mandag den 16. november 2009

Who Review - the Waters of Mars

I sat up, as per usual, waiting for the episode to be uploaded on the net. I am sure the BBC are annoyed at this sort of thing but for all us fans living outside Britain, it really is the only chance we get to see the show.


I didn't like this episode that much. There was the ever so tiresome running about; that annoying robot (Gadget, Gadget!), which - oh, quelle surprise! - gets souped up by the sonic screwdriver; the "monsters" were dribbling zombies; there's that guy from "Neighbours". I didn't like the bit with the Doctor wandering off as the Bowie Base crew were infected, one after the other, by The Flood and then coming back, in an almost deranged state, because he controls time as the last Time Lord.

Phil BC at AVPS blog makes an interesting observation about how history is presented in this story. Take a gander there.

I suppose I always want Mars base personel, who are under attack from Zombies, to pull out a BFG 9000 and zap the bastards. As Red Dwarf's Kryten might say: "An excellent plan, sir, except for two serious flaws - 1. we don't have any BFG 9000s ; 2. we don't have any BFG 9000s because they don't exist."

Positives? I like the way the standard BBC quarry was made to look like Mars and the base had a nice design when compared to past stories. And in best Who and Star Trek tradition, the people on the base present a future vision of a unified human race.

Only a few more weeks to go and it will be Xmas and the return of Donna, the Master, Ood and the closing moments of the Tennant era.


søndag den 15. november 2009

Great, but forgotten today, albums (part 1)

Sore Throat - "Unhindered by Talent"

A Paul Weller style song here (A Bow to Capital) and more typical ST here

lørdag den 7. november 2009

the Carlsen Daily Show (II)

All the games were drawn in round 2 of the Tal Memorial. I followed the live internet relay - a bit anyway as I was playing a tournament game myself at the local chess cafe.

I made a terrible blunder, which cost a piece for two pawns, as early as move 11; but after four and half hours of fighting with my back to the wall I escaped with a draw. My 70 something year old opponent was tiring fast and couldn't see a way to win; tiredness and age go hand in hand in chess, which is one practical advantage for young whipper snappers like me!

I had a nice chat after the game, over some Danish Xmas beers, with my opponent Frode Søby. It turned out (I didn't know this before the game) that he represented Denmark at several international events, where he played and met many famous names. He had a sort of friendship with Bobby Fischer at the Varna Chess Olympiad in 1962. He also has a good score against the great Dane Bent Larsen. As the saying goes: result!

fredag den 6. november 2009

Mikhail Tal

Tal was born in Riga, shortly before Latvia became a Soviet Republic. He was known for his amazing sacrificial attacks which propelled him, within a short space of time, to the world crown in 1960, when he beat the doyen - or patriach - of Soviet chess: Mikhail Botvinnik. His book of the match is, rightly, considered one of the finest in the history of the game's literature. He had a truly hypnotic stare, as can be seen in a clip where he sits down to play (a teenage) Bobby Fischer; Tal got a clean 4-0 sweep over Fischer in the 1959 qualification tourney for the world championship.

Tal lost his title within a year, back to Botvinnik, and his chess began to be compromised by his dreadful health problems. He died in 1992.

Right now, the Tal Memorial is being held in Moscow and has a field comprising many of the world elite. The first round saw all the games drawn. Norweigian superstar Magnus Carlsen had a few problems against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik but defended well. It will be interesting to see how Carlsen does in this tourney after his crushing win at Nanjing. His mentor is certainly following his progress - Kasparov was kibbitzing on yesterday, which is one of many sites relaying the games live.

tirsdag den 3. november 2009

What's Your Pleasure Sir?

Great Halloween films: Hellraiser, An American Werewolf in London, the Phantom of the Opera.

søndag den 1. november 2009

From Russia With...

The European Chess Team Championships have just concluded in Novi Sad, Serbia. I mentioned before that reigning women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk inspired me to take up chess again; big fan of hers that I am, it was nice to see the Russians win the ladies' event and Alexandra pick up another medal for her individual performance. Congratulations!