Daily Archives: Saturday, 5th January 2013

Weight and Stuff Report – 5 January 2013

Down just a tiny bit today, but that’s better than nothing.

After doing the usual shopping, I dithered for a bit about what to do. I did think about going to see the Hobbit movie, but I’m having a lot of trouble building up enthusiasm for that. Then, while intending to look to see if there were any interesting exhibitions on, I saw a news story that got me out of the door a few minutes later. The development in Gateshead town centre has now reached the point where at least one of the tower cranes is no longer needed, and it’s being removed this weekend. And how do you remove a tower crane? You park one of these next to the site:

Quite large

Quite large

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 5 January, 2013

Then you take it apart bit by bit and load it onto trucks like this one. This loos like a section of the huge jib:

I like the cut of your jib

I like the cut of your jib

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 5 January, 2013

Once the truck moved away, it went a bit quiet, so I decided to pay a visit to the Baltic, as I haven’t been bemused by odd art for a while. I rather enjoyed some of the work by American artist Jim Shaw in the Rinse Cycle exhibition, as it happened. The eye coming out of a TV was especially pleasing in an odd sort of way.

By the time I came out of the Baltic, it was quite dark, and so I took some bridge pictures. To get a good exposure, I had to let the X100 use its flash[1], even though it was quite ineffective at the distance involved[2]. Disabling the flash made it want to use an unreasonably long exposure which would have required a tripod. Here’s the Gateshead Millennium Bridge with its pretty lights on:

Millennium Bridge in Red

Millennium Bridge in Red

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 5 January, 2013

and here are the Tyne Bridge, the Swing Bridge and the High Level Bridge:

Three Bridges

Three Bridges

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 5 January, 2013

After that, I came home.

[1] Well, if I’d used full manual mode rather than aperture priority, I could have done it, I suppose
[2] Apart from reflecting off the life belt alongside the Millennium Bridge

 

 

Doctor Who – The Snowmen

OK, the time has come. You’ve all had plenty of time to watch the episode at least once, so I can now ruminate[1] on the subject in my usual rambling way. But just in case you’ve been trapped in a well, or isolated from civilisation, I’ll give my now-traditional warning before going on;

Here be spoilers!

Some time has clearly passed since we last saw the Doctor in The Angels Take Manhattan. Time for him to settle down in a grumpy kind of way in Victorian London. Time to set up a permanent parking slot for the TARDIS on some kind of frozen cloud fitted out with a dimension-bending spiral staircase that not only allows quick access to cloud level but quite handily can’t be seen from below. Time for the TARDIS to have acquired some external damage. Time for the TARDIS to have a new interior. Time for him to settle near his friends Madam Vastra[1] and her assistant and wife Jenny, not to mention the Sontaran nurse Strax, who is somewhat less dead than last time we saw these characters in A Good Man Goes to War.

But so far, he hasn’t had enough time to return to being the Doctor we all know. He’s withdrawn. Given up on saving worlds, beaten down by the loss of his friends and, not to put too fine a point on it, sulking.

But all it takes is the right person to come along, together with the wrong alien threat, and soon enough he’s back on form. Fascinated by Clara, a young woman with at least two sides to her life, and some very odd snow, he gets involved again.

There is, of course, lots of running around, a nasty ice woman, the rather unpleasant snowmen, and their apparent leader, Doctor Simeon, who turns out to be a mere pawn in the incorporeal hands of a formless intelligence. A Great Intelligence, which shows an odd degree of interest in a map of the London Underground from the 1960s that’s on a tin the Doctor happens to have. This rings a vague bell in the Doctor’s memory, and a big loud clanking one in those of older fans. Could this be the same thing that he had problems with in Tibet and London who knows how many years ago for him? Could it be the same thing that isn’t yeti ready for its more serious attack on earth[4]?

But all this is really a side matter to the real story. The heart of this isn’t even the Doctor returning to what he does best – getting involved, and generally messing around. No, the real issue here is the massive question of who (or what?) Clara Oswin Oswald actually is. Somehow, a young Victorian is the same person who was actually a Dalek in Asylum of the Daleks. Same voice, same lines, same character. Even down to the souffle thing. And dead in both times and places. Now this is interesting. I think we’re going to be teased a lot over the eight episodes which will be showing from April onwards…

[1] Silurian[2]. Detective[3].
[2] Yes, yes, we know. Wrong name, but we’re stuck with it.
[3] The real inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, of course
[4] Yes, I did go there. Sorry[5], but it had to be done
[5] Not very, of course