Monthly Archives: September 2017

It’s a Timey-Wimey Thing: San Diego Who Con 2017

With all of time and space to wander the Doctor landed in San Diego last weekend – all of thirteen of them – along with River Song, K-9, and Jamie McCrimmon. I wasn’t going to go this year to the San Diego Who Con, but my husband surprised me with a full membership and a ticket to the Sunday tea. As I sit here reminiscing about the fun, drinking a cup of Gypsy Caravan Tea (a black Chinese smoked tea with rum flavoring), I can’t help but smile.

I arrived late on Friday after driving down from work, missing a couple of the panels but in plenty of time for the evening fun.  San Diego Who Con kicked off its second year with the Who-aiian Luau. The Doctors and companions (fans in wonderful cosplay) danced the limbo, played palm tree basketball and coconut-pineapple bowling.  Later in the evening, there would be a group hula and karaoke. Two of the con’s special guests, Chase Masterson (Leeta from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon, one of Doctor #2 Patrick Troughton’s companions) joined the guests chatting and enjoying the food. The highlight for me was when Chase picked up an armful of beach balls and told me to do the same, and we started throwing them across the room. Soon others joined in, and a multi-ball game of dodgeball began. The bartender was not amused when some of the balls flew close to his carefully stacked glasses.

Arriving early the next morning, I read my program book trying to decide on which panels to attend. I decided on a panel discussing the Doctor Who canon and trying to understand the timey-wimey ins and outs of the Whoverse, but due to a mix-up in the rooms, I ended up at the panel Rule One: The Doctor Lies hosted by River Alexander Song. It was a game where four of the Doctors (#4, #6, #7, #11, #12) tell the audience about something or someone, such as Queen Victoria or the history of knitting. Everything they said was a lie, except one thing and the audience must ferret the truth out.  They were all very convincing, and the winner of the San Diego Comic-Con bag was a young lady about fifteen-years-old.

20170909_101545 (2)

Rule One – The Doctor Lies

My next panels were Q&A with the guests. Chase Masterson and Frazer Hines sat together with British comedian Ben Paddon moderated. Chase thanked Frazer for bringing her into the world of Doctor Who, as he was the one who recommended her for a Big Finish production. She has gone on to several others. The two were obviously good friends and enjoyed ribbing each other.

20170909_110943

Chase Masterson, Frazer Hines, and Ben Paddon

Frazer said two things about his time as Jamie McCrimmon that made me like him even more. First, he credited the late Patrick Troughton with saving Doctor Who, without him and his great performance the show would have been canceled, and we wouldn’t be sitting in this convention. The second was that being a part of Doctor Who was one of the best times in his career, and he hated to leave the show.

Chase also spoke about an organization she founded called Pop Culture Hero Coalition a program using stories “to make a stand for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQ-bulling, cyber-bullying, and other forms of hate.” She has assembled a team to develop curriculum to address these issues at the elementary school level.

The next panel of the day was listening to the delightful W. Morgan Sheppard talk with Ben about his career. As a character actor with over a hundred credits to his name, Morgan has played every conceivable role in virtually every genre. He had been a police officer, a priest, a murderer, and a Klingon.  The panel was supposed to be a Q&A, but we were enjoying Morgan’s stories and encouraged him to continue. He expressed surprise that Doctor Who fans wanted to have him at the convention, after all, he only spoke about three lines in his scene in the episode The Impossible Astronaut. He talked about his training and how he mentors young actors. He encouraged anyone pursuing an acting career to get some training and find a mentor. At eighty-five, he said he wasn’t going to stop acting, but can be more selective about the roles he accepts.

20170909_120639 (2)

Ben Paddon and W. Morgan Sheppard

My next panel of the day was a nerdy one, The Doctor and the Psychology of Identity. Led by Dr. Inns Kanevsky from San Diego Mesa College. She started talking about how identity is formed by biology and environment, then solidifies during the teen years. She proposed the character of the Doctor is in a state of perpetual adolescence. She points to his behavior. For example, he is constantly on the run and with a few exceptions has no strong family or friendship connections. She also noted that with each regeneration he has to rediscover who is, and in the case of the next generation that adjustment will be harder than before.

The last panel was nerdy also. The Sciences and the Doctor. Two professors, Dr. Lisa Chadwick (Astrophysicist) and Dr. Lisa Will (Geologist), from San Diego City College, discussed where the show got the science and history right, where it was wrong, and where it doesn’t really matter. They also discussed how show runners will call for information, and then completely ignore what they were told by the scientists. As for the T.A.R.D.I.S., is it plausible? Probably not, but as long as they don’t try to explain the physics of it and the Time Vortex, the presenters said they could suspend disbelief.

With so many cosplay participants we were treated to a costume parade led by House of Scotland Pipe Band.

20170909_140316

The House of Scotland Pipe Band with Frazer Hines and Doc Phineas

Saturday evening the Who Con hosted a “Christmas out of Time” Concert and Dance Party. I didn’t stay for this. Instead, I chose a quiet dinner with my parents at a Japanese noodle restaurant followed by a leisurely walk down in the canyon near their house.

The last day of hanging out with my fellow Whovians started with the panel Diversity in the Whoverse and Beyond. I had been invited to come to this panel by Kate, one of the presenters, as I worked with special needs students and had a knowledge of classic Who that they did not. Yes, Doctor Who was an all-white cast during the classic Who period, but it was the 1960’s and 1970’s and produced in England. Today, they have more diversity with the introduction of Micky, Martha, and Bill. They have also had a deaf actress in one episode. Bill was also gay, but it wasn’t something they made a big deal about, she just was. Then there’s the omnisexual Jack Harkness, enough said there.  When it comes to Bechdel Test, New Who did better than most adventure series. The show runners are doing better, but casting could be more diverse.

There was one panel Sunday, I would have liked to have seen, The Art and Madness of Writing Episodically. I couldn’t go because it ran simultaneously with the All of Time and Space Tea Party. I did catch up with the presenter, and she said she would email me her power point presentation.

At the All of Time and Space Tea Party, all the Doctors and his companions, Victorian ladies and gentlemen, and special guests gathered to enjoy some light refreshments and each other’s company. I was seated at the same table as Chase Masterson. Chase took on the role of hostess making sure no one was left out of the conversation. We were treated to finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, scones, and assorted sweets. I had Earl Grey tea, of course. The food was good and the conversation better. There was a drawing for door prizes, I won a personally autographed copy of Frazer Hines’ book Hines Sight.

I mustn’t forget the Merchant’s Room. In this large space, vendors sold hand-made items, toys, books, and memorabilia. The guests had tables where you could get an autograph. There was also a silent auction supporting their charity Pegasus Rising, a program to help veterans recover from PTSD with equine therapy. I bid on and won a canvas bag with the convention’s logo.

This was truly a family-friendly event. As well as the panels for adults San Diego Who Con offered several panels just for the kids and the young at heart. There were also make-and-take crafts in the Merchant’s Room that participants of all ages enjoyed.

20170909_135229

Making Tea Cup Headbands

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The small numbers meant a more intimate environment where I could get to know the other guests. I learned a few things about the Doctors, his companions, and the show that when I re-watch the shows, I do so with a deeper understanding. I made the acquaintance of several who may very well become good friends. I will definitely consider going again next year.

Until next time . . .

The door is always open, and the kettle is always on.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LA Fleet Week 2017

Fleet Week

 

Another LA Fleet Week has come and gone. Many have never attended a Fleet Week event unless they’ve lived in a city with a major U.S. Naval base. During a few days a year, the Navy opens drops the gangway and invites the public on board to get a glimpse of what life is like aboard a ship.

Growing up in San Diego, Fleet Week at North Island was an annual event. I grew up loving the Navy and its feeling of family, perhaps that’s why I joined the Navy back in the day, but that’s a story for another day.

LA Fleet Week is held every year over the Labor Day weekend at the Port of Los Angeles – San Pedro. This year five ships joined the permanently docked U.S.S. Iowa.

Uss Anchorage (LPD-23) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be the namesake of the city of Anchorage, Alaska. She carries a crew of about two thousand.

USS-ANCHORAGE-300x205

USS Anchorage Photo credit http://www.lafleetweek.com/

 USS Dewey (DDG-105) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. Dewey is the third Navy ship named after Admiral of the Navy George Dewey, the hero of the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. She carries a crew of about three hundred.

USS-DEWEY-300x193

USS-Dewey Photo credit http://www.lafleetweek.com/

USS Scout (MCM-8) is the eighth ship in the Avenger-class of mine countermeasure ships, commissioned by the U.S. Navy on December 15, 1990. Minesweepers are the smallest ships in the U.S. Navy with a crew of about eighty.

USS-SCOUT-300x214

USS-Scout Photo credit http://www.lafleetweek.com/

USCGC Cutter Active (WMEC-618) is the eighth Coast Guard vessel to bear its proud name, the first was in 1886. She carries a crew of about seventy-five.

USCGC-ACTIVE_low-res-300x200

USCGC Active Photo credit http://www.lafleetweek.com/

HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) is a Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate. Ottawa is named for Canada’s national capital, the City of Ottawa, Her crew average two hundred and twenty-five.

HMCS-OTTAWA-300x155

HMCS Ottawa Photo credit http://www.lafleetweek.com/

Sunday morning, my husband and I headed down the hill to Los Angeles and met our friend Brent. We found this small restaurant with seating for twenty and were treated to biscuits and gravy, sausage and cheese omelets, and peach waffles. The staff was hopping, and the guests were filling the seats as fast as they were vacated. The food was good, and the staff kept us smiling.

After eating we walked to the cliff and looked out over the San Pedro channel, before heading down to the Port of Los Angeles. We parked a few blocks away, as the parking at the port is sometimes scarce. Once on the pier, it was a street-fair atmosphere. Vendors and organizations educated, informed, entertained and enticed. There were even activities for the kids.

To see the ships, you needed to go past the vendors and the U.S.S. Iowa and through a security check. Once inside the dome, there were more vendors and displays as we wound our way toward the line. We had made reservations and held tickets, so we were able to go to the shorter line. The standby line was nearly three times as long, so it was worth the time to go online and get the free ticket.

We didn’t know which ship we would tour. It was the luck of the draw, a crew member from one of the ships would come to the line and take twenty or so people to their ship. We were in a group that visited the U.S.S. Dewey.

The Dewey is small compared to a transport ship or an aircraft carrier, but don’t be deceived she may be small, but she is fierce (to paraphrase Shakespeare). Her job is to protect the air craft carrier with missiles and guns that can shoot several hundred rounds a minute. Seeing the upper decks and guns pales in getting to visit with this new generation of sailors. The young men and women are smart, brave, and volunteers. They chose this with eye wide open and few reservations. I am proud to call them my brothers and sisters.

21272165_10159800991200131_273285713917973141_n

USS Dewey with Vincent Thomas Bridge in the background Photo Credit – Therese Moore

After the brief tour, we headed home, tired, sunburned, and happy we made the drive. Hope to see you there next year.

Wishing you all “Fair Winds and a Following Sea.”

Just a short post script – I did take more than fifty photographs but some how lost all but one. I am grateful to http://www.lafleetweek.com for the use of thier photos.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.