Saturday, October 29, 2011

Who's Been Sleeping?

It's day 59 of my 100 Day Challenge and I think it is safe to say that I will not reach my target weight of 75kg by the time December approaches.

I have had the last week off work due to an awfully large workload of recent times and I needed some "R&R". So, this has meant a lot of lazing around and cake-eating. My body seems to stick around the 78kg mark at this leisurely time. Maybe I can shed another 3kg over the next months. Who can say?

Anyway, in other news... Who's been sleeping at Ben's apartment?

After eight years of living alone, I now have a house-mate! It is quite surreal as I am very fond of my privacy and solitude but I have often felt the need for someone to share things with. I have lived with other people before - some times were good, some times were bad. Finding a drawing depicting my image on fire can be considered one of the less good times. *shudder*

It has all happened rather quickly. two weeks ago, I would not have envisioned this happening.
Circumstances have lead my friend Eric to look for alternative lodgings and I had a spare room. I also need someone to look after Fizzgig for me whilst I am on holiday, so it seemed like serendipity playing a hand. It will also be extremely handy having someone to split the bills with.

I don't think I could just live with anyone (nor do I believe that just anyone could live with me - I am fairly neurotic - but you knew that already!) but Eric and I have known each other for five years and we get along well. We are also both fond of seclusion, so neither of us will mind if we need to 'retreat' to our rooms.
Oh, and Eric is also the photographer who did my photo-shoot (see below!)

Yesterday was Eric's moving in day. I was impressed to see he had hired hot removal men. Whenever I have moved it's always been some rather friendly and decent chap but in an older age-bracket with a gut that could double as a bouncy castle. If I ever move house again, I must get the number of these guys.

Last night, I cooked a made-up pasta meal with lemon, butter, salmon, pine nuts, capers and broccoli and we watched The Dark Crystal on blu-ray upon his magnificent television (another good reason to share a house!)

Fizzgig is taking her time to adjust to the new intruder, but I am sure she will settle down soon, bless her.

I am not sure how long we will be living together... he might kill me in a week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Child

Day 44 of my 100 Day Challenge

Well, sure, my weight has been fluctuating recently, but I am soaring back down towards my goal again this week. Last week, I did plenty of exercise and my eight increased. This week, I did hardly any and it plummeted. A lesson to be learned?

I have had less cake this week though, so that might have something to do with it.

All week, I have been having the symptoms of something resembling the 'flu-like virus (oh, those people who whinge on, saying "I've got the 'flu!" when really, they just have a nasty virus, not actual influenza! Christ! Get a grip, people!) and it has not yet blown up into anything really decent - just the odd ache, the occasional sniffle and the good old fashioned tired headache. Still, I soldier on, like a martyr.

What did the English use as a condiment when eating their barbecued St Joan?

Martyr Sauce!

(I just made that up - terrible, isn't it!?)
EDIT: (SATURDAY) I just realised this is even less funny if you're American and pronounce tomato a completely different way.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes...

I walked home from work today, seeing as it was a glorious day, and on the way home, I passed a rather attractive man (blonde, sexy nose, great legs) watching the kids play cricket in the park. I didn't chat him up because he was either a) one of their dads or b) a paedophile.
Both answers mean a 'no-go' area for me, thank you very much.

Also, I'm too chicken-shit to chat up a complete stranger.

(Do people still use 'chat up' as a phrase, or am I becoming ancient?)

Also this week, I read Alan Partridge's autobiography; I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan and genuinely laughed out loud all the way through, pausing occasionally to catch my breath or have a wee.
I also received the audio book (read by Alan, of course) in the mail and have enjoyed his dulcet tones emphasising the words with great aplomb.

Pure genius.
Although, sometimes I worry I am too similar to Alan - Maybe I'm his love child!

In other news, after a frantic few weeks/months at work doing rather a lot of extra-curricular activities, I have decided to tale a week off work as of 22nd October.
Sure, I am taking a big holiday at Christmas, but I am desperately in need of some "R&R". I had the annual leave available and it's a five-week month, so it's all plausible. Hoorah.

OK, my dinner is nearly ready, so I ought to dash off.

Have a superb weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'd Be Happy

I am really looking forward to my Christmas holiday!

I haven't had a Northern hemisphere Christmas since 2005 and to be frank, it just isn't the same having it in Australia (sorry Aussie chums, but it's true!)
I am looking forward to the cold weather and the silly hats adorning the meandering public as they do that whole 'good will to all men' malarkey.

(It is funny how we are brought up to only be nice to each other for one month a year. As soon as January comes 'round, it's all "Bugger the rest of you, I'm going to be an inconsiderate bumhead!")

My schedule is already filling up but I am going to make sure I have some time simply at home with family doing very little indeed.
Initially, my travels will take me to London where I will be staying at the Hyatt for four days. Then, I travel to Bournemouth for a couple of nights and I will be staying in a cheerful little guest house. I am really looking forward to seeing some old friends from my Bournemouth period, including my ex-employers.
Then, it's off to Bristol for a couple of nights with some dear old friends, Jamie & Kevin - like Wallace & Gromit, only less prone to melting.

After that, I head to my own personal mecca - Cardiff! Ah, land of Torchwood and Doctor Who.
I will be staying in Cardiff bay at a delightful boutique hotel where I can eagerly watch out for weevils from my window. Then I'd be happy!
Whilst in Wales, I will also catch up with the multi-talented Rhian and (hopefully) Greg and Delyth.

Then, it's back home for Chrimble-time. Mum, if you're reading this, please make hundreds of mince pies and a heap of brandy butter, otherwise, I'm not coming. *wink*

Whilst in the Derbyshire region, I will also catch up with family and some old chums - Miranda... James... you are priority as I haven't seen either of you since I was going through puberty (ish).
I also hope to meet up with an on-line friend with whom I have a ridiculous amount in common. We shall see if our schedules can tally.

Then, after all that, I will try and head down to Brighton and catch up with the stupendously talented souls, Emily and Marc, both of whom I began friendships during that previously mentioned Bournemouth period. Bless 'em.
Marc is king of vaudeville (or some such label) and Emily is a better musician than anyone currently in the top 40. Hyperbole? Nah. Truth. Ben says.

Then, it's back to Heathrow for a flight back to Australia.

If I create a 'To Do' list for this forthcoming trip, it may include:

1. Shag Will Young
2. Twat Steven Moffat 'round the head
3. Pick up a handsome Welsh boyfriend (Mark Evans would do... thanks - )
4. Get a job at the BBC (bad time to decide this, methinks) and take over as showrunner of Doctor Who or just become the 12th Doctor.
5. Eat mince pies

Great list so far. Then I'd be happy... again.

In other news...

I am now into day 37 of my 100-day challenge. Infuriatingly, I am exactly the same weight as I was when I started five weeks ago - 79kg! I did drop to 76kg mid-way, but for some reason, despite the Biggest Loser shakes and the exercise, I am still wavering about the old 79!
I got into my walking regime again, you see, so I think I am building muscle again. Damn it.
Then I'd be happy... once more!

PS. Obviously there are other friends I will be catching up with during my UK trip, but I can't give you all a billing at this time... Calm down and have a biscuit!

Anyway... back to Mark Evans...

..I'd be happy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Not Enough

I have been a fan of Doctor Who since I was four years old. My first season of viewing was Tom Baker’s penultimate year. I was always more terrified of Tom than any of his adversaries, so I was relieved when he regenerated into the far more aesthetically pleasing and less wee-inducing Peter Davison. Admittedly, my love of the show waned in later years as I began to play out more and found the Sixth and Seventh Doctors less appealing.

That said; I am fully cognizant of the fact that TV shows have their ups and downs.

When the new series began in 2005, my inner-child was sparked into life and I adored the adventures of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors and their entertaining companions. The zenith was the partnering of Tennant and Tate in ‘series 4’ (or season 30) and I couldn’t have been happier with the result.

When the news broke that Russell T Davies was stepping down from the role of Executive Producer and head writer, I was saddened but reassured that Steven Moffat would be the perfect successor as his Curriculum Vitae is an impressive list of classic TV. I would never have thought it would be the start of a new lull in the series history.

Before I go on, I must say this is purely a personal opinion. The show has a vast number of ardent followers and that’s great to see, but for me… things are not as good any more.

Firstly, it needs to be said that I like Matt Smith. I think he is a good choice. Not a great choice, but a good one all the same. I often find his Doctor to be a little too mad echoing the latter Tom Baker years when it seemed to be more about buffoonery than decent storytelling. I shall not lay any blame at Smith’s door though.

I shan’t beat around the bush. I hate Amy Pond. I find her character to be obnoxious. All this sassy pouting and frowning drives me mad.

Rory is much more watchable but they do seem intent on killing him off repeatedly and resurrecting him. This continuous disregard for the character merely makes us complacent about the drama as we know there is little real danger for the characters. The once wonderful “Everybody Lives” motto from ‘The Empty Child’ has now become a mockery of itself.

The biggest problem for me in the latest incarnation of the programme is the incoherent storytelling with complex non-linear arcs with little internal logic. The occasional episode playing with time is bound to be entertaining, but this new run seems to do it all the time. What ever happened to the Doctor not crossing his own time line and the consequences? The much lauded episode ‘Day of the Moon’ made less sense than David Lynch’s Eraserhead, but somehow, it keeps getting the big thumbs up from fans. Are they watching properly or merely staring at their TVs uttering “ooh, pretty” every now and again.

Steven Moffat is great with concepts but I think he needs to find a decent script editor to pick up the nonsensical strands.

Series 5 was purposefully designed to make the Doctor into a ‘fairytale’! Why? Who can say? I could not have felt more distant from the plots with this desperate attempt to take him away from the real world which Russell had worked at so hard in creating.

I had hoped series 6 would be an improvement but I have been shocked at how frustrating it has been. The opening two-parter was bonkers in its complete lack of logic. Episode three was dull and lacked originality and episode four was something akin to fan-fiction of the lowest form (and yet, the majority of fans seem to think it’s the greatest episode of anything, ever.)

It’s sad when something you love so much becomes almost unwatchable.

Episodes five and six were heading in a better direction, and when I say ‘better’, I actually mean ‘classic’. Although not perfect, it offered us a reasonably strong storyline with moral implications – something which the classic series did well on a number of occasions. There was a ‘cliff-hanger’ moment at the end and despite being surprising, I still found myself not caring much. The same for episode seven, frankly. It was all a bit mad and extreme but with little reasoning behind it. Twenty minutes of gathering characters from space and time, I was urging the story to just get on with it and then when the battles were happening, I couldn’t bring myself to really give a sh*t. The final ‘reveal’ was intriguing but not that shocking and I am unsure why it is supposed to be (in Steven Moffat’s words) “Game-changing”.

The second-half of the season was not exactly thrilling and just continued the trend of ‘fairytale’ and lazy plotting.

The highlight for me was ‘The God Complex’ in which we had a genuine threat and actual deaths (shock, horror!) and it was nice to see that love didn’t conquer all and it was faith which actually caused the downfall of the ill-fated characters. That was smart and brave. Thank you Toby Whithouse for that.

All too often, we’ve been seeing love conquering all.

In ‘Closing Time’ a father’s love for his son was key to the storyline – or was that ‘Night Terrors’… or ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’… or ‘The Almost People’?

In ‘The Girl Who Waited’ we were subjected to a separate fantasy realm within our universe which caused havoc for our heroes – or was that ‘Night Terrors’… or ‘The God Complex’… or ‘The Wedding of River Song’.

Surely I cannot be the only one to see the repetitive nature of the stories within the sixth series?

I also worry that the once wonderfully enigmatic and curious entity that was River Song has become something of a loose-cannon who cannot be trusted and f*cks everything up… because she’s a woman. Seriously? Is this sort of misogynistic crap still warranted in the 21st century? I cannot fault Alex Kingston’s performance as she is radiant and commands the screen, but the writing of her character is sloppy.

The timeline is also a bit of a mess. Even with some close analysis, it’s a frustrating mix of coincidences, lies and convenient omissions to suit the showrunner when he can’t be bothered figuring it out himself.

As I said before, this is just a personal opinion on the show and there are hordes of fans out there that have loved the show and profess it loudly. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just cannot share their opinion.

The sooner we get a new showrunner, the better. I loved Russell T Davies’ work on the show, but I cannot deny that it was probably time for him to go (having witnessed ‘The End of Time’…) – so it’s time for new blood. Can I do it, please? I’d bring back logic, decent companions and try to give strength to individual stories rather than focus on arcing plots. It's not enough to say 'fill in the blanks yourselves', Steven!
I don't like being spoon-fed either, but I need to know the writers have a little decency and respect for their audience.

I must also add that this opinion is not mine alone. I find it interesting that a large number of my friends both in the UK and Australia are feeling the same way. So, it’s not just me then…