The Summer of the Doctor: Introducing My Wife to Doctor Who (Series 1 & 2)

TARDISLet me begin by saying my wife is rightfully a little annoyed with me. I almost ruined a family tradition.

She is a teacher, and during her summer break we like to have themes for our TV watching. For example, last summer was the WA summer (which meant we watched nothing but Wes Anderson and Woody Allen films); the summer before that was Agatha Christie (David Suchet is a genius!); and before that- Charles Dickens.

For this summer it was to be the summer of the Doctor. Yes, Doctor Who, and I am talking just about the new series run of Doctor Who, starting with the 9th Doctor.

For years, we have had friends recommending we take on the series. And we even had tried before, watching random episodes to see what we think (we both had nightmares because of “Blink”), but it was not something we had taken serious… until this scheduled summer. Summer 2013- the summer of the Doctor.

Yes, that was the plan- starting with episode 1 and taking on each and every one of them together… Well… Until I very selfishly ruined it. Continue reading

The Awesomeness of TeeFury

TeeFuryI live everyday with TeeFury regret.

This tragic tale is from last year, sometime in the autumn. It was before I purchased my first TeeFury shirt and this one was a combination of Calvin and Hobbes and Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog.

Let me repeat that- Hobbes and Kermit.

Basically, the artist took an image of rambunctious Calvin carrying his stuffed tiger and replaced it with a child that looked like Henson carrying a puppet of the awesome frog. And for 24 hours I stewed over this shirt, weighing each of the arguments pro and con for getting the shirt (or maybe purchasing it for others). I even shared the link to the shirt with friends and family who I thought might like it! But as the hours dripped by, I forgot about the shirt until it was the next morning… and there I was, head down on the computer keyboard staring forlornly at a new shirt available that did not include my beloved frog.

That is my TeeFury regret and now that I am on the mailing list I think of it each time a shirt appears that I may or may not be interested in purchasing. Do I want to live with that experience again?

Do I? Continue reading

Easter? Nah. This nerd is watching TV!

A piece of heavenI get why Easter is a big deal.

The change of the season from Winter to Spring (don’t we all feel a little more sane with more sunlight?), and there is the whole religious aspect for many (I was raised Catholic; of course Lent for me growing up was usually giving up something I didn’t care about, like vegetables)… But for me… honestly… this time of the year is all about Cadbury Eggs.

Man, I love Cadbury Eggs!

A piece of heaven trapped in a shell of chocolate.

Does anyone else remember when they had the orange ones out a few years ago? They had an orange filling (as compared to the caramel one that is too sticky for me and the chocolate one that is a little gross) and it was wonderful! This year I can’t find them anywhere. Bring back the orange! So I am stuck with the normal eggs. Now that doesn’t mean I am complaining, it’s just that a little variation in my favorite chocolate egg delicacies is not a bad thing. Like I said, I love Cadbury eggs.

Am I rambling?

Anyway, this year for me the holiday has been pushed aside by the priority of television.

Yes, for you this weekend may mean bunny rabbits, chocolate, and brightly-colored clothes on Sunday morning, for me it means a time-traveling police box and a long sword possibly with a white wolf’s head on the end of it.

Bring on the fantasy! Continue reading

Say Hello to Mr. DeVere, I Mean Shakespeare…

The Lord of OxfordI don’t believe in conspiracies.

Some people may think this is kind of lame of me, like I am some kind of party pooper; the dude that doesn’t want to clap his hands to bring Tinkerbell back in Peter Pan. But frankly I don’t think it is in the nature of human beings to keep secrets. Heck, even Deep Throat from Watergate admitted who he was before he died, and that secret only involved three people. We love to tell secrets, and when we were children we each learned (quite easily and quickly) it is always more fun to share a secret than to… keep it.

So aliens, men in black, secret assassinations… yes, at all conspiracies I wag my skeptical finger and say “Nah, nah.” (In a very He-man masculine way, of course).

Yet, I admit I am addicted to one conspiracy, the biggest in literature. The same conspiracy that created doubters out of Mark Twain, Orson Welles, and many others. In many ways, it is a who’s who of readers and lovers of literature; making me feel anything but alone in my little basement filled with notebooks of random facts like a character from The X-Files.

Yes, I am talking about the dreaded Oxford Theory, the Shakespeare Authorship question. The one unjustly pooh-poohed by scholars every time it is brought up. (It doesn’t help that the first person who brought up this theory had the last name of Looney. Yes, you read that right. Looney.)

For those that don’t know Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, supporter of the arts, beloved poet of the queen, may have done more than just survive the back-stabbing courts of his day; he might have also created the greatest catalogue of literature we may ever know. He might have been the pen behind Hamlet, Juliet and Macbeth…

Except he did it in secret, all in secret. And if it is true, it is a conspiracy that would have involved the highest members of the British court, famous writers, publishers, and an entire theater company.

Back up little aliens, now that is a conspiracy! Continue reading

The Posts of an Anglophile

Guarding the QueenCheerio!

What inspired me to write my editorial this week, “The Happy Anglophile,” is that I am in the process of editing two different books- A Jane Austen Daydream (to be published in April by Madison Street Publishing) and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare (which I am self-publishing and sharing the experience via posts, like this one where I discuss my great new cover artist). They are both very British books; one putting the spotlight on Miss Austen, the other trying to capture the world and vibe of Sherlock Holmes.

Not bad for a kid from Michigan, eh?

And it doesn’t stop there! I’ve been thinking about writing a post on a controversial belief I have on Shakespeare next week, and I have been debating myself for months on writing on my love of PG Wodehouse and Douglas Adams (I should have done the Douglas Adams one nearer his Birthday… damn).

Anyway, looking back over the blog, my anglophile-tendencies have been on display ever since I started writing, from books to movies to television to music. For your reading pleasure this weekend here are links to some of my more popular posts on my favorite second home.

Pip pip!

The Happy Anglophile

Union JackIn my next life, I will be British.

I know this is true right down to the fiber of my being.

I will be sophisticated, I will look good in suits, I will enjoy tea and crumpets, I will understand the point of Cricket, and I will have an accent that will add to my wit, not diminish it in the least.

I grew up with a love of the country and when I got married it was only natural that I married a woman whose family is British. Sadly, my wife doesn’t have the accent (she was the only member of the family born in the states), but she still shows hints of it; she perfectly pronounces all of her words and doesn’t have, what I like to think of as the “Michigan slur” that haunts me and many others in my state. (When I was in grad school in Los Angeles you have no idea how many times I was asked to repeat something because of that slur.)

Shirts with the Union Jack, Beatles’ posters on my walls, this adoration for England stems from music to history to, most importantly, books.

Yes, all cultures have great writers to point to, but when you speak of British writers you enter the land of myths and legends for me. These are my Herculeses, my Paul Bunyans.

From Jane Austen’s little villages to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s shadowy moors to Charles Dickens’ cobblestone and dirty London streets, they each had a hand in creating the image that stuck with me of merry ol’ England.  Every major experience I had growing up as a reader involved a British writer, starting with reading Winnie-the-Pooh with my mom (I remember us both laughing hysterically when Piglet was trying to help Pooh capture a Heffalump) through Roald Dahl and then the fantasy realms of Tolkien and Lewis that took my breath away.

And don’t forget, England gave us Shakespeare. Continue reading

Battlestar Galactica: Humanity’s Show

Battlestar GalacticaI’ve been doing this blog for over a year now, but this is the very first time I’ve taken a request.

See, last week I did two pieces about being a nerd, humourously claiming the title another blogger decided to put on me. And in one of those pieces I made a comment about SyFy’s new Battlestar Galactica (the most recent version, not the old one I will reference below), even hinting at the idea of writing a blog entry about the show.

It was supposed to be a joke, nothing I was really planning to do; yet, I received numerous requests in comments and over twitter to do it. As @Safireblade commented:

“Well, get to work on the Battlestar Galactica post… Chop chop!”

Chop chop?

How could I say no to that? But I have to admit this is a tricky thing for me to do. Just ask a film critic and they will understand- is it easier to write a bad review or a good review? See, as a lover of storytelling, the idea of breaking down what I consider almost a perfect show feels a little… well… sacrilegious. Continue reading

Further Proof of My Nerdom

Only a nerd makes a picture like this to share...In my post on Wednesday I asked the ultimate question, “Okay, am I a nerd?” I received quite a response from readers via Twitter and in comments; and the overwhelming response was…

Yes… Yes, I am a nerd.

Okay, fine.  So be it!

And after a further review of my site over the last year, it is embarrassingly obvious that my readers had caught something before I did. My nerdom has been on display for quite some time here on the site. More than on display, it has been putting on a provocative dance! (Think green skin and Star Trek.)

Here are links to some of my other “nerd” editorials that I didn’t reference in my last post, from movies to TV (I hope you enjoy them): Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, January 2013

It's freaking coldI blame my book.

I haven’t done a post like this since October (October!), and really the only big change I can point to, besides my new obsession with Doctor Who (see number 2, below), is Permanent Spring Showers.

But now the online challenge/novel is completed and the poetic/prose epilogue goes up on Friday, so I’ve no excuses. I have got to take this on again, give my monthly insight into my brain, or at least my daily life.

One of the things I have always aimed for in these posts (and most posts) is honesty. Don’t laugh! Seriously, for a fiction author that is hard to do. Do you know how easy it would be for me to create a character of me? My wife points it out to me all the time when my little “exaggerations” enter a real life story. Usually we are at gathering with friends and I start to talk about something that happened (usually around my kids who are a lot more entertaining that I am), and she will do this thing with her eyes and after a few minutes, she will finally have to interrupt, explaining that what I said was not exactly true.

Well, it was true in a way, right? Okay, nevermind, here are my five things for this month: Continue reading

I Want a TARDIS! My New Obsession With Doctor Who

I would sell my soul to come up with an idea like Doctor Who.

Yes, I would take an eternity in damnation, away from loved ones, baking in flames, to create a character like the man with the Sonic Screwdriver. And as I roasted, I would smile. Oh, how I would smile if that was on my resume

To think only three-months ago, I could not tell you the difference between a TARDIS and a Dalek (a TARDIS is bigger on the inside and a Dalek has a weird slimy octopus-like monster in it that likes to “ex-term-in-ate”). As a science-fiction geek, Doctor Who was already in the background for me. I knew who he was, had the basic gist of what it was about, but I never really considered giving it the time of day. I had enough sci-fi geek stuff with Tolkien, Star Trek, Joss Whedon, DC Comics, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica (the new one, not the old one), Red Dwarf, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, thank you very much. My cup was full, please try peddling your fantasy wares and monster costumes with zippers elsewhere.

I can even say I tried one or two episodes a few years ago. I am a fan of the TV writing of Steven Moffat (Coupling is hilarious and I love Sherlock) and when I heard he took over the running of the show (and it was one of his favorites), I decided to give it a shot; but I stopped after the episode of Daleks in WWII and when they emerged in different colors and bigger. I just didn’t understand the threat. They looked (dare  I type it) silly… and in different colors? So what? They are white and red now? Whatever.

Oh how naive I was then… Continue reading