Torchwood - season 2

Oh. Darn – and it started out so promising too. What with the immoral Captain Spike John making his first appearance and bringing a badly needed bit of life and humour to the proceedings. Not that that story didn't have it's faults – the biggest one being...

-Look, if you were going out with someone you totally knew was a complete and utter sociopathic rogue who was very likely to kill you at some point in the future – would you do the sensible thing and just get yourself out of the relationship altogether – or would you have the where-with-all to put in place a ridiculously over-complicated plan for revenge that would spring into operation in the event of your death? And if you had the brains to do that – why not go that extra mile and put in place a scheme – where the psychopath boyfriend doesn't manage to kill you in the first place?

But that's just a quibble.

Here's another: How long had Jack been away? I got the distinct impression that after that major altercation between the Doctor and the Master and the Tocoflane alternate time line got reset – only days had passed and after that the Doctor just popped him back in Cardiff only hours or a couple of days at most after Jack had left. But here they're behaving like he's been gone – what? Weeks? Months? A year? No one's actually said. Why can't they match up Torchwood storylines with the Doctor Who ones better than this - the creative staff all work in the same building after all.

Another quibble: After the climatic finale of Torchwood's last season's finale that had hundreds(?) of the population of Cardiff lying dead in the streets and the body of a giant demon monster to dispose of... I mean in this country you can't have a car accident anywhere without people covering the site with flowers and sympathy cards and other tributes. Yet in Cardiff - there's nothing. Life is back to normal. What with all those unworldly strange things going on week in - week out Cardiff seems way too normally normal if you ask me.

Now then, these past two episodes...

Sleeper.

Now. This is where my goat started getting got.

This is a story about a woman who discovers - much to her chagrin and distress that she's not a rather dull ordinary normal person at all - but in reality a super warrior from another planet altogether. The crux being that either her programming is far, far too good and made her all far too 'human' – or else she's a deeply wet space alien creature that finds being a housewife-y housewife in Cardiff far more personally fulfilling than being a kick-ass super warrior. Honestly. Can you ever imagine Daleks fancying themselves as stay-at-home housewives – or wanting low grade careers in the service industry?

Now I don't know about you – but one of the main reasons I watch sci-fi and fantasy stuff is that I find ordinary life quite dull, dull, dull. I watch sci-fi for the escapism. But here we're being directly told – by a sci-fi writer no less - that being Anthea Turner is more preferable thing to being - say, Predator. Excuse me if I remain totally unconvinced by that assertion. [Short pause to enjoy a mental image of “Anthea Turner vs. Predator” - the movie.]

Also – intergalactic terrorists? Oh what – yet another analogy to current world events? Again? Bored now.

To the Last Man.

Wasn't this just a slight rehash of that story in that episode last season where a plane full of people re-appears out of the Rift – all 'Out of Time' (in that case the 1940s) and one of the Torchwood staff falls in love with one of them?

But at the end though it all seemed rather slight and inconsequential – a bit of rumbling sound effects and some shaky cam of extras running about screaming having to stand in for the 'end of the world'. Particularly with that tired old sci-fi cliche the 'reset button'.

I dunno - it had 'filler' written all over it. But at least everyone isn't all doom-laden and crying all over the place like they were constantly doing last year.

Foals: Why it's creativity, not fame, that interests them - Features, Music - Independent.co.uk

Why it's Yannis - not so much their music that interests me.

Posted by Picasa

Yannis

After seeing him on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' - I've been thinking: 'oooh cute'

Let’s call a ceasefire in the ‘war on obesity’

Of course if the Govt. was genuinely interested in Nation eating a healthy diet - they'd subsidise organic farmers so their food was much cheaper to buy - they'd tax salt and sugar - they'd ban hydrogenated fats in the preparation of food. They'd refuse to allow each supermarket to label their own foods... they'd stop their foolish idea of forcing single parents into work so they can stay at home and cook for their children - going on from this they'd put a limit on working hours by law -so people will have the time to cook for themselves (Well, in theory at least) rather than having to rely on ready meals from the supermarket or take aways or eating out.
Instead they're just weighing school children which will stigmatise them even further, and guilt tripping the parents.
and
ignoring anything and everything the supermarkets and food producers do - because mmmm, who do you think helps contribute to their party funds?


Let’s call a ceasefire in the ‘war on obesity’ | spiked

Woody « Flickr Blog

Dammit - I had been at home in worthing this past week - I could've had a chance of having a photo on the flickr blog. Hurrruphf. Instead I've been taking pictures of cakey-things and Kevin's sock-trauma.


Woody « Flickr Blog

Yahoo! sucks

and it knows it now.

Let me when and if Yahoo ever manage to come up with something that isn't either a copy of some other company's idea:

Yahoo search = google

yahoo mail = hotmail

Yahoo Auctions = ebay

Yahoo 360 = myspace/facebook/blogger.

premium music = itunes or napster or whatever.

or else something they've bought up and made a lot worse like Yahoo groups.

It's always creeped me out that it's been trying so hard to BE the whole internet - instead of trying to do one or a small range of things very well - it's set on trying to do a bit of everything but being very mediocre at it all.

Cloverfield - a sort of spoiler-ish run down

Mmmmm - this isn't the version of the movie I saw [thanks for that link Rakka]... But it's similar enough to make me wonder if it's a whole alternative edit. Or more likely it's someone making up their own film from the trailer and on-line bits and pieces. In which case there are a few ideas in there that are better than the film...

Here's a proper spoiler from the Chicago Tribute.

Here's another.

A negative - but very sensible review.
JJ Abrams "Cloverfield" -- A String of Tired Movie Cliches Looking For A Place To Land.

Some Thing Has Found Us

JJ's viral diary.

The 5 most annoying programs on your PC - Download Squad

I've hated Acrobat Reader for years. Might give this foxit a try.

'Big climate impact' on UK coasts - yeah, tell me about it

The last few days here in my high rise flat have been really bad.

video

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Big climate impact' on UK coasts

(oooh you can upload videos now... how cool is blogger these days? I remember back when you couldn't have comments - let alone pictures - which was two of the main reasons I didn't use it much.)

I am one of those 1 in 6

I haven't been to the dentist in ...decades now. It doesn't help that I'm living in a area with a high elderly population who have a stranglehold on what few (and constantly gradually diminishing) NHS places that there are.

BBC NEWS | Health | Dentist shortage hits 'millions'

But I see it all as part of a larger picture - we're living in a weird world these days - a 'all fur coat and no knickers' society. Things on the surface are looking great - ask any Labour politician and they can run off a ream of statistics saying how absolutely great everything is. I know I just caught a bit of Prime Minister's Question Time and see Gordon Brown do it. But it's a thin pretty veneer covering over a deep rot.

Oh look - at the unintentional dental puns there.

more on chipping prisoners

You know - I'll bet MPs are exactly the sort of gullible goons that reply to spam - "oooh penny stocks I'll get my broker on that, ooooh herbal penis enlargement pills - some of them, ooooh I'll just update this exec. this website wants to install, oooh this tech company promises to solve immigration, benefit fraud cheats and terrorism with a database and ID card, ooooh lets tag prisoners, oooh, this lady wants to send me pictures of herself, oooh a NH computer will be fantastic..."


Tag-a-lag: Chip implants mooted for UK prisoners | The Register

Is anyone watching...

Big Brother Celebrity Hijack this year? No? No - me neither. But then I'd already come to the conclusion that this generation of 20 year olds just aren't very interesting. Being so young they've nothing to talk about - except for their future plans, dreams and schemes (yawn).

X-Entertainment Visits The KWIK-E-MART!!!

Oooooo0000OOOooooo00Oooooh!


X-Entertainment Visits The KWIK-E-MART!!!

WTF?

For a while now I've had this starter idea for a sci-fi story - where in the 'day-after-tomorrow' future - the country will be so over-crowded there would be state-imposed limits have been put on who can be out and about and who can't, and even how much time they're allowed outside. So every time someone wants to go out - they have to swipe their id card in a reader inside their front door - to be granted permission to go out - once outside their ID card starts a whole automatic process where their every last movement is tracked and recorded by CCTV and card readers etc.

This is based on already existing proposals for cars - so it's only a short hop from there to monitoring people.

Then I read this:

Ministers are planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails.


So now I'll have to update my idea and replace ID cards with chip implants.

Of course if they do get away with this for prisoners - next off they'll probably go on to the next step - the 'Fortress' concept - where the RFID chip will come with an explosive device and if any 'prisoner' strays anywhere they shouldn't. BOOM!

This'll all probably happen too - y'know, to keep us all safe from crime and terrorists and paedophiles and bird flu and global warming etc.

the future looks rubbery and a bit scary

Intelligent Robotics Laboratory -Ishiguro Lab.-

iriver handwriting-friendly e-book / tablet?

Errrr... but why does it have to have lines on it? I never understood why they have lines on the palm memos program. I can't stand lined writing paper myself.
iriver prepping handwriting-friendly e-book / tablet? - Engadget

JJ Abrams mystery box

Ah, so now I get it. (Why 'Lost' is so infuriating. Why the end of 'Alias' was so bad. Why 'Cloverfield' has so much viral marketing.)

I was having myself a quick trawl around the internets looking for more Cloverfield gubbings and found a link to this TED lecture from J J Abrams.

Go and watch it before you read the rest of this...

Now, I have a big problem with JJ and his blessed mystery box. Because his whole theory only works by supposing that the mystery of the story is always far greater than the end solution. Which is fine – up to a point. Certainly if you're a writer – who can never stop writing. But in his case - it's a form of laziness, a lame excuse – he's certainly got the goods as far as creating mysteries go but he just can't manage to go that extra mile to provide a good satisfying conclusions to his work. (Have you seen the finale to Alias?) He's in far too much of a hurry to get on to his next mystery box. I'll bet he never finishes any script or any treatment he does. I get the impression he couldn't even be bothered – I think he probably leaves that stuff for his janitor, or his cleaning lady, or the pizza delivery boy – just any passing stranger to write the last pages for him. Which could explain why they're usually so painfully rubbish.


'Cloverfield' Release Will Be Test of Online Hype

Now the mystery box as part of on-line marketing tool, as inter-active game, etc. Which is all very fascinating - it's a really nice idea and I can see how this approach might be fine for providing grist to the obsessive fanboy's mill – as they trawl the internet trying to find various clues... but the problem there is at the end of it all - there is emphatically NO worthwhile end solution to be had. It is bound to always end in some disappointment, the over-teasing and the over-hyping makes sure of that.

I remember a wildlife documentary that was all about grey squirrels and featured how intelligent and agile they were. Showing them grabbing food from a bird table in a garden which the experimenters made increasingly difficult to get to - with ever more complicated obstacles. The thrill was seeing how the squirrel managed to negotiate everything. But there always came a point where the squirrel just stopped coming. The effort required to get to the peanuts just wasn't worth it any more. And that's what I feel about watching 'Lost'. I know a lot of the audience stopped coming to the table a long time back. And if people do totally get the whole mystery box concept completely - they're gong to realise their own ideas, theories, storylines are going to be far superior than whatever J J can come up with -and he's going to be out of a job.

Robot Exhibition in Tokyo - Jan08 - a photoset on Flickr

Robot Exhibition in Tokyo - Jan08 - a photoset on Flickr

kissy kissy

Cloverfield - a preview

Cloverfield - preview

If anyone in the US sees this film (it opens on the 18th) can they email me spoilers and a synopsis immediately afterwards please?

Because - well, I've come to a point where I'm getting over-tired of all teasers and the trailers and the 'never-being-given-a-straight-answer-ness of it all. They've started to overdo it a bit now. There's all sorts of stuff on the web, a soft-drink site -Slusho (and they even had a whole 'product' placement thing going on in the last few episodes of 'Heroes'. All the main characters have their own Myspace profiles... and it would be great (maybe) if it wasn't all so ultimately shallow. Because it's there to do the one simple job after the movie is out -it comes to an abrupt halt. It ends because no one is making money out of it anymore. [Maybe that's where 'fanfic' takes over I guess.]

Mmmmm I'm pondering now - Cloverfield has spent a lot of effort in their viral marketing but it's really only for their home market... trying to generate a 'must-see' vibe. But once the films out on release - the cat's out of the bag. The film won't be out in the UK for months afterward (because we're in 'Europe' they have to translate the movie and put subtitles on... oh wait - they don't have to do any of that for us... they just release films later over here because... because... they can.) are they going to carry on with the viral marketing for here? Or will they just not bother - figuring that if lots of Americans saw it - we'll just flock to see it too? Being the good little sheep that we are.

DAY WATCH

So tonight my bf was talking about how he had started reading these books that he was now all excited about - called Daywatch by Sergey Lukyanenko. And as he went through the basic plot it slowly dawned on me that I had seen the movie of Nightwatch - the first book in the trilogy on TV only the other week. It transpires the follow up movie - the second in a trilogy was only released last year in October. Damn it - I've got lots of catching up to do now. Trying to get the movie for him -sigh. Stuff like that.

DAY WATCH

Billy's Birthday

downthetubes: the blog: Billy Hartnell's Birthday

linky links for new Torchwood (starts Wednesday) and new Lost (-starts - who knows - whenever)

"...Torchwood fans should notice a change in tone this week. When Davies and his team looked back on series one, they decided it was too angst-ridden. ‘I think that was us in the office, being in such a rush to make it that we were projecting our worries onto the screen,’ Davies says, laughing."

Certainly - a lot less of the crying on Torchwood would be very welcome, because it was seriously getting on my tits.

I'm-a looking forward to seeing James Marsters giving his first on-screen male-on-male kiss. Whay-hey.

Here's a brief rundown of the Torchwood characters for you:

  • Captain Jack – smug, omni-sexual.

  • Gwen – pouty and constantly on the edge of tears. The other characters are constantly informing us how 'special' she is. Yet the only thing she seems genuinely good at is being pouty and being constantly on the edge of tears.

  • Toshiko – geeky, dull, constantly on the edge of tears.

  • Owen – creepy looking, arrogant, laddishly laddish, Complete wanker. And why has he got no lips? Whatever happened to his lips? There should be a story explaining where his lips disappeared to.

  • Ianto – dreary, wears a suit.



Damon Lindelof, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Lost - explains why he writes (it's to stop him becoming a pathological liar apparently) but totally fails to explain why he can never bring any of his stories to a satisfyingly conclusion that neatly ties up all the loose ends he also constantly generates.

Also -am I the only one that finds it ironic that Lost - which has been artificially dragged out and out for so long by being vastly over-written and over-padded should have had it's already pre-planned short new season even more shortened by a writers strike?

Michael Emerson interview which gives nothing away. Is Ben evil - or is he good? and who even cares anymore?

Argh - dammit Lost writers - will you just stop teasing us and dragging the story out - everyone lost interest years ago. Just tell us how it ends - now - before you get taken off the air and we'll never get to know.

Here come the Warm Jets

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems' new leader and one of Westminster's jeunesse dorée, has appointed Brian Eno his adviser on youth affairs.

Daytime TV is strange.

For the past few years morning British TV has had an obsession with Property.

From the BBC:
Homes under the Hammer.

Here's the basic premise – the program makers find a house for sale at auction, they'll then poke a camera around for all the 'before' shots. Go on to interview the successful bidder who is always someone buying it as an investment, with the intention of either renting out or selling on for a profit. No one ever buys anything with the intention of actually living in it -ever. (Indeed, the very notion that people should buy somewhere to actually live in seems to have been totally forgotten in this country. So the 'Homes' part of the shows title is almost a complete misnomer.) The buyer invariably guts the building and then paints everything inside beige and/or cream – puts in a new white bathroom suite, and new kitchen units. Consequently all the properties end up looking completely mind-numbingly, soullessly identically boring. These are for the 'after' shots. To cap the segment they get in a creepy looking load of be-suited Estate agents to say how much money it's now worth -and surprise, surprise it's always higher than what they originally paid for it. End shots of buyer giggling, drooling and gloating.

Repeat for the next property.

paper craft - a photoset on Flickr

Things to cut out make and do.

I go to work every day and save the world

John Barrowman Interview in Scotland on Sunday

Soldiers bulldoze Naples rubbish

This is bizarre. Is this is foretaste of things to come in the near future when the rest of the World starts running out of space to put it's rubbish? Over there it's supposedly been the mob that has blocked 'them' building incinerators - but here in the UK it's environmentalists that have been blocking councils building them - because they're not particularly safe. mmmmm, yes let's put those dangerous poisonous toxins into the air. It'll give it some flavour.

This will be the tail end of the vast consumerist society we've all been living for the past few decades then.

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Soldiers bulldoze Naples rubbish

Marketing: Ads For Gays Focus On Exactly What You'd Expect

Holy honking crap.
I suppose there may well be a few dinosaur pouves out there being suckered in by this sort of excrement but... no. Seriously - Madison Avenue - Stop this now. Stop it now or you will be hurt. Badly hurt. Like missing kneecaps and 'made to watch your own entrails extracted and burnt in front of your very own eyes' sort of hurt. This is just too, too insulting.

Marketing: Ads For Gays Focus On Exactly What You'd Expect

The original Gay for pay link.

sugarshock

A web comic written by Joss Whedon.

Star Trek's Gary Seven moves over into comicbook form.

Which would be great if I could get hold of comics easily. Hummmphf. There isn't a comic book shop where I live. But then comic book shops have always creeped me out a bit.

Talking Star Trek with John Byrne

VERY annoying advert::

Opens with jangly piano music...

Female narrator: "When you had diarrhea this morning... you had a choice..."

My responsive: "I didn't have diarrhea this morning - so fu*k off!!!"

Blimey.

Not Mark Speight.
CBBC star 'distraught' over death

Then there's the story of Britney going off the rails -again...

Annoying adverts: The pornography of crying.

It used to be that the British were world famous for their lack of public displays of emotion - remember the 'stiff upper lip'? – but that seems to have quietly become extinct over time. Over the past few years – the UK has fallen in love with public displays of crying. I blame the American TV imports such as Oprah, Springer, etc. This led us to our own home grown chat shows and with the explosion of multiple channel TV which in turn led to a search for cheap ways to fill all that air time -and so was invented the 'reality show'. You can be almost certain that these days if the show involves a member of the public and it might be a show about dieting, clothes, their pet dog, their treasured processions, their untidy house, their career – whatever,– at some point it will feature a scene where that person is made to cry. That's the money shot right there. Then later came celebrity crying.... but I start to digress.

So now I've given you a bit of history – I want to draw your attention to one particular commercial that's been driving me crazy for the past couple of years. It has irritating jangly guitar music – and an indie-band boy doing a worbly 'soulful' vocal (which is already more than enough to set my teeth on edge and make me queasy) – and a blue sofa and a chair a weirdo overly-friendly man and most important of all - a box of famous brand paper tissues – all out in the open air on various street locations. Yes, out on the street. The premise being that random members of the general public are invited to sit on the sofa and talk to a sympathetic professional actor – until they are eventually driven to tears and so get to use the famous brand tissue and will notice it's wonderful tear and snot absorbing properties. Which is no doubt far superior to any other paper tissue and also great value for money. Of course this really is all a bit disturbing and it is pandering to the UK's newly-found love/spectator sport of watching people cry in public. Gross. Except of course the makers of this commercial have noticed that well, yes, it is a bit creepy and disturbing actually – so they've backtracked on themselves a bit and have since added in a few people being happy smiley happy laughy, and even some people having a group hug, and well, generally altogether having a good time that doesn't feature using paper handkerchiefs. Of course here the paper tissue manufacturers have missed a golden opportunity of showing people having themselves such a good time that they have the definite need for a clean up afterwards with tissues. Only -please let's not show that happening on a sofa in the open streets OK?

Street legend will be one of most evil enemies of Doctor Who

Nothing that much new here though. Must be yet another slow news day.

But Torchwood's second series is set to be shown on the 16th on BBC2. (How many 's'es where there in that last sentence?)

Sarah Lancashire | Coronation Street | Doctor Who | Street legend will be one of most evil enemies | The Sun

the Max Headroom Story

What a long, strange trip it’s been: from Hollywood to Worthing

a thought

When I was young I remember my mother explaining too me how the notion of the 'comedy vicar' came to be... it went along the lines that in big rich families - the least brightest member of them - the one that would probably mess up the most if they went into the family business - would instead be encouraged to go into the church. This morning I was thinking - that these days in America at least they make that sort of person - the President.


[the comedy vicar has been a staple of British comedy since -oh, I have no idea, the Victorian probably. There's Dick Emery, and er... Derek Nimmo, and more -I have to let my mind let long dormant memories percolate to the surface for a while now.]