The Sarah Jane Adventures (Or, New Houseguests and Old Doctors)

Ahhhhh.  Another long day!  This time my relaxation show of choice was The Sarah Jane Adventures (specifically, The Mad Woman in the Attic).  My currently-couch-surfing friend C is staying with me for a week, so I had some company while watching a portion of this.  As I watched the first part, he was mostly on the phone.  As he hung up, he just smiled at me, shook his head, and said “I just can’t picture anyone but you guys* watching this kind of thing.  It’s so…British.”

Later he was sitting in the corner, ostensibly reading A Dance with Dragons, but he clearly kept getting sucked into the show.  More than half the times I glanced over, I caught him looking at the TV and not his book.  I don’t blame him.  I really liked this story.  Much of the time I’m rather lukewarm** about this show.  I will happily watch anything with Sarah Jane, but sometimes it’s just a little too cute/childish/pat.  This story however, struck me just right.  And that was even before they alluded to the Doctor returning in the next episode.

Come to think of it, it’s rather odd that I liked this one so much.  It centered around Rani, a character of whom I’m not particularly fond.  I guess I appreciated the entire-episode-as-a-flashback convention.  And I really liked the actress who played Eve.  She was cute as a button and charming to boot.  (Red skin and yarn-like hair notwithstanding.)

As I mentioned, I had company tonight.  Even though he was only half-paying attention, it was lovely having someone to share this with.  At one point in the show, a teen named Sam makes the common error of confusing Frankenstein with his monster.  Luke, of course, calls him on it.  I loved that, and couldn’t help but bust out with a Nelson-from-the-Simpsons laugh at Sam’s expense.  C (who is long-acquainted with my proclivity for pedantry) looked up at me, laughed, and said “you tell ’em!”

C has since scarpered off to play boardgames for the evening, so the rest of my Sarah Jane-ing will be done in solitude.  I couldn’t possibly go to bed now, knowing that David Tennant is in the next story, The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.  (Wish I’d have thought of that before I took the melatonin…)  I’m actually a little nervous to watch this next one.  I haven’t seen Tennant as the Doctor since…well, since he was the Doctor.  I wouldn’t say I fall into the category of “Tennant fangirl,” but I did love him as the Doctor.  Now I’m wondering if he’ll live up to my pleasant memories, or if I’ll find that I’m disappointed by his lack of Matt-Smith-ness.  I guess there’s one sure way to find out!  I’ll finish up this entry in about an hour…

Before I go, and lest I forget, yes, I’ve been knitting!  I’m done with the first medium-sized purple stripe, and I’ve moved on to the following orange one.  I really like switching from purple to orange and back.  Or purple to red and back.  For some reason it’s much more satisfying to switch between colors that are substantially different.  Is that weird?

<an hour passes–for me anyway>

I needn’t have worried.  As soon as he (finally) appeared, I got that shivery oh-my-goodness-there’s-the-Doctor feeling I always get after not seeing one of my favorites for a while.  Actually, that feeling started the first time I heard the TARDIS sputterily trying to materialize in the street.  Funny how house keys scraping piano strings can make me go all gooey.***  But yes, I still love Tennant as the Doctor. I’d forgotten just how frenetic he is!  It was almost more than I could take, but it was so nice to see him again (and in something I hadn’t seen before) that I let it slide.  (I still rather detest his allons-y catchphrase though.)

This story was a little too full of technobabble for my taste.  (Is there a better word for that?  It really wasn’t technical enough to be “techno”-babble.)  It moved a little fast, and it seemed like the resolutions all came too quickly and easily.  (No surprise there in a children’s show helmed by Russell T Davies.)  I enjoyed it nonetheless.  The being-trapped-in-a-single-second predicament reminded me of an episode of The New Twilight Zone (A Matter of Minutes) in which a young couple is left behind in time and surrounded by blue men who “built” each moment.  That was always a favorite, so I liked the similarities there.

I was pleased to see Nigel Havers as Sarah Jane’s love interest.  I quite enjoyed him on Manchild, and he’s still looking pretty dreamy.  Also, I’m so glad to have K-9 back!  I effing love K-9!  His voice sounded a bit off, but I know it’s John Leeson, so it doesn’t bother me too much.  And either I got used to it as the story went on, or it started sounding more like the K-9 of old towards the end.  Maybe both.

Unsurprisingly, I got all weepy as the story wrapped up.  When Sarah said goodbye to the Doctor, I couldn’t help but think about how it was, indeed, the last time she saw him wearing that particular face.  And more painfully, how the world itself had to say goodbye to Lis Sladen.  I may have mentioned before how I’d never gotten upset about a celebrity’s death, but when I heard that Sarah Jane was gone, I sobbed like a little girl.  I may not quite be back there now, but the waterworks are definitely underway.  Golly, what a sap I am!

I think it’s high time I took my lachrymose self off to bed.  Sweet dreams all!

*He used the plural to include my entire family.  He’s known us all for years, and we are, every one of us, Doctor Who geeks.

**Pun intended.

***For the record, the Doctor Who theme song has the same effect.  Every.  Time.

Hello Internet! (Better Late Than Never)

Ok, so I’m doing this a little bit late.  I actually started writing this blog over a month ago.  I just didn’t get around to putting it up here on the intarwebs until, well, just now.  So I suppose I’ll just include all of my previously-written entries here for your edification (or possibly your boredification–but I hope that’s not the case!).  So please, if you feel like it, read on!

*******************

3/1/11

Hello internet!  Is that the appropriate way to start a blog?  It’s been so long, I’ve plum forgotten.

Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed, this blog will chronicle the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action that is the knitting of a season 18 Doctor Who scarf.  Brace yourselves!  Seriously though, I’m really excited about this project.  The season 18 scarf is the purple/maroon/orangey one.  I knitted the season 12 scarf (more browns and yellows and reds) for my mom several years ago, and it took me forever—mostly ‘cause I wasn’t very good at making myself do it.  So my strategy here is to motivate myself to keep working by committing to blogging about it.  (Of course this could totally backfire, and the blogging could make me want to do it even less…but let’s not dwell on unpleasant uncertainties, shall we?)

So, my plan is to watch the adventures of the good Doctor while I create the scarf, and write about the episodes in addition to the knitting process.  That way the blog won’t be entirely geared toward knitters (most of whom probably don’t care about Doctor Who).  Instead, it’ll also include info for Who fans (most of whom probably don’t care about knitting).

In the end, I may just alienate both audiences by including stuff they don’t care about, but so what?  Those few Doctor-Who-loving knitters out there are going to be hooked!  (Unless they think my writing is crap, but let’s not dwell on unpleasant uncertainties, shall we?)

I’ve now got the yarn, so I’m ready to start the preliminary stage—checking guage.  I really hate checking guage, but I’ve been knitting long enough to know not to skip it.  So I’ll chronicle that painful process next time.  I’ll have to pick an episode I love enough to balance out the pain of the knitting.

*******************

3/6/11

Oh thank Christ!  My gauge is right on the first try.  I am so pleased I don’t have to do that all again.  Looks like I’ll be using size 6 needles.  Incidentally, they’re the very same needles I used to knit the season 12 scarf several years ago.  I’m sure they’re thrilled to be back in service to a Who scarf.  I know I am!

As for what I watched while “gauging,” well…I didn’t.  I know, I know, I said I was going to watch the show while knitting, but today I listened to episode #243 of the most excellent podcast Radio Free Skaro.  If you’re a Doctor Who fan and you’re not listening to Radio Free Skaro…well you should be.  Episode #243 (Five Rounds Rapid) is, in great part, a tribute to Nicholas Courtney (who played the Brigadier).  It features an excellent interview with Gary Russell.  Courtney passed away on February 22nd, leaving the world a little emptier and a lot sadder.

*******************

3/7/11

Inferno – Episode 5

I started watching Inferno the week that Nicholas Courtney died.  I thought it was a fitting tribute, seeing as how he not only got to play dual roles, but played them both pitch perfect.  Gosh he looked like he was having fun playing the Brigade Leader in the alternate universe!

Anyway, Inferno is a six-parter, and I simply got too sleepy to finish off the episode.  Tonight I watched part 5 before calling it a night.  That means I still have the thrilling finale to look forward to—and look forward I do!  I’ve owned Inferno (on antiquated VHS) for well over a decade, and I’m ashamed to say this is quite probably only the second time I’ve watched it.  Bad Erika!  I’ve never gravitated to the third Doctor’s era, so I tend to find myself choosing a (Tom) Baker or Davison episode by default when I’m in the mood for some Who.  I need to work on that.  Pertwee’s Doctor might be a little more brusque than the quirky-go-lucky fourth or the fecklessly-charming fifth, but he’s got that deeply ingrained sense of honor that’s present in every incarnation.  And he wears it right out there on his frilly sleeve, for everyone to see.  Yes, he’s prim, proper, and purposeful but he’s all those things for the very best of reasons.  I find I need to reacquaint myself with this fellow.  I’ll have to scour the Netflix instant queue and see what other Pertwee episodes can be found.  I’m also open to suggestions!

As for the knitting, I spent most of the short part 5 getting things organized, and pulling out the stitches of the swatch I’d used to check gauge.  So I only got one row actually knitted.  And the jury’s still out on whether I’ll even leave that in.  I was debating doing some sort of fancyish cast-on, but I’ve misplaced my favorite knitting tome (the Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook).  So for tonight, I just did a basic cast on, and I’m going to sleep on whether to go with it or to backtrack and start over.  I just wish I knew where that damn book had gotten to!

*******************

4/5

Inferno – Episode 6

Well it’s been nearly a month, but I finally continued on with my knitting project.  I’m starting to wonder it it’ll ever make it to the internet.  I still haven’t found a suitable intarweb location.  (Ok, actually, I haven’t even tried yet.)  Anyway, in the intervening month, I forgot that I was debating what to do about the cast on, and I simply continued knitting.  I’m ok with this because I’ll be adding tassles to the finished product, so the cast on isn’t really all that important.

So.  Inferno continues.  I remembered that it was an extra long one, but I’d forgotten just how long.  I honestly expected it to be over at the end of Episode 6.  I was just as honestly delighted that it wasn’t.  This means I’ve got more to watch whenever I next get around to it.  (And by “get around to it” I mean find some free time and get the knitting bug simultaneously.)

I’m starting to re-think my original intent.  Perhaps I should branch out and knit during shows other than Doctor Who.  Don’t misunderstand me, no other show can compete for first place in my heart.  But I have a lot of other things I’m trying to keep up with, and I would like to get this scarf finished this year.  Perhaps even in time to wear it for winter (although that seems like a too-ambitious hope).

I suppose I’ll continue to mull that over while I think about when and if I’ll ever migrate this “blog” from my hard drive to the world wide web.

*******************

4/17

Inferno – Episode 7

Ah, the final episode of Inferno!  I’ve finally finished it.  And it only took me a couple months…  Hey, better late than never, right?  Anyway, I enjoyed the episode and the knitting that accompanied it.  I finished the first stripe of 10 orange rows and did the first row of the burgundy/ruby color.  Things always get more interesting when switching colors.  Of course, the lighting in my living room is such that I can barely see the difference.  I trust that under the winter sunlight, it’ll be much plainer.

I think I’ll leave this entry short.  I’ve been sick with the flu for about a week now.  Today was the first day I had enough energy to sit up this long, let alone knit, but I don’t want to push it.  Might be time for a bit of a rest.

*******************

4/27

Buffy – Season 5/Angel – Season 2

I admit it; I’ve been taking a break from the Doctor.  Well, while knitting anyway.  I did watch the season 6 premiere on Saturday (no knitting), and The Impossible Astronaut enthralled me so much that I simply couldn’t turn off the tv.  Thus I stayed up far too late watching A Christmas Carol as well.

A sweet bonus was that my sister and her boyfriend were there, and they stayed up to watch the good Doctor with me.  My sis, despite having seen oodles of classic Who, has only seen a handful of new episodes—all Eccleston.  Her boyfriend has seen even less.  When A Christmas Carol was over, Sis’ fella turned to her and said “Maybe we should watch more of this Who show.  That was pretty good.”  Victory!  More new Who converts!

Who fans will notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about the passing of Elisabeth Sladen (companion Sarah Jane Smith) last week.  That’s on purpose.  I still get teary when I think about it.  I’ve never gotten upset at the death of a celebrity before.  But this one hit me hard.  HARD.  Maybe someday I’ll feel up to writing about what a huge influence she was on me, or how much I appreciated having her in my life (even though it was just through the tv set).  But today is not that day.

Anyway–the knitting.

Scarf 0-27-11

See? Three whole stripes!

I’ve had a couple little sessions and got two more entire stripes done!  (Plus the small in-between stripes, of course.)  I’ve been working my way through Buffy and Angel (yes, for the first time), and I thought that constituted appropriate alternate entertainment while working on this geeky project.  Come to think of it, there may have been an episode of two of The Big Bang Theory as well.  I think that still qualifies.

So the knitting is coming along just fine.  Now I think it might be time for me to actually post this on the internets.  Finally.  Better late than never I suppose!