Showing posts from June, 2013
I have to move again. I hate moving. It turns me into Simple Dog. It's never my choice. I'm never like, "So, this place isn't my favorite, I'll have a leisurely look around over the next six months, save some money, and find something else." It's always, "So, this place you think of as home? Yeah, get out."

Either I have no idea where I'm going, or I'm getting sucked back to my parents' house, which in my opinion is actually worse than being homeless.

I'd just finally stopped being neurotic about not buying things like furniture, too. I never fucking do that. I know someone's going to throw me out and all of the large objects will have nowhere to go.

I've been barely paying rent on this place and now I need first/last/deposit for somewhere else by 8/10. I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do this. I've been spamming résumés to jobs and inquiries to people with rooms and I haven't received a single respo…

10 Things I've Learned From The Doctor

People ask you all kinds of nosy personal questions when you show up out of the blue. You are not required to answer them. People get really distressed about this sometimes, but in an amazing coincidence, this is not your problem.You don't need to know anything about other people to help them. They don't need to know anything about you, either. You do kind of need to figure out what they need helping with, however, before you make the mess worse.You can fix an astonishing number of things with a screwdriver and some string, as long as you also have ingenuity.Never assume something is out to kill you unless it is, right at that exact moment, actively trying to kill you. Better to start out with greetings rather than exchange of fire if you can manage it. Unless they're Daleks. Then you run like hell until you can find a gun that gets through dalekanium.Always make sure that your overcoat has as many pockets as you think you'll need. And, whenever possible, at least one …
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Waltz of Death"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Champion Caper"

Box 13 - "Death Is No Joke"
I sat down and marathoned the Clara arc last night. That was... not bad. Particularly after Amy and Rory. A marriage made of "I love you more" vs "You couldn't possibly love me" is not one the Doctor should have been trying to save, but I guess there are some lessons even the Doctor never learns.

Clara stuff under the cut, because the finale went out a month ago, there's more in the 50th Anniversary special, and I don't need the internet to throw things at my head.

In re: The Doctor, and love.

One of the reasons I find it irksome when someone's main story arc is "desperately wants to make out with the Doctor" is that I have a long-running bone to pick with media in general about depicting romantic love as the only kind that counts.

Finding someone to love is excellent character development; it needs conversations, maybe some verbal sparring, glimpses into the armored bits and vulnerable places of the characters involved. It gives people motivation. It informs their decisions in a way that (ideally) furthers the plot. Deciding to have an intimate relationship with someone else explores matters of choice and experience and emotion and how they intertwine, and how blind circumstance can shape lives. Bonding with someone as a mentor, a surrogate sibling, a working partner, or a best friend is no less influential in this regard than bonding with someone as a lover.

But falling in love with someone is depicted as the sine qua non of character development, as if it i…

In re: the Doctor, regenerations, and names.

So far, the new crew seems to be hewing to the old canon wherever possible; the books and audios don't seem to come into it yet, if ever. There've been strong hints in the expanded universe that the novels and audios take place in divergent timestreams, which seems to solve the problem quite neatly. There's a fair amount in the classic series about Time Lords and regenerations and whatnot that new fans don't always seem to be aware of, though.

Clearing firstly out of the way something wot annoys my friend David a lot: Time Lords get twelve regenerations. Twelve second chances, essentially. You've got to regenerate from something the first time, which means that, assuming no jiggery-pokery, we've got room for thirteen Doctors. It's used consistently this way throughout the classic series, and the math squares up in stuff like Mawdryn Undead where the Doctor talks about how many lives other people are trying to steal from him. I don't recall if it's e…
I really ought to sit down and watch through the rest of the Eleventh Doctor stuff. I've skipped a lot of it. Karen Gillan and Matt Smith are horribly endearing to watch backstage -- they like to sit squashed together and pick on each other like they've been friends for much longer than they actually have, it's adorable -- but the whole Doctor-or-Rory-or-possibly-Doctor-and-Rory thing went on far too long and eventually got right on my last nerve. I mean, from a perspective within the fandom, I know full well why everyone wants to snog the Doctor, but for pity's sake, why does everyone want to snog the Doctor? He's nine hundred years old, alien, and weird, you'd think that would make at least a few people go, "...oh good God, no, I never thought of it like that."
I've also skipped a lot of the Tenth Doctor, despite loving Tennant in the role. Catherine Tate irritates me. I'm not sure if it's a personal preference or a cultural difference i…

Why Daleks Are Scary

The Daleks have been a mainstay on Doctor Who since the beginning. They're generally regarded as terrifying. Oh, there are other horrible repeat offenders -- the Cybermen are always coming back, the Ice Warriors of Mars, the Silurians, Autons, and of course the Master, who just cannot seem to keep his paws off the Doctor even when he has entire planets to occupy his time. But the Daleks are so iconic that even people who only kind of vaguely know about the show have some idea of what they are.

If you've somehow managed to miss all of their appearances... congratulations? They're everywhere. Conveniently enough, almost all of their appearances have followed the tradition of having "Dalek" right in the title, so you can locate a suitable sofa to hide behind before they come into frame. Every Doctor has dealt with them, even the Eighth if you delve into audios and novels, and absolutely none of them like the things.

If you've only seen the new series, then most …
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Headless Monk"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Tears of Night Caper"

Box 13 - "Daytime Nightmare"
Moggie walked into the haidresser's as a blonde the other day, and walked out a redhead. Mwahahaha. ONE OF US. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

I was quite surprised when I first heard, as an adult, of redheads getting teased for their hair color. My tastes in TV notwithstanding, I'm American, and I'd never heard "ginger" as a derogatory term for a redhead until South Park centered an entire episode around it. Since I didn't make it a habit to watch South Park either, even that took a while. I had heard the term "firecrotch", which I'd considered one of those things that was nominally rude unless it was coming from someone with whom you had an affectionate relationship -- off-color but not necessarily derogatory. (I also thought Lindsay Lohan was a twit for getting that angry over it.) I've never personally been called "carrot top"; I'd probably be annoyed on the grounds that it was undignified, but it's a bit old-fashioned, and not s…
Further character notes on Vislor Turlough:

(I'm still pretending this is in aid of Moggie's paper, shut up. Her birthday's coming up and I'm not digging out my long-forgotten tumblr password just to put it all on there for her.)

The Doctor almost certainly knows that he's not really an English schoolboy within a few minutes of meeting him. Turlough does a conspicuous amount of not freaking out over things like a dimensionally-transcendental transmat capsule that teleports him up to a giant Art Nouveau-style spaceship. He doesn't even bother to pretend much -- he makes a few off-handed comments about the ship's drive well within earshot of the Doctor, and knows it -- and the Doctor also doesn't really pretend to be surprised that he's not pretending. If you follow the expanded universe stuff, the place he's from is, or at least was, a fairly wealthy trading planet; they used transmat routinely, and although they didn't develop the pocket dim…

My sidekick is looking for a book for her paper. It's by Ann Cameron, "Sidekicks in American Literature", published 2002. It's for a summer course, so she needs it fairly quickly. I've been trying to find her a copy she can get her paws on in a timescale shorter than 'months'. It is theoretically available to buy, but most sites that list it turn out to be lying, and the lowest price I've seen is $100 for a 175pp monograph. Amazon lists one copy for $565, which just has to be a joke -- and it's used, so the ludicrous price wouldn't even be going to the author.

The only local (to me) copy that I can find is in Widener at Harvard, to which I do not have access, because unlike everyone else in this city, Harvard doesn't share their toys. The only local (to her) copy I can find is at the University of Arizona library, and having attempted to get things out of there via ILL from NAU myself, I doubt it'll come t…
Just as a cursory gauge of interest: I've had it suggested to me a few times recently that I could teach seminars or workshops for introverts on overcoming social inertia without making yourself miserable. Would there be enough Boston locals interested enough to pay a small fee ($15-20ish?) for a class like that, to cover materials and space rental and maybe not letting the teacher starve? I'd also be happy to set up something similar to teach "basic wardrobe and makeup for geeks", all combinations of gender and style presentation welcome.
Wow. Peter Davison was not kidding when he said he was quite shy when he was younger. Sometime in 1982, the This Is Your Life people managed to catch him, and good lord. He looks like he's sincerely trying to blush himself to death.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

For those of you who are not familiar with stage and screen makeup, like most very pale people, when Davison's in studio as he is there, they've usually got him in pretty heavy foundation and matte finishing powder. This stuff is thick and opaque and specifically meant to cover flushing, among other things -- it can get really hot under stage lights, and you don't want your actors looking as though they're about to die of heatstroke, even if they are. It's pretty effective stuff, to the point where often when an actor does go all pink on camera, you can only tell when it hits their ears, which the makeup artist will usually skip as inconvenient and unimportant. You have to turn some really inventive colors to…
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - "The Indiscretion of Mr Edwards"

The Adventures of Sam Spade - "The Queen Bee Caper"

Box 13 - "One of These Four"
Every so often when I go about chasing down stuff interesting actors do, I run across something I think would be useful to a totally different discussion.

I mentioned a couple of entries ago that I've been watching A Very Peculiar Practice, and that Captain Awkward would be proud of the talking involved in the central romance, but the good Captain would probably also be proud of the talking in a lot of the other relationships as well. The character of Rose Marie, for example, is an intentional parody of the stereotypical view of militant feminists. She goes by just "Dr. Rose Marie" because she doesn't believe in surnames as "patronymics", and she espouses the view that sickness is something men do to women. She likes to talk about the evils of the "phallarchy". I don't mind this, actually -- this thing is part comedy, after all, and most of these people are supposed to be untenably insane. It's quite clear that she's not normal, and th…
While I'm entertaining Moggie with this, I might as well write up a profile on the fellow who played Turlough as well.

Mark Strickson is really amusing. The Doctors tend to have personalities fairly close to what they played on the show, but the companions are much more a mixed bag; some of them have a lot in common with their characters, some of them are just actors pulling things out of thin air. Strickson is playing almost entirely against type in that show. He is the very dictionary definition of voluble, in person. To say he talks with his hands is entirely too mild a phrase -- I don't know why he hasn't knocked over many more microphones, to be honest. One of the more entertaining bits I've seen is from a stage panel he did a few years ago (part one, two, three, four) where at one point he actually stands up and moves the chair so that he can give a proper acting demonstration down front, on the floor, in the spot.

I did wonder if conventions made him go ack a lo…
I've started watching through A Very Peculiar Practice. Normally, I hate sitcoms. I find most of them very irritating. You have a protagonist, who you're informed is a nice person but who never does much of anything to prove it, because the entire framework of the show is built on them being backed repeatedly into socially untenable corners and not doing anything sensible to get out of them. You could resolve most of these plots in about five minutes if someone, anyone, just sat down and went, "Look, this is awkward and all, but here's what's going on." But of course nobody ever does that, because if your protagonist grows any kind of backbone or accidentally buds some common sense, there goes the premise of your series.

Davison has a knack for picking comedy projects that I actually think are hilarious. Including about half of his sitcoms, which I think is a record. I started watching this thing figuring I'd sit through a couple of episodes, see what I t…
I have, of course, been helping Moggie with her paper. I research things like I breathe, and I am desperately amused that she's finally writing something on "Sidekick Studies", which I have been telling her she should be minoring in for years. There's a strangely small amount written on the role of the sidekick in literature, at least that I can find; the main source that most things cite seems to have been written up about a decade ago as someone's thesis and published in the popular press much more recently.

I have also been trawling through YouTube looking for useful things, because that is what I do. It affords me an excuse to look through countless hours of footage of people I find highly entertaining. One of these people is Peter Davison. Moggie and I are firmly in favor of his entire career -- he does Doctor Who things, some of the few sitcoms and drama-comedies that I've actually found amusing, and police procedural/detective series like Campion and T…
Sometimes I wonder about my influence on Moggie. I've just convinced her to do her "persuasive research paper, topic unspecified" on Doctor Who. The Fifth Doctor is her favorite as well, and Moggie has developed something of a fascination for Turlough, for whatever reason Moggie ever does anything, so I suggested that if she could find a topic somewhere in there to write her paper on, it would A) give her an excuse to go watch a lot of old TV again, and B) give her instructor something to read that wasn't yet another paper on how weed is awesome and should be legal.

I don't know what thesis she's going to use, but the one I suggested involved treating the series as modern myth and dissecting the role of the Doctor's companions in the narrative from an anthropological point of view, with bonus opportunity to quote Joseph Campbell for academic brownie points. She rejected a thesis of "fuck you, Turlough is awesome" on the grounds that it was too c…
I have been having One of Those Weeks, or possibly One of Those Lifetimes, and Moggie has been distracting me with nerdy pastimes. Mog will inexplicably sit there and listen attentively as I rattle on about what ever random thing has caught my magpie eye lately. She claims this is because "I learn interesting things that way," but I suspect that the actual root cause is that she is mad, if congenially so.

Many of the magpie-items are her doing, which I feel is supporting evidence for her being bats. Noel Fielding is entirely her fault, and did you lot know he and Julian Barratt are doing some sort of festival in Los Angeles? I think LA overall is a large blot of hot, dry pestilence only just shy of Phoenix, Arizona, but had I the money I might agree to go there very briefly for a live Boosh show. Fielding also recently recorded an episode of QI, where one of the other panel guests was Ross Noble -- along with series regular Alan Davies, whose main job is to answer either &qu…