Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Which WHO season should you buy?

My friend from work just asked me that question. And it's a question that is very difficult for me to answer. I did, in the end, write her a long and wordy response, which I shall reproduce here. (With the addition of a few pictures and formatting changes.) I provide it for the benefit of those who are not yet indoctrinated by the WHO-vyness.

And also because I can. It's my blog. And it seems like something that really, really should be part of my blog.

Her exact question: "If I got the doctor who seasons, which ones would I want?"

The short (and most real) answer is: "All of them. You would want all of them."


Assuming that most people are NOT as completely, totally, and utterly dorky as I am, (which is a very safe assumption,) and they just want to buy one or two of the best, then here follows the information you need to make that choice. (These are the new seasons, but the old ones are good too. In other ways.)

**NOTE: At the writing of this post, only 3 episodes of season 7 have been aired, which is not enough information to make a judgement call, even if they had all three been mind blowing. Which they weren't.

So, the answer to this question really depends on what you want out of your viewing experience. Each season is great for different reasons.

1 & 2 

1 & 2 are special to me because I started at the beginning and went through chronologically. I adore Rose partly because she's cool, but partly just because she was my first doctor companion. There is also much emotional stress at the end of 2. So much.


But without that emotional connection, the actual episodes are good, but not amazing. (With a few really great exceptions strewn in.) So you could get 1 and 2 if you want the chronological completeness factor.

And also, 1 is the only season with the 9th doctor. Poor Chris gets forgotten a lot. He deserves a little more credit than he's usually given. Especially for pulling off a pretty great doctor on such a low budget and rather experimental basis. (At that point, no one really knew if a modern Doctor Who would be popular enough for anyone to care about it.) And you gotta love the leather jacket.

I think 3 has the most good stand alone episodes. Blink, and the 2-part Family of Blood episodes come to mind. (The family one is SO SAD. AHHH!) By the time you get to 5 and 6, most of the episodes depend a lot on knowing things that happened earlier in the season, but 3 doesn't so much. They're just fun little one at a time deals, for the most part.

The Master comes back into things during the last few season 3's, (which are the only ones, really, that play off of the bigger story.)

If it makes any difference at all, Martha is definitely one of the most physically attractive of the companions. But some people really love Martha, and some hate her. Depends. I like her, but Donna is becoming my favorite.

Also, captain Jack. 


Speaking of Donna, season 4 is awesome. Doctordonna. Arguably the best combination ever made. But yeah, season 4. David Tennant (aka doctor #10) absolutely at his best. He is a fantastic actor, and he and Catherine Tate (Donna) have spectacular chemistry. She is hilarious always.

There are some super emotionally intense episodes, and the "End of Time" specials (Which, if you get 4, make sure you get those too.) are CRAZY. The doc gets into some really dark places, and David Tennant pulls it off beautifully. It also has one of the best soundtracks. If you get 4, I'd say the thing you get out of it is the best doctor in his lowest and highest moments.

(Most people like Matt Smith (aka 11) best, and he is good.Very good. But David has something extra that Matt lacks. He is and always will be my one true favorite.)

5 & 6

5 & 6 kind of go together. The have the same doc (Matt 11), the same companions, (Amy, Rory, and River), and a few running story lines through the whole thing.

Even though I love David the mostest, there are some really good pros to going with 5 and 6. One being, like I said, a vast majority of the world likes Matt Smith as their favorite doctor. My personal opinion on this is that he's their fav mostly because the episodes that he is in are some of the best. Not that he isn't good. He is. It's just that better funding, better writing, and a bow tie do tend to affect things.

Two, which goes along with that, is that by the time we get to 5 & 6, the WHO fandom has re-established itself, so the funding and the good writers really are both more prevalent. 5 & 6 have some of the most well written, most intense, most amazing and visually well done episodes. Seriously crazy stuff that totally blows your mind. Totally. Blows. Your. Mind.

And anyway, River Song is one of my most favoritest who characters ever. I want to be her. In fact, I will be, for halloween. Amy is awesome too. And Rory. They're just all great.

So anyway, if I personally were to choose only one season to buy, the answer would be that I'd probably die and be sad forever that I could only pick one. But if I did have to pick only one, I might go with season 4, just because of David, and Donna, and greatness, and so many, many things.

BUT, if I were to pick a season for someone else to buy who wasn't as nerdily and devotedly attached to David as I am, and also if I were keeping in mind the idea of "which things are most likely to get them to go back and watch the others and be obsessed with it all with me?" I'd go with 5. Or 6. Or 5. Or 6. Or both. It's hard to pick. There are crazy things in both. But one of those two. Probably 5, just because there are occasional things in 6 that make more sense if you know 5.

That was a very long answer to a not so long question. But something you should know about me is that I don't like making decisions. And typing vast paragraphs of explanation helps me to feel better about making arbitrary decisions for people. So that if you don't like my choice, in the end, you'll at least know why I made it. And also, if you want something different from your viewing experience, you have the necessary information to make your own, separate choice.

Oh, and by the way...


UPDATE: I've figured it out. I've figured IT OUT. At last. The reason that David is a better doctor than Matt, despite the fact that Matt is so great.

One of the opening lines in season 7, episode 3. "It was about a man who lived forever, but his eyes were heavy with the weight of all he'd seen."

David pulls that off. David does Goofy McGooferton, but he also brilliantly manages the weight of the world.  It's genius.

 Matt is amazingly goofy. Funny. Hilarious. But when it comes to the serious parts, he's a bit lacking. Don't get me wrong. He's not bad... but not weighed down by 1200 years of tragedy and despair. Not like David.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Outfit of the Day - Retro Chic

Classy. Vintage. You could walk into a black tie affair with this outfit and blend right in. You've got something from five different decades, all working together for that retro chic finish.

The key here, and I really emphasize this point, is the footwear. 

Fashion Tip: Never, (And I do mean never) wear sandals without socks. 

As you can see here, we have a classic Adidas slip on, typical of about 1997. The socks, of course, are both  tie dye and homemade. This is where we bring in the 1970's. To the untrained eye, these two years may seem to clash, but do not be deceived. Mismatched tie dye is the new black. 

Let's return to the main wardrobe. Yet another faux pas that a novice might be guilty of is choosing a long pant. Many one-time fashions can be considered retro. This is not one of them. Shorts every time. 

Fashion tip: Short length must be carefully considered. Too far above the knee, and you run the risk of looking mainstream. Too far below, and they no longer qualify as short. 

Double shirt. I'll say it again. Double. Shirt. One 80's t-shirt can stand on its own, but why should it? By adding the plaid button-up, we go from 'typical 80's pop' to 'punk cowboy'.

As a side note, do not button the plaid. By doing so, you conceal the neon paint splatter, thus rendering it redundant.

Fashion tip: Stripes and dots don't match, but plaid and neon paint splatter do. 

Before we leave for the day, there is one last thing to address. Accessories, accessories, accessories. No outfit is complete without them.

Straw hats are all the rage, these days, and friendship bracelets can never be wrong. Just make sure that your Hogwarts house colors are accurately reflected.

Fashion tip: Gryffindor house colors are scarlet and gold. NOT maroon. Never, ever maroon. 

Yes, the bracelets are very helpful, but more important is the mockingjay. Always plastic, never metal. This is a fashion law that is very difficult to explain. Just know that it holds true in all circles. But back to the design: mockingjays are indispensable. The ultra-modern appeal gives the retro just the right touch.

(All members of the resistance, meet at midnight in the place of secrets.) 

Well, that should be enough for now. See you next time, for another session of "Outfit of the Day".

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's the difference between a Republican and a Democrat?

Let me tell you a little story.

There once was a young girl. (We shall call her Susie.) As many young girls do, she had a best friend. (Laura.) The kind of best friend that she went everywhere, and did everything with. The kind you see in movies and think, "I wish I had that."

There was only one significant difference between them. Sadly, it was the one that caused the biggest, awfullest, most-fights-ever argument between them. And it all started with a book trilogy.

In this particular series, Character X was Susie's favorite. Character Z was Laura's. That wasn't the problem, of course. Everyone has different favorite characters, because everyone values different things.

Characters X and Z set off together to defeat the evil overlord and save the world. X was brave and loyal, but not particularly clever or skilled. Z was very quick thinking, and dedicated to practicing his skills, but he wasn't particularly brave. Together they made a great team.

But you know what always happens. The good guys have it worse and worse, until at last they can't take anymore. They throw in everything they have, and either defeat the evil overlord, or die trying. Usually, it's that one, last, desperate effort that finally topples the evil overlord.

The case of Characters X and Z was no different. By the end of book 2 in the trilogy, they were trapped in a frozen wasteland with no more options. There was only one way out: the ever dreaded "join me or die."

Character X would rather die than ever join the evil overlord. Character Z would rather live to fight another day. The book ended with the two heroes going their separate ways.

And so did Susie and Laura.

"It's more important to be loyal!" Susie shouted. "I don't care what you're faced with. If you're not loyal, then what's the point of anything?"

"Oh yeah?" Laura yelled back. "Well, what's the point of being anything if you're dead? A frozen corpse will do a lot of good against the Evil Overlord, won't he?"

(Approximately 74 similar conversations omitted for brevity.)

This went on for months. 10 months, to be exact. (Because that's how long they had to wait for book three to come out.)

After ten months of constant arguing, they got together to read the third book. Not because they had finally resolved the debate. And not because they had put their differences aside, and become friends despite it.

They read it together to find out who was right, and settle the matter once and for all. Would bravery best cleverness, or would it just make X dead? Could Z live with himself branded as a coward and a traitor? Was staying alive worth it?

Who would be the ultimate hero at the end of the day?

Want to know the ironic catch to this story? They were both right.

Yup, both of them.

You see, it turned out that X was right in one way. His courage and strength helped him find a way to survive in that frozen wasteland. He found help, shelter, and eventually a way to defeat the evil overlord. Without his bravery and sheer gutsiness, he never would have discovered the snow nomads, who knew the Overlord's weakness.

But Z was also right. Trying to use his brains not only kept him warm and fed, but got him in with the Evil Overlord's minions. He, too, learned things about the overlord's weaknesses. When X showed up with the weapon to bring down the overlord, Z was there, ready and able to use it. Neither would have succeeded without the other. And both of them got there in different ways.

It is very true that they still might have succeeded if both had stayed in the wasteland. And they still might have succeeded if both had gone with the evil overlord. It just didn't happen that way.

Eventually Susie and Laura made up. They still disagreed on which path was the right one to take. Susie still insisted that being too cowardly to face the wasteland was unforgivable. Laura still insisted that X was being stupid just to prove that he was tough, and that it was a complete waste of time and resources.

But they also realized that the important things were still the same. Characters X and Z still had the same goal. They were still loyal to their cause, and still working together for the same ends (although they didn't know it, and spent a good deal of time being angry at each other as a result.)

Political metaphor!!!

We're humans. We're idiots by nature. At this point in time, Utopia is physically impossible to achieve. We have to make sacrifices in order to come as close as we can to Utopia.

CharacterX-icans think that bravery and cleverness are both good and important things. But since we can't have both (metaphorically speaking), they would rather have bravery than cleverness.

CharacterZ-ocrats agree that being brave and being clever are both important. But since we can't have both, they think that cleverness is much more important than bravery.

Both will have negative consequences. It's just a matter of opinion as to which set of negatives are more acceptable.

Translate this into the political climate.

Republicans have some good stuff that's better for the country. And they also have some bad stuff which is worse.

Democrats have some good stuff which is better for the country. And they also have some bad stuff which is worse.

And guess what, third-party peeps? The same thing even applies to you.

I know. It's a real shocker, isn't it?

So, at long last we answer the question. The real difference between a republican and a democrat is NOT that one is right and the other is wrong. It's not that one is closed-minded and the other is open-minded. And it's certainly not that one is perfect and the other is flawed.

The pure and simple difference is that when it comes down to crunch time, and we HAVE to choose one set of positives and negatives over another, not all of us choose the same set.

Moral of the story: Shut up and leave me the heck alone about having different preferences than you do.

Star Wars Obama