Daily Archives: Friday, 1st Jan 2010

Weight and Stuff Report – 1 January 2010

I thought I should start posting these things again, in the hope that putting the Big Numbers on show might help motivate me to turn them into Smaller Numbers.

And in an effort to make the daily reports a little more interesting, I’ll aim to include something else each day – it might be a photograph, it might be a link, or a general bit of muttering. Today’s[1] special extra feature is a picture of the snow currently covering Gateshead, which encouraged me to stay in all day.

Snow

Snow

A lovely start to the year...

[1] More observant readers might notice that this was actually posted tomorrow. Err, today, err, you know what I mean

Doctor Who – New Series Preview

OK, this probably won’t be visible if you’re not in the UK, but I thought I’d post it anyway. A quick preview of what’s coming when Doctor Who returns in the Spring:

The video that used to be here seems to have vanished

Looks like the lovely Weeping Angels from Blink are coming back, the Daleks are around (of course), and that looks like a bunch of vampires, or at least people with very pointy teeth. And after the slightly rough ride caused by the Doctor’s regeneration, it seems the TARDIS might be getting a bit of a refit…

Doctor Who – The End of Time

OK, I’ll keep this spoiler-free for now, but some kind of comment seems necessary…

Meep.

Lots of Good Stuff. We learn more about the Time War, and why the Doctor did what he did. We learn why the Master has been hearing that drumming noise in his head all his life. We manage not to learn who one apparently important person is.

And we finally learn who is going to knock four times. And it might not be who you were expecting.

And we have a final goodbye from the Tenth Doctor to his friends.

And the Eleventh Doctor makes his appearance and based on about twenty seconds of post-regeneration confusion, he looks like he’s going to be interesting…

I’ll probably need to watch the whole thing a few more times, but overall it was a fitting send-off for a truly wonderful Doctor.

Jonathan Creek – The Grinning Man

Yes, I’m really behind with this one. Jonathan Creek’s long-awaited[1] return was shown on TV last Christmas, when I somehow managed to miss it. I didn’t spot any repeat showings, so I had a long wait until the DVD was released in October.

In the classic Jonathan Creek mode, it’s a locked room mystery, but with more twists than normal. It revolves around an allegedly haunted room in a suitably scary gothic mansion. Over the last seventy years or so, several people have disappeared without a trace after spending the night in the room.

Jonathan finds himself drawn into the mystery, accompanied by Joey Ross, who presents a “paranormal investigation” TV show – the kind of silliness Jonathan isn’t all that keen on. Joey’s determined to find out what happened to her friend – the last person to sleep in the mysterious room. Jonathan wants to solve the problem, and have at least some time away from the ever-irritating Adam Klaus.

It was loads of fun, with Alan Davies dropping into the Jonathan Creek role as if he’d never stopped. Apparently there’s going to be another special at Easter, which is something to look forward to.

[1] By me, anyway

The Folklore of Discworld – Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson

Now this is fun. This paperback edition includes an extra chapter covering Unseen Academicals, so it’s a better option than the original hardback, which I didn’t get round to buying.

What we have here is a quite detailed look at all manner of things relating to the Discworld – gods, dwarfs, wizards, witches, legends, myths and much more. Where it seems appropriate, comparisons are made with some strange place known to its inhabitants as “Earth”.

It manages to be a moderately sensible bit of folklore (which is Jacqueline Simpson’s area of expertise) and nicely entertaining (which is Terry’s area of expertise). Lots of extracts from the books, so if you haven’t read them all, this could be a good introduction, and might just tempt you into doing a lot more reading. There are only 37 books for you to catch up on…

She Lover of Death – Boris Akunin

And another review from my backlog! Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of this series of Russian stories, which continue to please and surprise me.

It’s 1900 in Moscow, and dark deeds are afoot. Young people are becoming fascinated with death, and there appears to be a sinister “suicide club” in the city. We see events through the eyes of Masha Mianova, a young woman recently arrived from Siberia, who has her own fascination with death to deal with. She is led into the suicide club, where she soon meets a mysterious man, who we recognise as Fandorin.

Can Fandorin save Masha? Can he uncover the secrets of the suicide club? Well, of course, but there’s a lot of death and danger on the way. As always, good fun, and well worth a read.

Unseen Academicals – Terry Pratchett

Dearie me, I am a bit behind with my reviews. The latest in Terry’s long-running Discworld series came out in October or thereabouts. I actually got round to reading it in November, when I had a week off, then put it on the pile of things I need to write about.

This one features the wizards of Unseen University, who are still their lovely old chaotic, disorganised selves, though Ponder Stibbons seems to be trying to make them a little more chaotic.

I also features a strange activity known as foot-the-ball, which the Patrician is with the help of a convenient ancient document[1], attempting to transform from a violent free-for-all played in the streets into an organised activity with actual rules.

And then there’s Mr Nutt. Mr Nutt is a bit of a mystery to everyone, including Mr Nutt.

And we get more of an insight into the lives of the kitchen staff of the University, and of the normal[2] people of Ankh-Morpork.

There’s romance! Danger! Puns! And more.

It is, of course, enormous fun, and possibly even thought-provoking. Classic Pratchett, in short.

[1] The sort of thing that is, err, found at an amazingly coincidentally useful time and which just happens to say what somebody wants it to. Handy, that
[2] Well, more or less