May 20, 2017

Doctor Who: The Wheel in Space

The Wheel in Space is Zoe Heriot's first story. She and Jamie are my favorite companions! Unfortunately, this story is missing four of its six parts. The Doctor and Jamie arrive on an abandoned rocketship, and the Doctor is hurt. Then they get picked up by the Wheel. Zoe is tasked with showing Jamie around.

Jamie and Zoe on the bridge
Zoe is exceptionally smart. Jamie wanders off and sabotages the laser they were going to use to destroy the abandoned ship that happens to be the current location of the TARDIS. But they have bigger problems on the way...

Cybermen!

Cybermen are here! And they brought their cybermats, too.

I wouldn't touch that...
So now the Doctor is feeling better and they're coming around to the fact that he and Jamie aren't horrible saboteurs who want to stop the space program.

Jamie, Zoe, and the Doctor
Zoe is showing off her smarts, and she and Jamie are already getting along nicely. But then the Doctor and Jamie figure out that the Cybermen are on the abandoned rocket. Oh no!


Then the Cybermen are on the Wheel, and they want to invade Earth. Good thing the Doctor is there to stop them!


After the Cybermen are defeated, Zoe asks to go with the Doctor and Jamie. The Doctor wants her to be certain, so he shows her the Daleks on the TARDIS screen as the episode ends.


THE RUNDOWN

Doctor: Second
Companions: Jamie, Zoe
Episode: #43, "The Wheel in Space," six parts
Adversary: the Cybermen
Classic Lines: the Doctor: "Logic, my dear Zoe, mearly enables one to be wrong with authority."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: Jamie gives the Doctor the alias John Smith when asked for the Doctor's full name. He saw it on a piece of nearby equipment. The Doctor goes on to repeatedly use this alias in the future.
Next Up: "The Dominators"

May 14, 2017

Chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache

The latest new recipe I tried was chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache from Baked Explorations.


It was actually supposed to be chocolate coffee cake with dark chocolate ganache, but I didn't have coffee extract to put in the frosting. Also, isn't that a little confusing? This isn't a coffee cake. Anyway, as you can see, it's a three-layer chocolate cake covered in buttercream and then you pour a chocolate glaze over it. I'm going to call it glaze and not ganache because there's no cream in the glaze. It's chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. That's not ganache to me.


I suppose the negativity I feel toward this cake is coming out already! I didn't like it, even though my husband and parents did. I know why. I've had hits and misses with Baked recipes. The cakes I don't like have had shortening and butter in the cake and flour in the frosting. So did this one. I will be avoiding recipes with both of those techniques in the future. I just don't like them. It's purely personal preference. Lots of people do like them.


I didn't have any issues making the frosting, like I read online that some people did. Just make sure it's cool enough before you add the butter. Even though I didn't like this cake, I'll continue to try recipes from this cookbook because for the most part they've been great.

April 19, 2017

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep

This is another story that is missing all six parts, but I think this is the last one with not one existing episode. We're closing in on the end of the missing episode era. The TARDIS lands in the ocean, and they have to row to shore. A few interesting things happen at the beginning of the episode. The Doctor says that the TARDIS can float. Victoria notes that they keep landing on Earth, and Jamie specifies that they keep landing in England. This is the second time recently that they've mentioned that they keep landing on Earth.

Jamie, the Doctor, Victoria

After wading through a large amount of sea foam, they find a box and the Doctor opens it using...the sonic screwdriver! The design is more simple than later sonic screwdrivers. He says it operates using sound waves. Anyway, they get taken inside a gas refinery and then sea foam goes insane, gets inside, and tries to get Victoria.


The Doctor insists to Robson, head of the pumping operation, that he heard something in the pipes that could be a heartbeat. Other people have heard it, too. Robson says it's a mechanical fault and they aren't turning off the flow.


The Doctor and Victoria do some tests and determine that the weed is alive. Wouldn't it be alive anyway, since it's a plant? Hm. Meanwhile, some creepy people are going around spewing toxic gas and knocking people out.


This episode is pretty slow, even by early Doctor Who standards. Victoria is freaking out the entire time about how they're always in danger. It's heavy-handed foreshadowing of the fact that this is her last story. After the Doctor defeats the weed creature, she decides to stay with a couple at the refinery.


THE RUNDOWN

Doctor: Second
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Episode: #42, "Fury from the Deep," six parts
Adversary: Weed creature
Classic Lines: Victoria: "Every time we go anywhere, something awful happens...Why can't we go anywhere pleasant? Where there's no fighting. Just peace and happiness."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This episode is the first time the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver.
Next Up: "The Wheel in Space"

April 7, 2017

Doctor Who: The Web of Fear

This story is a sequel to The Abominable Snowmen. It's 40 years later, and Professor Travers has reactivated one of the Yeti control units he brought back from Tibet. Then it disappears. Oops! It seeks out the Yeti he brought back from Tibet and brings it to life, and soon Yeti are taking over the Underground.

the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria

The TARDIS gets encased in a web in flight, but they manage to land on Earth, in an Underground station. Soon they're reunited with Professor Travers, who is shocked to see people from 40 years ago looking the same and relieved because he thinks the Doctor can help with this Yeti issue.

Victoria, Travers, Travers' daughter, and Jamie

The army has a base in the Underground and is doing what they can, but they aren't very successful. Then a new commander arrives. Look who it is!!

Yes, it's him!

It's the Brigadier! Except, he's not the Brigadier yet. He's Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, commanding a group of the Scots Guards of the British Army. He gets promoted and moves to UNIT later. I was disappointed that the first footage of Lethbridge-Stewart was lost. This story is six episodes, and episode three is missing. The story I watched had a re-creation of the third episode with audio and photographs. The Brigadier was awesome right from the start. Fair, direct, brave, and smart, with his trademark bit of gruff.

the Doctor and Professor Travers

So there are webs everywhere, Yeti everywhere, and the Great Intelligence is controlling it all. The Doctor better figure out how to fix this, fast. The soon-to-be Brigadier leads a patrol to break out on to the streets of London, but they find Yeti there, too, and head back to the Underground base.

the Yeti don't look so snuggable anymore

You may notice that the Yeti look different than in the last story. The Doctor mentioned it himself. I guess they knew the old Yeti looked like giant, huggable teddy bears and wanted something more menacing? They still don't look that menacing, but I like the Yeti. I wish they were in the show more.


So the Great Intelligence takes over Travers and reveals that this was all a trap to catch the Doctor. Oh no! How will they ever get out of this? I'm sure it won't be something kind of anticlimactic after you've watched six episodes of this story. Nope. Not that. But watch it anyway to see the Yeti and the Brigadier.


THE RUNDOWN

Doctor: Second
Companions: Jamie, Victoria
Episode: #41, "The Web of Fear," six parts
Adversary: the Great Intelligence and the Yeti
Classic Lines: the Doctor: "Funny, isn't it?"; Jamie: "What?"; the Doctor: "How we keep landing on your Earth."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: The is the first appearance of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, but he wasn't yet the Brigadier; he was a colonel. 
Next Up: "Fury from the Deep"

March 31, 2017

Baltimore: (Re)Generation Who 3 and Fort McHenry

This month Dave and I went to Baltimore for a weekend with some friends to attend a Doctor Who convention, (Re)Generation Who. We went last year with this same group, and we had just as much fun this year. My friend Josh blogged about this year's trip much better than I did here.


I didn’t end up seeing too many panels. This year had more of a focus on new Who than classic Who, and the classic show is more my thing. I did attend two panels with Sylvester McCoy, and he is always entertaining. A friend of mine even asked him a question. Another friend lurked in the hallways and elevators dressed as a weeping angel. Her costume is amazing, and she scared quite a few people, I think.


 
Another friend hosted his own panel. Very exciting! It went incredibly well. I blogged about him here, but the short version is that a Doctor Who audio drama he wrote was produced by Big Finish, and his panel was about that.



A few of us took a break from the con on Saturday and took the Charm City Circulator, a free city bus, to Fort McHenry. I made a giant popsicle stick Fort McHenry when I was in fifth grade, so I was very excited to see it in person.


It’s also run by the National Park Service, so you know what that means…at least one stamp for my National Parks Passport! Woooo!


It was a great weekend. I’m lucky to have such fantastic people as friends.

March 16, 2017

Philadelphia Flower Show 2017: Holland

My mom and I took our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show last weekend. The theme was Holland, so I expected a lot of tulips.


And I got them! It was tulip heaven.


My mom is a member of the horticultural society, so we got to go to the members' preview before it opened to the public. Wow, what a difference in the crowds! It was a much better experience. Sometimes the Philly Flower Show can get crushingly crowded. The members' preview was fantastic. We weren't getting bumped into, we could see everything, and there was space to move around.


The show this year was spectacular. It is one of my favorites of all the years. The design of the exhibits was really well done. It's like they stepped it up a notch this year.


There were tulips everywhere and windmills and bicycles.


I've never seen dark blue tulips. Of course, there were other types of flowers besides tulips, too.


But the tulips were the best. There were a lot of daffodils, which I didn't know were big in Holland. Overall, a tremendous flower show. I highly recommend going this year!
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