New Podcast for a New Year (A Verity-able Bounty of Goodness)

Verity! Art Placeholder

Holy crap, it’s almost 2013!  Where does the time go?  Clearly not to blogging, ‘cause I’ve been rubbish at that lately, but I SWEAR I have a really good excuse.  If you’ll point your browser over to you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Yes, that’s right, I have finally started a PODCAST.*  Of course it was only a matter of time, and I’m sure this surprises no one, but I am thrilled to the gills at the way it’s taking shape.  I get to talk Doctor Who with five smart, fun female Doctor Who fans.  What’s not to like?  And what’s even better is I get to do most of the technical, fiddly bits.  This has been an excuse to dust off my old editing skills and upgrade my software.  I spent much of this weekend putting together an introductory episode along with our first proper episode, which drops Wednesday.  I also get to play with a new Twitter account and Facebook page.  Fun fun!

So anyway, I suppose I should share the details.  Continue reading

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.

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: 3 Doctors + 3 Goofballs


Note to self: don’t get people to dare you to exercise on days when there’s a chance you’ll get stuck at work for 11 hours.  But hey.  I did it.  Then I decided to treat myself to a repeat viewing of The Three Doctors, this time with commentary by those Radio Free Skaro rogues.  Tomorrow my muscles will be sore from exercising, and my stomach muscles will be extra-sore from laughing.  Truly, the boys were on fire with this one!  I’m not generally a laugh-out-loud type of gal–I do the smile-and-nod thing most of the time.  Tonight however, I’m pretty sure my neighbors must think I’ve gone insane.  Perhaps I’m giddy from fatigue, or perhaps it was the half-glass of wine.  Whatever the reason, I was nigh-guffawing.

Yes.  I even laughed at the Wisconsin joke (while simultaneously rolling my eyes).  “Milk report” indeed.  Sigh.

I’m way too tired to go into much detail.  Instead you get this list: seagulls, sirens, jokes in hilariously poor taste, innuendo, blatant “out-uendo,” Steven humming David Bowie <swoon>, all three fellas quoting Oasis (which reminded me of my sis, so yay!), and many people named Tyler.  Really, watch this episode.  It’s great.  And listen to the commentary.  Also great.  And maybe if you have time, please explain to me exactly what “end of” means.  Or rather, from whence it came.  I grokked the meaning based on context, but the turn of phrase is new to me.  I should be excited about learning a new expression (albeit an obnoxious one), but instead, I’m going to bed.

Oh yeah.  Knitting.  Right.  I did that too.  I was pretty diligent tonight.  Diligent enough that my shoulder is quite sore now.  I’m almost done with the next purple stripe.  Wee!  And stuff.

Sleep.  Now.

Doctor Who: The Three Doctors (or A Brotherly Blast From the Past)

Holy balls, what a great evening!  It’s my every-other-Wednesday with my brother, and while it’s always a good time, tonight was extra-special.  We usually eat dinner, chat a bit, then watch something on the teevee.  For a while it had been scientific lectures on the nature of the brain and consciousness (fascinating stuff!), but we finished off that series and have moved back into the realm of fiction.  Tonight, I suggested The Three Doctors (mostly so I’ll have it fresher in my mind when the Radio Free Skaro fellas release their commentary next week).  D was all for it.  He’d watched some Hartnell not too long ago, so was in a classic-Doc kinda mood already.  Before we started, we calculated that we’d last watched this episode in the fall of 1994.  And we’d most likely watched it together, so this was a reunion of sorts.

What neither of us had remembered was what a great episode it is!  We were both laughing out loud at the Doctors’ antics.  I’ve always adored Troughton, and watching him bicker with Pertwee sent me into fits of giggles.  I positively loved the writing in this story.  Part of me felt like some of it should have been a little too over-the-top look-how-clever-we’re-being, but none of it actually struck me that way.  Perhaps it would have been different had I been in a different mood.  One line in particular took D and I right back to childhood: Troughton–“Well you’ve been fiddling with it haven’t you?”  Pertwee–“It was perfectly alright until you touched it!”  We figured out that our mom had that sound clip on her computer, and it would play every time something-or-other happened.  That something-or-other must have happened a lot ’cause we both remembered hearing it often!  (I’m betting she had that mapped to an error message.  It would seem to fit.)

I think I mentioned a few posts back that Troughton’s Doctor always seemed more fallible to me than some of his other selves.  This was pretty clearly demonstrated in The Three Doctors.  He blatantly screws up and expects antimatter to behave as matter would.  It led to a lovely moment when D said to the screen “It’s antimatter!”  Echoed closely by Troughton saying the very same thing.

Moments like that remind me how nice it is to watch Doctor Who with company.  I do love the commentaries–they give the illusion of companionship, but it’s not the same as watching with an actual person.  Especially when that person shares the same raised-on-Doctor-Who love that I do.  I was almost giddy with excitement at being able to share the fun.  It really did take me back to 1994, which I will always think of as my “year of Doctor Who.”  I’d just about finished watching all the stories my mom had on VHS (all 100 or so), when D said, hey, I want to start watching (technically, re-watching) those with you!  He tells me I insisted that we backtrack and start with the Tom Baker years.  Apparently I wanted to ensure that the fourth Doctor would be his favorite too.  I admit I do have a vague recollection of this, and it certainly sounds like me!

Now I feel obliged to throw in a brief note on the knitting.  I know I promised a picture, but as I half-expected, I’m too tired and lazy to provide it now.  It’s past my bedtime, after all.  I did get that big old orange stripe done, and I’m well into the next red one.  I made very steady progress this time.  I think it was helpful having someone around who might notice if I started flagging.

So anyway, tonight was a thrill for me (not to mention extra-productive), and I hope there will be more shared Who to come!

Well, you’ve been fiddling with it, haven’t you?
DOCTOR: It was perfectly all right until you touched it.

Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Parts 3 & 4), or “So Much Monk-ey Business”

Ahh, Saturday afternoon!  My favorite time of the week.  When I (usually) get to kick around the house, relax, and get a few things done–like some knitting and Doctor Who for example!  I finished up The Time Meddler and started the first really big orange stripe on the scarf.  Add that to the laundry I’m doing, and I’ve got myself a fairly productive day.  Yay me!

Parts 3 and 4 of this episode were good fun.  I’ve quite enjoyed this one overall.  Someone recently pointed out that I’m rather nice about Doctor Who, and I can’t argue with their assessment.  In general I’m pretty much a find-the-good-in-everything kinda gal.  It did make me want to point out that these aren’t really “reviews” exactly.  I’m not aiming to do any critical analysis.  Rather, I’m just spouting off about whatever happens to catch my attention.  Since I’m usually focusing on the positive, that tends to be the good stuff.  And truth be told, I miss quite a lot because when I’m knitting, my attention is divided.  I’m by no means a very accomplished knitter.  I’m not one of those folks who can knock out several dozen rows without looking down at my hands.

Anyway, I continued to enjoy The Time Meddler.  It takes place in Britain just before Harald Hardrada invaded and fought with Harold Godwinson (which was just before Harold Godwinson had to head off to fight the Battle of Hastings with William of Normandy).  I’ve always been fascinated with that era of British history, so that probably colored my view of this story a bit.  Another thing that made this fun was that it was kind of hilarious to see the Doctor dressed up in a monk’s robes.

Easily the most excitement of the whole episode was the cliffhanger between parts 3 and 4, where we discover that the meddling monk has a TARDIS!  We knew he had to be a time traveler, but it didn’t even occur to me that he might be a Time Lord, much less one with a fancy “Mark IV” TARDIS–whatever that means.  The Doctor didn’t answer when Vicki asked what mark the Doctor’s TARDIS is, and I think we’re supposed to assume it’s an earlier version.  However, the Doctor’s is a “type 40,” which is far higher than 4.  Maybe “type” and “mark” are separate categories.

The one thing that bothered me the most about this episode was that the monk kept a checklist for his master plan.  Seriously?  I was more ok with it when I realized he kept it in his TARDIS, but still, sheesh.  Oh well, perhaps I shouldn’t judge.  He’s probably severely OCD and needs the satisfaction of ticking off completed tasks.

As for the knitting, like I mentioned, I’ve just started in on the first large orange stripe.  I’ll probably post another picture when I get that done.  It’s coming along smoothly.  And I’ve gotten to it much more often lately.  I think I have several Doctor Who-themed podcasts to thank for that.  They keep the good Doctor on my mind!

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber (Episode 5)

Well I’ve finally done it!  Gotten to the end of The Mind Robber, that is.  Don’t mistake me–I don’t mean it was a difficult task.  Truly, I enjoyed this episode greatly!  I’m just not very good at getting myself to sit down to knit and watch.  Anyway, as I said, I’ve really quite liked it.  Episode 5 didn’t have quite as much fanciful fun as the previous few, but that makes sense, as it was the final episode, and the denouement needed to feel a bit more dire.

In the end, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Doctor overpower that Master-fellow using wits or the sheer strength of his mind, instead of having Zoe and Jamie come to his rescue, but we did get to see the Doctor do just that for a while.  His “battle” with the Master-fellow was great fun!  (I can’t bring myself to just call him “the Master”–it feels wrong.)  It reminded me of the wizard-battle scene in The Sword and the Stone where thinking fast and being creative were the keys to winning.  I do suppose the sort of conclusion in which the Doctor wins by sheer strength of will might have fit better with one of his other incarnations, the third or the fourth perhaps.  Although, now that I think about it a little more, the Doctor’s battle of wits was what freed Jamie and Zoe, who subsequently freed the Doctor, thus I guess it does all come back to the Doctor being a terribly clever fellow!

So yes, big thumbs up to The Mind Robber.  If you haven’t seen it, and I haven’t spoiled it too much for you, I highly recommend it!  (I’m thoroughly unapologetic for the spoiling, however.  When a program aired in 1968, I think you all have had ample time to check it out.)

As for the knitting progress, I got another several rows done which completed the second purple stripe.  I’m pleased with that, but I really need to pick up the pace.  And in case you’re curious, yes, I’ve still been plugging away at the sundress I started just before the last entry here.  It’s coming along only slightly more swiftly than the scarf.  Damn pesky day job.  I really ought to go buy a lottery ticket.

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber (Episode 4)

Hey!  My name appeared in this episode–and they pronounced it right!  I didn’t even know there was a magazine called The Ensign.  But apparently the mysterious Master wrote serials for it back on Earth.  Yes, the Doctor and company finally encounter him.  I ought to note that this “Master” bears no relation to the Doctor’s well-known arch-nemesis.

So many books!  I love this episode.  The Master has access to every word written by everyone on Earth, ever.  That’s rather an overwhelming thought actually.  But I suppose if you’re spirited away from Earth to some not-in-time-and-space never-neverland, I suppose it would be nice to have plenty to read!

Ok, there are a couple reasons I’m not 100% fond of this episode.  Seriously, if Zoe screamed one more time, I was ready to launch a knitting needle at the TV.  I think it’s probably a good thing I’m watching this episode by episode, so spread out.  I’m not sure I could take the entire story at once with her near-constant caterwauling.  Also, Gulliver was getting on my nerves.  I do think he’s supposed to a bit.  I’d probably have more patience for his character if I’d liked Gulliver’s Travels more.  I was never terribly fond of that book.  And I only read it the once, so I don’t really recognize too many of his lines.  (Did I mention that he can only speak words from the novel?  I’d probably love that gimmick if it came from something I knew better, like Shakespeare for example.)

On to the crafting section of the entry.  I got through most of another stripe.  Golly, I haven’t worked on the scarf in a while.  I really ought to keep at it more often.  I’d like to have it completed in time for Chicago TARDIS this fall.  Not sure if that’ll happen.  It probably won’t help that I also just started another project.  I haven’t sewn anything in ages, and every time I did, I had the help of my charming and talented sister.  However, for some reason, I decided to take a wild fling at whipping up a sundress–solo.  I’ll be taking my first crack at it on some cheapo red fabric I’ve had lying around for ages.  Thus, when I inevitably screw it up, I won’t have ruined any good fabric.  And if I do it right, then I can treat myself to a spiffy new print soon.  Here’s hoping!

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber (Episode 1)

Today I decided to take a trip way, way back and watch some Patrick Troughton.  Every time I watch one of his episodes, I’m reminded of just how much I like him.  Troughton’s Doctor is so much more frantic and fallible than some of the later incarnations.  There’s never any doubt that The Doctor cares about his companions, but in Troughton’s case, that care is right at the surface.  No suave posturing for him, he doesn’t hide the anguish he feels when his friends are in trouble.

This is particularly exciting for me because I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen The Mind Robbers before.  There’s no way to be sure; I’ve been watching Who since before I can remember, but I don’t recall this one, so it might as well be new.  My first impression is that this episode was a real budget-saver.  There’s some stock footage of a volcanic eruption (which they escape by engaging the TARDIS’s emergency unit to take them out of time and space as they know it).  Other than that, the sets pretty much consist of the TARDIS control room and a plain white fog.  Well done on the cheap!

The sparse sets don’t detract from the episode at all though.  I rather enjoyed watching Jamie and Zoe wander through the fog.  I’ve done that, and it’s eerie not being able to see more than a few inches in front of you.  Their fear is totally understandable.  (Boy, I’d forgotten what a screamer Zoe is!)  I can’t say much about the story yet, only being one episode in, but so far, I’m really enjoying it.  I watched Tomb of the Cybermen a few months back, and felt it was kind of slow and stilted, but this episode sucked me in immediately!  I look forward to Episode 2.

As for the knitting, it’s coming along smashingly.  I’m working on the mini-stripes between the first purple and second orange stripes.  I haven’t come far enough yet to warrant another picture though.  Perhaps when I’ve finished the next “real” stripe.  I can’t remember if I mentioned where I got the pattern already, but in case I’ve neglected it, I’m using the season 18 pattern on I also regularly visit, where Tara Wheeler has some wonderful videos of how to do the orange crochet trim!

I should point out that the patterns on both sites are identical, so I guess you could say I’m following either one.  The former suggests slipping the last stitch as if to knit (per the official BBC instructions), but the latter says to knit every stitch.  I’m with Tara on this one, and I’m knitting everything.  Really though, both sites are fantastic, and I highly recommend checking them out if you’re interested in the Who scarves.  There’s a lot to know!