More Chicago TARDIS Goodness!

I am trying to get better at writing about things and events in a more timely manner, so here’s another quick lunchtime post about my fab Chicago TARDIS weekend! This is clearly a place I could use improvement because I STILL haven’t finished writing about our trip to London, which has now been over a year ago!

The first excitement of the weekend was watching Steven interview Michelle Gomez (Missy) on the main stage. I love watching him do interviews because he makes the guests feel so at-ease. It’s more like watching two people have a conversation than a formal interview. And he asks a lot of questions about the technical side of things, like direction and production details. That’s the kind of thing I find most interesting.

They look so relaxed.

They look so relaxed.

If you want to hear the interview, you’re in luck! It’s on this week’s episode of Radio Free Skaro!

The next event I attended was another Steven-centric one. He did a panel about “Trial of a Time Lord”. Continue reading

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2 Important Things

Uncanny Y3 Solicited Contributors

#1: Uncanny Magazine‘s Year Three Kickstarter is in its FINAL HOURS!

As I type this, my beloved Uncanny Magazine is only $90 away from the stretch goal that will add an additional story to each issue for Year Three! We are proud of the fact that we help introduce the world to new voices, and this is a great avenue to do that. The additional stories will come from unsolicited submissions, so if you care about diverse voices telling stories that make you feel (and if you haven’t already), I urge you to think about contributing to our Kickstarter.

As of right now you have 24 hours left to do so!

There are still plenty of fabulous backer rewards to choose from, including one in which you get to do a live video hangout with ME! (Plus Steven, Lynne, and Michael!) We’ll geek out about podcasts and help you plan/improve your own! We did this last year, and it was great fun!

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#2: Radio Free Skaro Celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary!

10 years is positively Methuselan for a podcast! I am so happy for/proud of these guys, and not only because one of them is my husband. He became that after I started listening to the podcast. In fact, all Three Who Rule were complete strangers to me when I discovered their podcast. Now I consider them all great friends.

A lot of celebratory tweets have been slung their way, and the thing that stands out to me the most is the number of times I’ve seen a variation on this one:

10 years of podcasting is nothing to sneeze at. 10 years of anything is impressive, and 10 years of something that’s a crapton of work and doesn’t pay (well) is a monumental achievement–one that is clearly born out of love for both the subject matter and what they do. But what’s truly amazing to me is the community (and communities) that sprang up around this group of Canadians. It’s a testament to who they are that so many people’s lives have been inexorably changed (for the better!) by listening to three geeks talk about the thing they love every week.

I know my life would be unrecognizably different if not for RFS. I wouldn’t be married. I wouldn’t be living in Canada. I wouldn’t have my own podcast. (I wouldn’t have half-a-dozen podcasts!) I wouldn’t be working for the aforementioned Uncanny Magazine. I wouldn’t be nominated for a freaking Hugo Award! (Also thanks to Uncanny Magazine!)

I know I’m nowhere near alone in thanking RFS for the life that I have now. Here’s to another 10 years!

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Lightning and Wonder

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When I decided to move to Edmonton, my spouse and I decided I’d better visit for a while first, to make sure it was a place I could really feel at home. So I took a two-month leave of absence from work and came up to try to settle in and see how I fit. And a year before that, I’d visited for a week just for fun. During those visits, I saw several of the most spectacular lightning storms I’ve ever witnessed.

Before I visited Edmonton, I didn’t realize lightning comes in different colors. I saw the entire sky light up purple and bolts of bright turquoise lightning snaking across the whole sky (with thunder boomers that were nearly as impressive as the light show). It was amazing. I’ve always adored thunderstorms, and it felt like Edmonton was trying to woo me with a spectacular show.

I’ve now lived in Edmonton over two years, and I was starting to think the city had tempted me here under false pretenses. I’d seen not one thunderstorm that qualified as even remotely good in all that time.

Until last night.

Tonight I spent well over an hour sitting on my balcony watching the sky. I have now added pink lightning to my collection. (That picture above actually features my building, and yes, the lightning was that pink color in real life. Some zaps I saw were even pinker.)

And it was one of those odd summer storms that was lots of sound (and light), but not much fury. There was a bit of wind, but almost no rain so I could comfortably sit there listening to this week’s episode of Radio Free Skaro. It was delightful and soothing to simply sit and enjoy myself. (And yes, I did pause the podcast whenever I saw lightning so I’d be ready to hear the accompanying thunder.)

Steven and I are both between jobs right now (Steven was laid off just over a week ago), and I admit I’d considered moving elsewhere to find work. I wonder if Edmonton sensed that and stepped up its storm game to keep me here.

If so, I think it worked.

Photo credit: Vagabond Expedition

Knitting – Back in the Game!

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I started this blog waaaaay back in 2011. My goal at the time was to watch geeky TV and work on knitting the season 18 Doctor Who scarf. If you read my posts regularly, you’ll know that plan didn’t exactly continue with any strength or regularity. In fact, until recently, I hadn’t even picked up the scarf since well before I moved to Canada. And I moved just over two years ago.

I just looked, and my most recent knitting post was in December of 2012. Yikes. I didn’t realize it had been that long. And that post wasn’t even about the scarf! You have to time travel all the way back to January of 2012 to find any record of that project. Bad Erika! Continue reading

Geek Girl Gushes: Gallifrey One’s Network 23

If you follow me on Twitter, this post may be largely redundant.  For that I make no apology.  I firmly believe that no amount of gushing about Gally is too much.  On the plane ride home, I drafted over 40 short posts about the fond memories I made last weekend, and I’ve been dribbling them out on Twitter and Facebook ever since.  Because I am such a completionist (something I’ve found is not unusual in Doctor Who fandom), I’ve decided to collect them all here in one place for easy reminiscing.  Before I get to that, a few words about the weekend in general.

Gallifrey One is the oldest and largest fan-run Doctor Who convention in the world.  Once you’ve been there, you understand why.  Simply put, this con is fantastic.  I’m not exactly a con expert, having only attended a handful of different events over the years, but I can safely say that Gally is my favorite by far.  (And that’s saying something, because I positively adore several others, including Chicago TARDIS and Dragon*Con.)  The inestimable Shaun Lyon has done a fantastic job helming this convention and making sure that everyone is happy—from the guests to the attendees to the volunteers to the hotel staff.  It was a veritable well-oiled machine.  With the exception of a few technical hiccups, I saw very little in the way of the FUBAR moments I’ve come to expect as a necessary evil of con attendance.

This, Gallifrey One’s 23rd year, was my first in attendance.  I didn’t even know Gally existed until Radio Free Skaro interviewed Nerdist luminaries Chris Hardwick and Kyle Anderson at last year’s convention.  After hearing that podcast (and being floored to find there was an entire podcast devoted entirely to Doctor Who! [silly, naïve, Erika]), I discovered a vast and welcoming Twitter community of Doctor Who fans and podcasters.  Over the course of a few months, they applied just the right amount of friendly peer pressure to convince me to take the plunge and commit to Gally.  This is a decision I have not regretted for a moment.

I’d met a few of those fine folks at the aforementioned Chicago TARDIS in November, and it was as wonderful to reconnect with them as it was to finally meet the others who were able to make it out to sunny California.  And sunny it was!  While the people and the excitement of the convention were the best part, a vacation in southern California is nothing to sneeze at when compared to the usual mid-February slump in my home of Wisconsin.

Having arrived early, I got to spend the Thursday before the con with four of my favorite people (two who’d already held that honor, and two who did by the end of that day).  We drove up the coast to the Getty Villa in Malibu where we absorbed more beauty and culture than I thought one location could contain.  Please feel free to peruse the photos of that amazing and moving experience.

The other exciting pre-con activity in which I got to partake was a “live” recording of the Doctor Who Book Club Podcast.  I was über-chuffed to have been invited to review Paul Cornell’s Love and War.  I had a fantastic time talking about it with Erik and Sean.  I won’t say much about that here because I think you should listen to the episode when it’s released.  What I will say is this: Erik and Sean are as charming and delightful in person as they sound on the podcast.  I couldn’t be more pleased that they let me join the fun.

After that night, the official convention fun started, and it was a whirlwind of excitement and panels and fun and friends and booze and bad food and then more of each of those every day—plus a live lobby commentary and an interview (which may or may not ever be seen) by Chloe Dykstra and Matt Mira of Nerdist Industries.  I wish I could appropriately capture the magic that happened over those few days, but I think Deb Stanish put it best when she tweeted “Has something ever been just too important or lovely to articulate? This is why I’m finding it hard to do Gally highlights.”  That said, I’m clearly managing to chronicle some of the joy; I could go on for pages and pages, describing every moment I remember.  Instead I’ll just stick with my plan of including the lovely memories I’ve already tweeted.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, and perhaps I’m a fool for even attempting to capture this much of the glory that is Gally, but I felt like if I didn’t at least try, I might explode.

So here, in no particular order, are just a few of the highlights of my first Gally.  You better believe I’ll be back.

  • Unexpected post-#Gally highlight: I can now “hear” tweets from lots of people in their own voices.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @quarridors in person. I still wish I’d followed Nat’s lead & spent some time in the pool!
  • #Gally highlight: Flobbycon.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the sweet and kind @sourcitruslady. Yet another person I wish I’d’ve gotten to spend more time with.
  • #Gally highlight: Knowing I could wander around for a while & be guaranteed to run into someone awesome, be it a friend, celebrity, or both!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the lovely @Bellaira & bonding over shared joy & inconvenience.
  • #Gally highlight: Drinking tequila w/@philfordesq. Well, Phil was a highlight. As it turns out, I’m none too fond of tequila.
  • #Gally highlight: An entertaining & informative panel on the music of #DoctorWho. @emilyooo knows her stuff & how to talk about it!
  • #Gally highlight: Being insanely decadent & drinking Starbucks lattes every morning.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting my official unofficial gay husband @tardistavern in person. I’m a lucky bride.
  • #Gally highlight: Randomly meeting @MattMira in the lobby & trying to find @harries71 so Matt could geek out about Cash in the Attic.
  • #Gally highlight: Being interviewed by @MattMira for the @Nerdist YouTube channel. Whether they use it or not, ’twas a hoot!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @freyburg in person. A fellow w/a delightfully irascible wit & great talent–with whom I’ve got much in common.
  • #Gally highlight: Witnessing the sheer genius of Mette & Bryan’s costumes firsthand. They left me speechless repeatedly.
  • #Gally highlight: @RadioFreeSkaro and the World of Tomorrow stage show! The boys did a fantastic job kicking things off in proper fashion.
  • #Gally highlight: @AndreT_NY‘s hilarious & clever ribbon costume. Nice work Sir! Loved it!
  • #Gally highlight: Seeing @Feliopolis again. Can’t imagine attending a #DoctorWho con w/out my clever friend to keep it real for me.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @TardisTavernTit in person. Wish I could have spent more time hanging with him. Con life is so scattered.
  • #Gally highlight: Toby Haynes’ ass.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the lovely @capricorn_one. And not just ’cause he agreed to get his own room. : ) He’s a great bloke besides.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the incomparable @DebStanish. Everyone told me she was awesome & I’d love her. Everyone was right.
  • #Gally highlight: avoiding “con-crud” (aka con-SARS) until I got home. Don’t want to get out of bed, but the real world beckons. #coldmeds
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @twillian in person. I’m glad cool, creative, interesting people like her are procreating (since I’m not gonna).
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @whomeJZ in person. One of my favorite podcasters. Hearing him wax poetic re: #DoctorWho in person is even better!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the hilarious @KungFuYoda. I do appreciate a good crass wit. He’s got that in spades.
  • #Gally highlight: A delicious & delightful dinner w/@David_Barsky. (Exec producer of Dirty Jobs.)
  • #Gally lowlight: Not getting to meet @abby_queenofall. : ( She was genuinely missed, as was discussed on numerous occasions.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @BullittWHO in person. Every bit as thoughtful & hardworking as I expected, as well as every bit as fun & cool.
  • #Gally highlight: Watching @Legopolis talk about (& play with) LEGO during the panel about it.
  • #Gally highlight: Telling Shaun Lyon that my first Gally was completely as advertised. Best con I’ve ever been to, hands down.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the delightfully droll @harries71. He makes clever sarcasm an art form. Could listen to him all day.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @xanister in person. Someone so sweet & adorable doesn’t deserve to also have a razor wit; she’s doubly blessed.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @dubbayoo. His twisted sense of humor is just as hilarious in person. & he’s an amazing fellow to boot.
  • #Gally highlight: Touching the Pacific Ocean!
  • #Gally highlight: Seeing @Legopolis again. This one belongs in the goes-without-saying category.
  • #Gally highlight: The many & varied ways people managed to sneak outside booze into the Marriott lobby, while keeping things cool & relaxed.
  • #Gally highlight: meeting many twitter friends in person. What a great crew!

Podcast Wishes and Gallifrey Dreams

Considering how utterly steeped in Doctor Who I have been for the past couple weeks, I’ve been remiss in chronicling it.  Though to be fair, I haven’t been knitting, so I’m not *technically* required (by me) to document it here.  That said, I’d rather like to.  So I will.  So there.  So here, actually.

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest at my favorite bar in the universe—the TARDIS Tavern!  You may remember me gushing about it back in my Podcastastic post.  I believe I said something about giving my eye teeth to become a regular there.  I sure hope Sean and Steve don’t hold me to that.  But I’m a gal of my word, so if you see me at Gally, and I look more like a hillbilly than my pictures would lead you to expect, you’ll know why.

Gally!  That’s another thing I should mention.  Less than two weeks from this very day, I will be in sunny Los Angeles, California for the world’s largest and longest-running Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One!  (Or #Gally as it’s known on twitter.)  I couldn’t be more excited!  In addition to the nigh-ridiculous number of fantastic guests and panels and programming (Radio Free Skaro and the World of Tomorrow, anyone?), I’m thrilled-to-the-gills at the opportunity to meet so many Doctor Who fans—many of whom I’ve “met” on twitter and can’t wait to meet in person.  If you’re going to be at Gally, please track me down and say hi!

[Side note: At Gally I will also be guesting on another of my most favoritest podcasts, but more about that later.]

Ok, so back to TARDIS Tavern.  (Oh how I wish!)  I spent one of the most pleasant evenings in recent memory there chatting with Steve and Sean and Chris (from Radio Free Skaro) about Doctor number three—Jon Pertwee.  Much fun was had (MUCH), and many an alcoholic beverage was consumed (MANY).  We primarily focused on three episodes in particular: Terror of the Autons, The Curse of Peladon, and The Time Warrior.

You can listen to this friendly, fun, and rambly discussion for yourself before too long, and I heartily encourage you to do so!  I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available.

But remember those many alcoholic beverages I mentioned?  Well a solid proportion of them were consumed by yours truly, so I’m not 100% confident that I made myself as clear as I could have.  To make up for any possible lack of articulateness brought on by the copious spirits, I shall be posting here about each of the stories.  That way I can fill in any gaps I may have left.  Note that these should be used as an adjunct to the podcast, not a replacement for it!  My keen cohorts had innumerable pearls of wisdom to drop, and I’d hate for you to miss out on a single one.

So in the coming days/weeks (ok, it’s me, so it could be months), look forward to plenty of Pertwee posts!  (Please pardon the profuse plosives.)

The Girl Who Waited to Listen to the Commentary for the Girl Who Waited

Let me start off by saying that when “The Girl Who Waited” came out, I really hated all the “clever” plays on words that occurred using the episode title.  But did I let that stop me from doing the same obnoxious thing here?  No I did not.  Not for one second.  So yeah, I hate myself a little bit, but it was totally worth it.  You can hate me too.  It’s okay.

I suppose I should talk about the episode now huh?  Wait.  No.  I can talk about knitting!  As you may have guessed, I’ve done like, none, in a really long time.  What can I say?  I’ve had more important things to do.  Life is like that sometimes.  And by “like that,” I mean pretty awesome.  Anyway, tonight something possessed me to finally pick up my needles again and get back to it.  I completed the big ol’ purple stripe I was working on, and got exactly one row into the next red mini-stripe.  So it wasn’t a hugely productive evening, but every little bit yada yada yada.  Full disclosure here–I’m actually thinking of cheating on the scarf briefly to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves.  It’s frakking cold at work, and typing gets difficult when your fingers are cold and stiff.  As it seems I’ll be lucky to get the scarf done by even next winter, I might as well set my sights a bit lower and work on something I have a chance of finishing this year.

Ok, now I suppose I really should talk about this episode, even though I don’t really want to.  This was the most difficult episode of the season for me.  I guess it was my “Amy’s Choice” of this year.  Why do I always have such trouble with the best episodes?  Maybe that’s an indicator of just how good they are.  Or perhaps it’s an indicator of some deep-seated psychological issue on my part.  It’s both, probably.

“The Girl Who Waited” is kind of a masterpiece.  But on the other hand, I kind of hate it.  This is quite possibly the strongest ambivalence I’ve ever felt about an episode of Doctor Who.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s brilliantly directed.  It’s cleverly and cleanly written.  It’s a story that’s simple, but light-years away from being easy.  And it makes me mad.  I hate the choice that Rory has to make at the end.  It makes me uncomfortable to watch it, and it rips me up inside.  I realize this is exactly what they’re going for, and in my case, they succeeded in epic fashion.  I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve realized that I am actually mad at Tom MacRae (and Steven Moffat) for making me feel this way.

One reason I think this episode had such an impact on me is because of how I watched it.  I was watching online, and my computer just happened to freeze up at the worst (or best?) possible moment.  It was during that gut-wrenching scene at the end when Rory has carried unconscious young Amy into the TARDIS.  The Doctor steps to the door where his eyes meet those of old Amy.  She sees him and starts to run towards him, and—Zap!  No more show.  I couldn’t get it back right away, so I figured I’d go for a walk.

I knew what was going to happen.  Of course I knew.  But I spent 45 minutes walking through a beautiful park thinking “what if?”  What if he didn’t slam the door in her face?  Could they make that work?  And by the time I got back home, I’d decided that it could.  Furthermore, I’d decided that that’s what I wanted to happen.  But I knew it wasn’t going to.  And I also knew that if it did happen, if both Amys somehow miraculously coexisted, there’d be a part of me that would be pissed at the show for taking the easy way out.  So I suppose they really couldn’t win with me.

I guess the bottom line is that I think “The Girl Who Waited” is fantastic.  I liked so much about it.  But I didn’t like it as an episode of Doctor Who.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always need Doctor Who to make me happy.  Not at all.  Doomsday left me sobbing both times I watched it (consecutively), and it’s one of my favorite episodes of the new series.  But I don’t like when Doctor Who leaves me feeling icky.  And that’s what this story did.  I wish this was a short story.  Or an episode of something else.  Or even a new/missing adventure book so I could tell myself it “isn’t canon.”  Because then I think I would love the shit out of it.  As it is, I just can’t.

And jeez, I haven’t even said anything about the Radio Free Skaro commentary.  (That in itself should give you an idea of how deeply this episode affected me.)  Honestly, I think the delightful commentary is what got me through watching this episode again.  If Warren wasn’t ranting in my ear about landlines, and if Steven and Chris weren’t gushing over how beautiful everything was (including Martin Freeman), I’m not sure I would have made it through this tonight.  So, not for the first time, RFS has turned what might otherwise have been a lousy evening into something both charming and amusing.  Whew!