A Longer Note About Notes

There’s something about barbershop music that makes the genre so unique. It’s at once wholly American and wholly global, as the existence of organizations like Sweet Adelines International demonstrates.

In San Antonio, we have the Alamo Metro Chorus, a local chapter of Sweet Adelines. AMC and its affiliated quartets regularly travel and compete regularly in international showcases. I’ve heard them, so I can tell you they deserve it.

Which brings us to last weekend. Continue reading

If This Is Paradise, I Wish I Had A Sonic Lawnmower

Since I’ve committed to life as a Doctor Who blogger, I’ve often surprised myself with the connections I’ve made. Not so much within the show itself – it’s easy to find traces of a past story or a past Doctor in the current series. It’s Doctor Who – there’s always going to be at least a piece of its past in its present.

No, the surprise comes from the connections I find outside of the series, the things an episode reminds me of as I’m watching it. Last week’s episode is a perfect example. I didn’t go into “Flatline” looking for a Bourne Identity parallel, but once I found it, it just made perfect sense to explore that.

With all that in mind, you really have to wonder about the kind of mind that goes from Doctor Who to Talking Heads…
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Look At What They Make You Give

One of the many assets of Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity (spoilers ahead) is Clive Owen’s character, called the Professor. Like Jason Bourne, the Professor’s one of the Treadstone program’s assassins, a laconic piece of work who says nary a syllable until he finally catches up with his quarry. And once Bourne has gunned him down, he uses his dying words to reflect on the terrible bond they share:

Look at us. Look at what they make you give.

Bourne himself will repeat those words in The Bourne Ultimatum. It’s a commentary on the way Treadstone has leached the good from them both, in the name of a supposed higher purpose.

And after seeing the latest Doctor Who, the road from the Professor to the Doctor might not be as far as you’d think. Or hope.

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These Are The Musical Voyages…

Spend the briefest length of time with me, and you’ll know that I love film music. I’ve been in love with film music for the better part of my life. It’s effectively permeated my DNA.

Spend a slightly longer length of time with me, and you’ll know that it all started with Jerry Goldsmith and his iconic score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Since I first heard “THE score” all those years ago, music has been a huge part of my Star Trek experience.

And last night, that experience took me to a whole new dimension.
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It’s Complicated, But Does It Really Have To Be THAT Complicated?

One of the many things that’s made Series 8 of Doctor Who so different from past seasons is the nature of the arc that informs the stories. In past years (especially since Steven Moffat became showrunner), those arcs were plot-driven, grounded in twists and turns and reveals of mixed justification and mixed success.

But this season, the arc is almost entirely character-driven. It’s about relationships. It’s about Clara’s relationship with the Doctor. In a way I’m not sure the show has really attempted before, Doctor Who is exploring what it means to travel with the Doctor. And it’s exploring that relationship from both sides.

And so, it’s not altogether surprising that the last two episodes have effectively changed the status to “It’s Complicated.”

But it’s still great viewing.

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What It Means To Live In Your Own Head: Thoughts on John Scalzi’s Lock In

One of John Scalzi‘s great strengths as a writer, one I wish I could better understand and emulate, is that he almost never tells the same kind of story twice. Even in the same series. Even in the same novel – The Human Division moved so deftly between space opera and political thriller and media satire and slapstick comedy and family drama that the journey was just dazzling to behold.

So, it’s no surprise that his latest novel is almost entirely unlike anything he’s written before.

But there are still plenty of surprises to be found in Lock In. And again, it’s a wonder to see them unfold.

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Growing Up With A Space Dad

We’re halfway through Series 8 of Doctor Who, and I’m beginning to think that this season is as much about Steven Moffat learning from his mistakes as it is about the Doctor learning from his.

This last week’s episode is a perfect case in point. “The Caretaker” explores a theme Moffat covered just last season in “The Power of Three”: what it’s like to try to live an ordinary life when the Doctor’s in it. But that episode never quite succeeded, while this one succeeds quite well.

The difference?

Consequences.

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