February 20, 2018

Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks

The Earth is on the brink of global war, but peace negotiators are trying to avoid it. Enter UNIT and the Doctor...and time travelling commandos from the 22nd century trying to assassinate the main British negotiator, Sir Reginald Styles.

The Doctor figures the commandos are desperate and trying to change history. Meanwhile, the Daleks and the candy man from Willy Wonka are trying to find the commandos.

Do Daleks like Wonka bars?
Jo gets sent to the future by accident and the creepy candy man (okay, the Controller) acts like her friend to get information. I should note, the Dalek voices aren't the usual voices. It's weird. Anyway, Daleks and Ogrons show up in the present, and the Doctor gets caught in a time field and sent to the future as the commandos escape.

Ogrons with a Dalek

The Doctor finds Jo, and she has been completely taken in by the Controller. But the future is pretty crappy. People are slaves, and the Daleks rule the Earth. The Daleks realize that the Doctor is THE Doctor, their old enemy. Oops. When he's strapped into a mind probe, it shows images of the First and Second Doctors, which I thought was neat. It takes until the fourth and final episode to finally find out what the heck is going on.

Jo, the Controller, and the Doctor

There were a series of wars at the end of the 20th century that lasted 100 years, and 7/8 of the world's population died. The Daleks saw an opportunity to take over the planet and did so. Now all humans work in factories or mines. The rebels rescue the Doctor and Jo, and we find out why they're trying to kill Styles.

In their history, a bomb explodes at the peace conference, which was taking place at Styles' estate. Accusations were made by all parties, and it sparked those years of war. The rebels blame Styles for the explosion, even though he was killed in the blast. So they stole a Dalek time machine and decided to change history. Except...they're still missing one man in the past. The Doctor figures out that the missing rebel is the one who caused the explosion. The rebels going back to the past is what caused the wars in the first place. Oooooo. It's an interesting concept.

The Doctor and Jo are about to return to their present when the Controller and some Ogrons catch them. The Doctor tells the Controller that he can stop the wars and all those years of suffering and the Dalek takeover. The Controller sends the Ogrons away and lets them go. The Daleks find out and extermine him. Just before they do, he says, "Who knows? I may have helped to extermine you."

the Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier, and Sir Reginald Styles

The Doctor arrives and UNIT evacuates the delegates and fights the arriving Daleks and Ogrons. The Doctor finds the missing rebel, who says to let the Daleks and the Ogrons into the house. The rebel detonates the bomb in the basement, blowing up the house and destroying the threat to the peace conference.

I like this story. It has an interesting premise, and I like that the Controller fits into a grey area, rather than just being a Dalek stooge. 


Doctor: Third
Companions: Jo Grant
Episode: #60, "Day of the Daleks," four parts
Adversary: the Daleks
Classic Lines: the Doctor, to the rebels: "You're trapped in a temporal paradox. Styles didn't cause that explosion and start the wars. You did it yourselves!" 
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: The Doctor tells Jo that the Blinovitch Limitation Effect stops the rebels from travelling back to the same date again and again to try again. 
Next Up: "The Curse of Peladon"

February 12, 2018

Tea Runners rocks

I drink tea every day. Lots and lots of tea. I am by no means a tea connoisseur or a tea snob, but I do like a good cuppa. When I found out that tea subscriptions exist, I thought, sign me up! So I did my research and ordered a monthly subscription from Tea Runners. They seemed to have a good selection process, a good variety of teas, and generous portions for the price. I anxiously awaited my first box.

I got the all black tea box. You can also get herbal tea and the original variety box. The February teas are delicious! Earl Grey is my favorite tea so of course I like that one. I'm drinking the Wild Arbor Black right now, and wow. The Ruby Black was also good. I haven't tried Valentine Breakfast yet.

The portions are generous- even more so than I was expecting. I should get many pots of tea from each of the four packets. I like how each packet has information about the tea, steep time and temperature, caffeine level, how much tea to use per 8 oz., and whether it's pure or a blend. The box came with a nice note for the month, too. I can't wait for next month's teas!

An interesting side note: One of the people behind Tea Runners is Jewel Staite, Kaylee on Firefly. Go Browncoats! That's not why I picked Tea Runners to try a tea subscription, but it was a neat surprise.

January 30, 2018

Book roundup

I love to read, but I had been in a bit of a book rut for some time. The past month or two I've rebounded and gone through a lot of great stuff. Getting lost in a book is a wonderful thing. Here are some books I've read recently that are worth a look.

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin 
(The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky)

broken earth trilogy

Holy freaking crap. These are the books that broke my book rut. I was searching online for new authors and new books to try and found that people rave about N.K. Jemisin. I also saw that her books have won Hugos. Well, that could go either way, right? Stuffy and boring, or fantastically excellent. Lucky for me, it was the latter. These books drew me in and I couldn't put them down. The characters, the plot, the world she built- all are great. Plus, I'm a sucker for a book with a map in the front.

The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn writes novels other than the best Star Wars expanded universe novels? Why yes, he does. I don't know why it took me so long to read one of his non-Star Wars books, but when I did, I really enjoyed it. The characters were fun and so was the story.

Wonder Woman Omnibus Vol. 2 by George Perez

Over 500 pages of Wonder Woman comics written by George Perez. What else can I say? Good stuff.

JLA Vol. 5

This is a collection of JLA comics. JLA is a great Justice League series. Also, Wonder Woman.

Wishful Drinking and The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I'm a big fan of Carrie Fisher, beyond Princess Leia. Wishful Drinking is the stronger of these two memoirs. She made me laugh out loud. I'm heartbroken that she's gone.

Doctor Who books by various authors
(The Roundheads, Shadow in the Glass, Sands of Time, The English Way of Death, Scales of Injustice, Illegal Alien, Last of the Gaderene, and Diamond Dogs)

Doctor Who books are generally quick reads. These books had various Doctors and companions and were of varying quality, but they were all enjoyable.

January 22, 2018

Cheesequake State Park

Dave and I took Jedi to Cheesequake State Park in Matawan, NJ, this past weekend.

There's no cheese in Cheesequake.
It was fun! There are miles and miles of trails. We ended up hiking almost six miles through all types of terrain- forests, marshlands, and swamps. There were hills, there were steep slopes, and there was mud. Jedi approved.

adventuring beagle
The trails aren't always well marked (especially the blue trail), there are a lot of unmarked trails, and one of the trails (again, the blue trail) looks like it goes around a pond on the official map, but the trail is washed out at the far end so you have to double back. We had a good time despite all that. I'm glad we made the trip out there.

January 18, 2018

Doctor Who: The Daemons

The story starts with an archaeological dig at the ominously named Devil's End. The Doctor, Jo, Sergeant Benton, and Captain Mike Yates are watching it on tv. The excavation will open Devil's Hump at midnight, and the Doctor wants to stop it.

Joe, Yates, the Doctor, Benton

Look who's here!


The Master is in Devil's End, pretending to be a vicar called Mr. Magister. Magister is Latin for "master." Nice. As soon as the Doctor hears the new vicar's name, he knows who it really is. At midnight, just as they open Devil's Hump, the Master performs some crazy ritual to raise Azal. A heat barrier goes up around the village, so no one can get in or out. The Brigadier is stuck outside, while the Doctor, Jo, Yates, and Benton are on the inside.

the Brigadier

There hasn't been any screen time for Azal yet, but there is this living gargoyle controlled by the Master creeping around.

Don't want to run into this guy

The Doctor and Jo find a spaceship. Then the Doctor fills everyone in. It's not the devil who is in Devil's End, it's a Daemon- a member of a powerful species from the other side of the galaxy. They've been around for ages and are why humans associate devil horns with evil/power. This one might destroy the world. Hm.

Those are Azal's legs in front of the Master. He's kind of big.

The Master wants Azal's power so he can rule the world. Azal knows the Doctor is also not a human and wants to talk with him, too. The Master isn't thrilled about that. Azal shows up again and this time the Master wants to sacrifice Jo as an offering. That's pretty messed up, even for the Master.


Meanwhile, the Doctor has helped the Brigadier figure out a way through the barrier, so here comes UNIT. The Doctor goes to talk to Azal and asks him to leave Earth. Azal offers the Doctor his power, but he doesn't want it. So Azal decides to give his power to the Master and kill the Doctor.

Jo jumps in front of the Doctor, shouting that the Doctor is a good man and Azal should kill her instead. Azal can't understand this selfless, irrational act and self-destructs. In the end, UNIT takes the Master into custody.

This is a good one, even though Azal and the gargoyle are a little ridiculous. That's part of the fun.


Doctor: Third
Companions: Jo Grant
Episode: #59, "The Daemons," five parts
Adversary: Azal and the Master
Classic Lines: the Doctor, to Jo: "Jo, did you fail Latin as well as science? Magister is the Latin word for master!" 
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: Azal said he destroyed Atlantis. We already saw Atlantis destroyed by someone else in the 2nd Doctor era. There's an upcoming 3rd Doctor story in which the Master destroys Atlantis. Doctor Who has a major Atlantis continuity issue.
Next Up: "Day of the Daleks"

January 12, 2018

Doctor Who: Colony in Space

The story starts with the Time Lords discussing the Master looking for a doomsday weapon and how they better get the Doctor to help. Cut to the Brigadier and Jo teasing the Doctor about how his TARDIS doesn't work. The Doctor is still fiddling with the dematerialization circuit.

I love the look on the Brigadier's face.
The Brigadier is still looking for the Master, but the Doctor says he could be anywhere because his TARDIS actually works. I wonder if he will show up in this story?? The Doctor and Jo go inside the TARDIS, and the doors close and they take off. The Time Lords are controlling the TARDIS. They just send him off and don't tell him anything about it!

Someone's watching...

They end up at an Earth colony in 2400s. The colonists are having issues with their crops. Oh, and the planet's native inhabitants take the TARDIS when the Doctor and Jo leave it behind. They aren't baddies, though. They're friendly with the colonists.

Meeting the colonists

IMC, a mining company, is stirring up a lot of trouble because they want the planet's resources. They're cartoonishly evil in a boring way. This whole story drags, unfortunately. The Master doesn't even show up until halfway through. They call for an mediator to settle the dispute as to who gets the planet. Who turns up?

the Master

Yep, the Master is impersonating the mediator. Then these brain guys show up.

They live underground. They're the remnants of an ancient civilization, and they're the source of the doomsday weapon- but we won't find that out until episode five. Did you forget about that? The doomsday weapon? The reason the Master and the Doctor are there? Now here's the head brain guy.

oh my
The head brain guy lets the Doctor and Jo go and tells them not to come back on penalty of death. Do you think the Doctor goes back? Anyway, the Doctor returns to the colony and finds the Master there. Oops. What's going to happen? At this point in the story, I just don't care. It's too long and disjointed.


Doctor: Third
Companions: Jo Grant
Episode: #58, "Colony in Space," six parts
Adversary: IMC and the Master
Classic Lines: Jo, on entering the TARDIS: "It's bigger inside than out!"; the Doctor: "Yes, that's because the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental."; Jo: "What does that mean?"; the Doctor: "It means that it's bigger inside than out."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This story is the first time the 3rd Doctor leaves Earth and the first time Jo enters the TARDIS.
Next Up: "The Daemons"
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