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WANT! Doctor Who Stamps

In England the Royal Mail has released a 50th anniversary set of Doctor Who stamps. Here they are:


First Doctor: William Hartnell

Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton

Third Doctor: John Pertwee

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker

Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison

Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker (this is my favorite of the batch)

Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy

Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann

Ninth Doctor: Chris Eccleston

Tenth Doctor: David Tennant

Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith

The Mystery of Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger (Emma Watson)I’ve been following along as Mark Re-Reads the Harry Potter series and in his post today he discussed Hermione and what motivates her to be the insufferable know-it-all she was in the beginning.

This, along with the questions my husband has posed, has made me curious about Hermione.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books (as if I really need to say who she is, ha!), gives us a pretty good background for both Harry and Ron but there’s very, very little about Hermione’s pre-Hogwarts childhood. We know she’s from an all-muggle family and that she is most likely an only child. But that’s all we really know. There’s never any mention of extended family, how she fared in her pre-magical education (although we can assume she excelled in probably everything) and if she ever had any friends before Hogwarts.

I was quite surprised when I saw the last movie that we actually got to see Hermione in the muggle world (and in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes offered by any of the films.) Hermione is never ‘seen’ in the muggle world in the books, ever. She writes from her holiday trips with her parents, but that’s the only clue we have about her non-magical life.

I find this rather odd. Rowling is so good about making the world of Harry Potter seem so real. There is so much detail in all aspects of her story-telling that I have to wonder if Hermione’s lack of a past was on purpose. Certainly it’s not really important overall, but it would have been nice to have some clue as to why Hermione was such a nosy, stickler-for-rules busybody. It’s almost as if Hermione was fully formed, on the spot the second she stepped onto the Hogwarts train.

On Rowling’s website she states that Hermione is a bit like her when she was younger. Perhaps Rowling didn’t give us a past for Hermione because it was too close to home. A world-famous author needs a little privacy I suppose.

Does it always have to be so dramatic?

This is the synopsis of an upcoming Doctor Who episode called “A Good Man Goes to War.”

Amy Pond has been kidnapped and the Doctor is raising an army to rescue her as the drama continues. But as he and Rory race across galaxies, calling in long-held debts and solemnly given promises, his enemies are laying a carefully concealed trap. In her cell in Stormcage, River Song sadly acknowledges that the time has come at last – today will mark the Battle of Demons Run and the Doctor’s darkest hour. Both sides will make their sacrifices and River Song must finally reveal her most closely guarded secret to the Doctor.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love Doctor Who but, quite frankly, I’m becoming a bit weary of the new series. I used to think it was just my intense dislike of Amy Pond (which hasn’t improved with the few episodes I’ve seen of her second season) but now I think I’m just getting really tired of the end of the world happening every freaking season.

The Girl in the FireplaceThis started back with Tennant’s last season. The entire planet Earth was moved to a different region of space. Then, Matt Smith’s first season ended with all of reality being completely rebooted. Now, there’s this Silence thing going on and we’re about to see the ‘Doctor’s darkest hour.’  How are they going to end this season? They’ve already rebooted the freaking universe. How do you top that?

It would be nice if the show runners could just back off a bit and let the Doctor have more adventures that don’t have the fate of the universe, the time lord race, the Dalek race, the human race or all of reality hanging in the balance. A few more “Girl in the Fireplace” or “The Unquiet Dead” episodes would be nice. And could we have a season-long story arc that doesn’t lead to utter destruction?

Oh, and while we’re at it, could we have a new companion that isn’t the most important person in the universe? God, that’s getting old, especially when the most important person in the universe is a narcissistic bitch in a micro-skirt.

Things That Make Me Smile

Things have been getting me down lately but there are a few things that will always make me feel at least slightly better, no matter what. (These are in no particular order).

  • Hugs from my husband
  • Watching Fred Astaire dance
  • Seeing growth in my gardens
  • The fact that my dog is excited to see me every single day when I get home
  • Messages from friends and family
  • Listening to popular standards (songs) from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s
  • Watching escapist science-fiction and fantasy films/television


What I’m Watching, May 2011

What I'm Watching, May 2011

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have cable and we live too far out in the country to pick up any digital signals with our antennae, even with a converter box. So, we watch things on video and through Netflix instant streaming. (The instant streaming is awesome, by the way. It’s no extra cost to us and we can finally watch shows we missed.)

So, here’s a list of TV shows I’ve been watching in the past few months

  • That 70’s Show
    We watched the first few seasons of this show when it originally aired and liked it well enough. We moved a few years into its run and since we couldn’t get Fox to come in at our new house, we never watched it again. So, when we saw it was on Netflix instant streaming, we put it on the queue. 

    It’s not the best or most original situation comedy, but it was enjoyable enough and despite some pretty bad acting (especially in the beginning) there were some very memorable characters.

    We watched it all the way through to its last season. It had its ups and downs but pretty much kept a consistent quality throughout. Losing its two most popular teen characters in the last season did hurt it a bit but not as much as I expected.

  • Bones
    When this procedural show premiered, neither my husband nor I had much interest. I’m not a big fan of procedural shows unless there’s a nice twist or interesting characters (i.e. “Castle”) and my husband is not a big fan of David Boreanaz. 

    However, I kept hearing good things about the show and how well Boreanaz was doing (I do like him and have always found him quite charming despite the husband’s sometimes-intense dislike) so I tried out an episode on Hulu. I watched a few more and decided it was a show that I would like to try. I also thought that it was something the husband would like as well if he could get over his Boreanaz-hate.

    I finally convinced him and it didn’t take long for us both to become hooked. It’s a procedural but mixes the approaches of other crime-fighting shows. While “Castle” focuses on motive and “CSI” focuses on forensics, “Bones” focuses on both. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, finds the physical evidence while FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth focuses on the heart of the matter (murder).

    The other characters that assist Brennan are just as (and sometimes more) interesting as the two leads. We’re both eagerly waiting for the next season of the show to become available.

  • Flash Forward
    My husband writes a DVD Review column and he received the first half of this show’s one and only season for review on DVD so we checked it out. 

    The premise was very intriguing – everyone in the world blacks out at exactly the same time for a few minutes and sees the future for a specific date and time.

    The show focuses on the FBI agents in charge of investigating the incident, how it came about, who’s responsible and how to prevent future blackouts.

    I’m not sure that it deserved future seasons but I liked it well enough to finish the program. It’s not going to go on any of my favorites list but I don’t regret spending the time to watch it.

  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    I’ve been a fan of the Monty Python group since my college roommate introduced me to them in the early 1990s. They had my heart the second the Frenchmen flung the cow over the castle wall. 

    However, I had never seen the original “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” television program and that’s just inexcusable.

    So, we’ve been watching these sporadically over the last few months. Like any other sketch comedy some skits are good, some not so good, but more often than not these guys have me cracking up at the silliest things.

  • The Office
    I like Steve Carell. Some of his movies are shit (excuse my bluntness, but they are – Almighty Evan, anyone? Ugh.) but I like Carell despite some of his career choices. I honestly find him very sexy. 

    I had heard of “The Office,” of course, and knew that it was very popular but I never had the chance to watch it. Netflix has it available on instant streaming so we gave it a try.

    Ugh. That first season was so bleah. It wasn’t awful but neither I nor my husband could figure out what the big deal was. What is so funny about a man making a fool of himself and his subordinates making faces at a camera?

    But, we stuck it out and continued to season 2. (Fortunately, season 1 was very short). Starting with the very first episode of season 2 it all seemed to click and we’ve been hooked ever since. The characters started doing more than making ‘isn’t this guy an idiot?’ faces at the camera and became defined characters with their own strengths and flaws which, in turn, made Michael Scott (Carell) more tolerable.

    And not only is it freakin’ funny, it has a lot of heart without being sentimental. There’s always at least one moment in each episode that’s a bit touching and it never seems forced or unrealistic.

  • Party Down
    We checked this show out because of who created it and some of the cast members. We loved, loved, loved “Veronica Mars” and “Party Down” was co-created by Rob Thomas, the brains behind “Mars.” 

    It starred Ryan Hansen from VM along with several other actors that we like (Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Lizzy Caplan) so we decided to check it out.

    It’s not great, but it has some truly funny moments. It follows the (almost always pathetic) lives of a group of caterers and the hijinks that ensue at their various jobs around Los Angeles.

    It’s not a laugh-out-loud type of comedy but it can be quiet entertaining.

  • Penn & Teller’s Bullshit
    I’ve only seen a few episodes but so far I’m liking this one. Penn Gillette can be rather acerbic, but he seems to be honest and fair when he tears certain things down such as the Boys Scouts, the Obesity epidemic and Prostitution. 

    It certainly helps that more often than not, I agree with them 100 percent.

  • Phineas and Ferb
    I’ve written about this show on this blog already, but I have to mention it again. 

    Pure Awesomeness. (Yes, I meant to capitalize both words.)

  • The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    Being fans of the original films (I don’t even hate the third) this was a no-brainer. Closely following the film’s continuity, this show covers the time between the second and third films following the adventures of Sarah Connor, her son John, another Terminator sent from the future to protect them and John’s uncle also sent from the future to help. 

    What I particularly like about this show is that it shows how John Connor turned into the hero that we all know he is to become. I like him on this show much more than any of the movies in which he appeared.

    (NOTE: I have not seen the fourth movie yet, with Christian Bale. That’s on our list and we plan to see it after we’re done with the series.)

We have recently (last night, actually) started watching “Primeval” but I’m not sure if I like it yet or not. The premise is interesting but so far, I don’t like the characters very much. They’re all very cliche right now but I’m hoping that will change soon.

At least I’m not apathetic about the apathy

It’s kind of a dark time for me right now – which is kind of ironic. For the first time in five years I’m out of debt to anyone who can sue me and overall things are going well. I have a job, I recently got a (small) raise, the car is still running and we even had enough from our tax return to get the hi-def television we’ve wanted for ten years now.

But I’ve been overwhelmed by apathy for a few months now. I have trouble motivating myself to get work done at home as well as at my job. I’m only doing what I have to do and letting the rest slide. I feel like that little prick on the next-to-last season of Scrubs whom Doctor Cox fired because he was so damn lazy. I’d go look up the character’s name, but I just don’t feel like it.

I can’t really tell if the apathy is stemming from burn-out or from a deeper depression. I’ve always struggled with depression, but usually I had a reason for being depressed. Right now, things are looking brighter than they have in a long while but it’s just not sinking into my brain.

Maybe that’s what’s causing the apathy. The nightmare is mainly over and I don’t have nearly as much to keep me worrying and my brain is saying, “All right, it’s safe to shut down for a while. What? You don’t have vacation time until June? Well, sucks to be you, but I’m switching off. See you in the Spring.”

The only thing that gets me out of this funk is thinking about and planning my gardens, and I won’t be able to even start implementing those plans for at least a month. Cleanup could possibly start in a couple of weeks, but we still have at least two feet of snow out there and the temperatures are staying right at freezing. And it just will not stop snowing.

I just checked. It’s going to be in the low 40’s this weekend. Maybe the end (of winter) is near.

And maybe I’ll get lucky and this will all just be seasonal depression. I certainly hope so. I haven’t written anything substantial since I failed to win NaNoWriMo last November.

Yeah, this was a downer post for which I apologize. So here’s something to lighten the mood. Because, as we all know, Fez hats are cool.

Fezes are cool