Monthly Archives: March 2012

On the Doctor and His Companions

Even though it’s nine months away, there is already intense speculation about the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Hump day became a little more manageable as early Wednesday morning the official Twitter feed for Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) released several tweets regarding the show’s seventh season. Most contained spoilers, especially one credited to show runner Steven Moffatt describing the current companions’, Amy and Rory Pond, departure. The tweet that made the biggest splash was the revelation of who would take Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill’s spot as the next TARDIS dweller. The news was picked up quickly and widely with even general entertainment sites like The Hollywood Reporter reporting that Jenna-Louise Coleman cast as the next companion.

I had to look her up. I didn’t know who she was. Because I really am only familiar with British actors by watching Doctor Who and Sherlock. I hadn’t heard of Matt Smith or Karen Gillan or Arthur Darvill until I started season five of the show. I had never heard of Benedict Cumberbatch until I saw the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock. So I’m not too ashamed that I had to look her up.

Despite trying not to think of the Pond’s departure and Coleman’s arrival, it is kind of hard not to. However I’ve been able distract myself by thinking of how attractive Coleman looks.

No, really.

Which does bring up a bit of a problem. Since the reboot (or continuation) of the classic sci-fi series in 2005, there have been four female companions. (Coleman will be the fifth.) Of the four, three have been young and attractive both as actresses and as characters. And of the four three have also been white. Coleman very obviously continues both of these trends. Although interestingly the Doctor Who team failed to release a name for Coleman’s character. She might buck the trend since the beginning of the new series by having nearly every major companion come from present day Earth. Hopefully she’s an alien.

Her attractiveness together with her ready made chemistry with Matt Smith complicate things further. Will we have yet another companion who falls for the Doctor? Once again more companions that not had a crush on the Time Lord at least in the beginning of their TARDIS travels. Only Donna, who is the only one not in her early twenties, refused to imagine herself with the Doctor.

I do have to wonder what the Doctor Who team have in store for season 7, at least the first half. (There will be six episodes aired including the Christmas Special for the rest of 2012, and eight slotted for 2013) It seemed that Amy and Rory had left the TARDIS near the end of season 6, only to return for more adventures. The Doctor Who crew just finished filming an episode set in the old west on location in Spain and Karen and Arthur were there. Also the Doctor intended to travel on the down-low as he had gotten “too big, too noisy.” Wonder how long that will last or if Coleman’s character will tie into that.

Can’t wait for season 7, as if that wasn’t obvious after 500 words on Doctor Who.

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Here We Go Again

Gay groups denied permission to march in St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston Wait a minute, that sounds eerily familiar…

Oh yeah, deja vu all over again!

Last year, I found out about a group of LGBT Irish who sought to march in the NYC parade and were turned down. I was upset, thinking that those people wanted to celebrate the fact they were Irish and were refused because they also happened to be gay. They would have to choose whether to celebrate a part of their heritage that basically rejected them simply because of who they were. So I wrote a column for the Chronicle and cited a similar case in Boston that actually was the precedent that the NYC parade organizers used to exclude the group of LGBT Irish.

In the column I mentioned how hard it was to find the policy online. Turns out I didn’t know where to look. Perhaps the rule cited by the parade council is unwritten and barely spoken about, but the court case ruling that favored the parade council in Boston over 15 years ago was easily found once I got the case name, thanks to the Boston.com article.

The decision, to quote Wikipedia

Justice Souter delivered the unanimous opinion of the court on June 19, 1995. The Court reasoned that, even though the Council did not have a narrow, set message that it was intending to convey, the parade nevertheless constituted a message that the Council had a right to protect. Noting that, while the Council had been fairly lenient in its guidelines for who they chose to allow in their parade, the Court said this did not necessarily mean that the Council waived its right to present its message in a way it saw fit. The right to speak, the Court reasoned, includes the right to determine “what not to say.”  Of primary concern to the Court was the fact that anyone observing the parade (which regularly gained a large number of spectators) could rationally believe that those involved in the parade were all part of an overriding message the Council was seeking to provide.  In this vein, the unanimous Court said that the Council could not statutorily be prohibited from excluding the messages of groups it did not agree with. Effectively, the Council could not be forced to endorse a message against its will.

Like with most supreme court rulings, it takes a couple read-throughs to comprehend it. But at least it does have a sense of logic, even if that logic was used to come to a decision that I disagree with.

I just hate the idea of this accepted practice of exclusion. It won’t change anytime soon, as the court ruling basically said it was up to the parade councils to determine what kind of “message” they wanted to say with the units in their parades. Have the parade organizers not heard of the axiom that actions speak louder than words? By not including Gay and Irish groups for many years in a row, they are telling the public that they are old fashioned and narrow-minded, maybe even bigoted.

They are also sending a message to gays: that are gay first and foremost and that makes them less Irish than their straight counterparts.

The only solution I can see is a game of patience. The Gay Irish groups must sadly wait for the last of the old guard who wish to exclude them to die off. Then they can approach the parade’s councils again and hopefully march openly.

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What a crazy winter it’s been!

RIP Winter 2011/2012 – We hardly knew you.

My first winter back in Boston full time, and nothing has happened! I am disappointed, but on the plus side, I had no problems commuting. Whenever it snows, the T gets even less dependable. Also I didn’t have to shovel much at all!

The downside to this crazy season formally known as winter is that I haven’t gone skiing nearly as often I could. Granted not having a car or a license did limit me, and by next winter I hope to at least be able to drive so I could borrow a car. But there is s commuter rail stop within a shuttle ride’s distance to one Massachusetts mountain, and the MBTA did run trains in the morning and evening with ski cars.

I did go up to Sunday River for my yearly pilgrimage over New Year’s Weekend. The winter up there had been so slow going, that over half the trails were closed. Yet because it was a holiday weekend the resort was charging $80 bucks a pop. At least the views were worth it.

So now with March already halfway done, I am heading back up to Sunday River for one last (and my second) trip. The days up there, according to the mountain, alternate between spring skiing days with potential for goggle tans and warmish winter, depending on the cloud cover. During the season they managed to get 100 days of snowmaking in, but for the past week or two have held off on the guns, waiting for Mother Nature to cool down. (I don’t think that’ll happen though)  The snow has been soft, which is great. I just hope there’s some left when I get up there tomorrow!

Tonight I’ll be dreaming of corduroy snow.

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Before I turn 26: Bucket List!

I’ve had several goals floating around my head of what I wanted to accomplish/experience by the time I turn 25. I should probably get them down in writing. I’m giving myself a deadline of my 26th birthday which will be November 7th, 2014 (at 7:35 a.m. to be precise) Originally the goal was 25, but considering I’m already 23 and just starting out on my career, I figure an extra year wouldn’t hurt. So either before or on my 26th birthday, I want to…

  • Get back to Germany. Spending five months in Munich nearly two years (already!) ago isn’t enough. I need to go back and really work on the language. Luckily I have family in Frankfurt so I could crash with them for maybe a couple of weeks. But wouldn’t it be nice to stay there longer than a month? I wonder if it’s possible to take a class in German and be able to get another visa like JYM set up for me before. The Germans have a whole program set up for foreign students called DAAD.  The question remains if I can still be counted as a student since Hofstra sent me my degree and whether I would want to dive into being a full time student so soon.
  • Visit Las Vegas during the Star Trek convention. The allure of “sin city” isn’t quite enough to entice me. (Watching 21! is enough of a fix for me) However I am a huge Trekkie, and the convention that comes to the city every August is the biggest (and most expensive) one. Tons of Star Trek stars make the trek out. I have several twitter friends who live on the West Coast and make a yearly pilgrimage to the con. So far I have only lived voraciously through their tweets and con reports/pictures. This August is a huge TNG event as the show is turning 25 in 2012. I think it would be great to see the stars of the show that whenever it came on, I literally danced in front of the TV. (I was born in 88, the show came on air in 87, meaning it was the 6th and the 7th seasons that I remember watching before bed)
  • Get published! I was lucky to get my short story in Font before I graduated. But Font is just on Hofstra’s campus. And unless you were an English major, or your friend was in it, odds are you didn’t pick up a copy. I had set that goal of getting into Font before I left and managed to achieve with a piece I wrote while I was in Germany. I’d like to do something like that again, but find a lit magazine that’s a step up from a college one. If I manage to pull it off, I’ll consider it progress.
  • Finish a novel. I seem to have stalled in my writing on The Luther Paradox. I either need to finish the story or edit and trim down the 50,000 words I have now. I had a lovely conversation with a stranger at Grendels on Saturday (I was on a bar crawl with a friend) who loved the idea that I pitched him, but helped me realize that my approach for my protagonist wasn’t the best way to keep readers engaged in the second part of my novel. I need to make him willing to risk his life to get back home. Right now he doesn’t have anything or anyone waiting for him, so why should he rush home, other than he’s leading the life of someone else? When I started writing this character I pictured him as a time traveling mercenary – available for the highest bidder so to speak. But as I worked through the beginnings of my novel, it turned out he freelanced on the side as he worked for the time travel agency. He’s still plenty jaded and doesn’t have much to tie him down other than his job and his “relationships” (if you could even call them that) with his boss and the tech guy at work. He doesn’t have anyone waiting for him when he finally gets back to his one bedroom apartment for the night. He eats or orders out nearly all the time because he hates cooking for one.
  • Get an apartment. My parents graciously let me back into the house after I graduated. Growing up the joke was “We don’t care what you do as long as you’re out of the house by you’re 25.” Well I wasn’t able to afford an apartment right after school. And the first priority on the financial stability list was student loans. So what’s next on that list? Cellphone, and then apartment rent. I’d love to stay in the Boston area, meaning I’ll have to find people to rent with, because this area is expensive.
  • Get a car/licence. While probably less expensive than paying rent/bills this is a bit harder I think. I did get my learners permit before I turned 23 (barely made that deadline) but have yet to start learning to drive because instead I started working/earning money. I think in the long run that was a better decision because I needed money to pay for said lessons. People are surprised when they find out that I have neither a  car nor a licence at 23. But growing up in the city, right on the T, I didn’t really need one.

There are two honorable mentions for this list. I’m not quite sure either are the direction I want to go but they have a chance of happening within the next couple of years or so.

The first is to get a job in New York City. As a budding writer, I am lucky to live in Boston, where there are plenty of writing/publishing/editing opportunities. But New York City is obviously like Boston on steroids. Plus with the last semester of work I did at RecordSetter, I do have some professional contacts in the city, compared to almost zilch here in Boston. (Obviously I am starting to connect/network through my new job but there was a 7 month drought of professional contacts until I started working). And the four years of going to school at Hofstra are to my advantage because I already know I’d be able to live in New York. It’d just be even more expensive than Boston.

The second is some sort of grad school. I thought up until my junior year that I had it all figured out perfectly. I’d get my Master in Fine Arts in writing, preferably at Emerson so I could live at home. But then the real world invaded (it has a nasty habit of finding you in your ivory tower doesn’t it?) and I realized I still wouldn’t have a practical degree. (Not all Master’s degrees are created equal!) Sure I could teach, and if my writing improved I would probably make some industry contacts through professors and be closer to actually publishing. But as my cousin who does have two books published pointed out – you don’t need  to go to school write a novel. You need to have some basic skills, that I hopefully picked up in workshop classes at Hofstra, and then you need to live your life. The alternative is an education degree in Egnlish, or some sort of Divinity school. I’ve held off on any grad school decision since a) I’m so broke, and b) I clearly can’t decide which path of further education to pursue.

So on my bucket list there are some practical items, as well as some fantastical items. A pretty good mix. The question remain as to whether I can accomplish everything by the arbitrary deadline of 26. I already know I should not beat myself up if I fail to check everything of that list. But it’s nice to know I have a general outline, and had a little fun in thinking of ways to spice it up.

If you have read this far, congratulations and thanks for putting up with me. Maybe you have a bucket list of your own? Tell me about it in the comments!

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On Kony 2012 [UPDATED]

Perfectly sums up why I’m not getting swept up in the #Kony fever.

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Working Girl: Part II

I graduated in May of 2011, and maybe a month later a piece of paper representing my diploma was mailed to me. (I still have to frame it, but it’s safe in the folder it was shipped in.) I had a graduation party and well intentioned family members asked what I was going to do.

I didn’t know.

I’ve had this dream of being published for so long, I couldn’t quite set my eyes on the short term goal of finding work. I came out of school with great writing skills and a wonderful experience but no idea where to apply the things I learned.

And spending my college life primarily as an English major meant I was:

a)pretty sheltered from the real world since I was discussing books published well before I was born most of the time, and

b)slightly unprepared for said real world.

For three years, my department didn’t tell us about internships, or if they did the emails failed to grab my attention. (I am not laying all the blame at the foot of the department, but I did notice a change when I returned from Germany for my senior year. They did seem to be making an effort to get involved with the Career Center. Too bad it was too late for me.)

Some majors have an internship listed as a requirement, and they will help you get one. One of the things I took away from my four years at Hofstra is that the English department should consider that rule as well. I was lucky to work part time for RecordSetter during my last semester otherwise I would have walked across the stage at graduation with no relevant experience on my resume. Also the book project kept me busy and employed enough during the summer, as I was able to work from home as a freelancer.

I didn’t end up looking for a job in earnest until The RecordSetter Book of World Records was sent to the publishers. By then it was the fall and instead of figuring out what I wanted to do I shifted my goals to getting a job – any job before I had to start paying my student loans in December.

Before Thanksgiving I signed up with a popular temp agency in Boston because I still hadn’t found a job or exactly what I wanted to do. And that way when my family asked me over Thanksgiving dinner what I was doing, I had a concrete answer.

Two weeks before my first loan payment was set to go out, I landed temporary work as a file monkey. That isn’t the proper term for what I did, but it sums up what I did pretty well. I was brought in to prepare files for storage (put them in boxes) and organize files that were closed but couldn’t get shipped to storage yet. I was also tasked with filing papers into active files. It was fun learning, but not exactly in my field. I was there just shy of two months before I landed an editorial internship with a financial news site.

So now I’m taking the first steps in my (I still don’t know what to call it) career. And I’m also going to get back into blogging.

But before I go, here are some (very depressing) links that pretty much sum up the situation I was in for 6/7 months – and if I want to change jobs any time soon – will still be in:

US Jobs Gap Between Young and Old Is Widest Ever – US Business News – CNBC

Today’s Internships Are a Racket, Not an Opportunity – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Employment Rate For Young Adults Lowest In 60 Years, Study Says

Confirmed: Millennials Are Screwed [Infographic]

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