2011 Resolutions — How’d I Do?

Last year I posted a bunch of resolutions for 2011. None of them included watching Santa Suit and pounding my head into the wall until there was copious bloodshed.  Shame.  If I had, I'd have accomplished at least one more resolution.  Check the break for a trip to the past and some musing about my life in 2011.

Inane Chatter - Chuck 5.08 - Chuck vs. the Baby

Hey y'all, it's Shoe again! I'm battling a bit of a cold right now, but I wanted to share my thoughts about Chuck Vs the Baby. A cold's not a fun way to bring in the New Year, but this episode was a bit of fresh air after the last two weeks. If the review doesn't make much sense, I'm going to blame it on the cold...

After Shaw's cryptic reveal of a "baby", Sarah feels like she has to do this mission alone. Chuck offers Carmichael Industries as a backup for Sarah's secretive mission—pro bono of course. Morgan is trying way too hard to win back Alex while staying behind at Castle with the Awesomes. The Awesomes offer those two some romantic advice and Chuck has a "surprise" for Sarah.

So what did I think of this look into Sarah's past? Read after the jump!


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Santa Suit

Chuck vs. the Santa Suit
Season 5, Episode 07, original air-date 23 December, 2001

Shaw returns. Some other stuff happened, but that was the point where Frea stopped caring.

Eh, we say it all in the review. Warning, there's no optimist again. We understand that people liked the episode, yes.

We didn't.



Yes, folks, the holiday collection I've spent a few days putting together is finally here.  This is a collection of holiday stories that will have your toes tapping and your heart lightening as you read the happiness and teamwork inside.  Several wonderful authors contributed to this work, including (but not limited to): Kate McK, ulstergirl, ChuckFan56, Peter O in his fanfiction debut, HalfShellVenus, atlee, ne71, jagged1, mxpw, yours truly, and some others. You can download all three versions on the downloads page right here.

Remember to stop by and leave reviews on the stories you liked.  If you need some help with that, check out Saint Crumbylicious's Guide to Reviewing Here.

And I'm off.  May post Violet on ff.net tonight.  May not.  Happy Holidays, everybody, and remember: keep smiling.  It may hurt your face, but at least it'll freak people out!



mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Curse

Chuck vs. the Curse
Chuck vs. the Subtlety of a Rock to the Face
Season 5, Episode 6, Original Airdate 16 Dec 2011

Chuck's a moron. The rest of the cast is pretty cool. That's your summary.

Warning: there is no optimist this week. NO OPTIMIST AT ALL.


Inane Chatter - Chuck 5.06 - Chuck vs. the Curse

Hey, y'all! It's Shoe again. I know having a new job as a graphic designer has made me a bit of a bad minion, and I have a confession to make...after I give a short synopsis of Chuck vs the Curse.

Chuck and Sarah are on the run after being framed for Decker's murder. Morgan has helped Casey escape from prison and is the only team member of Carmichael Industries not under suspicion of murder. Ellie and Awesome have a "date night" that is memorable, but puts them into harms way and Chuck makes some questionable decisions in saving them.

Find out what kind of confession I make after the jump.


Scene from a Chucksical

Greetings, again, from Frea’s captor and MBO-in-training, quistie64.

It’s been an interesting ten days or so since Frea was thrown into took up residence in my basement. She continues to try to escape, but happily I continue to reacquire her. The subcutaneous tracking chip I inserted when she fell asleep after eating that chocolate muffin works really well. I have to say, though, I’m not sure about her sense of direction. I believe to return to home she should have been traveling away from the mountains, not up them.

Anyway, it seems that her time in the basement has been beneficial to us all. She has been delighting us with a Greater Christmas story posted on her Tumblr site and she continues to write Fates. As I have said before, I’m a harsh taskmaster. I see myself as the guy that beats out the rowing speed when Charleton Heston is a slave in the galley of that Roman ship in Ben Hur. “Ramming speed!” (Wait. What? That’s a double entendre? Oh. Never mind.)

Moving on, that movie gave me an idea since Frea was a bit belligerent about co-writing the following scene with me for our musical. She refused to write one of the character’s dialogue, so I chained her to the radiator and made her watch a Richard Simmons “Sweating to the Oldies” video until she gave in. She lasted 45 seconds.

Now I give to the world a little taste of what is to come with our Chucksical. Hopefully, this will whet your appetite for what is to come and, if you haven’t already, compel you to donate to Operation Smile through our donation page.




quistie64 left me alone in the basement, so I burned a few of her blankets to send smoke signals to my brother Van, who happily scanned the article the reporter wrote when I escaped, and he sent it to me!

Thank you to [HOMETOWN PAPER] for the wonderful write-up. I'm not just saying that because they're talking about quistie and me, but they said very lovely things about the Chuck fandom, too.

You can read the article after the break.  I'll try to have a transcript up soon!

— Frea

Day Nine of Captivity

So last night, while I was having my usual nightly chat with Maximus about the state of the union and other pressing matters (is spray cheese a dangerous weapon? discuss), I noticed a little blinking red light on the old Macs I've assembled into one supercomputer capable of destroying, if not the world, at least Cleveland in quistie's basement.

Naturally, I made my appeal. And then this video began making the rounds of the internet:

Guess it wasn't the government watching me after all. Should've figured. They'd have been far more obvious about it.

- Frea


Day Eight of Captivity...Sorta

Here's what you missed or maybe you just forgot:

My name is Frea.  I'm a writer and sometimes I blog, and sometimes I tweet (but only sometimes).  I was kidnapped by quistie64, another writer and blogger and sometimes-tweeter, who is holding me for ransom.  For charity, she says.  She says that if we raise $2400 to help 10 kids find new smiles, she'll let me go.  But I highly doubt that, since she didn't let me go at $480 or at $1500.

I trained her in her evil ways a little too well, I think.


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Hack-Off

Chuck vs. the Hack-Off
Season 05, Episode 05, Original Air-Date 9 December, 2011
Chuck and Sarah infiltrate an unusual cult to find the designer of a computer virus. The Buy More gets a new employee.

If you pay attention to the graphic header, you’ll notice that Frea is the pessimist this week. Does this mean she hated the episode and mxpw loved it? Well, there was naked Sarah…but you might be surprised…


"Chucksical" Prep: The 12 Days of Shaw Killin'

Frea here.  Man, I'm so glad I'm stuck in quistie's basement because if I weren't, I would have gone to five or six different mattress stores today, bought a mattress, moved two beds, four bookshelves, a dresser, all of my clothes, and a bunch of bags all named "Random Bag" into my apartment and darn it all, I'd be sorer than the tail of a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Also, I'd probably be talking like I'm from the deep south, now that I'm thinking about.

Good thing I'm stuck in quistie's basement and didn't have to endure any of that. To celebrate the fact that it's Saturday, and to give you a little taste of what a coordinated project would be like, quistie and I put our brilliant heads together and came up with this little ditty.


Day Three of Captivitity Day One of Freedom!

Greetings, my wonderful, wonderful friends and readers. You've come together and you've rallied behind your MBO (Most Benevolent Overlord, natch), and to see such support and such love for little old me just warms my tar-black soul from the inside out. It's like the opposite of a Microwave of Love.

Wonderful news: I've escaped! I'm writing this from a cyber cafe somewhere in Colorado, looking desperately for a way back to St. Louis. How did it happen?


Day Two of Captivity

So it's me again. Frea. Your former Most Benevolent Overlord. I say former because...well, here's what you missed or maybe you just forgot:

On Tuesday, I was abducted from my home by a ragtag crew of ragamuffins with the faces of cherubs and the souls of sarcasm and song. Turns out that these wayward kidnappers could only belong to quistie64, Chuck's very own Seamstress of Songs. Dear readers, I was dragged across state lines (making this federal, for those of you who watch crime procedurals, which means Castle and Beckett aren't coming to rescue me) and thrown--THROWN I say--into a very comfortable, well-heated, and well-stocked with Dr Pepper miserable-looking basement.

But quistie is benevolent. For donations to Zachary Levi's favorite charity, Operation Smile, she'd let me go and we could write something together to prove our awesomeness. I cheered up at this. $480 to Free Frea. Not too bad.


Day One of Captivity

Was it only just yesterday that seven not-quite-adult-shaped humans snatched me from the street on the way to my car while I was deciding whether this was a Blondie or a Bon Jovi day? Feels like more. They shoved me into the back of a van, where I was forced to amuse myself with Angry Birds on my iPhone as we traveled across Missouri and Kansas and all of those other boring states in between. I tell you, it was truly terrifying. And it feels like a million years ago.

You wanna know why?


Wep and Crystal: Glee Review - Hold On To Sixteen

Hold On To Sixteen
Season 3, Episode 08, Original air-date December 6, 2011

In an attempt to recruit a few more members, Finn tracks down former teammate Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) and convinces him to come back to the glee club. Tina comes to the defense of Harry and encourages him to pursue his dream while McKinley prepares to host the big sectionals performance.

Hey, look who popped out of nowhere to give their take on a show that is equally out of nowhere (at least on Castle Inanity)! Crystal here, rising from the dead to give you guys a blog post on what the lovely Wep and I thought about tonight's Sectionals episode of Glee. (Actually, Frea's the one who noticed us going off on Twitter about it and asked if we'd like to channel our thoughts to CI. And everyone knows that no one can say no to Frea.) Fair warning, though...if you hold a large amount of love for this show, you may not find our ramblings amusing. For everyone else, though, enjoy our take on the chaos that has become Glee, right after the break!

Frea, Captive

Greetings, readers of Castle Inanity. Quistie here. Yes, the quistie. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sing. I have paid actors for that. They work for barbie dolls and toy TARDISes.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that Frea is okay, but currently locked in my basement. Yes, that’s right. Locked in my basement. I’ve decided that I don’t want to wait so long for Fates updates, so I’ve taken it upon myself to take away all distractions and make her write sixteen hours a day. I was able to get access to this blog by trading login information for a can of Dr Pepper and some Swedish Fish.

I’m not sure how effective my keeping her in the basement will be, especially with the recently installed 55” TV. Oh, and the dogs really like her. …Hold on, I think I just heard gleeful shouts about Fringe Blu Rays. I’ll be back after some beatings I deal with this.

Okay, back. Be that as it may that my basement may not be the best place to keep the MBO, I do want to be a charitable and benevolent overlord (an overlord in training, if you will) so I have graciously struck a deal with my captive. Since I have an awesome, award-winning author currently secured in my basement, she must write something awesome for charity. She does drive a hard bargain, and since I am trying to be charitable myself, she talked me into writing something with her. But this must be something awesome, so what is more awesome than Chuck and Sarah singing? Together? To a silly plot? Nothing. (Although some small “special guests” might appear in this story as well.)

So here’s the deal. You have to help get Frea out of my basement. You need to do two things. First, you must vote here in our poll which musical we will “Chuckify.” Second, you need to go to my page over at Operation Smile and donate money to a worthy cause (in any amount you see fit, even if it’s just a dollar. We love dollars!). We will write a chapter of whatever musical you chose for every $50 of accumulated donations. For the cost of only two smiles, you will receive a full story. If we receive more than our set goal, you will get some “extras.” Trust me, you’ll want that, so donate and tell your friends.

Once the goal has been met and because I am charitable, I’ll let Frea go. I’m afraid it will be a long walk back to St. Louis.

Castle Review - 4.10 - Cuffed

When Castle and Beckett wake up in bed, handcuffed together, in a locked room with no memory of how they got there, they must piece together the mystery of where they are and why, all while trying to escape. But as the two of them adjust to being shackled together, what's the biggest threat they face...the people who abducted them or each other? Meanwhile, Ryan, Esposito and Gates are left to investigate their disappearance in a case where all is not what it seems.

It's The Hangover meets Saw in this week's Castle, as the show returns after a week off with a strong episode. Read on after the jump to see why I liked this episode.


Life, the Universe, and Frea

Hello, everybody!

So, this isn't a post to review a show or offer a new ebook or even pictures, which is what I usually do on this blog.  No writing advice to be found anywhere.  I think I'll just talk about life instead. There's lots of updates to be had, actually, and I realize that the people who follow me on Twitter hear a lot more than the regular blog followers.  So some of my Twitter followers know a lot of what I'm going to blog about already, but that's okay. There's some new stuff buried in here.

Hit the break for more.


The Plan is Working: A Little of Chapter 52

I see that my captive, Frea, has found a way to get on the internet piecing together those old Macs we have stored in the basement. As I am a benevolent sort, and because she keeps rearranging the furniture down there when she gets bored, I’ll let her keep her link to the outside world.

I’m happy to report that my plan to make Frea write Fates seems to be working. When I went downstairs to bring her breakfast (and mop up the remains of a small fire she lit to keep herself warm), she delivered to me two pages of Chapter 52 of Fates. I didn’t think it was really necessary that she crumple the papers and hurl them at me, but whatever. I have painstakingly transcribed the pages for you here.

Now, one thing before you read. I know I promised to let her go once we received $480 in donations to Operation Smile. However, you all are so wonderful and generous we hit and surpassed that goal with ease. Unfortunately for Frea, I am also rather capricious and promptly changed the amount to get her out of my basement to $1,500. So keep donating to Operation Smile because as it stands right now, you have already bought six smiles. You are all awesome! Also, keep voting for the musical you want us to “Chuckify.” And finally, I owe her a chocolate muffin.


Some Goodies

Chuck, we need to talk about your reading material. SEVEN KIDS?!
It's been awhile since I've put out new ebooks on the site, and a lot of that can be blamed on the fact that I've got Shiny Disorder, I suppose.  Or a busy life, either way.  But today, I'm pleased to unveil two awesome authors on the blog for download.

I'm sure absolutely nobody is surprised that I converted Chuck vs. the Sound of Music into an ebook, given how much I loved that story.  You can go ahead and grab that fabulous work here, natch.

The second author I'm really excited about because I haven't converted anything of hers yet, but that's right, you can get brickroad16's Collide, fresh off the ePress, right here.

And, you know, for those fans of Violet Bartowski, don't forget to nab your copy of That Which is Greater: A Thanksgiving To Remember.



PS - If you're reading the story for the first time as an ebook here from Castle Inanity, please do me a favor and go review the author's work at fanfiction.net to let them know!


Icons! Chuck vs. the Business Trip

Hey, look, icons from Chuck vs. the Business Trip. What, bored, me?  Never.

If you want 'em, leave a comment and let me know so I can online stalk you and see the lei'd Chuck and Sarah.


Castle Review - 4.09 - Kill Shot

A sniper on a killing spree is terrorizing New York City. With the clock ticking down to the next murder and nothing to go on except a killer with no apparent motive but to instill terror, this could prove the team's toughest case yet. The hunt is made even more complicated when Beckett begins to experience increasingly strong moments of PTSD - moments she tries hard to hide from Castle and the detectives.

I know, I know, we're changing things up here at Castle Inanity yet again. All I can say is, both Frea and I are pretty busy these days with things in real life (whatever that is) and so we're always looking for things that can make our maintenance of the blog more efficient. To that end, I'm going to be taking over Castle reviewing for the foreseeable future. Don't expect a detailed analysis like Alris provided. This will just be my quick thoughts on the episode. The detailed analysis I leave to you.

So what did I think of 4.09 - "Kill Shot"? Click the link to find out!


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Business Trip

Chuck vs. the Business Trip
Season 5, Episode 04, Original air-date November 18, 2011

Chuck and Sarah must stop an assassin after the Intersect at a Buy More convention. Jeff shows a new side to himself.

Max here, posting the review this time, and you know what that means. That's right, drooling over Sarah in the Nerd Herd uniform. And there's no Frea to stop me. Mwuaha.

Sarah in the NH uniform, best thing ever or best thing of all time? Discuss.

Okay, to be serious for a second before we get back to the truly important things, this episode was written by Kristin Newman. Frea's crush on Newman is well known, but after Business Trip, is Frea still in love with the future Mrs. O'Scanlin? You'll have to read the review to find out.

More after the jump!


The Minions Speak: Shoe — Chuck vs. the Business Trip

Hey y'all, it's Shoe again and I'm going to give my thoughts about Chuck Versus the Business Trip. I told Frea I would try to keep this short until I mentioned that there was a pool featured in this episode, and y'all know what that means...


Brain Lint the Second

It's Quistie Day!  To some people, this may mean "Thursday," but to the people in the know (aka the cool kids), this is a day dedicated to the wonderful, the marvelous, the talented quistie64.  Yes, yes, Max, things have been awful for you ever since quistie and I joined that mutual appreciation society. Don't stop running on that hamster wheel.  The Dr Pepper fountain's not gonna run itself.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I asked quistie to write a second Brain Lint column about Chuck vs. the Zoom, and she wonderfully complied. Unfortunately, she complied in November, which is a bad month. My already scatter-brainedness shoots through the roof.  So this literally sat in my inbox since she sent it.

But it's Quistie Day!  Which means I get to post it.  Do you need some marital advice?  Are you a spy at the beginning of your career in the corporate sector for the first time?  Are you married to an equally hot spy and need some tips on how to make the marriage work?  Don't worry, quistie has you covered...after the break!


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips

Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips
Season 5, Episode 03, Original Air-date November 11, 2011

Chuck has some fears about Morgan having the intersect and it going to his head. Elsewhere Sarah helps Casey navigate his relationship with Gertrude Verbanski. And in the meantime Devon is spending his paternity leave with baby Clara at home but quickly finds it unexciting and that leads him to the Buy More where he makes a startling revelation about Jeff and Lester.

So far, Max and I have managed to stay chipper in the face of a show that constantly puts our least favorite character, a character that has inspired Castle Inanity's very first safe-word, in the spotlight. We've enjoyed two episodes in a row where it seemed like Chuck has found his spine (it wasn't in Sarah's purse) and Sarah has been pretty cool (on top of the fact that she's Sarah Frakking Walker) and even Casey has been hilarious (your CASEY unit now has a mate: Gertrude!).

But when the episode turns Morgan into such a douchebag that he even frosts his tips, can Max and I keep our streak up, or is this going to be a special pessimist vs. pessimist edition of mxpw vs. Frea?

Check the break to find out.


Inane Chatter - Castle 4.08 - Heartbreak Hotel

Again, sorry for the delay, folks. My fault again, along with some technical difficulties, prevented this review from going up in a timely manner. But it's here now, so read and share your thoughts!

Happy Veteran's Day!



Shoe vs. BDaddyDL: Two Minions Enter, One Minion Leaves

Frea's Note: The reason this review is so late is my fault and nobody else's.  They got this to me on Sunday, but I've either completely forgotten or have been abducted by very kind aliens that let me tweet from the belly of their spaceship. Either way, here's the Minions' Look at Chuck vs. the Bearded Bandit!  Enjoy!

Hey y’all! Shoe here again but this time, I have my fellow minion, BDaddyDL, helping me out with the Chuck Versus the Bearded Bandit review. This is a bit of an experiment, so we’ll see how it works! Enjoy!

Team Bartowski is trying to get Carmichael Industries off the ground after having their assets frozen by Decker. Their competition, Verbanski Corp, attempts to lure Sarah Walker into their business only to try and recruit John Casey. Casey and Verbanski have a romantic past, which complicates a few things between business associates. Also, Morgan is not adjusting well to having the Intersect in comparison to Chuck.


mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Bearded Bandit

Chuck vs. the Bearded Bandit
Season 5, Episode 2, Original Air-Date: November 4, 2011

The team takes on a missing persons case and have to establish themselves as Carmichael Industries in the face of a rival security firm led by Gertrude Verbanski. Meanwhile Morgan adjusts to being the intersect and Chuck being his handler.Also the Buy More finds a new and unlikely spokesperson who helps to drum up business.

Okay, so it's less than an hour to midnight in Central Time, but I want it noted that for me, it's still Monday! I didn't miss this deadline. *gasp, pant, whoosh* Click the break, where you'll join an mxpw vs. Frea already in progress!


Inane Chatter - Castle 4.07 - Cops and Robbers

Sorry, guys! The lateness of this review is entirely my fault and not Alris's. I got swamped with school and tonight was the first bit of free time I've had since the episode aired.

Anyway, I'm sure you don't want to hear my excuses. Let's get on with the review!



mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Zoom

Chuck vs. the Zoom
Season 5, Episode 01, Air-date: October 21 October 28, 2011

Chuck must adjust to his new life as a business owner and being a spy without the Intersect in his head or the support of the CIA. Carmichael Industries' first mission is a rich thief Jean Claude and a conning investor, Roger Bale, who has stolen money from some of the world's most dangerous people. In the mean time Morgan helps Chuck with a special surprise for Sarah. Back in the Buy More, Jeff and Lester have taken things to another level with their latest scheme.

Both mxpw and Frea had expectations lower than a teen starlet's self-esteem going into this episode. Did the show meet those expectations or did it laugh in Max and Frea's faces? Click the break to find out.


Chuck vs. the Zoom Icons!

Hey all, Frea here.  Remember when I used to make loads of icons from the various episodes?  Well, I was bored yesterday.  If you want one, take, but just please sound off in the comments.

- Frea


Inane Chatter - Chuck 5.01 - Chuck vs. the Zoom

Here we have the very first review by one of our new Chuck contributors. You may know her as @ShoeLin_1685 on Twitter, but here on the blog, we just know her as Shoe. And Shoe has written us a wonderful review of Chuck vs. the Zoom.

Read more and find out what she thought of the episode after the jump.


"Only-Somewhat-Creepy" Halloween Lineup 2011

So Monday is Halloween.

That probably means something different to me than to most people, as I've been doing Nanowrimo since 2002. Halloween to me means "my last day of sanity until December." To the world, however, Halloween speaks of sugar highs and spirits and stuff like that. People are allowed to step out of their everyday lives and for one day, pretend to be something they're not. Office workers become ninjas. Kids become superheroes. At least one person will become a bad pun, like the cereal killer.

(For the record, I usually pretend to be the "before" version of Mia Thermopolis as it means I don't have to dress up. You'd think, with my imagination, I go crazy over Halloween, but for one reason or other (read: I forget), I never dress up. This year, my friends want me to be a pirate with them. They may be in for a shock when I show up in a brown coat and suspenders.

However, imagination runs rampant throughout the Chuck fandom, which is fantastic. And this means that there are a whole slew of Chuck fanfics to read that celebrate All Hallows Eve. Some are serious, some are silly, and some aren't about Halloween so much as they are about...zombies and vampires! This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's full of delicious treats for you. Since Fringe won't be on tonight, you'll have plenty of time to sit back, grab some apple cider (alcohol optional), and enjoy some of the greatest Halloween offerings this fandom can provide.

Check out the list after the break!


Lights! Camera! ...Now what?

Hey, everybody! Compared to some, I haven't been around the Chuck fandom for a long time. I mean, the great and mighty mxpw has a story on the second page of the archives at fanfiction.net, and if that's not a sign of old age, I don't know what—I mean, wow, mxpw is great, right? So full of wisdom and so smart, too!

Anyway, what I was getting at before I insulted Maximus, I haven't been around the fandom a long time in comparison to some of the greats, so I missed some big things in the early days. One of those things was Sharpasamarble, who's still working on his five-part series that starts with Chuck vs. Auld Lang Syne. And if you want a good measuring point as to how long this series has been around? Auld Lang Syne was started during season ONE. And Sharp still updates on the latest in the series, Chuck vs. the Watch. He was one of the first authors I read when I started reading Chuckfic and is one of my favorite authors today, so you can imagine my sheer excitement and glee when he volunteered to write something for Castle Inanity.

Yes, I said VOLUNTEERED. In no way, shape, or form do I have Sharpasamarble chained up in the basement next to Maximus.  That is RUMOR, people, not fact!

One of Sharp's writing strengths is writing action. I'm a bad person: I skip ahead during action scenes on the page, but with his, I usually end up paying attention, so I asked him to give some advice about just that today (how to write action, not how to pay attention). Recently, Sharp's taken some time off writing fanfiction, so you may not have seen him around. I kind of feel like he has a good excuse, though, since he's been focused on writing people actually pay him for. Check out his article after the break!


Inane Chatter - Castle 4.06 - Demons

Castle contributor Alris is here to provide you his thoughts on this week's Castle. Find out what he thought after the jump!

Also, keep in mind, he's British!

Brain Lint The First

Hey, all! Frea here, coming to you TWICE in two days. Before you fall over from shock however, or reach for that paper bag to breathe into, I'm just here doing some introductions. Firstly, we've got some new faces filling the blog out while I get ready for Nanowrimo this year, awesome people like the wonderful BDaddyDL and Shoe. (it's really hard not to go a step farther and just call her Chuck)

Today's special guest columnist is one of my favorite people in the fandom. It's her fault Top Gear now plays for at least two hours a day in chez Scan, and that I now regard librarians suspiciously and await the throwing stars at any moment. Seriously, if you haven't gone over to ff.net and followed her wonderful works-in-progress, Ninja Librarian 2 and Chuck vs. the Sound of Music, your days are 113% less awesome.

And today, we've got a real treat, as quistie64 has put her thoughts to paper and handed that paper over to Castle Inanity. Muhahahahahahahah—I mean, please read after the break. :)


mxpw vs. Frea - The Preseason Games

Frea: So, fans, friends, foes, and everything in between, it's a sad day for me. That's right. (No, the Dr. Pepper supply has not been tampered with, no worries) The great and mighty Maximus has convinced me that the world cannot live without mxpw vs. Frea.

Frea: Naturally, I am hesitant about this. After all, the show and I did not end Season Four on amicable terms.

mxpw: Understandable. I remember it was sleeping on the couch a lot by the end.

Frea: Only because it sneaked in through the window after I changed the locks, that bastard.

mxpw: Well, it probably learned its lock picking skills from Sarah.

mxpw: She's pretty good at it. Casey even said so.

Frea: And he couldn't lie! He was on Super Convenient Truth Juice at the time!

Frea: But anyway, another reason I'm so hesitant is because...well, it's been awhile and things get rusty. I mean, we tried to keep up the mxpw vs. Frea love over the summer with Fringe, but we got our start on Chuck and we need to come back to Chuck. So think of this like a practice mxpw vs. Frea, if you will.

(more after the break)


Inane Chatter - Castle 4.05 - Eye of the Beholder

New contributor Alris is here to provide you his thoughts on this week's Castle. Find out what he thought after the jump!


Welcome to My New Minions, and a Castle Review!

So here’s the down-low. I’ve been recruiting minions from far and wide to help cover things on the blog, as working full time, doing side projects, writing, and being a good family member with four needy dogs means that I just don’t have that much time anymore. Oh, and I like to read and watch TV, too. And sleep! I hear sleep is important!

So starting on October 29th, we’ll be getting two new writers to cover the Chuck beat, giving you episode recaps and reactions. I’d like to welcome ShoeLin85 (blog name: Undecided) and BDaddyDL to the blog (you can check out BDaddy’s first contribution post here), and we’ll see some great writing tips and other odds and ends from some mystery guests (I hope) soon!

But another show we really like here on the blog is…Castle. Part of it comes from our love of Firefly, but the rest of it is that we think Castle is just a really great show in need of some attention. So mxpw and I put out some feelers to find somebody to write about this great detective/writer duo, and we got a hit.

One problem: he’s British. That’s right. The British have invaded Castle Inanity and they’re bringing their extra “u” words with them. Give a warm welcome to Alris and check out his review of Castle, Season Four, Episode Four, Kicking the Ballistics, after the break while I go run away from the Australians and the Canadians who’ve been sharpening their pitchforks for the last paragraph.


PS – A “thank you” birthday post is en route!

Inane Chatter -- Castle

I'm going to use a Friends style title for last night's episode of Castle. What did everybody think of The One Where Ryan Had More Than Two Lines? I found it a little dull. Am I crazy and missed something awesome, or do you agree?

- Frea


Happy birthday, Frea!

I have no fun text, cool graphics, or radical new blog design. I am not Frea. Good thing, that, as I'm pretty sure the world only has room for one Frea. But we are blessed to have that one Frea.

Today we celebrate her birthday. So please use this space to wish Frea happy birthday, discuss why she's so awesome, pay homage to the MBO, etc. etc. You get the idea. Let her know you care, I'm sure she'll appreciate it!

Happy birthday, Frea.


Inane Chatter — Fringe — 4.03 - Alone in the World


What did everybody think of the third episode of Fringe? Sound off in the comments!

- Frea

Let the Minion Speak....

 So I found out today that my application for minion had been approved after I promised to wear a tutu. I don’t think that the MBO realizes how much brain bleach will be required to empty her mind after she sees me in one. Thanks, Frea, for even letting me participate in this wonderful place you got here.

I want to get my feet wet and mention three fics that have not gotten a lot of attention. More after the break…


Fringe Benefits Incorporated - 4.02 - One Night in October

Lou, Jan, Maximus and I got together like we do every Sunday night to do one thing...

Drool over Olivia Dunham.

- Frea


Inane Chatter — Castle 4.03 — Head Case

What'd everybody think of the third episode of Castle Season 4, Head Case? Graceless and I were laughing through the whole thing, though we agreed we weren't altogether impressed with the murder of the week.  Except for the fact that it made me quote Futurama even for an hour after the episode.  Somebody may have even gotten a kidnappster joke in there....




Fringe Reaction - 4.02 - One Night in October

So....what did everybody think of the episode???  My first reaction now is that I am completely and totally in love with everything that happened, but I may need a rewatch or five to really absorb the awesomeness of Doublemint Olivias.

Peter?  Peter who?

Let me know what you thought about the episode in the comments.  Make sure to leave a spoiler alert if you're going to mention things that haven't happened on the show yet!!!



mxpw's Scribe Theater Three Thousand

So it seemed like the first part of my two-part introspective on Frea was a fair success. Awesome. I wasn’t sure how it’d go over, but people seemed to like it and find some merit to my analysis. And that’s good, because Frea has ordered me to do the second part, and well, I’d like to avoid the lash, so here it is.

The point of this column is world building: what it is, how you do it, and how do you do it well? These are all tricky questions to answer, as quality world building is fundamental to quality writing, and without it, your story will almost certainly fall apart.

mxpw's Scribe Theater Three Thousand

I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that most of you reading this right now are Chuck fans. We all know the very basic plot of the show, right? Underachieving nerd suddenly downloads a massive computer database full of the United States’ most important secrets into his brain. It’s like Johnny Mnemonic meets The Matrix meets James Bond meets Get Smart meets Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show meets West Side Story meets, etc… You get the point.

mxpw's Scribe Theater Three Thousand

So earlier I wrote about suspending your disbelief while watching TV or reading a book. I talked about how important it is to immerse your audience in the world you've created for them because if you don't, they'll no longer be your audience. Well, I touched on that briefly, but now I'm going to go more in-depth with the whole idea.

I am going to discuss how you get your audience to suspend their belief and then I'm going to cover what happens when you don't.

How to make your readers/audience suspsend their disbelief

There is a lot that goes into this, as it's such a broad range of ideas, but ultimately, it all comes down to one thing: you must committ. Frea and I have discussed this what seems ad nauseum on this blog but it really is one of the single most important tenets a writer should follow. Commit. No matter what you do, commit to it. Not committing to your plan of action is the fastest way to breaking your audience's interest in your product or ruining their suspension of disbelief.

Typically there are two ways most shows go about convincing their audience to suspend their disbelief (this applies primarily to premises that are fantastical or full of science fiction elements): they either play it completely straight and serious or they introduce satirical elements into their presentation and present it as a


Fringe Benefits Incorporated - 4.01 - Neither Here Nor There

So every week during the Fringe season, I make it a point to arrive late so that I can hear Old Darth's teeth click together right before we launch our epic podcast for the night. We had some technical difficulties, a sugar-high Frea, a new term coined, and a blast this week.  If you liked the people, check out Jan and Old Darth (or mxpw and me) on Twitter!

What'd you think of the podcast and/or the episode?  I'll have a post ready to go next Friday when the show airs on East Coast time so that people can chime in.  Why?  

Because Fringe is AWESOME!!!

- Frea


Inane Chatter — Castle 4.02 - Heroes and Villains

Yeah, the title says that. I realized the other day that we have a lot of Castle fans in our midst (and a lot more now that I've pointed people toward Of Finding Innocence, which is good escapist fun). So why not set up a "Let's talk about the episode!" thread for Chuck fans?

And hell, our blog title is Castle Inanity.  It seems fitting we should talk about Castle at least once.

Spoilers after the break.


The Art of Summary

So it’s Saturday morning, and I don’t want to write Fates or rewatch Fringe until I’m done fully digesting all of the AWESOME that happened the night before, which means...either I’m going to read a book or I’m going to read a fanfic. So, yay, a plan. I hop on over to fanfiction.net and the decisions begin: what should I read? Is it time for an epic reread of Double Agent? Do I want to reread Fortune Favors Fools because Sarah’s voice is going to be harder to nail than usual in Fates 52*?

No, I want something new today, but I’ve read all recommendations from Wepdiggy. Time to search for something new...time to check out the summaries.

And here’s where the crapshoot begins.


Happy Birthday, Chuck!

Yes, yes, I know Chuck's birthday is actually the same as my nephew's. NOT IN FATES, though. Speaking of Fates...

Here's quite a substantial chunk of the fiftieth chapter of What Fates Impose. I do ask that you limit yourself to commenting about it only this blog post and not give any spoilers away on Twitter or other places. Some people may want to wait to read the chapter in total. But I won't keep you any longer! ENJOY! And Happy Birthday, Fates Chuck!!!


Lazy Summer Serial: Curtain Call #11

Maximus here. So it's not exactly two-a-week, but here's an update to everyone's favorite story about a computer nerd pretending to be a bodyguard with a crush on a Hollywood actress that might possibly be masquerading as an international superspy (or is it the other way around?). Because, you know, there's so many of those around.

- mxpw (and Frea)



It's almost here! It's almost here! It's almost here!!!

September 23rd is a HUGE day! Ginormous. Monstrous. Mondonormous, which I think is a word I once used to describe the wonderful mxpw. It also describes September 23rd just as well!

Things happening on September 23rd:

1) I may or may not become an honorary aunt (I'm most excited about that one, despite the exclamation points you are about to see)
2) The Killer Elite!!!!!
3) FRINGE!!!!!!!!

In honor of the show coming back, mxpw and I joined up with Old Darth of ODonTV and Jan from ChuckTV.net for our usual Fringe Benefits Incorporate podcast.

Annnnnd you can listen after the break! We talk about Jan's experience at Comic Con, our thoughts on S3, our expectations for S4. There's spoilers up to Season Three for those newbies among us, but I promise, we're pretty entertaining.


Lazy Summer Serial: Curtain Call #10

Here at Castle Inanity, we like to do things in a big way.  If we go away, the blog goes silent in a big way.  And when we come back, we like to flood the blog.  Which is why we're back to our two-in-a-week rotation of Curtain Call.

I've started putting the chapters on ff.net, but obviously the blog gets the first entry.  Property claims and all, you know.

I don't think we've been saying thank you very much with this story, so I'll talk that opportunity here, just to thank each and every one of you for your tweets and feedback and comments.  And to those people that even wandered over to ff.net and left reviews.  To those of you that found the blog through Curtain Call, consider this an official welcome.  I promise we'll try and be a little more active in the future; I've got a post on perspective coming, I think, and Curtain Call and Romeo and Juliet have some exciting things coming up.

But I know you're here for one thing: Ellie!  So I'll let you get on with that!

— Frea (and mpxw)


Fringe Rewatch #1.16 — Unleashed

Just to let you know, there won't be an mxpw vs. Frea style review of Unleashed, which we'll be watching tonight on the blog at 7:30 pm CST.  The reason?  Frea was too busy writing Fates.  We didn't think you'd mind.

See you tonight on the blog to watch the sixteenth episode of the first season!  If you need ANY incentive to come watch with us: Shirtless Charlie Francis.  See you then!

— Frea


Hot Off the Presses!

Hello, all!  If you haven't been following me on Twitter, you probably missed out on the rather fun mashup I just created of "People Magazine," Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, and Curtain Call, but hey, you can view it here.

Orrrrrrrrr.... you could download the Curtain Call ebook.  That's right, get it right here!

And that's not all we have for you today.  I've gone and created an ebook of quistie64's Chuck vs The Ninja Librarian and I also decided to share my working copy of Romeo and Juliet with the world. Yes, I keep ebook versions of all of my works in progress, why do you ask?

Chuck vs. The Ninja Librarian

Romeo and Juliet But Without Teenagers or Death...Well, Okay, Some Death

Hope you're having an awesome Tuesday, wherever you are!  Don't forget to come back tomorrow for our Fringe Rewatch.  Season One is almost over, the show's gained its focus, and we'll be having a chat at the regular time on the blog!

— Frea

Lazy Summer Serial: Curtain Call #9

So that was a great couple weeks of vacation, for both of us, but now we‘re back! Yes, that’s right, a new Curtain Call right after the break.

I wish I had something witty to say here like I usually do, but I’m afraid we’re going a little overbudget on that with this project.  We already had to cut a car chase scene and a cameo by superstar David Hasselhoff.




R&J — Passion In Providence, Part III

So here it is, the final installment of this chapter of Romeo and Juliet But Without Teenagers Or Death...well, okay, some death. The greatest turning point of them all.

Thanks to my writing sprint buddies today that helped me get this finished!

— Frea


Fringe Rewatch #1.14 - Ability

Tonight on the blog, we’ll be rewatching Ability, the fourteenth episode of the first season of Fringe. As we’ll note later in our review, this is a monumental episode for many reasons, apart from the very important one we mention over and over (and over again).

Just a brief rundown for those of you that may not watch Fringe as obsessively as yours truly:

Spoilers ahead!


Fringe Rewatch #1.12 - The No Brainer (mxpw vs. Frea)

The No-Brainer took place in the middle of Fringe's first season (back when the show was part of FOX's No Remote campaign, which meant that episodes were 50 minutes long rather than 42 or 43 minutes like they normally are).  In this episode Olivia Dunham and the rest of the Fringe division get a new and fun bizarre case: brains are melting.  And not just because Sarah Walker's coming out of a swimming pool. Brains are literally melting into goo.

Spoilers ahead!


R&J — Passion in Providence, Part II

Wait a second, I thought Frea gave this story up.

Guess she didn't.

Or maybe she just needed to write something.

Either way, this picks up after Passion in Providence, Part I.  Literally, it doesn't even have a scene break in the document on Frea's computer (which is named Romeo — Not a Date.doc) and sits on her desktop and taunts her daily.

But you know, Frea hopes you enjoy it.

— Frea's Subconscious


The Roundup Episode 06: Random!

So I read a lot on the web every week.  A woman actually called me a sponge during an interview and asked me if I would ever not be taking classes, if there wasn't something I wasn't completely fascinated by.  I honestly replied that I just didn't see that in the cards: I like learning,  and I like knowing.  And yes, I'm a bit ADD, so at any given point in time, I'll have ten different articles or tutorials open (right now, it's only two: a jQuery list and one of the links I plan to share today.  This may be a record).  So instead of making a themed Roundup this time, I think I'll just toss some random links your way.  Sound good?  If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably already stumbled across some of these thanks to my Twitter feed, so I apologize for any repeats.


Do I Really Need to Know That?

Recently, I’ve been fighting a case of writer’s block. Usually, I’ll say, “Oh, I’ve got writer’s block. Stupid Fates!” or “Stupid Greater!” But not this time: this time, it’s a general writer’s block, where I stare at a blank page, or a blank Twitter line, or a blank blog entry box for an hour. Then I think to myself, “Screw it,” and go watch a movie. I’ve no enthusiasm for anything lately. Even worse, I’ll force myself to write halfway through a scene, realize it’s a scene I don’t need, and scrap everything. I’ve done it four times on blog posts alone.

But today, I’m going to persevere. I’m just not sure what’s wrong with me lately. It’s probably not anything quantifiable; it’s only going to get worse, as I’m going to have splitting headaches for the next week on top of this general ennui.

Maybe it’s that it’s August. Yeah, that could be it.


Where the Frak is the CIA?

Subtitle: What's going on with the blog?  And, oh yeah, that one story?

One of the following is true:

A)  Frea was kidnapped by aliens, who forced her to watch Cowboys and Aliens and give them her honest opinion.  Unfortunately, it didn't end so well.  For the aliens, that is.

B) Frea and Maximus (and other assorted members of the CIA) got smacked in the face with real life.
Frea is in the process of launching her own business, taking classes, and working full time, on top of maintaining a strict gnome-grooming schedule and being at the mercy of the alien space overlords—oops, she means Boston Terriers.  She was found crushed under one last week; thankfully somebody commissioned a Freabot to try and finish Fates by Chuck's birthday, who has kindly been filling in for her.
Maximus just came off of a very difficult semester full of classes that he's mostly been using to taunt Frea, including naming half of the muscles in Sarah's back during random Fates betas (to be fair, that only happened once).  His final exam involved dead bodies.  And much to Frea's disappointment, not the scattered corpses of his enemies.
Chris, as far as we can tell, has joined the Navy SEALs and is on a personal vendetta against Conan O'Brien (we didn't ask) having to do with some band Frea has never heard of.
Crystal has been eaten by a gru.  In Hawaii.  She will be missed.
Wepdiggy has been eaten by a gru. In Chicago.  He will be mocked.
So that's what's up with the blog lately.  Scheduled entries into Curtain Call and What Fates Impose might be late for the foreseeable future.  We appreciate your patience.




Curtain Call #8

So I think some apologies are in order. Neither Frea or myself intended to take this long to update, but life just gets in the way, you know? So, sorry for pushing the update back so many times, but here you go!



An mxpw Retrospective

Here is a brief rundown of my thoughts regarding the final season of Chuck. I plan on doing a much longer post when the show officially ends next year, but I wanted to jot some things down while yesterday's panel was still fresh in my mind. What follows are my personal opinions only.

You can see my thoughts after the jump.

P.S. New Curtain Call entry drops tomorrow AND the Fringe Rewatch is back, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel (chat starts at 7:30 CT).


I Lied!

Isn't it annoying when I do that?  I was like, I'm gonna go away and do stuff, but then I thought of stuff to blog about!

Anyway, I got bored and I have chapter 49 sitting on my hard drive.  mxpw will be the first person to tell you that I get antsy if I sit on a chapter for too long.  But I don't want to post it yet. So...what is a girl to do?  Oh, that's right.  Contest!

In Chapter 50, I will be using two songs.  Not saying in what capacity or anything, just that they're both songs I like.  Since I know we're a bunch of music nerds and people seem to like Fates, I thought I'd offer it up as a contest.  So your contest:  Guess the song.

Song #1

  • I played it in marching band.
  • The singer's first and last name are both first names.
  • It's obscure, but when I think of this singer's name, I also think of a polka-dotted bowtie.  Take that how you will (it doesn't mean said singer actually wore a polka-dotted bowtie).
  • Said singer's name is used in the movie Dave.
  • The song was inspired by a case of mistaken identity.
  • It also may or may not make me think of Adam Baldwin's first movie.

Song #2

  • Has been used on Chuck, pretty early on.
  • I have met one of the singers (he has a place in Colorado).  I was taller than him (this is rare).
  • It is four years older than Song #1.
  • In the year it was released, it reached Billboard Hot 100 number one single.
  • I have two songs of this title on my computer, different songs by different singers.
  • Referenced in Scrubs episode My Bed Banter and Beyond.

I figure those clues are nice and vague!  First one to guess either Song #1 or Song #2 gets to read first three pages or so of Fates 49!


Happy Guessing!


PS — please keep one guess per song to each comment.


Lazy Summer Serial: Curtain Call #6

Sorry for the silence of the Frea lately.  I will attempt to get more stuff going on with the blog, but Comic Con is coming (I don't think any of the CIA are going, but, you know, my Twitter feed seems to be nothing but the people who ARE going talking about how they won't get to make it to everything and meanwhile, my eye is twitching because I will be spending that entire weekend working or studying for my Java final.  *eye twitch*  Oh, and writing, too.  I'll try to update everybody on the progress of Fates 80....once there's actually progress).  Also, if anybody IS going to Comic Con and wishes to be a guest blogger for Castle Inanity, send me an email or hit me up on Twitter.

Anyway, it's the 18th!  That's awesome news, as it means that it's time for another installment of that great story What Fates Im—wait, what?  No Fates?  Oh, fine.  Have some Curtain Call instead.  Sarah has an equal chance of shedding clothing in either.

Okay, maybe that's also a lie.

Anyway, my screen is doing that thing where it's beginning to move around in place, which means it's time for me to nosedive into the keyboard or get some sleep.  Here's the plan: you read Curtain Call, leave a comment, and make mxpw's day since he has class.  Ready?  Okay, go!

— Frea (and mxpw)

PS — Fringe chat tonight on the blog!!! 7:30 CST!


Frea the Fangirl

I promised to blog "SO HARD" about this on Twitter the other day, but then life smacked me in the face, but here it is, my write-up on what it was like to get to go see Meg Cabot, author of many of my favorite stories, speak.  Warning: there are lots of capital letters, quite a bit about Frea's past, and yes, dragons, aliens, a chuckwagon, and pirates.

Would I make that up?  Well, yeah.  But I'm not this time!  I swear!


Lazy Summer Serial: Curtain Call #5

Here we go!  It's that time again!

Yeah, I really have nothing funnier or wittier to say than that.

Enjoy the story.

Frea and Maximus