Saturday, January 26, 2013

Make Life Easier by Keeping Your Own Medical Records


With the Affordable Care Act and all, I've heard a lot of talk over the last few years about medical providers keeping digital records. That's fine, but why don't we keep some kind of medical records of our own? They won't have the level of authority as a doctor's medical record, but keeping your own medical records has its uses.

I'll admit, I'm a little biased on this topic. As a health insurance agent, I've heard people ask "How am I supposed to remember five to ten years of medical history?" when filling out an application. I usually just tell them to work from memory best as they can.

I've had my fair share of surprises, though. Plenty of people fail to remember

  • What happened
  • What treatment they had
  • What doctor they may have seen after some kind of serious illness, like cancer, heart attacks and other things that scare the pants off me
I've even seen people get declined for life insurance because they can't remember where they had a test done. The life insurance carrier can't get the information they need for underwriting. They can't even start figuring out if they can take a risk on the applicant. All this after the applicant has gone through the paramed appointment and everything.

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, I've also filled out a couple health insurance applications as my employer looked at their group plan options. Thankfully I had a good enough memory that I was able to dredge up the necessary information. I could also work off of old applications.

We all get older, though. Our memories lose their edge. We end up having more accidents and stranger bodily issues arise. Remembering medical history DOES get harder.

All those issues on my mind, I put together a simple spreadsheet where I keep a log of my medical, dental and other relevant history and claims. I can just type in the information then not have to worry about remembering all of it. Another use for keeping your own digital records: you can keep your facts and dates straight when communicating with insurance carriers about claims.

The headers of the spreadsheet looks something like this (click at it to see it full size):


I used my experience with medical questionnaires on health insurance applications to make the fields. The top part should be pretty self explanatory.

  • What do you have?
  • Who did you see to treat it?
  • How do you get in touch with that person?
That cuts out a lot of work for underwriters. Applying for life or health insurance also becomes much more efficient. Stress gets cut, too.

Makes the job easier for a new health care provider to do research or find out where to get medical records, too. No need for

  • The phone book
  • Searching on the Internet
  • Prospecting through a professional network
Much easier just to get a phone number off a spreadsheet, especially when not much contact has occurred in years.

Sure, they could have closed shop. That's a whole other issue, though. Not much the patient can do but make sure their authoritative medical records follow them from doctor to doctor.

The ongoing record under the contact information part becomes a little complicated, though. Claims and ongoing medical conditions can require multiple phone calls, visits, e-mails and references to some online accounts or status updates, check ups or procedures. Some conditions even have a multitude of procedures that need to be done.

I like to use the merge function to my advantage for this part. I don't use merge for the "Date of Note" or "Note/Status" much, if at all. New information gets added in these fields more than other data.

New dates and notes pretty much keep getting added to

  • Date of Service
  • Insurance Carrier
  • Claim #
Just merge the cell in these columns that has information with blank cells underneath that match up to the fields where you put "Dates of Notes" and "Notes and Status." You won't need to keep typing and sifting through this same information. You put it in once and just look at it once.

Those parts could change in the future if you

  • Have multiple visits
  • Switch insurance carriers
  • If your current insurance carrier sets up a new claim for the same thing (I've seen it happen!). It's unlikely, though.
This simple spreadsheet will save time and effort trying to recall all those appointments and treatments. Get the application or visit a new doctor then pull out the spreadsheet. You'll be in and out with the past in no time!

It can get a little cumbersome, though, after a couple years. I can see it getting even moreso later. As of now, I put more recent stuff at the end. I have thought about putting it at the top. I won't need really old information after awhile, so it will keep getting pushed down further and further.

Maybe have multiple spreadsheets for multiple years. The individual sheets remain manageable and easier and faster to load. We want the experience with this tool effortless and painless, after all.

Using a database program for keeping these records might help more. I've started using LibreOffice Base to take notes for my bachelor project. I've used more elegant databases, but those cost a whole lot more than the price tag of FREE for LibreOffice Base.

Database programs don't have the simplicity of spreadsheets. They also require more customization and set up time. As we get old and subjected to more injury and sickness, though, our health histories become more complex. The simplicity of a spreadsheet might end up a mess and difficult to sift through for desired information.

With a database, though, you can do all types of filtering and sorting information. Instead of copying and pasting, you can have the database just display entries that have certain characteristics. Also, no need to mess with highlighting a ton of spreadsheet fields then use the sort command. Just tell the database to sort with a click on a header.

A database also has the advantage of just showing one note at a time. A spreadsheet requires you to sift through tons of irrelevant information. Then you have to manually avoid all the irrelevant text that stays on the screen. Don't have to do any of that crap when just looking at one entry at a time.

I'll have to look into using a database to keep my personal digital health records. Yay, yet another task to add to the list. . ..

LINKS OF NOTE:

Monday, January 21, 2013

No Matter Which Hobbit It Is, It's Still Tolkien's Hobbit


A little more than a week ago, I read the Huffington Post article, "Dislike Peter Jackson's The Hobbit? Then You Don't Know Tolkien" by Seth Abramson. I agree with Abramson, but I also don't think he fully appreciates the history behind The Hobbit, as we know it today. If he did, I don't think he'd have as much trouble with the Tolkien philistine critics out there.

It took Abramson's article for me to reach this conclusion. Like him and many others out there, I think Peter Jackson could have cut a bit and emphasized different aspects of the film to make a more enjoyable viewing experience. I won't get too deep into the actual film or its narrative, though. I had fun watching it and don't have strong enough feelings to criticize the film itself.

I won't get all that deep into the technological aspects of the frame speed, 3D vs 2D or anything like that. I saw the 24 frames per second (fps) in 3D version. It looked fine with only one or two things that took me out of the action and drama but nothing that stands out too much. I haven't seen any of it in 48 fps. I'm curious to do so some day, though, just to see what all the fuss is about.

Something else has struck my interest more than these two aspects: the arguments over Jackson's loyalty to the original books. Many people have criticized him for stretching it out to three films when the source material is one book (a lot of that argument seems to revolve around Jackson and/or the film company being greedy and cynical). They also argue that The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, was a simple, fun adventure romp, not some kind of epic quest to save the world. Where would the material come from to fill all that extra time?

Abramson and others, on the other hand, point out that these critics who just want a simple adventure romp have it wrong. They fail to know or understand that Tolkien left behind plenty of source material in the appendices at the end of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I read the appendices once, maybe twice, and some other pieces of work that had tons of information about larger events and people that happened concurrently and led up to The War of the Ring.

In my view, both sides of have it right. I see only one part where both sides are wrong: saying that the other side is wrong, they don't understand and that there is a right or wrong answer. I take this approach because at one time or another, Tolkien had imagined The Hobbit in so many different ways on his own, as a standalone story, as something of a prelude to The Lord of the Rings and as probably everything else inbetween.

Tolkien originally came up with The Hobbit as a way to entertain his children or his children or grandchildren (I think he notes this point as in introduction to an edition of The Hobbit, or There and Back Again). Even the first edition published didn't have the One Ring in it. It was just a magical ring of invisibility. Also, Gollum willingly bet it in the game of riddles.

I haven't read the older editions. I don't have any further details of changes from earlier editions to more current ones. Nonetheless, it still stands: the earlier editions of The Hobbit, or There and Back Again was a standalone, not a planned prequel to the Lord of the Rings.

Later, down the road, though, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again did become a prequel. Tolkien kept updating new editions as they got released to make the stories consistent. As mentioned before, he also wrote material that he put in the appendices at the end of The Return of the King.

Tokien had also written a story called "The Quest of Erebor". Based on the link, Tolkien originally wanted to include it in the appendices of The Return of the King. He ended up not putting it in, though, to save space. This story fills the gaps in how Gandalf and Thorin put together their scheme, why they included Bilbo and other such topics not addressed in The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.

Peter Jackson just conflates all these different sources into a series of movies. The people criticizing Jackson for creating new plot points or anything like that just to fill time don't have the most solid ground to stand on. From my understanding, Jackson does do it a little by giving the orcs in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a motivation rather than just random encounters met by the dwarves. I haven't read The Hobbit, or There and Back Again in awhile, but my instincts tell me that characters with motivations lead to a more absorbing story rather than not.

Abramson makes a valid point that these "haters" probably don't know Tolkien. I think he misses the point, though, that the movie the "haters" wanted would have been just as valid of a movie of The Hobbit: There and Back Again as the one Peter Jackson has and will make. Simply put: every version that a faction argues is the real version is a real version. Tolkien wrote most, if not all, the source material that Jackson is pulling from.

I, personally, enjoy that an argument such as this one can be made. Part of me wishes that the copyright had expired and anyone who wants could take and retool the story without needing any special rights or permissions. Tolkien had done a fun job of creating something of an artificial verbal history of Middle Earth as he had come up with new stories and worked to make them all consistent with each other, altering and developing the canon to make it richer each and every time.

Will the stories of Middle Earth become legend and myth for future civilizations as our current one falls or fades away? Will Middle Earth be like the myths we tell of Greek gods and goddesses, Persian gods and goddesses, Gilgamesh and Enkidu and all the rest of the stories that we have from our ancient history? I wish I had a time machine or the ability to observe some future time to see if this potentiality becomes actuality.

Just imagine the stories that would come about through errors in translation! Imagine all the different stories that could be developed for futue generations through the innovations of non-Tolkien writers! It would make an interesting sight to see, that's for sure.

LINKS OF NOTE:

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Unofficially Scraping the Surface of Making Financial Tools and Concepts More Practical


A blog trying to explore creativity, community and stuff like that, like this one, has a place for tips on making sense of finance and organizing stuff. I came to the realization that a creative person could use these types of skills when I read an Asimov's Science Fiction column by Robert Silverberg a long, long time ago.

Silverberg's argument boils down to: "Creative people will likely not become rich, comfortable and ready for retirement solely from writing or whatever they create. Even creative people, unless they have some kind of fortunate windfall, will need to invest wisely to reach independent wealth and a comfortable retirement."

I won't give out stock tips or get too deep into investment stuff. I have reached an awkward stage in my life/career. I feel comfortable enough with my knowledge and instincts to follow my own advice. I may even offer my thoughts to friends and family, leaving it to them whether they find my advice sound or not.

At the same time, I have enough professional qualifications that weak social contacts might view my ruminations as qualified advice. Some people might view my 10 years working in the insurance industry and light experience evaluating risk as certification for being considered an investment professional. I don't offer that kind of advice and don't want the responsibility that comes along with it.

I have no problem giving advice on saving time, reducing stress and possibly even protecting personal finances against sudden physical and health-related losses. This blog entry or future entries are not any kind of marketing pitch, though. At most, I hope someone might take my ruminations, investigate and research them a little more then come up with useful conclusions of their own.

And if I present some tips to set up some practical organization principles and tactics, I hope people will take them to heart. They could make more sense of financial or health information. At the very least, they might address some issue in the future more efficiently than if I didn't mention some stuff I might mention.

All in all, this entry has become more of an abstracted, unclear rumination to say that I may want to bring up topics on how to handle the financial realm. Lots of people find financial stuff impractical, once you get deeper into it. I hope, every once in while, to shine some practical light on these topics.

Guess the only way I'll find out if I'm any good at doing so is by going ahead and writing about it. Please join me in some future entries to see if I'm any good at writing about these topics.

LINKS OF INTEREST:

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Doctor Who: Saying Farewell to Old Friends, Picking Up New Exciting Mysteries & Letting Shady, Silent Enemies Fester


The last Doctor Who Christmas special, The Snowmen, has excited me enough about Doctor Who and TV/movies that I need to blog about it. I haven't been jazzed up about either for a long time.

A quick log of my last entries about TV/movies:

Doctor Who, BBC and Steven Moffat, despite his views of the female sex grating on my nerves regularly, have done a bang up job of making a TV plot line compelling again. I haven't been this sucked in and emotionally invested since a few isolated episodes of Series 6.

TV shows like

have kept me entertained. I'll even throw in most of the Doctor Who Series 6 into this category. All these shows kept bringing me back.

I didn't feel anxious about waiting so long (sometimes as little as a week) to see the next episode, though. I generally only got excited if the following episode was on TiVo or maybe for a single next episode. Not really for an extended amount of suspenseful time, though.


**** SPOILER ALERT: DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE (OR EVEN FROM SERIES 4 TO CURRENT) ****

But Doctor Who: The Snowmen has sucked me back into the bittersweet, agonizing joy of fandom. After the second appearance and death of the Doctor's enigmatic new companion, I again feel the sudden desire for more of what Steve Moffatt does so well at the end of

We're given a small compelling piece of emotionally-charged information/plot then pretty much told, now you get to wait awhile to learn more.

  • Cold Blood: Not the best of episodes, overall, but Rory dies, gets sucked into the Time Field, erasing him from time. On top of that, despite how hard the Doctor tries, Rory's fiancee, Amy, can't remember Rory. How does the Doctor handle that kind of guilt?

  • The Pandorica Opens: After being teased the whole season about the Pandorica opening, we learn what the Pandorica is, but then. . .Rory is resurrected as an Auton and kills Amy. The Doctor is put into the Pandorica. The camera zooms back from the Universe, showing all the stars extinguishing. How does the Doctor fix the erasing of EVERYTHING? How can the show even continue?

  • The Big Bang: The Universe gets rebooted, but we don't know who blew up the TARDIS. We have an inkling that it has something to do with the Silence that's been mentioned all season. What is the Silence and who wants to blow up the TARDIS? We have no idea and have to wait months, MONTHS to learn more.

  • The Impossible Astronaut: We see the Doctor killed by someone or something in an astronaut suit. He knows who it is. We can only wonder who it is until the end of the season. The who was actually predictable, but like at the end of The Pandorica Opens, we ask how the hell does that whole thing get resolved? And on top of that, we have a face to the Silents, but how and why are they or have blown up the TARDIS?

  • The Almost People: A bleh conclusion to a bleh two-parter (exception of fun of seeing the Doctor and his ganger have fun together). However, we learn that since the beginning of Series 6, the Amy we've been watching has been a Ganger (even though it's been her real consciousness the whole time). The real Amy has been in the custody of the lady who has been popping up for a few seconds here and there then disappearing. And guess what. . .Amy's about to go into labor! Probably would have been horrible to have to wait a week, but I'll admit it: we were able to watch A Good Man Goes to War immediately afterward. I don't know if I would have been able to wait a week to watch the Battle of Demon's Run.

  • A Good Man Goes to War and Let's Kill Hitler: We have part of the origin story of River Song, but the Silence kidnap her. The Doctor promises that she'll be safe and he'll find her. The origin story of River/Melody resolves quite satisfactorily in the madcap romp of Let's Kill Hitler.

    Nonetheless, we're left with some pretty annoying questions: How is the Doctor going to get out of being killed? How is the Silence going to blow up the TARDIS? Who is the leader of the Silence? How will the Doctor defeat the Silence? Sure, the Silence don't like the Doctor, but how did they get the knowledge and power to blow up the TARDIS when the Daleks, the Cybermen, etc. who have had plenty of reasons to blow up the TARDIS haven't done it?

    The best Daleks and Cybermen can do is put the Doctor into the Pandorica. He still gets out of it (yeah, he rebooted the Universe after it extinguished, but if it weren't for the Pandorica. . .the Silence would've won). How could anyone get so worked up to extinguish the universe and what is their escape plan (the Daleks had one)? If they don't have one, what has gotten them so worked up? And seriously. . .who is Prisoner Zero and could it have all that foreknowledge about all this stuff?

    What's kind of annoying. . .even now, after a series and a half and a few years, we still have all these questions! Seriously, though, I've made my peace that a few of them won't be answered. Steve Moffat seems to be the master of creating compelling world-building concepts then leaving them as non-sequiturs (for instance, what's up with the Papal Mainframe?).

  • Forest of the Dead: The question that this episode leaves us hanging with that has been mostly answered in hindsight: who is River Song? Is she just a red herring, but she knows the Doctor's real name! She has to be important. . .and we've gotten a satisfactory amount of information about River since then. As of now, we still don't really know how she learns the Doctor's name. We have a suspicion: it happens on the Fields of Trenzalore where the "First Question" will be asked. We're assuming River will ask the Doctor his real name. Since the whole "First Question" arc is so connected to the Silence arc, though, I'm yawning.

  • The Wedding of River Song: We learn about the "First Question" and the Fields of Trenzalore. It's something that the Silence want to prevent. At the end of the episode, we learn the "First Question" is WHO is the Doctor. Actually pretty anti-climactic, since the Silence plot arc has gotten old without any satisfying answers.

    Also, do we, the audience, want to know who the Doctor really is? Part of the show's fun is that the true identity of the Doctor is shrouded in mystery. The archetype of an alien traveling through space and time, fighting the forces of evil and calamity that he stumbles upon feels like enough. . .and plus he has fun doing it. Give him some kind of grand motivation, it feels like the magic could be sucked out of the show.

    Still. . .what are the Fields of Trenzalore? Why would the Doctor go (like Lake Silencio?) other than it's a fixed point in time. . .what a flimsy, uncompelling plot device to provide motivation for a character to go somewhere)? How does the motivation to go there, ask the First Question and answer the First Question develop?

    If it's River Song that asks it and is answered, why wouldn't the Silence have tried to prevent River from existing in the first place? Rather, they just participate in the events that caused her to exist in the first place to ask the First Question? Maybe that's why they blew up the TARDIS to extinguish the universe? It also seems like blowing up the TARDIS is what may have motivated the TARDIS to land in Amy Pond's back yard and bring about the existence of River Song. Is it just a predestination paradox?

    That's when I decided to stop thinking about it all back then. I realized Steve Moffat wouldn't answer even 10% to 25% of the questions I could think of. Even worse: Doctor Who would just beg more questions. I figured even if the show goes get weighed down with too any tedious unanswered questions, I would continue watching to see the train wreck occur and the fans let out collective yells of rage (Facing the ceiling, arms raised, "Moffat!!!!!!!!").

After the disappointment of Series 6, again feeling the aggravation and appreciation of suspense provides a breath of fresh air. Watching Series 6 after Series 5 felt like watching The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit and Series 6 provided an enjoyable OK time with some high points, but nowhere near what had come before. I wanted more after Series 6, but I could wait.

I could say something similar about the first half of Series 7. However, it feels like both a breath of fresh air and the last gasps for air (for the Ponds), despite no strong push on larger plot points that the viewer knows of. For larger plot arcs, we

  • See people asking the First Question (but the First Question gets asked a lot -- even before Series 5 when this whole arc started)

  • Hear about history recording the Doctor's "death" then his existence getting expunged from all records

  • Reminded about the theme of the Doctor's enemies escalating their aggression because of the Doctor being viewed as a major threat to their race and existence

Each standalone episode has its own enjoyable dramatic tension but doesn't pull the viewer onto the next episode. Likability of characters and quality writing keeps the viewer coming back. I didn't feel as much aggravation week to week, but I couldn't wait to see the next episode.

Unless you actively avoid spoilers, Amy and Rory exiting is predictable. Weeping Angels involved, Amy and Rory would be zapped around in such a way that a fixed point in time would be created and couldn't be changed. I hadn't figured out the exact execution, but the general idea was apparent. Albeit, knowledge of their departure drives the season, both in appreciation while they're still around and for the chance to say goodbye.

For Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, the three stars shine. They work together as a great team.

For Rory and Amy, Asylum of the Daleks feels like a throw away. Their motivations for their separating feels lame and not true to the characters. Only Rory acting like an ass feels right, claiming he loved Amy more. That works just because otherwise, Rory is too perfect. Not worth throwing away well-written characters a whole episode just to prove someone's human, though.

The teamwork with the Doctor didn't come out so much in A Town Called Mercy and The Angels Take Manahattan, but those episodes accomplished their goals well. Mercy reminds us again about the Doctor's dark side and history and how much he needs others in his life.

The Angels Take Manahattan shows the lengths of Rory and Amy's love. We also see how significant Amy has become to the Doctor. It harkens back to the strange mother/son-father/daughter relationship they have in the first half of Series 5. They end up playing such big roles in influencing each other's personality development. Amy even gets to show the brains and empathy to save the day in The Beast Below and Victory of the Daleks. I missed that Amy.

Not since Series 5 did we see how important they felt their relationship was. OK, maybe the ends of The God Complex and The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (which, per IMDB, is the first episode of Series 7) illustrate the importance of their relationships. Even then, they were just bare glimpses. Seeing Rory and Amy save the day and Amy make a decision despite the Doctor feels inspired.

The first part of Series 7 does well not to focus on the Silence plot arc. It provides a reprieve. The arc has worn thin by too many loose ends either answered too slowly or not at all.

The first part of Series 7 is the farewell song for Rory and Amy. The show did good on that note. We had fun romps, character development, learned The Power of Three and, finally, a farewell we didn't want to see but had to come and be seen.

We love Amy and Rory, but their story has played out. Their characters have gotten a little thin. Amy only shows the characteristics that make her a good character when Rory isn't around. Rory shows his best characteristics when Amy becomes the maiden in distress.

The first part of Series 7 does a great job of mending those shortcomings. It also crowns off with their independent, consistent final decisions mostly made together.

Amy and Rory could have kept on with the Doctor. Nonetheless, the show has had difficulties making them significant characters in Series 6. They come off more as plot devices. I can see their characters getting even thinner without adding much to overall plot arcs. I would rather they exit at their height instead wearing out their welcome as characters.

Then comes The Snowmen. It feels like the premiere of a Series 8: new companion, new title sequence and even a whole new console room.

Albeit, the title sequence and console room both feel like homages to Classic Who. I'm not too surprised, considering the 50th anniversary is coming up. I think the BBC wants to make a big deal out of it. But the Doctor even has a new outfit (keep in mind that bow ties are still cool).

We have a new mystery: Who exactly is Clara Oswin Oswald? Turns out that they didn't just use Jenna Louise-Coleman as a cameo character in Asylum of the Daleks.

That wouldn't have been anything new. Freema Agyeman played Martha Jones's cousin at Canary Wharf in Army of Ghosts. Karen Gillan played some kind of cultist in The Fires of Pompeii.

Sure, the character in Asylum of the Daleks has a similar name to that of the expected new companion. This is Doctor Whoo and Steve Moffat, though. No point in investing any further thought or energy into trying to figure out a non-sequitur detail.

As it turns out, though, the Oswin Oswald from The Asylum of the Daleks has something to do with Clara Oswin Oswald of The Snowmen and Clara (presumably Oswin Oswald) that appears at the end of The Snowmen.

The Doctor has suspicions she is the "same" character throughout the episode, but he doesn't confirm it until the end of the episode. Clara pulls him out of his shell throughout, but the end clinched it. He has proof she is the same, but how can it be? Doesn't she die twice in two different places, two different times? She also doesn't recognize him when she is a Dalek or as a barmaid/governess.

There's a lot of mystery here. The Doctor feels as excited as we do about it. I bet it will also tie in with the Silence, probably similarly how Amy Pond and her family does, but it doesn't have to. A charm of Clara's mystery and arc is that, as of now, it stands on its own.

Even if Steven Moffat writes woman in a not so praiseworthy way, he has shown he can intertwine characters into the story. They're not just tagging along for the journey and representing thee audience need for explanation. They're integral to the story, and not in a way that's incidental like Rose (anyone could have yanked open a panel in the TARDIS), Martha (anyone could've believed in the Doctor that much) or Donna (anyone could have absorbed regeneration energy and gain the consciousness of a Time Lord).

The great part of the mystery of Clara is, right now, she stands on her own (also helps that she is capable and has a strong personality). Doctor Who isn't so focused on the Silence fighting the Doctor at the moment with the occasional filler episode.

Right now, we have a great question that the Silence and Amy Pond had helped lay out: Who is Clara and what role does she have to play in the grand scheme of things? The Silence cause the need for Amy Pond by blowing up the TARDIS. The Doctor explains to her that he took her in the TARDIS because she is an enigma that he needed to figure out.

We have a framework for reacting to Clara Oswin Oswald. She's a mystery that has a part to play in solving some challenge in the future. What is that challenge? How will she resolve that challenge? Those questions will plague us, but they're kind of formulaic right now.

Where does Clara come from? Why are there multiple versions of her in the multiverse? Obviously she's smart, has plenty of personality and spunk and fun. In ways, she's a challenge to the Doctor and can resolve matters much like Amy Pond at the beginning of Series 5. Such potential for a companion, and even just a woman standing on her own showing up the Doctor, feels good and provides promise.

I hope that Moffat and other writers don't let her fall from this grace. Yes, complex characters need shortcomings, but Series 6 Amy Pond felt lazily written and too much of a stereotype most times. Karen Gillan and Amy Pond had chances to shine, but overall, her character went downhill until Series 7, Episode 2.

I look forward anxiously to discovering the enigma of Clara Oswin Oswald and getting to know her, in a way I haven't for a TV show in a long while. I love seeing the Doctor coming out of his funk to pursue this mystery. After nearly 50 years since creation of the show, the Doctor is almost part of the family, especially with his modernization and showing more humanity, positive and negative.

We'll get our answers, eventually. Nonetheless, I hope the execution of the show and Clara's continues as good as they have in Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen. I expect to keep watching, either which way, but I have missed this mix of suspense. I want it to continue, as much I hate it.

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