Daily Archives: Sunday, 2nd Sep 2012

Weight and Stuff Report – 2 September 2012

I’m having a quiet day in, catching up with some posting stuff, and fiddling with some photos, so a small weight rise can be ignored for today. Back to walking tomorrow. Probably.

Today’s picture is the rest of that Guy bus I mentioned yesterday:

Gloucester

Gloucester

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/125s
Focal length: 92mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 46.699′ 0″ N 3° 6.6052′ 0″ W

Red & White used to operate services in South Wales and the West of England before being absorbed into the National Bus Company.

Doctor Who – Asylum of the Daleks

OK, while I’m not going to do a plot run-through, I am going to babble about various aspects of last night’s opening episode in a manner that might reveal things that anyone who (a) hasn’t seen it yet and (b) has managed to avoid the internet, might not want to know yet. Or to put it another way:

Here be spoilers!

Right, if you’re still here, I’ll carry on. I’ve mentioned before that Steven Moffat is a master of misdirection and confusion, and he’s done really well with those things this time. Despite loads of publicity, released videos, and general stuff about the episode, there were a few high-quality surprises. The first one was the rather icky business of apparently normal humans being Dalek “puppets” who right up until the moment the eyestalk slides out have no idea of what they are. Nasty, and fun.

Then there was the business of the Parliament of the Daleks. Wait? What? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really thought of the Daleks as being all that interested in the democratic process. They’ve always been more inclined to autocracy, with either Emperors or Supreme Daleks doing the screaming thing while all the other Daleks squawk:

I Obey!

So, it was a little odd to find them having a nice friendly gathering, with loads of bronze Daleks, a nice little scattering of the New Paradigm Daleks from Victory of the Daleks, who it seems aren’t so much replacements as management, and a Prime Minister, who’s a Dalek Mutant in a fish tank rather than the usual kind of Dalek tank. Come to think of it, it was probably meeting Winston Churchill who gave them the Prime Minister idea…

Then there was the whole entertaining notion of the Daleks grabbing the Doctor not for the usual reasons of wanting to Exterminate him, but to get him to help them with a little problem they were having. Of course, a bit of Extermination may well have happened in due course, but that wasn’t the actual reason for bringing him and his friends along. So maybe they’re getting more sophisticated…

But the biggest surprise was Oswin. Who? Well, she was this young woman who had crashed on the Asylum of the Daleks, that lovely place where the Daleks put the Daleks that are too bonkers even for them, many of them driven to post-Dalek insanity by their encounters with the Doctor, of course. Oswin was quite surprisingly played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who I certainly wasn’t expecting to see before the Christmas episode, when she is due to become the Doctor’s new companion.[1] Oswin was superb – flirty, funny and mind-bogglingly brilliant. Able to hack into the Daleks’ systems, guide the Doctor, Amy and Rory to the nearest thing to safety in a planetoid full of deranged Daleks, and generally having “perfect companion” written all over her. Of course, some things didn’t make sense. How could she keep making souffles after a year in an escape pod buried in a Dalek asylum? Where did she get the milk? Or the eggs? While it was apparent that all was not as it seemed with Oswin, the final reveal wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and all the more tragic for that. Now the Doctor never actually saw Oswin’s actual face[2], so it’s quite possible for someone who looks like her to run into him at some point without him doing the old “don’t I know you?” routine, but knowing Steven Moffat, something very complicated indeed will happen.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, there was the matter of Amy and Rory. As hinted at in Pond Life, they’d had a bit of a relationship problem, which Amy was reluctant to explain. The reveal of that would probably have been more effective in a less “busy” episode, but it did shine a little light into the depths of Amy, which worked for me.

With a final gag involving the Daleks having their memory of the Doctor deleted by Oswin, allowing a repeat of the

Doctor Who?

routine from The Wedding of River Song, for what I’m sure won’t be the last time, this was as big and bold a series opener as ever.

And that’s without mentioning the “eggs” gags, which gave Rory some lovely comedy moments.

In previous years, the episode would have been followed by Doctor Who Confidential on BBC Three, but as the management of that station are apparently very silly, that’s been cancelled, so all we have is some background material on the website, and this video, which contains Daleks:

And if that was all a bit long, here’s the executive summary:  :tigger:

[1] Mr Moffat managed to persuade the press, bloggers and everyone else who saw the preview showing of the episode to keep very quiet about her appearance
[2] For reasons made apparent towards the end

My new new photography site

No, that’s not a typo in the title. I’ve previously launched a new photo site, then let it drift because the whole thing was far too much effort, so this is the new new one. It’s so new that I even registered a new domain name for it, despite having loads already.

This is follows on from what I was talking about on Monday about giving SmugMug a try. I had a more detailed play yesterday, and came to the conclusion that I liked what I saw enough to give it a try for a year at the top end $150 “business” level. Why “business”? Because I’m actually going to attempt to sell some images, and SmugMug lets me do that. I can set my own prices for a huge range of print sizes and downloads, which could potentially make back some of the cost.[1] SmugMug and the labs they work with deal with all the actual ordering, printing and delivering, which makes it moderately simple.

Anyway, the new Les Bessant Photography site is now live. There’s only one gallery so far, which has the same content as my photobook, but I’ll start adding more over the next few weeks.

I’ve set it up with a UK-based lab for printing – at the moment it’s not possible to offer more than one lab per gallery, but if any US-based readers would like to buy prints, I can set up a second gallery which will work with a US lab, so you won’t be stung on postage costs.

There’s also the option of downloading images – I have lower cost “personal” licences (print yourself, put on personal web pages, etc) and more expensive “commercial” ones (if you’re using it to make money, basically).

The layout of the site is basic at present – I may do some more customisation later.

After signing up, I learned that SmugMug will be increasing their subscription prices next month by a substantial amount, so I got in at about the right time. I’m prepared to gamble $150 for one year, taking into account that if I like it, I’ll probably stop paying for Flickr and 500px, but I’m not sure I’d have been so inclined at the new level of $300 for new Business subscribers. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth taking that trial now and signing up before the middle of October if you’re going to do it at all.

If you do want to sign up, this link will get you a discount: Sign up for SmugMug, or enter my magic code at the checkout: xMRTCekOokYmI

Les Bessant Photography

[1] If I ever get so far as making a profit, you’ll probably hear me going  :tigger: a lot