Monthly Archives: August 2014

Thoughts on the New Doctor

Please, if you are a fan of Doctor Who and haven’t yet seen the latest episode, go watch it and then come back. There will be spoilers here to some extent as I’m not sure I can write what I want to write without them. So, you have been warned.

Have a picture of the baby bearded dragon, Spunky, that survived from my oldest son’s dragons first clutch.

Baby bearded dragon

Baby bearded dragon

You have been warned… and yet, you stayed. First, let me start off by saying I love Capaldi’s Doctor. In many ways, he reminds me of Baker’s Doctor. That is the highest praise I can give, just so you are aware. His mannerisms are delightfully odd. I love the accent. I know that there are “fans” out there who will be upset that the Doctor is no longer “boyfriend” material – like Clara seemed to be. The writers did an excellent job putting the hand-wringers in their place – the Doctor is never about the face he wears but the man beneath it – he’s still the same man regardless of what skin he’s in. I haven’t seen much in my own twitter or facebook feeds that anyone was really having a problem with the regeneration. Perhaps because most of the people I know don’t actually watch Doctor Who and those few who do are, like me, hoping for a more alien and less teddy bear Doctor.

Regardless of what critics say, or those who would rather tear a script/show apart rather than just enjoy it, I loved the episode. I loved the references to Doctors long past – the bit with the scarf especially. The way mirrors were used throughout the episode was done well. For me though, I do believe my favorite moment was the discussion about his angry eyebrows.

I was overjoyed to find that my son, a huge Smith fan, enjoyed the new Doctor. I admit, I was concerned. Smith was his Doctor in the same way that Baker was mine – the introduction to something amazing. Certainly boy misses the bow tie but, it seems, we’ll have loads of fun watching together. We can’t wait to see what they do and where they go with this. It’s obvious they are going to tie back into Pompeii, given how he’s trying so hard to remember where he knows the face from, and it will be very interesting to see how they do it.

The boy was concerned for a moment when the Doctor and Clara were trapped but he’ll learn. It may sometimes look like he’s abandoning his companion, but always have a little faith that he knows something more, something the watcher doesn’t know. Clara knew that too, even if she was uncertain about the new face, she knew it.

I can’t wait to meet the someone who very much wants them to stay together and find out more about this Missy lady (who I don’t think I like very much at all). I am so glad that this Doctor isn’t a soft, hugging type. This Doctor is no one’s Sweetie. He still has his vulnerabilities – maybe more so now – but his gruffness and oddness make them seem less. And now I have to wait for the next episode… bah.


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Progress and the Process

Lately, progress has been hard to come by. I’m working on several things in bits and pieces mostly because none of them are speaking to me in the way I’m accustomed to. It happens sometimes but I know it never lasts too long, this murky, foggy slump where finding words is like panning for gold. I’m happy if I get even a handful of words every day when it gets like this. Every word is progress, even when, maybe especially when they are fighting me at every turn.

Sometimes, when it gets like this, I play around with my process. I am not an outline sort of girl. I’ve done them, I’ve used them. For me, writing with an outline takes all the fun out of it. I like not knowing what’s coming next. Yes, sometimes it leads me down nonrelevant side threads and knots things up but that’s what edits and rewrites are for. I enjoy it when my characters surprise me.

I know some writers who do as much if not more background work as they do writing and it works for them in a way I’m sometimes a bit envious of. I’ve tried working that way and, instead of making things easier, it did the opposite. It felt restrictive and cumbersome. I suppose you can’t know what will work best for you unless you try different methods. It’s something everyone seems to be interested in – how each writer does their thing. Sure, you don’t hear much about it until their fanbase gets pretty solid, but every new writer I’ve come across tends to ask about method at least once. I guess I don’t really have one. I write what comes into my head, research as I go, and hope for the best. And do a number of rewrites to smooth out the edges.

Now that the kids are back in school, everything should get a bit easier. Or, if not easier, I’ll have more time to dig, pan, and fight for those words that are being more stubborn then I’m used to

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Doctor Who

Only a few more days before the new  Doctor comes… It’s getting harder to wait. The oldest boy and I are waiting anxiously for different reasons. He’s only really known Nu Who. I grew up with the rest of them. I’m hoping we get taken back to a place where the Doctor is less flirty and less touchy feely. From what I’m reading in articles, that should be the case. My oldest boy loves Smith’s Doctor and he was quite sad when the Raggedy man regenerated. I, on the other hand, was thrilled. 

Baker’s Doctor is my favorite with Eccleston’s coming in a close second. I like my Doctor a little darker with a wild, unpredictable edge. Where Baker was childish, Eccleston was reckless. They both were fantastic. I’m hoping very much that Capaldi will be much more like them. It helps to know that Capaldi is a huge Who fan. To me it means that he’ll take care in his representation. You can’t ask for better than that.

I know I’ll likely post again on this after watching his first episode but there’s so much I want to say about the matter. Doctor Who holds a very special place in my heart, much the way that Star Trek does, and Twin Peaks and X Files, and all for the same reason. I am queen of this geekdom, as was my mother before me. She is the reason that fantasy and science fiction hold such large roles in the things that I like. When I was very little, she didn’t want me watching Doctor Who as she felt it would scare me. I would sneak into the living room and watch it from behind the couch anyway. Baker’s Doctor enthralled me and, by the time my mom realized what I was doing, it was too late. After that, I got to watch sitting next to her. Until she remarried and I wasn’t allowed to watch TV anymore anyway. 

When Eccleston’s Doctor hit the air, I was thrilled and nervous, wondering if there was any way it could be as awesome as it had been when I was tiny. I was so relieved when it was and then so heartbroken when the regeneration came so very soon – too soon. I had a hard time transitioning to Tennant’s Doctor but, in rewatching, I can admit to thoroughly enjoying his time as Doctor as well. When Smith came along, he was, to me, too young and too human. The oldest boy took interest about half way through Smith’s tenure and I think he’s hoping for a different kind of Doctor than I am. It will be interesting to see what happens. Oldest child is wearing his TARDIS socks today in honor of the show (and the fact that one of his teachers appears to be a Whovian too). The youngest boy likes everything the oldest boy likes so, he watches too.

It’s become a thing I can share with my kids the way my mom did with me (though I never made them hide behind the furniture to see it). She can’t be here to see them, to know them, but, with the Doctor, and all those other wonderful shows and movies, I can share a piece of her with them. She encouraged science fiction and fantasy in all things and I’ve done the same with my own children. In these wide and beautiful and sometimes scary worlds where anything can happen and nothing is exactly what it seems, you find wonder and amazement and hope. Those things matter. 


Filed under Fun, Geek, kids, Memories, Parenting, TV

Back To work. Sort of

Today is the first day of the school year for my kids. That should mean I can get a lot of writing done. It doesn’t, but it should. Today I am procrastinating. Or, I am now that my current reviews for the Geek Girl Project are done. I am going to enjoy having a few hours of quiet. I got to eat a candy bar without having to share it! Now, I’m going to take a nap without everyone trying to talk to me! At least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen but the dogs are still here and could decide at any moment to sing to me. Or sit on me as the case may be. Tomorrow is soon enough for real words again. Today is for decompression and enjoying the solitude. My break will be over sooner than later and we started at 4:30 this morning, thanks to the thunder storms that rolled through. I love my kids but sometimes, I really need a few minutes to myself.

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That Constant Companion

There are a lot of people writing about depression today and with good reason. It is unfortunate that the subject only gets discussed in the wake of tragedy.

Depression is something I don’t talk about much myself. I’ve been dancing with it for a long time and I don’t like discussing it anymore. I have analyzed it. I have shone the light on it. I know where it comes from and even why.  I avoid it in my writing for the most part (entirely if we discount all the scores of terrible high school poems I wrote).

I’m not silent because I am ashamed of it. I don’t keep it to myself because I’m embarrassed by it. I will talk about it if the discussion comes up. I just don’t often feel that my enemy deserves to be noticed. My archenemy, my nemesis. My Jabberwocky. It’s big, fierce, and scary. It’s always just around the corner, lurking in the shadows, waiting to snatch me up in its biting jaws.

Unfortunately, I can’t bring my Jabberwocky down just by not believing in it. It will be there whether or not I believe. But I am armed with something better than disbelief – knowledge and understanding. Knowing where it comes from, understanding what it is that feeds that monster. Knowing that if the monster gets to big, there are people out there who are just a phone call or car ride away that can help.

(that movie version of the Jabberwocky seemed much scarier to me in 1985 and the remembered version is the one I’ve always pictured in my head when I’m having a rough day)

There are resources available but most of the people I know who battle depression don’t use them. I’m sure they all have their very valid, to them, reasons for that. I do too. But, I hope that if I were ever to be at a point where the Jabberwocky nipped a little too close, I’d be able to pick up the phone and make that call, talk to someone, commit myself, do whatever it took not to let the Jabberwocky win.





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Star Wars for the First Time

I think it would be amazing to go back in time and watch Star Wars for the first time again. The closest I will ever get is watching my kids experience it for the first time. Star Wars is one of my favorite things and, as such, it’s played more often than many many other movies. I should also note that we watch the original theatrical release (they’re on the bonus discs of the remastered box set).

Apparently, though the movies have been on in the house, my youngest child never really paid attention – more interested in searching for commercials in german on YouTube. We had a dreary day on vacation and I’d brought the set so we started watching. Only made it through A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. Today is dreary and we are watching my favorite – Return of the Jedi.

Watching my kid watch these for the first time is about the most fun I’ve had all summer. He’s told the Rancor that “Luke is not for eating,” declared the battle on the sand barges to be epic, cheered when Boba Fett falls into Sarlac, and yelled at Salacious Crumb for hurting C3PO.

He gets a little concerned when the heroes split up for any reason, always concerned that something will happen to the others (thanks Empire Strikes Back). He did better about Yoda’s death than I expected but mostly because Obi Wan’s ghost showed up. He cried when he thought the Emperor would kill Luke, cheered when Vader became Anakin again, and giggled through the yub nub song. Can’t beat that.

Outside of the core group, I think his favorite character is Ackbar, he keeps running around saying “It’s a trap!” As fun as this has been, it’s a little sad to know it will never happen again. You can only experience something for the first time once. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here, how often he asks to watch it on rainy days.

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Today is a day for counting. Counting down the days until school is back in session (10!). Counting the words I’ve written on a story that started becoming something more than a tiny kernel of a thing I chewed on while falling asleep. Counting loads of laundry and dishes. Later maybe I’ll count how many things I can kill before I die in Doom 3 (so far my grand total is five…). Some of those numbers will be higher than others…

I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with this story. I don’t usually write from this perspective or in this style but it fits the character and her story so it must be done. Besides, if it sucks, I can change it around later. I like using a more open POV for the most part. A nice limited third seems to be my comfort zone. I’ve played in other POVs before when the story (or assignment) called for it but first person is something I’ve purposefully stayed away from. Mostly because I tend to go on tangents in first person that I don’t or can’t in third. Second person is a nice exercise but it doesn’t really lend itself toward my style and feels gimmicky.  This story wouldn’t work quite as well in third I don’t think.

The story has been sort of hanging out in the back of brain, trying to find the right voice. It’s probably been lurking for a few months now. I was puttering around yesterday and came across a market I’d like to try with this story and, while I’m not sure I’ll have this project finished within the submission window, now I need to finish the story. I can’t try if I’ve got nothing to submit. If need be, I’ll sit on it when it is finished until one it opens back up again or until I find another market that will work.

I’m procrastinating at the moment because I’m looking for a word that I can’t think of. It is just beyond my reach. I know I know this word and I know I’ll think of this word. Unfortunately, it will probably be when I’m busy and can’t write it down and then I’ll forget it again. Now, I’ll add these nearly four hundred words to my daily count and get back to work.

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Time is weird

Sometimes, time goes by so slowly, you wonder how you’ll ever get through the next hour. But then there is the rest of the time where everything moves so fast you can’t believe it.

My baby is eight years old today. I look at him and I remember his new baby smell, all the middle of the night cuddles. Now, I’m lucky if I can get a hug because he’s too old for all that. I do miss the simple times that were his first few years (if we don’t count the reflux anyway), but I am so proud of the kid he’s becoming.


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Family Time

I’ve been gone for a few days – off in the middle of no where with no wifi and pretty awful cell reception. I’m not much for fishing or really being disconnected but the kids had fun and we got to pal around with the brother-in-law and his wife and kidlet. This is the third year we’ve done it and the first year I took my laptop with me. Ultimately, I managed to get three short stories finished up and just about ready for submission.  I also made it to the fast food joint half an hour away on Wednesday to send in this week’s Face Off recap for The Geek Girl Project.  To top it all off, I read four books and actually caught two fish (this is surprising only because I really don’t like fishing).

Apparently I missed some really neat stuff – space probe Rosetta orbited a comet and sent back awesome and interesting pictures, Geek & Sundry got picked up by Legendary, and Guardians of the Galaxy is doing super well in theaters (one of these day’s I’ll get to see it).

I won’t lie – I’m super glad to be home. Now I’ve got to get ready for the youngest child’s birthday on Saturday (how is it possible he’s going to be eight??) and ready for the school year (only 13 days!).  I love my kids but I am really ready for school to be back in session. It’s going to be a busy two weeks but after that there shall be many many words and maybe I’ll get my two current projects finished up.

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Being Prepared

Some people call them preppers like it’s a bad word, mostly because the common perception of the prepper mentality comes from television shows like “Doomsday Preppers.” Sure, there are some that are prepping for some outlandish scenario but, in actuality, the idea of being prepared is such a good one.

Right now, there is undoubtedly someone in the Toledo area who isn’t as worried about the water situation because they already have a stockpile of stored water and aren’t they looking smart right about now?

The algae bloom that contaminated the water there isn’t unheard of and could happen in many more places than Toledo. I’m not saying we all need to run out and start getting ourselves ready for whatever version of the apocalypse you believe in. I am saying it’s not the worst idea to make sure you have some sort of backup plan – water, food, medications. Just the hint of a big snow storm will wipe the grocery store shelves clean of bread, water, and toilet paper. At least, that’s how it is around here.

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