Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Sound Of Drums

The Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack all made it back to Earth using a method we could all see coming a mile off. They get there to discover that the Master is now Prime Minister. The Doctor is possibly partly responsible after weakening the position of Harriot Jones in Tennant's first Christmas special. The Master has promised to introduce an alien race to humans that promise to bring them friendship and gifts. Instead they bring destruction and help enslave the human race. The Doctor meanwhile has been aged 100 years and Martha disappears with a promise to come back. Now it is down to Martha to save everyone.

I'm not sure about this one. I am mostly reserving my judgement until I see the last episode tomorrow. I still feel the Master is far too similar to David Tennant's Doctor but then apparently it was deliberate. It was meant to make him more of an equal to the Doctor. Personally I still feel that Jacobi's Master would have been a far better and scarier choice. While Simms version seems to be larking about I think Jacobi's serious nature would make for a far more sinister character. Since it was clearly not meant to be I guess I just have to get over it. I am looking forward to seeing how Martha can save the Earth. I am hoping that this will be her opportunity to shine.

I know a lot of people find knitting to be dull but I find it to be therapeutic. Also it's supposed to be the hip craft of the moment. Either way I like it although I have yet to advance to anything beyond the scarf. In all the scarfs I have knitted so far I have used very basic stitches. I have wanted to learn to do lace knitting for a while as I love the beautiful shawls and scarfs you can create with it. I bought the Knitting Stitch Bible and chose the design lace wheels from it to knit this scarf. This is my first attempt at lace knitting and while it is yet another scarf I'm actually a little proud of it. I have put it away as part of my mum's Christmas. I am now taking part in a knitting supplies swap and am knitting a bag for it. This will be the first time in years I have sat and followed a pattern so I am hoping it will turn out and will encourage me to do something other than scarves from now on.

Here is the sock monkey I made for Lili which she has now received. Her name is Madleen and she is a monkey of cheery disposition. She also loves nature. You can see here that while she was with me she did some chores for her keep.

Lili, I liked your question. Yes, I do sometimes read more than one book at a time. If I am reading a non fiction book I always have a fiction title on the go too. If I am reading a large book I will also read a smaller one at work. If I am not really enjoying a book but still want to finish it I also read another book along side it. At the moment I am getting into graphic novels which I have been reading alongside the book I am reading at the moment. I find they are good to read when I am tired but not tired enough to go to sleep. At the moment I have three books on the go. One by Stephen King, a graphic novel and The Island of Dr Moreau.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


This is the first story starring Tom Baker as the Doctor. The Doctor is still recovering from his regeneration and this is where Harry Sullivan comes in, UNIT's Doctor, to help him. Meanwhile Sarah gets to go visit Think Tank. A group of scientists that few reporters get to speak to. There she comes across a Robot. She believes that the group are using the Robot for something other than they claim. Which of course they are and so the Doctor gets involved. The Robot is being reprogrammed by a group of people who believe that they should do the thinking for the rest of humanity. It is up to the Doctor to stop them before the Robot goes insane.

I remember when my parents first bought this on VHS. I was so excited because by this point I had seen many with Tom Bakers Doctor and all the others with Harry Sullivan (by this point I was loving Harry's character). I was so disappointed though. Tom Baker was getting used the role of the Doctor and so he wasn't quite as good as later episodes. Plus there was very little of Harry. Having got over that disappointment when I bought the DVD I knew what to expect from it. This time I just enjoyed the story itself. Like most stories involving Robots it goes back to Asimov robots and the laws regarding them. It didn't take any of the enjoyment away from it although it was central to the story. I think there are very few Robot stories that don't refer to it in some way or other. I liked the idea of a Robot who has been programmed to kill but can't because of the kindness shown by Sarah Jane. Reminds me very much of Rose in "Dalek". Although this will never be my favourite storyline it will be high on my list.

Yes, I have made something other than a sock monkey. As part of a used book swap I was to make my swap partner a bookmark. As my swap partner was generous with what she sent I made her two bookmarks. Normally I would stitch something. As my swap partner doesn't do embroidery or cross stitch but wants to learn I was tempted to just go ahead and stitch a bookmark. Instead one of the books I sent her should help her with learning. I came across this ribbon while shopping for yarn for something else (yes this ribbon is actually classed as a yarn). I cut strips of it and tied it into a knot at the top. I had also bought some buttons and I stitched one to the knot and the others to the bottom of the strips. It's all in colours my swap partner listed as liking. The second bookmark I used another ribbon type yarn to brighten up the parcel a bit. I platted both together and then stitched buttons to the knots at both ends. They didn't take me long to make at all but I really like the way they turned out.

Lili, I am actually making a sock monkey with a pirate theme. A friend's daughter has requested one. I have another to make in the meantime but I promise to post pictures of it. Your sock monkey is now on it's way to you. I posted it out yesterday so hopefully it won't take too long to get there.
I like to see where I am in a book too. I look at the page numbers to judge how long I have to go and I try not to look at the text. I do this because I usually have planned out what I want to read next. I feel guilty sometimes for always looking forward to the next book rather than solely concentrating on the one I am on. A sign of a good book though is if I don't think about the next book.

Timewarden, going by the clips I think it is wishful thinking that Simm will become more serious. I think Simm will make a good master but Jacobi would have made a fantastic master. I think when portraying evil if you make the character as serious as Jacobi would have it would make it more effective. The comic value seems to camp up the evil. How can you take that seriously? It has its place but not with the master.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday
Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

No I don't cheat. I have a friend who does though. She always has to know how a book ends. Sometimes she even decides on whether or not she will read a book by those last few pages. It drives me up the wall. When I loan her books I make her promise me she won't read the end first. I just don't see the point of it. The main enjoyment of the book is the journey itself. Not every book has a great ending which can spoil the rest of the book a little. But you still got enjoyment out of what lead up to it. Plus you could be reading something out of context. What sounds like a bad ending could be a good ending for that particular book. The only example I can think of is the Dark Tower series. The ending was awful! It tainted the rest of the series a little but I still enjoyed reading them. Had I read the ending first I might not have bothered and missed out on so much.

I have felt tempted in the past. When there is a character I like who does something that I feel is out of character or even might die I want to skip ahead. Either in the hopes that maybe that out of character action was done for a good reason or in the hopes of finding that character is alive. I don't though. It spoils the excitement of finding out the answers in the order the reader is supposed to. Jumping right to the end you miss that build up.


A very quick start to last nights episode. Captain Jack is back and this time he isn't letting the Dr get away without him. He clings on to the Tardis for dear life as it travels through time to the end of the universe. What they find there is the last of the humans and their attempt at staying alive. They must reach Utopia and all are aboard a silo to take them there. Sadly the professor in charge of the project doesn't know how to send off the silo. It just takes a little help from the Doctor and Captain Jack. Meanwhile, Martha discovers that the professor is no ordinary human. Seeing him with a watch the Dr had used before to hide his Timelord personality she questions him on it. Big mistake as she awakens the Doctors arch nemesis and fellow Timelord, the Master.

And so it moves on to the next two episodes which will of course be about the Master. I think we had all guessed that this was going to happen. As soon as the Face of Boe told the Doctor he wasn't alone it was kind of a given as to who it would be. The only other possibility was maybe Romana and that would hardly make for the scenes we got last night. Despite knowing what was going to happen I did enjoy the episode and it is good to have Captain Jack back. Although is it just me or is his character a little different in Dr Who than it is in Torchwood? I do think it is a shame that Derek Jacobi isn't playing the Master in the next few episodes. I think he would have been good at it. John Simm seems to be going for a more comic approach very similar to David Tennant's Doctor. Maybe that can also be a good thing though. Two similar characters but one is good while the other is bad.

I am still busy making these soft toys. A friend challenged me to make a sock octopus. So here we have the first (and last) socktopus made by myself. It doesn't have a name as I have yet to pass it on to the new owner.

This sock monkey was made for another friend. Again yet to be named but should have a name in the next few days. This one will be going to Alten Towers. So hopefully I will have some travelling pics of this one to show.

Lili, thanks for your comments. The next sock monkey I am making is going to you. I have socks all picked out for you. I know I promised you a while back. With luck it will be in the post to you on Wednesday.

Timewarden, sorry I didn't answer your last question. Your right "Survival" is too short a story to warrent two discs. Disc 2 is full of extras because it was the last of the original Who shown. It has out takes, a 45 minute documentary on why Who ended and then a piece on Ace's character. There is also the usual photo gallery, a kids science show in which the Doctor and Ace appeared (the actors were in character) and a little about Anthony Ainley. I haven't watched any of it yet so I'm afraid I can't tell you if it is worth it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

More Cuddly Critters.

Fabio Miles

As yet unnamed

Mabel, retired teacher and 40's glamour girl

As yet unnamed

Monday, 11 June 2007

Blink and Survival

Sally Sparrow loves old things which is why she goes to the old house and finds a message meant for her. It is written on the wall under the wallpaper and is from the Doctor. The next day she brings her friend and notices that the weeping angel statue has moved. A stranger comes to the door with a letter from the friend she brought with her. Things become stranger still and she has no choice but to trust the messages sent to her from this Doctor.

Like "Love and Monsters" shown around the same time last year the Doctor and Martha have very little viewing time. It is all about Sally following these messages to save the world from the moving statues. I didn't particularly like "Love and Monsters" but I did like "Blink". There is nothing creepier than statues which move when you aren't looking. I think if I had watched this as a child I would have been terrified. A good thing as the scary episodes were always my favourites as a child. The movement of the statues would have been enough but the change in their facial expressions really set it off. The story itself sounds very familiar though. This idea of statues moving when you aren't looking isn't new.

I have had this DVD for a couple of weeks now and I just got round to watching it yesterday. The Doctor has returned Ace to her home town of Perivale. Not wanting to admit she is a little home sick Ace insists to the Doctor that she just wondered what her old gang were up to. Funny things have been happening in Perivale. Most of Ace's friends have disappeared and they now have a problem with stray cats. They soon find out that people are being transported to the planet of the Cheetah people and they have the Master to thank for it. The Master is trapped on the dying world and hopes the Doctor will help him escape. Meanwhile everyone on the planet are in danger of becoming like the Cheetah people.

This was the last storyline in the classic series broadcast on television. Although it wasn't filmed last (that was "Ghost Light). I liked the idea behind this story and I think it could have been better had more gone into it. I can't help but wish that they had went into how the Master became trapped on the planet. I also think that more could have been made of the Cheetah people themselves. We only really saw their personalities through Karra who befriended Ace. When looking up this episode I did find out that Lisa Bowerman who played Karra also played Bernice Summerfield in the audio adventures. I immediately recognise Hale and Pace as the shop owners. One other person I didn't recognise was the girl who played Squeak, Midge's 9 year old sister. She was played by Adele Silva who now plays Kelly in Emmerdale.

Lili, yes "The Village of The Damned" is the film you are thinking of. I looked up the film and discovered it was actually remade in 1996 starring Christopher Reeves, Kirsty Alley and Mark Hamil. I didn't realise that it had been remade. Has anyone seen this version? I wonder if it is any good.

Timewarden, I haven't read any books by Thomas Hardy. Another author I always meant to try. I have a huge list of those. What surprised me about Wyndham is that he is American. I always saw him as British. Possibly because of Chocky. He also tried his hand at farming amongst other things. That I can believe thanks to "Chrysalids" which was set in an old farming community.

Crazee4books, the books are so much better than the movies. I highly recommend them.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday
Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.
If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

This is actually a hard one. I read this challenge last night and I could not think of a single author. Most authors that were springing to mind were ones who are still writing but I am just impatient when it comes to waiting for their next book.

This morning however, I was talking to someone about an author who has passed away. A friend had mentioned a film she remembered seeing and it was "Village of the Damned". This of course is based on "The Midwich Cuckoos" by John Wyndham one of my favourite authors. I have not yet read all of his books but I have read the vast majority of them. Wyndham had been writing most of his life. In his early life her wrote under a variety of names of many different genres. He didn't start writing the books he was better known for until after WWII. These books are generally classed as science fiction but Wyndham himself classed his writing as "logical fantasy".

Despite having been written 50 years ago his books do have the ability to scare me. The main one is "The Day Of the Triffids". I first came across it in the form of a film when I was little. I have never recovered from it. There are plants out there today which I watch closely to see if it's going to move (one of which my mum insists keeping in the back garden). At school we had to read the book. This was the first time I had read Wyndham. My first reaction was horror. There was no way I wanted to read a book that film had been based on. It had scared me that much. What surprised me though was that I enjoyed it. Once I ignored that fear I realised how good the writing actually was (and made the film look so very poor). I then made a point of reading "The Midwich Cuckoos". I remembered that film well too (was called Village of the Damned) although it hadn't scared me quite as much. This book is probably one of my favourites. I have also went on to read The Chrysalids, The Seeds Of Time and Chocky.

Why would I want him to produce one more book? Wyndham died in 1969. I would be very interested to see what form a book by him would have taken had he been alive now. I wonder what he would have written had he known about computers, the Internet, reality shows, today's political unrest and everything else that has happened since then. The same could be said for most authors I imagine but Wyndham is one I would be truly interested to read.

Lili, Timewarden answered your question amongst my comments. As he said you can print it out but it will use a lot of paper. This book was probably over 200pgs in novel format.

Timewarden, I never thought of comparing Human nature with Inner Light but I agree. Both gave people the opportunity to see what a different life would be like. Both main characters are interested only in travel and discovery and so don't have time for families. Both saw that given half a chance they could be happy in that alternative life. Very much the same concept.

Monday, 4 June 2007

The Family Of Blood

"The Family Of Blood" is the second part to last weeks episode "Human Nature". Last weeks episode was a good one and the conclusion didn't respond. In this one Dr John Smith is forced to chose between saving the village along with all those young boys being forced to fight for duty and losing who he thought he is to become what he once was. Along the way Smith is catching glimpses of what might happen if he stayed human including marriage and children. Both would probably be the Doctors worst nightmare. For human Dr Smith though he can't imagine anything he wants more having fallen in love with Joan.

As I said this episode didn't disappoint. Imagine trying to chose to become someone you don't know, someone so alien to you. You lose everything you really want but if you don't so many people will lose their lives. A great premise and David Tennant played it well. At one point holding on to the watch he briefly becomes the Dr again or at least he speaks through him for a second. You could see that change in him which I thought again Tennant played well. The actor who played Baines also did well. He couldn't have been creepier if he tried. Wouldn't have thought it of him when he was just a school boy at the start of part 1.

Timewarden had mentioned that the book that this episode is based on would soon become available as an ebook. It since has and you can access it here on the BBC website. I have made a start on it, although only a small start I do intend to read it. Funny after my rant on ebooks in my previous post. In this case I have no option unless I want to pay £20 or more for the privilege of owning it on paper (which I don't). In the book written originally the Dr it is based on is the seventh played by Sylvester McCoy. He decides to become human to understand grief. His companion Bernice is suffering from severe grief and the Dr just doesn't understand it (I imagine he actually would understand it just maybe not the human form of grief). He does go to a school and falls in love with Joan. In this case though Joan is a fellow teacher at the school rather than the school matron. For those of you who haven't heard of Bernice she was a companion added by the books that followed the end of the classic series. She was so popular that she was given her own spin off audio series by Big Finish. I haven't heard these so I'm afraid I can't tell you what they are like.

Lili, glad you liked the book reviews. I think you would also like "This Book Saved Your Life" too. It is such a nice story and in a way inspiring. Are you enjoying Gideon Mac? Will you be writing your own review of it on your blog?