Yup.

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Post-regeneration stories are often a fraught time for Doctor Who fans. After the roller coaster ride seeing an old Doctor to his tragic death scene, we’re always left to wonder, how will the show go on? Who is this stranger taking over the helm? Will the show continue to offer the familiar stories I’ve grown accustomed to, or will it take off in a new direction? Will I like what I see?

I, personally, have never worried. Somehow, after thirty-six years of watching this program, I’ve managed never to develop a favourite Doctor. I’ve got stories that I like and stories that I dislike, and some Doctors have more than their fair share in either category, but the Doctors themselves, as different as they are from each other, have never alienated me. Possibly because, at the Doctor’s core, he cares. He cares deeply about the people who needs him, about his companions, about the universe he lives in. Even when he gets thoroughly sick of life’s slings and arrows and retires, as he did in The Snowmen, he ultimately can’t help himself when he encounters people who need his help.

With this at the Doctor’s core, I’m able to imagine that Colin Baker is playing the same character as Christopher Eccleston. The different costumes are just phases they’re in. Indeed, I kind of want each Doctor to be quite different from the last, so that we have variety, and sparks flying when the inevitable reunion special kicks in.

So, in my opinion, Steven Moffat did an excellent job in casting Peter Capaldi as the twelfth (in reality, the fourteenth) Doctor. Not only is Capaldi a distinguished and capable actor (which Doctor Who and Torchwood fans know during Capaldi’s turns as Caecilius and John Frobisher in each show respectively), and not only is he a long time fan of Doctor Who, he brings many things which distinguish him from Matt Smith and even David Tennant before him. His age and his Scottish Brogue are shocks to the system of fans used to younger, less accented men. At the same time, he shares that manic energy that is increasingly becoming the trademark of the series’ revival.

Honestly, fans needn’t have worried. The show has changed lead actors ten times, now, and has elevated the practise to an art. They have succeeded more often than failed in launching new Doctors through some nifty tools in the toolbox. In Deep Breath, Capaldi’s debut story, the new Doctor is paired with a familiar companion (as with Sarah Jane Smith in Robot, or Rose in The Christmas Invasion), familiar supporting characters (as with UNIT in Spearhead from Space) and even familiar enemies (as with the Daleks in Power of the Daleks) for the audience members to connect to and remember that this show is still Doctor Who. Writer Steven Moffat deftly uses the tension of the familiar characters dealing with the unknown Doctor to mirror our own unease, and drive the story along.

Please note that spoilers follow after this break, so if you haven’t seen Deep Breath, please tread carefully.

“Rocket Camp” has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made as a parent this summer. Run by the good folks at Mad Science, they’ve occupied the rectory of a local church and have taken on kids for a week of rockets, rocket safety, rocket related games, the whole gamut. And I’m pleased to say that while there are a majority of boys at this camp, Vivian and Nora aren’t the only girls. Three other girls are with them. They come home very excited about their day, and have a lot to tell me about launches, and parachutes landing in people’s yards. Really, if you want to get more girls into science and engineering, the job starts now — actually, it started long before now, but I feel like I’ve given them a good boost.

I’ve not had much to say on this blog of late, but I have been busy writing. In addition to last week’s post, here are some more things I’ve written:

I’ve also been conducting further revisions to The Night Girl, so I’m really keeping busy… just not on this blog. I’ll see what I can do about that.

We got back from our vacation in the States on Thursday. It was one of those vacations where we needed a vacation to recover from the vacation, but well worth having. We’ve been busy with the recovery, and my posting rate on this blog has taken a hit (again). However, I have been active putting words to paper or pixel. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve worked on recently:

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The kids should remember this, I think.

After we left Benton Harbor, we struck out across Iowa, stopping overnight outside Iowa City with author friend Sarah Prineas and her family. Their wonderful hospitality included roasting marshmallows over a fire, helping to bring in goats, and canoeing on a pond. This was followed by a trip to Weeping Water, Nebraska, which I’m sure most of you haven’t heard of. We rented a farm house off of AirBNB and stayed for three nights somewhere at least two miles from a paved road, and with soybeans growing as far as the eye could see.

There was horseback riding in the Platte River State Park, a picnic on the river, and a rendition of the Wizard of Oz at a very decent community playhouse near Manley. Vivian may well have acquired a dream of becoming a farm girl. Her grandma Rosemarie is thinking about having her walk a half row of beans at Big Poppa Howard’s place in Vermillion, South Dakota, to see if the desire sticks. I avoided the horseback riding due to allergies, but I have to admit that the chance to hear country noise (you can’t really call it silence) was good for the soul.

We also met up with grandpa Wendell and grandma Judy for a day in Omaha, checking out the Zoo, eating at a Mexican restaurant, and attending an Omaha Storm Chaser’s game, which was greatly enjoyed, even if the Storm Chasers lived up to their name and brought the rain with them. This triple-A ball club has a rallying cry of “stir up the storm!” and, I swear, every time they did that, it would start to rain. We all figured the audience was stirring up the wrong storm.

Two more nights to go in Vermillion, and then we start back, stopping for two nights in Chicago before heading home. All in all, a successful journey, and it’s not over yet.

Click here for more photos of our visit to Omaha, and click here for pictures of our trip to Platte River State Park.

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