We’re breaking some serious science here boys.

I love the TV show Doctor Who. Hands down, it is my favorite television show. As Craig Ferguson aptly stated, it’s a show about “the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism”. This week the BBC announced the next actor to play the titular Doctor it is Jodie Whittaker. This is a big deal. After 13 white men playing one of the longest running characters in television history a women gets to do it.


By Azaaye

This really should not be a big deal, but it totally is huge. I was texting with a friend who said that her nerdy tween girls are out of their minds ecstatic. Of course they are excited. That doctor is someone to look up to, to emulate, and to enjoy. I’m excited too!

When the Matt Smith (11th Doctor) started sporting a bow tie, it may have persuaded me to buy a half a dozen bow ties off of ebay. When my partner bought me a fez, my first thought was “fezes are cool.” When David Tennant (10th Doctor) revealed the fury of the Time Lord, it made me reflect on the raw emotions I was dodging because it just seemed easier to do that then confront. Over the years I have found it very easy to connect this fictional character.

More than likely it was easier for me to identify with these characters, because they looked like me. I could imagine myself as them. If that is the case, than I want women and girls to watch Doctor Who and connect with the Doctor as easy as I have (and will.) I love that the next actor is not played a cis-gender male. I had hoped that Parminder Nagra would get the role, but Jodie Whittaker was fantastic in Broadchurch, so this is still a win.

Maybe you are going to read this and say “gender shouldn’t matter, it should just go to the best actor.” Well, it does matter. People want to see themselves on television, in books, or on the stage. I am so happy that the BBC has made this choice. And thanks to the Whovian activists who have been beating this drum for longer than I have been watching.

The Doctor travels with a companion, and most of the time that is woman. There have been a number of male companions, but it is female dominated role. There are a dozen variations on the relationship, but at the end of the day it always feels a bit paternalistic. A wise old man and silly young girl who needs to learn from him. It’s one of those things that is hard to get away from in TV.  Whether it was Jack and Liz on 30 Rock or Giles and Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the mentor frequently seems to be played by the guy and the mentee simply played by a woman. Guys, I’ll have no problem continuing to identify with the Doctor, but maybe it is time we all start identifying with the companions a little more. It wouldn’t hurt us to try learn as the mentee.

When you love a show you will always complain about things. There are plenty of ridiculous plots, unsatisfying endings, and campy sets, but I still love it. Please go out and watch Doctor Who. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and the dumbest looking aliens in the world will leave you utterly terrified. Stupid Daleks.

I’m becoming a coffee shop person.

I started stopping by a coffee shop a few days a week on my way to work. I’ve never been big on this type of ritual. There’s free coffee in the office, and I’ve always preferred starting my day near as few people as possible. My quiet little office where I am ignored versus a busy coffee shop seemed like a no brainer. I ride my bike past ReAnimator Coffee every day. I have been here before, but buying coffee has never been in my routine.

If I wake up in time, I usually brew myself a single cup of coffee using my aeropress. Do you use an aeropress? It is the best single cup of coffee making device I have ever encountered. I love it so much. Lately, I have been buying my coffee from Just Coffee. I used to buy from Philadelphia based Old City Roasters, but I have not found a coffee I did not like from Just Coffee.

Ok, this is not a post about the importance of coffee in my life. This is a post about changing my routine. I am the type of guy who sometimes thinks a little too far ahead. Buying coffee always felt like I was throwing money away. $2.50 a cup, $.50 in the tip jar, 3 days a week, almost every week, and then throw in the occasional croissant is almost $500 a year! Think of things I could spend my money on for $500. That’s half an airfare to some exotic location. I could donate that to one of the many groups that deserve it, but look at me, wasting it on coffee. Something I can get for free at my office.

The change in routine was an unintentional approach to self-care. I have been feeling a bit fatigued with my work. Not in a “I’m going to quit” way, but there is pronounced “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” feeling right now at work. The attacks from the right wing have been big and do not seem to be subsiding any time soon. I love my work and I really believe that self-care is critical to me continuing to do that work.

There is a rise in the interest of “self-care” for working people. Self-care is a strategy to prevent burn out in the workplace or just in life. There is a famous Audre Lorde quote that goes something like this, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” I agree with this a lot. At times, self-care feels like self-indulgence.

I do think that self-care and self-control should go hand and hand. I read an article the other day about the #1 reason given on the reason we snack is self-care. If that is the case, than maybe we should shore up what self-care means. I think Self-care is taking care for your mental and physical wellbeings and it should be 100% positive. If your self-care harms you or others it is no longer self-care, merely, indulgence. That’s my definition. If that is the case, does my new morning routine count as self-care?

I do find that it helps me focus at work, the coffee is infinitely better, and it breaks up my morning. Maybe this is just an excuse to enjoy a coffee shop and be out of the office. It doesn’t seem to hurt me, my work, or my health. The financial cost could be worth it.

I have some self-care options already, but new things I’ve started dabbling with include: exercise (which I hate), meditation (which I don’t do), and $500 worth of coffee every year. I think I will continue with my morning coffee routine, and work to explore these other self-care options that I am less enthusiastic about right now.

Ptown for my birthday.

We went up to Provincetown for my birthday a few weeks ago. The weather was complete shit, but it was a great trip. We cashed in some of my Amtrak upgrades and took the Acela from Philadelphia to Boston in the first class carriage. We spent the 5 hour trip reading the Sunday Times, eating some decent train food, and having more than a couple of drinks. From Boston we took the ferry across the cape and made our way to our bed and breakfast.

It rained a lot while we were there, but I really like being on the water when the weather is terrible. It is a good reminder about the power of mother nature.  When a storm you cannot even see starts whipping the water into a frenzy it inspires awe and fear.

We hiked 8 miles that ended with a delicious lunch at the Canteen. Ptown has plenty of fine dining options, but the Canteen is my favorite place to eat. It can’t get any better than seafood and beer at a shared picnic table. Sam had the banh mi and I had the fish and chips. Both dishes were really good. That evening we went to the Shipwreck Lounge for happy hour. The bartender made an excellent old fashioned. It was raining, cold, and overcast outside. I was sitting inside on a comfortable leather couch, next to the love of my life, with an expertly crafted cocktail in my hand. It was a great birthday.

While at the bar, I overheard an incredible conversation. There was an older gay guy on his cell phone wearing a fur coat.  Here is what I heard:

“How are you? … Oh, just sitting up here on the cape. … I wasn’t sure if you were pissed at me. … That soap just wipes right off of the mirror. … Oh good, most people hate me after something like that. … Come on up.”

He then hung up and went back to his drink. I instantly imagined a scenario that got him to this call. I think he spent some time at a friend’s house and when he left, he wrote a crass note on the mirror in bar soap. I wonder what he wrote? I am sure he thought it was a hilarious joke. Who would do something like that?

As soon as I wrote that last sentence, I slumped. I am pretty sure I would do something like that. I was probably more likely to do that in the past than I am today, but sometimes if you have a joke you just have to tell it. His was a joke that had to land after he had left and in the soap and mirror medium. The setup to punchline ratio seems off.

Sounds like this joke did not work. I guess I wouldn’t do precisely “that,” but the behavior is all too familiar.  Enough, about this weird one sided conversation I overheard on a dark and stormy evening.

When we made it back to Boston we visited the public library so that we could see the public murals.  It’s very beautiful and I recommend it. We had lunch at a place called the Saltie Girl. It’s a delicious seafood restaurant. I loved the crudo dish we had at first. I ordered the seafood pasta (stop carb judging, it was my birthday trip!) and was disappointed. First let me say that the meal was delicious, BUT it was wrong. The dish was listed as a bucatini, but it was a spaghetti. I like spaghetti, but I love bucatini. Do you know why I love it? Hollow noodle means more surface area for sauce to be on.  It’s a perfect noodle. Did I say anything? No, I did not. The pasta was handmade and delicious. I just have strong opinions about pasta shapes and Saltie GIrl missed the mark.

I had a lovely birthday trip. Boston has traumatized me on more than one occasion in the past, but I think we are actually starting to get along.

Do people still blog?

I just started reading Nasri Atallah’s book “Our Man in Beirut.” It’s the print version of his blog from 7 or 8 years ago. It’s making me laugh a lot.  Every time I finish a chapter, I think “I really enjoy writing my feelings and opinions. Why don’t I?”

Is blogging passé? I started keeping a written online presence in 2002, and I opening this blog in 2004. I’ve ignored it in recent years, which is silly because a lot has happened to me.  Here are some highlights you may have missed:

  • I lived abroad and did a poor job of documenting that adventure.
  • I went to graduate school.
  • I went back to working as staff at the union, made peace with that career choice and continue to work hard at it.
  • I met a man, fell in love, proposed, and married him.
  • Continued to travel (ok, that I have always written about).
  • Worked on political campaigns. Lost some (big ones) and won some.
  • Discovered Doctor Who.
  • Joined a gym (maybe the confession I am most embarrassed about.)

A lot has happened and I did not document much of it. Most of it was out of shear laziness, but much was from ego and self-esteem. Whenever I sit down to write I think, “I don’t want people to think of my writing as vapid or mundane,” “I should write a book and not a blog,” “there are better writers, who is going to read this drivel?”

I do write a lot for work, so when I get home, I tend to want to read the wikia Sontaran entry rather than write more, but I want to stop that. Well, not true, I want to do both of these things. I’m not going to write for you. I am going to write for myself. My hopes are that people enjoy it, but if you don’t like it, oh well. Feel free to google any other topic you can imagine. The internet is big.