The Time of Couch-Surfers (Or Houseguests and Stone)

So I’ve been saddled/blessed with a houseguest again.  Good ol’ C has been with me for a week, and I’ve done my best to expose him to some excellent British television (ok, and some Glee, but he’d seen that already).  We watched all three episodes of Sherlock, and he really enjoyed them.  Then last night I had some time to knit, so I wanted to watch Doctor Who.  Now if I was a quality friend, I might have stopped and thought about what would be a good introduction to new Who and started there, but no; I was feeling selfish.  And he’s getting to sleep on my COUCH, so really, I feel I’ve given him enough.  Anyway, my next episodes of series 5 (to watch with Radio Free Skaro commentary) were “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone.”

As it turned out, those aren’t a terrible place to jump in.  There was plenty C didn’t understand (he didn’t even know what the sonic screwdriver was), but they’re damn good episodes, and very exciting, so it was a definite win.  The moment “The Time of Angels” ended, he bounced on the couch, looked over at me, and said “Let’s watch the next one!  That was pretty badass!”  How could I say no?  Sadly, his comment after “Flesh and Stone” was “River’s hot.”  Sigh.  To each his own I guess.

Then when I got home today he confided that while he was at work he found himself thinking about “those stone angels” and how creepy they were.  He also mentioned to his wife that we were watching Doctor Who.  I think if I remind them about it later, they might watch on their own one of these days.  I’ll have to remember to do that.

I did feel a little bad watching the episodes with commentary though.  And no, before you jump to the wrong conclusion, I didn’t make C watch with commentary.  That would have been foolish.  I had headphones on.  But that meant that every so often (and usually at totally inappropriate times) I’d burst out laughing at something C couldn’t hear.  Eventually I stopped apologising.  Didn’t stop elling-oh-ell though.

Despite having watched both episodes just a few weeks ago, I found myself mesmerized by Matt Smith (and company), which almost made it difficult to listen to the commentary.  Luckily, the RFS boys had the same problem, so it was rarely an issue.  Every few minutes they’d fall silent until someone piped up with “We’re transfixed again.”  I can’t say I blame them.  Matt Smith just knocks it out of the park in these episodes, and that’s extra-impressive considering they were the first ones he shot.  Well done Smith; well done indeed.

Knitting-wise, I spent the time weaving in ends.  I’ve officially made my peace with that heretofore-odious task, and I’m making it a point to catch up with that before I knit too much farther.  This means the actual physical progress has stalled, but I know I’ll thank myself later.  The things I do for future-Erika!  She’s a lucky girl.

Speaking of future-me, the few-minutes-from-now version will be attempting to watch the classic Who story “Underworld.”  I say “attempting” because I’ve got it on VHS (which was taped off of PBS >20 years ago), and I’m not certain it will be watchable.  (More about my recent acquisition of Who-on-VHS later.)  It’s worth a try though because the next episode of TARDIS Tavern will be covering it (I can’t wait!), and I’d like to have it fresh in my mind.  Really, when I think of the crazy amount of video snow I watched most Doctor Who through for most of my life, I realize I can handle some pretty poor picture quality, thus I anticipate success in my upcoming endeavor.

So for future-Erika and myself, I’ll bid you all adieu for the night.

 

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: 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.)

Doctor Who: 3 Doctors + 3 Goofballs

OHMIGODWHATALONGDAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHhhhhhhh….  Sorry.  So.  Tired.  Long.  Day.

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: Sea Devils Redux (Episodes 1-3 w/RFS Commentary)

Ok.  I took some melatonin a while ago, so I’m going to have to make this brief.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  But before I started nearing somnambulance, I decided tonight was going to be all about pampering myself.  I cooked dinner: a burger using pasture-raised beef from a local farm, topped with lettuce and a fried egg (both also from the same farm) on gluten-free bread with onions and a dollop of mayo.  Decadence!  Then I was still hungry, so I made myself supper #2: sauteed day lilies (yes, really!) with onions and ground beef.  I’d never cooked day lillies before.  They’re delish!  After that I decided it was time for dessert and some quality entertainment.  I made some homemade organic sweet-cinnamon-crunch popcorn and settled in to re-watch the first three episodes of The Sea Devils–this time with commentary by the “Three Who Rule” from Radio Free Skaro.

I’d never listened to commentary with anything before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m thrilled to report that I loved it!  I can’t express how much fun it was to kick back, pig out, and let the good times roll with the boys from RFS.  It made my little apartment seem a bit less lonely to have three jocular voices prattling in my ear while watching some good old classic Who.

My favorite part was when Warren and Steven downloaded a theremin app for their iphones.  Warren’s delight and Steven’s pure glee at their ability to “play along” with the soundtrack actually made that aspect of the show bearable this time around.  It made me giggle more than once.

The other thing I loved about it was how every scene seemed to devolve into ribald jokes.  Absolutely up my alley, that.  I felt I was in good company the whole way through.

Oh yeah, and they offered interesting and informative insight into the episodes, characters, actors, blah blah blah.  Tonight, I’m really more interested in the fun, but it was a quality commentary from a scholastic viewpoint as well.  If you’ve never listened to the Radio Free Skaro podcast, I highly recommend you do so, and not just for the entertaining commentaries.  I could wax poetic about how great the podcast is, but I’m too tired.

Ok.  I really am about to nod off.  Just enough time left to mention that I knitted through episode 2 and am 10 rows away from being done with that big…orange….zzzzzzzzz…