Monthly Archives: February 2010

More changes coming…

If you’ve been reading any of this stuff over the last few months, you might recall that I’ve been talking about replacing all the existing picture galleries on this site with new ones on a shiny new dedicated photography site. And if you do happen to recall that, you might be wondering what happened to that project. Well, it’s mostly the old tuitness thing, which is the usual cause of things not happening, but I also had a thought in the back of my mind: the problem with using a separate site for the pictures is how to include images in posts.

This works pretty well with Gallery2, but the whole integration thing is a bit heavy and can be slow, and every time there’s a major new version of WordPress or Gallery, the developers of the WPG2 plugin have to persuade them both to play nicely together again. And I’d really like to avoid having such a big database if I can manage it.

So, for the last, err, quite a while, rather than adding new galleries, I’ve been linking images from Flickr, which is great for single recent images, but not so flexible for galleries of images.

Which leads me on to where I’m thinking of going now. I’m looking at changing over to the native image and gallery functions of WordPress itself. I began to think this might be a good idea when I saw the blog relating to the new TwentyTen theme, which has built in styles to present galleries in a quite friendly and easy to use way. I’ve been playing on my test site – uploading copies of the images from a couple of my old galleries, and once I’d done it right, the results were quite usable.

So all I have to do is upload all the images that I’ve already grabbed from Gallery into WordPress and attach them to relevant posts. It’s a bit of work, but probably less than would be involved in moving them all to the new photo site and working out how to link them to posts.

I’ll be fiddling with this on my WordPress 3 test site, which will give you a preview of where this site is going. It might break from time to time, as the WordPress code gets closer to a release version.

February 2010 Round-up

This one is a bit sooner than normal because it’s a short month, or something.


Well, I have managed to keep weighing myself this month…

February 1: 229.6 pounds (16 stone 5.6 pounds, 104.1 kg)
February 28: 229 pounds (16 stone 5 pounds, 103.9 kg)
Difference: A fall of 0.6 pounds (0.3 kg), but I have been as low as 225.6 pounds (16 stone 1.6 pounds, 102.3 kg) this month, which would have been a fall of 4 pounds (1.8 kg) if that had been today’s weight, mutter.

Still on the bagels for lunch, pretty much every day, and without adding anything extra.


Following last month’s not too bad performance, I’ve slipped a bit and walked to work exactly no times at all. Did have a bit of a walk on that Friday I had off a few weeks back, but that’s not really enough, is it?


I still seem to be in posting madness mode. This month’s total, including this post, but not any I might come up with later today, will be 64, which is just two less than last month, which isn’t bad as there were three fewer days in this month.


Not quite so much photography this month – the weather has been less interesting and more generally unpleasant. Lots of grey skies and rain. But I did manage to take at least one picture on eleven days, with a total of 183. I’ve also made a little progress on pictures I took last summer. The principle of adding one picture a day to my weight posts is encouraging me to make the effort there.

Weight and Stuff Report – 28 February 2010

Oh dear. Up quite a lot from Friday, which will be the after-effects of food and drink activities, or something.

Today’s picture is what I think is a jackdaw[1][3], taken at Laugharne in South Wales last summer:

Jackdaw (err, probably)

Jackdaw (err, probably)

If he (or indeed she) looks a bit bedraggled, it was, as I recall, a quite wet day.

[1] I’m not a geek, not an ornithologist![2]
[2] But I did look at a lot of bird pictures online before convincing myself that’s what it was
[3] Corrections gratefully received.

Doctor Who – Peladon Tales

When I talked about The Masque of Mandragora a couple of weeks ago, I suggested it was the first classic Doctor Who release of the year, which was not actually correct. I’d somehow forgotten that, in the usual pattern of releases, the first one was this little themed box set, which had been on my pile of things to watch since it arrived in January. Silly me. Anyway, what we have here is a slipcase with two of the usual DVD packages. The link, as the title of the set suggests is that these are the two stories set on the planet Peladon. Both star Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, and oh, well, let’s look at them in turn.

The Curse of Peladon

First shown in January and February 1972, this story, featuring Katy Manning as Jo Grant is ever so slightly inspired by the debate over the UK entering what was then known as the EEC or Common Market. The Doctor takes Jo on a test trip in the TARDIS. In the usual kind of way, it doesn’t quite end up when or where he intended[1], and they find themselves mixed up in some entraining political shenanigans. The relatively primitive planet Peladon is applying to join the Galactic Federation, a move encouraged by the young King Peladon, but not entirely approved of by others on the planet. There are an assortment of delegates from other planets. There’s the, err, hexapod hermaphrodite delegate from Alpha Centauri, who is either given the courtesy title Alpha Centauri, or comes from a planet where they give their offspring unimaginative names. And there’s a gooey alien head in a dome, who’s from Arcturus and has a similarly odd name. But the Doctor is most interested and alarmed to see that there are some Ice Warriors around, too. Having had some trouble with them before, he finds it hard to believe that they’ve really given up their old ways and devoted themselves to peace.

There is of course a conspiracy involved, with murder, mayhem and betrayal. And Peladon’s sacred beast Aggedor[2] has an important part to play…

Special features include:

  • The Peladon Saga – Part One A nicely detailed version of the usual cast and crew thingy, looking at how the social and political environment of the times influenced both stories.
  • Warriors of Mars A history of the Ice Warriors.
  • Jon and Katy The partnership between the Third Doctor and Jo Grant

And all the usual bits: commentary, production subtitles and pictures.

The Monster of Peladon

This one was first shown in March and April 1974, and features Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. The Doctor plans to make a return visit to see his old friend King Peladon, but arrives fifty years after the first story rather than the five or so he intended. King Peladon is dead, and the planet is now ruled by his daughter Queen Thalira. But all is not well. The Federation is at war with “Galaxy Five”[3], and is dependent on supplies of a mineral being mined on Peladon. But the miners are having problems with images of Aggedor appearing and quite rudely vaporising people, and they are refusing to work[4].

Who’s behind the trouble this time? Could it be the Ice Warriors? It’s all much of the usual, with trouble everywhere, and plenty of confusion and double-dealing. Perhaps a little long at six episodes, but still watchable, if only for Sarah trying to persuade the Queen to stand up for herself.

Special features include:

  • The Peladon Saga – Part Two This part concentrates on the characters and creatures in the stories, and includes one of the best bits ever seen in one of these documentaries. This had been referred to by several people: Alpha Centauri is a green alien. It’s got a more or less cylindrical body with a big round head. Its resemblance to a, err, gentleman’s body part was noted, and it was decided to put a cloak around it to avoid the problem. Terrance Dicks[5], script editor at the time, decided not to beat around the bush for the documentary. On first seeing Alpha Centauri

    It looks like a giant dick.

    And on seeing it with the cloak:

    It looks like a giant dick with a cloak on.

  • On Target – Terrance Dicks – A documentary about the novelisations of the Doctor Who stories, concentrating on Terrance’s huge contribution to the series. And those title changes were not his fault!

And there’s more, too. Another good set for your collection.

[1] It’s never stated, but there is a suspicion that the Time Lords might have been controlling things here, as the Doctor is still in exile…
[2] Both an object of veneration (statues everywhere, a temple, etc) and an actual real animal
[3] An astronomically oddly named enemy…
[4] Yes, they moved on from EEC entry to the 70s miners’ strike…
[5] Who else?

WordPress 3.0 is coming…

…and it looks like being an interesting one.

The biggest change is that WordPress and WordPress MU[1] are merging into a single product, which seems like a sensible idea. But there’s more to enjoy…

For a start, there’s a shiny new default theme, which quite apart from being crisp, clean and tidy, supports threaded comments quite tidily, and actually looks like something I might be able to use with minimal changes. You can drop in your own header image to make your site look less like a standard WP blog should you want to. It even comes with a page template that will let you display pages without the sidebar if that’s what you want. I’m quite impressed with this, not just because it looks good, but because it’ll need a lot less work to make it do what I want.

Another feature is the new menu editing thingy, which lets you decide which (if any) of your pages appear as links at the top of the page. Up till now, to do this you’d need a plugin. Where the management bit gets clever is that your header menu can also contain links to other sites (or to a single post, I guess), and that previously needed hand coding files.

It’s still in a very early stage of development, and bits are likely to break over the coming weeks, so handle with care if you decided to have a look.

If you want to play, you can either get the latest Nightly Build, or if you want to keep really up to date, you can play with SVN, which is how I’m doing it on my test site.

[1] That’s the one that lets you set up lots of separate blogs on one site.

Weight and Stuff Report – 27 February 2010

I seem not to have recorded my weight today[1], but I suspect it of being somewhat higher than yesterday’s. Probably.

Today’s picture is another one from last summer. It’s the Old Bridge in Haverfordwest.

Old Bridge, Haverfordwest

Old Bridge, Haverfordwest

I like the reflections in this one.

[1] Which suggests I may be writing this tomorrow. So when I say today, I mean yesterday. Or something.

Weight and Stuff Report – 26 February 2010

Up just a teeny bit today, but that’s not anything unusual. I may be consuming something of the pizza and red wine variety tonight, so tomorrow’s weight may be more alarming.

For today’s picture, here’s another one from last summer’s Wales trip. It was taken at Broad Haven, one of many fine beaches in Pembrokeshire:

Broad Haven

Broad Haven

One of Pembrokeshire's many lovely beaches

I have to catch up on these pictures, or before you know it, July will arrive and I’ll have another huge pile[1] to deal with!

[1] Note: no actual piles are involved. All images are digital.

Weight and Stuff Report – 25 February 2010

Back up a pound today, but never mind, random wossnames and all that.

Today’s picture is a quick iPhone snap taken at Pendine Sands last summer. It’s quite common to have signs at beaches warning about tides, announcing restrictions on ball games, dogs, or whatever else might or might not be allowed, but you don’t often see this:

A nice day at the beach

A nice day at the beach

Yup, watch out for unexploded bombs, shells, and anything else they might have left behind. Fun.

Deadly Communion – Frank Tallis

And here we are with the latest in the series of novels originally labelled The Liebermann Papers, which started with Mortal Mischief and led up to last year’s Darkness Rising. It’s much the same as before – murders in Vienna which need to be solved by Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt and his psychiatrist friend Max Liebermann with the increasing aid of Amelia Lydgate.

The twist this time is that the series of murders appear to be the work of a sexually-motivated person with a fixation on death, something that’s familiar in the modern world, but little-known in early 20th Century Vienna. There’s the usual danger to Max, who has the usual confrontation with the killer, Sigmund Freud appears as always, and it’s the usual page-turning fun and mind games.

But there’s more this time. The usual third person, multiple viewpoint narrative is interspersed with what we soon realise is the killer’s own story, from his childhood to his crimes, but something is wrong. Could there be someone else with a secret worth killing for?

I’ll freely admit to being hooked on detective fiction set in this era. I blame it on an early exposure to Sherlock Holmes[1], but there is something fascinating about the period, when scientific methods are slowly entering into the work of the detectives, and all manner of social changes are in progress. It helps if there’s a good story as well as lots of period and location detail – Tallis is particularly good on the subject of Viennese coffee and cakes – and this series certainly qualifies.

Good fun. If you haven’t read the earlier books, I suggest you track them down – you’ll probably find used copies for not very much, or try your local library. If you have read the earlier books, you’ll definitely want to catch this one, too.

[1] I recently re-read the full set again, in a lovely out-of-print annotated edition.

Weight and Stuff Report – 24 February 2010

Down again today, to the lowest weight so far this year, so it seems my bagel-only lunch policy is working.

Today’s picture is a recent view from my window:

The Committee

The Committee

They’re either having a committee meeting, or gathering on one of the few warm chimneys…