All entries for December 2007
December 26, 2007
Am I really the only person to have been disappointed by the Doctor Who Christmas special? And consistently so? The first one was too short to successfully develop the myriad of ideas presented; last year's was better, although I was disappointed to see the Santas recycled, and I'm not a fan of Catherine Tate either (could make Series 4 a tough watch); this year's was the most ambitious of the lot, and had evidently had a lot more money thrown at it.
As lavish as the set and CGI were (the CGI particularly was a vast improvement over previous series), and as many big names (Kylie Minogue!) they got for the cast, the writing and the plot turns were, as with most of Russell T. Davies' episodes, quite frankly rubbish. The twist at the end where the baddie has control of the boat's engines and shuts them down remotely defied belief, not least because if that was the case, why did he go to all the elaborate lengths of paying off the captain, controlling the Host, etc.?
The only really nice twist (in the "good" rather than the "nice" sense of the word) was that the bastard stock dealer survived when everyone wanted him dead.
There was too much cheese in the writing, and Kylie's character, Astrid, was so two-dimensional in a 1950s-Sci-Fi-B-Movie kind of way that I almost didn't feel anything when she died. Twice. If it wasn't for David Tennant's masterful portrayal of the Doctor making something good out of a dodgy script I honestly couldn't have given two shits whether Astrid lived or died. Compare this with Davies' handling of Billie Piper's exit at the end of Season 2 whose pathos almost moved me to tears.
So, BBC, please get someone else to write the Christmas specials. Davies does have some great ideas, but they can't be realised in the small time slot allocated to the specials (even this year's longer slot). Ideally, consign Russell T. Davies to a director or executive producer role where he can retain overall creative control and plot direction over the series, but for God's sake stop him writing scripts! His episodes are consistently the weakest in each series, carried more by the strength of his ideas than their generally ham-fisted execution, and it pains me to think of what someone like Steven Moffat, whose episodes have consistently been the best in each series, might have produced.
Good morning, world.
December 23, 2007
I've been reading the New Scientist's special report on the Bali climate conference, incidentally whilst sat on the now-closed M3 outside Winchester. The account of the conference is an interesting one, with clear and bubbling enthusiasm for the monumental decisions taken and the extraordinary events that unfolded. Perhaps the biggest credit should go to plucky little Papua New Guinea who reportedly told the US in no uncertain terms where to stick it. I quote:
"Conrad...simply commanded them: "If you are not prepared to lead, get out of the way." And they did."
December 20, 2007
For the last two days, I've not been able to see Morrison's for the particularly dense fog. Hold on, I'm saying that like that's a bad thing... Woo-hoo!!! I haven't been able to see Morrison's for two days!!!
Additionally, the weather forecast is telling me that it's currently -4°C outside. I'm not sure I completely believe it, as it is the forecast for Cambridge. Worryingly, as Cambourne is in the middle of nowhere, it is usually colder here than it is in Cambridge. There is, at least, no wind, and all the trees and things have a beautiful layer of frost on them which, if there were any sun and no fog, would be glittering beautifully.
December 17, 2007
...I am now officially down to a 32" waist again, and have been for a couple of weeks now. Woohoo! My hard work at the gym (that has admittedly fallen by the wayside a little bit recently) has paid off!
Also, Gethin and Camilla were robbed. I need to go and watch Saturday's show, because apparently Matt and Flavia danced very well (it's good that Matt finally got a hold on his nerves after last week's abysmal performance), but I think Gethin deserved it more; he's come so far in the last couple of weeks, and he totally deserved a place in the final. I was looking forward to a showdown between him and Alesha. It was a shame that Kelly Brook dropped out a couple of weeks ago, too, on a number of levels ;) She had a similar amount of raw talent as Alesha and it would have been a very interesting final had it been down to the two of them.
Apparently Rhydian was robbed too. I care less about this, having only seen two shows of The X Factor ever (both this series, coincidentally), and not really being a fan of ITV television generally. Two interesting points to note having watched the final with Lorna on Saturday, though:
- Pairing Rhydian with Catherine Jenkins possibly swung the competition somewhat. He really showed her up for the beautiful but talentless <insert your choice of word here> she is, and her mic was too loud in comparison with his. Mind you, her mic will always be too loud for me. I felt dirty having had my ears sullied by her voice.
- Leon's face after his duet with Kylie was an absolute picture. He was a bit starstruck, but by the time he left the stage you could clearly see the dirty thoughts of threesomes with the Minogue sisters running through his mind. They were coming on to him quite a bit (particularly Dannii), it was rather amusing!
This last week has been a busy one. On Monday, I visited Paul at his flat in Cambridge for a quiet night in; we spent most of it watching funny stuff courtesy of the BBC's iPlayer. Tuesday was my one free day last week, so I spent it catching up on some TV, that sort of thing. Wednesday saw me travelling to Huntingdon with a couple of mates from work to see American Gangster; this is an excellent film, if a little long at 2hrs 40mins. It is also somewhat unusual in that it's a slow burner from Ridley Scott of all people, but it's carried off very well and both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe give sterling performances. I highly recommend it.
On Thursday, Paul came round to my flat for another night in, although a little less quiet than Monday's was! We got some beers in, watched The Negotiator (a thoroughly enjoyable film with performances of the quality you'd expect from Samuel L Jackson and Kevin Spacey) and then spent the rest of the evening playing Portal from Valve. This is a truly fantastic game; the black sense of humour pervading the game, along with the innovative Portal gun and the powerful Source game engine combine to provide a top-class experience. I cannot recommend it enough, you will want to play this to the end the moment you pick it up.
Friday saw me leaving work a little early to pick up Lorna from the station. She came up to visit and accompany me to the Citrix Christmas party which took place on Friday night. It was a low-key affair compared with last year, but not at all in a bad way, and both Lorna and I had a very enjoyable evening. We left at about 1am after consuming a rather nasty bottle of rosé between us (although I think I ended up having most of it) and stayed up for about another hour chatting about Heroes and Lost and other random stuff.
On Saturday Lorna and I headed into Cambridge for a spot of Christmas shopping, feeling rather brain-dead. I say "a spot"; what I mean by that is that I needed to do all my Christmas shopping, and Lorna needed to do a bit! I didn't get up until about 11.30 or so, and Lorna about 12-12.30, so it wasn't until 1pm that we actually left. We arrived in Cambridge at about 2pm and headed straight to The Gourmet Burger Kitchen for lunch (my new favourite place to eat; their burgers and milkshakes are to die for). We staggered back on the bus at about 6pm after a lot of shopping and a good rest in Costa at the top of Waterstones including, of course, a bowl of tea that you can lose your face in. We settled down in front of The X Factor Final for a couple of hours before it was time for Lorna to head back to London.
Yesterday, all told, was a much more relaxed day, with boring things like a to-do list. On the plus side, though, I completed everything on my list (bassoon practice, Christmas cards, pub quiz, washing) and got through some old TV too; most notably, the last episode of Top Gear.
And so here we are: the final week of work before Christmas; I have my first review coming up after Christmas, and an initial discussion with my manager today regarding my performance over the last quarter. From what he's said so far, though, everything seems to be going swimmingly, and I'm confident that the review will not throw up any major issues.
More to come soon, I hope.