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Lest Hartnell Be Forgot January 8, 2018

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For those who are fans of the Doctor Who tv series, and those who were fans of the actor…

William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor on the Doctor Who series, was born on this day in 1908.

For me, Hartnell will always be the definitive version of the Doctor in the series, as I grew up with him as a kid back in the early and mid-1960’s. When I got older, I finally caught some of Hartnell’s performances in other things he had done over the years, and came to truly appreciate his acting abilities.

William Hartnell was a superb actor, and he will never be forgotten by folks who loved and admired his acting abilities, and who came to know him as the *First* Doctor on the tv series that we have all come to know and love.

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How I Spent My Christmas Day December 26, 2017

Posted by jkahane in food hut, health hut, holiday, life, personal, reading hut, tv hut.
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Yesterday was Christmas Day. Being a single fellow, with little family left in the world, and not celebrating Christmas to boot, ’twas a day where I got to spend much of it on my own. Well, actually all of it.

Suffice to say, the day passed relatively uneventfully. I was in a lot of head/neck/shoulder/arm/hand pain when I woke up, and realised it was a lost day. I managed to make a pancake breakfast (with sugar free syrup) for myself, but that didn’t help the pain that I was in, in fact making it somewhat worse.

The rest of the day was spent napping, doing a bit of (gaming) reading, watching a DVD (I can’t remember what, will have to get it off the watched shelf and see what it was… it was the Doctor Who DVD of “The Power of the Daleks”), and just trying to sit in chairs and in a comfortable position that didn’t make me want to scream in pain from the problem(s) mentioned above. Listened to a bit of music, predominantly Annie Haslam and some Renaissance, and was able to mellow out somewhat. Only heard from one person during the day, and that was Kathy. She called to find out how I was doing, to wish me a Happy holiday season, and to tell me that Ellie had loved the Christmas present I’d made sure she’d received.

I managed to struggle through making supper, and treated myself to a couple of latkes (a Hanukkah tradition) with some apple sauce for dessert. After cleaning the dishes away, I sat back and watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time”. What can I say about it? It was a lovely episode, a fitting end for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, with masterful performances by both Capaldi and David Bradley (as the First Doctor), and introduced new Doctor Jodie Whitaker in a sequence that left me waiting to see what comes next. There was some stuff that I didn’t like about the episode, but I won’t get into that simply because I don’t have the energy and typing just isn’t that easy these days. I’m going to miss Peter Capaldi’s Doctor for the most part, but won’t miss Steven Moffat’s showrunning.

After the story wrapped up (1-1/2 hours, including adverts), I took my nightly insulin shot, took my evening pill and some of the Gabapentin, and had an early night of it. Once in bed, I read for about twenty minutes, and then tried to get some sleep.

Happy Birthday, You-Know-Who! November 23, 2017

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Today is one of those days when something remarkably good and life affirming comes along.

Today is a birthday, but not just of any one person, but of a special tv series.

On this date, November 23rd, 1963, the BBC debuted the first episode of a brand new science fiction television programme called… Doctor Who. Entitled “An Unearthly Child”, that first episode (which aired when I was 8 years old, and the memories I have of it still to this day…) starred William Hartnell as the Doctor (referred to always as Dr. Who or Doctor Who) and introduced the world to this mysterious traveller and his incredible time machine known as the TARDIS.

The episode also featured Carole Ann Ford as Susan (Foreman), Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and William Russell as Ian Chesterton. The story began when two school teachers shared their concerns about one of their pupils – Susan. She’s brilliant in some subjects but bizarrely out of kilter in others. To assuage their curiosity, they follow her home, but discover ‘home’ is a blue police box in an old junk yard. Once they enter the box their lives, and television history, would never be the same.

I still have fond memories of the travels of William Hartnell’s Doctor and his companions – the planet Skaro, and those creatures called Daleks, and then having the Daleks show up on Earth!; visiting with Marco Polo; a terrifying trip in time to visit the Aztecs; the planet Marinus, and its denizens, the Voord; the Doctor and his companions being reduced to tiny versions of themselves and having to survive in a world of giants; a visit to the Crusades, and meeting Richard the Lionheart; the planet of the Menoptera and the Animus; and so many more – and grew up with the series in those early years. I remember being shocked and startled at the regeneration of William Hartnell’s Doctor into the younger Patrick Troughton, but still loved the Doctor, and revelled in the newness and different feel that Troughton brought to the role. So many good memories of the early Doctor Who series. And of the continuing history of the show with different actors taking on the persona of the Doctor over the years. This show pretty much sparked my interests in both history (some time periods more than others!) and time travel, and gave me a different view of how tv and movie science fiction could be (as did Star Trek later on).

What it comes down to is this: Doctor Who has been a part of my life for 54 years (!!), and that battered blue box is still transporting the Time Lord known as the Doctor (who’s been through a few bodies!) and his various companions to worlds of wonder and adventure. And whole new generations of children got to discover the Doctor with the Chris Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi interpretations of the characters. And now, a whole new era for the series begins with the first woman, Jodie Whitaker, about to take on the role of the Doctor. I’m looking forward to it, believe me. But for me, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton will always be *my* Doctors. So…

Happy Birthday, Doctor, and long may you continue your travels through time and space (regardless of what gender you are in any incarnation of the character)!

Happy Birthday, Ciarán McMenamin October 1, 2017

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There’s a birthday in the Primeval tv series family today.

Happy Birthday to Ciarán McMenamin today!

Ciarán is the talented actor who played Matt Anderson in Series 4 and 5 of the Primeval tv series. Ciarán, who turns 41 years of age today, has a pretty decent set of credits in both television and film (see the link above).

It took me a few episodes of watching Primeval UK Series 4 to come to like the character of Matt, who had all manner of secrets (but don’t most of the characters in the series?), and the last moment of Series 5 made me desperately want to see more of Matt (both of him). Sorry that the series is gone, to be honest, as I’d really come to like his character.

So here’s wishing Ciarán McMenamin a terrific birthday today!

Friday Afternoon Thoughts September 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in health hut, personal, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, tv hut.
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Have spent part of the day sleeping in, and part of the day doing a bit of cleaning up around the house (in a very general fashion).

The afternoon has been spent watching a few episodes of stuff on PVR, and just letting my feet have some time off the floor and ground. I’ve also spent a bit of time reading a couple of things for The Dark Eye RPG in preparation for this evening’s session with the Friday night players.

Happy Birthday, Jason Flemyng! September 25, 2017

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There’s a birthday in the Primeval tv series family today.

Happy Birthday to Jason Flemyng today!

Jason is the talented actor who played Danny Quinn in Series 3 of the Primeval tv series, and who reprised the role in Series 4 a couple of times. Jason, who turns 50 years of age today, has a pretty impressive CV in movies and tv, appearing in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), Rob Roy (1995), From Hell (2001), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). He’s done some prominent work in both theatre and television in the UK (check out the link above). He also speaks fluent French. A lot of tv and science fiction fans remember him for his work on Primeval UK, though he’s done a lot of other work, too. One of his more memorable turns of recent years was as the villainous Vadim in The Musketeers (2014).

I can’t say that Danny Quinn was one of my favourite characters in Primeval, but I certainly warmed to him by the end of Series 3, and was sorry to see him depart. His reappearance in Series 4 came as quite a surprise, a pleasant one.

So here’s wishing Jason Flemyng a terrific birthday today!

GenCon 2017 Final Thoughts September 5, 2017

Posted by jkahane in conventions, coriolis rpg, gaming hut, gencon, health hut, personal, photos, roleplaying games, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, torg eternity rpg, tv hut.
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As promised, here are some final thoughts and a bit of perspective on this year’s GenCon Indy for 2017. Think of these as random Musings and Ravings (sic) about the convention, and some pics of stuff as well. To read the report on my final day at GenCon, check out this journal entry.

September 4th, 2017

So, how was my GenCon 2017? I guess that depends on perspective, but of course, hindsight is wonderful.

When it comes down to it, on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate GenCon 50 9/10 from Tuesday to Saturday, and 4/10 from Saturday afternoon to the end of the convention.

My real regret is not meeting half my virtual friends who were at the convention.

One of the things I wrote about before I left for GenCon Indy in this blog was the fact that there were certain things I wanted to do and accomplish at the convention. For the most part, I think I managed what I set out to do, but there were some (major) wrinkles along the way.

For one thing, while I managed to pack as lightly as I could for the convention, with just a smaller suitcase (with a messenger bag inside it), an overnight carry-on bag, and a carry-on bag with my meds, both diabetes and other, I was a bit thrown off by the addition of the insulin therapy materiels that I needed to take with me. You’d think I’d have been used to that, given that I’ve been on insulin for several years now, but it’s not the same taking the insulin therapy stuff with me when going to a convention out of Ottawa. Still I managed. Anyway, back to the luggage… Even so, I found the luggage to be quite heavy (despite the Swiss Gear luggage being relatively lightweight) due to the fact that my left shoulder was bothering me quite a bit before we left, and this didn’t improve during the Tuesday morning trip to the airport and the flights and all. was a great help in this regard (more on that later). Suffice to say I’m glad that I shipped The Dark Eye RPG stuff that I picked up in Indy via FedEx (a goddess awful costly shipping, but what can you do?) home, as that cut down the suitcase weight somewhat, though I was afraid with several of the purchases I made after the stuff went out with FedEx (such as the old TORG supplements and the Terraforming Mars boxed set) that the suitcase was going to be too heavy come the Monday of travel back to Ottawa. I was spared this, to be honest, because SteveR and I split the weight of some of the gaming material between our check-in luggage, and that helped tremendously.

The hardest part of the convention for me was the Friday and Saturday, carrying around the gaming stuff to run the two Coriolis – The Third Horizon RPG scenarios, and I was very grateful to have SteveR around to help me out by carrying the main book and GM Screen. My shoulder had given out on the Friday, and I was in intense pain for most of the week starting on Friday morning. Since I never got back to the Westin Indianapolis hot tub, as it was mostly body soup for the week once the GenCon attendees started arriving, there was absolutely no relief for my poor shoulder, and the lumpy, much softer than usual bed didn’t help. I was glad that I packed the extra pairs of underwear and socks, to be honest, given what happened Wednesday early afternoon, and I’m also glad that SteveR and I had stayed in downtown Indy this time around, rather than being 30 minutes away at a hotel like the Indianapolis Marriott North (where we stayed in 2015). That would have been disastrous.

When it comes to my health issues, well… What can I say? Other than the stupidity of not eating properly diabetically on the Tuesday of the flight to Indy that created the mess I went through on the Wednesday, and the business on Friday where the same thing could have happened, I would have been fine for the weekend. Except, of course, I overdid things on Saturday with the walk from the Westin to Union Station, and ended up with the bad blisters on my feet. From Saturday onwards, the convention this year was somewhat of a living hell for me, as the stabbing pains in the bottom of my right foot was like walking on broken glass without being a yogi trained for such things. I seriously considered heading back to Ottawa on the Saturday, but truth be told, I wanted to run the Coriolis – The Third Horizon game session Saturday night and I didn’t want to let SteveR down and all that. I stuck it out, but the wheelchair being manual and my inability to use the left shoulder and arm made me have to rely on SteveR for motive power, and I really do regret that. He was going through his own stuff at the convention (and I’m not going to mention what; if he wants to share the details, he’ll do so in his blog), and I really felt guilty most of the weekend. And, to put it mildly, I was somewhat depressed.

On the positive side, I managed to take care of myself and my health for the most part, as through the insulin therapy and the sheer amount of walking prior to Saturday afternoon I was getting made me feel “off” several times, resulted in some dizziness at times and feeling light-headed. Fortunately, I had glucose tabs with me, and these were very helpful over the week in Indy. (Except of course the night where we went to High Velocity for supper, as I’d forgotten the glucose tabs.) I drank a lot of water and tried to stay hydrated, but wasn’t all that successful on a couple of days. For the most part, I pretty much followed the “8-3-1 Rule”, though there were several nights where I barely got 4.5 hours of sleep, but I made sure I ate the three meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and supper – and supplemented that with snacks twice a day, and got in my one shower per day… Even so, I lost 6.8 pounds over the course of the convention. I didn’t use as much antibacterial solution, relying more on soap, and did not catch con crud ::knock on wood::. Just the feelings from the heat and humidity, combined with the physical exertion at times, I guess, made me feel a bit dirty and grungy at times. I did have to adjust the insulin shots down during the convention, as my sugars plummeted from the physical activity at the convention.

Finally, there’s the pacing. One of the things that I promise myself every convention I go to, and GenCon is no exception, is that I’m going to pace myself. GenCon is one of those conventions where this is always a real issue, because it’s just sooooooo big that one just can’t see everything, and so one has to make the most of what one can see while one is there. Staying in a downtown hotel helped with this time management, for obvious reasons, and I did a lot more walking during the first part of the week (Tuesday through Saturday), and virtually none during the Saturday/Sunday period or on Monday. This was the biggest GenCon Indy so far, and the convention has spread out and expanded so much there was a lot more ground to cover. I had wanted to play in some games, but such was not to be, no doubt due to the running of the two Coriolis – The Third Horizon games and the hit-or-miss method of using Generic tickets. And after Saturday, that was made more difficult. I did get to play in some demos, which was fine, and I loved playing in the Aventuria Card Game stuff at the Westin, but I was pretty pleased overall with the convention, though I’d have liked to have played in some full games, rather than demos.

As I’ve noted earlier, GenCon is just too big to see everything. I did a bit of wandering around during the Thursday and Friday when I had the chance, and was able to take some photos of people and stuff that interested me. I think I was a bit jaded this year at the various gaming materials I saw, since most of my photos are of people and the like. One thing that I photographed on late Saturday afternoon was the balloon dragon that was quite impressive.


Balloon dragon

What was really cool about it, as per usual at GenCon, is there’s an auction/raffle where someone got to “slay the dragon” by exploding the balloons one at a time. I would love to have been there for such destruction, but the wheelchair days prevented this. That and I’m not sure I could take the explosive noise of the balloons popping, truth be told.

There were a lot of folks in costume over the weekend, and I took several photos of folks. One of the costumes I really liked was the Revolutionary Captain America. Great costume.


Revolutionary Captain America

Needless to say, one of the real highlights for me at this convention was seeing some of the folks that I like in the gaming industry. GenCon is certainly the place to do that. It was good to see Darrell, Dean, Eric and Ross from Ulisses Spiele NA; Robin, Simon and Gar from Pelgrane Press; Chris Birch and the folks from Modiphius Entertainment (they really do have some of the best rpgs out there these days, as witness the ENnie Awards); and Jeff Combos at the Exile Games booth. The real pleasure for me this GenCon was meeting Jeff Barber, totally coincidentally at the IGDN Social at Loughmiller’s Pub and my virtual friend, T.R. Knight, whom I’d not met until GenCon. He gifted me some cherry jam (it tastes delish, by the way!), but it was a pleasure meeting him and his wife and daughters. I’d wish we’d had more time to socialise, but GenCon is busy and his schedule was pretty tight. We did talk a couple of other times, and it was lovely bumping into them in the ICC hallways when SteveR and I were coming back from supper at the Marriott on Sunday evening. I also got to pick the brains of Darrell Hayhurst, Dean Gilbert, and Ross Watson about all things Torg Eternity, and had a good time chatting with them. Eric Simon and Mhàire Stritter of Ulisses Spiele proper were great as well, and I wish I’d talked more to the folks there about The Dark Eye RPG, as I’m now in love with the game. That said, for everyone I did talk with, there were others I missed. I didn’t get to see a lot of my Twitter friends and those I’ve only met virtually there, and I’m really sad about that. (No names here, but you know who you are!)

The Exhibit Hall was as usual, massive. Actually, more massive than the one in 2015. (Not really surprising given how GenCon has grown and the fact that this was the 50th anniversary of the convention.) I’m not going to go into details about the Exhibit Hall and dealers’ room since it was…just too big. And to be honest, the fact that I was wheelchair-bound on Saturday and Sunday meant I didn’t get to wander and see as much of the hall as I would have liked. I will say that some of the best stuff I saw was at the smaller dealers, those tucked away, and some of the really fun stuff was in the Entrepreneurs’ Avenue. That said, most of the game manufacturers were there, with some exceptions, but there were also folks selling game accessories, steampunk clothes and gear, kilts and other items associated with the culture, t-shirts, buttons, Doctor Who merchandise, dice bags and dice accessories, books, art prints and… well, you name it, you could probably find it here. Some of the stuff that I saw really impressed me, but I had come to GenCon Indy to purchase specific gaming stuff that I was looking for – primarily some Torg Eternity stuff (nothing was available other than the dice and the new t-shirt), some t-shirts (I think I bought too many, but c’est la vie), and The Dark Eye RPG. I was also hoping to find some of the old TORG RPG game supplements, and lucked out with that. I also picked up a couple of games that I wasn’t planning on – Terraforming Mars and Mermaid Adventures – and I’m glad I did so, and would have picked up Photosynthesis and Five Tribes, but didn’t know how to ship them home after I’d done The Dark Eye mailing through FedEx and wasn’t sure I’d be able to take them back with me in the luggage.

I didn’t get to play in any full fledged games, mostly due to the fact that all the games I wanted to get in were full by the time my place in the game registration queue came up and had bad luck with Generic tickets (again). Plus there was the fact that the games I could get into were also scheduled around the times I was running Coriolis – The Third Horizon. However, I did sit and watch a lot of games when I had the chance and really enjoyed what I saw. This included some Photosynthesis, Torg Eternity, and several others. I should have tried to catch some of The Dark Eye games as well, but such was not to be. I did manage to play in some Aventuria games with a guy that I met at the Westin, and had a lot of fun (winning a couple of duels helps the enjoyment, I think). 🙂

This year, I used the mobile phone to take a lot of pictures of stuff at the convention (mostly for personal use) and did a good degree of tweeting as well. I used my tweets of the convention to keep a record of my time at GenCon 50 this year, and they have proved invaluable for these convention reports. Didn’t really get to use the mobile phone to set up socializing or anything, with the exception of two things that I’m not going to discuss. Am I sorry about the stuff I didn’t get to see or do? Sure, but again it comes down to making sure you pace yourself as well as the health and other restrictions that you have for yourself. And I’m proud to say that I stuck to my own lifestyle and physical limitations (for the most part, with one glaring error).

That leads me to discussing the hotel… What can I say about the Westin Indianapolis? The hotel was right downtown, with less than a five minute walk to the ICC, and the room was very nice. I actually went through the ADA service that GenCon offers to get the hotel room, and was glad that I did. Comfortable, accommodating to those with physical injuries, and a built-in mini-fridge as well! The staff at the hotel was extremely nice, and were so helpful during the convention – the photocopying of the Coriolis – The Third Horizon material, the business with the soiled clothes (1 of 2 of my pairs of pants), the events after the injury and the wheelchair (well, okay, that was mainly the head of security on Saturday) – and the place was relatively busy all the time once the convention started. I liked having all the gamers around, but it wasn’t claustrophobic as was the actual ICC and some of the other venues. Overall, I would stay again at the Westin Indianapolis without any hesitation at all.

As for the stuff that I bought at GenCon (what is affectionately called “the loot”, I’ve discussed a bit of that above, but I’ll leave that for a separate post with a ton of photos. hehe

Do I have any regrets about GenCon 2017? Yep, I do… Given the size of this convention, one just cannot see the whole convention and do everything that one would like to do. First off, I regret not seeing more of the Exhibit Hall and the Dealers’ Hall (I think I may have seen 25% if I’m lucky). Secondly, I regret not getting to the GenCon Museum, which I really would have liked to have visited. I regret not getting to play in any Torg Eternity or The Dark Eye games, ’cause that was something I really wanted to do at the convention. I wish I had spent a bit more time (heck, a lot more time!) at the Art Show and Authors’ Avenue. I deeply regret not getting to meet and spend some time with virtual friends, old and new (that I’ve met the past year or so on the internet; you Twitter folks know what I’m talking about!). Most of all, I absolutely regret taking the actions that led to my feet blistering and the cellulitis, as that put a huge damper on my convention on the Saturday and Sunday. All of that said, I enjoyed myself for the most part, but am somewhat relieved that I can’t do this convention every year (unless one of the game companies flies me in to it! :)) Just too expensive to do every year, between the airfare and the hotel room costs. And the fact that one has to book rooms so early. And the fact that I’m getting old and that this was a tough convention to do given my state of health.

And that’s it. GenCon 2017 is now well and truly a wrap for me, other than all the great reading material I’ve got from the convention. And the memories, both good and bad, of course.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

Happy Birthday, Abigail Spencer! August 4, 2017

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Happy Birthday, Abigail Spencer!

It’s Abigail Spencer’s birthday today. The talented actress who was born in Florida turns 36 years old today.

I’m a huge fan of Abigail’s portrayal of Lucy Preston on the Timeless tv series (which will be back for a second, or is it a third season?, hooray!), but also know her from her work on Rectify (fabulous show, go watch it!), Suits and Mad Men. And she’ll be appearing in a multi-episode story arc this fall on Grey’s Anatomy, in addition to her continuing work on Timeless.

Here’s wishing Abigail Spencer a wonderful birthday. May the Goddess bless you with good health, happiness, prosperity, and a long run on Timeless! 🙂

R.I.P. Deborah Watling (1948-2017) July 21, 2017

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Sad news in the world of Doctor Who.

Deborah Watling has died. The actress played companion Victoria Waterfield during the Patrick Troughton era of the show

Deborah Watling, Doctor Who Companion, Dies at 69

I really only knew Deborah Watling through her work on Doctor Who, where she took on the role of Victoria Waterfield from “The Evil of the Daleks” (1967) through “Fury From the Deep” (1968). After leaving the show, she appeared in numerous TV roles including Danger UXB (1979), Rising Damp: Hello Young Lovers (1978), and Doctor in Charge (1972) as well as doing a lot of work in the theatre.

My favourite moment with Victoria from the Second Doctor’s period is this bit from “The Tomb of the Cybermen”:

Rest In Piece, Deborah. Your memory will live on when I close my eyes. Goodbye.

R.I.P. Martin Landau (1928-2017) July 17, 2017

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I heard this morning that actor Martin Landau died yesterday.

Oscar-winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at 89

Actor Martin Landau has over 177 acting credits to his name, but to be honest, I remember him best as Rollin Hand from Mission Impossible (1966-1969) and Commander John Koenig from Space: 1999 (1975-1977). I saw him in various other roles over the years, but these two were the most memorable for me, to be honest, and I loved his performance in these roles very much. Another of his memorable roles came in his Oscar-winning performance as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994).

Rest In Peace, Martin Landau. Moonbase Alpha salutes you.