Thursday, April 29, 2010

When I was a child, nobody died

“Just this once, everybody lives!”

(Doctor Who, “The Doctor Dances”)

Death sneaks up on you. You grow up, and people do die, of course; but when I was little I didn’t take it so personally. Now, when someone dies – and yes, I hate the euphemisms – it seems like an omen, Damocles’ sword flashing in the dark. It is why I don’t like to leave arguments halfway; because you are never guaranteed the “to be continued.”

When my last grandparent – my dad’s mother – died, it didn’t occur to me to miss her until much later. I think I miss her more now than I did at the time. Funerals make me uncomfortable; I always feel like I should be displaying emotion. You can make me cry more easily with the Doctor than with a funeral. My first dead body; in Spain, they make sure to refrigerate them, and they bury their dead faster than anyone I know. My grandmother – my mum’s mother this time – was a matriarch, a formidable woman who died as decisively and swiftly as one might have expected from her, after a life of thoroughly robust health. She left things tidy. But my dad’s mum, a quiet and sweetnatured woman, lingered a little in life, and quite a bit in my mind. I miss her because somehow it was unfinished; and I feel that more now than I did then. And to say it in what is inevitably a spiritual/superstitious vocabulary, it always seemed like it took her much longer to find her way home. For years I dreamt of her, vaguely sad dreams, until finally she (or I) found her way.

These deaths are natural enough. When a death blows a hole in family, the hole never goes away. Friends of the family lost their daughter. No; losing sounds careless, if kinder; she was killed in a traffic accident. Yet when I dreamt of her shortly after, it was perfect. A single picture of a sunny afternoon’s bliss. She was happy, and she made it across easily enough.

Then I grew up and stopped dreaming about dead people, and started remembering that I too was mortal, and what I stood to lose.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

After a glass or two of wine, I am actually quite boring

Bernard Cribbins. I was wondering why I think Bernard Cribbins is so wonderful. Old British actors – why not just go for Jeremy Irons? Well, simple. Jeremy Irons isn’t really old; like Helen Mirren he is an odd fluke of nature and good fortune, looking like no old person you ever met. Bernard Cribbins, on the other hand, is easily anybody’s amiable granddad (says she without the grandfathers) and is extremely charming as just that. That, and his name sounds like when the wee free men in Terry Pratchett’s book say “crivens!” It’s good just to say Bernard Cribbins, you see? Moreover, no one with any sympathy for the Tenth Doctor could forget that Bernard Cribbens’ Wilf is just about the only one who shows poor old Ten some love. Wilf is the stand-in for the audience stand-in; he is not only our surrogate in being the Doctor’s companion and comfort, but also in reminding him of Donna, and how she really does get the short end of the straw. Personally, I have always thought that Ten should have given Donna the choice, forgetting or dying.

As I watch this new Doctor, I try to remember the last time I grieved over the loss of a Doctor, and how I saw The Christmas Invasion and thought why, why did you take my Doctor away and who is this girl pretending to be the Doctor? So I think Matt Smith is doing ok.

By the way, you may have, but probably haven’t noticed that House has completely dropped off my radar. This seems strange in view of how the series was finally taking some brave choices, but I warned everyone that I am fickle wench. Also, I got a little bored, and then when I was ready to catch up, Hulu did a number on me so...apparently I have only missed seven episodes. Hm. I shall contemplate catching up.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Sometimes life is like one of those old dial-up modems, all dialing-beeping-static-ker-ping, a marker of success in its pattern rather than in any intelligible language. Yesterday contained much dialing, a sudden loud beep of understanding in the form of a large envelope full of white-and-dinosaur t-shirt, some static email, and finally a ker-ping of chocolate and pink cotton.


I dream of hedgehogs
Well, of small creatures generally. Hedgehogs are just particularly cute. There are also kittens, puppies, little totoros. Of the unobtrusive whooshing sound of the Tardis landing. Of deep blue tiled swimming pools and peach blossoms. On a good night. On a bad night, I dream anxious dreams about murderers and torturers, and board meetings. Not daleks, because daleks aren’t actually scary.

I finished reading The Book Thief, which while a good read doesn’t make me want to write about it. It doesn’t make me feel it like Maus or Catch-22. I move right on to Bulgakov, but I find myself wanting something to drag me out of complacency, to kick and bite, to provoke. A good argument with Christopher Hitchens would serve my purpose nicely, but no – I still have plenty of The Hitchhiker’s Guide left, and part of me just craves a nice comforting Doctor Who or Torchwood audiobook.

I am confirmed in my belief that under no conditions should Fox be allowed anywhere near science fiction. Especially queer science fiction. And with that, a sigh of relief escapes me, and I feel entitled to an extra Firefly t-shirt.

The Spouse gets back and I get paid. Cue the weekend. Cue the farmer's market and an opportunity to wear my awesome new shirts, cue John Simm (here, but also perhaps here; John Simm is just that good), cue play reading and hopefully, hopefully, a very silly weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The new Doctor - so what does one think?

So far, good enough. Steve Moffat does nothing to lose my trust, and Matt Smith...Matt Smith is an odd fish. He has the face of a puppy, which makes it that much stranger when he acts and speaks like the damaged Tenth Doctor. I love him for also being Ten, and also Nine, for being the lot of them, but it is very disorienting, and I am not yet entirely convinced. No matter - there is plenty of time.

I am also watching Life on Mars (with John Simm, off of Life on Mars) and it never ceases to amaze me how much good tv Britain produces. How carefully it shies away from the easy and the obvious, from lazy writing and lazy acting. So good.

Yesterday I watched the Ninth Doctor again, in some of my favourite science fiction - The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. So good as sci fi, as suspense, as action and as drama. And I just realised it references The Curse of Fenric, which I am watching at this very moment.

And yes, the tag is not idle, I had a bit of a squee at getting a virtual nod from the most Respectable Mr. Nimoy.

Finally, the changes may not just be in Doctor Who, but who knows (well, he does, perhaps).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A flurry of stuff and then – nothing. Well, how typical is that. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you, my dear readers, it’s just that I have gone right back to being useless and conflicted. For this I apologise. I should be prolific. I should be printing T-shirts with slightly dodgy Doctor Who quotes. That is what I should be doing. And then I should wear the damn shirt everywhere. Why? Because. Because it is something to do. Because.

And then I should email one of my friends and ask her about writing jobs, and ask one of my board friends about the same thing. Why? Because there is no reason not to.

Man, I need so much kicking to get into gear.

10:19 p.m.: hah! Foolish shirt expensively purchased. Then bought a shirt off of Leonard Nimoy too.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Early morning, no matter how charming, is early

And like Julia Cameron's morning pages this will be a little messy. Speaking of which, maybe I should start doing those again; but I always hated having to get up early to do them, and was never fully convinced that they were useful. I know what I know, and not much else. For now, you may look at Mirror Metaphysics' shoes. She has such lovely typographical shoes.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Apple day, folks

And trust me when I tell you that you need to watch this video.