Monthly Archives: March 2005


In the first Doctor Who episode last Saturday, Rose googled for things like “doctor blue box“. (I get two sponsored links, both related to the show. There’s a spoof page supposedly by the bloke Rose found, created by the BBC, at, which I expect will be updated as the series progresses. And there’s another one which is just some merchandising shop.)

Anyhow. That’s not the point of this ramble.

The point is that Rose didn’t google, she “search-wised”. And strangely, in a different programme tonight, I saw the same search engine being used again.

It turns out that the site exists:

But it doesn’t really exist. It’s the search engine equivalent of those 555 phone numbers in US TV shows which are guaranteed never to be allocated to anyone, otherwise nutters will be bending your ear day and night. (There’s a UK equivalent area code, but it’s not so memorable. Or at least, I can’t remember it.)’s front page is just a dummy: see its About Us page. It’s a prop, in other words.

Call me a sad old loon, but I find that quite interesting. In an obvious-when-you-think-about-it way.



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Doctor Who

The first episode of the new series was on BBC1 last night. There was a bit of a cock-up in presentation: we heard snippets of Graham Norton (who’d just been doing a live show) in the first ten minutes or so. That’ll get the conspiracy theorists going: “It’s all a plot by Michael Grade to cancel the show again”.

So what did I think of it? Hmm. I think the first script was good in places, and poor in places. It wasn’t pitched at nostalgic thirtysomethings like myself, which is a good thing, but I think it was pitched at too young an audience for 7pm on a Saturday night. ISTR reading that the original series (not the panto it turned into) was pitched at “an intelligent 12-year-old”; the first script felt younger than that. I was hoping for something a little closer to the Buffy level.

It does feel like the BBC has thrown a Buffy amount of money at the show. People expecting movie special effects will be disappointed, and that’s fine: Doctor Who never was, and should never be, an effects show. (Having said that, next week’s episode is an effects-fest.)

The first show was always going to be an odd beast: it had to introduce a new audience to the “mythology” without long scenes of talking heads or overwhelming detail, while also telling a story and convincing people to watch again next week. I liked the device of the Internet chappy, and wonder whether they’ll expand on that later.

Good things: Ecclestone (though I’m not sure about the humour), Piper, Tardis, “look and feel”.

Bad things: theme and incidental music. The incidental music will date in about five minutes. The theme is too different from the original; more different than I was expecting from the trailers. We didn’t care enough about Rose’s boyfriend Mickey by the time of the wheelie bins incident; I have a bad feeling that he’s going to be a bit of “comic relief” throughout the series, acting as the generic useless lump and clumsy oaf in need of rescuing.

Overall I’m disappointed. I keep wanting to say “but it’s not for me”; in which case, why is it shown at 7pm on a Saturday night rather than a weekday at 5pm? I’ll keep watching, naturally, but I wonder how many others will.


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Do Re Mi

One for Chris.

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Woke with a sore throat and a bit of a head this morning. I’ve been expecting it – it’s the vernal equinox. I often get colds and stuff at an equinox. Hadn’t realised it was today, though, until I looked at the calendar while the kettle was on.

I’m sure Shazzie says something about colds and equinoxes in Detox Your World, but I can’t find it right now. (I told her it’d take a week or so to do a proper index, but, oh no, she said she it would only take her about five minutes :-)


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Spring, Present, Float, Hitch

Originally uploaded by avaragado.

Spring arrived today. Almost certainly the warmest day of the year, and the first day for ages that I could drive home from work in daylight. Ah, that’s better.

I spent most of it in a stuffy, hot, artificially lit meeting room, as one engineering team presented stuff to anyone who was interested. I did my turn as doc boy. Mostly I stood at the back and filmed everything, since TPTB want those who couldn’t make it to see what went on. It will be, er, interesting to see my own presentation style. I must resist the temptation to edit myself out entirely.

In unrelated news, the company floated on Wednesday. We had champagne for lunch, as my photo shows. (Bob, that was why we were all outside the office having our picture taken.)

Tonight I went to Cineworld with Chris, Melanie and Louise to see Hitch. I was expecting a pretty lame oh-so-predictable romcom, but it turned out to be a not-too-bad oh-so-predictable romcom.

Avaragado’s rating: eight dark green leaves.

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Snow in Cambridge

Snow in Cambridge
Originally uploaded by avaragado.

Just in time for the thaw, snow finally settles in Cambridge.

All week we’ve had warnings about snow in the region, followed by blazing sunshine (and a biting wind) but nothing more than half-hearted non-settling flakes. Meanwhile Kent has closed schools, got the army out, etc.

I imagine our snow will last until, ooh, lunchtime or thereabouts.


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Oops! I broke Lufthansa

While attempting a “quick check in” at Heathrow for Monday’s trip to Frankfurt, I broke it. It’s not my fault, all I did was show it my credit card and type in my flight number.

I think the cause was that at some point during the check-in process, Lufthansa decided to cancel my flight.

I checked in the old-fashioned way, and was promoted to an earlier flight. Which was then delayed to allow passengers turning up for the cancelled flight to catch the earlier one. And consequently the earlier flight took off at the originally scheduled time of the cancelled flight. Ho hum.

Frankfurt was cold: -5 or so. And by the time I arrived, pretty much shut. Anyway. That night’s hotel had a sign up next to the lifts that, as far as I can make out, meant “no ice cream”.

This week’s taxi driver could find the correct destination, thanks to some advance preparation (multimap and a printer).

One all-day meeting and another six hours travelling/waiting later, and I was home again. I was away for about 30 hours, I guess; it seemed at least double that.

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