Embracing the Adventure

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On Whovian Blasphemy March 19, 2015

“Death in Heaven” was an interesting end to a season that I believe was the best of the new series. A typical Moffat two-parter, it started strong and petered out a bit by the end… the end… the end.

To be honest, I wasn’t entirely certain that the episode was going to end. I counted three, possibly four good places for the episode to conclude, but it seemed that Moffat just wanted to keep going. And going. And going. Like the energizer bunny of the sci-fi genre.

I’ll admit that I didn’t think any of the endings were particularly bad. (Though none of the additional material really seemed to contribute to the story line.) That is, none of them until the last when Santa stepped aboard the TARDIS. At that moment, my heart filled with fear.

The thing about Moffat’s writing is that it can be hard to tell whether he’s about to do something completely rational (providing that rational is truly possible in a program about a time-travelling alien) or to take the show into the realms of the ridiculous. I now had weeks to wonder whether we were about to discover “horror of all horrors” that Santa Claus is a Time Lord.

It wasn’t the idea in and of itself that was particularly difficult to comprehend. He does manage to deliver toys to the entire world in a single night and his bag is definitely bigger on the inside. It was that the idea required the introduction of a fictional character into the world of “Doctor Who”.

Much to my delight, I discovered that I was not the only fan harboring this fear. Much to my dismay, I discovered that most of my non-Whovian friends simply didn’t understand. We all know, after all, that “Doctor Who” is a fictional series. It stars fictional characters who live in a (mostly) fictional universe. Or do we?

While I try to maintain the pretense of being a “reasonable” person, I have to confess that I have occasionally found listening for the wheezing of that big blue box. A part of me longs to escape with the Doctor (or at least my idea of the Doctor) and explore the universe. To look at everything with the awe of a child encountering the world for the first time. To see sights others have never seen and to have the kind of adventures that no one else believes are possible.
I want to face the type of problems that force me to “think outside of the box”. I want to make the hard decisions. To stand up for what I believe. And to see everything turn out alright in the end. It is because of this and, despite what I know, I could never utter the Whovian equivalent of blasphemy, “The Doctor isn’t real.”

Christmas came and went and, to my delight, the show retained its integrity. I could hear Whovians everywhere letting out a long sigh of relief. Whatever they may have thought of the episode (I confess I rather enjoyed it), one thing was still certain: Santa isn’t real. The Doctor is. And that’s a world with which I can live.

 

1, 3, 12: The Journey of a Whovian March 12, 2015

There’s a maxim that it’s possible to love the Doctor for the man, himself, but still favor certain incarnations. Watching forums, it quickly became evident that a failure to love the same regenerated forms as everyone else can be dangerous business. In fact, even my fiancé has expressed some concern at my lack of affection for David Tennant.

That said, my love of traditional sci-fi in the fashion of the old “Flash Gordon” serials left me more deeply attached to the classic Doctors. But even there, my favorites seem to differ from the mainstream. Yes, I like Tom Baker (I’ve met very few Whovians who don’t), but I can’t honestly say that I like him as much as Hartnell or Pertwee.

Older Doctors (not necessarily classic ones) have a unique repartee with their companions. Fathers and grandfathers, rather than lovers, they evoke a certain mystery. Like bottomless fonts of wisdom, teachers with but a few pupils. The affection they express for their companions is the same I would hope to receive were I fortunate enough to travel on the TARDIS – enough to know they care, but no so much that they become a threat to a regular romantic relationship.

This is important since, to be honest, I think my fiancé has been a little concerned that he might just end up getting left behind if a blue box suddenly materialized in front of me. A few too many episodes of Matt Smith’s Doctor (for whom I do feel some affection) have left him in a position where he can confidently cast himself in the role of Rory. Fortunately, as much as I appreciate the energy and wide-eyed-wonder of Smith’s character, he isn’t the one with whom I’d be most willing to travel. So I stick to my guns. I’m a first/third Doctor girl. Or at least I was.

I have to admit that I was quite curious when I noticed that the distinctly not-young Peter Capaldi had been cast in the role. While fans of the new series threw fits over the injustice of choosing a man old enough to be their father, I watched with ever deepening curiosity. And found myself slowly becoming a twelfth Doctor girl.

I can’t, of course, give Capaldi all the credit. While he plays the Doctor, he wasn’t the one responsible for all the throwbacks to classic “Who” that marvelously appeared throughout the eighth season. (I confess that I appreciated the bits of nostalgia scattered throughout.) But the slightly grumpy, distinctly charming incarnation grew on me with each episode.

Then “Dark Water” happened. I admit that I’m not easily spoiled, so the accuracy of the speculation about Missy did nothing to ruin the episode for me. I absolutely loved the Cybermen (and the fact that the Doctor missed something so incredibly obvious). But what I loved most was the opening sequence… the bit where Clara decides to get her due.
Despite the seemingly universal hatred for Clara, she is one of my favorites among the newer companions. (I admit to rather having liked Donna, too.) There is something about her innocence and strong will that harkens back to earlier companions like Sarah Jane. And I particularly love the strictly platonic relationship she has with the Twelfth Doctor. The result was that I felt the full impact of her betrayal in a way I couldn’t have anticipated.

I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat. Waiting. Waiting to see if the Doctor would do what most people would have done or whether he would prove himself the hero I hoped he was. I bit my lip as he responded to Clara’s question regarding the future of their friendship. And I slid to the edge of the couch as the Doctor replied, “Do you really think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”

It didn’t really matter how the series ended. It didn’t matter that I thought the Cyber Brig was a bit of an overkill or that I thought the Danny/Clara sequences went on a bit too long. I simply didn’t care. From that line on, I was a 12th Doctor girl. If I were going to travel with just one of them – Capaldi’s Doctor would be my first choice.

 

A Matter of Division: A Workout that Works May 15, 2014

I admit that the treadmill and I have never been particularly good friends. I run (or walk) not because I feel passionate about the pursuit, but because a failure to do so will result in aching joints and unseemly weight gain. In other words, it is the lesser of two evils. The result, of course, is that running is a chore, not a hobby and it is an activity in which I grudgingly participate.

Such half-hearted interest requires that I plan my pursuit well in advance. I admit that this planning has often been lacking, but last year I was determined to see that change. I began running again in early Spring with the modest goal of working out for 30 minutes five days a week. In reality, I was only working out four times a week, but I saw this as at least a marginal victory over my normal sedentary preferences. At least I was out of my chair and away from my laptop. Occasional meetings with my sister provided me with a change of venue and some good company as we strolled alongside the local river. By Fall, I was feeling at least a little inspiration to up my game.

I began diligently laboring to meet my five day a week goal, but it quickly became evident that it was still a stretch. I could accomplish the task, but ended up feeling frustrated, exhausted, and pressed for time. According to all of the information I’ve been able to glean from actual runners, this is not the ideal result. And with this in mind, I decided to try an experiment.

What would happen if I trashed the 30 minutes five day a week goal and tried instead for 20 minutes, six days a week? The goal really didn’t seem that strange, since I already had a well-ordered six day work week and the smaller time increment fit neatly into a coffee break. Furthermore, the reduced amount of time allowed me to try out a few of the treadmill’s shorter programs.

It wasn’t long before the six day a week goal was yielding results. I was regularly making it to my workout and had even made some interesting discoveries regarding my limits. (Much to my delight, these proved to be significantly higher than I had anticipated.) I could easily climb an 11% grade, maintain a pace of 6.2 miles per hour, and had even discovered that I could determine my heart rate based solely upon physical cues! I was actually having fun.

After several weeks, I decided to calculate my results (an essential step in any experiment). With the original four day a week program (the five day a week plan never really took), I was walking for 120 minutes and burning 700-800 calories. With the six day a week program, I was still walking for 120 minutes… but I was burning an excess of 3,600 calories! It was clear that my problem hadn’t been the workout itself, but the way I had been dividing it up. And the result was inspiration.

While I still don’t claim to be a runner (it would be a shame to disgrace the title borne by so many of my truly athletic friends), I can state that I don’t loathe running quite the way I used to. It had become an acceptable and sometimes even highly anticipated part of my day. In the end, finding a workout that works wasn’t a matter of digging deep to find inspiration or setting grand goals, it was merely a matter of dividing the time into more manageable increments.

 

Embracing the Adventure April 4, 2013

To those who are familiar with my writing, this blog may seem a little weird.  Face it.  It is.

Along with my passion for Christ, I’ve developed a keen interest in the world He created… an interest which has led me to some unusual (and not so unusual) hobbies and past times.  From fishkeeping to the cultivation of native pollinators, bicycling to fencing, and cooking to kite flying, I approach nearly everything I do with unbridled passion.  (Something which my mother kindly tolerated as I filled her house with aquariums, boxes of fungi, tanks of pond creatures, and containers of cultured juice drinks!)  I want to understand how things work and why.  I want to immerse myself in the world around me.  I want to experiment, explore, and embrace the adventure!

And that’s what this blog is about.  Through these posts, I’ll be documenting my own experiments and discoveries and (hopefully) encouraging my readers to engage in some exploration of their own. From my early adventures in manufacturing my own dairy products, to training for my first Century (a hundred mile bicycle ride), to cultivating culinary mushrooms, I’ll share what worked and what didn’t… and what I wished I’d done differently.  It’ll be an odd mix, but life often is.

Because most adventures are better when shared with friends, I’ll look forward to your involvement as well.  Take the time to try some of the hobbies and experiments you find on this page, then come back and tell me (and the rest of the community) how they worked.  What did you discover?  Is there a better way to approach the task?  Or if you’ve already tried it, do you have some advice to share?  Your input will make a difference.

If you’d like to subscribe to the blog and receive regular updates, click the button at the top, right-hand corner of this page.  Each post will be delivered direct to your inbox.

So what are we waiting for?  It’s time to get up, get moving, and embrace the adventure!

 

 
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