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Showing posts from August, 2009

The Three-Fold Man: The Fouth Doctor, Part II

General note for this entire series: this will, obviously, be a terribly subjective analysis. Firstly, because I'm me, and my ideas of good and bad will certainly vary differently from those of others. Secondly, because I will be basing my musings on an incomplete assemblage of sources. This includes all of the classic serials on DVD, but no others--I know, I know, but I'm fairly new to Who fandom, and I am not buying VHS tapes that won't even fit anywhere in a year or so. It also includes selected Big Finish audios, which are delightful on the whole. A parting note before I dive in to Doctor number 4: I love the new series, I love the old series, I love all the Doctors, and I love pretty much every companion, so, any criticism or picking which follows, comes from a place of love.

(go here for the first part of my Tom Baker scribblings)

If pressed, I would say that the episode The Invisible Enemy marks the beginning of the second phase of the Fourth Doctor's era, because…

On a Few Words from Edmund Burke

Read this. Seriously, read it. I'll wait.

Done yet? Okay, good. Then we'll continue.

I've been circling around this passage for a few days now--I've tweeted it, and I've posted it to my Facebook page. (Friend me if you haven't!) I originally heard a small quotation from it years ago, when I was just a wee Erik, in the movie musical (yes) 1776. Set during the Second Continental Congress and centered around the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, this was one of my favorite movies as a child and continues to be so to this day. John Adams is trying to wrangle a unanimous vote in favor of American independence, and he needs the new delegate from Georgia, Dr. Lyman Hall, to vote his way if he's to carry the day. Dr. Hall is for independence, but his constituents, the people of the colony of Georgia, are against it. Initially, Dr. Hall is unsure of how to exercise his power; while he figures it out, he decides he should cast his vote …

Why Do I Love Alton Brown?

I have never made one of Alton Brown's recipes. I never intend to make one of his recipes, though I certainly wouldn't bet much money on it. In fact, I don't even like a good number of his recipes. Still, I DVR Good Eats and watch it whenever I want to pass 30 enjoyable minutes. What gives?

Alton Brown is my very favorite sort of TV cook--he makes things seem easy as opposed to difficult. Even when he makes his own coconut extract, he makes me think, "yeah, I can do that--I never will, but I could." Many TV cooks do that, though--Alton's genius, and it is a form of genius, lies in his personality. He is witty, funny, goofy, knowledgeable, and resourceful--Lord, is he resourceful. He has an absolute fetish about kitchen implements being multi-taskers, and quite an admirable obsession it is when people have more things in their kitchen then they know what to do with. Plus, he has a weird fixation with using things from the hardware store for culinary pu…

The Three-Fold Man: The Fourth Doctor, part 1

(The last LJ posting I ever did. I disliked it so much, I stopped in the middle of a series.)

General note for this entire series: this will, obviously, be a terribly subjective analysis. Firstly, because I'm me, and my ideas of good and bad will certainly vary differently from those of others. Secondly, because I will be basing my musings on an incomplete assemblage of sources. This includes all of the classic serials on DVD, but no others--I know, I know, but I'm fairly new to Who fandom, and I am not buying VHS tapes that won't even fit anywhere in a year or so. It also includes selected Big Finish audios, which are delightful on the whole. A parting note before I dive in to Doctor number 4: I love the new series, I love the old series, I love all the Doctors, and I love pretty much every companion, so, any criticism or picking which follows, comes from a place of love.

Tom Baker. THE Tom Baker. His reputation as the most popular and longest serving actor ever t…

And now for something Completely Different: The Petwee Era

(From LJ.)

General note for this entire series: this will, obviously, be a terribly subjective analysis. Firstly, because I'm me, and my ideas of good and bad will certainly vary differently from those of others. Secondly, because I will be basing my musings on an incomplete assemblage of sources. This includes all of the classic serials on DVD, but no others--I know, I know, but I'm fairly new to Who fandom, and I am not buying VHS tapes that won't even fit anywhere in a year or so. It also includes selected Big Finish audios, which are delightful on the whole. A parting note before I dive in to Doctor number 3: I love the new series, I love the old series, I love all the Doctors, and I love pretty much every companion, so, any criticism or picking which follows, comes from a place of love.

Okay, I have to admit a little personal bias here.While I enjoy every single Doctor, and I enjoy the contrasts that they give us, Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor is my least favor…

When I say run, run! The Second Doctor

(Part 2 from LJ)

General note for this entire series: this will, obviously, be a terribly subjective analysis. Firstly, because I'm me, and my ideas of good and bad will certainly vary differently from those of others. Secondly, because I will be basing my musings on an incomplete assemblage of sources. This includes all of the classic serials on DVD, but no others--I know, I know, but I'm fairly new to Who fandom, and I am not buying VHS tapes that won't even fit anywhere in a year or so. It also includes selected Big Finish audios, which are delightful on the whole. A parting note before I dive in to Doctor number 2: I love the new series, I love the old series, I love all the Doctors, and I love pretty much every companion, so, any criticism or picking which follows, comes from a place of love.

When talking about Patrick Troughton’s time as the Second Doctor, one quickly has to acknowledge the biggest travesty in Who history: the lost episodes.The details are well-…

How many of me are there? The Life and Times of the First Doctor

(Also taken from LJ, though I actually quite liked this little series I had going.)

General note for this entire series: this will, obviously, be a terribly subjective analysis. Firstly, because I'm me, and my ideas of good and bad will certainly vary differently from those of others. Secondly, because I will be basing my musings on an incomplete assemblage of sources. This includes all of the classic serials on DVD, but no others--I know, I know, but I'm fairly new to Who fandom, and I am not buying VHS tapes that won't even fit anywhere in a year or so. It also includes selected Big Finish audios, which are delightful on the whole. A parting note before I dive in to Doctor number 1: I love the new series, I love the old series, I love all the Doctors, and I love pretty much every companion, so, any criticism or picking which follows, comes from a place of love.

An old man, wearing a rather bizarre hat, wanders into a junk yard and finds two nosy school teachers. Th…

Tournament of Sad Doctor Who Companion Exits, Part 2

(Skip this unless you've read Part 1--which I doubt you have. Or want to. Also from LJ.)

Now we come to the...."Elegiac Eight!"

Match-up one: Dodo v. Jamie & Zoe -- So, we have the most shabbily treated companion in terms of exit up against the most beloved companion pairing ever, whose storyline first demonstrated the memory wipe technique. In the end, though, the terrific twosome get a decent exit with some, though not too much, emotional resonance. Dodo's exit is neigh-unto unforgivable. While I love Jamie and Zoe, Dodo's shafting is so intense, it tilts the battle in her favor. Dodo advances.

Match-up two: Sarah Jane v. Tegan -- Like Jamie and Zoe's exit, Sarah Jane's exit is genuinely sad. She's abandoned by the Doctor in Aberdeen and wastes years of her life hoping he would return. However, she's now received one special, and appearance in "The Five Doctors," several appearances in the new series, and a spin-off which g…

Tournament of Sad Doctor Who Companion Exits, Part 1

(Also from LJ--unless you are as big, or even bigger, of a geek as I am, I suggest you skip it. Seriously--it reeks of geek.)

So, I've been listening to the Murray Gold soundtracks for Doctor Who a lot recently, and, after hearing "Rose's Theme," "Doomsday," "Martha's Theme," "The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble," etc. ad nauseum, it got me wondering about all the companions who've left the TARDIS over the years: some willingly, some unwillingly, some really unwillingly (goodbye, Adric!). So, who had the worst exit ever? [Note: worst here will mean both most tragic or sad or merely pathetic (hello, Dodo!).] Let's start with a few ground rules: first, some companions both get decent exits and are happy to be where they are, so, we're going to ignore them. By my reckoning, this eliminates Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven, Polly, Ben, Victoria (though she's debatable), Jo Grant (another debatable one, but it seems to be the …

The New What Now?

(The only "personal" piece I posted on LJ--a very, very little bit of cultural criticism.)

So, I was reading an article in the Washington Post the other day about a website that was trying to provide a different kind of place for gay guys (and the occasional token lesbian) to get together. Not a hook-up site--they won't even take ads from hook-up sites. They pride themselves on being a place for gays who are not all about wearing great clothes, going to the gym, and dancing the night away before bedding random hotties. A place for everyone who feels like they don't fit in with the rest of gay society. As a gay male who doesn't buy great clothes, never goes to the gym and rarely dances the night away, (never mind the random hottie bit), I was, needless to say, intrigued. So, I read on.

This group calls itself the New Gay, and apparently it organizes concerts of the latest, hippest music, plus all sorts of other activities--none of which are of any interest to m…

War! Hunh! Good God, y'all!...Doctor Who, 2008 Series

(Yes, another post pinched from LJ.)

So, we've seen the Doctor as a guilt-ridden, melancholic survivor of a double genocide; a happy, joyful, exuberant young man who seems unaware of the consequences of his actions, and as a chastened, mature man who inspires such awe, and keeps such distance, that he is comparable to a living God. Moving forward, however, the Doctor finds himself again and again in the role of a general, waging war after war, usually against his own wishes. In a way we have come full circle, or, rather, we see the Doctor as he might have been before the ravages of the Time War. By the end, the light has gone from the 10th Doctor's eyes, and he is essentially ready to die. True, there are some specials before the 10th Doctor regenerates into the 11th, but, essentially, his story has been told.

The story of the Doctor intervening in wars and uprisings and insurrections and every other form of conflict is a familiar trope that classic Who returned to again and…

If the Doctor is God, is Susan the female Jesus once-removed?...Doctor Who, 2007 Series

(Stolen again from my LJ page.)

So, back in the last days of classic Who, a new script editor was hired, Andrew Cartmel, who was at least partially responsible the the shows last Golden Era. Working to a vague set of ideas, later dubbed (by fanboys) the "Cartmel Master Plan," he and his chosen writers sought to return the mystery to the Doctor's character. Some of these ideas were implemented in the series, many more were flushed out in the Virgin New Adventure series of novels, and some were left by the wayside, to be picked over when Who returned 16 years later. One of these last group was the concept of the Doctor as a truly godlike-figure...well, you don't get much more godlike than the Doctor we see in the 2007 Series. Indeed, this whole series is so tied up with images from the Religions of the Book as to the closest Doctor Who has ever come to addressing religion on its own terms.

While it could be considered part of the 2006 Series, "The Runaway Bride&…

No comeuppance! Do you hear me? No comueppace?...Doctor Who, 2006 Series

(Another import from LJ. If you've already read it, then you're one of three very special people.)

Isn't there some old saw that goes something like, "Pride goeth before the fall?"

When we last saw our hero, he'd just grown a bunch of hair, lost a considerable amount of weight, and gained a different accent. In short, the Doctor had regenerated before the eyes of a rather confused and frightened Rose (Billie Piper). The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) is a very different sort of man. His long speech on the Syccorax ship certainly establishes himself as his own man, and, although a hint of the 9th Doctor emerges when he kills the Syccorax leader, by the time the Doctor joins the Tylers (and Mickey) for Christmas lunch, we know that the 9th Doctor is long gone, as are his issues of guilt, isolation, and loneliness.

So, what sort of man is this new Doctor--how does his relationship with Rose change--and, to get to our topic, what sort of theme do they play out ove…

See, it's not just for kids! It has THEMES...Doctor Who, 2005 series

(I'm bringing this over from my LiveJounral page. Only my second day on this blog, and I'm already plagiarizing myself. This doesn't bode well.)

2005: While it took me a few years to catch on, many people, on both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific), awaited the return of Doctor Who baited breath. Many others, perhaps a larger group, mocked it as being that dumb kids' show.
2010: Doctor Who is once again the phenomenon it once was, popular in its native land, and exported to dozens of countries. Even many of the naysayers came around to the sheer quality of the new series. This kids' show was the most popular non-soap on British TV, and its spin-off was the most popular show on BBC America.

So, aside from the amazing affects, acting, and general glossiness of the new show, what makes it so special? Well, I would argue that it's not just a kids show--if anyone even believes that out there anymore. Indeed, I think outgoing Executive Producer Russell T. Da…

At heart, I'm an unemplyed British person

My favorite television shows these days are mainly on BBC America. Aside from the obvious choices, Doctor Who and Torchwood, I've also developed a taste for shows that are, apparently, only watched in the UK by housewives, retirees, and the unemployed: You Are What You Eat, How Clean is Your House?, Cash in the Attic, and Bargain Hunt.

These are distinctly daytime style shows--even here, BBCA mainly airs them during the daytime, so I have to DVR them so I can watch them in the evening, which seems a somewhat odd time to watch them. Personal/home makeover shows and shows about selling (valuable?) antiques at auction just seem right for the daytime, sitting in your bathrobe with a nice cup of tea--not so much for the evening.

My (brief) reviews of the shows:

You Are What You Eat: This is sort of like a British-style personalized version of The Biggest Loser, produced by Channel 4, where tremendously bossy and abrasive "holistic nutritionist" Gillian McKeith barges into the…

It's Official...

Y.E. Yang has just made a birdie on 18 to win the PGA over Tiger Woods by 3 shots. That means Tiger is 0-4 in Majors this year, the first time since 2004 that Tiger hasn't won a major. Better still, 3 of the 4 Major winners this year where first time Major champions: Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, and now Y.E. Yang. This is drama--this is possibility. It very well may be that the Tiger era of golf is over.

BTW, this will almost certainly be my last golf-related post in a while, so relax.

Is It Wrong to Root for Someone to Lose?

I'm currently watching the PGA Championship and Tiger Woods is (surprisingly) not leading. Tee South Korean Y.E. Yang currently has a one-shot lead going to 18 and, while it's too early to call it, it looks like, for the first time ever, Tiger will have lost the lead that he had going into the Sunday of a major.

I have to admit, this fills me with glee. Tiger is *too* good--when he's on, which is at least half the time these days, he's in a different league from everyone else. His ability to make that tiny spheroid do what he wants it to is already legendary--and he's still in his early 30's. This has been, undeniably, good for the game. But it's bad for the drama. Goliath crushing David under his boot heel doesn't make for an interesting story; tiny, unknown David defeating the giant Goliath--now that's a story.

So, as the two leaders walk down the 18th fairway, both just having struck solid tee shots, I must admit I'm rooting for the giant…