Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who!

It’s finally upon us, the day many of us doubted would ever happen – tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the first time we saw the strange man with the secret and that dimensionally-transcendent police box that took us away on so many adventures.

Doctor Who was first broadcast November 23, 1963, and in the decades since then it has survived replacement of its lead actor, changing heads of broadcasting, cancellation, film destruction and attempts at Americanization, to come out as one of the most popular shows ever created.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

50 years of awesome

50 years ago, on a stormy New Brunswick day, Arthur and Geneva said their vows and cut their cake.

Since then, they’ve raised three children and welcomed a granddaughter — and a great-granddaughter and a great-grandson (yes, it’s true). They’ve moved to a new Province and to numerous new cities and made great friends along the way. Thinking of them makes me think of Monty Python and Hank Snow and bowling, of puzzles and Kismet and walks to the beach in Burlington, of long long drives to visit extended families and of chasing birds and bats out of the house, of patient chauffeuring and hospital visits — and of always, always having someone to turn to.

Much has changed, but they’re still essentially the same people, with the same goofy senses of humour. Tonight I’m taking them out for dinner (they’re not party people), maybe Dad will even leave his wallet in his pocket, he should know better than to argue with me by now.

Happy anniversary guys, I love you so much!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Life Songs: 2010–2012

I’ve been putting off writing about the more recent life songs because, to be honest, I don’t really listen to the radio anymore so I’m not as familiar with newer stuff. I know, I know, that makes me sound really old. Well I am, live with it.

That said, I can think of a few I’ve heard and like...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Love it: Shakespeare in the rough

So this evening Jennskoot and R and I went to see CanStage's latest summer Dream In The Park production: The Taming Of The Shrew.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Seven years ago

Some things that happened up to today, seven years ago:

Monday, August 05, 2013


Jake in Killarney 2009 (mine)
So less than an hour after hearing the Peter Capaldi news, my excitement was completely dampened by awful news.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Another day, another Doctor

Know what I like? Police officers who do their job without being a dick. Also veterinarians who are really nice to your pets (T and I are at one right now with Jake, it's not fair to get sick when you're on vacation, aaaw).

Thursday, August 01, 2013


T and I are all settled in at the cottage, the cats are meandering and all is well. The forecast for tomorrow is already 2 degrees warmer than it The Weather Network predicted this morning, so I have high hopes!

Apparently there was a big Dr Who-related announcement, I haven't gone online to find out what it is yet. And 12th DOCTOR ANNOUNCEMENT on Sunday, excited! Peter Capaldi has recently been getting bookie attention…

20° Sunny



So the announcement was that there was going to be an announcement on Sunday. Feh.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Love it: WonderPens

A few days ago I stumbled across WonderPens online and let out a little squeal of delight – a fountain pen shop for everyday people, right here in Toronto! I feel uncomfortable when I visit most pen shops, underdressed and just not rich enough – but reading Jon and Liz Chan's blog (it's their store, a labour of love by the sound of it) I could tell that wouldn't be the case here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Visiting the vampires

I'm at the blood clinic near my office, waiting for my turn to donate. I've been putting it off for a couple of weeks for no good reason, just too lazy to drag myself in here I suppose - I've already been poked in the finger and I'm good to go.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Classic Doctor Who — where to begin?
Back in the summer of 2010 I was at a party, discussing Dr Who with a friend who was really getting into the new series. Turned out he hadn’t really watched the classic series at all and was curious as to where he should start. My gut reaction was to suggest ‘start at the beginning!’ but I realized that might be bad, so I told him I’d give it a think and get back to him.

Here’s what I sent him a couple of days later. These are not necessarily considered by all and sundry to be the most iconic, most pivotal, best stories or best performances for each of the Doctors, but they’re the ones I liked for this. Keep in mind, these were my thoughts in 2010…


Okay, had a think about it, and here’s what you should watch, in my opinion.
William Hartnell (1963–1966)
An easily-irritated grandfather type, above everyone else around him. There’s a bunch missing that you may never see, but of what’s available I’d recommend:
  • An Unearthly Child — This was our introduction, and was done so well.
  • The Daleks — If only for the introduction to the ultimate baddies!
  • The Aztecs — Great historical.
  • The Romans — Ditto.
  • I would suggest The Tenth Planet, for the introduction to the Cybermen and our first regeneration, but the last episode is missing! That said, the Dr Who Restoration Team has done a good job of piecing it together from surviving audio, video and still images, so maybe you should see if you can find it...
Patrick Troughton (1966–1969)
Doctor number 2 was generally clownish, quite a contrast to the first. As with Hartnell, there’s a lot missing, maybe more (*shakes fist*) — but I’d recommend:
  • The Invasion — It’s a long one, with a couple of episodes missing, but the DWRT has done a FANTASTIC job of putting it back together, using an animation technique that ROCKS. I wish they could do this with all of the ones that are missing! Anyway, great Cyberman story.
  • Edit Nov 2013: The Enemy of the World — It’s been found! And it’s better than I could have possibly imagined. Troughton plays double, well, triple duty in this story about a possible dictator. And the Doctor’s in his long johns!
  • Edit Nov 2013: Web of Fear — Another new find! One episode is still in telesnap format, but it’s totally worth it. Yeti! The Great Intelligence! And wait - is that the Brigadier?!
  • Tomb of the Cybermen — Creepy, especially with them breaking out! This is one that was missing for a long time and rediscovered.
  • Wargames — Also a long one. Our first encounter with other Time Lords (their first mention in fact).
Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
Doctor number 3 was my first — definitely a dandy, a charming devil, if somewhat pompous. Spends a lot of time stuck on earth in exile by the Time Lords, so there’s a lot of UNIT-centric stories. I recommend:
  • Inferno — Long-ish story (seven episodes) complete with mirror-universe earth, The Brigadier with an eye patch, slimy guys and drilling to the centre of the earth. Very cool.
  • Planet of the Spiders — Pertwee’s last story, and one I remember very strongly from my childhood — he’ll get in trouble for his last trip to Metebelis Three!
  • Spearhead from Space — Colour! Autons! Jon Pertwee’s first story! Is that a tattoo?! Okay, maybe that’s not a draw for the story, but still...
  • The Green Death — Scary mining tunnels, omnipotent computers, giant maggots and Metebelis Three!

Tom Baker (1974–1981)
Number 4, lasted for a long time. Endless pockets. Most people’s favourite, all teeth and eyes and curls. My faves:
  • Pyramids of Mars — The baddie is menacing, without even having to stand up. Great reactions on all sides.
  • Hand of Fear — I love Sarah Jane in this one, great performance. Eldrad Must Live! Hey, that’d be a great name for a band...
  • Robots of Death — Simply the coolest robot faces ever.
  • Robot — Baker’s first, short and sweet story.
  • Face of Evil — Introducing everyone’s favourite savage, Leela!
  • Talons of Weng-Chiang — Bad racial stereotyping but excellent story.
  • Image of the Fendahl — Made me think of Triffids a bit.
  • The Key To Time series — A whole season about a search for pieces to a key. Cool. Stones of Blood and Armageddon Factor are the better stories.
Peter Davison (1982–1984)
Doctor number 5 — he was my favourite for a long time. Sensitive and vulnerable, you never knew if he’d survive. Watch:
  • Black Orchid — Yep, no aliens, just a great short story. Most people don’t like this one. Me, I love it. Very Hercule Poirot.
  • Caves of Androzani — This one’s got everything: excellent performances, scary caves and a regeneration!
  • Earthshock — Cybermen and a doomed Earth — and I won’t tell you how it ends.
  • Timeflight — Land the Concord on a rocky plain without noticing? Sure, I can do that...
Colin Baker (no relation) (1984–1986)
Sixth Doctor, kind of an ass. Me personally, I’m not a fan, but The Boy will tell you he’s amazing. It’s all to do with who you think he should be I suppose. A lot of shorter stories in his first season. Watch:
  • Vengeance on Varos — Reality TV!
  • Trial of a Time Lord — Again, a whole season with one story. Well, several stories woven together — Mindwarp is the best one I think.
Note: only watch Timelash if you want to laugh for the whole story. The Borad looked great, but this was a RIDICULOUS story with BAD sets and HUGE overacting by Paul Darrow and Baker. Thoroughly enjoyable on that front!
Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989)
7th Doctor — kind of a clown, but sinister underneath (they explored that more in the novels), I liked him but a lot of people REALLY don’t. Uneven writing during his tenure, but there were some standouts:
  • Remembrance of the Daleks — WHAT? They can FLY? AAAAAH!
  • Ghostlight — What’s going on with Ace and that scary house?
  • Dragonfire — A bit of fun on Iceworld, with dragons and evil security forces. This one’s my not-so-secret shame.
  • Paradise Towers — Death by highrise! Pex will put the world of Paradise Towers to rights!
  • Battlefield — Arthurian legend, plus Jean Marsh as Morgaine, can’t go wrong!
Paul McGann (1996)
My favourite. Let’s face it, you can only see him in the 1996 TV movie. [Edit Nov 2013: and also in Night of the Doctor, the new Anniversary special minisode – go now! Watch it! WATCH IT!!!] Watch it. Ignore the terrible script and the screen-chewing of Eric Roberts — McGann’s great and the TARDIS console room is AMAZING. Read some of the BBC 8th Doctor novels instead (Seeing I, Interference Books I & II, The Ancestor Cell and The Adventuress of Henrietta Street are particular standouts) or listen to some of the audio plays starring McGann (especially The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear and Neverland).

Now, I’m quite behind on the Audio adventures (several years, in fact C’rizz was still a Companion in the last one I listened to) so there may be more awesomeness to come. Also, I believe there are more classic stories available than there were when I first sent this to my friend (can’t think what they might be just now, sorry). In any case, these are my picks for where to start in the classic series. What do you think?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I always run into people I know at Ikea.

This weekend I ran into TWO people I know at Ikea. Sort of.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Springtime with my folks

I spent this weekend with my parents, which is always nice.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Life Songs: 2005-2009

Oops, been a while, hasn’t it? Okay, here’s the next list. I had a good long think about these...

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Home from work. Sitting in a comfy chair. Reading a book. By SUNLIGHT.

Roll on Spring!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Random observation.

There is never an appropriate time and place for a matching velour track suit. Seriously. They looked like trash in the '70s, and they still do.

Also, the idea of wearing expensive clothes that look cheap is the dumbest thing since the automatic spaghetti fork. The point is to wear cheap clothes that look expensive, people. Or, better yet, spend some real money on something that looks like you spent real money on it.

You have to be a whole new level of stupid to spend $800 on torn jeans or a lumberjack shirt.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love it: Banana Sticky Buns

When I was growing up I used to like to take things off the shelf that I already knew front to back and examine them again. One of those things was my Mum's Betty Crocker recipe card box. I would take it out, remove all the cards and them put them back one by one, pausing with each to read through the recipe, study the picture and try to imagine what it would actually taste like.

I recall a number of things that would never, ever get made (really, a baked alaskan?), but there were a few that were made over and over again - and one of those was for Banana Sticky Buns.

So simple, yet so awesome.