Daily Archives: Sunday, 9th Jul 2006

Well, well, well. Motivation, or something

Regular readers[1] will have noticed a lack of weight and exercise reports of late. As you might have gathered, the lack of exercise for most of the year so far has led to my weight creeping inexorably[2] upward. And as I wasn’t doing anything that would improve matters[3], posting daily weight updates seemed a bit pointless, not to mention depressing.

It reached a point where I gave myself a complete week off – that was the week beginning June 26. I took the bus to and from work every day, and even ate mass-market chocolate :eek2: . After that, I think I turned a corner.[4] Last week, I walked to and from work every day, and I started to catch up on posting things here.

This morning I managed to get round to most of those long-overdue Doctor Who reviews, which I hadn’t been able to motivate myself to get round to for, oooooh, ages.

And this evening, I managed some long-overdue exercise! Nothing spectacular, just five minutes (with a break) on the rowing machine on its lowest tension setting, followed by a total of 140 crunches on the abominable abdominal exerciser. Now if I can manage to build on that, I might make some progress.

I may even start posting weight reports again. But don’t hold me to that. :tongue:

[1] At a rough count, that’s about, err, well, not very many
[2] Nice word, that :tongue:
[3] I even lapsed into getting the bus to work :eek2:
[4] That’s one of those metaphor thingies

The most boring video ever

I can see I’m going to have a problem with YouTube. It’s one of those sites where random clickage sucks you in, and you find youself watching all manner of oddness, weirdness, silliness and the like.

At least this guy is honest and up front. He’s boring and he knows it. Which actually makes him more interesting. Or something.

AOL – There is no escape

Many years ago[1], I took the foolhardy step of signing up for a trial account with the dreaded AOHell[2]. I’m not sure why I did it. Maybe it was because I had a new computer and modem to play with, or maybe I was suffering from temporary insanity[3]. Anyway, I took a quick look, and decided I’d rather use a normal ISP that didn’t use bizarre custom software. So I cancelled the account. I only had to argue with the rep briefly. Nowhere near as long as this guy:

One of the finest examples of “customer service” I’ve ever seen…

Thanks to This is Broken for that one. :wave:

[1] Err, nine or ten years, anyway, but that’s centuries in internet time
[2] Hi Ickle David :wave: I did warn you…
[3] As opposed to my permanent inanity :lol:

Doctor Who – Fear Her

Hmmmm. I think I detect the influence of the classic children’s book Marianne Dreams[1] somewhere in the background of this story.

Anyway, the Doctor takes Rose to London on 2012 – just in time for the Olympics. In an apparently normal suburban street, something is very wrong. Children are disappearing. Car engines fail for no readily apparent reason. And in her bedroom, Chloe, a lonely young girl is obsessively drawing. And there’s something nasty in the wardrobe.

The Doctor and Rose investigate – and find that Chloe has been affected by an alien being that is itself desperately lonely. So lonely, that it is, err, drawing people in to join it. Everyone that Chloe draws disappears from the world and becomes trapped in the drawing. And as the alien is of a kind that normally travels in groups containing billions of individuals, the whole population of the Earth is in danger.

The Doctor finds a way to allow the alien to rejoin its race[2], and everyone who was trapped in the drawings is returned to reality.

This episode was a kind of quiet breathing space before the BIG HEAVY STUFF to follow. As they walk away from the street, Rose asks the Doctor if they’ll always be together. He doesn’t answer directly, but instead says

There’s a storm coming

And so there is.

[1] Or the TV version Escape into night, or even the movie Paperhouse
[2] It involves some very unlikely activity with the Olympic Torch :eek2:

Doctor Who – Love and Monsters

Now this was an altogether different episode. Russell T Davies himself[1] described it as “experimental”, which is a sign of how confident he and his colleagues are now. Yup, they can take a few risks with the format. The main difference is that the Doctor and Rose are hardly in it at all.

The story is told in a mixture of a video diary and flashbacks related by a young man called Elton Pope. Elton saw the Autons[2], saw the Slytheen ship crash[3] and the Sycorax ship[4]. He’s done some research, and he knows about the mysterious alien known as “The Doctor”. He’s even encountered him – when he was about four years old, he awoke in the night to find the Doctor in his house. And more recently, he saw the Doctor and Rose dealing with a rather unfriendly looking creature[5].

He makes contact with a few like-minded people, and they form a group, which after some dithering, they call “London Investigators ‘N’ Detective Agency” – LINDA. At first, they seriously discuss the Doctor, but soon diversify, and eventually become just a bunch of friends hanging out and having fun. Nice.

Then, their lives are transformed when they are joined by Victor Kennedy, who immediately begins to take charge of the group and make them concentrate on the Doctor. Elton is assigned to track down the girl (who we know to be Rose) who has been seen with the Doctor. In a suitably silly coincidental manner, he encounters Rose’s mum Jackie, and they start to form a friendship. It’s quite obvious that Jackie fancies the pants off Elton, though he appears to be quite oblivious to this.

Soon, member of the group start to disappear – coincidentally[6] after having a “private word” with Kennedy.

Is Kennedy what he seems to be? Will any members of LINDA still be around at the end? Is upsetting Rose’s mum really the worst thing anyone can do? Will the Doctor arrive just in time?

All of these questions are answered, in a nicely bonkers manner.

It was interesting to see the Doctor and Rose through other eyes for one story – and to get an idea of the impact they have on the people they meet. Good fun.

[1] All hail the great Russell :wave:
[2] In the 2005 series opener “Rose”
[3] “Aliens of London”
[4] “The Christmas Invasion”
[5] This did involve what can only be described as a “Scooby Doo” style chase in and out of rooms in a corridor. I understand some reviewers hated this. I loved it. :bouncy:
[6] Or not :grin:

Doctor Who – The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit

Yes, the great Doctor Who review marathon begins here!

The first half of this two-parter reminded me a lot of classic Who. Yes! It’s the traditional “isolated base under siege” thingy! The Doctor and Rose arrive at a base located on a planet where no planet can possibly exist – in an apparently stable orbit around a black hole. Rather in the manner of Inferno, the crew of the base are drilling into the planet in search of a power source. You’d think by now that people would realise that doing that kind of thing inevitably leads to trouble, but hey…

The crew of the base are served by a race called the Ood[1] – telepaths who communicate with humans via spheres they hold in one hand[2]. The Ood have been bred as slaves, which is the kind of thing the Doctor and Rose generally do not approve of, to put it mildly.

Trouble soon starts. Part of the base collapses into a deep cavern, taking the Tardis with it. The Doctor and one of the crew go down into the depths to investigate the mysterious relics of a long-lost civilisation deep underground. Meanwhile, the Ood start behaving very strangely, speaking with a new voice:

He is awake
He bathes in the black sun
We are the legion of the beast

They also start killing people.

Another of the crew seems to be, for want of a better word, possessed. His skin is covered in markings that look like the indecipherable writing of the lost civilisation. He seems to recover, though.

More seismic disturbances lead to the Doctor being trapped underground with no way of reaching him, and the surviving crew evacuate the base, forcing Rose to go with them.

Down in the cavern, the Doctor comes face-to-rather large face with a huge demonic being. It’s been trapped down there for a very long time. When speaking through the Ood, it had claimed to have been there since before the Big Bang – which the Doctor does not believe. But now the entity, whatever it is, seems a lot less talkative. It’s merely a raging, ferocious beast – its mind seems to have gone away.

The Doctor realises that the planet is a carefully designed cage, intended to trap the entity for ever. If it is released, the planet will fall into the black hole.

In the usual way, the Doctor and Rose emerge triumphant – and again, it takes the two of them to do it. All in all, a nicely thrilling couple of episodes, with a great line towards the end. One of the crew asks “You two – who are you?” To which the Doctor can only reply:

The stuff of legend

Which is about right. And we never find out what the imprisoned entity really was. Nice to have a touch of ambiguity now and then.

[1] And they are a bit on the ood, err, odd side
[2] Which must make doing anything else a bit tricky, but let’s not be too picky :tongue:

No surprise there…

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC calls time on Top of the Pops

I suppose it was inevitable, really. From being the definitive parent-annoying popular music show, TOTP had long since sunk into relative obscurity. Numerous changes of format, including the final indignity of being relegated to Sunday on BBC2 couldn’t really make any difference at all. Now that there are more all-day (and indeed all-night) music channels, a weekly half-hour featuring the increasingly irrelevant singles chart just couldn’t compete.

Like most people, I haven’t really watched it for years anyway.

But it is the end of an era, or something.