Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not the Po or Tiber

WARNING: If you are not a Doctor Who fan, you will not understand any of this.
Also, if you are a Doctor Who fan with no idea of who either River Song or Romana is, you will not understand any of this.

Disclaimer: this post will be edited continuously as I gather more info and musings.  I am a comparatively new Whovian and I don't know a whole lot, so forgive my naïveté.

I've seen many ridiculous theories on the identity of River Song, such as "She's Jenny!" or "She's Amy Pond!" or whatever else nonsense people can think of.

My guess: Romana.

Why isn't it Jenny?
Jenny is the Doctor's daughter, generated from a piece of his DNA (against his will).  She has no idea who or what she is, she just knows the Doctor is her "father" (by a lucky coincidence, Georgia Moffett is the daughter of the Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor), a lot about combat and gymnastics, how to walk and talk, and how to seduce (isn't that how they got out of the jail cell?)

Why would a daughter call her own father "sweetie" or "my love" and speak as if they were equals?  It just makes no sense.  Don't even dare bring up incest as an argument.
I think most people already get the hint that River is the Doctor's wife from the future.  This has basically been confirmed in the scripts and by Moffat himself.  It is quite obvious that their relationship is markedly different from a father-daughter relationship.  I have no idea why people keep insisting it's Jenny. Sheesh people, think!

Why isn't it Amy Pond?
Because Amy Pond's already married and she's a completely different person.  She and River Song have basically nothing in common, even superficially.  I wouldn't call her hair "red" or her accent "Inverness Scottish."  This is a bit weaker as a counter-argument, but I just don't think it's her.  The connection of "Pond" and "River" as bodies of water has already been dismissed by Moffat.

Why isn't it the Master?
Regenerations aren't known to be gender-switching processes.  It may be a black swan, though.  In any case, I don't think such an intense rivalry could turn into romance. 

Why do people think it's not Romana?
They cite various reasons like
1) Time Lords can sense each others' presence
2) Romana and River are two very different people
3) Romana was locked away with all the other Gallifreyans in the Great Time War
4) River doesn't regenerate in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.

My counter-arguments
1) There have been many instances when the Doctor didn't recognize other Time Lords (I can't think of one right now, but I remember making note of that fact).  Also, what about the Chameleon Arch?  What if she wanted to disguise herself to prevent "spoilers," which is something she presumably knows that the Doctor hates?
2) Who's to say that Romana didn't regenerate and become a new person?  Of course personalities can change with regenerations, in fact, it is known that she became a radically different person when she was Lord President of Gallifrey.
3) No one ever knows what happened to her before the end of the Time War.  It is known that she was replaced by Rassilon as Lord President.  Maybe she regenerated again and this time decided that the Time War was a lost cause and went off as a renegade Time Lady looking for the Doctor again?
4) Well duh... we all know that a Time Lord/Lady can die if killed too fast (cf. Turn Left) without given a chance to regenerate.  Also, how do we know River Song isn't Romana's 13th incarnation?  The Time War went on for all the Time Lords incarnation after incarnation after incarnation.

Arguments for Romana (in addition to the arguments above)

My arguments do not stand separately, but must be considered as a whole.
1) River is exceptional.  She knows a lot about many things scientific, historically, even bestially, just like the Doctor, and perhaps like other Time Lords.  I'd even venture to say that she knows more than Harkness.
2) Both Romana and River Song know how to pilot a TARDIS better than the Doctor (see 4th Doctor and 11th Doctor episodes)
3) Romana and the Doctor were really close; she is one of only two Gallifreyans to have been a companion (the other being the Doctor's granddaughter Susan)
4) Romana and River both like bugging the Doctor in small ways.  I think...
5) Face of Boe said the Doctor's not alone.  What if he wasn't just referring to the Master?

The title is yet another pun.
If you didn't get it,
Romana + River = Roman River (two notable Roman rivers: Po and Tiber)

Friday, October 8, 2010

All the lonely people - where do they all belong?

Salvete, omnes!

It's been an awfully long time since I've last posted (if you consider over a month an awfully long time.......... long is a relative term...) but here I am!

As many people know, I've been at college since the middle of September. I must say, it is one awesome experience. Overall, Northwestern's not as bad as Stanton; the workload's not as bad, and my classes (mine, strictly speaking) don't start until 11 AM (M-Th) or 12 PM (F). My teachers are pretty cool, especially my chemistry professor and math professor (compare the two! Such a difference in style!). My TAs are cool too.

Enough about college. That's not the purpose of this post.

It's no surprise to people that listening to music is my drug. OK, so what?

I went to a different dorm last night (CCI for the NU-literate) to play piano, because, for once, my workload was minimal. I started playing and I realized how much I enjoyed just playing and making music, despite the fact that the music was not quite Stravinsky, Mahler, or Shostakovich. I fell into a sort of a drowsy state of "just keep playing and listen."

I realized today that there is something better than listening to music. It's making music and listening to the music you make, assuming that the music you make is bearable to listen to. (How bearable something is is completely left to the audience).

Listening to music is good enough to improve my mood significantly. Listening and taking pride in the music I make is something that's better. I've thus found that despite the fact that I like playing for other people, I like playing for myself. There's no one else to judge but myself, and I am a lazy judge. If it sounds good enough that I like it, I'm happy. Music + pride! Is there anything better?

That was no rhetorical question. The answer is, quite simply and emphatically, YES.

After coming to the realization that I liked making music simply for the sake of making music to listen to, I thought about when I really liked making music. I did not have to think long, because the answer facepalmed me rather quickly.

I used to think I was most happy when I was listening to music. I am now inclined to think that I am most happy when I am MAKING music with OTHER PEOPLE.

Stipulations! The "other people" have to be friendly and competent. Otherwise we'd all get pissy and sound like crap. And I'll have a massive headache, which is not good food for happiness. And no one likes pissy people. Especially me.

The more the merrier! One of the things that kept me really sane (but ate away at my time) was playing for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra. If you play an instrument and live in the Greater Jacksonville area, I highly recommend joining this organization, unless you simply don't have the time nor the money. I think my pleasure was apparent in the way I bounced around in my seat as I played (unintentionally!), much to the amusement of my colleagues, who are, I should add, friendly and competent.

It therefore made sense to me why I wanted, more than anything else, to join the NU Philharmonia, with or without private violin lessons. So far, I'm enjoying it a lot too, though not as much as I enjoyed JSYO, because no one really knows each other in the orchestra and there are no breaks in rehearsals to socialize. At least everyone's competent; but I suppose friendliness doesn't matter as much when you're in a huge ensemble.

Of course, I like making music with any number of other people, be it 1 or 80. Making music with one other person is awesome, as my experiences with friends have shown (e.g. Alan, Kim, David, Evan, Brad, teachers, etc.). Making music in small groups of 3 (as I have done for Bartók's Contrasts with John Henry and Nick!), 4 (string quartets with Anna, Peter, and Victor!), or even 6 (Brahms Sextet No. 1 with Rachel, Peter, Leah, Sunny, and Chris!) is pleasant too!

In ensembles, members or sections all interact with each other in many ways, constantly. We support and lead each other, sometimes both at the same time. Harmonies support the melodies, melodies give harmonies something to support and they are the most prominent elements in music. Instrument timbres color both the harmonies and melodies in different ways, depending on how the composer/orchestrator/arranger does it (see my previous post on cooking and orchestration). And when I'm not playing, I can enjoy the music made by others, until the time comes for me to contribute my skills to the overall texture of sometimes-structured aural stimulation.

It's best when we just make music just for fun, with or without instruments. There's no pressure to do well, no deadline to meet, just music and happiness. We can laugh at mistakes and carry on madly with no care in the world of how we might sound to a discerning audience or a critiquing judge. It's even better when you and a friend or friends sing individual lines at the top of your lungs (someone has to do that with me for Mahler or Shostakovich. Seriously! ANYONE?!) just for the hell of it.

All the lonely people belong in groups, where they can feed from each other's talents, skills, and perspectives. The Beatles were a group, and so were the instrumentalists for that song: a double string quartet. Their harmonies, timbres, and ideas mixed to become one of my favorite Beatle songs of all time: Eleanor Rigby.

Cheesy end? I think so. Bah, who cares?