Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sorting, um, Scarf

In honor of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's box office success its first weekend, and a big week (new Doctor's new outfit, Torchweek on BBC America, and David Tennant's SDCC debut) for the Doctor Who fandom, I decided to sort the Doctor's companions (new, classic, and expanded universe) into Hogwarts houses. Ok, the real reason is that it's every nerd's dream come true to have his or her fandoms intersect, and wouldn't it be awesome if the TARDIS materialized in Diagon Alley?!?!? Anyway, as that is highly unlikely* to happen officially, I guess I'll have to do it myself.

Note: I haven't actually seen/read/heard every single companion in the Whoniverse, so I'm sticking to the characters I know best. Sorry, Dodo fans.

The house known for its bravery and for producing such figures as Harry Potter, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and Sirius Black. Many of the ones I put in here are warriors--Captain Jack Harkness (9-10), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (2-5, 7), Jamie McCrimmon (2), Leela (4), and Ace (7). Some you'd never want to get on their bad side, namely Tegan Jovanka (5) and Donna Noble (10), the later of which would be in Gryffindor by default as she is obviously a Weasley. Others display an adventurous spirit: Sarah Jane Smith (3-4), always eager to get to the bottom of a story; Romana's second regeneration (4), who goes off by herself into E-Space; Bernice Summerfield (7--books), our outer-space Indiana Jones; and Charley Pollard (8--audios), the self-proclaimed "Edwardian Adventuress." The remaining ones kind of grow into it. Mickey Smith (9-10) starts out a total wuss, but ends up crossing dimensions a few times to save the multiverse. Anji Kapoor (8--books) thinks of herself as rather ordinary but faces the things that terrify her with great courage.

The house the values intelligence and learning and is home to Luna Lovegood and Professor Flitwick. Above all is K-9 (4), the computer who loves to go for walkies. And then there's math geniuses Zoe Heriot (2) and Adric (4-5). Melanie Bush (6-7) is a computer programmer with total recall, and Liz Shaw (3) has a doctorate or two. Nyssa (5) is a bit of a brainiac, and the original Romana (4) likes to remind the Doctor that her grades were higher than his. Rounding out the category are three MD's. Martha Jones (10) displays quick reasoning, Grace Holloway (8) is intellectually curious (especially when it comes to guys with two hearts), and Harry Sullivan (4) is logical almost to a fault.

Hufflepuffs are often called "a load of duffers" but often prove to be loyal and loving. These are the Dalek-huggers--literally, in Rose Tyler's (9-10) case. Other companions known for their compassionate, sympathetic natures are Jo Grant (3), who would make even the Master a nice cup of tea if she thought he looked a little down; Peri Brown (5-6), who, on her first trip in the TARDIS, pleaded with the Doctor to end one of the bad guy's sufferings; and Sam Jones (8--books), who cared so much for the underprivileged she got on a lot of readers' nerves. Fitz Kreiner (8--books) is a bit of a duffer, but he is nonetheless loyal. If the Doctor needs him, Fitz pulls through--though usually not without needing to change his shorts.

Though most Slytherins can at worst be called self-interested, this is the house that has produced the majority of the evil or bigoted characters in the Potterverse. Believe it or not, the Doctor has traveled with a few would-be Slytherins. Adam Mitchell (9) tried to use his brief time in the TARDIS to make money. Turlough (5) at first only went with the Doctor to escape school, and tends to sneak off when danger approaches. Compassion (8--books) never really wanted to travel with the Doctor anyway, and once she got the hang of being a TARDIS, she dumps him off on Earth. Trix McMillan (8--books) also seems to travel with the Doctor for lack of a better option, and her selfishness often gets her into trouble.

Finally, there's Kamelion (5), who would not be in any house because, it, had it lived in the Potterverse, would be a Squibb.

So, a few discussion questions. (Yes, I'm gearing up for the fall semester. How can you tell?) What Hogwarts houses would the characters from your favorite fandoms belong to? What kinds of crazy crossovers would make your day?

*The Doctor and Rose made a cameo appearance in the Buffy Season 8 comics, so anything is possible. Which gives me hope for my crack theory about the 10th Doctor's regeneration involving a fob-watch and Dementors.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Moff We Trust, All Others Pay Credits

Major Doctor Who Series 5 spoilers ahead, read on at your own risk.

A day or two ago, this picture hit the Internet:

Finally, we got to see what Doctor #11 and his new companion, Amy Pond, look like. I must say, I like the look. The old man get-up is a nice contrast to the fact that Smith is the youngest Doctor to date. I'm thinking that the costume implies some interesting things about the character.

And I was going to write a blog post about how excited this is making me for Series 5, which was to lead into a discussion of which writers I would like to see contribute to the new season.

Then the fandom reacted.

The loudest--if not the biggest--contingent declared that not only is this a terrible way to dress the Eleventh Doctor, not only is this the worst outfit the Doctor had ever worn (I beg to differ), not only does this not bode well for Series 5 in general, but that THIS WILL MEAN THE END OF DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!!!!!!

No, seriously. I read one LiveJournaler who insists that this will drive viewers away in such large numbers that the BBC will have no choice but to cancel the show. (And how many years did the show remain on the air with abysmal ratings in the past?)

I find such lack of faith in Steven Moffat disturbing. Is this not the man who has written six of the best episodes during the last four seasons? Hasn't he proven himself, with "Time Crash" for Children in Need and the spoof "The Curse of Fatal Death" for Comic Relief (U.K.), a big enough Doctor Who fan? Did he not win three (going on four, possibly) Hugo Awards? Is he not a competent, nay, brilliant television writer? Did Jekyll not scare the crap out of you? Did Coupling not make you wet your pants with laughter? There is very little that I can say for sure about season five, except that it will be different than anything we've seen on Doctor Who before. And it will be amazing. Moffat is not going to ruin the show, either with the stories themselves or with executive decisions--including the casting and costuming of the Doctor and his companion.

Now, I know every fandom has its members who declare any and every little change to be horrible and THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!!!, but what really gets under my skin with this controversy is the faction of the fandom I suspect it's coming from. The usual suspects in this case would be the old-skool fans. After all, whenever there is the slightest hint of romance, be it with Grace, Charley, Rose, Mme. de Pompadour, Rose, Joan Redfern, River Song, Rose, or Rose, they are usually the first to declare that the Doctor is supposed to be asexual, sexual tension does not make for good television, and could we please stop it with the snogging now? (Though they don't seem as adverse to a little Doctor/Master slash. Hmm...) But, on the other hand, these kinds of fans have seen it all before and should be used to change. (They are also the kinds of fan who have two of every action figure--one to leave in the package and one to play with.) I mean, if they stuck with the show through the John Nathan-Turner years, a silly little thing like a drab jacket isn't going to scare them away. I suspect that everyone who says they like the outfit because it's a nod to Patrick Troughton fits in this category.

That leaves the new Who fans--my generation, in other words. Sure, a few of us are Tennant fan girls who will be changing the channel the moment the Doctor starts to get all glowy, but most of us have weathered a regeneration before. What we haven't experienced is a change of production, and hence some of us may be getting a tad too worked up over the whole thing. I blame this on fandom laziness, which, in general, is an unwillingness to investigate the history of whatever it is one loves*. In the specific case of Doctor Who, the lazy fan regards the old series--from "An Unearthly Child" through the latest Big Finish release--as back-story for the new series, which one can just look up on Wikipedia. I don't mean to sound too judgemental about this. A lot of people I respect--my mother and The Park Bench included--love new Who but aren't really all that impressed by the classic series.

So here's some advice to all of you freaking out. Watch both "Pyramids of Mars" and "City of Death." Though both are from Tom Baker's era, they have different production teams, and way different tones. And yet, in their own ways, they are both excellent. Trust me, you'll feel much more confident about the changes to come.

Unless, of course, they reveal that the Doctor is not only half-human on his mother's side, but his fathers (yes, two of them) are also, due to an amusing timey-wimey mix-up, the Frankenstein-esque Morbius monster and Captain Jack Harkness. Then the world really is coming to an end.

EDIT: (I might be willing to forgive if they were all watching Lesbian Spank Inferno at the time.)

*Least I be accused of not admitting to my own hypocrisy, I must admit that, among other things, I have never read nor probably ever will read The Silmarillion.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stirring Up Controversy in the Nerdom

I recently got around to seeing the new Star Trek movie, and let me tell you, it was awesome. Best movie I've seen in the theater for a long time. Given that and my having enjoyed The Next Generation when I was a kid, I decided to check out TOS*. I must say I was a bit disappointed. Granted, I can see why people like it. The stories are really good, and deal with complex moral issues. Many kudos must be given to Gene Roddenberry for creating a fictional environment where new ideals of the 60s could be tested. I do find the character relationships--particularly between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy--fascinating. I can see why some have called it Horatio Hornblower in space, though it is sadly lacking in Lt. Bush (see July British Actor of the Month). But it all just seems so dated to me, and I haven't been able to get beyond that as quickly as I did with Doctor Who. Though both shows have their merits, I definitely prefer the former. So I present to you, gentle reader:

20 Reasons Doctor Who Is Better Than Star Trek

1. Doctor Who has never been cancelled. Well, not officially, anyway. When the BBC decided to get rid of the show, fear of fan backlash caused them to put it on hiatus--for 16 years.

2. Doctor Who is also the longest-running (non-continuous) sci-fi show in history. The classic series ran from 1963-89 with only one season off. So if you add in the TV Movie and the current series, that's about 32 seasons.

3. And you know what? You can count all of it as one series. Unlike Trek with its five different series, the new and old versions of Who are all part of the same continuity.

4. Or should I say "lack thereof"? Who has dealt with the frequent changes of style, tone, and format by playing fast and loose with canon. And because it's a show about time travel, they can totally get away with it! (Step on the wrong butterfly, and suddenly you're half-human on your mother's side.)

5. Sure, they have time travel in the Trek universe, but with Doctor Who that's the whole point of the show, so as for content, anything goes. One week they're fighting zombies with Charles Dickens, the next battling Bertie Bassett in space, and the next saving contemporary Earth from a giant robot.

6. And speaking of format, Who encompasses many genres--from gothic horror to comic capers to, in more recent years, romance. Just add a monster and you've got yourself a Doctor Who episode.

7. The asexual half-human (sometimes) alien isn't the sidekick, he's the star. Furthermore, the Doctor discovered kissing (TV Movie) and became one of the last of his species (new series) long before the Trek movie reboot.

8. Granted, both Doctor Who and Star Trek have a strange blend of being sexist at the same time they were trying to be progressive in their representation of women, and both have improved over time. But it seems like the Doctor's companions get more to do than the women of TOS. Plus, the Doctor's presumed asexuality makes the male gaze in Who not always in support of the patriarchy. And anyway, Kirk's love of the green ladies is kind of creepy.

9. The Doctor is--if not always a better dresser than Kirk--certainly a more, uh, interesting one.

10. Douglas Adams ftw.

11. A race of cybernetic beings who want to make everyone just like them? They're called the Cybermen, who first appeared in 1966.

12. TOS's effects weren't that much better. Sure, the bigger budget ensured the blue screen sequences didn't look like crap and that the sets didn't fall over, but a dude in a rubber mask is still a dude in a rubber mask.

13. The Doctor Who theme is appropriately otherworldly in all of its arrangements. And while TNG's screams "space epic," TOS's theme just sounds like lounge music, and doesn't really fit the show.

14. "To boldly go." I can't see Doctor Who writers making such a heinous grammatical error. For the show's original run, very few regular characters spoke in anything other than RP English.

15. While Roddenberry's mission should be applauded, sometimes it feels like the show takes itself too seriously. Classic Doctor Who rarely took itself seriously enough. Even when it was about something like, say, racism and genocide, the show's producers didn't seem to be too bothered if people missed the message because they were too busy hiding behind the couch.

16. Trek might have been progressive, but Who was anarchic. Whereas Star Trek showed us what a well-ordered society we'd be living in if we all just learned to get along, Doctor Who taught us to distrust authority and value our individuality.

17. Who was more explicitly political, especially during the 80s. One episode even showed how mass entertainment--like television--is used by capitalists to keep the masses down.

18. On a related note, Doctor Who is produced by public funds, which means it's less prey to the demands of advertisers and big business, and can get away with a lot more (see above).

19. Doctor Who is truly multi-media with its range of books, comics, radio plays, and even a couple of webcasts. Not to mention the two Peter Cushing movies from the 60s (which were big screen remakes of the Dalek episodes). To my knowledge, Star Trek just has the books and movies, and that animated series no one likes to talk about.

20. Spin-offs. Doctor Who has four: the K-9 and Company pilot, Torchwood for the adults, The Sarah Jane Adventures for the kids, and the up-coming Australian series about the new and improved K-9. Technically, Star Trek has four, too, but that's just because, if they wanted to keep the franchise going, they had no diagetically convenient way to explain how the Enterprise crew all looked different. Doctor Who's spin-offs expand its universe.

There. And I didn't even have to resort to "Because David Tennant is HOT!" Rebuttal is welcome.

*The Original Series. The one that ran from 1966-69; it was just called "Star Trek" so fans use this acronym to designate it from the other four. But you knew that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quelque chose pour mes amis français

Happy Bastille Day to the French and to Francophiles everywhere. Go start a Revolution!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Paranormal Television

It seems to be one of the latest TV (well, cable TV, anyway) crazes. Reality shows based on investigations into the paranormal. Now I'm not the biggest fan of reality shows--though I do love me some Iron Chef--but I must say I'm enjoying this trend. I think it has something to do with combining the not-quite-real reality genre with a not-quite-real field. Either that or I just like having the pants scared off of me.

Here are some highlights and low-lights of the current programs:

Ghost Hunters (SyFy)
Premise: Real-life paranormal investigators allow the Sci-Fi--excuse me, SyFy--Channel to follow them around.
Scare Factor: 5-7 (out of 10). The T.A.P.S. team has gone to some pretty scary places and uncovered compelling evidence, but the focus of the show is on education about and acceptance of the paranormal, so you won't have to sleep with the lights on after watching it.
Entertainment Factor: High. Early episodes highlighted tensions between group members; these days episodes have featured the hilarious double-act of investigators Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango.
Fakery? Probably not. Though occasionally the show features investigations where people have tried to pull a fast one on the team, these guys are terrible actors, so I think it would be pretty obvious if they themselves had fabricated something. Plus, most "hauntings" turn out to be the result of bad plumbing, anyway.

Ghost Hunters International (SyFy)
Premise: Familiar faces from T.A.P.S. and their affiliates investigate hauntings around the globe.
Scare Factor: 4-5. It's hard to be uncanny when you're so far from home.
Entertainment Factor: Medium. The revolving team members make it hard to get emotionally involved, though Irish investigator Barry Fitzgerald's attempts to sweet-talk the lady spirits is always a hoot.
Fakery? Probably not. Being a spin-off of Ghost Hunters puts it in the same credibility range, although their use of more "experimental" techniques makes me think that on some occasions they may be jumping to conclusions.

Paranormal State (A&E)
Premise: Penn State based paranormal researchers look into the paranormal with the help of "world-renown" psychics.
Scare Factor: 8-10. The team frequently do battle with the diabolical. Last season they had not one but two exorcisms!
Entertainment Factor: High. The show sets up team-leader Ryan Buell as its definite star and features a rather colorful array of regulars like melodramatic psychic Chip Coffey, who always cracks me up. Plus they often delve into other aspects of the paranormal such as UFOs or the Mothman.
Fakery? Maybe. The show's narrative style makes it scarier and more entertaining but also harder to tell where reality stops and fiction begins. Furthermore, it doesn't show the team getting much hard evidence, which makes it look like they're relying pretty much on the word of psychics.

Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel)
Premise: A bunch of dudes saw paranormal shows on TV, figured they could do the same thing, and shot their own pilot.
Scare Factor: 5-6. The pilot was creepy as hell, but I've found the actual episodes to be less scary.
Entertainment Factor: Medium. While it's funny to see a bunch of bros running around screaming because they've seen a ghost, it gets old and would be nice to see them be a little bit more professional once and a while.
Fakery? Probably not. While it's clear these guys don't know what they're doing, they probably don't know how to fake things convincingly, either.

A Haunting (Discovery Channel)
Premise: Reenactments of "real life" hauntings are combined with interviews with the participants.
Scare Factor: 4-7. Some of the hauntings presented are quite silly when you actually think about it, but the reenactment format allows for various techniques--like the voyeuristic ghost P.O.V. shot--to still make them scary.
Entertainment Factor: Medium-high. The bad acting and formulaic nature of the stories often makes it funnier than it's supposed to be.
Fakery? Likely. It's a docudrama, so entertainment comes first, and I would be surprised if a few details here and there weren't tweaked a bit to make them scarier, like how normal occurrences are often blown way out of proportion to make them seem like part of the haunting.

Monster Quest (History Channel)
Premise: Beasts of legend are investigated.
Scare Factor: 1-4. They seem to have covered all the good ones in the first season or two. Plus, they've done Big Foot more than once, which tends to take away some of its mythos.
Entertainment Factor: Low. The show is very dry, and it's hard to make killer jelly fish interesting.
Fakery? No. Though the show ultimately leaves its questions unanswered, cryptozoological evidence is almost always cancelled out by real science.

I know, I know. There are so many shows I've left out. If you feel that there's one I ought to have included, that's what the comment button is for.

Friday, July 3, 2009

British Actor of the Month

For this inaugural feature (shamelessly ripped off of The Park Bench's "Nerd Man of the Month"), I've decided to present my current British actor obsession. So without further ado, I give you

Eight Things to Love About Paul McGann

1) Withnail and I
McGann stars as "I" (though diehard fans know he's called Marwood) alongside Richard E. Grant's Withnail in Bruce Robinson's 1986 cult classic. Though Grant may get all the cool points--and good lines--for his performance as a self-centered, wittily caustic raging alcoholic, McGann's pensive, slightly paranoid Marwood is the heart of the film. And speaking of hearts, he'll steal yours as well with those blue blue eyes, razor sharp cheek bones, curly tresses, tight jeans that perfectly accent his--*ahem* Where was I? Ah, yes. This film truly deserves its place among the Criterion elite. Harry Potter fans beware, though. Richard Griffiths in this film will make you never look at Vernon Dursley the same way again.

2) Doctor Who (The TV Movie)
Now, McGann has occasionally referred to himself as the George Lazenby of Doctor Who. However, despite the fact that he's only "officially" played the role once, that is hardly an apt description. Despite the fact that the TV movie was pretty awful and created much controversy in the fandom ("The Doctor's half-human?? And kissing girls???") even the most skeptical of Whovians admits that McGann was pretty awesome as the Doctor. His Doctor has the same enthusiasm, eccentricity, and taste for Jelly Babies as Tom Baker's, but tempered by Davison's humanity and Pertwee's ability to dress himself tastefully. Furthermore, the Eighth Doctor had hundreds of more dubiously-canon adventures in BBC Books' Eighth Doctor Adventures and Doctor Who Magazine's comics, and, in not one but two series of audio plays by Big Finish, McGann himself actually reprises the role, giving the world yet another opportunity to listen to that soft, sexy voice of his.

3) He Has Three Brothers Who Are Also Pretty Good Looking
And what's more, Joe, Mark, and Stephen McGann are all actors, too. The four brothers appear together in The Hanging Gale, a miniseries about the Irish potato famine. (Though why the hottest one has to play the priest I'll never understand. *Sigh*) It's not exactly the best thing I've ever seen. For one thing, it was made for a regional outpost of the BBC--and it shows. For another, it becomes obvious which one went to RADA. But it is a good way to objectify four fine male bodies, something the world needs more of. Good luck telling Mark and Stephen apart, though.

4) Lieutenant William Bush
McGann plays Horatio Hornblower's (the also delicious Ioan Gruffudd) right hand man in ITV's movies about the most famous officer of His Majesty's Navy in literature. Now, Bush isn't exactly the most clever of men, and he really, really hates the French, but he's loyal, brave, and have you seen those uniforms??? I'd never be flogged for disobeying his orders!

5) Bristol Silents
McGann apparently is a lover of silent movies and is a patron of this film society. It not only warms my film geek/history buff heart that he supports film preservation and may be a bit of a film geek/history buff himself, but I've also heard that he sometimes sings at certain events. ROAWRR! Anyway... I wonder if he's read Silent Film Sound....

6) He's from Liverpool
You know, that industrial town in the northwest of England located along the river Mersey and known for its shipyards and pop groups like Gerry and the Pacemakers. (And that other one... What were they called again?) Which means that McGann sports one of the hottest accents south of Scotland.

7) He Dated Jane Bennet
Or rather the actress who played her. Now, dating Jane Austen's heroines (or their sisters) makes any man OK in my book, but this means that he's about two degrees of separation away from Mr. Darcy--um, I mean, Colin Firth. Plus, Ms. Harker "appears" alongside McGann in the audio version of "Shada."

8) Lesbian Vampire Killers
Isn't it enough just to have a title like this on one's resumé? Though reviewers over the age of 15 have said that this comic take on those lusty Hammer horror films fails at what the Pegg-Wright-Frost movies do so well, they do agree that McGann's performance as a vicar hell-bent on stopping his daughter from becoming a lesbian vampire is the highlight of the show. Whatever. Sounds funny, so I'm going to see it. If it's ever released here, that is.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pimpin' Stuff

Just a few more links to share.
  • Prairie Lights is an independently owned bookstore that has a great selection of books, coffee, and holds readings by all those great writers who seem to come through here.
  • And speaking of bookstores, there's also The Haunted Bookshop, one of our many used bookstores. Like Prairie Lights, Haunted has been an Iowa City institution for 30 years. Sharing the space with their thousands of titles are toys (including historical action figures), a record store, and two adorable cats. (By the way, it's not actually haunted, but named after the book by Christopher Morley.)
  • Mini Modern is a blog devoted to doll houses and miniaturists who eschew all that sappy Victorian/Edwardian stuff. Plus the blogger uses Doctor Who and Primeval action figures instead of dolls.
And because you should always pimp your friends' stuff:
  • Celiac Kat, a friend from Boston, documents her struggle to go gluten free. She also posts some tasty-sounding recipes.
  • Music, Movies, Shenanigans is an entertainment blog run by a bunch of people I also know from Boston. Many of them have their own blogs, which are also worth a read.
Finally, early last month, I and some of my classmates had a chance to work with controversial filmmaker Damian Longfellow on his latest documentary, "ExpoZebo."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Across the Converse

So yesterday I bought my first Chucks. (Converse's canvas Chuck Taylors, for those of you not in the know.) I've been contemplating buying them for a while because a) my Sketchers have for some reason decided to detach themselves from their soles, and b) they have proven to be the best shoes for running away from scary alien baddies.

The ones I really wanted are these blue high-top ones with the Union Jack on the back, but, as I hadn't seen them the last time I was at the mall, I had pretty much already counted on having to settle for just the plain kind, preferably in dark purple or navy. Alas, Journeys only had the solid color high-tops in red, white, and black--the former two screaming "I'm dressing like Doctor Who!" a little too loudly for my taste. But I fell in love with and eventually had to bring home a pair of brown and pink plaid low-tops. It was a hard decision because the black high-tops looked pretty snazzy. In fact, I may have to go back for them. High-tops are perfect for Iowa winters, right?

Now, I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of cool, so it surprised me that Chucks seem to be everywhere. Four other stores had them, and this is Coralville we're talking about here, so imagine how ubiquitous they must be at a real mall. And I don't think this is just a case of me not noticing them before. (Rather like the time I went all over the place looking for a pair of Doc Marten boots when they were right in the window of the Woodfield Journeys.) For one thing, the high school girl who sold me my low-tops assured me that she wears hers all the time, and that her little sister has, like, five pairs. And second, there were several pairs wedged between all the Harry Potter and Twilight merch at Hot Topic, a sure sign the kids are down with the Chucks.

But why so popular? And why now? The first thing that came to my mind is that David Tennant has become a fashion icon. But surely that can't be. After all, as a nerd who stars as a bit of a nerd on what is arguably the nerdiest of all nerd shows, Tennant is King of the Nerds. (Speaking of Tennant and nerds, I never realized just how accurate those action figures can be. They even got the two stripes on the white Chucks right!) There must be another explanation. Or are we suddenly taking our fashion inspiration from science fiction? What's next? Leia buns? Unitards?
Nearly a year ago now, I took stock of all the pseudo-blogging I had done on various social networking sites--livejournal, MySpace, Facebook, etc. I discovered that I a) did a lot of hard-core whining about my life, b) did an equal amount of unadulterated squeeing about various fandoms, and c) posted a lot of ridiculous stuff. (Curse you, memes!) So I decided to create a proper blog, something serious. I picked a topic: women and science fiction. It was going to show the world that women could be nerds--and proud of it! Of course, grad school got in the way (as grad school will do), so I was just getting around to start it a couple of weeks ago.

And then I discovered The Park Bench, who does exactly what I wanted to do and does it perfectly.

Well, there goes that idea, thought I. I still wanted to write a blog to keep my writing skills sharp for the day when Steven Moffat makes the misguided decision to take a chance on an unknown or it's discovered by the faculty that I'm merely pretending to be interested in a career in higher education and I'm swiftly booted out of here. (Whichever comes first, really.) But what to do? Sadly, I was left with no choice other than to be myself. (Hey! Come back here! I'll give you cookies!)

So expect lots of squeeing on the following topics: Harry Potter; Doctor Who (this is my latest find so expect a lot on it); Buffy; The X-Files; Star Wars; Lord of the Rings; Thursday Next; House; 30 Rock; The Office; Monty Python; Blackadder; British TV; British comedy; British actors; British, well... anything; the BBC; PBS; reality shows involving food; reality shows involving the paranormal; English literature (esp. 19th Century); Jane Austen; Oscar Wilde; the Jeeves stories; Beat poetry; Anne Rice; Raymond Chandler; Kafka; European cinema (the more pretentious, the better); graphic novels; action figures; doll houses and miniatures; vampires, werewolves, and zombies; classic rock; folk music; la France; history; politics; travel; trivia; existentialism; feminism; Marxism; writing; academics; Macs; cats; shoes; and irony. I know I've left something out here....

And I'm sure the whining about my life will be unavoidable. But hopefully the whining and the squeeing will be more well thought out, insightful, entertaining, literate, and, um, proofread than what I've done in the past has been. And here's to avoiding memes!

I really plan to explain all the links and stuff on the side. So, to get started:
I am a shameless reposter. So if you're friends with me from other social networking sites, you may recognize a few things. At least until I run out of unoriginal things to say.