Category Archives: fangirl

Soothing Addiction: Time Team

time-team
I’m not an easy sell when it comes T.V.  I have a short attention span that leaves me unable to stand commercials without wandering away and losing the thread of the program.  At the same time, if I’m going to watch television in the evening it has to be pretty mellow (or at least not disturbing) or I’ll end up hyped up and won’t be able to get to sleep.  There’s only so much Doctor Who out there so I generally either watch Paul playing PS3 games while reading or watch PBS.

Recently, Paul turned me on to a great British show that has the perfect blend of mellow and interesting.  It’s Time Team, produced by Channel 4.  Time Team’s premise is an archeological dig, generally done somewhere in the UK.  It’s hosted by Tony Robinson (who I remember best from Black Adder). Part of what makes Time Team such good television is the archeological team has only three days to dig the site.

What makes the show work for me? There’s very little at stake on a global level, but the people involved, whether local archeological buffs or the team themselves, care passionately about both the dig itself and history / archeology in general.  Tony Robinson is both an enthusiast and experienced at making good television. The team is made of characters who are engaging without being parodies. The locations are generally beautiful and interesting.  And I’m still always impressed and dazzled at the specialists ability to tell a bit of Roman pottery from a shard of modern flower pot.

Look for it.

A Ferris Bueller Sorta Day

ferris-bueller
Today is a Ferris Bueller kind of day for me.  You see, I’ve called (well, emailed) in sick to work. I am a bit sick — allergy eyes, ears and throat making me feel a bit like I have a cold. Mostly though I was aware I can’t be out tomorrow and was a bit afraid I’d end up really out sick if I kept pushing it.  Plus, my mom is coming in tomorrow so today is likely the last day I can be home alone with Paul for a few weeks.

Still, I feel too healthy to be home on a sick day and am not sure what to do with myself.  If it were a Saturday, I wouldn’t have been up at 6:30, probably wouldn’t even be up now at 7:45 AM.  But today isn’t a non-work day, it’s a day off work. Part of me doesn’t feel like it should be wasted on being asleep, though a nap will probably make its way into the afternoon time.

I have to admit though, much as I’d like to say I’m off to the Dodger game or even the beach (bit cold for that, but still), so far I’ve done some work from home, had coffee and played on Twitter.

I’m sure Ferris would find it all very dull.

Still, even though my plans for the day so far mostly include working on the revision of my dissertation. I’m going to keep score and try and feel like today really counts.  After all, who knows when the chance to call in sick and not be really sick will come around again?

Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

Startle: Swots

three-tailed-tawse
First, a confession, I’ve definitely got a thing, so to speak for BBC radio quiz shows and panel games for purely vanilla reasons (as pure as anything is for me).  I’m devoted to News Quiz, Just a Minute and a number of others.  The comedians working off each other just plain appeals to me.

On the kink side, I love that comments about CP seem to appear at pretty regular intervals in all of them.  My all time favorite was the moment on “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” when the irreplaceable Humphrey Lyttleton said “I was caned at school at it never did me any harm” ::3 beat pause:: “…though it did almost make me late this evening” or something close to it.

The Radio Scotland program, Swots, which was hosted by Miles Jupp and Susan Morrison and broadcast last summer, takes this to a whole other level.  The premise of the quiz show is that it’s set in a 1960s Scottish classroom where “the belt” (in the form of sound effect belt slaps and “ouch”) is used for any wrong answers to spelling and maths questions.  Wonderfully funny with an added thrill (for me anyway) of the sound of belt whackings and references to having to report to school masters “in vest and pants.”

Startling and delightful!

For more information (but you’ll need to find a download site yourself).

SSC10: The Adjustment

This story was written for the 2010 SSC (Short Story Contest). Go on, play along.

Copyright 2010 to <mijita (at) the treehouse (dot) net>. Please respect this copyright. Don’t distribute or archive this story in any way except for personal use without explicit permission. No, it’s not in the public domain. Ask first, okay? Thanks.

o0o

running-dog
The dog chased the tennis ball across the garden, then pelted back to Alice.  The girl watched, marveling at Dobbie’s focus.

She threw the ball harder, farther.  Time slowed as she threw and he fetched, the blue sky and green grass of June wrapping them in a perfect day–

— shattered by a shout of “Alice Michelle, you get in here right now.”

o0o

“Hey Mom.”

The house was dark after the bright sunshine.  Alice blinked.  Darker yes, but cleaner too.

“Don’t you ‘Hey Mom’ me, young lady. I told you not to leave this house until you cleaned your room.”

Did she really? Alice didn’t remember.  Wait, when did Mom wear a dress or apron?

While Alice was musing on this, noticing the much tidier house and her unusually tidy mother, her mother landed a ringing slap on the seat of her shorts.

“Pay attention!  I’m very cross with you, Alice Michelle. Your room’s still a disaster. Go in there right now and wait for me. You’re in big trouble.”

o0o

Alice slammed the bedroom door.  Her mother had *hit* her.

Double-take.  The bedroom…

Yes, it was messy with her papers and drawings everywhere. But the room was furnished in a completely different style.  No mis-matched IKEA and garage sale finds coupled with her mother’s art. Instead a white bed and desk set with pillows and matching bedspread.

This was not her room.

As that realization struck, her mother, her suddenly *taller* mother, open the door. She was holding a wooden hairbrush.

“Slamming doors Miss? And why aren’t you in the corner with your shorts down?”

Alice looked up and screamed as this woman who was clearly *not* her mother pulled her across her lap and pinned her arms behind her back.

“No! Get away from me you crazy bitch!”

She kicked helplessly as the brush briskly smacked her thinly clad bottom.

Fifteen minutes later, a sobbing, red-bottomed Alice let herself be led to a stool waiting in the corner.

“You stay there until you calm down.  Then get to work on this room. I want it spotless, do you hear me? Then you can stay in here and think about your behavior.  I wouldn’t want to be you when your father hears what you called me today.”

Unable to speak, Alice could only nod.

o0o

The Clerk’s eyes narrowed.

“Report, Agent D.”

“Unhappy, but cleaned her room and waited for her father. Cried on me.”

“Adjustments are never happy. Hers isn’t the worst.”

“Why the change?”

“They determined 2020 wasn’t working. Much as Alice needs creative space, she needs to develop self-discipline but wasn’t.  Or something.  1950 suburbia is the adjustment.”

“She’s not happy.”

“Happy doesn’t matter. Alice has to grow up creative but disciplined. That’s what *They* require. You’re required to watch and report… unless you want a new assignment.”

“No sir.”

Dobbie shrugged. He had no idea why They needed Alice to grow up creative and discipline but the Clerk was right. His job was to watch and report.

A dog’s life.

o0o

Word Count: 509

This story is inspired by — and very loosely based on — the much more brilliant story “The Adjustment Team” by Philip K. Dick (1954).  Like the original, this story’s intended genre is science fiction.

Bryson and the Doctor

bryson2

For those of you not following me on Twitter, I’ve had an amazing time during April (and part of May) which explains the radio silence here and elsewhere.  Here’s my attempt to explain it all in one fell swoop though I suspect more news will come out as time goes on.

First, and honestly the most wonderful and exciting, after two months of being lost, Bryson Bear was returned to me twice over this past month.

He first returned via eBay where, once we had identified him as of the Wuzzy clan (many thanks to Doug of Doug’s Bears for his help in communicating with GUND to identify him), an identical “new” Bryson was located in Glasgow, Scotland (as some of you pointed out — many thanks to all of you too!).

My mom purchased him for me since it was important that Bryson came from her as you probably guessed from the LOST post, The new Bryson flew across the ocean, braving volcanic ash and the U.S. Postal Service to arrive with much fan fair and packing in a large-ish cardboard box.

excellent-defense
I was naturally very glad to see him — he was clearly the right bear with the right intelligent expression.  But as my Doctor Who friends will know, like the new incarnations of the Doctor, while I knew the bear I was looking at was Bryson, because he very much felt like Bryson, he also very much wasn’t Bryson. There was, however a difference.  I could hardly remember Bryson ever looking so new.  Bryson yes, but not yet my Bryson.

Still, he snuggled close in the night and talked to me in a comforting fashion as Bryson always has.  And I needed Bryson and a great deal of comforting because my life had become insanely stressful — more so than I’d ever experienced.  You see, I found out in mid April I had to finish and defend my dissertation before the term ended the second week in May.  If I didn’t, there was a good chance I might not get to finish at all.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it (in fact, I was pretty sure I couldn’t) but after ten-plus years of graduate school, I couldn’t quit without giving it a try.

bryson1

So, I dropped out of life in order to cope and do what needed to be done — Paul handled all things social, phone, email and Twitter related.  I just worked.  I worked at my university job and I worked on my dissertation, ultimately writing more than one hundred pages in less than four weeks.  Given that ten pages a week is my normal “working very productively” speed this is pretty amazing.  It was actually liberating though, as said, very stressful.  I don’t ever want to experience it again.
Less than two weeks ago, five days before my defense, I was writing my final chapter (or “coda” as my chair called i)t and I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.  Though I hadn’t been taking calls from anyone, I took this one for some reason.  The call was from LAX Marriott’s housekeeping supervisor.  She believed had found my bear.

The picture I had sent to everyone at Marriott (or so it seemed) had worked.  He had been recognized, even though, as I was told, his “timeline” was off.  More than two months after he had been lost, my original Bryson had been found at another hotel, having been sent there from the laundry.

both-brysons
Or that was the story that made sense to the hotel housekeepers.  I had my own which involved travel across both time and space, but either way, his being found and returned was a very good omen.  Someone a week from her defense is looking for omens.

Anyway, Paul went and claimed the Bryson the next day as I prepared to print out my dissertation and give it to my committee. The distraction of knowing he was coming home kept me calm enough to compile the document (well, almost). So Paul brought him home, leaving me so overwhelmed I couldn’t stop crying.

Part of me was a bit worried about new Bryson.  Naturally he was insecure, because still having his tags his tags on some 15 years after he was made, he seemed a bit worried he was about to be put up on the shelf again now that Bryson 1 was returned.  I reassured him that there was always room in the bed for another bear and he and Bryson 1 shared a Coke and seemed to become friends.  That said, Paul did point out that the Doctor never gets along very well with his other selves.

What I Think Happened

It seems clear to me that somehow, during Gallifrey, Bryson did have the opportunity to travel in the Tardis.  It being a time machine, I’m sure he figured he’d be back in literally no time and never be missed from the bed.  In the manner of time travel though, the Tardis brought him back a month late. By then, the sheets had been through the laundry many times and were far from our room.  He ended up at the wrong hotel and it took him a while to both figure out what happened and make his presence known.

Thank goodness Maria recognized him from the picture.  Of course he felt terrible for having abandoned and worried me.  Just make sure you always take pictures of the ones you love best.

He’s back now, living a quiet life among The Animals of the Bed.  But there’s an extra twinkle in his eyes.  You can tell he’s had an adventure.

Oh, and my defense went well.  A few revisions and I’ll be a Dr. Mija.  Imagine that.

How many days ’til Gallifrey?

 A Man in a Blue Box

Getting together with Paul brought a lot of great things into my life (or, as in the case of gaming, back into my life).  One of those things was Doctor Who.

I did watch re-runs of Doctor Who on KCET when I was growing up.  Not consistently or in any order (though my memory is that most were Tom Baker episodes) but enough so that 6 years ago or so when Paul told me the series was being restarted I at least knew what show he meant and remembered that there was a space ship that looked like a blue box. I confess I was slightly less excited than he was, but remember being pleased he’d be able to download the show and watch episodes the same day (or nearly) the day they were broadcast in Britain.  For a number of reasons he could speak to better than me, TV, specifically British TV, is very important to Paul and one of the things he misses most living here in the US.

Suffice to say I loved the new series from the moment it aired. It captured me completely and I watched and re-watched each episode from “Rose” forward with great enthusiasm. I can’t ever remember feeling that way about anything on television.

O Doctor, My Doctor

ecclestonThis was, of course, 2005 —  Christopher Eccleston’s first and only series. I fell in love with his tall, dark, awkward northern-ness. For the first time after years of watching random episodes of Doctor Who, rather than thinking about “a” doctor or even “The” Doctor, I began to think of “My Doctor.” There are those who fault his performances as dark or his comedy as clumsy but though I hear them, I see none of it.  For him I was, for the first time probably in my life, a true fangirl.

I didn’t follow the news however and, though Paul tried to warn me, couldn’t really believe the lead actor in a show was going to leave after only 13 episodes (I say again, my experience was largely with US tv and not much of that).  How could such a thing be allowed to happen? When he regenerated in “Parting of the Ways,” my heart broke and I wept with disbelief.  So much so that I’ve only recently re-watched that final episode.

I watched the second series like a pouting child. This new Doctor was a usurper, could never be anything to me other than a new body into which my Doctor had somehow been forced. Paul tried to explain (and more than once) that part of what the show is about is the notion that everything changes.  He also said (more than once) that your first Doctor is always special.  But even so, even through Rose’s final heart-rending episode, I still didn’t fully take David Tennant on board. I would spend part of each viewing imagining how that episode could have, would have, been better with Eccleston in the role.

It was only in series three, “Family of Blood,” that I took to the 10th Doctor.  Some might say it was the Edwardian school setting (complete with school cane prop)  that won me over.  That’s probably partly true — it was made for me in that sense. But I think it also showed up Tennant’s acting.  More importantly, it was a version of the Doctor that I couldn’t imagine Eccleston (or anyone else for that matter) doing better. I enjoyed the rest of Tennant’s episodes and was sorry to see him go.

I’d become a Doctor Who fangirl.

Gallifrey 2009

In recognition of my new found fangirl status, last year Paul suggested we spend Valentine’s weekend at Gallifrey One (the Los Angeles Doctor Who convention, the oldest and largest in the United States).  I was nervous, but agreed with great excitement.  It was amazing good fun with amazing good people.  The high point for me was getting to see the first US performance of Toby Hadoke’s amazing “Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf” which we’d been unable to see the previous summer when at the Edinburgh Festival.  We really only attended Gallifrey one day — Saturday — but it was enough to convince me that this wasn’t an event I wanted to miss the following year.

The following year is almost here. GallifreyOne, number 21, starts February 26th.  Not very many days from now.

Squee!

Angry & Evil Little Girls







girl-scoutsSomeone forwarded this “motivational” poster to me today. I love it.

Confession: I’ve always been fascinated by stories and films about little girls who do bad things.  Really bad things. Not naughty things like Eloise (though who doesn’t love a naughty girl in a short short skirt) or even kind of bad things like Minnie the Minx. I’m talking about girls like Rhoda (from The Bad Seed – the play, not the film) and Hayley (from Hard Candy) who do things that are really really BAD.  It’s why I was disappointed that Orphan chickened out of their creation of Esther as another cinematic Bad Girl in the end.

It’s not really whether they do terrible things in the name of something “good,” like Hayley’s torture in the name of justice or Rhoda’s basic, inherent evil that’s important.  What I love is the conflict between the assumption of sweet, harmless innocence that little girls always carry, even more than little boys, and their violence based on cleverness rather than physical strength or even conventional weapons.  I love the way they exploit our expectations of girlhood sunshine and light.

I think it may be time to order myself a DVD of Heathers to watch while snacking on some thin mints.

Not a Party Report

clive-owenLast summer I wrote a sort of short story about a furniture fantasy involving an ad for a Chesterfield sofa.  Recently Casey Morgan blogged about the attractiveness of said leather furniture under a blog entry called When Furniture Is Hot.

So last night as I was surfing a bit and thinking about bedtime I found this picture.  Have I mentioned I’ve got a thing for Clive Owen? Oh, I suspect I have, even without his having given an on-screen spanking in Shoot ‘Em Up.
Yes, okClive Owen is smoking in this picture, which generally does spoil spanking fantasies for me, but I’m willing to be flexible.
Btw, when I finally get back to the rest of the party reports, I’ll be able to tell of a conversation about Clive Owen spanking the lovely Amy Hunter.
Clive, if you’re reading, Amy says it would be okay with her.   Just send her an email.

Countdown to London

After a weekend spent caretaking an elderly friend so his wife could have a bit of a break (they have a pool so it’s been fun as well as a bit challenging), Paul and I are off tomorrow for a trip to Britain. We’re leaving in less than 24 hours and I’m not even packed.  Though we’re only going to be their two weeks, the time seems packed with an almost disorienting combination of visits with relatives, scene friends and a trip to the Edinburgh festival.

It will be important not to mix the scene friends and the relatives up — I had a dream last night where in a jet lagged blur I absent-mindedly wore my new gymslip to a dinner with my inlaws. This  couldn’t really happen only because I’m not taking my gymslip. (It’s with me after all at the request of my beloved — so the danger persists.)  Otherwise I’m completely capable of such a mistake.  The only bright spot in the nightmare was the knowledge that Paul would be even more
embarrassed than me.  Trust me, that doesn’t happen very often.

hello-kitty-bikeI’m not planning on bringing my laptop — my mac powerbook is a creaky 10 this year and I can’t justify the 8 pounds of excess weight (maybe Santa will bring me a macbook air) so my internet access will be only as frequent as I can pry Paul’s laptop out of his selfish, hard and large hands.

It’s been a great weekend though.  My birthday present finally came. It’s a new bike — a hot pink Hello Kitty beach cruiser (picture here — you can click for a larger version).  This very special gift, even cooler in person  and speaks to my Hello Kitty desires which I will try and remember to write to you about another time.

Sadly, I’ve barely had a chance to actually ride it yet and only just around the block, but whenever he’s missing me, Paul goes into our friend’s garage and finds me stroking it in a loving yet slightly disturbing fashion.

Anyway, we’re about to leave for London as I write this.  I’m bringing a journal so with any luck I’ll be able to write some dispatches as computer and ‘net access allows.  In any case, if I go silent for a few weeks, you now know where I am.  If you miss me, tell Paul to share his computer.  (Note: he’s not selfish.  We share everything else.  But our computers seem to be a share too far.

When we get back it will be almost time for Shadow Lane in Vegas.  I’m
looking forward to getting together with some of PB authors (Iris,
sparkle and Bridget will be there) and (hopefully) getting to call the
others at the same time so we can all wish Iris much happiness in her
coming (and happily spanko) marriage.

August looks to be a very good month.

What is it about robots?

One way in which my dad and I are alike is that we both love to go to movies. In fact, growing up, I remember us as going to see a movie and then out to dinner every Friday night. I’m sure we really didn’t go every Friday, but enough so that’s what my memory is. He’s always liked to see whatever the newest, hottest movie is the weekend (if not the first night) it opens.

I do too. The first / midnight showing if possible.

wall-eWhen the first Star Wars film came out in May of 1977, my family went on the opening Friday afternoon. Or rather, we would have gone except that when we got to our local San Diego theater, it was already sold out. My mother suggested we pick another film. My dad had another idea. He bundled us all into the car, went over to a pay phone and made a call. When he came back, he announced that we were going to get an early dinner at McDonald’s (a huge treat in itself as we rarely had fast food) and then we were driving to Palm Springs for their evening show. The manager had apparently promised to set aside 4 tickets (and besides hardly anyone was in Palm Springs in May). So we drove an hour and a half to another city just so we could see this great new thing. It was great too.

I mention it not just to point out why I love film and take it seriously, but because I fell in love that day. Unlike so many of my friends, it wasn’t with Han Solo either. I fell in love with R2-D2. So much so that it’s hard for me to feel menaced by the Doctor Who Daleks. After all, they do have the same sci-fi I’m-a-robot-not-a-trash-bin look about them. Part of me is still in love with him and was even pleased that in his more recent incarnations he’s been able to fly. (Why “he” is male is yet another question, but perhaps one for another blog entry).

With all this in mind, I’m very pleased that Pixar has created another film robot to fall in love with. His (and it appears clear that “his” is the correct gender) name is WALL-E ( for Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class) and he’s a great character. The film, also called WALL-E is delightful too.

Paul told me before we went that it was being hailed as “the best” film Pixar has ever done. That’s setting the bar pretty high as far as I’m concerned as both The Incredibles and Monsters Inc. are amazingly good. After seeing it this afternoon in a (warning: celebrity sighting alert*) Westwood audience that included Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Guest and their children, I do think it’s a unique Pixar film. Why? Because it doesn’t rely on voice acting to carry the story– in fact there’s very little dialog for much of the film. The animation has to carry the emotional weight of the story, and it does it beautifully.

Maybe that’s a reason (other than his basic cuteness) that WALL-E reminds me R2-D2. Neither robot can speak, yet they manage to convey enough emotion and goodness that as a viewer I became completely attached. Oh yes. They also both manage to save the world.

Okay, R2 helped save the universe, but you know what I mean.


* Before you ask, no I didn’t go over and talk to them or ask for autographs. This is Los Angeles and that sort of thing just isn’t done. Especially when famous people are somewhere with their family. That said, this is as least the 6th time I’ve run into Jaime Lee Curtis in Los Angeles or Santa Monica over the years which is definitely more than any other Hollywood person that I don’t actually know. Weird.