A Make or Buy Doctor Who Quandary

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’m having a case of Craft Envy.

Where ever I look, people are making some amazing things.  Jen (of Cake Wrecks and Epbot fame) made a steampunk White Rabbit costume as a follow-up to her steampunk Lady Darth Vader costume (Lady Vadore).  Pinterest is filled with crafters posting their handiwork.  Even in my own house I can’t escape the crafting.  B seems to be perpetually knitting or crocheting some new, cool project.

I want in.

A little while after I got a sonic screwdriver for my birthday, I began thinking about Halloween.  Usually, I don’t think that far in advance.  I tend to consider the holiday about a week before the actual day.  Which, if I want a costume, leads to a hurried rush through stores or a raiding of my old costumes.  This time, though, I began to wonder if I could pull off a Matt Smith’s Doctor costume.

Side Note: David Tennant is my favorite Doctor, but I thought that Matt Smith’s look was a bit more iconic and easier to pull off… especially since I already had his sonic screwdriver.

Matt Smith’s Doctor basically needs: A pair of black pants, a brown tweed-ish jacket, a light colored (perhaps cream or blue) shirt, burgundy suspenders, a red bow tie (bow ties are cool) and a fez (also cool).  Looking through my clothes, I found a jacket that would work as well as pants and a shirt.  That just left the suspenders, bow tie and fez.

Now we get to the quandary.  There’s an official Doctor Who bow tie/fez set that can be purchased online and in a few brick-and-mortar stores.  I also hunted down a few locations online that offer suspenders of the kind I need.  So I could easily buy the remainder of my costume and be all set.

But part of me really wants to MAKE some or all of the rest.

I’ve found tutorials via Pinterest on making your own fez, bow tie, and even your own suspenders.  I also priced out the materials.  The fez would cost about $5, the bow tie about $2, and the suspenders around $10.  For under $20 I could have everything I need to complete my costume.  All it would take is a bit of sewing.  (Something that I’m perfectly capable of doing.  In addition to cooking, I hand sew anything that needs sewing in our house.  Take THAT male stereotype!)

However, then there’s the big yellow hat lingering in the room.

A few years back, I got the urge to be crafty and made a “Man In The Yellow Hat” costume to go with my son’s Monkey costume.  I bought a cheap foam hat, glued on foam balls to increase the height, and then glued on yellow felt to make it all the right color.  It came out spectacular.  By which, I mean it stunk.  Bad.  I still have it, but it is hidden in a closet upstairs.

If I go the crafting route, I risk spending $20 and having another yellow hat incident.  True, this time I’d have guidance and wouldn’t be simply making it up as I go along.  However, there’s still plenty of steps that I could mess up.  Perhaps I’d cut out the pattern wrong.  Maybe my stitching wouldn’t be up to par.  My gluing might leave globs of glue visible.  The yellow hat might wind up with a decidedly UNCOOL bow tie/fez/suspenders to keep it company.

Worse still, I might fail and leave myself no time to buy a professionally made bow tie, fez, and suspenders thus ruining any chance my Doctor costume has to see the light of day.

I’m not sure what I’ll wind up doing.  Maybe I’ll tackle one of the items (perhaps the fez) and buy the others elsewhere.  Maybe I’ll buy the fez/bow tie set from a store near me as a backup plan while I attempt the crafting route.  (I can return the purchased items if the craft is a success.)  All I know is that I’m getting the itch to craft!

Would you buy already-made items from the store or take the crafting route?

(It’s worth noting that, after I wrote this, I realized I might have written a similar post awhile back.  Sure enough, I did: about building or buying a Sonic Screwdriver.  The answer to that conundrum was to constantly postpone the answer for a year until B bought it for me for my birthday.  This quandary, however, needs a slightly faster resolution.  I even almost made the exact same icon to go with the post until I found the one I made for the sonic screwdriver post.)

NOTE: The “build vs buy” image above was composed of “Tools, Hammer, Spanner” by Andy and “Money – banknotes and coin” by n_kamil.  Both images are available through OpenClipArt.org.

Doctor Who Actors vs Moon Walkers

Being a geek can often mean wondering weird things.  Like, for example: How do the number of actors who have played the Doctor compare to the number of people who have walked on the Moon?  And how do the surviving members of each stack up over the years?

Well, wonder no more:


(Click to see a larger version.)

Some notes: There are 13 people listed as playing the Doctor.  This is because: 1) Even though Peter Capaldi hasn’t made his Doctor Who debut, I’ve included him and 2) According to Wikipedia, the first Doctor was both played by both William Hartnell and, for The Five Doctors, Richard Hurndall.  I’m not counting "alternate" Doctors such as the classic series’ Valeyard or the new series’ Doctor-who-wasn’t-worthy-of-being-called-Doctor (played by John Hurt).  The dates for who landed on the Moon when and who played the Doctor when all came from Wikipedia.

As you can see, when Peter Capaldi takes over the role later this year, the number of Doctor actors will top the number of Moon walkers for the first time since 1968.  Furthermore, unless one of the former Doctor actors passes away before the end of the year, the number of surviving Doctors will surpass the number of surviving Moon walkers.

Here’s hoping that we can increase the Moon walkers total soon – though I won’t be holding my breath.

Proud Geek Dad Doctor Who Moments

jsl_tardisOne of the best things about being a parent is introducing your kids to the things you love.  As I’ve mentioned before, my latest interest share with them is Doctor Who.  The boys have gone from outright hostility towards watching it to grudging interest to (upon seeing their first episode) full blown Whovian.  This, of course, has led to multiple proud geek dad moments, but this past weekend there were four.

The first came as we walked through the mall.  B and I had split up to cover more ground.  While she went into one store to buy an item we needed more of, the boys and I browsed the menswear department to see if they had any burgundy suspenders.  I decided to go on the hunt because I want to dress as the Eleventh Doctor for Halloween.

Side Note: I actually like Tennant over Smith, but have to admit that Smith’s Doctor has a more iconic look – and one that is easier for me to replicate too.  Besides, I have the Eleventh Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and I’d look silly dressing up as the Tenth Doctor with the Eleventh’s sonic!

Anyway, as we looked through the suspenders (and as I suffered from sticker shock – I’m not paying nearly $20 for suspenders I’ll wear once or twice), JSL piped up with a request of his own.  He had decided that he wanted to dress as the Doctor for Halloween also.  I don’t think his plan of dressing as Doctor Nine is doable, but his desire to dress as a Doctor filled my heart with geeky glee.

Next came a couple of nights ago.  We were heading home from having dinner with B’s parents when B noticed that only part of the car had been rained on.  Having just watched "Smith and Jones" – where it rains on a hospital and not the surrounding area just before the hospital is transported to the Moon, I thought a Doctor Who reference was in order.  However, I didn’t say it.  Instead, JSL beat me to the punch and exclaimed that we were going to the Moon.  I was so impressed and proud that he not only remembered the episode enough to make the reference but also was quick enough to beat me.

Then, yesterday, as we drove up to watch Disney’s Planes, NHL and JSL began to discuss Doctor Who.  NHL decided that someone should build a Doctor Who theme park.  He didn’t stop there, however, but began to imagine a TARDIS rollercoaster ride.  I had to admit that I’d love to visit such a place.

Finally, just after this happened, we were walking through a department store.  As often happens, we walked by a row of mannequins.  However, NHL didn’t see them as mannequins.  Instead, he pointed out that they were Autons, clearly poising for an attack.  Thankfully, many of the Autons-posing-as-mannequins were lacking arms, legs, and/or heads so they should be easy to beat when they inevitably come alive and try to take over the world.

Ah the life of a geeky parent.  Where others might see a normal menswear shop, rain, and mannequins, my kids see plastic-based aliens ready for attack, a H2O based teleport to the Moon, and a location to purchase bowties – because bowties are cool.  I’m so proud of my little Whovians and I can’t wait to see what new geeky interests we’ll share next.

Last Days of Summer

Summer is ending.  There’s no getting around it.  There are only a few more days of August and then September is here.  That month brings with it colder weather, school, and all of the other things that mean that summer is over.  Eventually, we’ll need to get the big coats out again and we’ll be watching the weather for snow.  So for now, we’re enjoying the remaining moments of summer with the most quintessential of summertime activities.





(Once summer ends and school begins, our Doctor Who time will become much more limited so we’ve got to cram as much in as we can!)

What activities do you engage in as the summer winds down?

Mourning Your First Doctor

doctor-who-shirtRecently, Doctor Who fans were saddened to hear that Matt Smith was stepping down from playing the eleventh Doctor.  We had grown to adore his eccentric Doctor who loved fish fingers and custard (but not beans… bad, bad beans), thought fezzes and bowties were cool, and got married to River Song who constantly warned of spoilers.

After months of speculation, it was announced that Peter Capaldi would be taking over as the twelfth Doctor.  This will take some getting used to.  Every actor brings their own spin on the character of the Doctor.  Some are more action oriented.  Some are more comedic.  Some wear leather.  Some wear long scarves.  Some rely on their sonic screwdrivers and some shun the device.

There is a usual progression that happens for fans when the Doctor regenerates.  At first, everyone goes into mourning over the loss of the current Doctor.  We bemoan the voyages we could have had with him.  The places and times we could have seen.  The stories left to tell.  Then, the replacement announcement is made.  Some cautiously accept it and some reject it declaring that there’s no way this actor could play the Doctor.

Finally, the time comes and the Doctor regenerates.  A few episodes later, we realize that this new Doctor is fantastic.  He’s very different from the old Doctor but that’s the strength of the show.  The actors change and so does the Doctor.  The show survives any and everyone in it.

My boys are going through this cycle for the first time.  They just watched the two part episode "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways."  They saw the ninth Doctor in pain.  Every cell in his body was dying and so he did what Time Lords do to cheat death.  He regenerated.  After some final farewells in his current form, golden energy shot out of his head and arms.  Gone was the ninth and the tenth took his place.

Honestly, the tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) is my favorite Doctor.  NHL seems excited to see what comes next.  He’s already accepted the new Doctor and is moving on. JSL, on the other hand, is deep in mourning.  He has declared that the ninth Doctor is his favorite and will always be so.  He wants to see more ninth Doctor episodes (even though he knows there aren’t any).  He’s deep in Doctor Who Mourning.

I know he’ll get over it.  A few episodes in, he’ll be declaring how Doctor 10 is his absolute favorite.  And, before he knows it, he’ll be crying over the tenth’s departure and the eleventh’s arrival and then again for the eleventh’s switch to the twelfth.  There’s something bigger about seeing your first Doctor regenerate, though.

Still, we’ll got to forge ahead.  He might look and act differently, but he’s still the Doctor.  He’ll still have fantastic adventures throughout time and space.  As my boys will soon find out that Doctor 10 is fond of saying: Allons-y!

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