Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend

Oh, and also, the Spouse and I are going camping together for the first time this weekend. Cross your fingers that come Tuesday we:
a) have not been eaten by bears
b) are still married

Company

Ok, you can kick me.

“Take home legendary Doctor Who with this life-size standup! The Doctor measures over 6 feet tall and is mounted to heavy duty cardboard. The standup comes to you folded and is easily assembled. This standup is great for mounting to a wall or door, or it can be displayed free standing with the included easel.”

*dissolves into helpless giggles*

WANT. If only for the pun-perhaps-intended explanation. And then I would have to buy a whole set (Nine, Jack, Rose and Donna perhaps? I wonder if they do Tom Baker ones? No, Tom Baker could, according to his wishes –really!- be a garden gnome lurking in the background) and then spend my days perfecting my skills as a ventriloquist and never leave the house EVER AGAIN. Except to get more yarn to crochet Benders. And maybe this.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ramble

Warning: Eeyore moment. Avert your eyes.

I’ve always had a knack for disappointment, in spite of a goodly store of innate happiness. Things let me down. People let me down. Life lets me down. It’s not that I wander around with a little dark cloud overhead, I just am apt to find the fly in the ointment. It’s unfortunate. Speaking of which, it looks like I’ve finally found the fly in the new Doctor, and that, too, is unfortunate.

Ah, the Doctor (from one to the next, I suppose? House, like the Doctor, is a crotchety genius. Well, like the second/third Doctor anyway.)

This is my plan for this evening: I will sit in front of the telly and re-watch Blink, and then some ninth Doctor. Or maybe the other way around. Speaking of which, I have also been enjoying our new Firefly box set. So good. It occurs to me that it is one of the few shows I know where I don’t dislike any of the characters. The only other one I can think of is Originial Series Star Trek/Reboot. Next Generation? Riker always annoyed me. Doctor Who? Any number of annoying companions. Firefly? Mal, who wouldn’t love Mal? Wash had me at the dinosaurs, and Zoe has such a great sense of humour. Kaylee is just...charming. Jayne is easily the funniest character. Inara’s all lovely and charming, and Simon is just the right mix of obnoxious and endearing. River’s probably as close as I get to disliking any character, meaning that I don’t bond with her.

Anyway.

My brain is clearly overwrought. And obsessed with celebrities. Last night I dreamt about Oscar Wilde and Bosie, Shaun White and Jessica Simpson. Yes, I know. Last night I dreamt about sinking ships (Ha! A metaphor the size of a ship) at which point my brain clearly felt it needed a certain...something. Cue David Tennant (not the Doctor, alas, just David Tennant, which is nice enough I suppose) in his blue pinstripe Doctor outfit. Which, kudos brain, was indeed enough to make me feel better about the ships.

Moral lesson: Brains can make you feel good as well as bad. Also, David Tennant helps.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A little too much

One of the truly magnificent things about being grown up is that you do figure some stuff out. Like how if you spend three hours with your fair head in the sun planting stuff (clematis – lovely clematis) you will get sunburned. I love that there is always more to learn and more ways to put that knowledge to good use. Here’s one more thing I found out: the more information (especially challenging educational stuff) I put into my head, the better my recall is. Does that make sense to anyone? It doesn’t especially to me, but I’ll take it. So I’ve stocked up on iTunes U stuff, and off we go. I work best when I have a little too much on my plate, brainwise. When I have slightly more to accomplish than is technically desirable. Always did – when I was in college and studying for my exams, I would get distracted by exciting things like Latin grammar and the Divine Comedy. Very odd.

I am also reading Diana Wynne Jones, because I can’t live on intellectual pursuits alone, and she is, on a good day, as much fun to read (and as easy) as Terry Pratchett and yes, that is high praise when I think that Pratchett is the best craftsman in his bracket – like Douglas Adams writing fantasy, except a tad more intertextual.

Craftsmanship is underrated. Sometimes folks make it sound like an idea alone writes a book, thereby ignoring the fact that a book with craftsmanship and with grand literary idea (say, a Dorothy Sayers detective) is a better book and a grand idea without craftsmanship (ooh, best not name any names). I like craftsmanship. I like books written for entertainment, much in the way that I have deep fondness and respect for a good pumpkin pie. Anyone tried to make a pumpkin pie from scratch? See what I mean?

Living with the limits

“In der Beschr√§nkung zeigt sich erst der Meister ”

(Goethe)

Which means something to the effect of “It is (working) within limitations that we first recognise the master"

I don’t think Goethe meant “working within the limitations of one’s own bloody stupidity” but perhaps he did. Or maybe he meant “it is working within the limitations of humanity and human politics, that we first recognise the Master.”

This day clearly needs some friendly (or at least goodlooking) aliens; instead it has a surfeit of technology and stress.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If you must

It is early Wednesday and all that comes to mind is that I wish this day were over. I sit here with my bowl of cereal and my coffee and wonder what the point is. I also wonder how I got to be the responsible one, the reliable one. (The boring one. The one without fun qualifications.)

I sit here thinking of Eeyore because really that's appropriate. I am no good at this business of being a grown-up.

But of course, true to my token reliability, I will smile, cooperate, furnish information, thinking all the while that I wish I had a talent for crocheting Benders instead.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Now that the weekend is over, here is your early-morning flashback to Friday

The voices in my head

It’s Friday and I can’t get my mind off sweet comfort – whatever form it takes in my funny, misplaced brain. The soundtrack is Bitter:Sweet and maybe some Goldfrapp – think Dirty Laundry and Black Cherry – music best heard over a cocktail in a blue-lit bar with an almost invisible dancefloor; the voices are your pick of Sam West, David Tennant when he does Shakespeare, or James Marsters. The images are from this isn’t happiness.

And the motto? The motto is Brel’s La chanson de Jacky: if I could be – for an hour only – beautiful and stupid both...

Shame that the odds of my going clubbing tonight are exactly zero, though it would be lovely to show up to work the next morning in smudged make-up and a slightly torn sequined mini-dress.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The end of civilisitation

Waffles. You can’t go wrong with waffles, right?

Only you can. The AVAM’s only marginally edible waffles were bad enough – but making a lovely, delicious, authentic Liege waffle, and then putting brie, basil and bacon on it is wrong. Yes, I take issue with it morally. Especially when somebody the puts a teeny Belgian flag on this monstrosity*.

No. You hear me? I don’t care if you’re in Seattle, you will knock it off now. Do we understand one another? Yes? Good. Now give me a proper, unadulterated waffle. Maybe with chocolate.

*Sorry, no photo. Couldn't find it again. Hope this means they have burnt it.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

More dusty old stuff

Once upon a time when life was simpler, my bestest friend and I decided that all famous people were really only about five people and a bunch of cardboard cutouts. We had an elaborate explanation of who was who and why, which I won’t go into here. My point is: I blame this for my continuing desire for cardboard cutouts. No, I don’t own any, because they’re expensive and do not travel well but if I had my way, our apartment would be filled with them. That, and a full-size replica of the TARDIS. Ideally a working replica.

Anyhoo.

I was scouting on the interwebs for some Doctor Who related Things to stem my bleeding heart (because nothing heals the soul like shopping) and thought “someone is selling David Tennant! Is that legal?” but of course it was only a cardboard cutout; which is both better and worse.

Would I purchase David Tennant? Well, it’s a lovely idea, but not very practical. Where would I put a David Tennant? What if he didn’t like my cooking? Anyway, I would certainly buy a cardboard cutout of the 10th Doctor. It would be fun to set it up in front of the door at night or when we’re away to creep out burglars.

Lord, time for the TDEC to do something useful, clearly.

Gay agenda

You know, I am going to miss the Big Gay Agenda in Doctor Who. Steve Moffat, I love him dearly, but he is straight as a...well I can’t find a simile that doesn’t sound like a sexual metaphor, but you get my point. This is the man who made us all (well, at least me) laugh until we cried with the compelling drama of one man trying to explain his lesbian spank inferno video. He is five kinds of win, just not gay win. RFD, on the other hand, being about three kinds of win and two kinds of fail, was famous for, well, Queer as Folk.

So I was reading the delightful Chicks Dig Time Lords, specifically the essay about the companions from a feminist/queer point of view. It criticised the production team for making Jack omnisexual and then making the Doctor pointedly run away from all his advances. This made me laugh out loud, so that I looked like a happy lunatic on a park bench. Ok, so I guess that the essay was about the companions, but is the giant flashing sign above the Master’s head reading “most significant emotional, not to mention so sexually loaded that it only barely gets past the BBC censors, relationship the Doctor engages in the whole of the new series” not visible to other people? Is it not worth mentioning? We’re not talking TOS era Star Trek unintentional slash here, this is full-on bloody text. Let me demonstrate:

The Doctor: I'm here.
The Master: [the Master looks up from the speaker phone, takes his cell phone out of his pocket and turns it on] Doctor.
The Doctor: Master.
The Master: [smiles] I love it when you say my name.

The other reason I laughed, by the way, is because I can quite vividly imagine running away from Jack’s advances. He does have a lot of them.

Here, for your enjoyment, is the lesbian spank inferno, to demonstrate the benefits of Steve Moffat. Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

In other news

I am reading Chicks Dig Time Lords, a collection of essays from all corners of Doctor Who fandom - and all by women. It makes for a nice counterpoint to the recent spate of mainly fanboys exclaiming how glad they are that RFD/Tennant are gone. Surely one can be enthused about the new Doctor without being rude to the previous one?

I also finally caved to the preposterous concept of Torchwood Babiez (I always hated those babiez versions of things) and found that it is actually quite, quite wonderful. Think I'm insane? Go check it out. Then we'll talk. My biggest disappointment is that there are no t-shirts. Speaking of which, let me add a picture of the t-shirt in question to my post from yesterday.

Toodle pip.

42

Like 42, Hamlet is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. We just don't know what the question is.

Every time you - the audience - fit something into place, something else pops out; the Ikea furniture from hell. So I return to it, obsessively, because this Ikea bookcase happens to be thinly disguised Chippendale, lovely in its every detail, and utterly befuddling as a whole.

I collect theories.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tracking, finding, hunting

Life is like MacGyver – you never know what you’re going to be using that pencil for.

I have a pencil, some paper clips, some chewing gum, three tea bags, an old record player and twenty-nine cents. What shall I make?

Well, I am going to start by making myself a cup of tea, because that is how most good things start. Someone’s left an Austin musical theatre camp 1993 mug, so let me rinse that out. Earl Grey, anyone? No? Ok.

That’s better.

Let me tell you a story...

Insert person from Porlock>

Recall (old stuff, newly posted)


This week, I have been mostly listening to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy*. The original radio series, which is, I think, rather better than either book or move, and hasn’t dated a bit. Douglas Adams, if only we could work some time travel on you and bring you back.

Actually, I have been mostly buried in work and work-like extra-curricular activities, so I am a trifle fatigued, but how interesting is that?

In an alternate universe, I am wearing a shirt that says “the revolution is only a t-shirt away” and sipping a daiquiri while lying in a shaded lawnchair on the deck of a sumptuous yet nearly deserted cruise liner. Actually, perhaps I am lying on my stomach in the grass underneath a gingko tree, writing in a notebook. Either way, I am wearing that shirt. Some good company would be nice too, once I finish those notes and the daiquiri. A cocktail party, all summer slacks, shirts open at the neck, pretty cocktail dresses and high heels.


*Yes, that is a Fast Show reference.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

One perfect

This morning it is the Stranglers’ Golden Brown. I truly don’t care about the meaning; though I’ve heard the stories. It is only this: a perfect mood, self-contained and languid. The harpsichord is what makes it special, much like Ray Manzarek’s keyboard makes the Doors’s Strange Days, especially in the psychedelic version he did for the movie of the same name. I digress. Golden Brown, for your song-shaped Zen.


Speaking of perfection, it occurs to me that much of the miscommunication between those of us in long term relationships and those who misguidedly aspire to perfect bliss is because the smug marrieds are so incomplete in their narratives. Let me give the only example I know well enough. The Spouse and I can certainly pass as smug marrieds; one tries not to be, but fails some of the time. We are, after all, both married and pretty happy; worst of all, we are publicly affectionate. And yet...that is obviously incomplete. Here’s my excuse: to me, the narrative of our relationship really is a happy one. Marriage really is better than I thought it would be. And what happens is that because I do, the hard stuff, the complications and the arguments all seem relatively minor and not worth dwelling on. I never expected anything else. Thought I’d just point it out, in case anyone out there still needed disabusing. I suppose that if we didn’t have that positive narrative, the struggles would be insurmountable, not worth putting up with. It takes so much motivation to keep looking for better ways, little improvements; and I can’t quite explain why that isn’t tedious and awful.

(The trouble with relationships is that, like the TARDIS, they are bigger on the inside, and the outside doesn’t really tell you much about it.)

If I didn’t have a geeky reference somewhere, how would you know it was me?

Limitations

Everybody’s busy saying how much they love Matt Smith and the new series and how Karen Gillan is wonderful and Steve Moffat is a genius and the new daleks are crap. And I agree with all of that quite enthusiastically. I do. Only then, right as I am in the midst of being enthused, I will catch a glimpse of Ten. Maybe an old review, or an old episode; or most heart-rendingly, I’ll catch a look, a sentence or a gesture of the Eleventh Doctor’s that references Ten. It shows how good both Smith and Moffat are, and yet it does nothing so much as make me homesick. It makes me miss Ten; it even makes me miss RFD’s forkstabbingworthy muscience* and emotional abuse. Sorry, Matt – Ten is, and always shall be, my Doctor.

*I am stealing from Hungarian. Hungarian, charmingly, has a prefix meaning “fake, artificial”, which I am rendering incorrectly accentless as “mu”