Monday, July 5, 2010

Gallifrey 2010 - Day Three

So I posted Day One of my production journal for Innsmouth Public Library and within 10 minutes of that post going up got called out publicly on Twitter for not having finished my Gally Travelogue. (Thanks, Matthew)


Let the OCD organizing of materials for autographing begin #gally 9:33 AM Feb 26th via Viigo

John has been a rather horrible influence on me. I used to not really care about autographs. I got them because the people were there and I had the items to sign. Now I'm his mini-me, making lists and checking them twice in terms of stuff I want signed. The night before I left for Gally I was on the floor of my apartment on the phone to him bemoaning the fact that I had nearly twenty items for Paul Cornell to sign and no clue what to cut from the list. (For the record I brought it all and just got as much as I could signed.) Friday morning them found both us finalizing what we would go through the day's autograph lines with. It's a rather sad and painstaking process involving post-it notes, bag placement, and deciding where the actual signature should go.

Did I not get the memo that Apple is apparently the official laptop of Gallifey One? Not that I really care since I hate Apple. #gally 11:01 AM Feb 26th via Viigo

For the first time the Marriot had free wifi in the lobby and boy did we take advantage of it. Just about every socket and scrap of real estate large enough for a laptop was being used in the hours before the convention started properly. And I was clearly the freak as I was one of the few people not sporting an Apple laptop of some kind. Not that I felt left out since as the tweet says I'm not a fan of Apple but admittedly the sea of Apple icons staring back at me in the lobby was quite impressive.

Wish I could've taken better advantage of everything starting at noon but no, body wanted to be up at 6am. Cruk. #gally 11:50 AM Feb 26th via Viigo

I have a horrible time getting any amount of decent sleep when I go to conventions. Partly I think it's due to the time difference and partly I think it's due to my overall excitement of seeing my friends again. As I've said before these conventions feel like summer camp in a way. An opportunity to play, relax, and spend time with people you only see when you go to camp. Even though I had gone to bed early the night before, earning me the nickname of Snooze Leprechaun from Handsome Timmy D, I was still up bright and too damn early. Normally six hours of sleep would be good, but since it was the first real bit of sleep I'd gotten since leaving Houston for LA on Wednesday I wasn't pleased in slightest. Especially since I knew I'd be getting less sleep as the days went by. I am glutton for punishment like that.

Hey, dude is cosplaying Victorian Jason Kane from short story pitch by @purserhallard for #Bernice anthology that wasn't accepted. #gally 12:01 PM Feb 26th via web

I am horribly nerdy. (Or a horrible nerd, I can never get it quite right) In this case I'm playing the role of Uber Bernice Summerfield nerd with this tweet. Philip Purser Hallard has written for Bernice in the past and he's really good about putting up all sorts of related goodies on his website as stories get published. One of the items he has up are some rejected pitches for the Something Changed anthology. One of the pitches involves Bernice, Jason, Peter, and Haas finding themselves transported back to Victorian era England. Couple this little nugget rattling around in my brain with seeing an 8 th Doctor cosplayer with long flowing Pantene hair, add a bit of imagining what an Adrian Salmon cover for this story might look like and you get the above tweet. Also quite frankly I think it would be awesome if people would actually cosplay Bernice and the other characters from The Collection. I mean, hell, if people are going to cosplay Adric and Evelyn Smyth then surely there's a brave soul out there that wants to cosplay as Benny.

Have I mentioned I have issues before?

God's telling me I shouldn't have Denny's as chick is breastfeeding right in line of sight of good eye. #restaurantfail 1:31 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

We met up with Dan and his roommate, Jessica, after noon and decided to go get some real food that didn't cost almost as much as a night in the hotel. Denny's is just a few blocks down the road and I was craving Moons Over My Hammy. At least I was until some chick whipped her breast out to feed her kid right in my line of sight. I'm all for breastfeeding and while I don't think you should be hidden in a cave to do so in public I'm just asking for a little consideration for your fellow restaurant patrons. How about ask to be placed in a corner so not as many people have unobstructed views to your breast or sit in such a way as the other people if your party hide you. Just remember not everyone wants to watch that.

Outside of the intentional nipple slippage I was subjected to lunch was fun. It was nice to relax from the gathering convention frenzy in the relative peace and quiet of Denny's. Jessica quickly became one of us as we all found a shared love of Starblazers and Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton on Twitter.

Line to not be in a line for autographs forming in a non-line where guy was hiding under baby grand piano to go ninja on me. #gally 2:21 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

This year Gallifrey tried something different for the autograph process. Instead of having us line up for possibly an hour or so before a session thereby causing a person to miss a panel they might've wanted to go to they instituted the “Fly Away” system. It works similar to the ticketing system employed by Southwest where earlier in the day you gain a spot in a particular autograph group. Then you could just show up to the session based on which group you were in. Let's say a particular session started at 3pm. If you were in group 1 then you knew you could show up right at the start and get your autograph. Conversely if you had a slot in group 10 then you could take your time and not rush out of panel, knowing that there were 9 other groups in front of you. No fuss, no muss.

At least on paper.

In reality the first day was a fucking nightmare. I didn't have to stand in line to get my autographs but I had to stand in line to get ticket to not stand in line. Add to that that this time around autographs were going to be upstairs in an area off of the lobby. The space itself was larger, but it's relative short distance from the lobby meant that queuing up for the autograph ticket was a bit of a pain in the ass. Also it was also in the same area as doors that lead to the kitchen so we constantly had to be wary of blocking that door and other fire code violation goodies. Mix in to the equation people not completely understanding how the system worked, especially those that don't frequent the forums and it's a recipe for disaster.

John and I rolled up to the first ticket giveaway to already find people camping out with no real sense of organization. As mentioned we discovered one guy under the piano who was ahead of us in line, but since he was hidden we didn't originally take him into consideration. Overall it was a huge clusterfuck with us not understanding what was going on and those running the sessions barely having any idea that first day as it was a totally new system they hadn't used before. Also Gallifrey might have been the biggest test for this system since it's one of the biggest conventions within fandom. Especially when the next tweet happened.

Back in line so I don't have to be in another line later. No idea how they're going to work it with Georgia signing an hour later. #gally 3:55 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

Wednesday night it had been announced the Sarah Sutton wasn't going to be able to make the convention due to a family emergency. Naturally we all felt bad and hoped everything worked itself out for the best, but it left a few holes for convention organizers to fill. They decided to fill her Friday interview slow with Georgia Moffat and Alice Troughton doing commentary on “The Doctor's Daughter”. This was a great idea, except that it put it at the same time they had been scheduled to do the Friday autograph session. We were assured that while they didn't have all the kinks ironed out yet, Georgia and Alice would indeed be making the session, just late. Oh how history would bear out the need for a better plan to have been executed prior to them announcing the change in plans.

Holding pen for autographs feels like AA meeting or airline boarding lounge without TSA ready to search bags. #gally 4:29 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

After being in lines not to be in lines and catching some panels it was time for the first autograph session of the day. I was slotted for the first group and as such got admittance first to the first legit line of the day. In a potentially bad use of space they gathered us in a room and then we'd march through a back hallway to get to the other side of the partition that housed the guests signing. We'd just sit in this room waiting our turn to go through the doors and I found myself doing the requisite AA jokes of introducing myself and admitting I'm a Doctor Who fan.

Led the line for autographs because I rock. Might rescind greedy pig manuever and not go through 2nd time. #gally 5:01 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

I am the daddy mack of autograph lines. At least in this case since I was in group one and John ended up group two even though he was right behind me in the first line not to be in a line earlier in the day. When we had gotten our tickets we were told that after passing through the line once we could get another ticket to go through again if there were any left to be had.

(Proper hashtag) Committed sacrilege at #gally by telling Colin Teague that Being Human is best thing on telly. #beinghuman 5:20 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

I did this rather quietly, leaning in as he signed my convention program. I absolutely adore Being Human and at the time I firmly believed that it was the best thing coming out there, even better than Doctor Who. (Series 31 has thoroughly changed my stance on this.) I was afraid I might be beaten to death by all the 10 th Doctor cosplayers so I made sure not to speak too loudly. He thanked me and admitted that he thought Breaking Bad was the best thing on television at the moment. Sadly he didn't engage at Lobbycon as I fully think he'd have been great fun.

I'm not your pet monkey. Not doing some bullshit "badge dance" to get into the dealer's room. Just ask to see my badge you douche. #gally 6:20 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

Volunteers are employed to make sure only people registered for the convention get in to the dealer's room. In a way I don't get this as I'd think it wouldn't be a bad thing if someone just happened to wander in and buy something. Sure, convention organizers may not make any money off the transaction, but obviously the vendor might make a few extra bucks they wouldn't have without the random stranger walking in. And a vendor making more money can only be a happy vendor, right?

Anyway, you've got to go through the hassle of showing your badge when you want to go into the dealer's room, even if you've been walking in and out all day. On general principle I hate having to prove my right to be some place. I still bitch when I get carded for booze though people tell me I should be flattered that I look young enough to be questioned. I just see it as a waste of time. I normally affix my badge to pant pockets or some similarly less than conspicuous place so it's bit of a hassle when I am asked to show it.

This time around the volunteers decided to make a little game and ask people to do a dance of some sort before going inside. As you can imagine my natural hatred of such things go increased by the power of ten. I just turned enough to show the badge, muttered something non complimentary and went my merry way. I could hear them say it wasn't much a dance as I walked away and it was everything I had not to turn back and rip them a new one. Their job is to make sure only convention goers get to go inside and that's it. They're supposed to sit there for an hour or so just looking at badges. Don't give us grief because boredom has set in. Remember, you volunteered for that job.

Second autograph session becomes clusterfuck from hell. #gally 7:37 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

Yep, the lack of proper organization and explanation once Georgia and Alice got slotted to do commentary reared its ugly head. All we were told was that they would be arriving late and that we were assured of getting their autographs. At no point in the initial conversation were we told that if we went through earlier we could show back up when they showed up. Missing that nugget of information John and I showed up before they did and got the new piece of information. Our greedy natures along with the staff sort of begging us to go through the line since a lot of people were going to come when Georgia and Alice did caused us to go on through. We thought we'd get through relatively fast and then just queue back up, getting not only them but a second shot at some of the other people we had multiple items for.

In reality it turned out be a good thing that we got into line at all. It was running slower than we'd have thought and we were still in it when Georgia and Alice showed up. That's when things went to hell in a handbasket. The main line grew as people showed up for the first time and a second line sprang out of nowhere with people who had gone through once and now just needed Georgia and Alice. The problem became that there was no real rhyme or reason to the second line. It was just catch as catch can as staff tried to slot them in every so often between those of us that were still in line going through the first time. Add to this the room being insanely hot and people committing the horrible sin of actually talking to the guests while stuff was being signed and you can imagine how pissed people were getting across the board. No one was having Happy Funtime by the end of the session as people sweated in line and were getting yelled at by staff for any little transgression of the autograph rules.

See what happens when you don't have a plan in place?

Tailgating before Tanuke Suit Riot. #gally 10:37 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

Tanuka Suit Riot (couldn't spell their name right) is a band that specializes in doing covers of fandom related music themes. John, Dan, Zach, Keefe, Cathy and myself started the evening festivities right by hanging out together for some cocktails in the hallway before the show started.

More lines at the "no line" convention. #gally 10:50 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

This joke would get a lot mileage at the convention owing to the “Fly Away” system of autographs. In this case I was using it because we had to wait in line to get into the main ballroom for Tanuka Suit Riot.

Why are there chairs for a concert? No room to dance. #gally #concertfail 11:06 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

Apparently the room was set up for the Mysterious Theater guys who were to come on after the concert. This meant the room was full of chairs and the only safe place to dance was at the back of the room. It also killed the vibe in the room and most of the people sat, completely unresponsive to the music. Surely something could've been worked out where maybe half of the room was devoid of chairs and an army of volunteers ready to go when the show was over to set them back up. It just felt like a disservice to the band to not have a room conducive to people to properly enjoy themselves.

Weeping Angel Porn! FTW! #gally 11:32 PM Feb 26th via Viigo

I shall let you interpret this one on your own. Suffice to say Dan's visual interpretation of how this would work was hilarious. Those in the porn industry are more than welcome to call me and I'll explain this goldmine of an idea to you. I'm looking at you Vivid.

Grabbed a red vine thinking it was a twizzler. Sadness. #gally #ginandtitonicparty 1:33 AM Feb 27th via Viigo

There's a group of guys that every year host the most awesome room party known to man. This year's theme was the Starship Titanic complete with functioning wall panels simulating graphics seen on the show and it was called Gin and Titonic. As the copious amounts of Bellini's I consumed confirm, it's quite an awesome party. Along with drinks there's a mixture of goodies to be had food-wise and I got fooled by the red vines which are horrid pieces of shit compared to Twizzlers. - @boozeleprechaun in the house! #gally 3:18 AM Feb 27th via TwitPic

Gin and Titonic was so damn cool along with so many other fun things happen downstairs that I held off going into full Boozeleprechaun mode until after midnight when I mistakenly though Gin and Titonic was winding down. I felt it was kind of stupid to sit upstairs with tons of booze and no one to drink it because they were off having fun other places.

Once I finally decided to spring into action John had already gone to bed. This created quite the hilarious attempt on my part to get the beer, moon pies, and Girl Scout cookies out of the room involving myself and three others going into commando mode as not to wake John up. I'm talking getting down on one knee and holding my hand up to signal silence whole bit. In what we thought was super secret ninja mode I had one person hold the door open as I silently went into retrieve all the goodies bit by bit, passing them off to the others that were ready to help.

I learned the next morning I was not a ninja and had managed to wake John up.

Sitting next to Girl Scout cookie aficionado. Apparently we choose wisely. #gally 4:10 AM Feb 27th via Viigo

I brought Girl Scout cookies because I thought it would be something fun and different to go along with the beer. Little did I know that I was fulfilling some unspoken need as we were swamped be people who were more interested in cookies than booze. One of them was quite the learned man on the subject of Girl Scout cookies as he looked at the bottom of the box, saw who manufactured them, and declared my batch to be good. Apparently there's two factories where the cookies come from. This is why cookies can have two different names though they're the same depending on where you are in the country. My cookies from Texas come from the ABC bakery and seem to be the better of the two as my Girl Scout cookie guru explained in between sobs of joy and bites of cookies. Later on in the convention we would see other boxed of Girl Scout cookies as I would seem to have started a trend. At least that's why I tell myself to further stroke my ego.

Fuckwads helped themselves to beer. Stunt double for Danny from "Withnail and I" will wind up in a pool of vomit. #gally 5:13 AM Feb 27th via Viigo

I freely give my beer but I'm smart about it since I'm in the lobby and therefore can't control who comes and goes. I will card you if you look young and I'll be hesitant to give you any if I don't know you. Especially if you roll up on me already stinking of booze and clearly drunk. If you're a stranger and people can't/won't vouch for you I'm careful. All it takes is for one idiot to get sick or worse for the hotel to stop Lobbycon to protect itself. In this case these jokers had already made a play for my beer and told them they weren't going to get any. They ended up helping themselves to some while I was conversing with others. Trust me when I say these asshats have ruined it for the rest of you at future cons.

Bed. #gally 6:28 AM Feb 27th via Viigo

I finally crawled in to bed around 3 or so. (My tweet feeds from this time don't take into account the time change) I wanted to stay up for the opening of the Starbucks but I just couldn't hold on.

There's always tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Public Service Announcement - Hurricane Who: Category 2

If you frequent the forum at Gallifrey Base then you are hopefully aware of the current situation involving Hurricane Who: Category 2, a convention scheduled to take place in Orlando in October. If not, then please be aware that at this moment things are very tenuous at the moment and if you were thinking of going PLEASE do not purchase tickets at the moment.

IDW's Doctor Who writer Tony Lee has posted on his site this morning an explanation of things as he understands them as someone that was scheduled to appear at the event this year and his decision to change his mind. Please take a moment to read his post and if possible pass it along.

Obviously as things change and if the fortunes of the convention change I'll definitely pass that along.

UPDATE - April 28th
Things have changed in that the site is no longer taking money for the convention itself though you can still book rooms. Word has also emerged that a group is looking at the possibility of restructuring things enough to allow the convention to happen. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gallifrey 2010 - Days One and Two

This year I'm going to do something a tad different in regards to the travelogue of my adventures to the annual Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles. I'm going to use the less offensive tweets from the affair and fill in the gaps along with lovely photos taken on Jocelyn, my new Blackberry. In advance I'd like to say with much pride that for once I didn't manage to injure myself in a fantastic manner. Which is a good sign since it would've been hard to top the eye paper cutting bit in Chicago and mysterious gashes on my leg from past adventures.

Once again I did the roadtrip thing to Gally. It's not that I don't like flying, but there's no way I could bring these babies on board the plane with me.

Mmm....Shiner.... I do have a reputation to maintain you know.

Anyway, we headed out around 10am Wednesday morning with me at the wheel. We hit my favorite gas station in the world a little before noon and posted the following tweet:

Buc-ee's! Been on the road for 2 hours now.

As I tweeted shortly after, Buc-ee's is apparently the center of Tweetverse as it took me no time at all to upload either photos or regular tweets from Jocelyn to the web. For those of you that don't have the pleasure of Buc-ee's it's a gas station chain in Texas with a beaver as its mascot. The restrooms are insanely clean, the coffee cheap yet tasty, and they've got Beaver Nuggets!

We stayed long enough to stretch and get some grub before heading back on the road.

Barely made it to Sonora. Coasted in on fumes. Oddly enough same place we stopped last year. Have switched drivers.

I misjudged how much gas I had as my now recalled Chevy Cobalt stops telling you how many miles you have left around the 48 mile countdown. Next thing you know the needle drops like a hammer and you're touching red. And that part of Texas between San Antonio and El Paso is pretty, but desolate in terms of civilization. Those were the hardest 20 miles of my life as I reduced speed to just over 55 miles per hours to nurse the gas to get me to the station. At the same time I was eyeing my On-Star system wondering if I was finally going to have make use of it if we ran out of gas. Luckily we didn't and then realized we stopped at the same station that we did in that area last year. As my reward I got to stop driving and just relax for a tad.

Have officially crossed into the mountain time zone. On course to be out of Texas by 9pm right now.

Thanks to the speed limit for this portion of the drive being 80 miles an hour we were making insane time. To give you an indication of just how big Texas is you cross timezones in the state going westward. We ended up stopping outside of El Pase to gas up the car and switch back to me driving. I blew through El Paso with the latest album from La Roux blasting in the car. Nothing finer than speeding to those tunes. A quick stop at an immigration checkpoint in New Mexico and we just kept making insane time. At one point I was projecting us getting in to Los Angeles sometime between 8 and 9 in the morning. Then those plans went off the rails.

At near stand still outside of Deming, NM. Apparently massive accident on highway.

*sigh* And we'd been making such good time. We got nestled between semi-trucks on all sides and once we saw them power down we did the same. It was pitch black so I didn't get a good look at what was going on until we started moving an hour later but it appears a semi turned over and lost its load of what looked like AC units. Either way we were hanging out in a parking lot and slowly moving as other cars and trucks drove through the grass to go back in the opposite direction. Took the break to check email and whatnot until we started moving again.

Stopped for gas outside of Phoenix at 4:30 local time. Should hit California in a couple of hour.

At some point between Deming and Phoenix we had switched drivers. This meant I did not lose my shit in Tuscon as I had last year because I was in nappy land. Changed back to me when we got this bit of gas in Phoenix and I had intended to push on to Los Angeles myself but my body had other ideas.

Right leg trying to go to sleep. Had to switch of again 40 miles outside of California. Should be in LA in 4 hours.

I was miserable to put it mildly. For some reason my right leg just wanted to go to sleep so it started to go in to that pins and needles state. I couldn't get comfortable and I was scared I'd lose feel for the car if I continued on much longer. We made our way into California and survived another immigration checkpoint.

Stopped for a bit and discovered a General Patton museum. Sadly not open this early in the morning. Bastards.

It's an out of the way place, just tucked near a gas station and trailer park. Tried to take photos but the rising sun made it kind of hard to tell much, but here's a shot of Patton and his dog.

Where's my welcome committee for I am here!

We rolled in to the hotel right around 10am and I felt like the last person to show up to the Real World house with my back over my shoulder and my rockin' new Booze Leprechaun chapeau on my head. Sadly though people did not fall to the ground and weep at the sight of me walking in to the hotel. John though was hanging out in the lobby so I didn't have to track him down to get a key to the room. And this year we lucked out with the hotel room. Check out this view.

The balcony was awesome and when we weren't doing nerdy things we'd chill like villians. Must find way to get same room again.

Grabbed a shower so I could be a respectable member of society. Speaking of which, let's do an afterschool special moment here. We need to have a little chat about hygiene as clearly some of my fellow convention goers have issues. Let me point you to this film regarding keeping yourself clean and therefore someone we want to get near. Not that you have to go that far, but please, let water and soap touch your body at least once a day if not more if you're a sweaty bastard. Gally had over 1500 people this year and you can imagine the mass of humanity in some of the rooms. I work in a funeral home and I'd rather spend all day smelling the contents of a broken cooler than some of you nasty bastards.

The hotel even helps you out for god's sake! They will give you supplies daily if you ask along with clean towels and sheets! I know I'm being mean, but clearly some tough love is needed in this area as there were moments I nearly threw up because the smell was so vile. Just think of your fellow nerd, that's all I'm saying.

Now with that public service announcement out of the way...

All clean and presentable John and I went to Ralph's, a local grocery store, to load up on some basic supplies foodwise to keep from spending any more money than we had to in the hotel restaurant. We were grabbing so much that we needed a cart. There's way only one cart I could lay my hands on though.

Isn't it so cute? John definitely thought so.

We goofed around with the cart, contemplated stealing it, and after picking up some pizzas from Pizza Hut went back to the hotel. Then the real fun started.

Gally has officially begun!

Started getting the beer on ice in the Magical Bucket of Booze and then made our way back to the lobby as more of our friends started showing up.

Handsome Timmy D is in the house! NOW Gally has officially started!

Because it's not a Gally until the Mayor of Gally shows up to welcome all new people. Handsome Timmy D makes all newbies feel welcomed and loved. As we were chillin' in the lobby Paul Cornell showed up and after exchanging pleasantries having not seen him in over six months we started chatting and catching up.

Geeks run as if they're in a marathon when the bar opens.

We were still talking with Paul when we noticed the lobby was emptying because the hotel restaurant was open and everyone needed their booze fix. You'd have thought David Tennant was in there the way some of us ran for our first drop of beer for the day. We continued chatting with Paul until dinner time rolled around when we had to part company since we couldn't dine where he was dining. (Which I make sound way more ominous than it really is for the record.)

For a Thursday night Lobbycon is insane.

It was. Normally Thursday is the slower of the nights as people are still showing up. That was not the case this year as the place was packed. It was cool though as we made new friends and did our best Handsome Timmy D impersonations welcoming the newbies to the con. Also had a moment of fail where I was afraid I'd have to turn my Booze Leprechaun status back in as I had forgotten Sam Adams beer bottles do not have twist caps and I lacked a bottle opener. Handsome Timmy D to the rescue as he bought me one in the hotel gift shop. All became right with the world as later in the evening when Tony Lee switched in to his waistcoat. I went to bed early, sometime shortly after midnight as I hadn't had much sleep during the roadtrip portion and non since getting to the hotel.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Shadow of the Scourge and The Holy Terror

Hey kids! Did you miss us? We missed you. Today we're at TBH with our new member, Raul, as we give you this pre-Gallifrey 2010 edition of the Time Team. Say "hello, Raul.

Raul: Hello

Isn't he great, ladies? Naturally he enjoys Doctor Who along with roller derby and rockabilly. And he runs a theater

After a primer on Benny, New Adventures, and Post 1988 Ace we start us The Shadow of the Scourge by Paul Cornell. It opens with the beginning of a seance and Annie asking the aliens to come as she and the others bring peace.

Me: And moist towelettes.

We all get a good laugh as Annie bitches to Brian Hughes about copyright infringement of quack psychic characters.

The Doctor arrives with Ace and Professor Bernice Summerfield in tow and as usual there's a body count whenever he shows up. And "wise old biddies" based on Summerfield's lip reading skils. We get a side trip with Hughes showing up at another convention happening in the hotel before returning back to Doctor Who: CSI. The triple booking at the hotel of cross stitchers, extra terrestrial channelers, and time experimenters is apparently bad for the universe and our gang splits up.

It doesn't take long for Bernice to make herself known to main range Who fans as she infiltrates the extra terrestial channelers and gets them to speak to her dead turtles. Meanwhile Ace is getting herself kicked out of the time experiment room and then getting close with the cross stitchers talking about the dead dude on the elevator. Back to Bernice talking to Mary and then Annie. Annie's in the back trying to keep her guts from spilling.

Me: Annie, are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?

Hughes is locking the joint up and setting the time experiment machine while Annie is legitimately making contact with the other world. We get title as the Scourge start showing up. Our first cliffhanger of the day leaves us with the Doctor seemingly handing over Earth to the Scourge.

Tim: For some reason this reminds me City of Death and The Invasion of Time where it's funny and the Doctor is handing stuff over and you've no clue what's really going on.

"That is really...icky!" might be the best line in the any of the audios Big Finish has done up to this point in the timeline of the main range.

Tim: Paul, if you're reading this you are a brilliant, brilliant man.

Which is then followed by the worse line as Bernice does a pun based on Pembroke saying "what" three times. Cross stitchers try to be all heroic and fail miserably. Bernice says "goddess" as the Scourge Demi-Leader makes one strangle himself.

Me: Drink.

The Doctor blames his connecting up with the Scourge on to much cheese before bed time.

Me: Dude, I eat a bunch of cheese before bed but I've never met the Scourge in my dreams.

Ace proves that her acting skills are not the best as the Doctor proves that he didn't fall for her charade of thinking he really gave the Earth to the Scourge. Ace and Bernice go off to make tea for Pembroke and Greg, Cross Stitch Boy and discover that there's only darkness outside the hotel.

Me: So that's where the band went.

Ace rags on Radiohead as the Doctor says the Scourge prey on the depression and sadness of the masses.

Raul: Wow.

Tim: I like Radiohead, but yeah, she's right.

The Doctor describes people falling for the Scourge as a rabbit stops in the headlights of an oncoming car.

Me: Which is a song by Unkle sung by Thom Yorke from Radiohead.

The Doctor gets out tricked by the Scourge as they figure out his games and trump him. He starts transforming as the Scourge Demi-Leader talks about how cool he is for outwitting the Doctor. Part Two ends with the Doctor begging for Benny and Ace to help him as he starts to change.

Tim: Bummer.

Me: So, Raul, now that you're halfway through your first audio what do you think?

Raul: I want to listen to more. I'm really enjoying myself. You can tell they're having fun and doing it for the love of the show. Like any new medium it takes a little getting used to but I'm having fun.

Tim: You missed some really bad ones.

Me: Oh don't worry. There are more bad ones to come.

Tim: I thought I was going to slit my wrists after I think Phantasmagoria.

Me: Actually I think it was The Sirens of Time.

Tim: Oh yeah. I wanted to stop after that one.

But we didn't and after refreshing ourselves with Shiner Bock and Oreo's we continue. The inevitable chess reference comes from Ace as she talks about how the Scourge have outmaneuvered the Doctor. Bernice says "goddess" again.

Me: Drink!

Ace talks Gary in to fucking up her ear drums. The last thing she hears is Bernice uttering another "goddess".

Me: Drink!

Bernice has a plan that's slightly more involved than Ace's of deafening herself and madcap hilarity ensue as they try to communicate with Ace. We go back to the Scourge.

Tim: Are they in the lobby with the music?

The Doctor proves he still has a trick or two up his sleeve as we learn he's shut himself down to keep the Scourge in him from popping out. As he quotes Shakespeare in his mind Bernice and the gang are dragging him across the hotel floor. We get another "goddess" as they run in to a Scourge.

Me: Drink. Jesus, was Paul trying to hit a "goddess" quota?

They find the Scourge Formerly Known as Annie and bring the Annie portion back to the front.

Me: Are they attacking a cappuccino machine?

Annie allows the Doctor to speak long enough for to tell Ace to find the TARDIS and Bernice to come inside the Doctor's head. Bernice uses Annie to get inside his noggin and apparently he's gotten a bit of an interior decorator to provide seating for situations like this. They see his Jungian archetypes who only show up when bad shit is about to happen.

Tim: Or during an anniversary special.

Like other fan girls Bernice drools over the 8th Doctor which she sees waiting over the bridge to come over. The Doctor points out he'll transform into a Scourge if they don't win. Bernice has a go at him, bitching him out for possibly destroying her future. The Doctor reminds her that she's not helping him fight a species that feeds on doubt and fear. Bernice backtracks in between another "goddess".

Raul: One hell of a guilt trip.

Me: Drink.

Annie can't sense the Doctor's heartbeat.

Me: (Don Johnson) Heartbeat! I can hear your heartbeat!

Annie Scourge comes back and she makes Gary strangle himself as I reach for another Oreo. Ace and Pembroke finally reach the TARDIS where they encounter another Scourge who asks them to kneel.

Me: Before Zod!

Bernice's attempt to make the Doctor all warm and fuzzy fails as the third part ends with him seemingly succumbing to the Scourge in his mind. Tim and I do our best Bill Paxton impersonations as the Doctor proclaims over and over that the game is over. Ace and Pembroke fight two other Scourge and Ace bitches that Pembroke doesn't need to pull her head to see the second Scourge.

Me: Maybe he's did it because he's tired of your yelling and your shit acting.

Tim: Ouch.

Then my point is proven as Ace doesn't another bit of shit acting to get close enough to stab a Scourge. Benny wakes up in a hotel room, alone, and runs off to help the Doctor uttering another "goddess".

Me: Drink.

Ace tries to keep Pembroke from killing her by telling him she's seen loads of people die who didn't deserve it.

Me: Yet you're still here.

Tim: That describes fifty percent of the people who show up on the show. More if you take series finales into consideration. how many continents get shifted at the end of The Parting of the Ways?

The Doctor takes over Pembroke's mind and tells Ace where the key to the TARDIS is. He apparently set the nanites to focus on the control room and Ace realizes the Doctor thought they wouldn't make it through without harm.

Me: Um...that's pretty much how things went during your time in The New Adventures. Especially ones written by Kate Orman.

The Doctor makes everyone feel the Scourge and they kinda feel emo.

Bernice: Goddess

Me: Drink.

Ace and Bernice share a tender moment as Bernice stays to look after the Doctor.

Tim: (as Ace) I love you.

Me: Can I say that acting against Lisa Bowerman only accentuates that Sophie's not the best of actresses?

Tim: You could, but I've really enjoyed some of the comedy bits.

Me: Yeah, those have been good, but look at this past moment when Ace says it should be her looking after the Doctor.

Tim: I admit that could've been more powerful.

Bernice tells the Scourge who's playing Doctor Phil to stuff it as she takes another stab at bolstering the Doctor's self esteem. They try to think up a way to counteract the despair the Scourge are stirring up.

Tim: Let's have an orgasm!

She sorts out that it's happiness with people you love, hanging with loved ones and eating tea and scones because they are the best!

Tim: Yes! I'm having a teagasm!

Ace rallies the troops of cross stitchers, new agers, and technogeeks to attack the Scourge as The Doctor and Bernice show up. The Doctor turns fear back on the Scourge as he makes everyone else feel love, peace, and moist towelettes in a bit of reverse psychobabble. Cornell is able to work owls in as he convinces Brian that none of the killing was his fault.

Me: Drink for owls! And I guess that makes Brian like Andrea Yates.

Cue stock Big Finish Huzzah music as the day is saved and everyone returns to normal. The Doctor chastises Bernice for lusting after his 8th version.

Tim: (as Bernice) I just saw Paul McGann and thought he was hot.

Raul: Very Cool.

Tim: Certainly one of the better audios. Funny, couldn't see what it was going.

Raul: A lot of fun.

Me: It was fun to see Bernice in a supporting role as opposed to the lead one she normally plays. Bowerman slots right in to the notoriously close team of McCoy and Aldred and feels as if she's been there the entire time. Further proof that Paul should write for Bernice more often as it's always fun when he creator gets his hands back into the process.

We jump right in to The Holy Terror by Rob Shearman after laughing at the retard who thinks The Wolfman ripped off Twilight.

Tim: I hear that music and still expect Tom Baker to show up.

We learn how easy it is to keep yourself from being burned at the stake as Tacitus easily recants his heresy in following the wrong living god.

Tim: That's so Monty Python! I think I'm going to like this more than Jubilee which is saying a lot.

Macap hilarity continues as the old Queen is taken off to be killed in a manner determined by the new Queen who had been polishing the old Queen's toenails. Meanwhile Frobisher is trying to eat some gumblejack when the Sixth Doctor barges into his bath.

Tim: Don't get between Colin Baker and his gumblejack.

Frobisher has been messing with the TARDIS controls to make fake gumblejack.

Raul: What happens when I touch this button?

Apparently hunchbacks are meant to be evil as the Old Queen bitches at her hunchback son, Childeric, who she thinks isn't evil enough as he sucks up to her saying she's his evil idol.

Raul: With that music behind him it's like he's about to break into song.

The new living god is a bit of wuss as he's not producing any thoughts worthy of chronicling. Childeric shows back up and talks to High Priest Clovis.

Tim: Is that Paul Darrow?

Me: Nope.

Tim: He has that effeminate "oh I'm so evil" voice like Darrow.

Pepin gets coronated and fails miserably as a living god much to the consternation of his wife and his subjects. Just as Pepin is about to be put to death the TARDIS shows up on the scene providing the miracle in the form of Frobisher, ruining the plans of Childeric. Frobisher denies being a god.

All: When they ask you if you're a god you say yes!

Despite his best efforts to get killed Pepin survives as his subjects rejoice while his wife, Livilla, continues to bitch at him. Childric continues to plot against Pepin as Tacitus writes the Bible. Part one ends with an attempt on Pepin's life that oddly enough doesn't come from his wife. I take a picture of my super sweet new Booze Leprechaun chapeau made by Alison as Pepin survives the ritual assassination attempt and forgives his would be ritual assassin much to the consternation of Frobisher. Pepin still doesn't feel like a god.

Me: Maybe he feels like a woman.

Frobisher drools over Pepin's wife as she comes to bitch at him some more. Pepin and Frobisher go to the Blue Temple as The Doctor messes up Tacitus' room looking for an earlier bible. The passage from Pepin the Third's bath reads a bit like the beginning of a Penthouse story while the locals have transformed the TARDIS into the temple. Pepin tries to convince Frobisher that the TARDIS is indeed a temple and the console was an altar. Clovis shows up to Tacitus' house as Livilla tries to get mother-in-law to say that Childeric is the real heir. The locals are pissed that Pepin the Sixth died. Livilla shows she's a suckass Empress by failing to kick Berangaria's ass until she starts to beat her with a lead pipe.

Frobisher tries to convince Pepin to stop being such a pussy as Pepin wants to again tell his subjects he's not a god. Childeric tells the Doctor why he's doing what he's doing. Clovis admits no one in the church has believed in god in centuries.

Alison: Wow.

Pepin abdicates his throne to Frobsisher as the second part ends.

Me: You know what I just realized? We're halfway through a Colin Baker audio and we've only made one fat joke.

Childeric shows he's gone completely bonkers as he's tried to make a god from birth.

Me: As opposed to being the Freshmaker.

Tim: Mentos: The Reaper of Souls!

The subjects continue to worship Frobisher. He starts to mess with the social framework of the planet as he pardons Pepin and tries to make him the new High Priest.

Tim: It's good to be the king penguin.

Raul: Emperor penguin.

Frobisher manages to rework society within thirty minutes by implementing parliamentary elections and dodging live bullets during ritual assassinations. Childeric gets all pissed off and unleashes his hand made god to retrieve the throne. Apparently he's done a better job than even he expected as the child speaks. The child is super creepy as he transforms Livilla into an infant.

Me: I think we have title!

The Doctor and Tacitus escape the oncoming temper tantrum. Tacitus freaks out as he thinks he's killed the kid numerous times in the past. The Doctor goes back to stop the child and then we get a little intermission of Frobisher fixing his nose to save a sculptor from death. Meanwhile the Child God continues his killing spree before entering Childeric's mind. He tears Childeric apart.

Tim: What horror movie is this music from?

Raul: Sounds like Halloween.

God was apparently created by Tacitus. Or at least he sounds like Tacitus. Part four starts up and Tim has to leave us.

Tim: I guess I'll find out who created God later.

The Doctor pisses on the Child God's delusions of granduer telling him he's not a god but a source of torture. He hopes he's lived up to his father's expectations of killing and wondering if he's pleased his father so far.

Me: Only if your father is Saddam Hussien.

We shift back to the Ultimate Dysfunctional Family as Pepin and Bergania have a heart to heart over how much she hates him. Clovis begs the Doctor to explain why he wants to destroy the Emperor. The Doctor explains Clovis is just a stereotype and a sidekick to the real villian. Child God keeps killing people as he searches for his father and Tacitus is hiding in Frobisher's throne room. Child God shows up just as Pepin and Bergania become a real family and makes it go all pear shaped as he kills Pepin. Bergania finally comes round to the notion of free will before finally getting her wish for the sweet, sweet release of death. Tacitus goes bat shit as he finally breaks from being in prison and believes himself to be the emperor. The Doctor stops history from repeating itself as Tacitus wants to kill his son again. Instead Tacitus gets the child to kill him.

Raul: That was cool.

Me: Definitely not a warm and fuzzy ending. Probably the most depressing in the Big Finish line up to the point. It stands out more when put back to back with The Shadow of the Scourge and it's almost candy cane sweet ending.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Don't Give Up On Us

Yes. I know. As of late we've only popped our heads out of the ground to discuss my drinking (mis)adventures at conventions and the occassional Companion Chronicle offering. But that's about to change. (But don't worry, I'll be at Gally this year engaging in more drunken mischief if you want to say 'hi'.)

The Audio Time Team shall return in full form next Sunday as we'll lavish our unique form of love, snark, and booze on The Shadow of the Scourge and The Holy Terror.

Join Tim and I next Sunday as we welcome new member Raul to the club.
Listening to: Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We're Goin Down
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Companion Chronicles - The Drowned World

The end of the world is seriously nigh, and available for purchase, as I give you not one but two Audio Time Team sessions this weekend.

And watch as there be spoilers ahead.

It would only seem natural that if I did Home Truths yesterday I should do The Drowned World today. A direct sequel to Home Truths, The Drowned World brings the entire creative team responsible for one of Big Finish's most popular titles from last year back together for another go around. We pick up a time after the ending of Home Truths where Robert returns to the house and Sara Kingdom, giving us an info dump of the previous audio. Robert has returned to hear another story from Sara that will help him convince his superiors not to destroy her. Once again we're teased with stories involving a boy dying in Sara's arms and a man stuck in a clock but this time around we get a story involving her adventures on an asteroid in the Red-O Belt.

The TARDIS materializes in an odd angle in a lab area and it takes no time at all for Sara, Steven, and the First Doctor to be separated from the TARDIS as it falls into water. Having no where to go up they continue to climb, opening one hatch after another. The second set of doors open up, freeing a bunch of miners and the stock Big Finish "much rejoicing noise" who weren't expecting Red-O Base to send a rescue party in time.

Sara remembers that some of the miners were convinced they'd been attacked as opposed to being struck by an act of nature. The Doctor opts to work on the life support system with a warning about the water while Sara, Steven, and Miners Hutchinson, Cowell and Keefe go to retrieve the TARDIS. It doesn't take long for the body count to start as Miner Keefe ends up playing the role of red shirt ensign in manly screaming fashion, making the mistake of not heeding the Doctor's advice to not touch the water. Think of The Abyss gone horribly wrong.

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, the real star this time is Niall MacGregor as Robert. The first time around MacGregor's Robert was a placeholder character, serving to give the listener something else to listen to than just Jean Marsh along with serving as the device that gets Sara to tell her story. This go around he's a much more integral part of the story. Simon Guerrier fleshes out his character and turns Robert into someone we actually can care about just as much as we care about what happens to Sara. Robert also serves as another narrator, at times helping to tell Sara's story. This is not to say Jean Marsh was horribly, far from it. Just as before Jean took what she was given and ran with it, providing another stellar performance.

Guerrier once again writes a gripping outer story that helps frame the inner story that Sara's telling. Ultimately, just as you find yourself caring about Robert you find youself just as engrossed in what one would think is the inconsequential outer story of what's happening to Robert's world. As before Lisa Bowerman does not disappoint. I know I sound lke a broken record, but it bears repeating that she may be the one of the best directors Big Finish has on the payroll at the moment. Maybe, it's her acting background, but she's able to bring out performances that aren't one note, something that might be easy to fall in when you're working with only two actors. There's definite shifts between the inner story and the outer story that you'd be able to tell without the aid of the sound design and music.

Even before listening to the behind the scenes chat with the creative team it's very clear that the foundation is being laid for the story of Sara and Robert to be a trilogy. And while I could eventually see that coming, it does not disappoint me. After two audios I care enough about them to want to hear a third story. One can only hope that Big Finish will bring this group together for a third time.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Companion Chronicles - Home Truths

Looky looky, it's not an Archway cookie but another Audio Time Team installment.

Hell has turned quite frosty. Our schedules have not meshed and as you'll notice quite quickly still haven't meshed. But I felt like getting something out so I've opted for some Companion Chronicles. If the concept of one person narrating a whole story is good enough for Big Finish, then little ole' me going solo is good enough for me.

For my return to the world of solo ATT goodness I've opted for Home Truths by Simon Guerrier and starring Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom. For you New Who kids Sara Kingdom traveled with the First Doctor for one story before she met her untimely demise. Naturally one might ask how the hell do you do a Companion Chronicle with a character that was only around for one story and ended up as dead as Michael Jackson. At least that's what I was thinking, without the Michael Jackson bit, when it was first announced that they were doing a story with Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom.

To answer this question the audio opens up on a dark stormy night with a man begging to be let in to escape the weather. Quickly we learn the house is inhabited by an old woman who used to run a guesthouse. The man, asks her to tell a story about a house.

The woman turns out to be Sara Kingdom.

For those not familiar with Sara we get a quick info dump of the background of how Sara ends up with the Doctor and Steven. This works well, not only for new fans but old ones as it helps to flesh out Sara's character. It helps give reason as to why we'd get a Companion Chronicle with a companion who people debate as to whether or not she's a true companion. After this info dump and a taste of other adventures she'd had with the Doctor and Steven we get to the story that not only the man, but we want. The story about the house. (Between this and "Every Day" by Stephen Fewell it seems the First Doctor is attracted to fucked up houses.)

The audio flips back and forth from the main story of Sara meeting with the Magistrate, Robert, and the one she's telling. It's a nice way to break up the action, without feeling forced. It's easy to imagine the main scene of them talking and then the flashbacks associated with Sara's story. These switches along with creating the general atmosphere are capably handled by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason handling sound design and the music. It can tricky doing a mystery/horror piece on audio since you're lacking the visual component to foster fear and terror. This is one of those audios that benefits greatly from listening to it with a good pair of headphones. You're able to catch the little bits thrown in to help craft the overall audio along with the script and acting.

I've never been a fan of the First Doctor. The stories were normally too long and at times he was too crabby for my liking. I won't even get into my issue with his later stories where he'd just be absent for multiple episodes leaving us with just some crap companions. His stories during a monthly Nitro-9 meeting normally servies as nap and/or food time. Much as he worked his magic in the Bernice Summerfield range to get fans to re-examine the character of Jason Kane, Guerrier does an equally admirable job of rehabbing the First Doctor, for me at least. The story is tight and crisp and the characterisation of Hartnell's Doctor is detailed enough to allow Marsh impersonate him to a "t".

Hinging the success or failure of any story on one person is always a gamble. In the wrong hands, these Chronicles can be painful to work your way through. Obviously, in the hands of Jean Marsh this is not the case.  Though it's been over forty years since Jean played Sara she picks up where she left off. Jean takes the script and runs with it, making the part and story her own.

Rounding out the perfect creative group to bring this story to life is Lisa Bowerman as the director. She has yet to fail as a director and this continues the trend for her. Lisa may be one of the best directors Big Finish has employed as of late and it's a pleasure to see them using her as much as they can.

Overall, Home Truths is a quite a clever concept allowing the fans to re-experience a character from beyond the grave. There's something to be said for classic storytelling over the usual reliance on explosions and non-stop action to propel a story, especially in the audio format. And doubly so when you relying mainly on one person to keep the story moving and your audience engaged.

Keep your eyes posted here as I want to get things moving around these parts again. Possibly check back tomorrow even...

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