Monthly Archives: January 2016

Thoughts on The Doctor

With recent news of Moffat leaving the show and the possibility of Capaldi leaving too after the 2017 season, I’m incredibly saddened by the thought and especially the utter glee coming from some of 11’s fangirls. Granted, they likely had the same thoughts about me when I got so excited that 11 was on his way out as he may well be my least favorite Doctor (who isn’t 5 whose only sin is not being 4). I was heartbroken when 4 left and when 9 was ripped away. Capaldi feels like my Doctor. He comes off as a bit flighty but he is incredibly sly, savy, and smart, and absolutely a riot. He feels like he’s brought the character back to his roots and I don’t want him to go.

I’m not opposed to a female Doctor or a black Doctor or a purple Doctor or a non-humanoid Doctor for that matter. I don’t want 12 to go yet, no matter who is being looked at for the future. There are things I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see a face that would lessen the roles played by certain companions or friends. I don’t want for the gender or color or features to be the sole reason for casting. I want a Doctor who can talk of scarves and question marks or wear a stalk of celery. I like the nods to long ago Doctors and long ago friends and the crazy, alienness that Capaldi brought back to the Doctor and the Tardis. No one can quite match Baker but Capaldi came awful close for me and that’s saying a lot.

I am super excited about getting a new companion at long last. I was not a fan of most of Clara’s tenure, with the surprising exception of the last few of her episodes. I hope it’s someone new and I hope it’s someone who isn’t looking for a boyfriend. I hope it’s someone who challenges the Doctor but doesn’t overshadow him. Donna was incredibly important but she did it in a way that didn’t feel like the show was suddenly all about Donna. Clara became the only important character for a time, even more important than the Doctor, the Tardis, all the rest of humanity. I want someone interesting but not necessarily any more important than any of the rest of us.

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The X Files and All The Feels

I’ve done my less personal reviews of the X Files for the Geek Girl Project – See Part One and Part Two but there are some personal feelings I have about it that don’t really belong there.

I’m not shy about talking about my mother, from whom I inherited the crown to this, my fabulous Geekdom. She introduced me to all the best things. I remember watching Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Buck Rogers with her when I was very small. One day we had an earthquake during Wonder Woman (we lived in Washington at the time). (I admit, my father – the guy who doesn’t do fantasy or science fiction except for what I write – took me to see Star Wars – that was never Mom’s cuppa.)

Then came the X Files. It was treated differently than all the other shows we’d watched together. From the moment the pilot aired, we were solid hooked. It was an order pizza, turn out the lights, unplug the phone event every week that we could share as a family, me, my mom, and my brother (though I don’t think he remembers it much). Other people joined us or didn’t, depending on schedules.

The revival has stirred a LOT of emotions for me. My mom always identified pretty heavily with Dana Scully – an intelligent woman, a feisty redhead who didn’t need a man to be considered a whole person by everyone around her. I nearly burst into tears when Dana came on the screen. Gillian Anderson has aged well and reminds me a great deal of my mother, especially during her strawberry blonde/ soft red phase (before she discovered the copper penny color she loved so much).

It was hard to watch the show and not have someone to throw around speculation and theories after it was done. My family puts up with me doing so anyway but it isn’t the same. I could put them here and air them out but that is also not the same. I guess it’s the one social interaction that I do want to be face to face.

Watching now feels a lot like watching then and that’s awesome. It’s hard to recapture that kind of magic but, for me, I think it’s been quite good at managing. I know that, if my mom were still around, we’d at the very least be on the phone the moment it was over if not making the effort to watch together. That’s the part that makes watching hard. It’s a little like watching Babylon 5 without her or ST:TNG or Sea Quest or VR 5 or Earth 2 (we really watched them ALL). It feels the same watching Doctor Who.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating when I say that watching the new episodes feels like coming home to visit with old friends. It really does. I’ll watch them all and love them but they’ll all make me a little sad too, make me miss my mom a little bit more. She would love what they are doing as she would not have enjoyed how they left the line they are tugging. I’ll be watching. Just as I always have. When it’s done, I will miss it all over again.

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Annoyed

There’s a great deal I want to write about today but most of it is going to wait until tomorrow. Instead, I’m going to bitch about diets – not mine but my father’s diet. We went out to lunch at Eat N Park. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that my dad is a cardiac patient and as such, he follows a pretty strict diet because if he doesn’t, he ends up back in the hospital! Eat N Park has always had a nutritional pamphlet and that pamphlet is why he chose Eat N Park over Bob Evans (which has the massive kitchen guide)  or one of the little local diners (where you have to actually talk to the cook). It seems that Eat N Park has decided (according to the local manager) to discontinue the practice of having actual paper pamphlets on hand, instead, directing their customers to Google it or something about an App. I missed a large part of this conversation as my dad and stepmom got there first.

I’m a little put out by the fact that, when the MANAGER realized that there was a dietary issue with a customer who, for whatever reason, could not access the pdf nutritional information he did nothing. He did not get his own phone and access the information, he did not offer to look it up on a computer or ask the kitchen. Nope. His one and only response was that corporate discontinued that practice.

I don’t know if their allergy information is contained in the same way but if it is, that’s just asking for a reaction. I know it’s shocking in this day and age but not everyone relies solely on the internet for their information/communication. My dad’s phone isn’t always smart (often it has trouble connecting to the internet) and my stepmom has an old flip phone. It seems to me that a great number of people who need to be checking the salt content of a dish or sugars and carbs are exactly the kind of people who don’t necessarily have a smart phone with the ability to check nutritional information.

Seriously, what happens if the network goes down?

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Dino Day #4

This week I’m going to be writing about the Megalosaurus. Initially, the bone that was found was thought to be part of a Roman elephant and then a giant before it was finally accurately identified as a dinosaur bone. The Megalosaurus is in fact the first scientifically named non-avian dinosaur and credited with being the first dinosaur skeleton discovered but, logically, I tend to disagree with that, just given the prevalence of dragons in mythology.

Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs

Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs

It was bipedal with short arms tipped with hooked claws and weighed in at between 1.5 and 2 tons. It was portrayed for a very long time as being quadrupedal and looking more like a monitor lizard type animal.

A complete specimen has never been found and some of the bones that have been found have been lost to history, leaving only drawings of their existence. Some of the evidence that has been found suggests that the Megalosaurus’ head was overly large for it’s body but there is not enough fossil evidence to say anything for certain.

Famous Megalosaurus:  Earl Sinclair from the TV show Dinosaurs was supposed to be a Megalosaurus.

 

 

 

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Easy To Please

At least when the medium is some variation of film I am. With books, I’m incredibly critical. I can enjoy a story and dislike the writing of it or vice versa but I absolutely admit to being hugely picky about what I read. TV and movies, apparently I don’t hold them to the same standard. Did it make me laugh, make me feel, make me gasp in surprise? I think it is because of what I want from each medium. I want to feel and be a part of the world when I’m reading. When I’m watching, I just want to be entertained. One is a release and one is an obsession. Sometimes both can be either.

I enjoy shows and movies for what they are and I don’t care to rip things apart and make things so much less than they were. Yes, Big Bang Theory has become a comedy about a bunch of caricatures rather than actual characters but it makes me laugh. Yes, there are gaping logic flaws in Scorpion (seriously, simple is sometimes better writers!) but it makes me laugh and it makes me feel so I can honestly say I enjoy it. I liked Transformers and Waterworld and a few other movies that apparently everyone else hates. I like the NuWho, New Star Trek, and the new Star Wars. Despite it’s flaws and it’s retconning and inconsistent mythology, I still love Supernatural.

I guess I think sometimes we expect too much of our entertainment. Not everything is deeper than the story whether it’s father rescuing granddaughter from the satanic cult (I liked that movie!) or crazy puzzle box opens up hell. Not everything needs to be. I enjoy the  movies and shows that don’t try so hard to be something bigger. I like the bigger ones too but only the ones that don’t try so hard they’re all in your face with their lessons and their great big MESSAGE.

Personally, there’s as much pleasure to be found in the kitcsh as there is in the blockbuster, the documentary, the period piece, or the vanity films. I’ll take Toxic Avenger or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes over a lot of most people’s must watch movie list.

Case in point. One of the worst movies (or so I thought for EVER) was Vampire’s Kiss (a really crazy Nick Cage movie that I’m totally going to spoil right now). Watching it again as a grownup, introducing my oldest kid to the best angry alphabet recitation in cinematic history, I’m pretty sure I saw a different movie. From a certain point of view, it’s almost brilliant. We watch a self-important man have a killer of a psychotic break. It’s almost sad, watching him prance down the street in the illfitting plastic fangs yelling that he’s a vampire.

I’m not picky with my movies or my television (though I wish my three favorite things were not on at the same time, on the same day!). I come to a theater, to my television, asking to be entertained, to get caught up in someone else’s life for a bit and I gett what I ask for. I might not get some cinematic masterpiece or whatever but at the end of it, if I laughed, if I gasped, if I cried, I’m happy. If things exploded in overly dramatic fashion, that’s even better!

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Dino Day #3

Triceratops (image: dinowiki)

Triceratops (image: dinowiki)

It seems fitting for the third Dino Day to be the Triceratops given that the name means three-horned face. Easily one of the most identifiable families of dinosaurs, their horns are unmistakable. First discovered in 1888 in Denver, this North American herbivore was likely a favorite meal for the T Rex. The most complete fossil to date is really recent, 2013, and hails from Wyoming.

Due to the Wyoming find, scientists are assuming that Triceratops remained in family units, at least for a time as the fossils appear to be a mated pair with a juvenile. Triceratops was very large (but only classified as a medium dinosaur) with a length of roughly 30 feet and a weight between 11,000 and 25,000 pounds. Their feet were multi-hoofed with three hooves on their front feet and four hooves on their back feet. The head of a Triceratops was as much of 1/3rd it’s entire body length. Their brow horns grew to about 3 feet in length. They likely were charging animals like the rhinoceros.

There is evidence that a Triceratops survived an attack by a Tyrannosaurus Rex as their was substantial remodeling of the bone.  Other fossils show T Rex tooth marks and other signs of predation so they were possibly a staple of the King’s diet.

I liked the Triceratops as a kid in part because the one I knew the best shared my name (at least in pronunciation).

 

BP Richfield

BP Richfield

Famous Triceratops:

Cera from Land Before Time

BP Richfield from Dinosaurs (the tv show) Even if they did give him too many horns and not enough frill.

Slag the Dinobot Transformer

Also in The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Night at the Museum, the Jurassic Park franchise of films, and Barney.

 

 

 

All in the family:  There is a legend in Africa about the Ngoubou which is said to be a living specimen of a ceratopsia, which is the same family of dinosaurs that the Triceratops belongs to.

Random Dinosaur Information:

For a very long time, it was posited that dinosaurs were all cold-blooded like modern reptiles. There is now some discension among the ranks of palentologists because of their growth pattern, their size, and their physiology. The debate will rage on for some time to come and we may never know for absolutely certain but, yay science!

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Bubble wrap.

I want to wrap all of my remaining favorite famous people in bubble wrap.

Alan Rickman has passed away. I would like to express my sympathies to his family. He was my favorite villain. From Die Hard to Harry Potter with a stop in Sherwood forest. (And yes, he wasn’t really a villain in HP except when he was).

2016 has been a terrible year for famous people I admire. I’m really hoping this year is done with that now but it is only January and some of my favorite people aren’t all together well. I think I was right when I said something earlier this week about growing old having nothing to do with age and everything to do with loss. I am feeling very old today.

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More on Bowie

I can’t seem to shake it, get it out of my head or let it go. I did not know this man except through his music. I did not know anything beyond the face he gave his fans. He told the stories of his life through music and, the more I listen to Blackstar, the more broken my heart feels. This was his goodbye, his assurance that his legacy would end on a high note. I’m listening to it, watching the videos (so very Bowie-esque), and reading the lyrics. It’s not a matter of trying to make sense of it – I’ve no need of that. This grief comes in little waves, not overwhelming floods like I’m accustomed to. I think the persona of Bowie would approve of little lasting waves that have the strange side effect of also inspiring me to reopen that part of my writing that I’ve not touched in years.

I cannot remember the last time I wrote a poem down on paper but in my head there are couplets and snippets spinning again. When these thoughts have a little more form than just the rhythm of the words or the way they feel in my head, I’ll put them down and maybe even do something constructive with them. I’ve always had pretty good luck finding good markets for my poetry.

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Sad day

David Bowie has died and my heart goes out to his family.

I’ve suspected for a while that I’m getting old but now I know for sure. Getting old for me doesn’t seem to be about age. Getting old is losing my heroes and today I’ve lost another. For me, he was The Goblin King, Ziggy Stardust  and The Man Who Sold the World. He was an incredible artist and an inspiration. He was magic.

The more people-sized holes appear in my life, the older I feel. I hope very much that his family is surrounded by support and love and that they know how large an influence he had and how well he will be remembered for the art he created and the beauty and magic he gave to the world.

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Dino Day #2

Today is the second Dino Day and this week’s dinosaur is the Ankylosaurus.

(image from National Geographic)

(image from National Geographic)

The Ankylosaurus is really interesting. All those bony plates and the spiked protuberance on the end of the tail. Excellent defensive and offensive measures.

These animals were once found in Western North America munching on giant ferns and other leafy greens. They grew about 30 feet long and 6 feet tall. Pieces of the first specimen were discovered in 1906 in Montana. The teeth of the Ankylosaurus were incredibly small for such a large animal.

 

Famous Ankylosaurus:

The Ankylosaurus we saw in Jurassic World were very cute. Ankylo

Ankylo from Dinosaucers was much less cute. And a bad guy.

Ankylomon, a champion dinosaur digimon who is very yellow.

Power Rangers Dinosaurs even had one named Zyudenryu Ankydon which, while not cute, is still cuter than Ankylo.

Dino Dan did an Ankylosaurus as well.

And this post would not be complete without Anguirus of Godzilla fame.

I always figured an Ankylosaurus would be a neat one to actually meet. So long as they didn’t see me as a threat and crush me beneath the weight of that tail.

 

How can we tell what dinosaurs ate? First, teeth are excellent indicators. We can see what kind of animals have what kind of teeth – deer teeth vs lion teeth for instance. Teeth made for eating plants are very different than teeth made for ripping flesh. It’s not so different with animals who are extinct now. Unfortunately, we don’t always find the right teeth with the right dinosaur or we find no teeth at all. Fortunately, teeth aren’t the only way we can figure things out though. Some dinosaurs have been fossilized with their stomach contents in tact for scientists to examine. Another telling way to establish an animal’s diet however is by examining coprolites (fossilized dinosaur excrement) provided you can figure out which dinosaur made it. In short, some we know, some we don’t. If we knew everything, doing these posts would be much more boring.

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