Tag Archives: Doctor Who

How I got over myself and learned to love River Song

River Song is coming back to Doctor Who for the Christmas special this month and I’m over-the-moon ecstatic to see her again! I’ll admit, however, that I hated her when she first showed up in the Library and claimed to be married to the Tenth Doctor.

Nuh uh. If anyone’s gonna marry the Doctor (especially David Tennant), it’s gonna be me! (Yes, I’m in my fifties, but I can still squee like a fangirl).

river i hate you
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So, yeah, it took me a while to warm up to her. I think the first time I felt a glimmer of respect was when she marched down the corridor of a space ship in those incredible shoes, the kind in which I’d surely break an ankle.

river shoes
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Even so, I still resented her. I mean, she was not a standard beauty. She was older and didn’t fit into the normal mold of leading ladies. And she was kind of pushy. Who did she think she was?

And that’s when I had my “Aha!” moment.

I hated her because she represented everything that the patriarchal aspects of society had trained me to loathe about myself, as a woman. And here she was, spitting in the face of convention!

Think about it. River Song was the ultimate bad ass witch. She was:

river regen
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  • Insanely sure of herself
  • Full bodied and rippling with power
  • Beyond intelligent—as clever as the Doctor
  • Fiercely loving and compassionate
  • Courageous
  • Oozing with sexuality
  • The Doctor’s equal

So why on earth did I hate her? Because she reminded me of everything that I could have been but chose, out of fear, not to be.

Now, why do I love her? Because she reminds me that it’s never too late to choose again.

river kiss
IMAGE SOURCE

 


lisa author shotLisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author and editor/manuscript doctor (and former stand-up comedienne—is there anything she can’t do???). Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife, mom and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her.

Martha McGrath, 1851, Bradford England

I think Martha McGrath was my mom’s mom’s dad’s dad’s mom (my third great-grandmother). I say “I think” because I’m not 100% sure. All signs point in that direction, but I hesitate to state it as fact. One of her sons shows up in a stranger’s Ancestry.com family tree with matching information to my own, so it’s safe to assume they are the same person, but I’m always cautious if I can’t confirm it more than once.

According to the 1851 England census,  Martha lived in Bradford, England (Bradford was mentioned in the Doctor Who episode The Crimson Horror) with her three children at 120 Longland St. I can actually see that building on Google Maps. When Jeff and I go to England this summer, I’ll see it in person.

Born in 1807, Martha was a 44-year-old widow at the time and worked as a dress maker. She was born in Ireland, as was her husband and father of her three children. Beyond this, there is no information about him anywhere, at least not where I can find it.

My second great-grandfather, James McGrath, was 12 at the time. He was born in Bradford and worked as a “boot closer”. His little brother Alexander was 8, and their little sister, Mary, was 4.

By the time James was 22, he had moved to Manchester and lived as a lodger at 65 Fleet St, Ashton-under-Lyne–according to the 1861 census. He worked as a cordwainer, so apparently shoe-making agreed with him.

By 1870, he had somehow emigrated to the US (I can’t find his name on any passenger lists), because he shows up in Detroit, in the census, married to my second great-grandmother Josephine. He was employed as a brewer, which he apparently continued to do for the rest of his life–that is, at least, according to what my mom has been told.

I get the sense that he was being deliberately sketchy about being kept track of. In various places, he lists his birthplace as either Ireland or England. I can’t find him or any other dependents in any census records after that, until my great-grandfather Charlie McGrath moves out and starts his own life, with his marriage to his first wife, Maggie O’Leary, in 1894.

Maggie died, leaving him with two daughters, Marie and Grace. He eventually married Emma Gelinski, and they gave birth to my mom’s mom, Mildred in 1904.

Great-Grandpa Charlie, with my mom, Joann circa 1937

Great-Grandpa Charlie, with my mom, Joann circa 1937

In 1910, the census lists Charles McGrath as an agent in a tea store, and in 1920, he was employed as a tool clerk in an auto factory (this was Detroit, after all). He disappears from the records after that. My mom tells me that he became a brewer and ran a drinking establishment before Prohibition. The front room held a bar for the men, and the ladies would go into the back room to sit in the parlor to drink. He had to close this business down when Prohibition began.

Charlie died in 1940. This picture of him is as far back as his lineage goes, in our family photos.

But it all began with Martha, in Ireland, in 1807. And whomever came before her … and before her … and before her …


Looking for Experts: Sponsorship

I’ve reached a point in planning this trip where I am ready to take the next step: looking for sponsors. I’ve done a lot of research into “who” and “why”, and I have a pretty good list of the kinds of companies to approach. What I need from the experts is advice and/or assistance in “how”.

What I’ll be pitching:

WHO: I am a best-selling author of four books and part of my planned “Bucket List” trip to the UK is to do research for two (or more) upcoming books. My husband Jeff and I are both former standup comedians, and we make great traveling companions and story tellers. You can read one of our month-long adventures beginning with this blog.

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall.(zpqt)

Tintagel Castle (Photo credit: Bob Linsdell)

WHAT: We’re planning a summer-long trip to the UK in 2014. We will be exploring Arthurian legend sites, tracking Doctor Who shooting locations, visiting ancestral sites (we both have extensive and interesting ancestor stories from all over the UK), interviewing the occasional celebrity that we’ve seen on BBC America (we’ve already successfully started booking interviews), taking gorgeous nature walks, blogging and writing restaurant reviews. The pinnacle of the trip, for me, will be to face my intense fear of heights and take a photo of the sunset over the Irish Sea from the top of the Blackpool Tower.

English: Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHERE: England, Wales, Scotland and possibly Ireland.

WHEN: We’re shooting for next summer, from the start of June until the end of August. We’ve been invited to a Druid Solstice ritual shortly after we arrive, and we’ll spend June in southern England and Wales, exploring Camelot and Avalon, and Jeff’s ancestry and Doctor Who locations.

In July, we’ll spend time in Liverpool, because we’re Beatles fans, then head to Janet’s Foss, a waterfall in central England where the Queen of the Faeries is supposed to have lived. Along the way, we’ll be taking long nature walks to see the beauty that is the United Kingdom. Then we’ll head up to Scotland for a visit, to find where my ancestors ranged from dirt-poor coalminers to ancient royalty.

English: Janet's Foss

Janet’s Foss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In August, we’ll still be in Scotland and possibly Ireland, but then we’ll come back south in time to spend a week in Blackpool during their annual Illuminations celebration. We’ll be tracking down shooting locations for the incredible BBC miniseries, Blackpool (starring David Tennant, Sarah Parish and David Morrissey). We’ll wrap up the trip in London and head home.

WHY: Why not? Life is short and the world is waiting.

Regarding sponsors, I have a list of several companies to approach. I’ve already started to build a platform. I have very good reasons why each of these companies may be interested in trading goods/cash in exchange for shameless pluggery. We’re going anyway. They may as well come along for the ride.

So … now what? How do I make this happen? What kind of presentation should I create? How do I pitch this? Do you want to sponsor us? Do you want to help us find sponsors in exchange for sponsorship? Your expertise is requested and appreciated. Fill in the form below, or email me at lisa @ lisabonnice.com.  Meantime, I will continue to plug away with research.

Follow my progress on GiveIt100.com!

First responder: “Blackpool” actress, Sarah Parish!

Part of our planned travel-blog trip to the UK next summer is to interview as many of my favorite actors from BBC America as I can. British television is so different from TV in the US (it’s not all just Doctor Who over there!), and I look forward to helping to introduce sarah parishthe American audience to some of these people. As the BBC series Blackpool is the original impetus for our trip, I started first by contacting those actors. And Sarah Parish, the actress who artfully played the female lead, Natalie Holden, has said yes!

Readers in the States may not know who she is. I didn’t, until I saw Blackpool. But she’s been a working actress for about twenty years, and played Hannah in the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law/Kate Winslett film The Holiday. She also played alongside Kevin Costner in the Golden Globe winning mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys.

Doctor Who fans will know Ms. Parish as the Empress of the Racnoss (in Donna Noble’s first episode, The Runaway Bride). I had no racnoss toy2idea they were the same actress until I looked her up on imdb.com and saw that role listed among her extensive acting credits. But better yet, she even has an action figure! Now that is impressive. 😉

Because a lot of British programming isn’t available in the US, it’s difficult to find video of many of her roles, except on YouTube. But what I’ve seen shows exceptional acting ability, and I’m really impressed with the way she throws herself into whatever role she’s playing, even if it’s a spider queen, a troll (as Lady Catrina on Merlin) or the queen of Atlantis.

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Atlantis premieres on BBC America on November 23, right after the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. I’ll be watching both!

I’ll keep you posted as any other British thespians agree to meet with me. I’m thrilled to be able to say that my first to say yes is one that I respect so highly.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to talk to a woman who got to make out with David Morrissey AND David Tennant, even if it was just on film! Even at my age, I can’t help squeeing with envy, like a fangirl.

Added to the itinerary: “Broadchurch”

I just watched the final episode of Broadchurch on BBC America. Even though Broadchurch is a fictional town, the shooting location is now on the list of “things to see” that BBC America has shown to us because of this:

West Bay Beach and East Cliff (photo from the Daily Mail)

The show was mostly shot in West Bay on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. That’s where these cliffs are. Here is an article from the Daily Mail, telling how the filming of this show has brought in a bunch of tourists:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2312826/Broadchurch-West-Bay-Dorset-ITV-series-filmed-sees-record-tourist-numbers.html

Olivia Colman and David Tennant
in Broadchurch
(photo from the Mirror Online)

It looks like we’re going to be some of those tourists! We wouldn’t have seen these gorgeous cliffs if not for programming on BBC America.

I watched Broadchurch because it stars David Tennant, who I think is a terrific actor, Arthur Darvill (who was such fun as Rory Williams, Amy Pond’s husband, on Doctor Who) and Olivia Colman. Also in the cast is David Bradley, who was in Blackpool, Doctor Who and the Harry Potter movies.

Ms. Colman was also on an episode of Doctor Who–Matt Smith’s first. If you haven’t seen Broadchurch yet, be prepared for a tour de force performance on her part, especially in the final episode. WOW! That woman is an incredible actress.

Anyway, we may make the Jurassic Coast our first stop, after landing in London and spending a few days there. Then we’re thinking about heading north toward Cardiff, stopping a few places on the way. After finding some ancestral spots in Wales, we’ll buzz up to Liverpool to see the standard Beatles sites, then head up to Scotland for more ancestral spots. We’re saving Blackpool for last.

This itinerary isn’t set in stone, but it’s a start. I’ll be tweaking the details as the plan evolves. Meantime, I’m researching the best travel sites/apps and the best mobile phone service providers for our purposes. I have a lot to do before next summer to make something of this magnitude happen!

Wish me luck.

Here’s you a dog. (This little fella did NOT like me walking past his yard this morning!)

Added to Bucket List: Paolo Nutini concert

The trip that Jeff and I are planning for next summer is based pretty much on things we’ve learned about the UK from the BBC and BBC America. We are focusing, primarily, on the better known British offerings to the entertainment world, like Doctor Who and the Beatles, but we’re wavering off the path to see some that are lesser known here in the States like the seaside town of Blackpool. One of those I’m adding today is to see a Paolo Nutini concert, if he’s performing in the UK next summer.

We saw him perform Pencil Full of Lead on the Graham Norton Show and were completely blown away by the voice that came out of this boy (we’re in our fifties–to us, he’s a boy). Watch him wail and tell me that you wouldn’t go see him live, if you were in the vicinity:

Psychic Dreams

My most recent blog, about our planned trip to Blackpool, England, has indirectly caused me to realize that this trip will be the fulfillment of a longtime series of very specific recurring dreams. I’ve been dreaming about Blackpool for years, but didn’t recognize it!

I used to dream about Florida, long before Jeff and I ever thought of moving there, and once we arrived I was able to recognize scenes from various dreams as they were happening in real life. It’s so weird to have them come true like that, when I didn’t even know what they are showing me. I remember a Florida dream about a garden near a swimming pool, with statues and spiritual symbols in it. It turned out to be a serenity garden in which Jeff and I got married.

laserium control console

The control panel in my dream looked a lot like this one. Image Source: http://www.patrickmccray.com/2015/01/

The first psychic dream that I can remember coming true took place in approximately 1989. I had a bizarre dream that took place in a darkened room, where there was a big, black control panel and weird geometrical shapes of light in the air. Because I had never seen anything like it before, it was kind of scary and I thought I was nuts. Why on earth would I be dreaming about something so alien?

Then in the mid 90s I started working for Laserium and my boss was Ivan Dryer, the pioneer in the laser concert industry, who performed the very first laser show at Griffith Observatory in the 70s (you can read all about it by clicking the link under the photo of the control panel). Ivan asked the laserist in the studio to give me a demonstration of what they do. It didn’t take long for me to  recognized the laserist’s control panel and the geometrical light shapes in the air!

I’ve also dreamed a lot about New York City and somewhere in Great Britain. The New York dreams are coming much more frequently lately, and I have a feeling I’ll be there before the end of the year. For what reason, I do not know.

The exciting thing to me, now, is the dreams of the UK because a puzzle piece has just fallen into place. The dreams never told me exactly where they occurred. I have just been shown that someday I’d be there, near the water, and Ireland entered into it somehow.

But get this. In most of the dreams about the UK, I always saw something unrecognizable embedded into the ground, like tiles or patterns in concrete. Weird dreams. These tiles were set into a circular pad of cement. I could always sense waves nearby and I knew that Ireland was related somehow. I’ve never been able to pinpoint what the dreams were about, but they definitely included this water’s-edge, weird-patterned tilework.

Comedy Carpet viewed from the top of the tower - Picture of Comedy Carpet, Blackpool

This photo of Comedy Carpet is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Well, I’ve just discovered where in England those seaside tiles are–in a town I’ve only recently heard of, Blackpool. In my research about the town, in an effort to manifest this trip, I just happened to stumble upon this photo.

The tiles (which aren’t really tiles, it is a concrete and granite installation which features catchphrases and jokes by more than 1,000 comedians and writers)  are called the Comedy Carpet.  (More irony: Jeff and I met when we were both professional standup comedians.) You can see the circular cement pad, and the waves crashing onto the shore. And, Blackpool is on the Irish Sea.

I am blown away to finally learn where in England I’ve been dreaming about for so very many years, and that I was unintentionally planning a trip there! Wow!!!

Oddly, the Comedy Carpet wasn’t installed yet when the movie Blackpool (the inspiration for this trip, starring David Tennant–the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, Sarah Parish and David Morrissey) was filmed, so I wasn’t aware that there was a connection to my dream tiles when I saw the movie and began to plan this trip. In fact, I’d been having dreams about the “tiles” for many years before they existed.

I wasn’t even thinking about these dreams when I started to plan our trip to Blackpool recently. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the dreams until I saw photos of the Comedy Carpet. I can’t help thinking that there is a much bigger purpose behind this trip than Jeff and I just having a fun lark-about abroad. I can’t wait to find out what it is!

Next on my Bucket List: Blackpool, England

In which author Lisa Bonnice sets her intention for her next goal: a lengthy visit to the UK, with the pinnacle of the trip being a photo of the sunset over the Irish Sea from the “Eye” of the Blackpool Tower.

Sunset over the Irish Sea, and the Blackpool Tower. (from the Blackpool Tower facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackpoolTower)

I just completed the first major item on my lifetime Bucket List. I have officially become a best-selling author. Boom. Done.

So now what? I didn’t really make any big plans beyond that, because it’s taken 52 years to accomplish this one. It’s sort of been an obsession, so I didn’t make a bucket list beyond that one thing. But now that I’ve achieved that goal, I want to make the next one fun and easy.

Our plan (my husband Jeff and I) is to indulge some of our curiosity about the UK from what we’ve seen on BBC America and our love of the Beatles. We’re going to visit some of the Doctor Who sites and museums (including Cardiff), then go to Liverpool to visit the Cavern Club and do whatever Beatles site-seeing is available, and finally head to Blackpool.

Why Blackpool? A British friend of mine asked that very question. “Why Blackpool!? It’s the Coney Island of the UK!”

I responded, “That’s exactly why. I love kitsch.”

But there’s more to it than that. The BBC aired a mini-series a few years ago filmed in and entitled Blackpool. Through a long and winding trail of links about David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) I found a bunch of YouTube videos that allowed me to watch the whole thing (all six hours, ten minutes at a time).

Watch Blackpool

Your mileage may vary, but I found this miniseries to be one of the most well-written, well-acted and well-executed productions I’ve ever seen. And it made me fall head over heels in love with the town of Blackpool! I simply MUST BE THERE!

I must step foot inside the arcade where Ripley Holden’s life began to unravel. I have to walk along the Promenade where DI Peter Carlisle wooed Natalie Holden. And (he doesn’t know this yet) Jeff and I will have tea, and then dance in the famous Blackpool Ballroom!

The Blackpool Ballroom, with its famous Wurlitzer Organ. (from the Blackpool Tower facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackpoolTower)

We’re shooting for summer of next year, 2014. We’re intending to align our visit to Blackpool with their annual Illuminations festival. We have a year to make this happen, and I’ve already started the process.

And … go!