It’s a wonderful feeling when you enter your small hometown cinema and find yourself surrounded with fan t-shirts, fezes and at least twenty ‘Doctors’ in costume. The audible undercurrent to the excited chattering around you is the unmistakeable whir of multiple sonic screwdrivers.
Such was the sight I was greeted with last Sunday, joining friends and strangers to see the highly-anticipated Doctor Who 50th anniversary special; ‘Day of the Doctor.’
What a day, indeed! Whovians nationwide made themselves known and were treated to cinema-style viewings of this very special episode of the popular British TV show.
Doctor Who is one of the longest-running productions on television and among the most successful and recogniseable sci-fi franchises. It follows the titular character, the Doctor, a Timelord who explores the many facets of the universe alongside various companions – who are human friends who share in the adventures and travels. The Doctor’s chosen method of transport is the iconic TARDIS – the famous blue police box which can navigate both time and space (it actually stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space).
Fans lucky enough to score a cinema ticket were truly spoiled! Prior to the start of the episode we witnessed two preview shorts involving Smith and Tennant, the latest two Doctors; and Strax, a battle-crazed alien who has featured prominently in Smith’s time.
Strax, a Commander in the alien Sontaran race which glorifies bloody war and battle, took great pleasure in restraining and imprisoning misbehaving moviegoers. The feisty Commander took great relish in punishing those who brought out their mobile phones during the movie, among other minor misdemeanours – and the “tiny screams” of his popcorn victims.
Tennant and Smith teamed up to play a game with cinema audiences which had us laughing in no time. After recovering from the excited squeals that went up at Tennant’s appearance, the Doctors had the audience test the function of our 3D glasses with a clever trick. While this process led us into deep suspicion about the possibly alien nature of the person next to us, the cute skit put everyone in a cheery mood before the special feature.
An undeniable highlight to the 50th came in the form of Tom Baker. Whiter and more wrinkled – but every bit the same kooky and fun Doctor we remember – Baker’s time onscreen was nothing short of magical.
Every previous regeneration appeared to save the day in what was a very moving climax; an endearing tribute to longstanding fans. But the heartwarming scene between Baker and the face of the current Doctor, Matt Smith, left fans positively beaming.
Baker, who played the role of the Doctor’s fourth regeneration from 1974 to 1981, remains a fan favourite to this day.
The 50th was feature-length and full of thrills, with an ending revelation which casts a new light on a very significant part of the Doctor’s past – and future.
Without revealing too much for those still yet to see it, we can say with assurity that Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows were the real stars of the show, earning themselves a fan following after their three seconds onscreen.
It was heartening to learn that, in my rural Victorian hometown of a-thousand-or-so, I am not alone in my fandom.
My only wish now is that the good Doctor will continue to develop and flourish; that more people can share in the Doctor’s adventures. And that, eventually, Whovians everywhere can come together again for the 60th, 75th… and maybe even the 100th anniversery special!
For those of you who haven’t heard, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as we affectionately know it) is happening right now. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. It is a difficult challenge and one that has been occupying my time a lot as of late.
“The world needs your novel” is what the official website tells you. I’m sure that it’s true. The goal of this challenge is to promote reading and writing and above all to help participants discover the novelist inside. If you have an idea that you’ve been planning to get out, use this challenge as a way of pressuring yourself to do so. It’s been working for me so far.
I know that we’re already halfway through the month of November but don’t let that discourage you! I’ve been contending with my exam for this novel and many other people are too. Even more encouraging is the news I heard recently of a woman who was too impatient to wait for November. Catherynne M. Valente challenged herself to write her first novel in 10 days! This could be something you decide to take on yourself and race to finish in time for November 30th.
NaNoWriMo may show you a determined, thoughtful and creative side of yourself that you might never have thought was there. Despite the very short time still left in the competition, I would sincerely urge everyone to have a crack at it anyway. It doesn’t matter if you think you suck. If you write something that ends up being Eye of Argon levels of terrible, just remember this advice from Jake:
Failure is just a step forward on the road to success. You are writer. Hear you ROAR!!!
Find out more and register at nanowrimo.org. Registering allows you to reap rewards for your efforts as winners of the challenge will receive prizes! Don’t forget to support the great folks who run this event by donating too.
The Lin Kuei can only rely on each other right? No wonder that Sub Zero and Reptile had to eventually hook up. (These are ninjas from Mortal Kombat, for those not into the game).
Mhmm…yep. I can deal with this. So glad I got a photo of this.
I found the MCM Comic Con in London to be exceptionally crowded. There were SO many people it was near impossible to move on the Saturday. Fortunately for me, I had gone on the Friday as well – so I’d seen most of the stuff available and didn’t need to browse as much and so (thankfully) could spend most of my time away from the really thick crowds.
I did get to see some of the actresses in Lost Girl speak briefly – that was kinda cool. my boyfriend really wanted to ask Kenzie if he could get a cuddle…of course this was impossible. On the off-chance she’s reading this though, my boyfriend would totally appreciate a cuddle.
Pokémon’s 6th generation of main series games is literally only days away and I am both excited and utterly demoralised since I promised myself to hold off on acquiring it for important personal reasons. However, I have been following the news and everything is so delicious. I’m kicking myself for making promises I don’t want to keep. There’s much about the new generation of Pokémon that has gotten me hyped and a few things that I am not so thrilled about but still interested enough to see how it works.
Things that I am so hyped for in the new generation:
Pokémon X & Y are introducing salons in some of the Kalos region’s cities. In these specialised locations there will be the option to change the appearance of your player character, causing him/her to appear different in battle animations and have a unique look in wi-fi matches. It’s still a couple of steps down from the kind of character creation that long-time fans have been anticipating but it’s a positive step forward. It also means that we can get rid of the stupid sunglasses. I hate the sunglasses. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?
Its species name is “Poodle Pokémon” and it changes form by simply getting a haircut. Unlike other types of Pokémon forms where the Pokémon may be able to access different moves, change stats or even change type with a form change, Furfrou simply changes its appearance. Yep, it’s just a Pokémon poodle. And that is why I love and want it so much. You can choose between three different types of poodle-shape* and each has a dye job to go with it. For a person like me whom is so entertained by simple things like changing colours and shapes and sparkly things, I know I’m going to find this a lot of fun.
Depowering the Steel-type (a bit)
Getting technical now, did you hate it whenever a Steel-type Pokémon appeared as an opponent in previous generations? Yeah, me too. They’re not as super-powered as the Dragon-type but they have so few weaknesses coupled with a great ton of resistances, including immunity to Poison-type attacks, and high average defence stats. It is so frustrating to take on a Steel-type Pokémon, even the ones where the massive resistance of the Steel-typing is offset by a second type. So for Generation VI, the Pokémon Team have changed the type pairings a bit. Obviously they had to change them anyway to include the Fairy-type but they have also taken away Steel-type’s resistance to Dark- and Ghost-types, which makes a lot of sense and I am totally cool with it since I quite like the Dark-type. And like I said, fighting against at literal steel wall when so few of your attacks will do more than half the regular damage is really frustrating. I’d rather see defensive play being mixed up by adding more moves to the pool rather than more resistances to certains types.
‘Since you’re able to run right from the get-go in these games, there’s a new item you’ll be able to get that allows you to go even faster. As an enthusiastic roller-blader in my childhood, I am certain to identify strongly with this new element. I don’t know if I’ll ever not use them. Screw the bicycle, skates are where it’s at in this game.
Things that I am not so hyped for in the new generation:
This seems to me a pointless addition to make to the list of types. Everyone initially got super excited because ever since the introduction of the Dark-type fans have been speculating the creation of a corresponding “Light-type” and Fairy seems to be filling that niche. However, what got a lot of appetites wet for Fairy-type was the fact that it’s super-effective against Dragon-type and additionally is not affected by Dragon-type moves. Dragon-type Pokémon have long been revered for being powerful and having few weaknesses. If I had to spend hours in tall grass trying to catch a super-rare Pokémon and even more hours raising it to level 50 to get its fully evolved form, I think I deserve a very powerful Pokémon, thank-you very much.
This seems like a much needed move to depower the Dragon-type generally but when you take a step back it’s a pretty moot move. Despite having few weaknesses Dragon-type also has few strengths. Offensively, their moves are only super-effective against themselves and aside from Fairy, Steel is the only type that they’re not neutral to. Defensively, they take double damage from Ice-type (and now Fairy-type), as well as themselves and half damage from Water, Fire, Grass and Electric, making them neutral to everything else. The biggest threat a Dragon-type Pokémon possesses is high stats so I don’t think this addition to the typing categories is really well worth the hype just yet. More so since aside from its battle properties we still don’t know about the growth rate or the average base stats of Fairy-type.
It’s a Psychic-type Pokémon that has a drastically different appearance based on whether it is male or female. It also has different move pools based on its gender with the female’s being more aggressive and the male’s being more supportive. It would have been less offensive to just make them two different Pokémon. Meowstic takes gender alienation in Pokémon to a new level of dumb, up from the different designs of various accessories depending on your character’s gender from Generation IV onwards. Here’s a clue: for each accessory there was actually only one design but they came in different colours. And of course you couldn’t just choose your colour; girls were automatically assigned pink and for boys, blue. I can deal with the theme of sexual dimorphism that Pokémon has been going for ever since they introduced breeding but segregating this Pokémon so far that each gender has different move sets based on their sex is taking that too far. Can’t people just accept that boys and girls can do everything the other can do?
So far Mega-evolution seems to be one of the coolest things this generation has to offer and I can understand that. The designs for many of the megas look really cool and it shakes up the game strategy a lot but I am just not hyped. Mainly because this whole temporary evolution schtick has been Digimon’s s domain since 1999. I was a fan of both of them as a child but Pokémon eventually stole my heart away completely with its unexplored lands of wonder, beauty and mystery over the digital world’s wondrously confusing topsy-turvy Wonderland-ish world. One of the major things that really separated the Pokémon from the Digimon was the fact that Pokémon evolved permanently and without much assistance from an external device** while Digimon did not. In my mind that is still one of the most important distinctions between them. Mega-evolution is cool but from my perspective it just seems like they’re starting to step on Digimon’s toes now. The reason why I like Pokémon is because it’s not Digimon and Digimon is great because it’s a viable alternative to Pokémon that is not another Pokémon thing (like Pokémon Conquest – totally viable alternative to the Pokémon main series but it’s still Pokémon).
That’s really just a gripe, though. It would be cool to instantly be able to boost all of your stats in a single move and even change type to get some strategic advantage. Then again, there may turn out to be more advantage in equipping some other sort of item over the mega-stone, like a berry (never underestimate those rare berries; Charti Berry lets me breathe a little easier in the face of Stealth Rock***) or even a focus band for the sake of getting in just one more hit, or maybe it’ll be more worth it to use a Mystic Water or other kind of item to raise the power of certain attacks, especially attacks that your Pokémon already gets a STAB from. See, I’m already questioning the usual plan of attack. An interesting way to shake up the battling but why did it have to wriggle into the Digimon niche?
All things considered, I love Pokémon and I can’t wait for the fateful day when I have fulfilled my promise and Pokémon X sits snugly in my 3DS and shines its glorious digital light upon my visage.
*‘Poodle-shape’ is a general term to describe the shapes that poodles are trimmed into and it’s a totally legitimate way to describe things. Totally.
**Just to be clear, I am aware of all of the Pokémon that need to be holding items or have items used on them in order to evolve but Mega-evolution takes the further step of the trainer needing to hold a special item that will consistently trigger Mega-evolution. You know, like how the DigiDestined kids needed to be holding Digivices to consistently trigger Digivolution.
*** Stealth Rock has ruined everything.
While I have previously explained the basics of the gay subculture known as the Bear Community, I fear that the residents of the den of identity are still some of the most misunderstood. So let this article be a Bear Community 102, to give those non-woodland creatures a little more education into the world of the Bears.
We have a flag.
Yep, the Bear community is large, proud and significant enough to have a flag of their own. And a flag that is frequently used at gay festivals and events such as Pride. I actually recently bought a Bear flag at Pride in Brighton. I will cherish it forever.
We have a nation, and it exists globally.
Not only do we fly our beautiful freak flag, but we raise it at celebrations known as Bear Nation. Bear Nation is essentially a summit of Bears in a certain city/area, usually held at a club, that celebrates being a Bear. Usually involves plenty of sweaty, shirtless, hairy men getting drunk and dancing the day and night away. It really is an idyllic place. Bears don’t need heaven when we’ve got Bear Nation parties.
Bears are NOT just fat men celebrating fatness.
As with any subculture, there are divisions. There are extremists. There are angry, hurt Bears who would lash out at anyone as a response built in from previous life trauma. It is these people who would have you believe the Bears are an exclusive club of domineering, hairy men. The real truth is that the Bear community was founded as a reaction to the prevalent attitude throughout the gay community that perfection involved being ripped, smooth, and classically handsome. As a result, the main body type that the Bear community celebrates is the polar opposite – the fat, the hairy, the “ugly”. But that’s not the entirety of it. Ask most Bears and what they will tell you is that the Bear community is more about welcoming anyone of ANY body type. That means that a smooth, ripped, classically handsome man could very well identify as a member of the Bear community too – so long as he is one to also celebrate men of all shapes and sizes.
In some ways, you can see parallels with feminism. The feminist movement is a reaction to the prevalent misogynistic point of view that perfection in a women involves her being a Barbie Girl. And so for a time, feminists were embodied by the polar opposite: the masculine, the angry, the domineering woman. But that’s not what feminism is (necessarily) about: feminism is the celebration of the feminine, and the empowerment of the feminine, and the equality in status with men, regardless of her personality, appearance and temperament.
But I digress – Bears aren’t just fat men saying “wheyhey we’re fat and we love it.” It’s a bunch if men (and supportive women) saying “wheyhey, I’m ME and I love it. And you’re YOU and we love it.”
Bears are NOT (necessarily) “Furries”.
Though Bears are quite usually furry, they are not a part of the the Furry Fandom. Though they aren’t mutually exclusive, and there can often be overlap – in fact, I’m finding more and more that I enjoy a little furdom. Furries are a whole different realm of subculture that is actually sexuality-independent. It’s a culture I will hope to explore, and eventually write an article about. So keep your eyes out for that one. But as a quick (and definitely non-comprehensive) summary, they’re basically those who believe themselves to possess the spirit of an animal, who wish to behave, and sometimes dress up as, that animal, and act like that animal. Sometimes even have sex like that animal. It’s a much more complex subculture than that, but that’s the basis – and Bears aren’t quite in that same headspace. Bears are an identity related to human body shape, despite the animal references.
We have our own clubs.
Yes, there are Bear clubs. And yes, they’re often men-only. Bear clubs often sound and look terrifying – dark atmospheres filled with looming men adorned with scruff that could hide all sorts of nasty. Once you enter, however, and interact, you usually find yourself surrounded by a lovely lot of teddy bears who giggle happily and are looking for love as much as anyone else.
Now I say usually because…
Bears can be cliquey.
Yes, sadly, despite the fact that the Bears developed out of the fact that they were marginalised out of the rest of the gay community, as it has grown so has a desire amongst many of its members for exclusivity. It’s sad, and much like many of the gays who believe straights should not be in gay clubs because they desire exclusivity for the gays. It’s sad, but it is fact. There have been many a time that I have walked into a Bear club and been greeted with a most unsettling atmosphere of not belonging, since the Bears had gathered into packs already, and none had claimed me. Unfortunate, not unusual, but not uniform either. I’m sure none of the boys in the Geeky Bears Facebook group would behave that way. It just goes to prove that being a geek improves you, no matter what other identity you maintain alongside it.
I reckon that’s enough for your second lesson in the homosexual Bears. Anything you have questions about? Ask them below and I’ll most certainly answer them for you!