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Jean McDermott is a freelance writer and professional muscian.
I've now seen the new Doctor, Matt Smith, in three episodes, those being "The Eleventh Hour,", "Flesh and Bone," and "The Time of Angels." The weeping angels episodes I saw on BBC One at a friend's house while doing laundry, and somehow I missed the beginning of "The Time of Angels" both times. However I doubt seeing those few minutes would change my disappointment.
While Mr. Smith talks as quickly as David Tennant did, and is perhaps even goofier, he also lacks the confidence that the Tenth Doctor had. When David Tennant looked at a companion (or an alien enemy!) with compassion I didn't doubt for one second his sincerity. David Tennant was the Doctor. I didn't sit there thinking "My, good acting job!" while watching David Tennant, (or Chris Eccleston, for that matter). The problem with Matt Smith is that I see him acting. He acts like the Doctor, rather than being the Doctor.
In the original BBC promo photos of Matt Smith standing by the TARDIS, he was wearing a leather jacket and jeans, tennies and touseled hair. This has been replaced with suspenders, business shirt and bow tie, though the Doctor still has the messiest hair on TV. I'm sure this change was made in order to appeal to the older viewers, as much as I'm sure that the casting of the youngest Doctor yet was made to appeal to the younger viewers. So the producers think that Young Doctor + Old Funky Clothes = good ratings. Wrong! And I do find it faintly insulting. I don't think it's a good idea to be condescending, do you?
I think Matt Smith has his work cut out for him, and some of the directing isn't helping. Perhaps the most bothersome are the extreme close-ups that are shot whenever the Doctor is supposed to be showing some concern for his companion, or anyone else for that matter. I don't think the camera being 3 inches from their faces (this can be scarier than any monster in high def) will make us feel that he cares any more for his companion than he can possibly show from a normal camera range. Remember when the Doctor held his daughter as she died? We didn't need his face a micron away from her face to show his concern. Tennant is a top-notch actor who could show us vulnerability, grief, and a steel core all at once with just one look. I don't see this ability in Matt Smith, I'm sorry. And you can't make up for that by having him shoving his face practically up everyone's nose.
And what was that weird moment with Jeff in the first episode? A quasi-gay moment? What is this, Torchwood?
So poor Matt Smith is playing catch-up and I think he needs to truly find who the Doctor is for himself. He needs to learn to BE the Doctor, not ACT LIKE the Doctor.
On the other hand, Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond is really a breath of fresh air! I love her! First of all she's a very good actress, and second of all she's Scottish. It helps a lot to keep the Scottish connection going, and no doubt that had a role in her being cast for the part. But I don't care. She does a great job. And it helps that she's slightly pissed off with the Doctor, which is as it should be and keeps him on his toes.
I might as well air all my gripes about the shows that I've seen so far, so let's get on with what bothers me about the Weeping Angels episodes.
First, making Dr. River Song be an evil person? HELLO??? You'd think the producers had never made the library episodes! This is almost as wrong as Spock kissing Uhura in the latest (bad) Star Trek movie: it's just WRONG.
Secondly, the Weeping Angels have now been stripped of their charm and freakiness. "Blink" is one of my absolute favorite episodes of all time. Now instead of looking at stone statues with a little wariness and a shudder, I pass them by without qualm. Weeping Angels don't kill people, they don't have world domination ambitions, and they don't have spaceships. They are mysterious and spooky and have been around for centuries. At least that's how they were in "Blink." Now they've been relegated to the ranks of all the other monsters that try to eat/kill humans, you know, the ones that don't have the complexity or history of the Daleks or the Cybermen.
All that being said, I'll still watch the show when I can. My choices right now are to go to a friend's house who lives in town and who can get cable, or to download episodes from iTunes. The latter takes up an enormous amount of disk space, which I don't really have, so I may opt for the last option, which is waiting for the show to come out on DVD and getting the episodes from Netflix.
I love Dr. Who. I've watched it since I was a kid. I own the David Tennant sonic screwdriver and yes, it's in my purse everywhere I go! (Kids love it when I "fix" things with it.)
So I'll keep watching, but at the same time, I hope that Matt Smith and the new crew in Cardiff get the hang of this soon!
If you are an Alaskan, ex-Pat Alaskan, and agree, go sign it! Please be sure to note that you are Alaskan if you have a non-Alaskan address. The petition will be presented to the Fairbanks Northstar Borough and the City Council.If you are not Alaskan and have never been here, please do NOT sign it. We appreciate your concern but this is a local, Alaskan issue and the Borough only wants to know what the Alaskans think.
Why go back to using that name? If you even have to ask, go read my funny Ole story, below this instead!
Reasons most often cited:
1. There are hundreds, if not thousands of Pioneer Parks all over the US and Canada. It's a very generic name. I searched Google and found 3 MILLION hits on "Pioneer Park." The first five pages list park after park after park in town after town after town. All of them "Pioneer Park."
2. It sounds like it celebrates White pioneers, instead of our whole population.
3. Fairbanskians grew up going to Alaskaland, it's the name we love for the good times we have had there!
4. Almost no one ever calls it Pioneer Park! We all call it Alaskaland!
May 13, 2010
I'm still amazed at the outpouring of agreement that we really should change the name of our park back to Alaskaland. My office neighbor just dropped in to tell me she's proud of me and that she is so glad that people are getting together over this. I'm finding that it cuts across all boundaries: politics, religion, money. It doesn't matter who you are,or what you do: every person I run into says they want the name of the park returned to Alaskaland. And now they all stop and tell me about it!
I started the Facebook Page some time ago, and it now has 1, 772 members and counting. Then on May 11 at 2:03 am, having had too much coffee that day, I decided it was time to write the petition and get going on this issue. By 3:30pm the same day there were 189 signatures, by 6:30pm there were 207. We are now nearly to 300 and still adding folks. I'd like to hit 1,000 by Sunday. Tell your friends and neighbors about the petition.
My brief spot on Channel 13 took the most inflammatory thing I said and put that on TV, which is what news organizations sometimes do. The announcers thought the twist to the story was that the petition is online. Well, maybe they haven't been online for four or five years? There are oodles of petitions on the internet and have been for years. But that's okay, because I am glad they thought it was important enough to cover.
Inflammatory? What I said was the "r" word. I said the sign is racist, in that it celebrates the white pioneers but not our whole community, which is diverse.
In simple terms, what bothers me about the name "Pioneer Park" is
that we went from having a name, Alaskaland, that included everyone, to a
name that only included a select set. I think this was not intended to
be racist by the FNSB, but in essence, that's the way it worked out. I don't think the Borough thought this through but I don't think the intent was anything but well-meaning.
Our community takes care of each other. We are all in this together. If you see someone walking on the side of the road in the winter you stop and ask if they need help, same thing if you see a stalled vehicle. Until recently. we rural folks left our cabins unlocked in case a hiker or snow machiner needed shelter from the cold. It's a small town in a harsh climate and we need each other.
The name Alaskaland reflects our community spirit, our caring and cooperation with each other.
I strongly suspect they did not do a search to find out how many Pioneer Parks exist already. Perhaps if they'd done so a different name would have been chosen or Alaskaland would have kept its name.
My computer monitor died last night, a sudden and flickering death. Now when I turn it on I get 2 seconds of blackness, and then a vague flash of what's on the screen, and then two seconds of blackness, repeat forever. Not long enough to see or do anything. Not long enough to register the mouse. Just enough to make me want to whack it upside the head. Jiggling wired didn't help. Unplugging the computer from it and it still flashed away, idiotically. I whacked it. It didn't help.
This morning I did calculating and fiddling with numbers and my already desperately low bank accounts, and came up with a number that was acceptable to spend on a monitor. The alternative was going crazy. Imagine you have no internet. You can't even play a game. Or write in your journal. You can sit and look at your computer being ON and working perfectly and yet you can't see what it is doing. What IS it doing? Is everything okay? Is someone on Skype trying to call me? Did my last post on Facebook work?
So off I went to OroficeMax to see what they had. It's warm today, but there are rain clouds. Indeed, I had to use windshield wipers on and off all the way into town. So I'd brought my light jacket that had in one pocket, a plastic bag with Yummy Chummies, and in the other, a can Spray Shield.
If you have heard the story of how my poor, old '89 Toyota Camry became the Fishmobile, you know why Ole's middle name is Ginsu Mouth. Ever since that particular episode, the car has smelled like kippered herring. Oh yum. (If you haven't heard it, use your imagination or search this blog.)
In my hurry to relieve my computer withdrawal, I forgot about those treats in my pocket and I left my jacket in the car while I ran into the store. I wasn't going to be gone long.
I wasn't gone long, but a mystery presented itself as soon as I opened the car door and sat in my hairy driver's seat. Wow, what's that SMELL? It smells kind of industrial! I looked at Ole, who was curled up on the back seat looking pretty darn bug-eyed. I saw the torn plastic bag sticking out of my jacket pocket. Oh! I thought, darn, I forgot about those. Well, at least he didn't eat the plastic bag, I thought, as I picked up my jacket off the floor of the car.
Wait. Why is my jacket all sopping wet? And WHAT is that smell? OLE, WHAT DID YOU GET INTO! Then I checked my jacket pockets because the smell was kind of industrial/herby and I had no clue what it was and I sure didn't want Ole to have poisoned himself...and found this:
Except MY can of Spray Shield is all FULL of holes!
Spray Shield is citronella spray, which is toxic in high amounts ingested, but since my jacket seems to have taken most of the blast, and Ole doesn't even smell like it, I am sure he's okay. But hey, way to go Ole! He scared the heck out of himself with that wild thing that went PSSSSSSSTTTTTTT!!!!! all over the place! Hah! Maybe he trained himself not to go snooping in my stuff anymore, maybe?
And I'd rather have a car that smells like citronella than kippered herring!