tastes the Sweetest”. First off all, ick. Second of all, am I supposed to be eating this perfume? Double ick.
  10. Ugly Duncan Mug- I’ve got a Highlander bathrobe, a Highlander golf cap, a Highlander wallet (actually, two, because my first one accidentally went through the wash). But even I can’t handle the Ugly Duncan Mug with the katana & ponytail handle
    Above photo is from Gail Kallen’s great AA Con Photos gallery

I am a Watcher

“I am a watcher,
part of a secret society of men and women
who observe and record, but never interfere.
We know the truth about immortals”

Never interfere? Never? *snort*
Were you watching the same TV show I was?

One of these days, I’m going to find my Watcher necklace. In high school, I never went a day without wearing it. Which, looking back, might be one of a hundred reasons I didn’t date much in high school. Or maybe I just hadn’t found the right Highlander fan to share my passion with back then. I’m sure I didn’t get rid of the necklace… but I haven’t been able to find it for years. I suspect it’s in some box from my storage unit I haven’t gone through yet.

Until I find it, I will have to resort to showing my love for my all-time favorite television program, Highlander: the series, in the form of wall art. I am now the proud owner (and displayer) of a carved, wooden Watcher symbol.


Looks great up there on the wall, doesn’t it? Yeah, well, it didn’t have the easiest path there.

I first saw it years ago at a store at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. As the show’s last episode was in 1998, it’s not often that you encounter Highlander merch these days. I was drawn to it immediately. I was at the faire with a friend who was purchasing an item at a different shop for her house, and I decided to make myself a promise: as soon as I bought my own house, I would buy the Highlander Watcher’s symbol and hang it over my door. Every year at the faire, I spotted the symbol, lusted after it, but stayed true to my promise. After all, what good is a lovely, crafted, wooden anything without somewhere decent to display it?

Finally, last year I bought my own house. I still haven’t had a housewarming party… because I still haven’t moved in completely or unpacked. I suspect all my friends and coworkers have given up hope by now. But it is one of my 101 Things in 1001 Days, so there’s still a good chance one day they will all be invited over eventually. Anyway, last year I skipped going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival because I was sick the weekend all my friends were going. I thought longingly about the Watcher symbol I wanted to buy, but decided my dream could wait a year. After all, at that point in time, I wasn’t living in my new house yet so it didn’t really feel like mine yet.

WoodenCarvings1 WoodenCarvings2

This year, I missed out on going as well. And, in fact, two friends went and I only realized afterward that I should have asked them to buy the item for me. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I had such tunnel vision: drive all the way to the faire, buy the Watcher’s symbol, hang out with friends, then drive home. It didn’t occur to me that there could be a variation of that which might work better for me, especially as my recent health issues are preventing me from eating anything sinfully delicious on a stick. However, when I heard another friend was going the following day, I seized the opportunity. At practically the last minute, I sent an email asking if she might be able to pick the item up for me. I included photos I’d taken of it on previous visits, including one photo with the item circled, so she would know exactly what I wanted.

And, because she is a great friend and a wonderful person, she picked it up for me! It is beautiful–everything I had hoped for all these years. Aaaaaaand now I think we have more evidence of why I’m not dating now. The point is, I am now the proud owner of a wooden Watcher symbol to be displayed… um… over my door? There was a spot right above my door that was perfect for it. For months now I’ve envisioned that spot being filled with it. But now that I had it… the spot above my television set was looking like an even better choice. I liked the irony involved in having a Watcher symbol above something I watched Highlander on. And I didn’t want anything too busy above the TV, such as a poster or something, that would detract from the television screen. Still… above the door… I’d imagined that for years! I ended up asking friends and even asking the highlander worldwide Yahoo group for advice. In the end, I went with the spot over the television set. Which, of course, you know because of the image above.

WatcherSymbolI used some strong command adhesive strips to mount it on the wall, in case I ever wanted to easily take it down again. I carefully measured so that it was dead center and I stuck it on the wall. It stayed. And I was thrilled. I took a few photos and called it a job well done. Then I headed into my office/craft room to write. About twenty minutes later, I hear a loud THUNK. With a terrible feeling that I knew exactly what that was, I returned to my living room to find the symbol gone and hiding so far behind the television cabinet I couldn’t see or reach it. After reaching between the cable box and DVD player shelves, I managed to dislodge it from the cables and roll it to the side enough for me to reach it. I surveyed the situation for a moment, considering my options. I had brought a nail and hammer up from downstairs, but for some idiotic reason, I decided to give the command strips one more try. So I went to stick it back up and discovered the fall had cracked it slightly! It’s not noticeable at all, thankfully, but I felt just awful for damaging it. Carefully eyeballing the location, I put it back on the wall, pressing harder this time, holding for longer this time. And this time it stayed in place. I was thrilled. I returned to my NaNoNovel and continued writing, but not before I put two blankets behind the television set. There was little chance of it falling again, but just in case it did, I wanted to keep it from breaking a second time. About fifteen minutes later, there was a soft thunk. There it was, behind the television, resting on the blankets. For my third attempt, I drove a nail into my beautiful wall and sucked up the damage. It’s worth it, though. The thing has not fallen since and I think it looks great mounted there. I see it every time I enter or leave my house, as it’s just to the side of my front door. So even though it’s not directly above the door, it’s still got a great presence and I’m thrilled with my decision.

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Sleeping with the Television On

No, this post isn’t going to be about the obscure Billy Joel song that inspired me to create an original character based off it. This post is about my attempt at watching some television a few nights ago.

I turned on my bedroom television set to its default station: BBC America. I actually had to go with a high-end cable package because LOGO And BBCA are two televisions stations I can’t do without. With BBC America, whenever I turn it on, it’s either Top Gear, Chef Gordon Ramsey swearing, or Star Trek: the next generation. Basically, I like my odds, even though I wouldn’t say its offerings are always British. In fact, my kindred spirit emailed BBC America once asking why an American show was being offered. I expected them to throw out the Patrick Stewart card as justification. Instead, they replied “While we understand this is not a British show, Star Trek is a massive fan favorite around the world – particularly in the UK.” Huh. We’re American. We can watch American shows any time we want. Just because the British also happen to like it is not a particularly valid reason to put it on a British programming channel! LOL


Anyway, when I turned on the television as I was getting ready for bed, the first Highlander movie was on. It was half-over, but on. Like Star Trek: TNG, you have to work to justify why it’s on BBC America (and right after it? a marathon of Star Trek: TNG, naturally), but I was happy to see it.

I watched a bit of it, then thought up a good few lines for a NaNoWriMo piece I’d been working on. So I went back downstairs and wrote them down. I got back to the movie just as the big fight scene was starting. I had awesome timing. I slid into bed and watched Connor climbing up to rescue Brenda… and the next thing I knew, the two were in Scotland. Somehow I’d closed my eyes and slept through the entire fight scene (which is not particularly short, mind you). I was rather embarrassed.

TNGcombadgeI then proceeded to watch the episode of Star Trek: TNG on next. Having just rewatched the entire series twice, it took me about 2 seconds to figure out which episode it was and to shout out “Nightbird!” with Counselor Troi when Riker asks for requests. But I didn’t make it a minute further before falling back to sleep, this time for good.

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