Weight and Stuff Report – 9 April 2015

Weight: 215.7 pounds (15 stone 5.7 pounds, 97.8 kg)
Steps taken: 3,449

Hmmmmm, an upward oscillation today, but not enough to be alarmed about…

Here’s a photo from yesterday’s lunchtime walk. Clear evidence that the Tyne is a tidal river….

High and Dry

High and Dry

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/240s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 8 April, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 8 April 2015

Weight: 214.7 pounds (15 stone 4.7 pounds, 97.4 kg)
Steps taken: 4,545

Who’d have guessed? Down again today!

I took the X100S to work with me today, and as it was a fine morning, I got of the bus at the end of the Tyne Bridge and walked back to take a few photos, including this one, with some nice reflections showing:

Reflected Bridges

Reflected Bridges

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/480s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 8 April, 2015

And at lunchtime, I had a wander down to the Quayside, getting as far as the Ouseburn, where I got a bus back to town. More photographs were taken, and some may appear here in the next few days…

Doctor Who – Scream of the Shalka

Now this is an excellent example of procrastination, or at the very least, my general inability to locate a suitable tuit supply. I seem to have bought this DVD over a year ago, but only got round to watching it on Easter Monday. Even buying it was a buit of a tuit thing, as it was released around six months before I bought it, which is a bit unusual for me and Doctor Who DVDs. And you think that’s bad? This was shown on the BBC website in 2003, and I have no recollection of having seen it at the time. No idea why…

Anyway, what we have here is an anomaly. A bit of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimeyness that’s dropped in from some parallel world where Doctor Who didn’t return to TV in 2005. A world where the Doctor appeared in semi-animated form on the internet to a small fan audience.

What happened was this: the fortieth anniversary was coming up, and some people thought that something should be done to mark the occasion. And as it was absolutely, utterly, completely and totally certain that the BBC would not ever at all be bringing back the actual TV show under any circumstances whatsoever, after a bit of research into rights, it was agreed that an animated version could be released as a “webcast” on the BBC website. This was a curious notion of episodes being released on a regular schedule to the public, who were mostly using dial-up connections in those days. This put a lot of restrictions on what could be achieved, so the animation ended up being not all that animated…

Anyway, the initial story was made, with Richard E Grant[1] as the Doctor, accompanied by a robot-bodied Master played by Derek Jacobi[2]. It involves a dispirited Doctor, apparently being manipulated by the Time Lords (again), arriving in a small village where Something Nasty is happening underground. Reluctant at first to get involved, he ends up sorting everything out, defeating the Alien Menace and deciding that he quite likes playing this game after all….

And if things had happened differently, this could have continued – as broadband speeds increased, the animation could have improved, loads of writers would have been happy to provide stories, and Richard E Grant would have continued as the Doctor.

But before they’d even finished, The Announcement was made. Contrary to all previous expectations, a new BBC TV series of Doctor Who was to be made, relegating the animated version to a sideline of history and making Richard E Grant not so much the ninth as the 8.5th Doctor. Or a parallel universe version. Or a…. well, not a real Doctor.

And while we wouldn’t want to have missed the last ten years of real, actual, TV Doctor Who, it would be a shame to forget this. It works well within the enforced limitations of bandwidth, tells a story and tells it well, and is definitely worth watching.

Along with the original six episodes, this comes with the usual collection of classic Doctor Who extras – commentary, production subtitles,  and:

Carry on Screaming – the traditional “making of” documentary, with the creators talking about how this came to the internet

The Screaming Sessions – Interviews from 2003 featuring some of the participants

Interweb of Fear – (Did you see what they did there?). A brief history of Doctor Who’s role in the evolving BBC website. Interesting to look back on forgotten bits of the web

So, yes. Good stuff, and well worth adding to your collection.

[1] Later to appear as the embodiment of the Great Intelligence, of course
[2] Later to appear as, err,  the Master, of course

Weight and Stuff Report – 6 April 2015

Weight: 217.4 pounds (15 stone 7.4 pounds, 98.6 kg)
Steps taken: Remarkably few

Shock, horror, up again today. This suggests I’m now fully recovered from last weekend’s lurgy. Or something.

Even though it’s been a nice day out there, I’ve been having another quiet day in. So there. Here’s a photo from last year’s Heritage Open Days thingy:

Looking out

Looking out

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 58.2803′ 0″ N 1° 36.2152′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 September, 2014

Weight and Stuff Report – 5 April 2015

Weight: 216.3 pounds (15 stone 6.3 pounds, 98.1 kg)
Steps taken: Not many at all

Oooooh, back up today, to a level that seems more reasonable. Might be related to the curry I had last night, which may have involved poppadoms, onion bhajis and a garlic nan, so it may be a temporary wossname.

My original plan for Easter Sunday was to go out somewhere, but as the day started out overcast, I found the motivation lacking. Naturally, it cleared up later leaving clear blue sky and lots of sunshine, but by then I really couldn’t be bothered at all, so I stayed in.

Here’s a view of Durham Cathedral:

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/420s
Focal length: 116.1mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 46.2534′ 0″ N 1° 34.7882′ 0″ W
Taken: 11 October, 2014

Thunderbirds are go!

Just watched the opening episode of the new take on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s classic Thunderbirds. The new version, which appears fifty years after the original first appeared uses a mixture of CGI and practical sets in a manner that I’m inclined to believe would have met with Gerry’s approval – if this kind of technology had been available, I’m quite sure he’d have used it with enormous enthusiasm.

Unlike the live-action movie that came out some time ago, and which is best forgotten, the new series shows all the signs of being made by people who grew up on the original, and still love it. The CGI characters, while lacking strings and oversized heads, have a plastic-like sheen which is a nod to the original. And the Thunderbirds themselves? These have been done pretty damn nicely – instantly recognisable, but with more detail, and more realism (despite being 100% less real) and a general feeling of being updated without losing the essence of the originals. Space station Thunderbird 5 does look quite different (more rotating bits and so on), but the others are just as you might expect. And the original launch sequences are all present and correct.

There’s a bit of plot development since the original – father and commander Jeff Tracy is missing, presumed dead. Recurring villain the Hood is still with us, and more than likely responsible for the loss of Jeff.

And there were a few nods to other Gerry Anderson shows – a brief flash of Stingray, and an undersea base with a section that looked suspiciously like the cabin of an Eagle from Space:1999.

The use of CGI rather than models for the ships is a good move – it’s allowed for some incredible shots that would have been very difficult, not to mention expensive, to achieve in the traditional way. Overall, the first episode worked very well indeed – if you’re a Thunderbirds fan, you should love it.

Future episodes are being shown at 8am on Saturdays, so make sure you set your recording devices. I know I have.

Weight and Stuff Report – 4 April 2015

Weight: 213.7 pounds (15 stone 3.7 pounds, 96.9 kg)
Steps taken: 7,732

Up a wee bit today, but still on the low side…

Having missed it last weekend thanks to the lurgy, I enjoyed my semi-traditional Frankie & Benny’s breakfast this morning before doing the completely traditional shopping.

Having got that out of the way, I decided it was still a bit too dull and grey to attempt anything interesting, so I went to the MetroCentre, where I didn’t buy anything, then on to Newcastle where I bought some essential supplies (coffee beans) and maybe something else…

This is a detail of Durham Cathedral:

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 74.4mm
ISO: 200
Location: 54° 46.4405′ 0″ N 1° 34.6′ 0″ W
Taken: 21 February, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 3 April 2015

Weight: 213.4 pounds (15 stone 3.4 pounds, 96.8 kg)
Steps taken: 1,378

What? Down again? This is all a bit odd. Maybe the pizza that I’m just about to put in the oven and the bottle of wine I plan to open[1] will restore normality…

Today being the beginning of the four-day Easter weekend meant that the weather switched from bright, sunny and a wee bit chilly to grey, drizzly and damp, so the motivation for anything photographic was sadly lacking. So, I did a wee bit of shopping (croissants for late breakfast, and some snacks) and then stayed in to watch some stuff.

Raiding recent(ish) unused photos turned up this one of the Newcastle Guildhall clock, which I’ve given a bit of a working over with Tonality Pro:

Is that the time?

Is that the time?

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/180s
Focal length: 140mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 4 March, 2015

[1] First since before last weekend’s lurgy

Weight and Stuff Report – 2 April 2015

Weight: 214.6 pounds (15 stone 4.6 pounds, 97.3 kg)
Steps taken: 2,580

Eh? What? Down again? Most odd.

And now the four-day Easter weekend begins. My camera is hoping for some days out, and I’d like to join it….

Here’s a view of the Newcastle skyline, showing hints of a lovely mixture of architecture of varying ages and styles

Skyline

Skyline

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/340s
Focal length: 129.2mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 22 March, 2015