Knitting – Back in the Game!

scarf LS 2016-05-04

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

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I’m Too Tired for a Formal Post

Hi.  So, I knitted.  And I watched Doctor Who.  And The Guild, even.  So technically, by the rules I’ve set for myself, I’m supposed to blog about it.  So here you go.  But I’m really really tired and out of it tonight.  Apologies if it’s a bit stream-of-consciousness.  Also, beware SPOILERS.  I think.

I hadn’t watched The Hungry Earth or Cold Blood since they first aired.  I didn’t have any strong feelings about them at the time, I just enjoyed them for being Doctor Who.  I still do.  Yay!  They really have a classic-Who kinda feel (and not just ’cause the Homo-Reptillians are Silurian cousins), and that’s just peachy by me!  Also, I loved loved LOVED Meera Syal as Nasreen Chaudhry.  (And is that not an awesome character name?)  Easily one of my favorite guest stars in all of new-Who.

I’d forgotten about the bit at the end with the crack and Rory getting shot.  Holy balls, I didn’t see that coming the first time I saw this.  It affected me more this time, I think, having seen how Amy and Rory’s relationship evolves over the rest of the season and much of the next.  Yes.  I got a bit misty.  So sue me.

Oh.  And Matt Smith is amazing.

The Guild was pretty awesome tonight as well.  Felicia Day has done it again.  I won’t spoil that for anyone, but there’s one scene with a cavalcade of fantastic guest cameos.  I think this season is my favorite so far.  I started re-watching season one at Dragon*Con, and it’s clear that the show has come a long way.  It was pretty solid to start with, but now it’s a lot more polished.  (Not to mention the fact that it’s progressed to the point that [INFORMATION REDACTED] and [NAME REMOVED] and [XXXXXXXXXX] and the like drop by for an episode.)

As for the knitting, I got an orange stripe done.  Boom.  After last night’s end-weaving debacle, I wasn’t about to try that again so soon.  One of these days I’ll get back on that horse.  Today is not that day.  Tonight I’m ignoring the horse entirely so I can just go to bed.  Mmm.  Bed.

Doctor Who: Amy’s Choice (Or [Bad-]Dream-Weaving)

OMFG do I hate weaving in ends.  It’s easily my least favorite part of knitting.  And when you’re knitting a 20ish foot scarf with oodles of stripes, there are oh-so-many ends to weave in.  We hates it.  And no, lest you think I somehow have managed to complete the behemoth task that is knitting this scarf, I am definitely not finished.  I have vague (and horrible) recollections of the mind-numbing boredom brought on by weaving in the ends of the season 12 scarf I knitted for my mom a few years ago.  I thought I would be terribly clever and try to weave in the ends chunk by chunk this time.  I still think it’s a good idea–in theory anyway.

Good idea or not, I’ve learned a few things tonight.  One, don’t start weaving in ends after you’ve already taken your melatonin for the night.  Two, make sure you have a really good light source.  (I currently don’t.)  Three, it’s probably not a great idea to tackle something you detest when you’ve been in a cranky mood for the bulk of the day.  I know these all sound like no-brainers–probably because they are.  Oy.  I have no excuse.

(Note: SPOILERS ahead, so Mom, if you haven’t caught up yet…well, gosh darn it, get on the stick!  Series 6 is great.  You and Dad need to get there!)

So while I was enduring the nightmare that is end-weaving, Matt Smith and his “time team” were enduring nightmares of their own.  I hadn’t seen this episode since it first aired, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t remember much about it.  All I did remember was that it made me feel a little annoyed, disturbed, and uncomfortable.  I didn’t really remember why.  Now I suppose I do.

My first problem with this episode is the idea that Amy might choose the Doctor–and I mean that in some sort of romantic way.  I’ve never felt comfortable with the Doctor as a sexual character, so the thought that his companion sees him as such just makes me feel sick inside.  And yes, I’ve dealt with this problem throughout new Who.  I try to ignore it as best I can, but in this episode, it’s pretty central, so it’s more difficult to do that.

I think the other reason I find this episode disturbing is the fact that it’s all about choice.  I am notoriously indecisive.  Watching an entire episode that’s about not just any choice, but probably the most important one Amy has made in her life, well that made me feel a little sick inside too.  And yes, I fully admit that this particular issue has everything to do with me and nothing to do with the episode itself.

Maybe more than anything else though, I struggle with the Dream Lord as the dark side of the Doctor.  It makes perfect sense, but it’s hard to stomach.  I get that there’s a lot of self-loathing seething under the surface.  That seems only natural for someone who survived the Time War and saw/caused the end of his entire species.  But I grew up with the-Doctor-as-a-bright-shiny-hero.  And yes, I realize that wasn’t always the case even in classic Who, but I started watching pre-kindergarten, when I was too young to spot the lurking darkness, and as the Head & Shoulders ads used to say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  The shiny-happy-Doctor will live forever in my heart.  Add to that the fact that I’ve spent plenty of real-world time watching amazing, worthy people hating and destroying themselves, and I guess you just have a recipe for a gigantic turn-off of an episode for Erika.

Which is really too bad, because this is an excellent episode.  It’s well-written, well-directed, and well-acted.  There are some great lines–for example, Amy saying “If we’re gonna die, let’s die looking like a Peruvian folk band.”  (See the photo above.)  It’s a great idea for a story–toying with the nature of reality, and the back-and-forth between the “realities” is handled very well.  Matt Smith (as always) is wonderful as he realizes who the Dream Lord really is.  He turns in a performance with such depth!  I want to like it.  I really do!  Perhaps someday, when I’ve exorcised some of my own personal demons, I’ll be able to do just that.

Until then, I’ll just continue weaving in these ends.  Le sigh.

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 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!