A Random Doctor Who Memory

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Ok, I know I haven’t written anything in a while, but what can I say?  I’ve been busy with real life.  And while I’ve been watching rather a lot of Who lately, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and knit as well, so here’s a random Doctor Who-related entry.  (Sorry knitters.  Maybe the next fill-in will be all about knitting.  Ok, not likely.)

I’ve been watching Doctor Who for as long as I can remember. The closest they can figure, my parents discovered the show in 1982.  I was 4 or 5 at the time so for me, it seems like it always been around.  I thought of Tom Baker’s Doctor as a kindly uncle who came to visit once a week.  It was such an integral part of our family life that it’s actually difficult to explain.  Other kids had dads who went on business trips.  I had a mom who went to Doctor Who conventions.  (I’m happy to say I’m finally following in her footsteps.  Chicago TARDIS this year will be my first Doctor Who con.  Seems kinda fitting, as Mom was attending its predecessor back in the day.)

I remember at one point Doctor Who was on Saturday nights—but late enough that it was past my bedtime.  I was so upset!  I wanted to be a grown up so badly because then I could stay up and watch Doctor Who.  Finally, one week my dad said I could watch it with them, but my younger sibs were too little to stay up that late.  If I wanted to watch it, I had to go to bed at my normal time, and then Daddy would come and wake me when it was time for the show.  I. was. THRILLED.

When the night came, I was so excited I simply couldn’t sleep!  (Or so I thought.)  Dad claimed that when he came to get me he’d had to wake me up.  To this day, I still don’t remember being asleep at all.  I must have been so excited for Doctor Who that my transition from waking to sleep back to waking went entirely unnoticed.  Anyway, I got to go downstairs and be thrilled by Warriors of the Deep.  The Myrka is still one of my most vivid Doctor Who memories.  (Yes, really.  I found it deliciously terrifying.)  I’m pretty sure there was a chocolate milkshake involved in that evening as well.  So all in all, it’s a pretty awesome memory.

Had I the energy, I might jump forward to the present to tell you about how I’ve been re-watching series 5.  And how I’ve been enjoying Matt Smith’s first season even more the second time around.  And how I can’t wait to get through series 5 so I can turn around and watch it again with Radio Free Skaro commentaries.  And how I’ve also been catching up on the Doctor Who: Mostly Harmless Commentaries (which I LOVE).  And how I’m making a spreadsheet to track all the commentaries so I don’t accidentally miss any.  And how I really think you should all check out some of my favorite Doctor Who podcasts.  But I’m tired.  So that’ll have to wait.

I know.  I’m such a tease.

 

*Does anyone else think the Myrka looks a little bit like Aylee from Sluggy Freelance?

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Doctor Who: Caves of Androwhiny

Tonight was one of my every-other-Wednesday nights with D, and for our sibling bonding activity, we decided on more Doctor Who.  After enjoying The Three Doctors so much last time, we decided to delve into the realms of the good Doctor once again.  People do rave about The Caves of Androzani, so I thought that might be a good one to do next.  And…well…it was…good.

I’d forgotten just how much I disliked Peri as a companion.  I kinda thought maybe I just had some unpleasant memories that ran away from me, and perhaps people ragging on her had made me think I liked her less than I really do.  Such was not the case.  I simply can’t stand her.  And I don’t like not liking a companion.  I know some lovely people who adore her.  I’m hoping eventually some of that will rub off on me, so I can gain an appreciation for Peri, because at this point, I was rooting for her to bite it instead of the Doctor.

Story-wise, this is definitely a strong episode.  There’s a lot going on–political intrigue and machinations, android spies, lava monsters, gunfights, the list goes on.  (The most exciting moment for me was when I recognized Robert Glenister.  I positively adore him in Hustle, so I spotted him right away here.)  But for all that, I found myself being less than engrossed.  I think one thing that bothers me about this episode is that it’s a little Doctor-lite for my tastes, especially seeing how it’s Davison’s last episode.  I guess I prefer the base-under-siege type stories where the Doctor is in our face pretty much all the time, cracking wise and saving the day.

That being said, I do have to admit that the Doctor had some pretty choice lines in this episode.  I just wish he’d spent more time onscreen with even more of them.  And speaking of good lines, I should probably point out that despite my feelings for Peri, she does utter my favorite Doctor Who quotation of all time (although not in this episode): “Circular logic will only make you dizzy, Doctor.”  (Anyone who has, in the last half-decade or so, entered the ladies’ bathroom at Ella’s Bar in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin the Thursday night before the annual Trivia contest will recognize that line.  I write it on the board there every year.  It’s become a weird, geeky tradition.)

As for knitting, in the immortal words of the Muppets, I’m “movin’ right along.”  I’m done with that big daddy of a red stripe, and tonight I knocked out the little orange one after that.  Here’s a pic of it draped over the best couch in the world.

It’s clear I’m not the most even knitter in the world, but I’m not going to be too picky.  What I am going to be is tired tomorrow if I don’t get myself off to bed.  Nighty night all!

Doctor Who: The Invasion (Half, the Second, Commentary-Style)

Huzzah!  Doctor Who!  Knitting!  Why does it feel like it’s been so long?  Maybe because Chicago ComicCon seemed like it lasted forever (not in a bad way, but it was tiring).  I’ve gotta say, it feels pretty good to be back on my beloved couch, chillin’ with the Doctor, the fellas from Radio Free Skaro, and some yarn.  Speaking of yarn, I’m within spitting distance of finishing off this red stripe.  But no, I’ll not be spitting on the scarf, even to prove that claim.

So I did watch episodes 5-8 of The Invasion sans commentary late last week.  (I was cooking at the time, not knitting, so I didn’t bother with the blogging.)  Overall, I quite enjoyed this story.  It’s not the most gripping ever, but much of it is quite entertaining.  As Steven explained in the commentary (twice, actually), this story wasn’t originally supposed to be an eight-parter.  They padded it quite a bit so that it would fill more time, and that does show.  That didn’t bother me overly much though.  I’m always so happy to be watching Doctor Who that I very nearly don’t care what the characters are doing.  I’m sure I’ll eat those words eventually, but for the moment, I stand by them.

I’m pretty sure that the neighbors that lived on the other side of my paper-thin living room wall have moved out.  That’s probably a good thing, because if they were over there tonight, they’d have had to assume I was being tickle-tortured to death.  Those Radio Free Skaro scamps had me laughing out loud over and over (and over and over) again.  Word of advice: it’s unwise to listen to an uproariously funny commentary just after doing a bunch of crunches.  My stomach muscles are SO SORE now.  At one point, Steven was doing a bit about talking into the microphone, and I couldn’t stop laughing for at least a solid minute, despite the pain.  Damn.  I’m laughing again just thinking about it.  Ow!

So anyway, I recommend The Invasion, particularly if you’re not in the mood for anything too action-packed.  And I highly recommend the commentary (episode 6, especially).  Here are a few more items to look forward to, should you decide to check it out:

  • Seagulls!  I don’t care what anyone says; I like the seagulls, and I shall miss them when Warren moves.
  • “Sewertonomy:”  The philosophical study of sewers.
  • The naming of the fondue robot: “Tubulon.”
  • A justified bleep.
  • Cyber-trivia: Crazy Cybermen settle right down when changing elevation.
  • Near-upskirts.
  • Everyone checking out Zoe’s ass.  Wow, that was blatant!  But can you blame them, really?
  • An eye that’s as lazy as they come.
  • The most iconic television moment of the 60s.  (Er, on Doctor Who.  [See the picture above.])
  • More innuendo and dirty jokes than you can shake a riding crop at.  (And no, they weren’t all Chris–just the basest ones, and thus some of the funniest.)
  • An amount of pedanting at which you could quite successfully shake a riding crop.  (Again, not all Chris, believe it or not.)

I am a wee bit disappointed that this is the last classic commentary from RFS for a while, but I’m desultorily working my way through their back catalog.  There are plenty more commentaries behind them that are ahead of me.  That’ll do.  That’ll do.

Consummate Connage

Whoo-wee!  Another long day of conning in the books!  Today I learned that it’s much more fun to attend a con if you have friends along with you.  I got to spend today with my sister, her beau, some old friends, and some new!  I really can’t complain about a doggone thing.

Once again, I eschewed the celebrity meet-and-greet stuff, avoided buying gewgaws, and focused on the panels.  Good call, as far as I’m concerned.  I got to see Julie Benz (who is even prettier in real life), Patrick Stewart (who is surprisingly hilarious), Daniel Stewart (who is Patrick Stewart’s tall son), Chris Hardwick (who moderated the Patrick Stewart & son panel, & whom I was more excited about than Sir Patrick himself), and the Guild panel with Felicia Day (who is charming, always) and Jeff Lewis (who is really funny).

I did walk the floor a bit again today, mostly in support of companions searching for booty.  I witnessed the acquisition of a plush face-hugger, a replica of the chip from Terminator 2, and a large Predator figure.  Also, the super-sweet Alien vs Predator poster pictured above.  I love how the xenomorph is delicately holding the chess piece and the predator is cradling a snifter of…brandy?  Blood?  Transmission fluid?  What do predators drink anyway?  Regardless, did I mention I think it’s super-sweet?

Wow does a full day like that take it out of me though.  I am bone weary and addlepated after two days of this.  I’m not sure I can handle another.  The jury is out on whether I’ll be returning tomorrow.  I would like to catch James Marsters’ Q&A session, but it’s at 11am.  At this point, that sounds unbearably early.  Also, tomorrow is apparently “family day.”  The thought of a con packed with screaming rugrats does nothing to woo me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for indoctrinating the next generation of geeks.  I just don’t wanto participate.  Or even witness it, really.

I may go into more detail later about the panels and such.  But as usual, I make no promises.  Wizard World Chicago ComicCon, you have well and truly kicked my ass.  And I liked it.

Chicago ComicCon: A Nerd’s-Eye View

So.  Many.  Nerds.

That may sound like a condemnation, but I assure you it’s anything but.  If you know me at all, you’ll realize that it means I was thoroughly in my element.  However, despite the fact that I was in my element nerd-wise, most of ComicCon held surprisingly little for me.  I didn’t have a lot of spending money, so the acres of booths of comics and merch held little appeal, except as a sight-seeing destination.

The aisles of celebs signing autographs weren’t any better.  I really hate talking to celebrities.  Nothing against them, mind you.  I just don’t have anything to say to someone I don’t know.  And I feel weird about fawning over someone I don’t know in real life.  I had no interest in getting anything signed, so I basically skipped all that.  I did talk briefly to Kai Owen, and he was charming.  But the only reason I even spoke to him in the first place was to pass on greetings from a twitter friend.

What was much more interesting to me were the couple of panels I checked out today.  Sadly, I missed the Torchwood panel due to a miscommunication, but I did catch Nicholas Brendan and his twin brother talking about Buffy.  That was hilarious.  Later I went to the Rock Jocks panel with Felicia Day.  Wow, “Rock Jocks” is a terrible title for that movie.  I assumed it would be something about musical football players or something (which would suck).  However, after hearing about it and seeing the teaser trailer, I’m super-interested.  They described it as “Clerks in space” or “The Office meets Men in Black.”  Looks great.  Apparently Jason Mewes & Robert Picardo have great chemistry.  I can’t wait to find out for myself.

Overall, I did have a lovely day.  I doubt I’ll make ComicCon a regular stop, but I’m glad I checked it out.  And I’ll be back tomorrow checking out even more panels.  Might even be writing about it for PreternaturalPost.com if I can find something suitably preternatural to focus on.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some pics.  Right now I’m too tuckered out.  Cons require a surprising amount of energy.

Doctor Who: The Invasion (Half, the First)

KNITTING!  Yes.  I’ve been rocking and rolling right along.  I’m now halfway done with the first hugenormous red stripe.  It still feels like there’s a long way to go, but I do feel like I’m making progress, so that’s something.

As for the good Doctor and his adventures, this week brought me the first four episodes of The Invasion, a story I’d never seen before.  The first and fourth episodes are animated (as the footage is sadly long lost), and I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed the animation.  It’s black and white and sort of flash-animation-looking (although I don’t know if that’s really what it is).  I was afraid it might detract from my enjoyment of the episodes, but on the contrary, it was actually pretty fun.

I’m only halfway in, but I’m enjoying the story thus far.  For as much as I love Troughton, I’ve seen rather few of his stories.  Admittedly, many of them no longer exist, but I haven’t even seen many of those that do.  I really must rectify that.  I’m glad I’m getting a chance to do so now.  As you may have guessed, I chose to watch this particular story ’cause I wanted to watch it with Radio Free Skaro commentary.  That’s also why I stopped after the first four episodes.  The boys won’t be getting to the second half of the story until next week, and I didn’t want to have one of my two precious Netflix disc spots taken up by disc 2 for a whole week while I waited.

For some reason, I’m kinda pooped right now, so I don’t have the energy to go into glorious detail about why I liked these episodes or what delights await you, should you check out the commentary.  Ok, just one: “chocolate fondue fountain.”  That’s all you get.  Now I have to find some food before gaming.  Hmm.  Knitting while watching Doctor Who, then re-watching Doctor Who with commentary (and more knitting), then blogging about it, then going to play D&D?  Do I win some sort of nerd award for that?  I think I should.

Doctor Who: Snakedance (with & w/o Commentary)

I can’t remember the first time I watched Snakedance.  Although I suppose I could say that about any classic Who story.  I started watching in 1982, so most of my introduction to the Doctor came during that murkily-remembered period of early-elementary school.  Snakedance always stood out for me though.  Despite having re-watched Davison’s entire run a couple times in high school, many of his stories have simply eroded from my memory.  Snakedance seems to have stuck.  The ubiquitous snakes, the garish costumes, the brightly-lit marketplace scenes contrasting with the dim cave interiors, the Doctor being trapped in a cage from which he couldn’t escape, the creepy half-naked old guy who (infuriatingly) didn’t speak out loud…  All those things cooperated to keep Snakedance at the forefront of my mind.  Or at least, not in the back with so many of the others.

In re-watching it, I discovered that I still enjoyed all the things I remembered so fondly.  In addition, I noticed that the acting was pretty superb compared to some of the other stories of that era.  Colette O’Neil, who played Tanha, was almost note-perfect as the semi-exasperated but doting mother of Federator-to-be Lon (played by Martin Clunes).  Clunes too, was nearly spot-on as the whiny, sarcastic, overindulged heir.  It would have been so easy for either of them to slide into caricatures of their roles, but they walked that line admirably.  John Carson (as the archaeologist Ambril) tended to teeter a bit more than the other two, but still turned in a solid performance.

I haven’t seen Kinda in many years, and I know lots of folks see it as the superior of the two Mara stories, but I always remember liking Snakedance better.  I should probably check out Kinda again one of these days to see if that still holds true.  For now, I’m just pleased to have re-experienced Snakedance.

I also re-re-watched it with commentary provided by (you guessed it) those Radio Free Skaro rapscallions.  Exceedingly good times, that.  In addition to all the fun, I was reassured on one count.  I hadn’t seen any Davison episodes in nigh-on two decades, and I really hadn’t remembered him being so energetic.  My first viewing this weekend had me thinking the same thing Chris mentioned in the commentary, that Davison was “channeling his future son-in-law” (David Tennant).  I was rather relieved when the boys pointed out that this story was an outlier in terms of Davison’s energy-level.  I’d been doubting my precious mental picture of the fifth Doctor, but apparently my fears were unwarranted.  Character-wise, I suppose it did make sense for him to be so worked up.  He felt it was his own fault that Tegan was still suffering the effects of the Mara’s possession, thus he was extra-motivated to get to the bottom of things and save his irksome/beloved companion.

In addition to assuaging my fears about one of my favorite Doctors, the fellows also entertained me with the following “off-topicery” and “on-topic BS-ing”:

  • Seagulls!
  • Singing!  (Even more than in the last couple episodes—this time ‘round including a rendition of the theme to The Polka Dot Door, which pretty much made my day.)
  • Warren brilliantly describing Chris’ ability to create a “do-it-yourself dirty joke table.”
  • Chris setting up scads of dirty jokes.
  • Steven disappearing for a bit.
  • A Thompson Twin named Miranda.
  • Chris saying “It’s not misogyny, it’s just general sadism.”
  • Discussion of 70s porn guitar.
  • And possibly my favorite moment of all: Chris’ intense reaction to a guard in a really cool helmet.  It was sudden, explosive, totally genuine, and highly amusing.

And lest you think I was slacking in the knitting department, I got oodles done.  Oodles.  I’m now only about 60 rows away from being a quarter of the way finished.  Hrm.  Now that I type that out, it doesn’t seem like so much.  It felt like a lot though.  And at least I’m trucking along!

Knitting-with-commentary pro tip: Start the DVD a wee bit after you start the commentary.  When the commentary is slightly ahead of the action, you’ll be warned when something important happens on screen, and you can look up from your knitting in time to see it.  (Note that this doesn’t apply to “real” knitters who don’t have to look at their knitting most of the time like I do.  So I guess that makes this an “amateur tip” rather than a pro tip.)