September 2nd, 2011


Things to do while ill

I've had a lot of time to 'investigate' this question this year (i.e. I've been too tired to do normal things).

  1. Doctor Who
    During the second half of last year, finishing up in January this year, I watched Doctor Who from The Unearthly Child to Shada(2), including reconstructions.  I was planning to do a larger write-up but what with being busy and exhausted, but I'll summarise.
    - When I was growing up, 'my' Doctor was seven/Sylvester McCoy, largely because the other choices were a man in a silly coat and a really dull one.  McGann didn't change my mind.  After the mammoth watching session, I concluded that my favourite has to be two / Patrick Troughton.  It's been too long now to remember all my reasoning, but I suspect it was a combination of curiosity, intelligence, humanity and a light touch that bound them all together. 
    - My second favourite was, surprisingly, Colin Baker;  his coat was silly, his personality was mostly serious but with a great sense of timing.  Also despite the gruff nature of the character, I felt of all the old doctors he wore his heart on his sleeve the most. 
    - Tom Baker had great stories but now I have actually had a chance to see his stories he scores near the bottom, beating only Peter Davison who only really acted when he had a good script.
    - Favourite companion was definitely Jamie, who rarely skipped a beat. 
    - There were lots of strong female companions.  I felt Liz Shaw was a great complement to the Doctor, similarly Romana I gave as good as she got and it's a pity Mary Tamm left before she got the Romana II scripts.  Zoe almost made it to the top, a fantastic combination of genius and naivety. just beating Ace (no explanation needed I hope).  However, my favourite female companion without a doubt is Leela.  Her no-nonsense approach to life was a great antidote to the Doctor's whimsicality, and she made the most of her cracking lines.
    - While Adric was pretty unbearable, Tegan gets the bill for worst companion.  It's especially galling since Janet Fielding could actually act (just watch her when Tegan is possessed).
    All of this is for pre-revival of course.  I find it hard to compare across the boundary.

  2. Reading
    Although I read a lot on holiday, I haven't done much over this course of IVs.  However, I did get through quite a lot of Edgar Allen Poe (I feel so much that he was a poet who had to write prose, but I'll leave real insight to the experts) and the core book of Call of Cthulhu which I'll review another day.  Finally I finished off a book from holiday, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I recommend to anyone who reads a lot of fiction.

  3. Firefly
    As a present to myself, I actually bought Firefly and Serenity DVDs.  20+ hours of viewing (i.e. including commentaries) took me all of four and a bit days to get through.  It's so wrong that it was cancelled :(

  4. Game design
    One of the advantages of lying about unable to concentrate on reading is that it becomes a perfect moment to run game ideas through your head, including all the permutations.  For instance:

    • I finally decided on the rules for live Changeling: the Lost. Reading Houses of the Blooded was what set my mind thinking about a new course for this. Each player picks terms for their character (e.g. Winter, Stealth, Fight, Dance, Dream, Contacts), 4-20 depending on the character. They can use each term once per session to automatically succeed at a relevant action, fae or mundane. There would be some way of using the same terms in downtime. However, it needs polish and I doubt I will ever actually playtest it.

    • I also changed direction on the (highly unofficial) Firefly CCG, since I realised the stats I wanted to use didn't really work and I couldn't find replacements. My concept now resembles Lord of the Rings from Decipher. I thought this might be a good thing since I could use the MSE plugin for it to mock up the cards - but the MSE plugin doesn't exist yet. Doh!

  5. Tidy your room
    I hadn't really tidied it for 18 months, and even that was not particularly good. I got rid of two big boxes of comics, a large box of CCG commons I had kept for mocking up games (I still have plenty) and a few other things, reshuffled things and found space for everything else I had been accumulating over the last eight years. Plenty of paperwork to sort, but it's easier without the larger clutter.

  6. Talk to people
    I wish I had managed to do more, but time slipped away when I had to exercise, do physio and get interrupted. Sorry if I didn't get around to you.

And that's about it. What I haven't had the energy for is to update Rage, websites or write more reviews, although I have at least ticked some of the box, "Update blog".