Who?

This weekend I was completely flabbergasted by what I can only describe as a phenomena that I would have never (in a million years) have expected.  Unless you are sleeping under a rock, there is little doubt that you heard at least a little something about the 50th Anniversary of the first airing of Doctor Who. 

THE ELEVEN DOCTORS

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Who is Doctor Who (pardon the pun) you ask

Doctor Who is a [fictional character known as a] “time lord” from the planet Gallifrey who can regenerate his life, and travels through space and time in a transportation device known as the TARDIS.  (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space).  Besides space and time travel, one of the most notable attributes of the TARDIS is it’s dimensional transcendentality.  Simply put, “it’s bigger on the inside”.

I could go on and on and on explaining the world of Doctor Who for the unfamiliar, but it would be an overwhelming task which is readily available with a simple search of the world wide web. 

I am not here to explain the world of Doctor Who.  Nope, I am here to expound upon by level of complete and utter flabbergastery (as noted above). 

In order to do this, I need you to jump into the TARDIS, and I’ll take you back to 1980-1983.
(Push play on the YouTube play button)


FOFAhh, here we are!  Welcome to the early 1980’s! 

The Father of Five (as you know him) is now a geeky, chubby husky not-so-little 5th (6th, 7th or 8th grade) misfit attending Nativity of Mary Catholic School in a moderately isolated (and fairly “prestigious”) bubble of American Suburbia. 

He doesn’t fit in with the athletic kids at all.  His primary friends (Tom, Tim, Dan and Jim) are four of the most academically endowed boys in the class who (I honestly suspect) felt a little sorry for the young father-of-five-to-be misfit, and accepted him into their group (despite his mediocre (at best) academic performance).  While he may not have been at the same level academically, he shared many of the same interests with these young lads and many fond memories were created through these outlets! 

Things like…   Early computing (Commodore, TI-99, Timex-Sinclair, etc), Dungeons & Dragons (and other role playing games), Risk, Chess, Star Wars (and other science fiction – like… Doctor Who)

Back then, Doctor Who was predominantly an underground phenomenon (even within the SciFi culture), and held a small but loyal “cult like” following known as “Whovians”. 

If you openly talked about Doctor Who outside your Whovian circles, you were (at best) met with a blank stare followed by a raised eyebrow, and a “Who…” or “What… are you talking about?”.  The subsequent explanation would often result in a completely uninterested blank stare. 

If, on the other hand, you were not so lucky - you would find yourself teased unmercifully and your standing in the school-yard hierarchy would take an irreparable beating.  

tom baker_doctor_who I admit.  Back in the early 1980’s I was a Whovian.  I really really enjoyed Doctor Who.  Many times I would daydream that my bedroom door was a door to my own TARDIS.  Picturing the space beyond the door as much larger that it really was.  I often drifted off to sleep with the imagery of a TARDIS (MY TARDIS) whirling about in space, or traveling through a conduit of time – wondering just where I would wake up.

I wrote my own computer program (in TI-99 BASIC) that drew the TARDIS on the screen.  The light on top of the TARDIS would flash a couple of times, then the whole TARDIS would flash a couple of times, and then the TARDIS disappear, leaving the computer screen blank.  I spent a LOT of time writing that program! 

Completing the full “ensemble” of my Whovian fanaticism (literally) – was the last year I went out trick-or-treating (circa 6th – 7th grade). 

I dressed up as Doctor Who. 

This was Tom Baker (4th incarnation) era.  I wore a wool trench coat.  I took three scarves and pinned them together in order to recreate the infamous oversized scarf.  I donned a camouflaged “bucket hat” (which was the closest thing I had to the Doctor’s felt fedora) and carried my dad’s tire pressure gauge as my sonic screwdriver.  I lost count of how many houses asked me who I was dressed as (and how many blank stares I got in return.)

Somewhere, in the farthest reaches of my parent’s home, there is a photo of me dressed as Doctor Who that Halloween.  I will do my best to find it and post it for all to see embarrass myself by sharing it with you. 

Speaking of the farthest reaches of my parents home – who here remembers my “Amateur Archeology” post (link provided)?  Click on through, and scroll down.  Pay attention to the 5th and 6th photos down, and even CLOSER attention to the 8th and 9th photos! 

Over the years, my connection with my Whovian past has dwindled.  At one point “Doctor Who” was not much more than a distant (pleasant, but distant) memory.  That was until a few years back.  The BBC decided it was time to breath some new life into the old series and “regenerated” it (see what I did there fellow Whovians??  “Regenerated it”?!?!)

The series was brought up to speed, polished, decorated, and repackaged – and to be honest with you, they did one helluva job on it!!  When I first got wind of the update, I caught up with my old friend the Doctor.  Over several months, I watched the first 2 1/2 seasons – and really liked what they did!

Alas, the Life of a Father of Five (chaos in paradise) does not allow for much leisure television viewing – and I quickly fell behind and then (once again) lost focus on Doctor Who.     

This all brings me to last weekend. 
The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. 

The aforementioned update has really created a resurgence in the show… No, it’s even more that that.   The update has created a truly unbelievable level of popularity (world wide) for my beloved Doctor.  I can not believe how mainstream the series has become – even in the past couple of years! 

I was ASTONISHED to see SO MANY Facebook posts about Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary.  I saw postings about Doctor Who parties.  I saw photos (plural) of TARDIS cakes, and SciFi themed snacks and decorations for said parties.  I saw cover photos and profile photos of the TARDIS, users’ favorite Doctor, and even a Dalek or two.  I saw links to articles, and to videos of all things Doctor Who.  I saw photos of groups of kids gathered together for a Doctor Who marathons.  I saw parents (some I knew where Whovians, and others I had no idea) participating in the Whovian festivities!

It was off my radar.  I had NO IDEA how popular and mainstream Doctor Who had become.
Even MY MOTHER called me up and started sharing some Doctor Who trivia she picked up!!

I have mixed feelings about all of this. 

On one hand I somehow feel as if I lost a “badge” I once wore.  A “badge” I once EARNED!  The badge was part of being associated with a “less than popular” subculture.  It was quiet.  It was unique.  It was different.  It was something special.  On the other hand, I am ecstatic to see just how much the series has taken on a life of it’s own!  Doctor Who is part of many of so many of my cherished childhood memories – and I am delighted to think that another generation of Whovians will grow up fueled by the stories of The Doctor and his adventures through space and time!

With this resurgence one thing is certain.  I am looking forward to once again reconnecting with my old friend…   The Doctor.

30 Days of Thankfulness – The First Seven

In an attempt to breath a little life back into The Life of a Father of Five, I am stealing 30 Facebook statuses and putting them together here in smaller chunks. 

The statuses??  “30 Days of Thankfulness”

I first noticed this “trend” when one of my former Youth Group chaperones updated her Facebook status with one of her “days of thankfulness”.  I immediately fell in love with the idea.   During November (the month that Thanksgiving falls within) simply post one thing you are thankful for each day.  That’s when it hit me..  These items would make great content here.  After all, the primary reason for this blog is… 

I am keeping this blog as a collection of thoughts for my children (but others are welcome to enjoy too). Someday I hope they have they chance to read this and get just a small glimpse into the mind of their father.

These first seven are more “grandiose” (and “obvious”) concepts.  They have much more detail, and explanation included, and are much more lengthy than the others that follow.  I hope  these offer a little more glimpse into what it is like to be a “father of five”.
     


#1 - I am thankful for my AMAZING wife – The Mother of Five.

I could not have asked for a better partner in life. She has never been anything but loving, caring, and supportive – even when I have been less than perfect. She is beautiful – both inside and outside. Together we have built a astonishing family, and a wonderful place to call “home”. I can not even begin to imagine what my life would be without her by my side.


#2 - I am thankful for my wonderful children…

All of them. They each bring a different characteristic and element of joy (and challenge) to my life. From the first moment I met each of them up to (and including) this very minute - they have all surprised me with their unique sense of humor, intelligence, thoughtfulness, caring and compassion for others, athletic abilities, artistic talents, and ability to "push my buttons" (each in their own special sort of way).

These kids of mine have made every day of my life since their birth just a little bit better than the last - and I look forward to watching them grow into amazing adults!

#1 of 5, #2 of 5, #3 of 5, #4 of 5, and #5 of 5.

I would not be living a delightful live as The Life of a Father of Five without each and every one of them!


#3 - I am thankful for my faith in God.

Faith comes in as many shapes and forms as the name of God does (God, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Elohim, Vishnu, just to name a few). Some people believe that (which I have been personally accused of) a faith in God is for the “weak minded” - but in my life I have been fortunate enough to personally feel (and benefit from) the tremendous presence of God – many times over. The knowledge that there is a power greater than “us”, responsible for the creation of all as we know it comforts me in ways I am not fully able to articulate.

Not only am I am grateful for my own faith, I am grateful for a faith strong enough to have a healthy curiosity and interest in beliefs beyond those of my own and the ability to recognize that not everyone must believe in the same way I believe. I have learned that by educating myself about other’s beliefs (include a lack thereof) – I further strengthen my own.
 


#4 - I am thankful for my parents.

I was raised by two very loving and very caring parents. They created (and provided) my sister and I a wonderful home and nurturing environment in which to thrive in. They made many sacrifices so that our lives were comfortable. It was through their sacrifice that I can say I was never in "need" of anything, and very few "wants" went unfulfilled. I have become the man (and father) I am today as a result of the example my father has shown me through his life, and I can see many of my mother's best traits within my wife. I have no doubt that the example she has shown me on what being an amazing mother is all about has helped guide me to finding someone just as wonderful to help me raise my family! I could not have asked for two more wonderful parents! It is just simply not possible to express my level of gratitude for ALL they have done for me throughout my life.

I am not only grateful for my parents, I am grateful for my in-laws. I know the running joke is for a man to not get along with his mother-in-law and to tolerate his father-in-law. In my case nothing could be further from the truth. My in laws have been accepting of me from the moment I met them. As with my parents, my in-laws raised my wife to be the wonderful person she is by their example. My wife is an amazing mother, and (I like to think) she selected a wonderful husband based on the traits she saw in her parents. Let's also not forget that they have entrusted me with one of their most precious gifts. Their daughter. I am a better man, a better husband, and a better father because of them. I will be forever grateful for having these two wonderful people in my life.

I will take it one step further.. My Grandparents. Those of you who know me best know just how much my grandparents meant to me. Not a day or two can go by without one of them popping up in my head for one reason or another. I have often felt their presence with me at various moments throughout my life, and I can still feel their influence in my life to this day. Many fond childhood memories are based on times spent with my grandparents, and I miss them all so much. I would give almost anything to spend just one more day with each of them.
 


#5 - I am thankful for my friends.

True friendship is a very powerful thing. Not many are aware of the internal struggles I deal with that interfere with fostering the bonds of friendship.

That being said, I wish to share how very grateful I am having made a number of significant and long lasting friendships I have throughout my life.

It was not until many years later that I fully realized and comprehend the friendships I was making through my elementary and junior high school years at Nativity of Mary, and during my high school years at The Academy of the Holy Angels. My college years were made truly unforgettable by the almost family-like-bond I developed with a small group of very close friends.

As life progressed and my family grew, the spare time I had to spend with my friends had all but dwindled. Despite the lack of time I have to invest in my friends, a select few significant friendships have endured the test of time (and / or the lack thereof). I am able to sit right down with these very special friends and pick up right where we left off as if nary a day had passed. I am not able to fully express just how much these friends mean to me. Their dedication to our friendship seemingly knows no bounds – and I will be forever indebted to them.

Time limitations and technological advances sent me in an unexpected direction. Little did I know some seven (plus) years ago what the wonderful world of blogging would open up to me. Through my blog I have made some amazing connections. Most of these folks I may never have the privilege of actually meeting. A few of these connections I have been fortunate enough to meet, a couple others I am looking forward to meeting one day. Meet, yet to meet, or never will meet matters not. Categorizing the folks I have connected to through blogging (and other various social media technology) as anything less than REAL and TRUE friends would be shameful on my part. These “virtual” friends (and I HATE using that term) have been there for me in ways that supported me others cannot. They have provided me an alternate method to circumvent some of my internal struggles, and have provided me confidence in areas that I did not even imagine they could.

Just know that by the mere fact that YOU are reading this status update, that YOU are considered a friend – and I will forever be grateful for the friend you have been, remain, or will be to me now and into the future!


#6 - I am thankful for a career that I enjoy and leaves me feeling like I make a difference.

Most of you know I am a 9-1-1 / Police / Fire Dispatcher. I never INTENDED that be my career. I obtained an A.S. Degree in Law Enforcement, attended Skills (a generic basic "Police Academy" required for all Police Officers in Minnesota) and past my P.O.S.T. exam (Peace Officers Standard in Training), and while working in the security field, stumbled into "dispatching" quite by accident.

With a background in computers, radio, electronics, and all things "geeky" - I quickly discovered that Dispatching may be the "niche" in the Law Enforcement world that fit me best. I spent a few years honing my skills in a very large (one may even call it "mega") mall. I applied to several 9-1-1 centers, was offered a couple of jobs (that I had to turn down due to residency requirements) before finally being hired. Then, only one month after my first 9-1-1 job began, I was offered a position at my "dream department".

January will mark my 19th year working for the same department. I consider myself very fortunate, and (daily) grateful for the opportunity to do what I do, for the city I do it for. While there is no "perfect" job, I can not begin to express how thankful I am that (after 19 years) I do not hate going to work. Each day brings something new, and affords me another opportunity to help someone in need or to do something good for the community at large. At the same time, I do my part in helping make sure that those who wish interfere in the lives of others (for less than noble reasons) face the consequences of their actions. It's truly rewarding!

I am also thankful for the opportunity to work side by side with an amazing group of people. Fellow dispatchers, police officers, administration, supervisory staff - all come together to make a exemplary team. Each member bringing their best attributes to the team. I am proud (and very thankful) to be part of that team!


#7 – I am thankful for my siblings

I have previously spoke of my mother and father, grandparents, and my in-laws – but I could not forgive myself if I did not take a moment to mention how thankful I am of my sister.  My sister and I are very different, and yet very similar in many ways. I actually enjoy both the similarities and difference between us!  My sister is just slightly younger than I am – and therefore she has always been my “little sister” to me.  Like some “big brothers” – I sometimes (even now as adults) feel a little protective of her.  I have in the past, and still would take “whatever means necessary” to protect my little sis.  As life progressed, my sister and I have dealt with a challenges in “geographic proximity”.  We have (for all of our adult lives) lived across country from each other – but I am very grateful that we have been able to remain as close as we have across the miles.

My sister married a wonderful man whom I TRULY enjoy spending time with.  He (and his family) have been a gift to our family.  They have also provided me with two twin nephews which I simply adore.  When I get to spend time with them, I am in another world.  I get to do things / be someone very different with them than with my own kids, and in a “slightly devious” way, I LOVE IT!  Every time I take a moment to look at what my little sister has grown into – I am nothing less than humbled and amazed!

I only have one BIOLOGICAL sister, but through my marriage – I quadrupled that number.  Just like with my Mother and Father in-law, my Sisters and Brothers-in law have also blessed my life in many ways.  I was accepted into the family from the first time I have met them – and have been rewarded by their trust, generosity, and friendship.  Like my sister, we deal with “geographic proximity” challenges with most of my brothers and sisters in laws.  Earlier this year, my wife and her siblings (and us spouses) had an opportunity to get together.  We sat around my in-laws deck “shootin the breeze” till the wee hours of the morning.  It’s one of the more  enjoyable evenings of the entire summer!

Like with my sister, I also have two nephews through my in-laws – and I love getting spend time with them!  Through the time I spend with them, I am also allowed to play the role of “crazy uncle”!

I am thankful for such wonderful “brothers and sisters” (bio or in-law)!  

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