Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"
It's been a week, is that long enough for spoilery discussion? I'm very paranoid about this sort of thing (I hate being spoiled on things myself, so I refuse to do it to others if I can help it) so I'd like to make sure. But with the second episode being shown tonight, I figured it's about time I mentioned the brand new series of Doctor Who, and my thoughts on Mr. Capaldi as our newest Time Lord hero.
Just to be sure, though....
Man, I still don't like River Song.
Anyway, last weekend marked Capaldi's debut as the Doctor, and I've been pretty good at avoiding spoilers about what sort of a Doctor he's set to be. I'm not very aware of his previous work as an actor, but I instantly warmed to the idea of him when I saw his old fan letters to the Radio Times and realised that this was a role he was truly passionate about. As lifelong ambitions go, 'playing The Doctor' isn't one many people get to experience, so the guy must be giddy to tick this one off his bucket list.
For most the episode, we really didn't get to experience Capaldi's Doctor. He took the regeneration a lot harder this time around and spent a big chunk of the episode falling around, babbling nonsense and generally scaring Clara half to death. Madam Vastra (who, along with Jenny and Strax instantly make any episode 100% better) chastised Clara on her reaction to the Doctor's new face, and I must admit, I took issue with her heavy handedness about it. I get why they were doing it, I guess - to drum it into the viewers also that we also mustn't immediately judge Capaldi on his older looks, but there was far more going on than a change of face and I entirely understand why Clara was so put out about the whole thing. If he'd come out of the TARDIS looking like Capaldi but acting like Matt Smith? I don't think Clara would have had much concern, but instead, our first glimpse of the newest Doctor is kind of alarming. He acts like an old man suffering with dementia, remembers nothing, gets people confused and generally doesn't convince us he's the same old lovable Doctor we've grown to know these past few years.
Of course, that's all temporary and by the end of it, he's acting more Doctor-ish and less worrisome. He's still not quite there, still learning who he is, but as the episode progressed he found his footing quite well. And from what little we saw of that, I really like him! He reminds me in a lot of ways of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock - unsurprising I suppose given Moffat - and the bizarreness is refreshing against Matt Smith's wackier ways.
Speaking of Matt Smith, I quite liked the telephone call at the end. I never thought I'd accept Matt Smith all that much given my huge ridiculous love of Tennant's Doctor, but seeing him again made me realise I'll miss his Doctor a heck of a lot. Again, I think it was a way of coaxing us, the viewers, into the transition as much as Clara. It's sad that Capaldi, being such a departure from the run of "young sexy" Doctors, needs these constant reminders, but I suppose there's a whole generation of people now that forget or just plain don't know Doctor Who's origins, and don't realise he's not actually meant to be a young sprightly young man. I quite liked Vastra's explanation; "You might as well flirt with a mountain range.” Ten/Rose aside (says I, the huge Ten/Rose fangirl), it's nice to remind people that he's not just a young sprightly wacky man pulling all the ladies. He's something far, far different, alien indeed, which is probably why I've always enjoyed the moments when he shows that - his darker, morbid moments full of long purple prose about dying stars and humanity's frailness.
I've heard a lot of people rage a little about this new woman, who called the Doctor her boyfriend, clearly being set up to be part of the series' arc. I personally got more of a 'crazy' vibe from her, that she's not the next River Song (please!) but in fact someone with a far darker association with the Doctor. Who knows! I suppose we'll find out over the course of this series, if Moffat doesn't do his usual trick of vomiting up some convoluted plot full of grand ideas and grander plot holes.
It was pretty solid episode, even if the teaser with the dinosaur was entirely misleading. I can't wait for the rest of the series - I'm so glad Doctor Who is back! For now, though, here's a .gif of Strax smacking Clara over the head with a newspaper, which was quite possibly the best part of the episode.
Great Dorset Mud Fair!
Every year, since I was a little girl, I've attended the Great Dorset Steam Fair with my family. Years ago, Dad created the Morris Minor LCV Register, a register of all surviving Morris Minor commercial vehicles, so we had a slot in the steam fair for displaying members of the club. Growing up, I've always loved the place for the funfair (largest one I've ever seen), and as I got older I started enjoying the night life (beer tents, live music!), and took to camping overnight to make the most of the event.
We've usually been really fortunate with the weather, too, but this year it's been raining. A lot. In all the years I've attended the steam fair, I think I've only encountered one really muddy event. Until this year! We've had reasonably decent weather until the past few days, but the rain has been torrential lately and sadly it has affected the fair. It was like a quagmire! And at first, it was really funny. The novelty of dancing around the mud and trying desperately to stay upright was really fun (dad was the only one of us who fell over!), but eventually, it kind of got the better of us. We couldn't enjoy the market (on a hill, it was hard to negotiate the way between the slipperiest mud, and many stalls had closed up already (or just plain not turned up)), we couldn't enjoy the funfair (it was too muddy it became a chore to even walk around it) and the craft tents felt smaller than usual, too. We usually take a while to look at the various displays and animals on show, but it wasn't really possible with the mud :( In the food hall, I bought some cheese, special flavoured brandy and a lot of cider. Kind of the same as usual, in that respect!
I adore the Great Dorset Steam Fair, and we'd usually go back on Saturday to check out the things we'd missed before, but it was just too much hard work in this weather, so I'm not sure if we'll bother unless it really improves. Such a shame, too. We look forward to this thing every year! Hopefully next year will be really sunny and lovely and we'll make the most of it again. Until then, have some photos of me, cider, and a whole lotta mud.
BUCK 2014 - recap!
I'll be honest, I was a little apprehensive about this year's BUCK. I've been quite vocal in my opinions about their choice of venue, ticket prices and attitude towards the convention's rising costs, and I was worried the whole thing would bellyflop. As a vendor, I was worried the hugely inflated ticket prices would harm sales, that people would either have no money to spend at the con, or outright wouldn't be able to afford the con at all. I was grumbly the convention fell on Doctor Who weekend, and also the same weekend as Insomnia, a big ol' LAN I wanted to attend too. In short, I was quite worried and grumpy about the whole thing.
Gotta say, hand on heart, I take it all back. BUCK was, from my perspective, pretty danged awesome!
As a vendor, most of my convention happened behind the table, so I didn't get to party, play games or attend panels, but the people I encountered were lovely, passionate and fun. The staff were extremely helpful, offering to carry my stuff, offering to help me set up, and asking during day if everything was okay. The vendor tables were set up in a little island, actually cordoned off between tables so the public couldn't get in easily. We had tonnes of room behind the table, something most conventions do not offer!, and I was seated directly behind two Ponycon friends of mine, so it felt like we had our own little Ponycon island!
The situation at BUCK is unlike any other con I've sold at. We weren't in a separate dealers room - in fact, our room was the thoroughfare between the outside and the evening parties, which meant we had to make the decision to close up shop and have our stuff unmanned all evening, or buckle down and vend through the night. It's a situation that could have made a lot of people very angry, I was fully prepared to go up in arms about it, but as the con drew on, the idea became more and more appealing. We got to sit around, experience the party atmosphere (I'm not one for dancing anyway!), hang out with other people, and make a few bucks (hur) here and there doing it. It shouldn't have been okay, and it shouldn't have worked, but there was something about the atmosphere at BUCK that made it really fun to vend through the evening. It was hard work, though! Friday was a 'half' day, starting at 6pm and sticking around until 12:30am, but Saturday marked the only 14 hour vending day I've ever experienced! Don't get me wrong, a lot of (sensible) vendors left and had dinner, but I was soaking up the atmosphere. It helped that my table was directly opposite the party. We had a lot of traffic to and fro, and I got to experience the music (for better and worse!)
A lovely thing happened, too, which goes to show how friendly and generous the people at the convention really were. On the Saturday night, things got a little silly. Sales were slow (everyone was in the party), so I decided to have a bit of fun. One pony I'd been asked for was Lyra, so I decided to draw out some awful, intentionally terrible Lyra sketches, and shoved them on my table as a joke for 20p each. I figured slightly tipsy party goers might get a kick out of the idea. Sure enough, my buddy Archer called a group over and they snapped 'em up. Someone even gave me a whole £1 for the piece! I was chuffed.
What was absolutely lovely though, was when one of the pieces was returned to me on Sunday. A guy came up to me, and said, very seriously, that he'd like to complain. He explained that last night I was selling 'bad art' on my table, and I was fully expecting him to ask for his money back or something. He went on to say that he realised it wasn't bad at all, and that I'd been falsely advertising my work. He then said he'd like to return it on that bases, and he handed me back the picture....
...Signed by every VIP and guest at the convention.
Guys! Choked up doesn't even cover it! He just walked away with a smug grin on his face while I was sat there staring down at this piece of paper he'd taken around to all the guests to sign for me. The gesture was just so danged lovely, and honestly I think this moment of silliness made the whole weekend for me! It was really just the sweetest thing. Gah! I love conventions.
Honestly, BUCK 2014 was one of my most favourite conventions to deal at! It was well handled, profitable and fun, which are pretty much the three most important things a vendor can ask for in a con! There are a few things that could be worked on, the venue was ridiculously large (the party room was running at 30% capacity, I heard) and the prices need to be tweaked to be more realistic for BUCK's demographic - £80 is just too steep when other conventions in the UK run at £50 or so. I've heard there were a few hiccups with the cosplay side, which thankfully the lovely cosplay guest Yami took time out of her own plans to fix. The average attendee wouldn't even know anything went wrong, which goes to show how well she patched things up.
There isn't going to be a BUCK in 2015. I don't know if another Brony-centric convention will take over, but I really hope so. There were a lot of people at this con, so it'd be a real shame if nothing happens next year. In future, I wish BUCK would take note of other conventions in the UK, who run on a far smaller budget, at size suitable venues. I know the committee doesn't want to sacrifice their vision of the convention in any way, but when that resolve comes at the detriment to the fandom in the UK, I find that a real shame. I hope something can be worked out in the long run, because this BUCK was honestly one of the best conventions I've sold at, and I'd be one of many people very upset if this really was its swan song.
(Sorry this report doesn't really cover any of the events at the convention! I was (thankfully!) too busy to leave the table for much beyond the occasional chocolate break!)
Digital Watercolour Doodles
Back from BUCK but I haven't had time to write up a con report yet! However, I discovered this Sai Watercolour Tutorial by Bluekomadori the other day and just had to try it out the moment I got home! I can't believe how realistic it can look (and this is without much practice!) Can't wait to do a finished piece in this style and print it out on watercolour paper!
Will do a con report about BUCK later this week! In short though, it was awesome!
BRB, off to BUCK!
Tomorrow after work I'm driving 4 hours up to Manchester for BUCK! It's the third BUCK and my third time selling there, so I'm pretty excited to be back! For those who don't know what BUCK is, it's a Brony convention in the UK. For those of you who don't know what a Brony is, and you've somehow missed that phenomenon, it's basically an adult fan of the new My Little Pony cartoon, 'Friendship is Magic'. 'Friendship is Magic' kinda took off in a huge way when it came out a few years back, which for an old-school MLP collector like myself, was pretty weird! I mean, I spent my childhood being teased for liking My Little Ponies, and now they're the cool thing to like? Bizarre!
Anyway, suffice to say, the emphasis at BUCK is on My Little Pony merchandise and goodies, so I'm taking along a bunch of rainbow horse art. I'm also going to throw in some of my video game / pop culture merchandise too, just in case! I figure, if you're a fan of cartoons, you're probably into video games and sci fi, too, right?
I'm super pleased with these mugs I ordered, too! I used Awesome Merchandise, a company I'm forever buying badges from, and I was a little apprehensive because I've never ordered anything as substantial as a mug before, so I was worried the art wouldn't translate very well. I'm so happy to say they look lovely! I ordered 12 and I'm hoping to sell them all this weekend. Wish me luck!
Art : Twilight & Tirek
This is one of the new prints I'll have for sale over at BUCK this weekend! I'll be a vendor there again selling all sorts of pony (and probably a few non pony!) related goodies. I've created a couple of new for the convention. Sadly it's looking like it'll be the last BUCK so I want to go out with a bang!
As an oldschool My Little Pony fan, I was really giddy when they revealed the newest big baddie to be Tirak! He's a re-imagining of the very first MLP villain from the first ever cartoon, 'Firefly's Adventure' (originally released as 'Rescue at Midnight Castle') and it's a lovely nod to the original show!
O Captain! My Captain!
It's taken me a few days now to formulate the words necessary to discuss Robin Williams, and even now I'm not entirely sure I can say anything that hasn't been said already, a thousand times over and by those far more eloquent than I. But, as the days tick by, I'm starting to realise that I just can't quite shake his death, that it's still hanging over me like a ridiculous, looming cloud. It's gotten to the point that I dread loading up Twitter and Facebook in the morning, in case I see another piece of memorial art, or read another story about how wonderful he was. I'm finding it exhausting, mentally. I just want it to all go away, to move on, to pretend it never happened, essentially.
If somebody asked me a week ago what I thought of Robin Williams, I'd have said yeah, he's cool. I like his stuff. He's done great movies, but that would have been it. I wouldn't have called myself a huge fan, necessarily. I never sent him fan-mail. I just liked his movies, he seemed like a decent guy. And so, my emotional investment in his death shouldn't be this high. But it is. Because Robin Williams was always there. He's always been there. I was a little kid when I started watching Mork & Mindy. I grew up with Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin. He was a household face, a household name, and sadly it meant that I took him for granted. I'd imagine most people did.
I don't like taking things for granted. I can't stand living on assumptions. It means I'm actually pretty cynical about a lot of things - my circle of friends could someday drift apart, my art career could dwindle away. I'm very aware that life changes, that things you love probably wont stay that way forever, so I try not to take things for granted. I've gotten pretty good at it, too.
So here comes this actor, a piece of the furniture, always there yet never really in my mind, and he kills himself. And just like that, he's gone. And suddenly he is a 'was' and not an 'is' and his movies 'were' good and they no longer 'are' good and suddenly this vibrant, brilliant human being that was so damned vivid and real is simply gone and how preposterous was I to take his role in my life for granted.
We invite celebrities into our lives through their movies or shows or music and we take them for granted. It's what they do. It's what they're here for. To serve us. To entertain us. It's all too easy to forget that they're human beings just like us, and that they are just as fragile and easily broken as any of us. And even when we lose one of them, they're still there, giving us everything they could possibly have given us. Robin Williams is no longer here, but yesterday I watched 'Dead Poets Society' for the first time, in his honour and his memory. Even in death, he gave me something new and brilliant. His gift that he shared with us will remain forever, and people will continue to take it for granted long after we stop eulogising him.
But what a legacy that man left behind! The day he died, I went to the pub, corny enough to raise a toast in thanks to the man that gave me so much laughter as a child, and around me heard no less than three separate conversations about him and his career, every one of them sad, reflectful, respectful. He left behind a world in mourning in such a way I've never seen before. Somebody on Twitter noted that it was 'like a wake' and they were right. Celebrities die, and people are sad, but the outpouring of love and remembrance that came from Robin Williams' death was absolutely unmatched by any I've witnessed in my lifetime. What an epitaph.
It was fitting, on retrospect, that I chose 'Dead Poets Society' as the film I watched to commemorate his life. I'd never watched it before, but the whole opening was a punch to the gut in light of Williams' tragic death. Life is short. We get one shot at it before the curtain call and we take for granted so much. This is the quote that grabbed me, said by Williams' character as he guides the boys to look at old photos of former students at their school:
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
Robin Williams cut his own time here short, but even in that shortened lifetime, he gave the world so much. Life is what you make it, and I don't think you should take for granted any part of it. Give the very best you can, give the very most you can, so that someday you can look back and feel proud of all you achieved. Make it count. Make your life extraordinary.
Thank you for the laughter, Robin. You really were a shining star. Goodnight.
Moose doesn't really seem to care about having big plans on his birthday, but in my family, a birthday is always a thing to be celebrated! It's a chance to lap it up, be spoilt rotten and generally have a good time! All for just being born! What's not to love? So while he was ready to simply meet up with friends and have a few drinks, I decided to book a little surprise. I was fortunate to find out about an exhibition called Digital Revolution over at the Barbican in London. I didn't really know what to expect, some reviews said it was a little gimmicky but everything I read sounded like the sort of dorky fun we'd enjoy, so I went ahead and booked us tickets, and I'm really glad I did!
The exhibition is sort of divided up into three different sections. The first was a really nice display of old vintage computers, consoles and gaming systems. What was extra nice was that it wasn't just all the standard retro stuff, it had things like an original version of Conway's Game of Life, JODI and Manic Miner, as well as random extras like working Speak & Spell machines! The first room was packed with consoles and computers including the original Tomb Raider, Pong and Pac Man. There were also a bunch of very small games I'd never heard of, but no doubt had been instrumental to game development back in the 1970s and 1980s. Kind of wishing I bought a manual, now!
The exhibition went on to show various ways in which we use computers and technology in media with behind the scenes looks at How To Train Your Dragon, Gravity and Inception. It also had a pretty nifty area dedicated to Minecraft, complete with interviews by Notch and Yogscast!
As we went on, things got a little strange!
These birds were a strange exhibit where you could ring a number specific to each bird, and it'd call them up! And they'd dial up, clock in and respond to you! The whole bird was made out of mobile phones, right down to their wing "feathers". It was really neat!
There was an emphasis on digital art and representation, which included some nifty camera action and special effects....
My favourite part of the visual section was a part where they had three screens behind a small body of water. Each screen had your shadow projected onto it, and the shadow changed depending on what you did and how you interacted with it. In the first scene, if you lifted your hands to the sky, the shadow would create birds that would fly down and land on your hands, and eventually you would fade away as they sort of pecked away at you. The second scene was similar only this time, the birds landed on you. The third screen was the best, though!
The shadow literally gave you wings! I gotta admit, I actually got a little emotional here! You didn't just lift your arms in the air - if you just raised your arms, you'd be left hanging awkwardly. Instead, you had to sort of throw them upwards which, accompanied by a huge woosh-ing sound, erupted these gorgeous feathery wings from your arms. And they moved pretty realistically too, folding the way they would fold if they were real. I left the exhibit with the desperate need to create a winged humanoid character because, man, I got all emotional and silly! I want feathery wings, dangit!
There was a mini section devoted entirely to indie games, where we got to sit around playing various titles like Thomas Was Alone, Fez, There Shall Be Lancing and Cave Story, among many others! Actually made me really excited for Eurogamer next month! There was also a smaller section downstairs where the whole room was dark and lit by lasers which reacted to your motion and "touch", so you could form shapes with them or push them around to each other. Pretty neat, but not it didn't hold our attention very long sadly.
The whole exhibition was really fun, and a really good way to spend a couple of hours in London doing something different and nerdy. I think the show's still going on until September so you've a chance to pop down and see if you want!
We celebrated the rest of Moose's birthday by catching Guardians of the Galaxy (absolutely awesome) in Wimbledon's Imax, hanging out with friends in London, nomming at Bodean's (killer 'Real American' food) in Soho, and stalking the Inbetweeners 2 red carpet premier (though the girl in the front of the crowd didn't much appreciate my shouting "I CAN SEE THE ONE IN GLASSES!" - well excuuuuse me if I don't watch the show!)
Singin' In The Rain!
Last week, my parents and I went to see a performance of Singin' In The Rain at he Bristol Hippodrome! It was absolutely incredible! I've actually never seen the movie (I know, for shame!) but I'm a sucker for old musicals and I knew it'd be right up my street. I'm just itching to watch the film now because the show was just so darn good! The whole troup as a whole was probably one of the strongest I've seen on stage, the leads were incredibly talented and the guy playing Cosmo (Stephane Anelli) was absolutely perfect for the role, had me laughing like a loon the whole time and just seemed hand picked directly out of a 1950s comedy. He was perfect. The others were great too, James Leece playing Don Lockwood had a voice to die for, and of course, they could all dance!
The show features thousands of litres of water raining down from the sky, leaving the actors dancing on inches of water during that iconic number and scene. The front row became a literal splash zone (I'm sure the actors purposefully try to get people soaking wet with their swooshy dancing!)
Seriously wonderful performance. If you have a chance to catch it on tour I totally recommend it. I'd watch the show again in a heartbeat! For now, I think I'm going to hunt down a DVD of the original movie instead.
Hi! I'm Selena an artist, blogger and gamer!
Dream Somehow is my little corner of the internet where I talk about life, the universe and everything! Here, you'll find travel, adventures, vintage style, life in the South West of England, a little bit of Disney dreaming and a whole lot of geeky nonsense. If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here!