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Posts Tagged ‘TARDIS’

On occasion I’ve shared with you the summer exploits of the Anglophile/expat group I lead at my library.  Well, this year we decided to put on a British car show.

Our parking lot was a showcase of British motor engineering  – Lotuses, Mini Coopers, Jaguars, MGs, a Triumph or two, a Landrover, a Mini Moke and the most rare of all – a 1950 Healey Silverstone.

Our winner received a gift certificate for auto detailing and an almost one of a kind Stig Pincushion Cat.  If you want to buy one for yourself, check out Fat Cat Crafts here.

I was really chuffed with our first attempt.  We attracted 21 area car owners and drew a crowd of about 100 British automobile enthusiasts. We had beautiful weather, but it was the generous assistance of my fellow Anglophiles that made this inaugural event so successful.  From helping with set-up to recruiting car owners, from donating crisps and biscuits to being my cheerful greeting staff, their attendance and participation was key to such a wonderful day. They’re the best!

But as much as I enjoyed marveling at all these unique and sometimes exotic vehicles, when it comes to cars I’m a very practical woman. ( I drive a 1998 Toyota Camry with over 215,000 miles on it after all). So  I thought it might be nice to organize a little virtual cruise-in right here featuring some functional, hard-working, telly automobiles.

Welcome and please enjoy the Working Man’s British Car Show:

1. Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL   – Life on Mars

Gene Hunt’s beloved Ford Cortina was involved in its share of police car chases in and around 1970’s Manchester.  I think he loved this car more than his wife…who we never did see, by the way.

2.  British Leyland Mini 1000 – Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean’s Mini was definitely an extension of the man himself.  It was quirky and reckless and multipurpose- whether he needed it to be a dressing room or a delivery van.

3.  Reliant Regal Supervan- Only Fools and Horses

Del Boy and Rodney ran their dodgy black market business, Trotters Independent Trading Company, out of their dilapidated Reliant Regal Supervan so it literally was a working man’s vehicle.  Though perhaps they shouldn’t have chosen such a conspicuous color or model if they wanted to avoid the notice of local coppers.

4. The Reasonably Priced Car- Top Gear

Top Gear‘s newest model for it’s reasonably priced car segment was the Vauxhall Astra.  That’s all anyone needs really, even a star like Benedict Cumberbatch.

5. Type 40 TARDIS – Doctor Who

I know. You’re saying hold on, the TARDIS isn’t a car.  But it’s my list, my blog and this classic British mode of transportation is exactly what I would choose if I could find one in working order. Besides they come with a Time Lord chauffeur.

Vote for the People’s Choice award by commenting below.  If you’re not satisfied with the entrants, write-in candidates are welcome.

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For the past month or so, many of my waking hours have been spent organizing a Doctor Who-themed program for the library where I work.  I am happy to say that last Saturday, all my compulsive planning came together in what I feel was a reasonably successful event.  False modesty aside, I subscribe to the philosophy that there’s always room for improvement… and therefore am consistantly umimpressed with my accomplishments.  Pardon me, I seem to be straying away from  the subject.

Me and the TARDIS just moments before my first gig as trivia presenter!

Ah yes, you too may be wondering, how can I put on a moderately notable Doctor Who affair?  I believe if you follow my formula you will be well on your way to a really nice Whovian extravaganza.

1.  Naming your event

Choose a clever title that people will remember.  I went with The Time Lord Trivia Tournament.  Alliteration helps it trip off the tongue and I figured it would also deter people who really shouldn’t attend in the first place.  If they didn’t know what a Time Lord was, this wasn’t intended for them.

2.  Brush up on your Doctors

I am relatively new to Who and my knowledge is based mainly in the rebooted series created by Davies and now headed by the Moff.  I felt I should dig back into the classic Doctor vault to get a better feel for the scope and history of the franchise.  I started off at the very beginning with 1st Doctor William Hartnell and his various travelling companions.  They went back to caveman days, encountered the Daleks and were present at the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  I moved on to the 2nd and 3rd regenerations, watching one Patrick Troughton episode (“The Mind Robber”) and one Jon Pertwee (“Carnival of Monsters”).  After that I just ran out of time though I fully intended to watch some Tom Baker since I know he is a favorite among classic Doctor Who fans.  So for this step I would say, pace yourself and don’t get too bogged down in the sluggish tempo of the first serials because the quality of the stories and the acting does improve.

3.  Find a TARDIS

If at all possible, get one of these.  Through my extensive library contacts I was able to track down an excellent replica, originally built for an anime convention, now available to star at your next Whovian gathering (for a fee).  No, these guys actually have jobs and lives outside of being time machine roadies and I want to say right now – THE BIGGEST THANK YOU POSSIBLE TO GRANT AND MIKE for the generous loan of the TARDIS and your donation of time in constructing and deconstructing it in our lobby.  It was the crowning attraction of our whole program.

Designers, carpenters and cosplayers – these guys do it all!

4.  Recruit your talented friends

I wanted to make this more than a trivia contest, so I had to find artistic, crafty types to assist me if I was going to realize the dream of an above average event.  Therefore, I called on some talented friends and co-workers and enlisted their woman-power for the big day.

First of all, Kathleen is our costume queen and seamstress extraordinaire so there was no question I had to get her on my team.  She dreamed up a fantastical costume for the day which is a must when we do programs like this.  Everyone wants a photo with her and just having her in the lobby is like a walking billboard for the program.

Are you having double vision too?

Kathleen also has a booming home business called Fat Cat Crafts.  She makes adorable, quirky costumed pincushion cats and very kindly donated one for our costume contest prize.  Check out her store here on Etsy.

Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor…if he was a feline.

Also deserving plenty of kudos is Mary, my good friend and partner in crime on many library projects.  Mary has organizational skills like no one else I know and a creative side as well.  She developed a full-blown bookbinding craft from a mere cover template on the Doctor Who website.

This is my daughter Maggie, holding her River Song diary but if you look closely there’s Mary in the background, hard at work as always.

Mary also helped me with logistics, scoring the trivia quizzes, setting up the room (as did Kathleen) and just being a supportive sounding board.  I really owe her one…and she knows it.

5. The Trivia Quiz

Once you have the date set, your background research done, the TARDIS reserved and your team in place, you really can’t procrastinate any more.  You must eventually get down to work on planning your trivia quiz.  What I found most daunting was how to achieve a balance between the classic and the newer series as well as making it difficult enough for an expert while not discouraging the more novice fans.  With this in the back of my mind, I dove into the vast Whoniverse online and just hoped I wouldn’t drown (or that David Tennant’s Doctor would rescue me if I did).

I started with the official BBC sites searching for trivia questions and facts on the show’s characters and storylines, past and present.  I created a file and any time I found a promising question I jotted it down.  Also once I strayed to the fan-run sites I tried to make sure I could corroborate the information on more than one website.  I certainly didn’t want to be caught out by my quizzees.

After that, patterns began to emerge.  The questions seemed to sort themselves into categories relating to the Doctor, Time Lord technology, companions throughout the years, monsters and other foes, and specific episodes.  I had also collected quite a few catchphrases and character aliases.  In the end I had developed a seventy-five question quiz made up of  seven categories which were accompanied by three PowerPoint presentations.

I was quite pleased that the winning team was a father and his two young (tween to teenage) daughters.  He was a pro when it came to the classic stuff and the girls were very enthusiastic about the new Who, as it were.  They received a gift bag of Doctor Who  goodies including this poster…

And a hand crafted Dalek provided by my friend, Paula…

Crocheted Monsters by Paula Otter

6. Invite friends, family AND the public, of course

Finally, the day arrives and you have to just take a deep breath and hope that things go smoothly.  We had a very respectable turnout of thirty-six Doctor Who fans, many in costume.

The winner of our costume contest, a shy Weeping Angel.

Our participants ranged from pre-teens to grandparents.

More Otters hanging around the TARDIS

And I even put some family members to work…

My husband Jeff as Craig Owens and Stormaggedon (and general dogsbody, as my friend Barbara would say).

I heard nothing but positive feedback from participants and staff, except maybe next time we should have food.  And despite the stress, it was worth it because this program was somthing I was passionate about and I worked hard to make sure it wasn’t a lame disappointment to my attendees.

And you know, next year will be the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.  That might call for an even more extravagent extravaganza.  Who‘s up for it?

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Call off the search! I have returned of my own free will.  I’ve been on what I like to call a “parenting sabbatical” which is actually opposite of what it sounds.  Rather than a mother with young children needing to take a spa break to regain her sanity, I am an empty nester who drops most everything in order to spend precious time with my college student kids when they return home during the summer.  Gotta get my mommy fix when I can get it!

Since my children do not share the same level of enthusiasm for British television that I have, I haven’t logged many hours of new viewing over the past few weeks. But as 3/4 of my family are Doctor Who fans, I found the time to stow away and experience the very first TARDIS voyage.  My first impression of Doctor Numero Uno (William Hartnell) in “An Unearthly Child”, the debut story arc of the whole Doctor Who tv franchise?  Um, he’s not very Doctor-y, is he?

1. He’s old!

He’s so old all the color has drained from his body…please take no notice of that young girl in the background who is also color-free.

2. His only technological advantage is the TARDIS.

Granted, without the TARDIS, the Doctor is not “The Doctor”.  But where’s the sonic screwdriver, the psychic paper?  How about a timey-wimey detector?

This gadget has another handy feature- “it boils an egg at thirty paces whether you want it to or not.”

3.  This Doctor is kinda nasty.

For example, after encountering a gaggle of threatening cave people, the Doctor incites the group to stone a troublemaking tribal leader wannabe. He threatens to leave the human teachers he’s transported to 100,000 BC behind in order to save himself and his “granddaughter”, Susan. Needless to say, I found the First Doctor to be rather hostile, disagreeable, smug, and not at all fond of humans.

4. And so far, this Doctor seems kind of useless in a crisis.

To avert their ritual sacrifice, Ian, a human science teacher, appeases the cave people by making fire.  Ian and fellow teacher, Barbara, aid an injured caveman against the Doctor’s wishes. And to enable the group to escape a lifetime of Stone Age captivity, Susan comes up with idea to alarm and divert their captors’ attention with flaming skulls on stakes. Paleolithic cave dwellers are famous for being highly superstitious and easily confused.

Sorry, wrong caveman.

Don’t worry, I have a lot more vintage Doctor Who left to watch.  I know it takes time, perhaps 50 years worth, for the Doctor to evolve into the more compassionate, quirky and tech savy (not to mention, attractive) versions of the Time Lord I’ve come to know and love.  If any of you have suggestions for must-watch vintage episodes or good sources of Whovian trivia, I’d appreciate your imput.  I’m putting on a Time Lord Trivia Tournament at my library soon and I need all the help I can get. After all, an empty-nest mother needs something to occupy her time and relative dimension in space.

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