Thursday, June 28, 2007

Who! What? When!?

Last night, finally, I received confirmation of something I've been waiting for with baited breath for months: the season premiere of Dr. Who on Sci Fi!! The internet rumor mill had the US premiere of season three starting on July 6th. I saw a commercial last night whilst watching Ghost Hunters, and July 6th it is! Now, I've been a fan of Dr. Who since the early 90s, when, thanks to cable, I could finally catch the classic series on public television. When I was a kid (and I'm not telling you which decade that was) I could make out some of the Tom Baker/Peter Davidson episodes via an extremely fuzzy reception. Remember when the Dr. and Tegan went to Amsterdam?! That was good times...

Fast forward a decade or so and, behold! Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred in all their glorious cable television glory!

Oddly, I was unaware that BBC revived the series until I found out about it via, of all things, a knitting forum! I thought Christopher Eccleston was an odd choice for the Doctor--until I watched an episode. No sooner had the 9th doctor found a place in my heart when, bam, he regenerated. Helloooooo number 10!! I don't know why I find him so irresistible: it could be the suit and Chucks combo. Or is it the vintage overcoat? The sideburns are definitely part of it.

Oh my God! Yahoo music is playing "Make A Circuit With Me" by the Pole Cats. It's been over 20 years since I've heard that song...must rate song..."Can't Get Enough"...There. But I digress.

The Brits (if any read this blog) have already sat through the entire season. In fact, Dr. Who is so popular in Britain that the season finale was screened on giant outdoor TV screens in London because the Gay Pride march was scheduled for the same time and so many participants didn't want to miss it!
So, yeah, next Friday is going to be a big night for me. Yes, I'm aware of how sad that is! "The Runaway Bride" or whatever. There are two things, however, that I find annoying about being an American Who fan:
1) We're an entire season behind Britain. Since I like to peruse the BBC's official Dr. Who website, this means I've completely spoiled every major development, plot twist, guest star appearance, you name it, for myself.. You could say I've "mastered" the art of the spoiler. Those familiar with the classic series will know what I'm talking about...
2) Smug, superior British fans who complain about all the "new fans" on the Sci Fi Channel's Dr. Who forum. Don't you people have enough British forums to post on without lording it (no pun intended. Time-Lording over it?!) over us Yanks? Please remember, classic series Dr. Who viewing for most Americans has been sporadic at best. Please don't flood an American forum with complaints about new fans. Just be glad there are that many more of us!
On an un-Dr.Who-related note:
Two days after my post about McSweeney's big inventory sell-off (see below) USA Today's Pop Candy column ran a piece on the very topic! Is Whitney Matheson stalking me?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Books No Problem. Dr. Who Action Figure? No Can Do.

Lately I've been placing lots of orders with companies across the pond. Those lovely folks in the U.K. are more than happy to send the Anglophilic American a delightful arrray of whatever books, paper goods, foodstuffs and cross-stitch kits he or she may desire. But try to order a Dr. Who action figure? Problem.
Last December I placed an order with I ordered the Dr. Who 2007 calendar. Then I clicked the purchase button on the Tenth Doctor in Brown Suit (with sonic screwdriver) and held my breath. Success--or so I thought. I was very excited about the prospect of finally having my own Ten action figure in my hot little hands--until I got to the checkout section. The action figure would not go through because of licensing agreements. Only a few European countries outside the UK can order British toys! I guess I should have expected that, but come on: who in the US is going to make any decent Dr. Who products, am I right people?!

Needless to say, I was a tad disappointed. I was further disappointed when I received the Dr. Who calendar. All the photos, except for August, were of all the butt-ugly aliens from each episode. There were a few tiny pictures of the Doctor, one or two of Rose, and none of the supporting characters we came to know and love during seasons one and two. *sob* I miss Jax!

I was so mad I posted a negative review under the "Be the first to review this product!" banner. I was assured the review would appear shortly. Curiously, when I checked in a couple of days later, the "Be the first to review this product!" banner had been put back up. Sneaky!

To wit: Americans can order this:

but not this:
Luckily, my local comic book shop got a small batch of the action figures a couple of months ago. I was thinking of buying the cyberman as well, but I don't want to start collecting a lot of junk again. Though, how cool would a cyberman action figure be in a photo for my knitting blog? He could be shaking his fist at my half-finished sock!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

McSweeney's Needs Your Help!

Rather recently, I became aware of a great independent publishing concern called McSweeney's. Based in San Diego, they publish the literary/music magazines McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The Believer and Wholphin. In addition, they publish many many books ranging from poetry to literary criticism to humor. With illustrious names such as Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and Amy Sedaris among their semi- or regular contributors, these gloriously designed magazines are a feast for the eyes as well as the brain. Not to mention the ears: The Believer's much anticipated music issue always comes with a CD bursting with fresh talent paired with established acts.

Recently, Mcsweeney's distributor filed for bankruptcy. The publishers took a huge hit and are now struggling to get back on their feet. So by now you're all probably asking yourselves," How can all this suffering benefit me, personally?" Why, you can benefit by visiting McSweeney's in order to take advantage of their inventory sell-off. Almost everything they sell, including subscriptions, is discounted. They're famous for their book bundles and magazine bundles. Right now I'm eyeing the Music Bundle: three past music issues of Believer, three CDs, all for $19.60, reduced from $28. Of course, right before they announced their sell-off, I made my first purchase with them--the Nick Hornby bundle ($15.40, reduced from $22.00).

Please go to their website and check out all the cool things they have. Once you've been there, you'll marvel over the sheer number of indispensible objects they have to tempt the discriminating buyer. After all, what better time than now to finally buy that tee shirt you've been eyeing? You know, the one with a silhouette of a stag riding a motorcycle? (I'm ordering one as soon as I get paid on Friday!)

You're probably wondering how you ever lived without it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Pirates and Ogres and Wizards, oh my!

I've seen two "summer blockbusters" in the past three weeks. I usually wait until crowds thin out a little before going to the movies, lest I run screaming from the theater in the throes of a claustrophobia-induced panic attack. But my overwhelming desire to see Shrek and Pirates made me throw caution--and a small dose of xanax--to the wind!

I went to see Shrek the Third on its opening weekend. For some strange reason, it failed to register in my brain that Shrek is primarily a kid's movie. Yeah, there's nothing like going to the movies alone because you can't find anyone to go with you only to sit in a theater packed with screaming children. Personal highlights: the small boy next to me who kept kicking me; his mother who kept asking me what was happening onscreen and which princess was which because she couldn't follow the plot; the shrieks of laughter (from the kids) every time Shrek said the word "poop," and the theater-wide "AAAAWWWWWW!" when Puss in Boots did the sad kitty face thing. OK, I'm guilty of the last highlight.

I had to sit through a bunch of lame, kid-oriented previews. None of them was Harry Potter. But, sweet merciful Lord, I did get to see the preview for Bratz: The Movie. As God is my witness: if I ever have to sit through anything in which the term "BFFs" is being used without a sense of irony again...

But I loved Shrek the Third. I'd go see it again once the crowds die down.

Last weekend I saw Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End. The theater was crowded but there was breathing room! Shrek was still doing a brisk business. Johnny Depp was hot, Keith Richards did a good job in his cameo, and Kiera Knightly kicked butt. Word to the wise: If you go see Pirates, stay through the ending credits. There's an extra scene when the credits are over.

I had to sit through a bunch of lame previews. None of them was Harry Potter. Where are they showing Harry Potter previews? I've seen them online, but nothing beats a big screen and surround sound.

Oh well. Next month I'll go see the movie. On the opening weekend. The theater probably won't be filled with screaming kids, since the story gets darker with each movie/book, but you never know. I'm hoping Voldemort scares them away.