Daily Archives: Saturday, 19th Jun 2010

Doctor Who – The Pandorica Opens (First reaction)




OK, no details, no spoilers until next week, but I’ll just say that Steven Moffat is officially more bonkers than a very bonkers thing that’s got a special offer on bonkersness.

Some questions have been answered, others remain open. The biggest one being:

How the hell are they going to get out of this one?


Having just thought of the word censorshipwreck to describe a failure to follow through with a bit of silly censoring, I thought I’d goooooogle it[1] to see if the word was in general use. Well, it looks like it’s somebody’s online id, so sorry to whoever that is, and well done on thinking of it first. But oddly enough, the first hit was:

How fast was that?

How fast was that?

Yes, by a few minutes after making that post, it was the first hit on Google. I knew it was quick these days, but that’s quite impressive. But then, I remember the days when it took weeks or months to get sites listed by search engines…

Weight and Stuff Report – 19 June 2010

Errr, oops. Not sure where that extra weight came from. Mutter.

Leaving Pilgrim Street for today, here’s the next local demolition target:

Tyne Bridge Tower

Tyne Bridge Tower

Tyne Bridge Tower is a former tax office, lurking at the Gateshead end of the Tyne Bridge and reached by an elevated walkway from the bridge. Since it closed, there have been various proposals to convert it into either low-cost flats or expensive apartments, suggestions to re-clad it, which might have turned it into something moderately attractive, and probably some other ideas that passed me by. But it seems that nobody wants to bother with any of that, and instead it will be demolished. This will presumably have to be another one of those gradual top-down jobs, which might be moderately interesting to watch.


I saw this in a leading supermarket today. They’re obviously concerned about offending the delicate sensibiliites of their customers, as they (or maybe the publisher) have added a friendly CENSORED sticker over the not particularly offensive word “shit” on the front cover.

However, obscuring the spine didn’t seem to occur to anyone:

Censorship Failure

Censorship Failure

I declare this to be an official Censorshipwreck. The word just came to me, and I don’t care if it isn’t original, so there, etc.

Dropbox – Free online file store and more

If you’ve ever needed to transfer files that are too big for email, or wanted some “in the cloud” storage for important documents, or been at the wrong computer to get that really important file, then you might find this interesting.

Dropbox is a service that offers native clients for Windows, Mac and Linux, plus mobile versions for iPhone, iPad, Android (Blackberry coming soon), and a simple, easy to use web interface. If you sign up and install the software, it gives you a magic folder on your computer. Anything you save in that folder will be copied to Dropbox’s storage, and can be automatically synchronised to any other computers where you install the software. Subject to the limitations of what your choice of mobile device can open, you can also get the files from your phone. Nice.

You can also set up a public share so you can give people those large files that you can’t email.

Think of it as an online backup for vital documents – insurance records, serial numbers for your software, anything that you might want to get hold of when you’re away from your main computer, or that you’d have to restore from a backup if your computer failed or was stolen.

Sounds good? Well, I’ve been using it for a while now, and I have to say I like it a lot. I find that it synchronises files faster and more reliably than Apple’s Mobile Me service, which sometimes for some people decides that it won’t synchronise files no matter how hard you kick it. The website is quick, and I’ve found that uploads and downloads work as expected. The mobile clients do what they should, and as the service is growing in popularity, a number of useful apps support opening files from Dropbox, making it much easier to get files on iPads than through iTunes.

Sounds really good? Well, it gets better. All this lovely file storing, synchronising and twiddling starts at the quite reasonable price of free. For no money at all, you can have 2GB of storage. Now that’s not enough to store your photo library, or a lifetime’s work, but it’s plenty for important documents, and if you need more space, it’s available for moderate prices.

And to make it more interesting, they’ll give you some more space if you fill in their survey, and even more space if you persuade people to sign up for the free service. Which leads me to the linky thing:

Dropbox: free 2GB file storage and synchronisation

Yes, that is a referral link, and for everyone who signs up through it, Dropbox will give me an extra 250MB storage, which I might fill one day. Feel free to use it or not use it as you like.

Whether you use my link or not, Dropbox is worth a look.

Doctor Who – The Lodger

Just about a week late with this, but as tonight’s episode is the first of a two-parter, I probably won’t be writing about it until next week, that sort of works out. Sort of.

This one was written by Richard Curtis, best known for such things as Blackadder, Four Weddings and a Funeral and other comedies. So how would he do with Doctor Who? Rather well, as it turns out old hand Gareth Roberts, as Mr Dull kindly reminded me. :duh: :duh:

On one level, The Lodger is a classic romantic comedy – the usual will they/won’t they kind of thing about friends Craig and Sophie, who met at work and have evenings together watching TV, eating pizza and all the usual kind of thing. But they’re just mates, sort of, as it were, and all that.

Their lives are ever so slightly disturbed when a new lodger arrives to occupy the spare room in Craig’s flat: the Doctor, in maximum bonkers not quite getting human stuff right mode.

He’s there investigating some odd time disturbance coming from the upstairs flat, which is stopping the TARDIS from materialising properly – it having stopped long enough to let him out, before disappearing with Amy. Fortunately, he’s able to keep in touch with her through a wibbly-wobbly Bluetooth earpiece thingy.

The wossname upstairs is definitely a bit odd. It keeps luring people into the house, by calling for help through the intercom on the door. And the people who go in never come out again…

The Doctor talks to Amy about the thingy and says how all he has to do is pass as a normal human, to which she replies

Have you seen you?

and suggests that he should lose the bow tie…

Then some suitably wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey things start to happen. After a football match[1], there’s a brief time loop thingy, where the Doctor sees everyone repeating a moment over and over.

In between building a ludicrous device in his room[2] and talking to Amy, the Doctor talks to Sophie, trying to get her to think about why she’s staying in her boring job rather than moving on. What’s keeping her here[3]?

After a bit more comedy where the Doctor covers for Craig in a meeting while Craig’s busy recovering from being infected by the odd creeping stain on the ceiling that seems to be related to the wossname upstairs, things get more interesting.

After Craig catches the Doctor talking to a cat about what’s going on upstairs, and decides that he needs this strange person to move out, the Doctor lets him see who he really is (cue another one of those high-speed succession of old clips).

The voice upstairs manages to lure Sophie up there, just as Amy tells the Doctor that according to the plans, the house doesn’t actually have an upstairs to be lured into.

And upstairs turns out to be a disguised alien time ship. A bit like a TARDIS only not quite as messy. With the crew all dead, the hologram emergency system is trying to find a human to act as pilot. Unfortunately, this tends not to work, as attaching a human to the control pad tends to result in the ship not moving and the human doing much the same on a permanent basis.

The resolution is a suitably silly bit of nonsense. By persuading Craig and Sophie to admit to each other that (a) they love each other and (b) that’s why they want to stay where they are, they burn out the ship’s controls, as it’s looking for people who want to be somewhere else. Err, or something like that.

Anyway, everyone rushes downstairs in time to see the top of the house disappear, revealing the camouflaged alien ship that’s been there all along, before that disappears too.

With the alien wossname force gone, the TARDIS is able to materialise. Before the Doctor can leave, Craig insists that he keeps a set of keys for the flat[4].

Oh, and the Crack is back, this time appearing in the flat while nobody is watching. And on the TARDIS, Amy finds her engagement ring in its box. The ring given to her by Rory, who as far as she is concerned never existed. And she remembers the Crack…

So, that was a good fun episode. Looks like it was made as an “Amy-lite” one, probably at the same time as scenes from an episode with more Amy were being made.

Tonight sees what looks like being a suitably interesting opener for the finale. There are some pictures, clips and other stuff to enjoy while you’re waiting on the BBC website:

The Pandorica Opens

[1] The Doctor plays remarkably well. Any suggestion that this is because Matt Smith’s first career choice was professional football, and it was only an injury that steered him towards acting will be ignored on grounds of being real. So there. :tongue:
[2] Big rotating thing made of all manner of junk
[3] Classic rom-com moment, really
[4] Nice set-up for a possible return from Craig, nicely played by James Corden