July 27, 2014

Summer of Jen - a Jen update

I sort of got away from posting personal stuff on my blog. I've been blogging about Doctor Who and baking, but not much else. Here's an update.

I'm not even sure where to start. My boyfriend is wondering why I haven't mentioned him at all on my blog. That's not completely true. He was one of the friends I mentioned when I wrote about going to New Hope. I tweeted about him once, but he isn't on Twitter. It was something about feeling like a Capulet dating a Montague. He's a Yankees fan, and I'm a Red Sox fan. Anyway, I suppose this post will be about stuff we've done together.

The above photos were taken at a diner in his hometown. We both look thrilled to be having our pictures taken! Yes, we're both wearing Doctor Who shirts. Dave's Yankees hat/Doctor Who shirt combination makes me think of the rare Hodgman nerd/jock convergence. I think Dave prefers photos of both of us together.

This is a shame because I like taking pics of him, especially when he isn't looking.

The above photo and the two below were taken on Mount Parnassus. We both love doing things outdoors, so we've been doing a lot of that the past few months. Dave took me on a climb up a mountain. Hm, more like a giant hill. Or a tiny mountain. A literal climb. You aren't exactly supposed to go up there. It's blocked off by a fence. However, the fence has been cut through, and we climbed up.

There's a nice view from the top. I was in the zone taking photos, and I think he was worried that I was going to topple off the edge. He tried to keep me away from the cliffside as best he could.

One time we went to Spruce Run. We stayed up all night, hit a diner at 4 a.m., then drove out to the park. This is why I look like an insane person in this photo. I hadn't slept for quite some time.

The benefit of staying up all night is that it's much easier to catch a sunrise. Dave found some skeletal fish, so I posed with one.

That's his hoodie. He's a tall guy. Very tall. Much taller than me. One day we drove out to Sandy Hook. I had never been there. We walked for hours and hours, and we saw New York from the beach. We've been to Merrill Creek a couple times, too. It's fun to walk there. It's a beautiful place. We have season passes to Dorney Park. There is nothing like going to Dorney on a weeknight for a few hours before they close. No lines! I'm spoiled now. I don't know how I'm going to wait for two hours to get on a ride again when we've been waiting five to ten minutes to get on roller coasters and not at all for other rides. I love the log flume. I don't know why. It's just fun.

One weekend we headed to the Poconos. I had been to Bushkill Falls with my cousin, and I thought Dave would like it.

There are a handful of waterfalls and several cool trails. It's a great place. How do I know Dave is the right guy for me? We start walking around and he says that it looks like Ewoks should be wandering around the place. (Another clue that Dave is perfect for me? He finds a documentary about the Revolutionary War on tv for us to watch, and we start talking about plate tectonics. Ah, we're so wonderfully geeky.)

Dave taught me how to play a game called quoits. I had never heard of this game. I'm terrible at it, but it's a lot of fun. I do tend to get ringers, but otherwise, I am bad. I need more practice. Oh, and I don't have any other pics, so I'm going to keep using ones from Bushkill.

Dave has introduced me to the wonder that is iced coffee, so now I'm addicted to Wawa mocha mint iced coffee. This is probably payback for me addicting him to Dunkin' Donuts Oreo cookie coolattas. We've spent some time hanging out with our mutual friends who live in North Jersey, which is always a good time. We've hit the farmers' markets in Easton and Quakertown. 

Maybe I should say a little bit about Dave? He's smart and creative and geeky and funny and wonderful. He is also thoughtful, considerate, kind, and a genuine good person. He is incredibly supportive of me. He's super cute and sexy. :) He's awesome. 

How about some non-boyfriend related news? Kenobi is showing signs of his age but otherwise doing well. I have discovered that the UK tv show Being Human is amazing. I haven't been out taking photos too much, and I miss it. Update over! Time to return to baking and Doctor Who.

July 24, 2014

Doctor Who: The Rescue

This next story is a short one for Classic Who. It's only two episodes. This serial introduces the new companion, Vicki. She is an obvious replacement for Susan. I already like her better.

I like this story, but there isn't much to it. A spaceship from Earth crashed on the planet Dido. The crew and passengers survived, but were killed afterward by the inhabitants of the planet. Supposedly. Only Vicki and a man named Bennett are left. They are terrorized by one of the inhabitants, Koquillion.


Koquillion claims he is preventing them from being killed by the other inhabitants of Dido. This is odd, since the Doctor says that the people of Dido are friendly and peaceful. Vicki and Bennett are waiting for a rescue ship, which is due to arrive soon. The TARDIS crew shows up, and Koquillion traps the TARDIS, Ian, and the Doctor in a cave and forces Barbara off the edge of a cliff. Nice guy.

Vicki and Barbara

They all end up back at the crashed ship. The Doctor immediately figures out things aren't as they seem. Why didn't Vicki see the obvious? I don't know. She is the Susan replacement, after all. Vicki is sweet, and they all take to her right away. The Doctor is great with Vicki. He calms her down when she is upset. He's clearly fond of her. In general, the Doctor is continuing his trend of being friendlier to everyone. He isn't the extreme grump from the first season. The Doctor, Ian, and Barbara are getting along splendidly.

The Doctor invites Vicki to join them. At the same time, Ian and Barbara are discussing this very topic. They both want Vicki to come along with them, too. Vicki's father was killed on Dido, and her mother died on Earth before she left. She says yes, and off they go. This one ends on an interesting cliffhanger. They materialize, and the TARDIS falls off a cliff!


Doctor: First
Companions: Ian, Barbara, Vicki
Episode: #11, "The Rescue," two parts- 'The Powerful Enemy,' 'Desperate Measures'
Adversary: Koquillion
Classic Lines: Vicki: "They didn't have time machines in 1963. They didn't know anything then!"
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: The Doctor says that switch number four opens the TARDIS doors.
Next Up: "The Romans"

July 18, 2014

Midnight chocolate cake with milk chocolate buttercream

I made a chocolate cake this time. Yep, from Flour.

This one called for a three-inch-tall cake pan. You make one tall cake and split it into three layers. The cake is kind of crumbly, but not to the point of falling apart.

The cake is very tasty, but I expected it to be even better than it was. That's not to say I didn't like it. I did. Here's the obligatory shot of the uncut cake. It once again testifies to the fact that I can't frost a cake.

Maybe the next new thing I make should be something other than from Flour for a change. I need variety!

July 10, 2014

Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Whoathon rolls along with another Dalek episode. This one stands out for a few reasons. This is Susan’s last episode. (Hooray!) This is the first time in Doctor Who they got rid of a companion. It has become second nature to the show, but I wonder what it was like back then. Was it a shock that Susan left? The end of the episode is fairly somber. Also, this episode is the basis of non-canon Doctor Who movie Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D. Why do I know that? Because I’ve seen the Rifftrax version. Some of the people from MST3k do their MST3k thing on the movie. It deserves it. Peter Cushing plays the Doctor, and he’s a human scientist. It’s pretty bad.

There is a lot of lapel grabbing in this episode.

Our heroes arrive in London. Has the Doctor finally been successful in bringing Ian and Barbara home? Ian even says it doesn’t matter if they’re off by a year or two. Really, Ian? The Doctor immediately thinks something is wrong because it’s so quiet. He knows they aren’t even close to the right time period. Yep. They later find out it’s 2164. Susan causes a bridge to collapse because she’s Susan. That traps the TARDIS underneath the wreckage and hurts her ankle. They’re stuck, and she gets to whine about her ankle hurting for the rest of the serial. The Doctor yells at her for being an idiot. Surprisingly, the Doctor is very nice to Ian in this one. He tells Ian he's impressed by Ian’s optimism and compliments Ian’s intelligence. Huh? In fact, during this whole story, the Doctor is much nicer in general. The women get separated from the men, and Ian and the Doctor get cornered by dudes wearing headgear. They're about to dive into the river to make their escape when they turn around and see a Dalek coming out of the water. It’s kind of a neat image.

It turns out that Susan and Barbara have accidentally met up with the resistance. The Daleks have taken over the Earth and are digging to the core. Some people are sent to work in the mines, while others are made into Robomen. Those would be the dudes wearing helmets. The Daleks control the Robomen and use them to police the Earth.

Something I found interesting was the show’s attempt to address continuity issues. Doctor Who doesn’t care about continuity! The Doctor and Ian have a discussion about how when they first met the Daleks, the Daleks could only move on metal. These Daleks are different. The Doctor says this is an invasion force, so they are adapted for that. Plus when they first met the Daleks, that was far in the future. I admire the attempt, but wouldn’t Daleks in the future not limit themselves to metal floors if they could already go mostly anywhere they wanted, including the water?? It’s bad enough that Classic Who Daleks can’t go up stairs. We’re the scariest race in the universe, but don’t run up the steps, okay? The 4th Doctor taunts them about that in "Destiny of the Daleks." At least the show was self-aware at that point.

David, you really want to marry Susan?

Moving on. The resistance attacks the Dalek ship, and then a large part of the story is spent with all of the characters trying to get north to the mines. Susan bonds with one of the resistance fighters, David. She mostly cries and screams, like she usually does, so I can’t understand why he falls in love with her. It is discovered that the Daleks want to remove the Earth’s core, replace it with some kind of power device, and pilot it around the universe. That’s the big plan. This doesn’t make any sense, on any level. How is putting something in the core going to let them drive the Earth around like a ship? They already have plenty of ships. Why do they need to use the Earth? Wouldn’t it be slow and take a tremendous amount of power? I can’t get my head around this plan AT ALL.

Lapels! I think he's already thinking of dumping Susan. Hence the grin.

Of course the resistance and the TARDIS crew stop the nonsensical plan, and the Daleks are defeated. Then we come to the big scene. Barbara has to drag oblivious Ian inside the TARDIS so Susan can say goodbye to David alone. David asks Susan to marry him, but Susan refuses because her grandfather needs her. I don’t know where she gets that- everyone else is always taking care of her; she doesn't take care of anyone. The Doctor locks Susan out of the TARDIS and tells her that he wants her to belong somewhere and lead a normal life. He makes a little speech. The TARDIS dematerializes, and that’s it. End scene.

Saying goodbye. And lapels.

This is a weak episode. I'm reluctant to say that. I usually enjoy the Dalek episodes, but this wasn't up to par. The Dalek's plan makes no sense. The story drags. Ian and Barbara are separated for most of the story. However, Susan is gone!


Doctor: First
Companions: Ian, Barbara, Susan
Episode: #10, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," six parts- 'World's End,' 'The Daleks,' 'Day of Reckoning,' 'The End of Tomorrow,' 'The Waking Ally,' 'Flashpoint'
Adversary: the Daleks
Classic Lines: Ian, to the Doctor: "Doctor, sometimes you astound me." The Doctor: "Only sometimes, dear boy?"; the Doctor, to Susan, saying goodbye: "One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This episode was the basis of the non-canon movie Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D.
Next Up: "The Rescue"

July 4, 2014

Nutmeg spice cake with creamy rum buttercream

I wanted to make a cake. I was going to make a chocolate cake, but lacking a key ingredient I couldn't substitute, I went with the nutmeg spice cake from Flour.

I wasn't really sure what this would taste like. I thought, hm, this has delicious spices in it, let me try it. There wasn't a photo in Flour, so I wasn't even sure what it would look like. 

Of course, it is an established fact that I can't ice a cake. I'm terrible at it! That's not to say I won't get better, but right now my cakes sometimes look kind of sad. 

Oh, but buttercream frosting made from scratch is just so very good. This one was a rum buttercream. I didn't have the dark rum called for in the recipe, so I had to use Captain Morgan. It worked. The frosting had a nice rum flavor, but it wasn't overpowering. It nicely complemented the spices in the cake. While I was making it, I started to get a little worried that it wasn't going to come together. I walked away from the stand mixer thinking that maybe I'd have to throw it in the fridge for a bit. When I walked back ten seconds later...ta da! Buttercream frosting.

The cake? YUM. The cake itself was good to the point that I was thinking I could make it as a cake with no frosting at all. It was light and moist and tasty.

Another winner from Flour.
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