TARDIS Doors (part 1)

Somewhere along the way I planned to respond to the prompt below, thought about it, then promptly abandoned it in my draft folder for months and months, only to rediscover it today.

A picture is worth 1000 words. This safe has been through a lot. Tell its story.

Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

At first glance the safe sitting amid the ruins reminds me of the TARDIS from the BBC’s Doctor Who.  In fact, I didn’t even realize it was a safe until I reread the prompt’s caption.

The TARDIS makes an appearance at the Toronto Comic Con.
The TARDIS makes an appearance at the Toronto Comic Con. Photo taken by my good friend Wayne Abat

Doctor Who’s TARDIS never changes from a Police Box into other shapes because because of a malfunction in the 1963 pilot episode, An Unearthly Child. Since then, for whatever reason, The Doctor just hasn’t been focused on getting it fixed–it being the Camouflage Unit, the Chameleon Circuit, or the Cloaking Device (depending upon the show’s episode or writer).  And not that the Doctor didn’t try to fix it, because eventually the malfunction does get solved, (sort of, but by then The Doctor is fond of the TARDIS’ Police Box appearance) yet no efforts are televised repairing it between the 1963 and 1981 seasons.  That seems like a long time for a crucial security feature to be offline.  Mind you, it was the 60s & 70s, and security was generally lax prior to the 911 terror attacks.

Besides, keeping track of a different shaped TARDIS during each new adventure might prove annoying (and even challenging) for a time traveling fellow and his companions (especially considering just how old the Doctor was rumored to be).  I equate it to keeping track of where I last parked my car at the mall, but with the added complexity of it changing color and model upon each new visit.

On the other hand, I think that a chameleon circuit might be an excellent feature on my aged minivan.  With it being nearly 14 years old, there’s many times I would prefer it look different than what it does.  I image myself saying to the grocery cart delivery kid, “Sure, just leave the bags by the base of that palm tree.  I can get them from there.”

The yellow highlighted doors on the left don't match the shape of doors seen on a Police Box.
The yellow highlighted doors on the left don’t match the shape of doors seen on a Police Box.

The doors of Doctor Who’s Police Box is one aspect of the TARDIS that has always bothered me.  On the outside, the Police Box doors are rectangular, but on the interior of the TARDIS the outer doors have a jagged cut on each hinged side.  My logical mind justifies it with idea of there being a lobby, mud room, airlock, or transitional area to accommodate the differing door shapes.  I’m sure some expert “Whovian” will be able to explain it all away, but in my imagination, a scene like this plays out prior to the show’s pilot episode…

 (Somewhere on the BBC studios in 1962)

Nigel:  Hey, what the hell is this?!
Garth:  What’s the matter?
Nigel:  The doors.  You’ve made them all wrong!
Garth:  What you mean?  I built the spaceship’s interior just like the script says.
Nigel:  Yes, but the doors aren’t rectangles!  You’ve got these angled cuts on the hinged sides.
Garth:  Why? What do your doors look like on the outside?
Nigel:  They’re tall rectangles, just like a Police Box.
Garth:  That’s stupid.  What kind of spaceship has doors that look like a Police Box?
Nigel:  No, you don’t understand. “It is a Police Box.”
Garth:  I thought it was a space ship?  Are you sure we’re working on the same set?
Nigel: Yes!  The Police Box “is” the spaceship.
Garth:  You’re telling me, the spaceship is a Police Box?
Nigel:   Yes.
Garth:  Well, how is all this supposed to fit inside a Police Box?
Nigel:  The spaceship is bigger on the inside than on the outside?
Garth:  You mean to tell me, the TV viewer is supposed to believe this room fits into a space the size of a Police Box?  TV viewers are daft, but this is just plain unbelievable.
Nigel:  Don’t worry. The Doctor explains it to the viewers in the story.
Garth: The doctor?
Nigel:  Yes, Doctor Who.
Garth: Exactly.  I have no clue who the doctor is.
Nigel:  No, The Doctor is the main character in the show.
Garth: What does a doctor have to do with space travel?  Is one of the astronauts sick?
Nigel:  No, the Doctor is the space traveler.
Garth: Really?  Is that because only doctors can actually afford space travel?
Nigel:   No, and he’s not a doctor of medicine.  He’s a scientist from another world.
Garth:  And he builds spaceships that look like Police Boxes?
Nigel:   No, Doctor Who flies the spaceship.
Garth:  I have no idea which doctor flies this ridiculous spacecraft.
Nigel:  No, no. The Doctor’s name is Who.
Garth:  How do you spell it?
Nigel:   W-H-O
Garth:  That’s an odd name for a doctor, even for a Police Box spaceship-building scientist doctor.
Nigel:   Yes, but your interior doors still don’t match my Police Box doors.  These have got to be fixed.
Garth:  Listen, long before any TV viewers ever notice the inconsistency between the inner and outer doors, they’ll have to reconcile that they’re watching a crazy TV show where a scientist doctor, named Who, that flies around space inside a Police Box, which itself defies the laws of physics and spatial relations.  Our doors are the least of the problem here.
Nigel:   Well… alright, but I still don’t like it.
Garth:  Relax.  This show won’t even last a season, if that.

If a TARDIS with a functioning Chameleon Circuit arrived in our westernized culture today, what shape or object would it mimic?

(To be cont’d in Part 2)

Out of Touch

It’s been a while.  Too long in fact. My working title for this entry was Forsaken, but it sounded far too serious and left me with visions of Clint Eastwood’s movie, Unforgiven.  While surfing tunes on YouTube, something lighthearted, corny, yet cool (or as cool as the 80s could be) inspired me otherwise.

In October of 1984, Out of Touch started its climb to become Billboard’s Hot 100 number one song.  MTV and Much Music were still in their infancy, and unlike today, in those days the stations actually played music videos.

This video amplifies the prevalent corniness of the mid 80s.  I love the video’s cigar chomping music executive, the shamelessly (and repeated) advertising plugs for Big Bam Boom (the Duo’s newest album), and Daryl Hall’s animal-print suit and slacks.  Didn’t Amy Grant wear the same leopardskin jacket only one year later on the cover of Unguarded?

Amy_Grant_Unguarded One could say, my blog and I have been “out of touch…not around.”  After nearly a year of neglect… I’m putting thoughts to fingers, and fingers to keys again.

So what’s changed since last July?  More than I like to admit.

While away, my dearly departed mother-in-law had a song written and performed as a tribute to her.

The Trifecta Writing Challenge site, where I labored and toiled over my few feable submissions, closed for good.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I was in way over my head with that crowd of writers, but it was fun to try.

And then one of the nicest folks I’ve read on WordPress, Rarasaur (the same that pointed me to Trifecta’s Writing Challenge), she ended up going to prison in California.  Yikes!  How did that happen?

All of this to say, a whole lot can surely happen in a year.  Looking back over the last 365 days, many personal disappointments lay scattered in my mind.  I’m looking to make the next 365 days different.

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15 NIV

Final Departure

hurtling heavenward
armrests clung tight
g-force pins bodies
propulsion burns bright

ignorant Houston
oblivious crew
awestruck observers
all wait for stage two

water had frozen
ring breach failure
exploding disaster
numb, silence, vapor

——————————————————————————————————————

This is my response to Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven where I was given the three words below and asked to give back thirty of my own, making a grand total of thirty-three words.

ring
water
stage

Admittedly, I’m not normally poetic (by any stretch of the imagination, nor by education), but was inspired to make my earlier work in progress into the poem above…

The astronauts hurtled heavenward with armrests gripped and g-force imprisoned bodies.  The crew-members eagerly anticipated stage two.  Oblivious to Houston, Challenger, and observers alike, a ring had failed.  The Challenger disaster was imminent.

Thanks for reading.  Your comments are encouraged!

Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven
Trifextra: Week Seventy-Seven

Stereotypical

When I first started my job, a local clothier was liquidating his inventory of plaid shirts, and for ridiculous single-digit prices.  Succumbing to momentary insanity, convinced it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I stocked up.

My hasty shopping spree left me relegated to wear oxford-style tartan for years to come.  Workplace associates would later proclaim that plaid became my personal trademark.

The following Halloween, everyone in the office donned plaid shirts to celebrate my limited, and somewhat lacking, fashion sense.Scary_Plaid

As the company I.T. guy, I prided myself  on building rapport and improving morale whenever possible.  Often this meant helping with menial tasks, which many times interrupted my mundane technical responsibilities, but more importantly, provided an excuse to shed my necktie.

The Friday before last, ladies in accounting had requested my assistance with carrying boxed files to the basement storage.Matching_Plaid

With banker boxes heaped five high on the handcart, my free hand fumbled to call the elevator.  The doors parted to expose the empty car. Using the old heave-ho, the cart’s rubber tires protested lethargically, but eventually conceded the threshold from marble tile onto elevator carpet.  With a closing clunk, the car descended.

The lift slowed, stopped, and divided doors on fifteen.  Motion from the lobby was absent.  The symmetrical panels reached to reseal the compartment, until interrupted by an arm adorn with a monogrammed gold cufflink.  The doors recoiled to reveal a polished executive.  He boarded the car.

“Sorry…  I hate to hold up anyone getting paid by the delivery,” said the dapper gentleman.

My eyebrow arched.  A forced smirk failed to conceal my grimace.

“…or do you delivery guys get paid by the hour?”

My mind turned introspective.  My getup looked neither like FedEx, nor UPS, and I hadn’t a clipboard, nor even a courier crest sewn to my chest.  What made me appear to be a delivery guy?  Was it the plaid?

Ideas for a witty rebuttal simply vanished.

Constraining the truth, I muttered, “…something like that.”

————————————————————————————————————————–

The story mentioned above was inspired by the Trifecta: Week Seventy-Nine writing challenge.  This week’s prompt required me to write a response, 33 to 333 words in length, containing the word APPEAR  (specifically using its third definition).

APPEAR
1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>

Feel the Burn

Aqua Velva

“Aftershave!” Lars exclaimed, revealing her renowned gift for grandsons. “I was nearly out!”

“Aftershave? No wonder it burns so badly! I mistook it for mouthwash.”

Giggles erupted.

Grandma’s eyes loathed my false confession.

—————————————————————————————————

This confessional moment is brought to you courtesy of this weekend’s prompt at Trifextra, the nice folks still making Aqua Velva, and my dearly departed Grandma D.

The Prompt: a thirty-three word confession.

I don’t wanna wait in vain…

I rediscovered this Annie Lennox song while watching the movie, Serendipity.  Annie’s voice soars and the musical score behind her vocals build with a subtle charm–by the end of the song,  I can’t get the grin off my face.

I hardly remember the song from its release in 1995, and oblivious to me, I even own the very song on an Annie Lennox’s CD entitled Medusa.  Annie’s recording is actually a remake of an old Bob Marley song.  When comparing the recordings, except for similar lyrics , I am still shocked to learn they’re actually the same song.  Call me a child of the eighties, but I’ll take Annie’s electro-pop rendition over the reggae original any day, and twice on Sundays.

Bob Marley – Waiting In Vain (original)

Sampling the song on YouTube, I don’t ever recall viewing the Waiting In Vain music video, but I’m delighted to find it brewing with creativity and clever attention to detail.  At first, the whole mouse ears thing is a mystery to me (I wonder if anyone at Disney’s Mouse House sat up and took notice?), but a YouTube viewer’s comment indicates the mouse ears are actually a reference to Minnie Mouse, specifically how she always waits in vain for Mickey Mouse (to fall in love, I’m guessing).  In the video, Annie’s choreographed movements, especially with mouse ears, add a unique, dramatic, and  animated presence to it all.  When I try to imagine her without the mouse ears, my mind imagines it to be far less interesting, at lease from a visual perspective.

My favorite part of the video nears the end where twined images of Annie, sitting on the stove, kick their legs in sync while singing “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna…” (the backing to the song’s finale/climactic end).

Videos like Annie’s Waiting In Vain make me miss that show Pop-Up Video.  I love how that show dissected the videos and the stories behind the scenes.

Lost Translations

I’d run across this photo a long time ago, but do not recall ever seeing this sign when I visited Leningrad in 1987 (now called St. Petersburg).

I especially like the stick figure art.  It’s clever, humorous, sarcastic, and not what I’d expect from screeners in the former USSR.
Untitled

Untitled by the Real Janelle

The Real Janelle (whoever you really are) posted this to her Flickr account back in 2007 with these very witty English translations.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sign01

1) No riding into the fortress on armored tanks saluting Hitler.

Sign02

2) No samples at the deli

Sign03
3) No miniature rocking horses

Sign04
4) No suicides, please, this is not the Brooklyn bridge

Sign05
5) No smooth jazz

Sign06
6) No underpants

Sign07
7) No ski-jumping

Sign08
8) No loss of depth perception

Sign09
9) No Don King hairstyles

Sign10
10) No drinking whilst holding a lamppost, lest you become electrocuted

Sign11

11) No flying bicycles, with or without extra terrestrial

Sign12

12) No supermodels, they break like sticks

May the former KGB never hunt you down for creating laughter against the former Soviet Union.  Stay safe the Real Janelle!