Some new year’s reflections

Okay, so I know I’m a bit slow on the uptake with the whole New Year’s thing, but the new year never usually represents much significance for me until at least a week afterwards, after I’ve had some time to muse over what a brand new year could mean for me, and what I want to change and do in the new year.

This year is my last full year as a university student (I have this full year and one more semester in 2018). Considering my degree is exceedingly long (5.5 years), it’s actually quite strange to think that the end is almost in sight. My time at university has gone disconcertingly quickly—it still doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was a timid first year toddling along to my first classes and trying to come to terms with the big, scary world of higher education and life post high school. Hell, it still doesn’t feel that long ago that I was in a school uniform, and I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m not a teenager anymore, that I’m supposed to be an adult now.

Something I’ve learned about myself is that I tend not to deal well with big transitions. I don’t like leaving what’s comfortable and familiar behind and embarking into the unknown. I don’t like the idea that good things have to end (I’m a bit like the Doctor in that way). There’s another big transition coming up for me very soon, probably the biggest transition I’ve yet had to face. I want to be prepared for it, I want to be able to adjust to what comes afterwards, and I want what comes afterwards to be something to look forward to.

That said, my time at university hasn’t been all that memorable, if I’m honest. I never really completed the adjustment from high school to university. I have plenty of fond memories from high school, but most of my time at university is unlikely going to be something I will look back on wistfully, the way I look back on my school days (except maybe the freedom that comes with being a university student). I think the transition from university to working, if my life post university turns out to be a positive change, is going to be easier. In a sense I’m ready to move on from university, whereas when I left high school, four years ago, I felt like I could have done with just one more year.

Something that’ll help sweeten the transition, though, is that I’m planning on doing an exchange semester in my final semester. I’m planning on going to the U.K. either to London or Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to it immensely. It’ll be the first time I’ve travelled alone, and, as much as I’m nervous about the prospect of living on my own in a foreign country, I’m equally looking forward to the experience.

Anyway, it’s always fun to share your new year’s resolutions, so here’s some that I’ve thought of. Actually, I don’t really go in for “new year’s resolutions” as such. I prefer to have new year’s aspirations. An aspiration sounds more positive than a resolution, and, being the indecisive person I am, I hate making “resolutions” I can’t know that I’ll keep or that I don’t allow myself the freedom to change and amend if necessary. But anyway, without further ado, here are some of my new year’s aspirations:

  • I want to blog more frequently. My blogging pattern at the moment is short bursts of energy interspersed by months of neglect, which isn’t really ideal. I want to blog more frequently and regularly, to keep this blog consistently active, even if that involves writing lots of short posts.
  • I want to make substantial progress on my story. I’ve had a work of fiction in the works, my first ever attempt at writing a full-length story, for a year, but since I started it a year ago I sort of neglected it until I took it up again this summer (winter for you Northern Hemisphere weirdos). I really want to complete it, if only for myself, just for the satisfaction and release of creating something artistic.
  • I want to make substantial progress on my languages. I’m teaching myself Latin and Chinese, for those who didn’t know, and I kind of want to achieve a decent level of competence in both before I finish university and have much less freedom to pursue my interests.
  • I want to read more. Specifically I want to read more fiction. As a law student I actually do a huge amount of reading, but case law isn’t the most titillating thing to dip into at bedtime. I used to read a lot more fiction than I do these days, but my other pursuits and interests have sort of taken up all my time. I want reading to be part of my life again.
  • I want to maintain my good grades. My university career started a bit unspectacularly with some mediocre grades, but over the years I’ve gradually improved my performance, and last semester was my best semester yet. I want to keep it up, so that I can hopefully graduate with something approaching a respectable GPA.
  • I want to find undergraduate work in legal practice. Starting a career in law is really hard these days, it’s more competitive than ever, and it’s difficult for both graduates and undergraduates to find work. Up until now I’ve been discouraged by my own lack of success and just by how competitive the field is, but now that graduation is looming, I’ve sort of resigned myself to having to seriously start looking for some kind of work. Wish me luck.
  • I want to find love. Aren’t we all, always, looking for the person we want to spend our lives with? (apart from those who are blessed enough to have already found that person). This isn’t really a new year’s resolution as much as a life resolution, but it’d be wonderful to have met someone by the end of 2017.

Happy (belated) New Year!

Unique Blogger Award

Hey y’all,

Okay, so just to catch you all up on what’s been happening with me, once again I’ve been neglecting this blog. I have literally no excuse this time. I’ve been on my break from university for the last three weeks and have had literally nothing to do. Work has been minimal, and I found myself with four beautiful, glorious responsibility-free weeks to do whatever the hell I wanted. I promised myself I was going to dedicate more time to this blog and my other hobbies over the break, but… something happened. I started playing Runescape again, because I found out that an IRL friend played it, and once I got back into it, after having stopped playing three years ago, I kind of couldn’t stop. So yeah, I’ve just spent most of my holidays farming and fishing and going on quests in 2004-grade graphics. It sort of just happened.

But I logged back into WordPress today for the first time in a few weeks and found out I had been nominated for another blogger award, the Unique Blogger Award, by wanderlust77! It’s so flattering to know that, down to about one post a month, people still want to engage with me, so thanks fam!

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Answer their 3 questions.
  • Include one meme and one quote you really like.
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers to receive this award.
  • Ask your nominees 3 UNIQUE questions.
  • Add a link to the awards creator: Kate Gold – teengirlmeetsworld.wordpress.com

Questions:

1. What would you do if you became president of your country?

So much power… I wouldn’t even know where to start. But I think the first thing I would do would be to get my country’s military the hell out of the Middle East and other foreign war zones, because drone bombing a whole region of the world to hell is a Bad Thing. There would be a whole host of other things I would do which would almost certainly be controversial, but I think I’ll leave it there because I don’t like to go into politics on this blog. The only controversy you’ll find in this here blog is my opinion on The Day of the Doctor.

2. What is the best joke you know/remember/can find

I don’t have a great memory for jokes… my humour is more about witty banter than “So an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a bar…” kind of jokes. But my favourite comedian, whom I’m seeing live in November, is Michael McIntyre. He’s just fabulous. He has me in stitches every time I watch him. Here’s a sample:

3. Do you have any famous lookalikes?

Uhh, not really that I know of. However, I have to mention that my dad is an absolute dead ringer for Griff Rhys Jones, the Welsh TV personality:

I’m not even kidding, that’s my dad. It’s actually creepy how alike they look.

My meme

I have more memes saved onto my computer and my phone than I’m comfortable admitting.

Here’s a goat meme. Goat memes are Cool.

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My quote

A quote from Doctor Who which I’ve found a very inspiring motto to live by, spoken by the Eleventh Doctor:

Nominees

Hitting up some of my faves this time:

Don’t feel obligated to do the post, of course 🙂 I know some of you get inundated with these, it’s just a bit of fun.

Questions

  1. Which historical figure would you like to meet and why?
  2. If you could choose to live in a fictional world, which would it be?
  3. What music do you listen to?

Have fun!

Blogger Recognition Award

Thanks to wanderlust77 for nominating me for this award!

The rules to this award are:

1. Write a post to show your award.
2. Acknowledge the blogger that nominated you.
3. Give a brief story about how you got started blogging.
4. Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
5. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award.

My blogging story

Well this isn’t actually my first blog. I’ve had a number of blogs before this on a variety of subjects, and I started blogging (on Blogspot *cringes*) around 2009, when I was 14-ish. I think my first blog was about Runescape, an online game I played a lot back then—I was inspired to make that blog because I read another Runescape player’s blog, and it looked really fun. I never got very far with that one, though.

But I had another blog which I ran for quite a long time and only ended up deleting a few years ago which was just a repository for my thoughts and ideas about all manner of things. I started that blog because I had so many ideas that I wanted to share, and I needed somewhere to put them all, to get them out of my head. It never really became very successful (no one is very interested in some teenager’s incoherent ramblings), but I formed a few connections with other bloggers over the years through that blog.

I started this blog in 2014 because… I had become obsessed with Doctor Who and didn’t have any other obsessive Whovians in real life to talk about Doctor Who with! Sort of like my previous blog, I had so many thoughts I wanted to share about this show and no one to share them with! So I took it to the blogosphere, and I’ve found plenty of people like me to share my ideas with and who are interested in sharing their ideas with me. This has by far been my most successful blog, even if I’ve been a bit neglectful of it in recent months (apologies btw).

My advice

  1. Write for yourself, not for others. Write about what you’re passionate about, what you enjoy writing about, whether that’s some topic you’re interested in, or your own life and personal things, or whatever. Write the things you would want to read, and there should be no end to ideas for interesting, exciting content. Blogging should be leisure, never a chore, and if it ever gets to the point where it becomes a chore that you feel obligated to do for others, you’re doing it wrong.
  2. Just some tips about writing in general: I’m not saying I’m the best writer in the world, but my writing has improved enormously since I’ve started this blog (just go back and read my early posts and see for yourself!), and I think I can give some helpful tips for those who want to improve their writing. First of all, read. When you read, especially (good) material that’s similar to the things you want to write, you naturally, subconsciously pick up on patterns and nuances that, with practice, you can naturally incorporate into your own writing. But you have to read a lot. Secondly, write, extensively, because, as miserable as the thought is, practice, and only practice, makes perfect. Thirdly, Thesaurus.com is your friend. The right word, with just the right nuance, can make a sentence so much more eloquent and effective. I always have Thesaurus.com open when I write literally anything because I’m a perfectionist about using the best choice of vocabulary. Doing this has also expanded my working vocabulary enormously over the years as well, which is a huge boon to my writing.

Nominations

I always end up nominating the same people when I do these, so this time I’m going to nominate my 10 most recent followers (I want to know more about y’all).

  1. Aakash
  2. adorablekittycats
  3. Hammy Reviews
  4. pendragonslibrary
  5. Quixie
  6. talkingtardis
  7. thecoolkat1995
  8. Jaden C. Kilmer
  9. Ramona Crisstea
  10. allonsyclara
  11. Anyone else who wants to do this. Like, literally anyone. Tell me you’ve done it and I’ll come to your blog and read it!

Harry Potter Tag

I’m not a big reader of fiction. When I was an adolescent I did quite a bit of reading of young adult series, but less so in recent years. Somehow I can never find the time these days, alongside everything else that consumes my time, to commit myself to constantly reading new books. I think part of my problem is also the same problem my dad has with watching TV shows on Netflix: there’s a whole catalogue of titles there for him to peruse, but he doesn’t recognise any of them, so he isn’t motivated to watch anything. My reading problem is similar: I just don’t know what to read.

But one series of fiction that will always remain close to my heart is the Harry Potter series. Although, as I said, I don’t get much reading done these days, it was reading Harry Potter for the first time as a child that began my love of reading for leisure. My parents had bought me the first book for Christmas at some point as a child after the first film was released, but I think I only made it through a couple of chapters before giving up (perhaps I wasn’t old enough for it yet). But I returned to the series a couple of years later with zeal after seeing the film of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and absolutely loving it. I was nine at the time, and quickly devoured my way through all five of the available books in the series. My parents bought me the final two books when they came out on their release dates, and I got through both of them in a matter of days.

As a child and an adolescent, I was immersed in the world of Harry Potter. I’ve re-read the books more times than I care to admit, and they were a very big part of my life growing up. Without a doubt, they’ve made a huge impact on me, inculcating in me an enduring love of stories, and also instilling in me some of the most important moral lessons in my life. I owe Harry Potter more than I can say.

I was prompted to do the Harry Potter Tag from reading Richard’s post on re-reading the Harry Potter series at Richard’s Blog, where he completed the Harry Potter Tag. It looked fun. So here goes…

1. What is your favourite book?
Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite. I guess, because it was seeing the film of Prisoner of Azkaban that prompted me to go and read the books, I have a particular love for that episode in the series. It’s the book I always look forward to reading most when I re-read the series. I find it a really well-crafted story, full of intrigue and suspense, the constant, menacing presence of the Dementors, and it’s about the point where the series begins to become darker. What’s not to love?

2. What is your favourite film?
It’s got to be Prisoner of Azkaban again. It was the film that got me into the books after all, and I still consider it the best-made of all the films. There’s a distinctive tonal shift in Prisoner of Azkaban towards a darker, grittier atmosphere and away from the more fairytale mood of the first two films, which I love. (Not to disparage the first two films, though, which were both fantastic as well).

3. What is your least favourite book?
The Half-Blood Prince. I’m not saying I didn’t like it — it’s a very pleasurable and absorbing read — but I wasn’t as captivated by the plot as much as I was the others. Even the non-plot of Order of the Phoenix was more engaging, because it was easy to become immersed in Harry’s life in that book.

4. What is your least favourite film?
I haven’t seen some of the later films in a while, but I don’t think I was ever as enamoured with Order of the Phoenix as I was with the others. It seemed like the filmmakers had begun to get complacent to a degree by Order of the Phoenix, given the success of the first four films and the Harry Potter franchise as a whole, and I think it rather showed in that film.

5. Parts of the books/films that made you cry?
I don’t think I ever cried over anything in the books, but I do remember quite vividly tearing up and becoming very emotional when watching the montage of Snape’s memories in the pensieve in the final film, specifically the part where Snape broke down over Lily’s dead body, and wept cradling her in his arms. That was a really powerful moment.

6. If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?
Now what guy wouldn’t say Fleur? 😉 But seriously, of all the female characters, I think I’d be most compatible with Cho Chang. I was tempted to say Hermione, because we’d share intellectual interests in common, but Hermione’s very intense, whereas I’m actually a very silly and frivolous person at heart, and Cho seems like someone with whom I could just have fun and let my hair down and be myself 🙂

7. Who is your favourite character?
Ginny, I think, with Fred and George a close second. She’s just a very cool chick and it was wonderful to watch her character grow over the series from the shy little girl into such a strong, brave and extraordinary young woman. I’d love to be friends with Ginny in real life.

8. Who is your least favourite character?
Umbridge. I’ve never come across anyone as singularly unpleasant as Umbridge in real life, but I truly hated Umbridge. I suppose that was the reaction J.K. Rowling was going for. She reminds me strongly of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, who was one of my most despised arch-villains of my childhood.

9. What is your least favourite line?
I really have no idea, to be honest. I can’t remember ever reading a line in any of the books and thinking “that’s rubbish”.

10. What would your Patronus be?
I have a feeling it would be a dog, because of… reasons.

11. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or Elder Wand, what would it be?
I’m not particularly drawn to any. I’m not interested in power, so I have no use for the Elder Wand, except maybe as a means of effective defence. I’m too young to have lost anyone I love, so I don’t (yet) have any attraction to the Resurrection Stone. That leaves me with the Invisibility Cloak, which I suppose could prove useful in certain situations.

12. Which house would you be in?
I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I would more naturally have sorted myself into Ravenclaw, but I do have many Hufflepuff traits as well, and I’m happy being a Hufflepuff.

13. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?
Daniel Radcliffe, I think. Just because anyone who does this has got to be a sick lad.

14. If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?
Hard question. My instinctive answer would have been Seeker, because I’m small and light and agile so I’d be a natural build for a Seeker, but I think I’d get frustrated very quickly in that position. I don’t have the patience or the attention span to be a Seeker. I’d want to be in the thick of the action, where I can feel the adrenaline rush. So I think I’d be a Chaser: I can be very competitive, which is definitely an advantage for a Chaser. I might be attracted to being a Beater, but I’m probably not physically powerful enough; and I wouldn’t be a Keeper because I’d get bored.

15. Were you happy with the ending?
I suppose so. I’ve never really seen anything to criticise about the ending.

16. How much does Harry Potter mean to me?
Harry Potter raised me. As a child and an adolescent, Harry Potter taught me so much. Harry Potter made me into a reader, and shaped, in more ways than I can probably define, who I am today. I will never not be a Harry Potter fan, and I’m sure that, at the end of my life, I will return, as though upon a pilgrimage to my childhood home, to Harry Potter for repose.

The Doctor and I

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Here I detail an account of my journey thus far with the greatest show in the galaxy. Let me briefly introduce myself first, to provide some context. I am a 19-year old male human from Brisbane, Australia. I am a student at Brisbane’s premier university (which is not really saying much, mind) watching Doctor Who to break up the monotony of student life. I count myself as a member of the Millennial Generation (or Gen Y), so I am very much one of the new generation of Who fans of the post-2005 era.

I remember watching Doctor Who with my family when the new series premiered in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston. Both my parents had watched Doctor Who in their youth and had fond memories of the show: they were children of Pertwee and Baker, contemporaries of the golden age of Who. They tell me stories now of being terrified by very naff-looking Daleks and Cybermen from the 1970s. Like them, I have my own “hiding-behind-the-sofa” stories. Well, just one, actually — I was 10 when I watched The Empty Child, that bone-chilling thriller of Steven Moffatt’s; those zombie-like gasmask people moaning “mummy” were too frightening for ten-year-old me. They put me off Doctor Who (and gave me an absurd aversion to gas masks) for years.

But I couldn’t keep away from the show. I became a casual viewer of Doctor Who, as many were (and are), during David Tennant’s tenure, although not yet a fully-fledged fan. I was preoccupied with my newfound love of rock music and Avatar: The Last Airbender at the time (more on both of those in good time, I expect). Nevertheless, my next memory of Doctor Who is watching The End of Time with my family at Christmas (well, Boxing Day for me), aged 14. The power of David Tennant’s performance in his swan song really impressed me, his impassioned exclamation, “So much more!”, and his long regeneration that followed, genuinely affected me, and still does when I watch it. Ironically, I must have been one of the few who had seen Matt Smith before David Tennant regenerated into him, having seen him as Jim Taylor in The Ruby in the Smoke, the novel of which (by Philip Pullman) I had studied in my year 9 English class that year.

Was I a fan yet? Not quite. I continued to be casual viewer, not “keeping up” with the show as such, but watching it as good-value engaging television whenever it happened to be on. It was actually my best friend who made me into a fan. He and I constantly made each other into fans of things we were respectively interested in. I got him into rock music and Monty Python. He got me into Doctor Who. His obvious love for the show, and for the incumbent Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, rubbed off on me. It helped that the ABC decided to run a daily marathon of all seasons of Doctor Who, which I watched out of curiosity as to what all the fuss was about. By the time I had finished watching all existing episodes of (New) Who, courtesy of ABC2, I was, understandably, hooked. I loved Eleven, I loved the Ponds, I loved River Song, I loved Doctor Who. I had become a Whovian in time for series 6.

I lapped it all up. I enjoyed every moment of the new series, as a born-again convert to the show. It just so happened that series 6 was an outstanding season, in my opinion the second-best season since 2005, after season 4. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon (one of my all-time favourites), The Doctor’s Wife, The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War, Let’s Kill Hitler, The Girl Who Waited, The God Complex, The Wedding of River Song, were all excellent stories from series 6 — my initiation as a new Whovian.

At this I became part of a small elite of Doctor Who enthusiasts in my year at my school. It was something I shared with my best friend and a small clique of Whovians. Whovians will know what it’s like, to have Doctor Who as something you share with others. Series 7 I also enjoyed, although between 7a and 7b I graduated high school, transitioning to university, where I was sundered from my like-minded fellows.

By the time the 50th Anniversary came around, I had all but become a fully-fledged Whovian. I needed only to watch the classics. I woke up at 5:00am to watch The Day of the Doctor with Who fans across the world as it aired simultaneously worldwide. I genuinely enjoyed The Day of the Doctor, although, as testament to how much of a Whovian I had become, I also found a lot to criticise in the writers’ authorial decisions (i.e. in retconning the Doctor’s infamous destruction of Gallifrey). Nevertheless, it was the 50th Anniversary special, and the features that were a product of the 50th Anniversary celebrations, such as An Adventure in Space and Time, that finally prompted me (as all Who fans must, inevitably) to watch the classics.

I decided I owed it to the show to watch all the classics, all the way through, from beginning to end, from Hartnell to McCoy, from Season 1 to Season 26, from An Unearthly Child to Survival. My fifty-year marathon. Having made the decision to familiarise myself with the classics, I wouldn’t have felt I was a proper Who fan if I didn’t eventually get round to watching them all. And so I did. I engrossed myself, following the centuries-long story of the Time Lord, all his faces, all his adventures, all his stories.

And so I’m doing. I’m still diligently getting through my fifty-year marathon, ever becoming more familiar with Doctor Who and the Doctor. It’s a labour of love, for my love for the show only grows as I meet all his faces, all his companions, and witness all his triumphs. Presently I have watched all the Doctors up to the Fifth Doctor, having just finished with Tom Baker’s great era. I’m somewhat surprised to find that I’m more than halfway through Classic Who. There are only eight seasons left for me to watch — how quickly it has all gone! I’d love to have made a blog documenting my journey through Classic Who from beginning to end, but, with only three classic Doctors left to watch, that ship has sailed.

I should also mention that I write this blog at the close of series 8. Series 8 was also another “first” for me, being my first series with a new Doctor. Expectedly, I’ve followed series 8 far more closely than I did series 6 and 7, anticipating the series itself, and each episode of the series, to a greater extent than my experiences with the previous two series (as a genuine fan). I’ve enjoyed the change in tone from Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi, and the quite dramatic change in the Doctor’s character. In any case, series 8 went far too quickly for me — but now the waiting game between series. Oh dear. The last eight seasons of Classic Who aren’t going to last me until September next year (or some other unattainable date in the remote future, as it ever is with Doctor Who).

Thus goes the story of the Doctor and I, just to get the ball rolling on this blog. Regular transmission will not be so me-centred, I promise. I merely thought telling my personal experience as a Doctor Who fan of four years (every Whovian has their own story) would be an appropriate way to begin this blog. And so let it begin.

Oh, and “my Doctor”? Matt Smith. My first and my favourite.

Greetings

Greetings, and welcome to my blog. I have created this blog with the intention of its being a repository for my disjointed thoughts and commentary on culture and “lighter” matters, in contrast with my more serious politically-oriented blog. With that in mind, as the title of this blog, Gallifreyan Ramblings, suggests, I foresee the content of this blog to be primarily or heavily concerned with my musings on Doctor Who, my favourite television series, although doubtless I shall be offering my detestable opinions on other series, aspects of culture, and whatever takes my fancy. My first post on this blog (to be published momentarily), will, fittingly, be a very boring introduction to my journey with Doctor Who, as a relatively new Whovian. Thank you for reading, and enjoy!