Sunday, 22 November 2009

SPOILERS! - Waters of Mars

I've once again broken my month-long blog silence to bring you .... A Brawny Review! (That could be a Breview I suppose... but anyway...)


In Which - The Doctor lands on Mars, ends up in the first human base on Mars, and then realises that he really shouldn't be there....

What did I think? - A bit of a strange beast this episode, as the majority of it seemed to be made up of a standard Dr Who "Base Under Siege" story, combined with the Doctor repeatedly saying "I should go" and then, well, not going. The Flood was the sort of monster that I like, an unexplained, inhuman, completely alien idea, hidden in something so simple and essential. But the pacing of the first half hour just felt, well, a little off.

The turning point was him in the airlock though, discussing what he knows must happen with Adelaide. It finally gave us an insight into the changing history / not changing history rules in Dr Who. (Or at least, in the new Russell T Davies era of Dr Who) by re-iterating that history has fixed points, things that can't be changed.

And then, the Doctor questions himself. Why can't he change things? He's the last time lord, there's no-one else left, what's to stop him?

So he does. He turns back and joins in the fight for survival. And I've never been so ambivalent about the Doctor saving people in my life. On the one hand, Yay, he's the Doctor, he should save people, and the base people seem nice enough. On the other hand, you know that what he is doing is against the laws of time, and you can't help but feel that there will be consequences (I'm pretty sure that the fact the final 2-part special is called "The End of Time" indicates that).

The end of the Mars-set action shows the Doctor coming up with a plan which almost feels like cheating, with the utilisation of the TARDIS to save everyone, although this obviously allows the explosion to happen as history recorded, presumably defeating the Flood.

And then, the Earth-set epilogue. Easily the finest end to a Dr Who episode in many years. The Doctor turns from having been a slightly over-cocky nice guy, to a very cocky... well... asshole. We get someone actually being freaked out by the TARDIS (which I've always thought is missing, most people would get properly spooked), and we get the Doctor insisting he is the Time Lord Victorious.

And then we get the death of Adelaide. Marred only slightly for me by the fact its the second climactic suicide scripted by RTD in the last year (the previous one, of course, being Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth), it is a superb moment, and the Doctors realisation that he has gone too far.

And what happens from this point? Who knows, but I'm guessing it will be catastrophic...

(Oh and for all you pedants, I know that there wouldn't be fire on the surface of Mars, but didn't it look good)

The Good - Performances excellent all across the board, gripping ending, we get to see the Doctor be fallible for a change

The Bad - The annoying robot was annoying, and no amount of self satisfying references to the fact that robots are annoying can make him less annoying, the pacing of the first half hour felt very strange

Conclusion - I think it would have worked better in 45 minutes than the full hour (which is a very rare statement for me to make) but on the whole I liked it. 8/10 (Can't wait for End of Time!)

Now that the review is over, I'm sure many of you are wondering why I'm not pressing on with my novel. I am, sort of, I'm just procrastinating, but I'm at 33,000 words already. So I might make it... fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Packages and Word Counts

OK, so assume that this blog has started with apologies for not having written lately, although I did explain why I would be being less frequent with this blog in the post a couple of weeks ago.

But I got so annoyed with something today, that I had to write...

Royal Mail.

OK, so I don't really like to complain about them, because on the whole they provide a good service. It costs you a few pence and you can send something the length of the country. HOWEVER, if I ever get one of those little red "We tried to deliver something but you were out" cards, my heart sinks.

I'm ALWAYS out when they try and deliver something because, like most people, I work during the day. Therefore I have nothing against the cards per se, it's just that whenever I get one, the claiming of said package seems to be horrendously complicated.

It always says you should wait 48 hours between the time they tried to deliver it, and the time you go to collect it..

Why is this? I understand needing SOME time, because the package stays in the postmans bag since he's finished his round. But, working on the assumption that postmen go home at the end of a shift, and therefore leave their bags at work, I would assume that they get emptied every day. And therefore, you put everything that needs to be collected into a van, which takes it to the relevant sorting office. Surely. That'd make sense.

Well I don't know what they do, but it obviously isn't that.. as was proved by today when I went to pick up a recorded delivery package that they tried to deliver to me on Friday. I originally went on Monday, to be told it wasn't there yet, so I went today. And guess what? It's still not there... I guess this wouldn't be so bad, if not for the other major hassle with it...

The Sorting office is only open from 8am-12pm.

Four hours a day? Name me another public service that only opens for four hours a day, at the time when the majority of the population is at work!! Seriously, I can't fathom the logic behind this. Why do it?

So I'm still waiting for my package, (incidentally, I don't know what it is, and I really hope it's something for which going to this amount of hassle is worthwile (but I'm sure it will be (mostly))) which HOPEFULLY, I can pick up tomorrow, although that means I'll have to dive out of work during the day to go and try and get it. But I'm still vaguely hopeful it'll be there. Unlike something that was sent to me last year, which I never recieved because "It's gone missing..." That was the excuse. Seriously.

Like I said at the start, I know that they do provide a good service, but it's the little things like this that really just feel like a let down.

So, other than that, I'm still writing my novel for NaNoWriMo. As you may remember, my aim was to write 2000 words a day, so that I could have five days off. This has gone a little wrong...

I was on target until Thursday, which was my birthday, so I let myself have the day off. Then I did my 2000 on Friday, and since then... nothing. To be fair, I have got excuses (been visited by Neety, who bought me Guitar Hero: Metallica for my birthday!) but not a real, solid excuse. So now I'm staring at the document again, knowing that I have (ideally) 8000 words I need to catch up. Before tomorrow. And I'm in the middle of a chapter introducing a new character and I don't really know where I'm going with it.

And that's the thing thats hardest about this time/word limit. There's no time to go back, re-jig and cut bits. I could cut the half chapter I've got (which is about 1500 words) and just go to another character, but then I'd lose more word count.

So I'm procrastinating here and on the internet. And in a minute I shall cook some dinner. I'm trying to be good and not play Guitar Hero, but we'll see how the evening goes.

I could, of course, assume that Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Today were all days off, and recalculate accordingly. If I did that then I'd have 2000 words a day left to write, with NO days off... and since I'm heading to Poole this weekend, and again at the end of the month, I ought to try and salvage at least one.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo by the way? Or is it just me...

On the good news front, my nice bike is now on its way back to Poole, where my wonderful father will have a look at it, and see if it's fixable! Yay!

Anyway, I ought to go now....