autographedcat: (doctor who - big damn heroes)

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, and we’ve been enjoying the first day of our long weekend with lots of good food and a mini-marathon of Doctor Who.

I’ve always been a huge Doctor Who fan, dating back to when I was a kid.  My room looked like a Doctor Who museum gift shop exploded in it.  I watched every episode, read every book, and bought every poster and collectable I could get my hands on.  Doctor Who fandom in the 1980s was a pretty small group in the US, but we were die-hard.

When the show relaunched in 2005, I was elated, and it once again became appointment television.  Up until the middle of season six or so, at least.  But something about the tenor of the developing storyline with Amy, Rory, and River was bothering me.  It just didn’t feel right;1  I still can’t really articulate it, the whole story that was developing over the beginning of season 6 just didn’t sit well with me.

There wasn’t a breaking point; there wasn’t a moment where I threw down the remote and said “That’s it, I’m done!”2  But something was corrupted in my download of the subsequent episode, and I needed to go and re-download it3 and then we got distracted with this thing and that thing and….the next thing I knew, time had passed and we still hadn’t gone back to pick it up.  The things I was hearing about the developing storylines didn’t actually make me feel like I wanted to come back to it, either.  I did watch “Asylum of the Daleks” with runnerwolf, and the Christmas special “The Snowmen”, because those were setting up the new companion.  The first just refreshed my annoyance with the Rory/Amy storyline, and the second I liked well enough to say I wanted to watch the series again, but not so much that I immediately made room in my schedule for it.

Then, this last week, they aired the 50th Anniversary episode.

I had been keeping an eye on the lead up to the festivities, but I figured I’d wait and see what they actually did with it before committing to watching it.  Multi-Doctor stories are tricky at the best of times, and I was a bit wary of what they might do with it.  But after it aired I heard nothing but good things4, so I pulled it down and we settled in to watch it on Monday night.

To say I loved it would be an understatement.  I’d been intending all week to write a more detailed reaction to it, but this was an episode that felt so perfectly right to me, with the right balance in tone between funny and serious, paid the right nods of respect to the classic series, and managed to hit a big reset button on some of the recent continuity in such a way that preserved the effect while lifting the staggering burden from the Doctor’s shoulders so that he can move on without being blithe and simply deciding to ignore the monumental consequences of his actions.5

The net result of this has been a revitalisation of my interest in the adventures of the good Doctor, so today we settled down over our Thanksgiving dinner to start watching again.  We’re not going back to where we left off — I’m still not entirely ready to watch the rest of the Ponds’s saga — but we did pick up with “The Bells of Saint John”, which was the first proper episode featuring Clara as a companion.  We got through four of them today, which is rather a lot in one stretch for us any more, and I’m finding myself quite engaged.  Some of this is due to Clara herself.  She really reminds me more of an old-school companion in her relationship to the Doctor, and she’s smart and very capable.  The details of her unfolding mystery are interesting enough, but mostly I just like her personality.

We expect to watch the remaining four episodes we’re behind on over the weekend.  I hope everyone had a wonderful day, and that, regardless of whether you are in the US or not, that you spent it enjoying life with people  you love.


  1. I expressed this to my friend Jeff, who has been my best friend since we were twelve and is also a devoted fan of the show.  He said, “I’m sorry you don’t like them.” and I explained that it wasn’t that I disliked them.  I loved Amy and Rory to death, and what I didn’t like was what was being DONE to them. 

  2. In fact, the last episode we watched was “The Doctor’s Wife” by Neil Gaiman, which I loved to bits. 

  3. I still download the episodes off the underwebs.  I don’t trust BBCA not to make a dog’s breakfast out of the episodes cutting them down for time, after the travesty of their edits on “The Eleventh Hour”. 

  4. Even Zander Nyrond, who has been a bitter critic of the new series, wrote “that actually wasn’t bad. I shall probably watch it again, and who knows, it might even make “rather good.”" 

  5. Doctor Who has never been the world’s most continuity-conscious shows in the best of times, but there are some elements you really do have to resolve on screen. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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Reposing from [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi. Feel free to RSVP here or there.

We still haven't decided a date for movie night, but we are gonna do a Firefly marathon tomorrow for anyone interested. Not Serenity, Firefly - Wash Lives!

Show up around 11 and we'll keep running them until everyone's sick and tired of it! (One cat, no indoor smoking, bring snacks if you want but we will have food - no one's going hungry in this house if I can help it! :) )

[If you need directions, just drop a note here or email me at autographedcat at gmail dot com.]
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Last night, [livejournal.com profile] thatcrazycajun made a post about his mixed feelings on the holiday season. I've been giving this some thought since I read it last night, because I've lately been of two minds about Christmas.

I love Christmas. I love the atmosphere it creates. I love winter. I love the lights, and the music, and the sheer joy that permeates every part of it. People are friendlier, and more giving, and more outwardly focused at Christmastime, and I love that.

I should note that I was raised agnostic. I've never had a deep, personal, spiritual relationship with the Christmas season, so my love for the holiday doesn't have to get tangled up with how I feel about the actual implications of Christological mythology.

At the same time, I feel a little empty at Christmas, because Christmas is so very much about family, and mine isn't here. It seems I never have the luxury of time to go and visit mine during the holidays, and even if I could, it's been over a decade since my grandfather, the axis around which my entire family world revolved when I was a child, passed away. My cousins all have children, and have begun to spin their own family worlds, and having been absent the last 20 years, I'm not really a part of it.

Some years ago, I went to pick [livejournal.com profile] khaosworks up from [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse and [livejournal.com profile] ladyat's home on Christmas Day. I arrived as the family gift exchange was in full swing, and so I stood and watched a while waiting for Terence to be done. And watching it made me feel...not bad, really...but somehow that while I was certainly welcome to be there, I wasn't really a part of what was going on. I was an observer, not a participant. And I realised at that moment what I deeply, truly, achingly missed from my own life -- that sense of total belonging. I'm not entirely sure I feel it anywhere, any more.

[livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I have our own little Christmas traditions. We're low-key people, and we do low-key things. But there's a part of me that really misses the noisy, warm, chaotic love of Christmas morning with the whole family gathered for food and gifts and running around the yard.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
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This is delightful. I'm now ready for Christmas



(h/t [livejournal.com profile] elgecko
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Due to the timing of the holidays this year, I have three long weekends in a row, of which this is the middle one. Last weekend, of course, was Christmas, which featured a lovely Orphan's Dinner at Alice's (where, I have it from reliable sources, you can get everything you want -- excepting Alice), which featured marvelous food, and great conversation. It did mean we skipped out on our Christmas Day tradition of going to see a movie, but that's ok. I need to work on being more social anyway, and this was a lovely way to do it.

This weekend is even more quiet. Ever since [livejournal.com profile] bedlamhouse and [livejournal.com profile] ladyat moved to Indiana, we just haven't felt drawn to any of the varied New Year's gatherings. So we spent New Year's Eve at home, watching TV and playing video games. We've just recently wrapped up season one of NBC's marvelous police drama Life, which my darling [livejournal.com profile] sweetmusic_27 turned me onto some while ago and we finally got around to watching. Today, i went for a haircut and a massage, and then dropped by Fry's to pick up season two (alas, the final season...sometimes, I think it's better if shows get canceled *before* I really get into them. I feel less guilty that way). So that will probably fill our spare viewing time coming up.

Next weekend is Gafilk, and I'm both ready for it to be here already and panicking that there's just not enough time. Truth told, pretty much what can be done has been done, and there's nothing left to do now but show up and play the music. I'm really looking forward to it!
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I posted this last year, and I think it still applies. There are many New Year's wishes. This one is mine.

Hello, and welcome to 2008.

In 2008, may you spend more time looking forward, not looking back.

In 2008, may you spend more time making grand plans and executing them, inviting your soul and being creative, and living life to the fullest.

In 2008, may you spend more time doing small, special things for your friends, your family, your loved ones.

In 2008, may you spend more time laughing, and making music, and increasing the joy in the people around you.

In 2008, may you spend more time helping each other, and holding each other, and saying "I love you" to each other.

Best wishes to you all. The best is yet to be.
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Everyone has a favourite Christmas song.  Mine is "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

The BBC news site has a nice article about the song..  Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi for sending me the link.

Merry Christmas, everyone.
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Today, our friends in the UK celebrate Guy Fawkes day, a holiday that most Americans find confusing because, near as they can figure, English history starts in 1585 and largely ends in 1814.

Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] scarletdemon wrote a lovely treatise on the history of the occasion a couple of years ago, and it's still there for you to enjoy now.
In 1605, English Catholics were angry that they did not have equal rights, so their leader (Pope Trevor the Third) signed what Catholics call a "Fatwa" and sent it to Guy Fawkes to be carried out. Fawkes assembled a band of like-minded terrorists and they decided to assassinate King James I, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy, in one fell swoop, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening. They saw themselves as soldiers of fortune, helping people in need. But who were these desperate men? Guy Fawkes had chosen some of the best minds in pyrotechnic history: Himself, George Handel, Arthos, Porthos, Shakespeare, Dogtanian and fuse specialist Artemis Richlieu. Their famous cry of "Penny For The Guy And One For All!" has become a regular catch-phrase for children begging outside corner-shops (with their Guy Fawkes effigies), even today.
Go read the whole post. It's delightful stuff.
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Hello, and welcome to 2007.

In 2007, may you spend more time looking forward, not looking back.

In 2007, may you spend more time making grand plans and executing them, inviting your soul and being creative, and living life to the fullest.

In 2007, may you spend more time doing small, special things for your friends, your family, your loved ones.

In 2007, may you spend more time laughing, and making music, and increasing the joy in the people around you.

In 2007, may you spend more time helping each other, and holding each other, and saying "I love you" to each other.

Best wishes to you all. The best is yet to be.
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This one goes out to all you art majors out there -- and anyone who ever had to sit through an art history class. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sotto_voce for pointing it out to me!





Warning: while visually SFW, it does contain some bad language.

(Here's the link to the page on YouTube)
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With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, it's time to look forward to December. I love this season, no matter whether it is Christmas or Solstice or Hanukkah or something else entirely, or even if it's just December. Folks just seem more decent and nice to one another, and the days seem cheerier, and the world is a brighter and happier place. So, in that theme, some holiday oriented links to get the season off to a good start:


  • Tris McCall's Christmas Abstract
    Ok, I know I post this every year, but I just love this entire essay. Tris McCall runs down all the popular Christmas music and offers opinions on them, according to a very specific and idiosyncratic criteria. I don't agree with everything there, but it's compelling reading. Some excerpts

    Linus and Lucy

    Speaking of Peanuts, I consider A Charlie Brown Christmas the high point of Western civilization. Okay, I'm kidding. A little. No, really, since Christian theology has been the font for monumental artistic expression from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to Of The Heart, Of The Soul, and Of The Cross, it's possible to see the Peanuts special as a sort of crown -- a succinct and poetic articulation of ancient principles. If you can understand why Charlie Brown chooses the tiniest and most unhealthy-looking tree in the lot, you're at least halfway to the proper spirit in which to approach the Gospels. Incidentally, the famous Linus speech I alluded to in the last entry is Luke 2.8-14, straight from the King James Version. I don't think that is made clear during the program. CBS certainly knew, and they were shitting bricks that audiences would find the special too preachy. This was 1965; in 2003, a project like this one doesn't even get out of the gate. Thank God it's been grandfathered in as an annual event -- by now it's too much of an institution for the seculars to gripe about St. Schulz, and really, how much Heatmiser can a person take?

    Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

    God, what a retarded song. What the hell is a "cup of cheer"? It must have taken the composers all of three minutes to put together this lyric. Here are the rhymes, or what passes for them: year/cheer, street/meet, see/me, hear/year. It is a damning critique of our culture that it makes songs like this inescapable for a full twelfth of our lives. Anybody who thinks there's any ground for substituting "Holly Jolly Christmas" for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" -- on progressive grounds or otherwise -- deserves to have to listen to records like this. "Have a holly jolly Christmas/ and in case you didn't hear," it wraps up, before it repeats the title as if there are only five words in the whole world. I heard.


    I love Christmas music, so a huge long catalog of the best and worst of the genre is always worth revisiting.

  • Speaking of revisiting, if you've ever wondered how some of those Christmas classics came to be written, here's a wonderful article that goes into just that history. Definitely fun reading.

  • Atlanta's free altweekly newspaper, Creative Loafing, has a great article this week on Seventeen ways you can make a difference, even if you're broke. The specific contact info for various volunteer organizations tends to be Atlanta-specific, as is to be expected, but the ideas given here are universal. If you find you have a little spare time or energy this holiday season, see if you can't find some inspiration here to go and make a difference in someone's life.

  • Finally, just for enjoyment, absolutely the coolest home holiday lights display I've ever seen. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] danea for pointing me towards it.

    I hope everyone has an utterly fantastic holiday season!
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When last we left our intrepid ACat, it was the week before Christmas (and all through the house...) and I had intended to write another post within 24 hours that caught everything up to the current day. Having failed to do that then, I shall endeavor to do it now. Isn't this so much better than six geese-a-laying?

Well, keep the receipt, just in case it isn't. )
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Wow, i really did disappear. I didn't mean to, honest. And for once, I can't say that the reason I haven't been writing is because things have been boring and nothings going on. Rather the opposite, in fact. So, rather than try to write six weeks worth of LJ in a couple of hours, which would probably bore us both to tears, let me explain.

No, there is no time. Let me sum up...

  • OVFF was all kinds of fun. By this point, most of my enduring memories are going to be rather dull to the majority of you (and tend to fall mostly in the category of "Mmmm, she's snuggly"), but I did have a marvelous time surrounding myself with the music, and even played a little more during the weekend than I usually find myself. The pirate hallway circle [livejournal.com profile] alymid, [livejournal.com profile] joecoustic and I started was an especial highlight.

    There were some people I had wanted to spend a little more time with, and didn't get to for a variety of reasons, but on the whole I had a marvelous time and miss everyone terribly already.

  • [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I attended the first meeting of a proposed monthly Atlanta poly discussion/support group, which was both entertaining and interesting. We've really enjoyed getting to know some of the people in the local poly community ever since we discovered there actually was such a thing. New friends are always a blessing, and and many of these folks are just plain fun to be around. I'm glad we've met them, and look forward to getting to know them even better as time goes by.

  • [livejournal.com profile] khaosworks came over to spend the weekend with us over Thanksgiving. [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi prepared a rather impressive spread of food, including a delightful Chicken Roulade stuffed with apricots and cranberries, ginger sweet potatoes, broccoli and cheese, chestnut stuffing with gravy, and yeast rolls. There was easily enough for 6-8 people, so we had leftovers for a few days. It was all kinds of yummy. We played a lot of City of Heroes, watched a lot of Sex and the City and Dead Like Me on DVD (we're only just watching both series, the former thanks to Netflix, the latter because I bought it after many recommendations).

    [livejournal.com profile] khaosworks also brought along several of his Dr. Who DVDs, giving me the chance to see "Tomb of the Cyberman" for the very first time. I always was a big fan of Troughton's Doctor, and this is one of his finer stories, only recently restored after being recovered in 1992. Great fun.

  • Went to a party at the home of [livejournal.com profile] baiku and [livejournal.com profile] celticmoni, which was a lot of fun. The invitation asked us to bring Christmas music, so I burned my entire Christmas music folder of mp3s to a DVD-R -- slightly over 2 gb of songs. I hope they get some use of it, since we never did get around to playing any of it at the time, but there was good food and company, so it was well worthwhile.

  • We made it to the first Atlanta housefilk since before Worldcon in December. (Not that there haven't BEEN any...we just hadn't made it to any. Well, we tried to attend in November, but no one else showed up. But I digress....) Had a lot of fun swapping songs with [livejournal.com profile] mrpsyklops and [livejournal.com profile] hilfy and everyone else who managed to show up for a wonderful evening of food and music at Dave and Signe's.

  • JediMUD's coder retired on us in November, leading us to search for a new one. In the course of trying to work my own friends network to find possibly interested people, I asked a good buddy of mine if he knew anyone who might be interested in a coder position on a mud. Turns out, he was. So [livejournal.com profile] bardiclug is now in charge of the 1s and 0s at Jedi.

    We've been having some very interesting talks about the future, and what we want out of the game. The next 2 years should be quite an interesting time for us all, but I'm very excited about some of the things we're thinking of doing.

  • Work has variably stressy through this entire period. We finally got in some new equipment to alleviate some performance issues in one of our systems, which has resulted in my working 3rd shift for the last week and a half, as we transfer data to the new equipment in stages after hours when customers are busy sleeping and dreaming.

    It's funny, because I enjoy this sort of thing in small doses. It's quiet, I get to work from home, and I feel like I've accomplished a lot. But nearly 2 solid weeks of it gets tiring, and I feel disconnected from everyone. I'm hoping that tomorrow will be the last batch of this project, so that I can go back to normal hours on Monday. Especially since...

  • [livejournal.com profile] eloren had her baby on Saturday, and we all welcomed Rachel Shea into the world. When I talked to her on Sunday, both mom and daughter were doing well, and I got to have the fun of telling everyone at work on Monday when I went in for our department meeting, but it DOES means I'm going to miss her for the next few weeks while she is on leave and doing the whole new mom thing.

And that catches us up on the really big stuff, I guess, up to last week, and I think I'll break off here and try to start some more regular entries from this point forward. :)

Sorry to vanish for so long. I'll try not to do that again.
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We're 2/3s of the way towards establishing a tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day. Last year, we waited until the 25th to see The Two Towers, so this year we decided to go see Return of the King. Since [livejournal.com profile] khaosworks was in town and hadn't seen it yet either, we offered to swing by and pick up him up from Bedlam House.

When we arrived, the entire Sutton family was in the middle of doing their Christmas morning gift exchange, so we sat awhile to wait before dragging Terence away. I spent some time playing with the baby and keeping him in good humour while wrapping paper and bows flew every which way and people reacted to their gifts.

At some point, both [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I were struck with a real sense of...displacement. We were observers in the middle of this wonderful, warm family dynamic, an interweaving of traditions and customs born of years of love and care and we became painfully aware that we didn't have anything like that in our life. I haven't been home for Christmas in 15 years, for a variety of reasons that no longer seem important. I doubt it matters, since I'm sure that my family is no longer doing the big get-togethers like they used to do when my grandfather was alive, anyway.

Still, for all the feeling of nostalgia for something i never actually have been a part of, it was really wonderful to watch the sheer joy of the season enacted in a living room between a family only starting to expand into its next generation. This is the family Christmas of post cards and story telling, and it's really happening in at least one house in Atlanta. If someone ever manages to bottle that, send me a six-pack.
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Yes that's right, today is Christmas. So even if you don't celebrate it, have a merry one, ok?

Speaking of Christmas, one of the lovely things about the season is the music. No, really. And yesterday, I came across this lovely dissection of various Christmas music and carols by Tris McCall. Wonderful, biting commentary, some surprisingly deep thoughts on religion and spirituality (of which more in my next post), and a good time for everyone. [livejournal.com profile] oreouk especially needs to see this one!

If you ever wondered how some of those Christmas classics were written, check out this cool webpage
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Because if the season is about anything, it's about being traumatized by a large bearded man in a red suit
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Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best
wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible,
low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the
winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable
traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or
their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions
at all... and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and
medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally
accepted calendar year of 2004, but not without due respect for
the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions
to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that
America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the
only "America" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to
the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith,
choices of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.


By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This
greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It
implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of
the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited
by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until
the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes
first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or
issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
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"Besides, to believe in Santa Claus is to believe in magic. The belief in magic in many respects is a pernicious thing. Because of it you've got countless multitudes thinking that aliens abduct people, that Elvis is alive, that you can earn big money stuffing envelopes in your home, and that the TV preacher can cure you if you send him 50 bucks. A certain class of persons, of whom your columnist is one, will go through their lives attempting to extinguish these foolish hopes. No doubt in the main it is good that we do so. But even the sternest among us remembers the wonder we felt as children to think there was a force having a kindly interest in us that wasn't bound by the rules of this drab world. Wherefore if there's someone who's going to say flat out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, it's not going to be me."
--Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope
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"Also, a general question: Does anyone actually like that "12 Days of Christmas"" song? I mean, aside from the drunkenly bellowing "Five GOLDEN RINGS!!!" part. Every time it comes on, I cringe knowing it's going to be on for six or seven minutes of enforced jollity. It's like the "Stairway to Heaven" of Christmas carols, the one whose original charm has entirely rubbed off and has managed stick in the canon simply by sheer barnacle-like tenacity. Dump it, I say!"
--John Scalzi

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