Checking In.

Life Let's check in.

Find above today's trailer for the next series of Doctor Who. Two weeks to go and apart from the recent LGBT related news, I have a pretty low sense of excitement about the upcoming series. The Christmas special was hogwash and watching Matt Lucas grimacing out of every magazine or book cover is filling me with dread. Yes, Mondasian Cybermen, yes epic alien worlds and yes, I've been here before in the run up to previous series, but there's nothing much otherwise here which is making me squee in the way I'd like. Perhaps I'm jaded. Perhaps its that, having reintroduced all of the primary and secondary mythology in this past few years, the series is showing the kind of growing pains which often occurred in the classic run when even with the introduction of a new companion, not everything felt new again. But I have heard some good reports of this and that (spoilers) so we'll see. I just hope there won't be anything as deadening or disastrously ill structured as the Me arc from the last series.

The relatively low posting count here, although I notice that it's increased a bit this past week, is because I'm trying to work through a backlog of books and still have around a hundred and eighty episodes of Star Trek to watch after once again starting on some grand project which has gone on for far too long. As you know, I'm a very slow reader and don't have much of an attention span which is why I've let the pile mount higher than it should be. I like the idea of books, it's actually consuming them which is the problem. My current strategy is to work through them a chapter at a time with a rest between (often to watch some TV), trying to cover at least one per day, stopping even if I feel like I could read some more. This has succeeded so far and only really problematic when the chapters are just a few pages long as is the case with Lena Dunham's memoir. I should probably read another essay when I've finished writing this.

This morning I noticed that Amazon have quietly added Kindle support to the Echo Dot which mean Alexa will read the text you through its speaker. The result is curiously fine. She's been programmed to pick up the nuances of most grammar and although its in no way a performance, she only really stumbles when faced with dialogue. I've heard some real audio books with inferior readings. Predictably she works best with non-fiction. The result I've had so far is with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; during the prologue she followed Peter Jones's reading spectacularly closely, even picking up some of the irony which just goes to show how well conceived Douglas's original script was and how little was done in translating it to the page. The only weakness is accessing the books. Alexa's not very good at understanding complex titles and the selecting from the app not especially conducive at least from a tablet. The list is tricky to scroll without accidentally selecting one of the items.

I'm not going to London this month for various reasons but have decided to designate a day to finally sit and watch the collection about the city on the iPlayer, or as much as possible. Perhaps its my age, but I've lately been increasingly drawn to archive and back catalogue especially in films, catching up on anything which I've somehow missed over the years rather than something new.  I'm very grateful to those of you who've been answering the daily tweet asking for suggestions, which has been an excellent way pointing out the gaps in my personal viewing history.  Last night, I finally saw Panic in Needle Park, in which an ultra young Al Pacino and Kitty Winn have to survive a heroin drought in 70s New York amid some guerrilla filming.  After all these years, my admiration for his acting ability has only increased, especially considering how often De Niro phones it in, even in some of his earlier work.  Pacino is electric, even now.

Otherwise, life in the Shire carries on as ever.