And One for the Knitters

Booties!!! Now before you jump to any conclusions, let me assure you that I AM NOT PREGGERS.  A good friend of mine (who happens to be the guitarist for Sunspot, an awesome geek-friendly rock band that you should probably check out right now) and his wife are expecting a little girl.  This weekend I attended the baby shower (which was actually just a huge-ass party with tons of friends [of both sexes] and food and booze–my friends know how to do it up right), so for the past couple weeks, I’ve thrown aside the scarf (that I wasn’t working on anyway) in favor of these adorable itty bitty booties.  I’m not a big fan of babies, or of children in general, for that matter, but I think that teeny tiny shoes and booties are some of the cutest objects IN THE WORLD.

And no, I haven’t even been watching any particularly geeky tv while doing it.  I know.  I’m falling down on both halves of the job here.  For shame, E, for shame.

The good news is that this short-term project has rekindled my excitement for knitting, so I expect to get back on that horse very soon.  (And by “horse,” I mean “scarf.”)  These little darlings just flew by.  The best thing about creating something so tiny is that you’re done so soon and you feel like a knitting speed-demon.  This is precisely the opposite of the way you feel when working on a Doctor Who scarf.

For those curious, I used the bootie pattern found in Claire Crompton’s Knitter’s Bible╜.  They’re knitted flat, then seamed up with a mattress stitch.  I regularly use this pattern because I suck at knitting in the round.  I am getting a bit better with the magic loop technique, but not yet good enough to attempt bitty booties.  This pattern has served me well in the past, and for now I’m sticking with it.  My boss also has a bun in the oven, so I’ll be knocking out a few more of these suckers fairly soon.  Though I might also decide to try my hand at an in-the-round pattern if I can find a good one**.

So anyway, I apologies to the few of you non-knitters who are still reading.  I’ll probably get back to proper geek content next time—very likely covering The Mind Of Evil.  Not, as you might expect***, because I simply can’t get enough Pertwee, but because Radio Free Skaro is currently in the midst of doing a commentary on it so I’ll be watching it anyway.  Thus I would like to take this opportunity to say this to the RFS randomizer: You suck.

╜[Editor’s note: I originally cited the wrong knitting book, Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Knitting*, which is what I refer to in my first footnote.  I’m sure that’s a fine book, and my comment about my upcoming birthday stands.]

*In preparing that link, I noticed that there is an updated version that was published last year.  I would like to point out that my birthday is in June.  Just sayin’.

** Suggestions welcome!

***If you don’t know me AT ALL.


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Doctor Who: Pertwee (More Like Pertweak) Part 3

Fellow travelers, we have finally reached the last in my series of TARDIS Tavern-inspired Pertwee posts.  Rejoice!  (I certainly do.)  In Monday’s post, I pointed out that I’m not fond of Pertwee’s Doctor, in yesterday’s post, I elaborated on part of why.  Here are a few more reasons Doctor number three doesn’t do it for me:

As I mentioned previously, this is the suave Doctor, and many folks point to that as one of his winning qualities.  I beg to differ.  Scratch that, I just differ.  Oh he’s suave alright.  To the nth degree.  I’ll grant him that.  But I don’t like it—at least, not in the Doctor.  “My Doctor” isn’t suave.  Suaveness is a quality I much prefer in a villain because it’s something I love to hate.  The Master is a perfect example of this.  He’s got a very similar quality, but in his case, it’s ok because I’m not supposed to be rooting for him.  He’s the bad guy.  In my mind, that’s how bad guys should act.  I really feel the Master wears it better.

Apparently in a hero, quips are part of a package deal with suaveness.  We’re firmly setting our feet in James Bond territory now.  Quipping is another thing that rubs me the wrong way about this Doctor.  For example, in The Time Warrior the Brigadier mentions keeping the scientists safe by having all his eggs in one basket.  The Doctor replies “That’s fine [zoom to dramatic close-up] so long as no one steals the basket.”  *GROAN*  I thought my eyes might not return to the front of my skull, they rolled so far.

To continue with the Doctor-like-James Bond theme, there’s the Doctor-as-an-action-hero phenomenon.  This, more than anything else, seems to set Pertwee apart from his other incarnations.  There are a few swordfights and the like sprinkled here and there throughout the other Doctors’ reigns, but no other era sees the consistent level of action (by HAVOC) that Pertwee’s does.  Frankly, this bores me. Venusian Aikido?  I have nothing more to say about that than *yawn*.

Next up in the Bondy-Doctor comparison department: the Doctor’s “I’m so cool” attitude.  This is, of course, part and parcel with the suave, debonair personality.  As such, it bugs the snot out of me.  An example from Terror of the Autons: Mike Yates exclaims “A bomb!  Is it defused?”  The Doctor’s cool reply: “It is now.”  You could practically see the “smug” coming out of his ears.  I must admit, in one case I didn’t mind this attitude.  In the same story, he’s tied up at the circus and being a royal smartass to his captors.  That time, I was okay with it.  It’s cool to act like that to the bad guys, but there’s no excuse for being a jerk to your friends.

To really get at my feelings about Pertwee, I tried to make an informal pros and cons list, but I found I could only come up with one pro, and that’s his kindness.  In the moments when he’s being the kind, grandfather-character, he’s really quite sweet.  (However, at the risk of straying back into con territory, that makes it all the more harsh and jarring when he starts acting like a big jerkface again.)  When I stop to think about it, the few things I like about him are things I see as overarching characteristics of the Doctor in general.  I can’t think of a single thing that stands out as “Pertweesque” that is something that draws me to him rather than alienates me.  Maybe seeing more Pertwee episodes will aid me here.  I freely admit that I have a long way to go in completing my third Doctor education.  These posts illustrate how I feel right now.  It’ll be interesting to see whether my feelings have changed after concluding my journey through his era (something I’m not exactly excited to do, but will nonetheless get to everntually).

For now, I’m about as far from a third Doctor fan as you can get.  I simply wouldn’t want to spend time with this kind of a guy.

As I said before, there’s nothing here that’s inherently terrible.  Lots of folks look at the very things I’ve pointed to and say “yeah, and isn’t it great?”  More power to them (you?).  It pleases me that there are people out there who are adoring the parts of Who that I don’t like.  I think it’s important for every aspect of my favorite show to be loved.  I’m just not equipped to cover it all.  So hooray for all the third Doctor lovers out there!  I hope you keep on enjoying the hell out of seasons 7–11 (in part, so I don’t have to).

In closing, I want to encourage each and every one of you (who haven’t already) to check out TARDIS Tavern’s Episode 61: A Pertwee Extravaganza!  It was great fun to record, and it definitely gives a more balanced look at the third Doctor than I’ve presented here.  Believe me, if I could head back to the TAVERN right now, I’d do so.  After all this Pertwee talk, I could sure as hell use a drink!

Doctor Who: Pertwee (More Like Pertweak) Part 2

Ok!  Time for more Pertwee (inspired by my TARDIS Tavern appearance).  In yesterday’s post I pointed out that I’m not fond of Pertwee’s Doctor.  Here’s part of why:

Many of my problems with Pertwee’s Doctor exist in other Doctors as well, but the fact that there are so many all together in one incarnation adds up to (or subtracts down to) a very low level of appreciation for Doctor #3.  The first of these is that he’s so mercurial (and yes, like I said, that’s not something unique to Pertwee).  Travelling with the third Doctor seems reminiscent of being in a dysfunctional relationship.  In The Curse of Peladon, one minute he’s yelling at Jo and calling her an idiot.  Not a minute later, he softens drastically and allows that she’s also been very brave.  His mood swings must be exhausting to deal with.  I understand that it’s gotta be difficult for the Doctor to have to deal with mere humans all the time, but about-faces like that smack of “I’m sorry baby; I didn’t mean it; you know I love you!”  Yuck.  At times it’s almost like he has multiple personality disorder or something.  He’ll be yelling and brash and jerky, then in the next scene he’s all meek and loath to hurt anyone’s feelings.  In Terror of the Autons he rails to the Brigadier about how terrible Jo is and how she’ll have to go, but in the next scene he can’t bring himself to fire her, and relents to having her assistance, however useless it may be.

When it comes down to it, he just doesn’t have a very pleasant personality.  Curt insults trip off his tongue more often than praise, and not just for Jo; the UNIT boys bear some of the brunt as well.  Plus, he’s often snarky.  When Mike Yates asks if Jo is hypnotized in Terror of the Autons, the Doctor snaps at him “Of course, why else do you think she tried to blow us all to pieces?”  Then the Doctor condescendingly mocks Yates by repeating him and pointing out how wrong he is about hypnotism.  In that same story, when the Doctor dresses down Brownrose the bureaucrat, instead of inspiring that “In-your-face!” feeling that I love to get when a fool is put in his place, this just smacks of dipping down to Brownrose’s self-important level.  “Tubby” indeed.  *rolleyes*  The third Doctor comes off as a pompous blowhard a lot of the time.  The only thing that mitigates it for me is the fact that he’s got something to back it up.  He does know more than everyone else around him.  That fact can only soften it so much though.

I suppose one could defend him for having somewhat frayed nerves when it comes to dealing with humans.  The third Doctor is primarily confined to Earth, so he has to deal with Earthlings on a day-to-day basis for a good stretch of time.  I guess that must wear on him.  But he’s a Time Lord.  The few years he has to spend on Earth are a drop in the bucket for one as long-lived as he.  Though I could argue with myself further here (I often do) by pointing out that the Doctor lives quite the vagabond lifestyle, and any curtailing of his freedom, no matter how brief, is bound to make him rather cross and sour in general.  Even if you buy that, it’s pretty darn rude for him to take out his frustrations on the humans around him rather than the Time Lords who stuck him on Earth.  He ought to learn some more effective coping mechanisms.  That might help him minimize the hissy fits.

Yes, that’s right, the third Doctor throws tantrums—whether it be tearing up reports or kicking the TARDIS and declaring that he likes being childish.  Come to think of it, those types of outbursts pair rather oddly with his general suave demeanor.  Perhaps we’re meant to find these different sides of our protagonist interesting and complex, but to me it just seems jarring, confusing, and even a little unsettling.  This is certainly not “my Doctor.”

Removing this dichotomy of character wouldn’t save the third Doctor for me.  Even if he expressed the suave side of his nature and nothing else, I still wouldn’t enjoy it.  I shall expand on that tomorrow.

Doctor Who: Pertwee (More Like Pertweak) Part 1

So it’s come to this.  I sorta promised myself I’d do four Pertwee-related blog posts after my thrilling appearance* on TARDIS Tavern a while back—one for each story we reviewed, and one on Pertwee’s Doctor in general.  We have now reached the general-Pertwee blog.  So I’ve got to try to distill my feelings on the third Doctor into some sort of comprehensible form without alienating anyone.  Actually, screw that last part.  If you’re not comfortable with someone holding a different opinion from you, then I guess I’ll just have to be okay with alienating you.  For the record, I think it’s great that so many people love Pertwee and his Doctor.  Doctor Who bringing joy to people is what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned.  So please don’t take this post as a condemnation if you happen to be in that camp.  I’m just camped firmly elsewhere—in a more brightly-colored and ramshackle tent.

[Editor’s note (which is also a writer’s note ‘cause there ain’t no one here but me): After spewing out all my Pertwee opinions, I realized it would make for one truly epic post, so I’ve decided to split it up.  Today’s is a brief overview of my feelings.  Over the next couple days, I’ll post some more specific observations.]

Ok.  So.  The third Doctor.  Here we go.  *deep breath*

The third Doctor is the suave Doctor, the action hero, the James Bond of the Doctor Who pantheon, and thus, he’s my least favorite of all.  I often find that when discussing him, the fan with whom I’m speaking disagrees very little.  The character traits which make Pertwee’s Doctor so beloved of some others are the very traits that turn me off.  He’s so very smooth and sophisticated.  He’s adept at hand-to-hand combat.  He wears a freaking cape.  None of these are things that excite me.  On the contrary, they make me at best, roll my eyes and sigh, and at worst, become very annoyed and want to turn off the TV.

I will allow that he does these things well.  Pertwee takes each of these characteristics and plays them just right.  I have no complaints about his ability to pull off what he’s trying to do.  I just don’t like the direction in which the Doctor is taken during this era.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of the camaraderie of having UNIT as a somewhat “familial” backdrop for the stories.  It’s an interesting way to keep costs down, and I think it works on the whole.  I just think I’d enjoy it more if it was a slightly different Doctor that was slotted into those same surroundings.  Note that I don’t suggest any of the other existing Doctors.  None of them would really work well here.  Though for me, Pertwee doesn’t either.

And I will explain why in more detail over the next couple days.  Stay tuned.  Or if you’re a big Pertwee fan, maybe don’t. ; )

*Why does that look like it’s meant to be sarcastic?  It’s most certainly not.  “Visiting” TARDIS Tavern was one of the most thrilling things I’ve done in some time.