Monday, April 30, 2007

Doctor Who Series Three (I am in yr program SPOILIN' yr storiez)

No, but seriously, I know what you're thinking, namely "Loz, what do you think of this season of Doctor Who so far?" Well Gladys (did I ever tell you my pet name for you was Gladys? Well, consider yourself told G.), up to two Saturdays ago, it was positive. Smith and Jones did a good job of introducing Martha, I especially liked the fact that Martha was so quick to accept the aliens and all the weirdness precisely because of all the alien activity in Britain over the last few series, whereas in the Christmas Special they had to give a number of implausible reasons for how Donna missed them all. It's not a new idea, it was used in the strangely maligned Love and Monsters last year but it's a nice one, especially as in the Seventies people probably had to keep quiet or else get a visit from Sergeant Benton and Captain Yates. With all the rushing around the vampire wasn't really an impressive monster but I don't think she was expected to be. That the Doctor's plan to defeat her seemed to involve letting her kill him is certainly a new one, sure he probably would have regenerated had he actually died, but it was rather reckless. The Judoon were nice though, I'd certainly enjoy seeing them turn up every now and again, though why they felt the need to chase a vampire and not, say, the Slitheen from season one is one of those things we shouldn't consider too much.

The Shakespeare Code continued the fun. However, I'm getting a bit bored with all these 'last of their race' aliens turning up all the time, we had the Daleks, the Gelth, Satan, the Spider-thing from The Runaway Bride ... give me the good old days when Jon Pertwee just had to fight a Sontaran, from Sontaran, where there was an entire planet of Sontarans getting on with whatever Sontarans did. Martha's whole 'but what if I kill my grandfather' thing was amusing. I'm also wondering about the race issue. So far the humans and human-shaped creatures have been pretty colour-blind, Mickey's skin-colour was never a storyline and so far racism has been the domain of alien races and creatures like the Daleks. Now that we have Martha I'm in two minds about whether there is an issue here that needs to be addressed or not. Other than the threat of death the worst a companion of the Doctor's had to worry about up to now was being lightly patronised, I do wonder whether, if the makers are insisting on keeping the show more or less on Earth or recognisable equivalents whether there should be some situations they land in where Martha does stand out and is in danger just because of her skin colour. I'm not calling for Doctor Who and the Terror of the KKK but I'm wondering if ignoring the fact that Martha is different to almost all his other companions in one very visible way is actually a ham-fisted liberalism. Anyway, plenty of time for this to be addressed. The episode had any number of great lines, plus the rather unnecessary 'Doctor gives Shakespeare a number of quotes from his great plays' (a William Hartnell story had Queen Liz tell Shakepeare to write a particular play and Sir Francis Bacon give him the idea for Hamlet, rather suggesting that Shakespeare hasn't come up with that many of his own plays himself at all).

Gridlock gave me a brand new feeling, being glad to see the year five billion. New Earth had it's moments, but they didn't involve the hospital, the implausibility of the Cat Nuns cure or the Doctor's solution. But this was a nice character piece, with a great feeling of claustrophobia with everyone stuck in those little hover-cars they'd made their homes. The moment where everyone comes together to sing the hymn was either really sad or really uplifting depending on how you chose to read it, and Ardal O'Hanlan did an amazing job acting through the cat prosthetics. I must say though that I've never really cared for the Face of Boe as a character, so don't really care that he's shuffled off the coil, still, being five billion the Doctor could easily meet him in his own past. It's great that Martha isn't just a script with 'Rose' crossed out each time, and that the Doctor's relationship with her isn't at the same place as it was with Rose, though I'm not sure why Martha would be fancying the Doctor.

It had to go wrong eventually and it did so with the Daleks in Manhattan two-parter. Some of the problems were thankfully addressed in part two, the big one being the racial purity of Daleks. It was bad enough that the Emperor Dalek made his Daleks out of humans (though I suppose Davros was doing the same back in the Colin Baker days, and this was one of the big things in Remembrance of the Daleks) but all the stuff with the Cult of Skaro being there to 'think the unthinkable' was just daft, the equivelent of the Nazis saying "You know what, we could really do with some Jews to help us out round here". Then there's the Doctor suddenly way to eager to cuddle up to Dalek Sec, never mind that he's taken over an innocent human body, the Doctor doesn't seem to mind too much about all the humans the Daleks have captured to turn into human-Daleks. And the lightning streak allowing them to keep their independence? This was a mess of two episodes, with my largest cheer being when Solomon gives a cringingly awful speech that echoes that of the American President in Mars Attacks! just before he gets killed by the Daleks ("can't we all just get along?" "Exterminate!"). The first two series managed to credibly present the Daleks as a bigger physical threat and also, because of that whole Time War business, a bigger emotional threat for the Doctor to deal with, as they killed his people. This story diminished them, not least because of the three times in the second episode where the Daleks should have just shot the Doctor on the spot. At least the other stories managed to give fairly credible reasons why they didn't, mainly by use of things like forcefields and being in different places most of the time. In one of the last scenes the Doctor has a nice long talk with Dalek Khan, who decides to run away rather than shooting him. I know the Daleks are scared of the Doctor but really! I've heard a rumour that the BBC have a deal with the Terry Nation estate which means they must have a Dalek story each season or else they lose the rights to ever use them again. I hope this is incorrect as I really think the Daleks need to be left alone for a good long while as this story, reusing bits from The Parting of the Ways, Remembrance of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks as it does suggests they've seriously run out of ideas for now about interesting things to do with them.

So, that's where things are right now. Next week we're back with Martha's irritating family so I suggest we'll hear about the mysterious Mr Saxon again, the closest thing we have to this season's Bad Wolf/ Torchwood. I'm lukewarm about Martha's kin, not least because the Dad seems to be a stereotyped hapless male but, with only a few lines and hardly any screen time so far that may be a view that will be challenged. I wonder if his mid-life crisis girlfriend is around for the Doctor to see as some anti-Rose, again she's only had a few lines and little screen time but it was something I thought I saw straight away in the first episode. Ah well, only a few more episodes and then surely they'll be joining up with Captain Jack...

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I'm not sick but I'm not well...

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger on Vimeo

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Argh! Urge to kill rising...

A mother who goaded her toddlers to fight like dogs for a sick video said yesterday she could not understand what all the "fuss" was about.

Zara Care dismissed widespread disgust at her actions and claimed: "It's a tough world out there and they have to know how to stick up for themselves. You've got to learn to be strong." Care's tearful two-year-old son and three-year-old daughter were filmed begging for mercy as they were forced to punch each other. Despite expressing remorse in court, Care seemed unrepentant yesterday in her first interview since the case. She said: "I feel hard done by. We've had a real hammering from people. The way we see it, everyone's made a mountain out of a molehill. It's a lot of fuss over nothing." She insisted: "When we were kids we were always punching and kicking each other. My mum said it's just what brothers and sisters do and she's right. The kids were fighting normally and I just thought I would film it."

Ummm, my wrong-o-meter has just broken.

In an interview in The People newspaper, Care said she wanted to become a childcare worker "but the court banned me from working with kids".

Now that just seems sooooo unreasonable.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Apparently the ring has joined the cross as a symbol of Christianity. Schoolgirl goes to court for the right to wear her 'silver ring thing' to school. Presumably her case is under H&S as that, if she doesn't wear the ring she forgets to be chaste and becomes the school bike. Because presumably there's no other way she'd be able to get round the school rule against kids wearing jewellry, such as rings.

Although Miss Playfoot has not worn the ring in classes since last April, she decided to take the school to the High Court "because I didn't want them to think that they had won. You can't treat Christians like this".

Yes, but I think it's fine to do it against the stupid.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Various Pulp Fiction parodies. I especially like the Muppets parody, the one that's just words on the screen and the 'fucking short version'.

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And remember... don't let Skeletor touch you in your bathing suit area.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Music Blah Flowers

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You should be listening to Starship Sofa anyway, if you have any interest in science-fiction that is. But their H.G. Wells episode has the famous Mercury Theatre episode, which caused such hysteria in the United States in the 1930s, appended to the end. Beats Spielberg and Cruises effort into a cocked hat.

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Is That His Own Hair?

Is That His Own Hair?
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.
Crazy guy, crazy policies, crazy hair.

The Cranberries lead singer raises horrifying possibility of reunion. Well, thankfully this is one of those non-news stories, Cliff Richard might say anything was possible if he were asked if he was going to reunite with the Shadows but it doesn't mean fans should start camping outside HMV. Meanwhile, is there any way we can get the tone-deaf Irish warbler to stay in Hong Kong?


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Here, if you need an excuse to laugh at straight comic fans when confronted with the flaccid male member of a superhero in his costume this will be the link you're after.

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The Unbelievable Truth. It's really just Call My Bluff for people that Radio 4 is presumably hoping have forgotten Call My Bluff, starring David 'are you starting to get annoyed with my ubiquity?' Mitchell and the usual panel of slightly less mature comedians* you'd expect from Radio 4.

* That's 'slightly less mature' in the sense that Barry Cryer and Grahame Garden haven't been in it yet.

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Queers, Know Your Place!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Where is atheism when bad things happen?. Puh-leaze!. For such a short piece it has any number of misconceptions and just plain wrong arguments. For one thing, it's nihilism rather than atheism that argues that there is no meaning to the universe, though not strictly an atheist myself I would venture a guess that the atheist viewpoint is that life brings it's own meaning to the universe it inhabits rather than assuming that the meaning comes from outside, dumped in by what it considers an illusory God. But really, it's so off-base I hardly think it worth going through and explaining how almost every sentence is untrue.

But where is atheism when bad things happen? I suppose, in the context of the largely Christian or Christian-influenced western world, it comes down to whether one finds it more comforting to believe that there is a God up there who sits back and allows mankind to mess things up on his own, or whether one finds it more comforting to believe there is no larger power and that it's our responsibility to try and make the world a better place for everyone. I get quite angry when anyone tries to write off disaster as 'part of God's greater plan' or tells me that the dead 'are in a happier place', I can't see a point to living if there's actually a book-sanctioned Big Fella upstairs who decided to make a young man of Korean descent unable to handle rejection. That's what seems truly evil, nihilistic and life-denying to me.

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The Inbox of Nardo Pace, The Empire's worst engineer.

Keep your chin up, ok? Don't let the whole "Death Star getting blown up" thing get you down. It's really my fault just as much as it is yours. Your original plan called for three weak spots, and I asked you to cut it down to one. If I had suggested we get rid of the weak spots altogether none of this would have happened.

[via Kung Fu Monkey]

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This makes me happy. Transgender student runs for Prom King. [via Feministing]

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Friday, April 20, 2007

An annoyingly addictive game which you shouldn't be playing when you've got ten minutes to get washed and dressed and packed because you're going away for the weekend.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"I'm full of owls!"

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Librarian Avengers.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Because his bomb didn't explode one of the failed London would-be bombers is actually a hero! Fuck, I'm nearly thirty-one and have never exploded in a public place. Where's my Nobel peace prize?

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Sad Kermit covers Nine Inch Nails' Hurt. [via Ektopia]


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fuck Oxfam!

And this goes for all you other charities too. I will donate to you as and when I see fit. However, if you keep sending me letters and, ooh, phone calls now, to try and get me to set up standing orders to donate to you then I will make it my personal mission to shit on the head of every African AIDS baby. Seriously. I'm currently suffering from A Lack of Proper Perspective so I suggest you leave me the fuck alone.

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A Royal Military Police Major from West Sussex is spearheading a scheme to teach cricket to children in Iraq. Oh man, we've got to stop teaching people who hate us how to play cricket. We taught the Australians, we taught the Indians, now they kick our arse on a regular basis. Should the US and UK plan on leaving any Iraqis alive we don't need them turning up in thirty years time to humiliate us at our national sport too. Mind you, if we were going to have a regular tournament with them it would be in extremely bad taste to call it 'The Ashes'.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies [via BoingBoing].


Saturday, April 07, 2007

... And so on the 23rd of April, 2015, all scientists from around the globe assembled in Geneva for the "For Fucks Sake!" conference, where it was agreed that they would no longer waste their time trying to persuade religious Fundamentalists to see their point of view when they could be spending time inventing Personal Rocket Packs or Flying Cars or other things for the betterment of mankind. This led to several useful doctrines, MacReady and Klivert's "Says You!" (2015), Glanster's "Your God's got a fat arse!" (2016) and Yadave's "You're going home in the back of an ambulance and receiving treatment all made possible due to the wonders of science without which you would have died in a gutter after receiving a sound thrashing from my mighty fists of justice" (2018) for which Yadave won a Nobel prize and a month in Belmarsh.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

India bans sex education from it's schools. They are worried that such education would corrupt young minds. Presumably it's better to have a pure mind and sexually transmitted disease infested body rather than the other way around.

Does anyone else think the human race has activated it's own self-destruct gene in the last few generations or is it just me?

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This is my Toblerone, this is my body...

An art gallery is going to show a statue of a crucified Jesus Christ over Easter and predictably, because they've gone two thousand years without a sense of proportion so why change now, some Catholics are upset. Yep, it's worse than The Passion of the Christ , it's worse than The Life of Brian , it's even worse than the systematic sodomizing and then covering-up of said activity of children, it's the most evilest thing ever because the statue is made of chocolate.

However, if it's not Lindt or Green and Blacks chocolate then the Catholics might have a point.

It would make mass more fun though, especially if they substitute the wine for that stuff from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that makes you fly around the room until you belch it out.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Alan Moore on pornography. [via Warren Ellis]

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Sopranos, Seven Series in Seven Minutes

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I've only spotted one April Fool so far, The Observer wasn't really trying with Tony Blair to appear in The Crucible on leaving Downing Street, but the others have me stumped. Admittedly they may not be online, but considering what the Daily Mail and The Sun report each day as 'news' is it any surprise if I can't spot the fib- the deliberate untru- the story which they know to be false which they haven't just put in to enrage their readers and to try and influence Governme- you see my problem here don't you?


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