New Doctor Who Companion

doc who mainOn Saturday Pearl Mackie was officially revealed as the new Doctor Who companion.  Given that 2016 is the year of no new Doctor Who you can imagine the excitement, glee, and anticipation that surrounded this announcement.  I also think it was a pretty brilliant move by BCC to make the announcement during half time of the FA Cup semi-final match between Everton and Manchester United.

I’m willing to bet that typically the overlap between football (soccer) and Doctor Who audiences isn’t normally that great.  But slotting the announcement in at half time exposes different audiences to Doctor Who and potentially ups the viewership of the match itself.  Granted, there were a ton of people who I’m sure just turned in briefly to see the announcement then turned the tv off.  But I still think it was a great marketing move.  Similarly, the using a trailer to introduce Mackie as ‘Bill’ was brilliant and provided so much more fodder than the standard publicity photos.  Seeing Mackie in costume, in character, and engaging with Capaldi on screen was way more than I thought we were going to get with this announcement.  Well played BBC.

That being said, it’s still very early days and who knows what Bill’s character will bring to the show.  I’m definitely looking forward to finding out…even if it is still months and months away.

Beer of the Month: Syndicate Brewing

The other two beer selections in the recent beer of the month shipment were from Syndicate Brewing in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Both beers were simply named and their labels were very plain — I like to think that more effort went into the brewing than into the marketing of these beers. In a nice turn of fate Andrew and I were able to enjoy a couple of beers on the porch.  It was finally warm enough to sit outside in the evening…and there weren’t any bugs yet.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

The first of the two beers was simply titled “ESB” after the Extra Strong Bitter style of beer.  It poured  a dark copper colour, with a finger of bright white head, and lots of carbonation.  As anticipated it had a slightly bitter smell and a bit of a bitter kick in its taste.  After a couple of sips the bitterness settled and the beer was surprisingly smooth drinking.  I enjoyed it.

The second beer from Syndicate Brewing was the dark beacon porter.  Andrew really enjoyed this selection. It poured a dark brown almost black colour and was full bodied with subtle coffee notes.  I wasn’t a huge fan, but that probably had more to do with not typically liking porters in general and nothing against this specific brew.

Science North – The Child Edition

Cross-posted from Krista’s public history blog Historical Reminiscents

I’m definitely more of a history buff than a science person, but as you might have guessed by the numerous times I’ve written about it I think Science North is a pretty awesome place.  It’s rarely crazy busy, encourages hands on learning, and is a perfect size to cover in an afternoon.  This past weekend my partner and I teamed up with some relatives and visited Science North with our daughter for the first time.

This was our daughter’s first foray into any time of museum, gallery, or science centre.  Our visit went pretty well – she’s only 1.5 years so her favourite parts were walking up the ramp, a sketch of a dog, the glass elevator, balls, and the water table.  She also liked the toddler specific areas that had toys geared to her size.  I imagine in a short time she will be loving Science North for completely different reasons.  Some of the highlights for me this time around were the Bufferfly Gallery and a couple of the hands on learn about the physical body exhibits on the third floor.

I was also really impressed with Imaginate, the special exhibit that is currently in the lobby of Science North.  Developed by the Ontario Science Centre Imaginate is all about innovation, seeing ideas come to life, and hands on learning.  It was great to see all the creative ideas that children and other visitors had created and were now part of the exhibit itself.  I loved the sound panel area where visitors could create a personal soundscape using touch panels. There was also a really interesting piece of interactive art at the entrance to Imaginate that invited users to hold onto sensor bars and the visuals in the sculpture then adapted to their heartbeat.

Overall this was another great visit to a place I love.  I’m looking forward to future visits as my daughter grows and watching the ways in which she interacts with museums, galleries, and science centres changes over the years.

Watching and Reading: Outlander

Despite it being the year of no Doctor Who, I’m still extremely giddy about all the awesome SF/F and historical fiction television that is starting up again this Spring.  Lets just say there has been a couple of squee moments when I’ve realized that things like Outlander, Orphan Black, and 12 Monkeys have started being recorded by our PVR.

CowlI’m super happy to see that Outlander is back for another season and I’m looking forward to seeing that play out. Though I admit I’m a bit sad to see the show moving on to being set in France.  This sadness is a slightly odd reason — one of my favourite parts of the first season was the amazing costuming of the cast and the beautiful Scottish knits.  With the change in era and country we’re entering a complete different type of costuming, it’s still pretty awesome as far as historical clothing goes, but not quite as ‘wow I want to make that’ as knitwear.  Though all the knitwear from season 1 that I loved is still on my to-knit list, so despite all the inspiration I’m still not quite there.

(Briefly gets distracted by looking at patterns for Outlander inspired knitted cowls for the umpteenth time).

So far I’ve only watched the first episode of season two, but already I’m thinking I need to take another pass at Dragonfly in Amber.  The first book in the Outlander series stuck in my mind fairly well and I remembered enough of it do have a sense of how things were being adapted in the first season.  But after the first book things get a bit fuzzy and the plot starts to blur a bit between books.  I remember reading and liking the books. I can recall the major plot points but the intricacies and the order in which things happen are a bit muddled.

Long story, I’m probably going to reread the books.  I often struggle with tv/film adaptations of books I love and find myself being fairly critical about what is included in the adaptation.  But, the tv show is reminding me how much I enjoyed the books so I think it’s worth rereading even if it does contribute to viewing annoyance later….I just need to remind myself to appreciate the show for it is, that a 300 plus page book is a completely different medium, and that of course the picture in my head is always going to be cooler.

Beer of the Month: Barnstormer Brewing Company

beer2_0x285Andrew and I were both finally feeling well enough to sit down an sample a couple of craft beers.  The most recent Beer of the Month Club shipment included two selections from the Barnstormer Brewing Company (BBC).  The BBC was established in 2013 in Barrie, Ontario.  All of their beers are unfiltered, they don’t pasteurize, and their brews doing include preservatives. In addition to their beer offerings they offer brewery tours and operate a microbrewery restaurant (aka brew pub).  I also loved the fact that many of the names of the beers have regional references, which been from Simcoe County tickled my sense of nostalgia.  Though I’m not a huge fan of the pin-up style girl that seems to be on all of their products…but that’s more of a personal preference than anything.

The first selection from BBC I tried was the Flight Delay IPA.  It poured a golden blonde colour with very minimal head. It had  a very citrus smell with a touch of pine.  To say it was hoppy would be an understatement.  It was like a hop explosion.  I really like IPA style beers but this may have been too much hops even for me.

The second beer I tried was the 400 Blonde Ale.  This was a fairly standard ale that I could see being great on a warm summer day.  It poured a slightly hazy golden with minimal head, a paler colour than the Flight Delay IPA.  I didn’t pick up much on the smell side, maybe a slight sweetness note, but that might be stretching it.  There wasn’t a ton of depth in this beer.  It wasn’t bad, but nothing particularly special.

Update: Travels and Social Media

Nearly a month has gone by since my last post – apparently we’ve been busy.  What have we been up to?  Traveling, playing in the snow, playing outside in what looked like the beginnings of Spring, fighting seemingly never ending colds, and trying to stay afloat. Here are some of the highlights:

  • In March I traveled to Baltimore to attend the National Council on Public History conference.  This is my favorite history related conference and my trip was full of inspiring conversations, learning, and public history goodness.  As per usual I wrote about this experience over on Historical Reminiscents, my history related site.
  • While I was away in Baltimore Andrew and Little Miss spent some time out at Basswood Lake and enjoyed quality cousin time.  Little Miss started to master the uneven surfaces of outside while there and is now running circles in our yard at home.
  • I’ve been learning how to wrangle Wikipedia entries.  At work I’ve been updating and creating new pages associated with our archival fonds.
  • I’ve also had the chance to setup social media accounts for the archives at work.  I have lots of experience using Facebook and Twitter as promotion tools so have continued using those, but also setup a Tumblr account as part of this process.  Thankfully one of my colleagues has been really helpful in explaining some of the best ways to use Tumblr and manage visual content on that site.
  • Little Miss is starting to get a ton of words.  We went on a walk the other day and she was chatting away about trees.  She was also running toward every puddle in sight. Fun times.