Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stuff I Like, Vol. 1 (Or, Look At These Cool Things, Vol. 1)

So my last post skewed toward the negative. I make no apologies - it was how I was feeling at the time. However, to keep the universe in balance, I decided to devote this one to the positive with the first installment of what I hope will become a semi-regular feature: Stuff I Like.

Basically, the interweb has enabled creative people to put their stuff out into the universe for public consumption really easily. I'm constantly discovering new purveyors of awesomeness I didn't know existed through things like Kickstarter, TeeFury (as well as shirt.woot and other community designed shirt printers), Etsy, etc., and like most people, my natural inclination is to take the rad things I discover and share them with other people who may enjoy them. So here you go.

I discovered the magic that is Kickstarter earlier this year through a link on Twitter, and it has steadily become my new favorite thing ever. The site gives all sorts of people - artists, musicians, filmmakers, and various other entrepreneurs - the opportunity to reach out to the online community in order to obtain funding for their projects, often with the option of receiving different exclusive thank you gifts based on the amount of the contribution. A fundraising goal is given for each project, along with a set amount of time for that goal to be reached. Backers don't get charged until the end date, and only if the fundraising goal is met.

Part of what makes this such a cool thing is the opportunity to connect in a pretty intimate way with people and/or projects that mean something to you. The first project I backed is a documentary that Colin Hanks is making about the rise and fall of Tower Records. Tower Records stores played a huge part in my youth - I discovered a lot of new music there, got my first Buffy The Vampire Slayer VHS boxed set there (highlights from season 1 - that's how they did it in the days before full seasons on DVD, kids), killed all sorts of time while my mom shopped at other far less interesting stores...basically, Tower - and physical record stores in general, which are becoming more and more scarce - means a lot to me. So I became a financial backer, the project got funded, and I started making it a habit to check out what's going on over at Kickstarter on a regular basis, which brings me to my first couple of picks.

1) Teagueduino

Teagueduino is an open source electronic board and interface created by Seattle-based Teague that allows the user to create various electronic apparatuses without having to solder or know how to write electronic code. Light-controlled alarm clocks? Magnetic field meters? Robots? Teaguedino can help you make them all, regardless of skill level, while helping you get in touch with your inner tech-nerd and learn the basics of programming and embedded development.

As someone who loves tech and has fun building things but could never even hope to understand how to code, I liked the whole idea behind Teagueduino, as well as its potential as a tool to teach and maybe help some creative but technophobic people step outside of their comfort zones.

For more info., check out the Teague and Teagueduino sites.

2) Lust for Love

Lust for Love is an independent film written and (hopefully) directed by Anton King. It came to my attention through the Whedonverse - Dollhouse alums Fran Kranz, Dichen Lachman, and Maurissa Tancharoen (who has also written for and performed in other Whedon projects, such as Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the current run of Dollhouse comics) are among the cast members.

It's kind of impossible to say that a movie is going to be really awesome before it fully exists and can be seen, but I'm a fan of a lot of the people involved in this project and a supporter of independent film in general. I mean, in a world where seven Saw movies exist, surely we can scrape together $70,000 so that these guys can make their movie too. One you can watch without having to worry about anybody getting thrown into a pit of hypodermic needles, thus making you ill and giving you waking nightmares every time you think about it. Not that I'm talking about me.

Lust for Love hasn't hit its fundraising goal yet, but there are still 22 days left. Check out their Kickstarter page here and consider making a contribution. There are a lot of cool donation rewards still available.

Also, another cool thing about Kickstarter (I know, if I love Kickstarter so much, why don't I marry it?) is that even if a fundraising goal is reached, backers can continue to contribute to the total until the deadline. Overflow often gets used to improve the project, help it expand, cover miscellaneous costs. Whatever. As a backer, you usually get regular updates on the things you've funded, and most creators explain where the extra cash goes.

NOW, to the realm of Etsy, where crafty folks open online shops just for you!

3) foreignspell

My friend Niki, with whom I attended both high school and college, just opened up her shop on Etsy and has filled it with her lyrical illustrations - really awesome and creative designs that have song lyrics incorporated, beautifully melding her love of both music and art.

Many of her designs are customizable. She's got stationary, art pieces, and more. Check out her shop and be sure to leave feedback!

That's all I've got for you this time, folks. Thanks for reading and, hopefully, learning. Feel free to share some of the Stuff You Like in the comments and link to it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comprehensive Guide to Who, Part 2 (Or, Old Stuff Is Awesome Too)

Classic Who: US Releases (last updated: 10/3/11)

The following is a comprehensive list of all classic Doctor Who serials that have been released in the United States (Region 1 DVDs), in the order in which they originally aired. The "Lost In Time" sets contain surviving fragments of episodes from the Hartnell and Troughton years that were destroyed.

Not included: Titles whose US release dates have not been announced, as well as the episodes from the Hartnell and Troughton eras that were destroyed.

NOTE: I have not cross-referenced this list with what is available on Netflix, either via Instant or on disc. It is highly possible that a number of these titles are DVD only, or not available at all.

NOTE 2: The years listed after each actor mark the duration of their time as the Doctor. I feel this is fairly obvious, but would not want to leave you with the impression that the performers were both insanely young and quite ill-fated. As it stands, all Doctors are currently living, save for the first three: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee.

So ends my very official, fact-filled message.

First Doctor – William Hartnell: 1963 - 1967

An Unearthly Child
The Daleks
The Edge of Destruction

(Note: Netflix has these in the “Beginnings” boxed set. Be warned: Disc 1 is “The Daleks” and disc 3 is “An Unearthly Child.” No, I don’t understand why either.)

The Keys of Marinus
The Aztecs
The Dalek Invasion of Earth
The Rescue
The Romans
The Web Planet
The Space Museum
The Chase
The Time Meddler
Lost in Time: William Hartnell – contains surviving parts of:
- The Crusade
- The Daleks’ Master Plan
- The Celestial Toymaker
The Ark
The Gunfighters
The War Machines

Second Doctor – Patrick Troughton: 1967 - 1969
Lost in Time: Patrick Troughton – contains surviving parts of:
- The Underwater Menace
- The Moonbase
- The Faceless Ones
- The Evil of the Daleks
- The Abominable Snowmen
- The Enemy of the World
- The Web of Fear
- The Wheel in Space
- The Space Pirates

The Tomb of the Cybermen
The Dominators
The Mind Robber
The Invasion
The Seeds of Death
The War Games

Third Doctor – Jon Pertwee: 1970 - 1974

Spearhead From Space
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Terror of the Autons
The Claws of Axos
Day of the Daleks
The Curse of Peladon
The Sea Devils
The Mutants
The Time Monster
The Three Doctors
Carnival of Monsters
Frontier in Space
Planet of the Daleks
The Green Death
The Time Warrior
The Monster of Peladon
Planet of the Spiders

Fourth Doctor – Tom Baker: 1974 - 1981

The Ark in Space
The Sontaran Experiment
Genesis of the Daleks
Revenge of the Cybermen
Planet of Evil
Pyramids of Mars
The Brain of Morbius
The Seeds of Doom
The Masque of Mandragora
The Hand of Fear
The Deadly Assassin
The Robots of Death
The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Horror of Fang Rock
The Invisible Enemy
Image of the Fendahl
The Sunmakers
The Invasion of Time
The Key to Time – set includes:
- The Ribos Operation
- The Pirate Planet
- The Stones of Blood
- The Androids of Tara
- The Power of Kroll
- The Armageddon Factor

Destiny of the Daleks
City of Death
The Creature From the Pit
The Horns of Nimon
The Leisure Hive

The E-Space Trilogy – includes:
- Full Circle
- State of Decay
- Warriors’ Gate

The Keeper of Traken

Fifth Doctor – Peter Davison: 1982 - 1984

Four to Doomsday
The Visitation
Black Orchid
Arc of Infinity

Black Guardian Trilogy – includes:
- Mawdryn Undead
- Terminus
- Enlightenment

The King’s Demons
The Five Doctors
Warriors of the Deep
The Awakening
Resurrection of the Daleks
Planet of Fire
The Caves of Androzani

Sixth Doctor – Colin Baker: 1984 - 1986
The Twin Dilemma
Attack of the Cybermen
Vengeance on Varos
The Mark of the Rani
The Two Doctors
Revelation of the Daleks

The Trial of a Time Lord – set includes:
- The Mysterious Planet
- Mindwarp
- Terror of the Vervoids
- The Ultimate Foe

Seventh Doctor – Sylvester McCoy: 1987 - 1989
Time and the Rani
Paradise Towers
Delta and the Bannermen
Remembrance of the Daleks
Silver Nemesis
Ghost Light
The Curse of Fenric

Eighth Doctor – Paul McGann: 1996

Doctor Who: The Movie

Comprehensive Guide To Who (Or, Here's All You Need To Live A Happy Life)

I'm a fiercely devoted Whovian.

No, I'm not even going to do that thing where I pretend like I'm sharing a secret that's actually a thing I openly admit to, because it's not even pretend secret. I have TARDISes everywhere, I rarely leave the house without at least one of my sonic screwdrivers, and there's at least a 75% chance that my
shirt boldly and loudly proclaims my alliance with the Doctor on any given day.

I once took four days off of work and took Amtrak down to L.A. to see Karen Gillan on Craig Ferguson. Our shoulders brushed in the hallway outside of the studio. Totally worth it.

I donated blood at Gallifrey One last year to thank the universe for allowing me to be the last person to get in to meet Peter Davison before the autograph line closed. A Dalek came in and started exterminating people while I was on the table. It was the best day ever.

Matt Smith gave me a burrito after the Nerdist Podcast Live in San Diego. It was every bit as awesome as it sounds.

There's a cardboard cutout of the 10th Doctor in my room, staring happily back at me at this very moment.

Don't be scared, stranger/casual acquaintance (folks who know me, carry on). I'm not a stalker. As I've mentioned before, I feel that would be terribly impolite. I'm just an enthusiast, and the only thing that brings me greater joy than celebrating my own love of the magic that is Doctor Who is sharing it with other people. So I made some lists to help new viewers, because I'm both very nice and more than a little insane. You're welcome.

What follows is my comprehensive, chronological guide to new Who, including some shorts that were filmed in between series. I'll post my guide to classic Who separately, as it's lengthy. If you're just starting out, I suggest you go with new first, then backtrack.

Doctor Who (2005-Present)

Series 1


Series 2
Series 3


Series 4

Now, here's where it gets a little tricky. DO NOT go straight from Series 4 to Series 5. There was a year off between the two, during which there were four specials that are vital to continuity.

4 Specials (Netflix now includes the first special, The Next Doctor, at the end of Series 4): The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars, The End of Time (Pt. 1 and 2)

Series 5

A Christmas Carol


Series 6