Daily Archives: Monday, 31st Dec 2007

2007 Round-up

Well, having rounded up the month, I thought I might as well round up the year too.

Weight

At the end of last year, I was somewhat despondent about my negative weight loss. I managed an overall gain of about twelve pounds in 2006, which was a Very Bad Thing indeed.

This year has been a bit more complicated. I started the year with the best of intentions. I made a start on the old exercise routine, and by the end of January, I’d lost six of those pounds, which was a good start. Unfortunately, after that it all went a bit wrong. I pretty much gave up on the exercise after my knees started complaining, and even got out of the habit of walking to work. This led, as you might expect, to a gradual increase in my weight, to the point where I stopped bothering to stand on the scales from early May. And then I really lost the plot. I started eating more at lunchtime, and after years of shunning the stuff, I started eating lots of mass-market chocolate. Lots of it. No, really lots. Oddly enough, this led to an even bigger increase in my weight – by the end of September, I’d put on nearly a whole stone.

And then, I stopped. And managed to restart, in much the same way I did four years earlier. And since then, I’ve lost most of that extra weight. If I cheat a bit, and take Saturday’s weight as my end of year figure, I’m 4.4 pounds (2.0kg) lighter than I was at the start of the year, which isn’t that impressive, but it is 11.6 pounds (5.3kg) less than my highest weight of the year, which is slightly more impressive.

I’ll aim to keep up the good work next year. Daily weight reports will continue. And talking of posts…

Posting

At the end of last year, I expressed alarm at the number of posts I’d made. Well, this year, despite another dip between May and September, which was also when I managed to pile on a hideous number of extra pounds[1], I managed to make more posts than ever this year, and there were more record months than last year – I thought last August’s total of 77 was a lot, but I exceeded that in four months this year, with this month being the most impressive, or insane, depending on how you look at it. Anyway, here are the numbers for the last few years:

2003: 2 posts
2004: 515 posts
2005: 576 posts
2006: 620 posts
2007: 747 posts

You can see the monthly totals on the Archives page, if you’re interested in such details.

[1] It seems that when I can’t be bothered to look after myself, I also can’t be bothered to post much. Interesting, that.

December Weight round-up

I’ve still managed to hang on to some vestige of a plot, so here’s this month’s round-up, which is becoming a regular feature.

Weight

December 1: 216.0 pounds (15 stone 6.0 pounds, 98.0kg)
December 31: 215.2 pounds (15 stone 5.2 pounds, 97.6kg)

Difference: 0.8 pounds (0.4kg), which is not very good at all. On the other hand, if I regard today’s weight as a temporary aberration, and use the lowest weight of the month instead, which was 212.8 pounds (15 stone 2.8 pounds, 96.5kg) just a couple of days ago, the difference is a more impressive 3.2 pounds (1.5kg). That’s still a bit less than my rough target of a pound a week, but not too bad.

Eating

I’ve been keeping up the sandwich and fruit for lunch routine when I’m at work. Sometimes the sandwich is a slightly larger one from Subway, but I’m generally being well-behaved. I’ve also reduced the amount I eat at weekends, when despite being generally less active, I was eating more than during the week. :duh: I didn’t really overdo it much at Christmas, either. The other thing I’m trying to do is keep my alcohol consumption down.

Exercise

No change from last month, really. I’ve still been walking to and from work at least half the time. This is mostly walking to work and getting the bus home, but I’m managing to persuade myself to walk home a wee bit more.

Posting

Despite being away for a week, and only making a few posts during that time, I’ve kept up the higher levels of posting that I started in October. In fact, this month is the busiest one ever, with this post taking the total to 97.

Weight Report – 31 December 2007

Hey!! That can’t be right! Today’s weight is huuuuugely up from yesterday’s, which is a bit of a bother, what with today being the end of the month, and indeed the year. It quite spoils my statistics!

I’m sure it’s just another one of those random wossnames, made a bit worse by my general lack of activity yesterday and Saturday. Ah well, never mind and all that.

Incoming!

Anyone looking at the RSS feed, or subscribing to email updates, is probably wondering what just hit them. Sorry about that[1], but I thought it would be a Good Thing to end the year by clearing that list of posts that have been sitting under the “Coming Soon” headline for the last few months. So I did.

Of course, I’ve still got a stack of this year’s Doctor Who releases to mumble about, but I think I’ll leave those for another day.

[1] Well, not really :tongue:

Doctor Who – The Armageddon Factor

The Key to Time – Story 6

And so we come to the last story in the Key to Time season. At the time, the usual pattern of a Doctor Who season was five four part stories followed by one six parter, and this is the long story. The two Time Lords arrive on the planet Atrios, which is engaged in an endless war with the neighbouring planet Zeos[1]. The military leader, known only as the Marshall of Atrios, is planning the traditional final strike to win the war. The Doctor discovers that nobody is actually alive on Zeos, with their side of the war being managed by the even more traditional computer, which was built by Drax, an old friend of the Doctor, who is being kept prisoner by the Shadow, an agent of the Black Guardian, who has finally made an appearance.

It turns out that the final segment of the Key to Time has been disguised as Princess Astra of Atrios. Bit of a cunning disguise, that. It’s the Shadow who does the conversion job, but the Doctor manages to grab the segment and escape with Romana in the Tardis. Once on board, the White Guardian appears on the Tardis scanner and congratulates the Doctor on succeeding in his mission. He then demands that the Doctor hand over the completed Key. The Doctor hesitates, and decides that the power of the Key is too much for any individual to possess, especially

if I can’t tell Black from White!

and so he removes the detector from the Key and disperses it through space and time again. This is good for Princess Astra, who is restored to life on Atrios, but not so good for the Guardian, who reveals his true colour – Black. He vows that the Doctor will die for his defiance. In an effort to evade the Guardian, the Doctor fits the Tardis with a randomiser, so nobody (even the Doctor himself) will know where he’ll end up next.

This was a good end to the season, and for me, having a link between all the stories worked well. But it wasn’t attempted again until the Trial of a Time Lord in 1986. Best line of the story:

K9 to Drax: Your silliness is noted

There’s an especially generous selection of extras on this double disc package, which include:

  1. Making Shadows – the usual “making of” thingy
  2. Rogue Time Lords – a look at some of the other Time Lords who’ve appeared in the series
  3. Late night story – not actually Doctor Who material, but it is Tom Baker reading some moderately chilling stories. First shown in 1978.
  4. And all the other usual stuff

[1] This sounds remarkably similar to a concept in a story in the original Star Trek series, doesn’t it?

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season

Doctor Who – The Power of Kroll

The Key to Time – Story 5

The fifth story in the Key to Time series is reminiscent of one or two from the Jon Pertwee era. It’s got nasty commercial interests, it’s got an endangered native population, and it’s got the biggest monster that the series had ever seen. OK, the monster was a slightly unconvincing giant squid thingy, but the whole thing is done with such flair that such trivial details are easily forgiven.

In this story, the fifth segment of the Key to Time plays a significant role. Its power has had a major influence on events on Delta Magma, changing a squid-like creature into the mighty Kroll, worshipped as a god by the green-skinned “swampie” natives. Naturally, Kroll is the kind of god who demands the occasional sacrifice, and even more naturally, it’s Romana who’s first offered up…

Eventually, the Doctor and Romana sort everything out and the power of Kroll is removed when most of him is turned back into the fifth segment. Perhaps not the strongest of the stories in the season, but it has its moments…

There’s no “making of” on this disc, but there’s a nice documentary featuring Mary Tamm looking back at her time on the series, a look at Philip Madoc’s numerous appearances, and an archive clip of a local TV show going behind the scenes during production.

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season

Doctor Who – The Androids of Tara

The Key to Time – Story 4

In this story, the search for the fourth segment of the Key to Time is dealt with in the first five minutes, but before Romana can get it back to the Tardis, she finds herself caught up in an adventure quite openly based on The Prisoner of Zenda. On Tara, there is an odd mixture of technologies. The aristocrats don’t sully their hands with such “peasant skills” as err, making remarkably realistic androids. But they do like to use swords that deliver a nasty electric shock.

Romana bears a remarkable resemblance to the Princess Strella, which gets her into a lot of trouble when she’s captured by the deliciously evil Count Grendel[1]. Lots of fun follows, featuring androids, princes, sword fights and more.

Extras include a documentary on the making of the story, a short feature looking at the locations used in the story nearly thirty years on, and more.

[1] With a name like that, he just has to be the villain, doesn’t he?

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season

Doctor Who – The Stones of Blood

The Key to Time – Story 3

The Doctor and Romana arrive on 20th Century Earth to find the third segment of the Key to Time. The story involves a lot of silliness with witchcraft, a stone circle, stones that turn out to be intelligent life forms, an alien prison ship and more fun than seems reasonable. It was also the 100th Doctor Who story, and a good one too.

Extras include a documentary on the making of the story, a short item on the influence of horror movies on Doctor Who, and some other rather nice bits and pieces. Good stuff all round, really.

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season

Doctor Who – The Pirate Planet

The Key to Time – Story 2

This story was written by Douglas Adams, and it shows. This is, of course, a Good Thing. It was written at much the same time as the first radio series of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and observant viewers may spot some similar gags. But a good Doug Adams gag is a good Doug Adams gag, and recycling is a good thing, isn’t it?

Anyway, the detector leads the Doctor and Romana to the planet Calufrax, but when they get there, something is wrong. For a start, they aren’t on Calufrax at all, but a much more unsavoury place called Zanak, which is apparently run by a delightfully bonkers pirate captain, complete with vicious robot parrot on his shoulder.

It seems that Zanak is teleported through space, and materialises around other planets. Once a planet is surrounded, all its usable resources are mined and its remains are compressed into a kind of trophy. The Doctor doesn’t really approve of that kind of thing, what with the planets being inhabited and all that.

K9 gets to fight with the robot parrot, the Doctor gets to walk the plank, and there’s as much lunacy as you might hope for from a Douglas Adams script. Great fun, and it’s a personal favourite.

The Doctor and Romana manage to stop the Captain just in time to save the Earth from being the next planet to be absorbed, and find the second segment of the Key – it was the husk of Calufrax, as it happens. And off they go to find the next part.

Extras include a documentary on the making of the story, which is well worth watching as it includes an archive interview with Douglas Adams. There are also some deleted scenes and out-takes, the usual production subtitles and much more.

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season

Doctor Who – The Ribos Operation

The Key to Time – Story 1

This story was first shown in September 1978, and starts with the Doctor (Tom Baker, remember?) travelling alone, having left Leela behind on Gallifrey at the end of The Invasion of Time. Well, alone apart from K9, or rather K9 Mk II, the original having chosen to stay with Leela. Before he can get round to actually going anywhere interesting, the Tardis is stopped, and the doors open into a bright white environment, where the Doctor meets the White Guardian. There are two Guardians, entities of enormous power to whom even the powerful and generally arrogant Time Lords defer. And the Guardian has a mission for the Doctor. Scattered through time and space are the six segments of the Key to Time, a device that is used to periodically restore the balance of the universe. And it seems that it’s one of those times. The Doctor has to find the pieces and hand them over to the White Guardian, so he can stop the universe falling to bits, or some such. Oh, and he has to be careful. The White Guardian is opposed by the Black Guardian, who’s more inclined to chaos, death, destruction and disorder. If he gets hold of the Key, Bad Things will happen. To assist him in his quest, the Guardian has arranged for someone to assist him, whether he likes it or not.

When he returns to the Tardis, he meets his new companion. Romanadvoratrelundar is a recent graduate from the academy on Gallifrey. The Doctor declares that her name is far too long and that he’ll call her Romana. Romana believes she has been sent on the mission by the President of the Council of Time Lords, but it was really the Guardian who sent her.

Using a device provided by the Guardian, the two Time Lords arrive at a delighful little planet called Ribos, where a couple of conmen are trying to persuade a deposed and moderately unstable warlord to buy the place. Not that it’s theirs to sell, of course. There’s lots of the usual running around, more than a little deception, and lots of fun.

Once everything is sorted out, the disguised segment of the Key to Time is converted into its normal form and the Doctor and Romana head off to find the next segment.

Extra features on this DVD include a rather nice retrospective documentary on the making of the story with contributions from many of the cast, and the usual informative production subtitles. A fine start to the series.

Read my comments on the rest of the Key to Time season