And now for some rambling about Doctor Who

WHO CAN'T HEAR YOU?  I CAN'T HEAR YOU!…because God knows, I never talk about that, right?

The BBC has tipped its hand that we’ll get another Doctor Who “minisode” this year as part of the Children In Need telethon – weeks after Russell T. Davies categorically said there wouldn’t be one, and mere days after several of the UK papers reported that a one-off reunion of all of the living Doctors was in the offing. Part of me isn’t sure we need to see either of the Bakers crammed back into their old costumes (to be as charitable as possible, neither of them really looks like they used to, and I’m really talking about age there, though dear old Colin appears to have done a lot of good eating since leaving the TARDIS). But I’d give what’s left of my eyeteeth to have McCoy and/or McGann come back. All of them in the same room? Wow! Dimensions In Time Part 10!

Not that I need a bunch of actors on a stage for a multi-Doctor story, mind you:

The However Many Doctors

Actually, let me rewind a bit, because getting to the point where I had five Doctors on one toy shelf was quite an adventure, and not one I’d care to repeat.

I had originally placed an order for an entire shipping case of the classic series figures, the Sontaran Stratagem box set (3 Sontarans + Donna) and the Classic Dalek 3-pack on my birthday this year, though a series of Bad Things Happening eventually made it impossible for me to keep that order in the pipeline. Even with DVDs selling, I was having to divert all of my incoming $$$ toward stuff like baby food and daddy food. The order was cancelled…which is a pain in the ass because it was the cheapest I ever would’ve gotten the damn things for. So much for my birthday present to me, eh?

Worse yet, in August, I finally did scrape together enough money to start picking the figures up piecemeal. So I went to, a place I’d had good dealings with before, and placed an order for one whole Tom Baker figure – about $16 plus shipping, bringing it up to $24 and change. Really a bit exorbitant, but I knew I’d at least get it fairly soon.

Or that’s what I thought.

Weeks went by and finally I e-mailed to ask why my order had been “processing” for over a month – processing what? The Paypal payment went through instantly. Processing my ass is more like it. If it had been marked as a pre-order, I would’ve understood the wait, but the site claimed to have merchandise in hand. No response; I repeated the e-mail a week later. When no response was forthcoming within 72 hours of that e-mail, I filed a dispute through Paypal.

Boy, that got a response. And apparently I wasn’t alone: several friends of mine at had had to resort to similar measures. These people just wouldn’t ship your goods until you did the e-commerce equivalent of grabbing them by the lapels and slamming them up against the wall. I got a very contrite, but rather curt, reply – they’d refund the shipping charge and send my one whole figure out immediately. The reason for the delay? “Confusion over my address.” Huh? They’d shipped to me before. What was so confusing now? Was there some tectonic plate activity that I missed?

I did eventually trip over this on my doorstep about a week later…
Gary Shandling
…crunchy corners, but I’ve seen far, far worse damage on stuff shipped by UPS before.

I promptly handed the contents of the box over to the chief of security…
Gary Shandling

…and apparently they passed inspection.
Garry Shandling

I’m really happy with the figure, despite not being able to decide which head I like better, the manic grin with the hat or the somber hatless version, but the service I received in trying to get this one figure really soured me on a place that I was planning to eventually pick all of the figures up from. The fact that mine was not an isolated case really tipped the scales enough for me to be able to say: don’t bother with At all. They either need to hire more hands to keep up with demand, or figure out a better system; it wouldn’t bother me so much except that they seem to be the “preferred online merchant” of the U.S. distributors, Underground Toys, who link to them via their own site.

A sidebar to the above story is that I wound up with a little more disposable income during my wait for Tom Baker, and I won an eBay auction for the seriously shortpacked Colin Baker figure from a UK seller, for an amount that I didn’t feel was overboard; it wasn’t much more than the off-the-shelf price in the UK. I actually paid slightly less for this figure from the UK, and got it within a week, well before the other Baker arrived. 😆 I know folks who have gotten hoodwinked into shelling out $40+ for Colin, so I felt like I lucked out – certainly moreso than I did with

Maybe if I win the lottery between now and Christmas*, I can get caught up on my figure jones here. It wouldn’t drive me so nuts – you’d be amazed how much I’ve obsessed over getting these damn things, precisely because I haven’t been able to afford them! – except that this year there’s an absolute glut of must-have characters: Donna, Sontarans, Davros, Dalek Supreme, River Song, the dead skull guy in the spacesuit, the Hath, the rest of the first wave of classic figures, the first wave of Torchwood figures… I could go on, but I’ll spare you. And hope that Santa really likes stay-at-home dads who still like their toys. 😉

* = not likely, as I prefer to save my money for more toys instead of pissing it away on losing lottery tickets…

By the way, whatever I decide to do with my Annual Music Thing, be prepared for some Who music, as we’ve already gotten Torchwood’s soundtrack this year, and we’ll be getting Who Season 4 next month, whose tracklist you can see here. And if you want to buy it, I won’t kick anyone out of bed for ordering it here. And then maybe I can afford my own copy. 😆

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