Like the temporal mobility of a TARDIS, the Doctor has been with me most of my life. I first discovered him with his long scarf, bohemian look, and dark curls when I was about 6 years old. I watched the show on PBS with my Dad off and on over the years. The eeriness, green otherworldly textures and foreboding monsters grabbed me but it was the Doctor who fascinated me. Tom Baker was my Doctor. He'll always be the one, the only and the definitive to me despite discovering and appreciating other Doctors over the years. My fandom was turned up to 11, when at the age of 12, I embarked on search of British SF shows like Blake's 7, Sapphire and Steel, Quatermass, Red Dwarf, Hitchhiker's Guide and so on. This road brought me back to the Doctor, only now I was soaking it in properly. Chronologically. Canonically. The Five Doctors on VHS acted as a good reboot story for me and I was hooked again, I devoured the TARGET novelizations and New Adventures, collected the Dapol toys and started down the early internet backwaters of VHS tape trading to finally acquire and see the entire series (or at least what still existed of the series at the BBC). I made a number of friends, a few who I'm proud to say are still friends today. During the 90s or the Wilderness Years it was tough times to be a fan in the USA. PBS had dropped the show in my area. Beyond the novels and magazine there was little merchandise, and god help you if you admitted to being a fan to your peers at school. If you wanted get so much as a smile from a girl let alone a date you had to turn you back on the Doctor and hide your fan card well. How times have changed. The less said about Dimensions in Time, the better. After the TVM came and went, I took a breather from Who fandom to focus on college. I still broke out my VHS tapes on the odd cozy Sunday afternoon. Or enjoyed specials Curse of Fatal Death on release but it wasn't until 2002/2003 I came back to the fold. The Big Finish Audios were a breath of fresh air and the show was announced to be coming back to TV at long last. Around this time I started getting into Cosplay and put together a Tom Baker Costume that I have been upgrading ever since. I took a challenge from a friend to put together a group of all 10 (now 11, soon to be 12) Doctors. Crazy, insane, time consuming but worth it. My costumes expanded out to include several villains and monsters like Cybermen, VOC Robots, The Master, Morbius, The Valeyard, and a Zygon! As fans have enjoyed this renewed popularity in the series I've met so many great friends in the last 8 years through Doctor Who Fandom and costuming that it's changed my life. Through this hobby I've gotten to host a Dr. Who marathon on San Jose PBS, help restore the screen used TVM TARDIS console, make fan films, host a costuming podcast, helped staff the Gallifrey One Convention, tour Doctor Who locations in the UK, build classic Who monsters, costume Katee Sackoff as the 4th Doctor for GEEK magazine, and of course meet several of the Doctors. I've met Matt Smith & Karen Gillan at SDCC '11 (with said meeting getting a shout out on Matt's phone on Graham Norton!), Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Paul McGann, hosted a private meet up with Sylvester McCoy and I got to meet the man, the myth, the legend Tom Baker in England. He was fantastic, weird and wonderful. Everything the Doctor should be. So all these years, all these friends, all these incarnations... The Doctor has changed my life. Which of course is what he does. I look forward to the 50th and many more adventures in to come.
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