Every year for the last few decades, creatives of all stripes congregate in Austin, TX around mid-march to share ideas, network, and maybe go the the occasional party. I’ve been a presenter at SXSW a few times, but only when I felt I had something vital to say. Last year, it was about the coming importance of prototyping for User Experience designers, an idea I seem to have been right about.
This year, I have a bunch of ideas, some I might present by my lonesome, some that I’ll require a little assistance front the GeekDads. But I won’t get anywhere without your help.
I know, I know, it sounds smarmy, but a big part of the selection process is showing there are people out there who want to hear what I have to say, and this year I’ve decided to talk about some ideas beyond my norm. I’ve been studying the affect of electronic media on society for decades, and think It’s time to speak out on some important topics, including education, culture, and trust.
Please take just a few minutes, register with SXSW (it’s relatively painless) and then click on the thumbs up for each of my topics (links below).
If you are feeling really generous, share the link on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn—all of the links to do that are on the left side of the page. Oh, and share this article wherever possible as well.
And if you want to be my BFF, add a comment at the bottom of the page. Those REALLY help.
Voting ends this Friday, so DO NOT DELAY and please SPREAD THE WORD!
Late next march in the Land of Mary, time travelers from the four corners of the vortex will congregate to celebrate their favorite Gallifreyan! That’s right: the East Cost of the USofA is getting it’s own Doctor Who Convention! According to (RE)Generation founder and organizer Oni Hartstein:
There wasn’t any place for us and our friends to go for just Doctor Who in the Mid-Atlantic area. It seemed like a huge void where a con was needed.
They’ve already announced that the 6th (Colin Baker) and 7th (Sylvester McCoy) incarnations of the whimsical Time Lord will be in attendance, with more guests on the horizon! (RE)Generation Who is coming to Cockeysville, Maryland (a few miles North of Baltimore), March 27–29, 2015. The GeekDads will be there.
Wonder Woman is a feminist. She is a feminist (or at least a fictional character who is a feminist), not because she self identifies with that label, but because that it is how she acts and how she thinks. Unfortunately, David, like so many others, is afraid to apply the supposed stigma of feminism, out of, I assume, a fear that he will scare off readers who think they are “not feminists.”
Fonts like Dyslexie and OpenDeyslexic claim to have been designed with dyslexics in mind, mostly by weighting the bottom of glyphs heavier than the top. It’s thought that by constantly drawing the eye toward the baseline, dyslexic readers won’t wander or get distracted.
However, there is no evidence that these fonts improve readability for dyslexics. In fact, one study conducted by researchers at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra showed no improvement in readability at all for dyslexics using these fonts. Instead sans-serif fonts like Arial, Courier, Verdana, and Helvetica were most effective, although there is some question as to whether this was just due to familiarity.
There is more to typography than fonts, though. My suspicion is that better typography for dyslexia is also better typography for everybody. We see a general trend in web typography toward designs that focus the reader’s attention on the text. Consider sites such as Medium, which remove visual noise (sidebars, navigation) and use larger type sizes, contrasting type styles, and more white space—especially line height—all of which help dyslexics and the general reading population alike.
I think we can all agree: The best dads are geek dads. After all, we are far more likely to want to play a game of D&D with our kids on a Saturday morning than, say, go play a round of golf with â€œthe guys.â€
The Doctor is no stranger to animation. Even before the current reboot, for the 40th anniversary of the show the BBC released a six part animated series in 2003 called Scream of the Shelka, using a Ninth Doctor who is not a part of the official continuity. More recently, the Tenth Doctor has appeared in his own animated episodes â€” although the CGI animation is a bit stiff. There are also some fan attempts to animate all of the missing episodes of Doctor Who that were destroyed by the BBC.
When last we left The Doctor, he had just discovered that he had a Flesh dopplegÃ¤nger, or gÃ¤nger. Let’s call him DoctorG, to try and avoid confusion, because the only other way anyone has of telling them apart is by their shoes. The DoctorG has original shoes, while The Doctor has a pair of barrowed boots he got after his own shoes were eaten by acid. With me so far?
The DoctorG seems every bit as charming as The Doctor, but almost immediately goes into convulsions as he tries to integrate his past regenerations. Imagine going through 9 regenerations all at the same time. He starts spouting out catch phrases from the past, and I’m pretty sure we even hear Tom Baker’s voice at one point (the Fourth Doctor).
DoctorG: Reverse the jelly-baby of the neutron flow.
There’s also an interesting bit where The Doctor quizzes The DoctorG on various aspects of their lifeâ€”including a brief discussion of cybermatsâ€”to confirm that he (The DoctorG) is in fact him (The Doctor). Still with me?
However, The Doctors and Companyâ€”including Amy (no Rory) along with the human staff of the factory (Foreman Cleavas, Jimmy, Buzzer, and Dicken)â€”have a bigger problem: their gÃ¤ngers are at the door and out for blood. The gÃ¤ngers tried breaking the door down, to no avail. So they began to use acid to try and melt the door (remember this is an acid factory). The Doctor and The DoctorG are seen plotting something, while being highly complementary of their own intelligences, and work to find an escape route, eventually landing upon a rather convenient air vent.
Doctor: Yowzaâ€¦ An Escape Route. Amy: (Mouths â€œYowzaâ€ with quizzical look) Doctor: You know Iâ€™m starting to get a sense of just how impressive it is to hang out with me. DoctorG: Do we tend to say â€œYowzaâ€? Doctor: Thatâ€™s enough, let it go, OK. Weâ€™re under stress.
The Doctor suddenly yells “Breathe” at Amy. No particular reason. He just does.
The gÃ¤ngers enter the room at last, only to find the birds have flown the coop.
JenG is still skulking about the castleâ€”Drawing strange circles on the walls with Fleshâ€”and Rory is shadowing her. The acid is still pouring out, interacting with the stone walls to create a noxious gas.
This gas forces the humans to head to the evac tower to get above the gas and contact the mainland to be evacuated. As it turns midnight, Jimmy thinks of his son, Adam, and the little dance he does when he gets excited. Once at the evac tower, first they have to restore power to the systems. Queue The Doctors behind a bank of machinery repairing away. The problem is we can’t tell which is which as they pop-up like a whack-a-Doctor game. We’ll call them DoctorX on the left and DoctorY on the right.
Amy: Look but hang on. You said the TARDIS is stuck in acid, so wonâ€™t she be damaged. DoctorX: Nahh, sheâ€™s a tuff olâ€™ thing DoctorY: Tuffâ€¦ oldâ€¦ sexy DoctorX: Tuff, dependable, sexy
After bringing the power back on line, the humans are able to send a message asking for a rescue. Foreman Cleaves sets up the rescue and then sends a typed codeword to make sure any changes can’t be made by the gÃ¤ngers. She also asks that the gÃ¤ngers be wiped out after the humans are safely away. The gÃ¤ngers are listening in, though, and begin their own plans.
Meanwhile, JenG has become obsessed with revenge on the humans, all humans, for what they have done to The Flesh who are decommissioned, or “executed” as she puts it. She has a plan to destroy them all. We next see Jen as she tries to do something at the thermostatic override control panel, but apparently it can only be used by a real human. Are her plans thwarted. I think not.
The Doctor is making mysterious phone call, as Amy suddenly sees a wall slide away and our mysterious eyepatch woman appears startling her. Amy tells The Doctor, but he reassures her that it was probably nothing.
Amy is still distrustful of The DoctorG, who says something about something being in his head and leaves, stepping outside. Amy follows to apologize and confesses that sheâ€™s seen moment of Doctorâ€™s death. Could it have been The DoctorG not The Doctor she saw? The DoctorG suddenly turns violent, and throws Amy against wall apparently distressed over dying gÃ¤ngers. Amy is now completely freaked by The DoctorG and hurries back to the others.
Rory hears Jen in distress. He finds both Jen and JenG but can’t tell which is which. One Jen is limping from a previous wound. The two Jens fight and one is pushed in acid and decomposes into the Flesh. The remaining Jen has the limp. I guess that settles that.
Back in the evac tower, the crew see Rory on the monitors and decide to go after him. At first Amy wants to go, but The Doctor hands over the sonic screwdriver to The DoctorG to go find Rory. Amy balks at going with him, so Buzzer goes instead.
Foreman Cleavas: You canâ€™t let him goâ€¦ are you crazy. Doctor: Am I crazy Doctor. DoctorG: Well you did once plug your brain into the core of an entire planet just to halt itâ€™s orbit and win a bet.
Foreman Cleavas is not looking so good. The Doctor does a quick scan and tells her that she has an inoperable blood clot causing her headaches. The evac tower becomes unstable and they have to evac the evac and head to another evac position. Foreman Cleaves tries to radio where they are headed to the rescue ship, but gets cut off before she can send the codeword. Foreman CleavasG intercepts and sends her own message for new a new rendezvous location and guesses the code word, â€œbad boy”. They are the same person after all.
Jen leads Rory to the thermostatic override that she says will restart the oxygen and prevent an explosion. She asks big strong Rory to turn wheel to open it, but first needs to activate with hand pad which responds â€œHuman source recognized” The thermostatic override is engaged and the temperature immediately begins to rise. On their way to find the others, Jen shows Rory pile of discarded Flesh that has been left to rot in full conscience. Rory is and indeignant, but it’s clear that Jen is playing on Rory, asking him to trust her.
The DoctorG, using the sonic screwdriver, finds Dead Jen (the real one; the other one with Rory is Flesh), but Buzzer knocks The DoctorG out, muttering that it was the Foreman’s orders.
Buzzer: I should have been a postman like my dad.
Buzzer comes across Jen soothing the pile of discarded Flesh, angry that she killed the real Jen. JenG shows her ability to change her body as she rushes Buzzer and we hear him scream (off screen).
The Doctor and Co. are walking down hallway where there are huge eyeballs sticking out of the stone workâ€”remember the circles created by JenG. They make it to thermostatic override, but itâ€™s too late. Everything will explode. They head off to find Rory.
The DoctorG is found by other gÃ¤ngers, and revives an old name.
Foreman CleavasG: Youâ€™re on of us doctor. DoctorG: Call me Smith. John Smith.
Rory and Jen lead Doctor & Co into acid room and Jen locks the door as Rory realizes he has been tricked. The gÃ¤ngers have set the room to overheat, killing everyone inside. Rory confronts JenG, and The DoctorG seems unconcerned about humans, even physically stopping Rory from going to help them. The gÃ¤ngers, led by Jen, want to head to mainland and start the revolution.
And then the phone rings. The DoctorG answers holo call and itâ€™s Adam, Jimmy’s son. JimmyG is moved and dashes out to save his human self.
JenG: You tricked him into an act of weakness. DoctorG: No, Iâ€™ve helped him into an act of humanity.
Foreman CleavasG orders the acid be pumped out to save the humans. She’s tired of the war and what they are becoming, but JenG will have her revenge
DoctorG: It doesnâ€™t have to be about revenge. It can be so much better than that.
JimmyG is too late. Jimmy is hit with acid and lies dying on the floor, but makes JimmyG promise to be a dad to Adam and â€œremember herâ€ as he hands JimmyG the gold ring he had on a chain around his neck.
With everyone reunited â€” Amy and Rory have a big hug â€” JimmyG talks to Adam and adam does his little dance of excitement. But the reunion is short lived as JenG transforms into a true monster, chasing everybody throughout the tunnels. It appears that they are trapped with the mad JenG at the door, when suddenly the TARDIS breaks through roof.
Doctor?: Ohhhh, she does like to make an entrance.
Someone has to hold JenG back while the others escape, and also prevent her from reaching the mainland. Amy, in a moment of revelation decides she wants to save both Doctors, but they come clean and admit DoctorG is actually the Doctor. The Doctors had swapped shoes almost from the very beginning. Only one can be saved as they leave The DoctorG and Foreman CleavasG behind to deal with JenG using the sonic screwdriver to send a pulse that will disrupt the Flesh, unfortunately it will disrupt them as well.
Doctor: Your molecular memory can survive this, you know. It may be that this is not be the end. DoctorG: Well, If I turn up and knick all of your biscuits, then youâ€™ll know you’re right.
As the TARDIS dematerializes, The DoctorG opens the door, pulls the trigger and all three flesh forms disintegrate. Let’s just hope they don’t come back as some kind of hybrid.
After escaping, it’s only JimmyG, DickenG, and Foreman Cleavas left, but the gÃ¤ngers are stabilized and fully human. After reuniting JimmyG with his son, The Doctor drops off Foreman Cleavas and DickenG at a press conference to expose how the Flesh is being treated.
Doctor: Dicken, remember, people are good, in their bones truly good. Donâ€™t hate them, will you. Dicken: How can I hate themâ€¦ Iâ€™m one of them now.
Now for the season arc story. The Doctor turns to Amy and tells her to breathe, something he has been repeating inexplicably for a while now. Amy doubles over in pain as they take her to the TARDIS, The Doctor explains sheâ€™s in labour. That’s right, she’s having a baby. Right now. And this isn’t the real Amy, but a Flesh construct and has been for a while. The Doctor suspected this, which is why he needed to visit an early version of the Flesh to find the frequency that would disrupt it.
Doctor: I was going to drop you off for fish and chips, but things happened, and there was stuffâ€¦ and shenanigans. Beautiful wordâ€¦ shenanigans.
The Doctor points the sonic screwdriver at Amy and her Flesh construct dissolvesâ€¦
â€¦Amy wakes up in small white room. The wall across from her opens to show our one eyed matron who tells Amy thatâ€™s sheâ€™s about ready to pop. Amy is pregnant and delivering the baby right now. â€œHere it comes.”
DoctorX: And we both wear the same bow-tie, which is cool. As bow ties areâ€¦ DoctorY: â€¦And always will be.
Doctor: If you have a better plan Iâ€™m all ears. In fact. if you have a better plan, Iâ€™ll take you to a planet where everyone is all ears.
DoctorG: Well my death arrives I supposeâ€¦ Doctor: But this one we weâ€™re not invited to.
Spoiler alert: While we will discuss what happened in last Saturdayâ€™s episode, weâ€™ll avoid talking about any future plot details.
Despite giving us a good-old fashioned cliff hanger at the end of “The Impossible Astronaut” â€” Amy taking a shot at the little girl in the big astronaut suite â€” the follow-up episode does not pick up directly where it left off. Instead, we jump several months ahead with Amy, Rory, and River on the lam while the Doctor has been imprisoned â€” in Area 51, naturally â€” and then jump back and forth with flash back to fill in the pieces. The team’s new “ally,” secret agent Canton â€” ably played by Battlestar Galactica actor Mark Sheppard â€” is hunting them down across the US. Their mission is to see how extensive is the infestation of the Silence. The answer: they are everywhere and have been her for millennia.
So, how do you defeat an enemy who is everywhere but you can’t remember as soon as you look away? (First Steven Moffat gave us the Weeping Angels who turn to stone when you are looking at them; now Moffat gives us the Silence who, essentially, cease to exist as soon as you look away. It seems as if Moffat has been reading a lot of the french philosopher Michel Foucault, who also had a thing about the power of the gaze.) According to the Doctor “We’re not fighting an alien invasion, we’re leading a revolution.” The Doctor’s solution turns out to be ingenious and direct: feed all of humanity a subliminal message to rise up against their oppressors, played at a moment that almost all of humanity will be watching: Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon.
River: Apollo 11’s your secret weapon?
Doctor: No, no, it’s not Apollo 11. That would be silly. It’s Neil Armstrong’s foot.
But that all happens later in the episode. After rescuing the Doctor from a cell made of Zero Balanced Dwarf Star alloy (that’s right up there with “reversing the polarity of the neutron flow!”), the team has to split up again to track down leads while the Doctor goes on a secret mission to “NASA” (i.e. Cape Canaveral) to place something in Apollo 11 capsule that will allow them to broadcast their alien subversion message.
Oh, and Amy’s not pregnant. Or, well maybe she is. Or she’s not. We can’t be too sure, but that’s what happens with the timey wimey wibbly wobblyâ€¦ stuff. This entire episode is told in flash-forwards, flashbacks, and I think there are even a few flash-sideways.
Pond or Scully? You decide.
â€¦which is I think how Amy and Canton arrive at Graystalk Hall Orphanage, looking for the small girl in the space suite. The caretaker for this orphanage, a Mr. Refrew, is obviously unhinged, and the entire house is filled with graffiti, saying things like “Get Out,” andâ€¦ OK, this whole part of the episode is incredibly X-Files â€” with Amy looking particularly Scully-eque â€” and loads of seeming non-sequiturs like an unknown woman with an artificial eye at a door saying “No I think she’s just dreaming.”
This is one episode you will have to watch a few times through to make complete sense of.
Unlike most Doctor Who episodes, this story does not tie together very neatly at the end. Although it looks as if the Silence has been defeated, it’s clear that there is a lot more to this story. The end of this episode leaves us with seemingly more questions than it actually answered:
How and why were The Silence manipulating events last season?
Why does The Silence need the girl?
Why is the girl in the space suite and how does she get out?
Why does The Silence need a space suite?
Did the person in the space suit (we’ll assume it’s the girl) really kill the Doctor?
According to the life support software, the girl is human, but incredibly strong. But she’s regenerating at the end of the episode, so she must be a Time Lord, right?
Is Amy pregnant? If so, is the little girl her child? If so, The Doctor her father? If not, is Rory? If he is, does that mean that Rory is not an Auton? Earth girls may be easy but I don’t think a lump of plastic could get one pregnant.
If the girl is a Time Lord, which one is she? The Doctor’s daughter with Amy? The Doctor’s female clone from the episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”? Could it even be Romanadvoratrelundar, last seen stranded in eSpace? I can hope, can’t I?
Obviously “To Be Continued.” Great lines from this episode:
Amy: Is this very important flirting, because I feel I should be higher on the list right now.
River: What are you doing?!? Doctor: Helping! River: You have a screwdriver. Go Build a cabinet! Doctor: That’s really rude!
Rory: So, what kind of doctor are you? River: Archeologyâ€¦ love a tomb.
Doctor: You could let me fly itâ€¦ River: â€¦or we could go where we’re supposed to.