TV Binge (and Purge)

We cut the cord on cable over a year ago and haven't looked back.  Most of what we watch is readily available through the various streaming services (and subscriptions to multiple services is still far cheaper than cable), and the stuff that isn't we either wait until it is, pony up for it on Amazon or something (because it's a lot more palatable to pay for a program we do watch than thousands we don't on cable), or else skip it entirely.  It only ever seems to be a problem with sports - NESN doesn't stream the Red Sox, and NBC limited its online Olympics coverage to cable subscribers only - but as those are the only two sports we care at all about in our house, even that's not that big a deal.  And the upshots of this entire process are that we all find ourselves watching fewer television programs and reading a lot more, so we're better for the experience.

There's one aspect of the cord cutting lifestyle I haven't been able to adapt myself to, though, and that's binge watching.

With so many programs available in their entirety online - and with new programs being made specifically for the online audience that put the entire series up at the same time - a lot of folks are dramatically changing the way they watch TV, devouring whole seasons (or complete series) all in one go.  I saw an interview with Kevin Spacey recently where they talked about this in relation to his Netflix series House of Cards and he compared it to the way people read; most folks don't parse a novel out at the pace of a chapter or two a week, they read it all the way through until they're finished.

It's an apt metaphor, and I certainly read like that, but for whatever reason I can't watch TV that way.  It's kind of like eating donuts... I could probably sit there and eat the entire dozen given half a chance, but by the end, at best I'll be sick of donuts for a long time, and at worst I'll be just plain sick.  For instance, take The West Wing.  I never watched it when it was on but I heard great things from people I trust so when I found it was available on Amazon Prime and Netflix, I gave it a shot.  Yeah, as it turns out, it's a fantastic show, but 3 and a half seasons in my pace has slowed to a crawl, no matter how tense, compelling, or witty it may be.  Even with a show this good, I just need a break.

In the end, I need as much variety in my TV diet as I do in my real one, or at the very least I need smaller portions.  I've always like the British model for TV production... a single season/series goes for about 6 to 12 episodes, and if that's popular enough they do another set and maybe a Christmas special, and so on.  It's a lot easier to digest than the typical American 12-24 (or more) episode seasons because unless you're setting out to watch every episode ever of something with a long history like Doctor Who or, I don't know, East Enders, you're not as likely to get sick of it as quickly, especially if you're just taking a season at a time.  But I suppose portion control has never been our strong suit in this country, has it?

TARDITBODO (Time and Relative Dimension in Tiny Bricks of Danish Origin), or Who's Lego?

I was playing around with Lego and thinking about Doctor Who the other night (pretty typical night here at Trusty Plinko Stick World Headquarters (thousands of miles beneath the Earth's crust!), and of course got to thinking that I should combine the two. I've made some mostly purist (i.e.: pulling together without add-ons or parts modification) attempts at Doctor Who minifigures before*, but haven't gone much beyond that.  Such a project may not amount to a hill of beans, but this is my hill, and these are my beans, so I went diving in the Lego bins and this is what I came up with.

The 4th Doctor here is made up of mostly Hobbit parts, since Frodo hair + Bilbo torso = a pretty good approximation for the early Tom Baker Doctor.  The Dalek and K9 were based on designs I had found in various places online, though tweaked a bit based on some personal aesthetic choices and parts availability.  The console should probably have two more work stations, but it'll do for now.

But having put this together, of course I needed to add at least a little bit of the control room to go with it.

I'd like to figure out a decent way to make the roundels look recessed into the wall rather than sticking out from it, and it should be a gray wall with white roundels, but that didn't look very good.  All things considered, I'm happy for a first go at it.  And yes, I added a scarf for the Doctor.  Sticker paper from Staples is a Lego customizer's best friend.

Here's another angle:

Not content to stop there, I had to make a few more Doctors.  Some of these I made a few months ago, but I made a few tweaks to a few and took a shot at the 3rd Doctor the other night.  Here, left to right, are 3, 6, 9, 10, and 11.

The bandolier on the pirate torso bugs me, but it was hard to pass up the frilly cravat.  The Collectible Minifigure Small Clown torso was as close as I was going to get to 6's amazing technicolor dream coat, but I did switch out one of the arms for different shade of red since the real costume's sleeves don't match, either.  9, 10, and 11 all came together pretty easily, though 11's hair is a customized piece ordered from BrickForge (regular Lego hair just wasn't floppy enough).

Here's my go at a Cyberman and the Master

The Master came together pretty easily (I'd have preferred him to look a little more like Roger Delgado, but maybe a different had would fix that), but the Cyberman was a challenge.  He came out pretty weird looking, but I kinda like it.  It's almost more like one of the originals from The Tenth Planet (minus the big accordion looking chest piece).  The biggest problem here was getting that T-bar into the head.  Ended up having to cut it down so it would fit in.  I should probably trim it down a bit more, in fact.

Finally came my favorite grouping, the 2nd Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe.

I think I need a different head for Zoe, but otherwise I'm super happy with how these three came out.  The face for 2 does a good job of capturing Troughton's impish grin (even if the eyebrows don't match the hair), and the Collectible Minifigures' Bagpiper kilt made pulling a decent Jamie together a snap.  As for Zoe, well, how could I not use Catwoman's body to make everyone's favorite astrophysicist/librarian/logician's sparkly catsuit?

And now I still want to make more!  I'm thinking the 3rd Doctor needs Bessie, and even though I have the Character Building TARDIS, I still feel compelled to make one.  And I'm open to any suggestions people may have.  As long as I have the will, the imagination, and enough bricks and bodyparts largely lifted from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the Super Hero lines, I'm willing to press forward.

*Which may seem redundant in the face of the generally-pretty-good Character Building Doctor Who sets, but good as they can be (and I do have a few), come on, those aren't really Lego.

Pretty Sketchy: Captain Marvel by Amy Reeder

Awesome sketch of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel drawn for me by Amy Reeder at this year's Boston Comic Con.  Had a nice conversation with her as she sketched this, finally picked up the first trade of the Madame Xanadu series that she did with Matt Wagner (been meaning to get that for a while), and I'm really looking forward to her upcoming time travel book with Brandon Montclare, Rocket Girl, which I'm pretty sure ships this month.