Monthly Archives: June 2007

Crazy Doctor Who theory

Warning: There’s a spoiler in here for those who haven’t been downloading Doctor Who lately, or who haven’t been following third season casting announcements. I expect most of my readership either knows what’s going on or doesn’t care.


A couple times in the new series, the Doctor’s dropped hints about his family. No detail, just off-hand comments. Like in Smith and Jones, he mentioned something about having a brother.

Odd that the Master shows up at the end of this season then.

It’s always been a bit vague as to the Master’s precise relationship to the Doctor. Like most aspects of the Doctor’s past, it’s largely left undefined. That’s kinda what Doctor Who is about. Hence the title.

All we really from the original series is that the Doctor and the Master went to the Time Lord Academy together. It’s hinted that they have some amount of shared history, but it’s left intentionally vague. Mostly, though, the writers of the original series were content with leaving the Master as simply a really mean Time Lord bent on (a) survival at all costs and (b) universal domination. Oh, and vengeance against the Doctor, probably for his interference with (a) and (b). He was basically just a pulp-style arch-nemesis for the Doctor. Ming the Merciless to his Flash Gordon. Something like that.

I don’t get the impression that Russel T Davies will let it go at that, though. He’s all about character. He’s going to try to define the relationship between the two Time Lords, at least for himself, because he has to know what having the Master back means to the Doctor on an emotional level.

I have a theory about what he might define that relationship to be. I’m not sure he will do it, or even that he should, but I want to put it out there just so if it turns out to be right, I can gloat and say I called it.

It may very well turn out that the Doctor and the Master are brothers.

It’s not a particularly new idea. Back in the 90s, there was a series revival attempt that’s referred to as Fathers and Brothers. It was utterly apocryphal and talked about how the Doctor and the Master had to go out and find their lost dad Rassilon (otherwise known as the founder of the Time Lord race) or some nonsense and it sounded pretty horrible. (There’s a book about Doctor Who revival attempts that I should really get some time…).

What’s fueled most of the fan speculation, I think, is a hard-to-make-out line in the 5th Doctor episode Planet of Fire. The Master says to the Doctor, “Would you show no mercy to your own–? Argh!” and then dies in a fire. The Discontinuity Guide writes this off as referring to their shared heritage or biology as Time Lords. The novelization of the episode omits the line entirely. But the question was always out there: your own what?

So RTD has been easing us up to the idea of the Doctor having family and needs an emotional kick for the Doctor and a convincing reason for the Master’s crazy vendetta. Wouldn’t it make sense for him to reveal, at the climax of the season, that they’re more than just old school chums? Maybe even brothers? Hm…

Neighbours helping neighbours

It’s rare that I get home before sundown these days, and I decided to take up the opportunity to mow the front lawn while I had daylight and it wouldn’t piss off the neighbours.

When I was driving in, I narrowly avoided running down a neighbour kid who was tooling around the roads on his bike. This happens infrequently. There are a lot of kids in my neighbourhood and they spend a lot of time just hanging out in my cul de sac avoiding cars and being bored. It’s what kids do.

Having gotten in and changed out of work clothes, I got something quick to eat and went out to start mowing. I didn’t make it halfway down the lawn before I noticed the self-same neighbour kid tentatively pedalling up towards my house.

He parked his bike in the road, dropped his helmet down beside it and started trudging up the lawn towards me. I stopped the mower.

“Can I help?”

“Huh?” I replied. I’ve never really considered myself good with kids. I wouldn’t have expected that that would be the sort of question that they’d ask.

“Can I help? I can use the ‘lectric lawnmowers, but I’m not allowed to use the gas ones.” He paused. “I’m bored.”

“Ah,” I said. I thought about it. I figured at worst he was probably going to try to extort $10 out of me, which I could deal with. It wasn’t going to take me long, but occupying bored kids with productive if mundane tasks is practically a community service these days, and if I kept and eye on him and kept him in the front yard I doubted anyone would start accusing me of luring kids for unsavoury purposes, as seems to be so much the fashion.

So I let him go at it. He didn’t do a half-bad job, either. A bit slow, maybe, and didn’t seem to grasp the finer points of cord management, which is always the trick with electric mowers. But he got the job done. I took the opportunity to pull up some weeds I’d been neglecting.

The only trouble was getting him to stop. “I’ll do anything you need,” he would say, “I’m a good worker.”

Indeed.

I had to let him start into the back yard, because I couldn’t tell him to go away and I’d run out of front yard for him to do. Eventually he just got bored and decided to go home. Which I was fine with. He’d done far more than I’d wanted to do tonight.

I thanked him for his help and off he went. As inexplicably as he came.

He didn’t even ask for money.

Corel is strange

There’s something deeply weird about Corel’s online store.

I’ve used Paint Shop Pro for ages. I’ve bought every version that comes out since version 7. Upgrades are usually pretty cheap, and the new versions have added useful stuff.

Corel bought Jasc, the company that makes PSP (they had the acronym first), a couple years ago. PSP 10 was the first version released from Corel. I dutifully bought the upgrade when it was announced.

For some reason I never did figure out, Corel sent me two copies. I’m not complaining or anything. I just gave one of the copies to a friend.

The new version, PSP Photo XI, came out recently. I’m not sure why they decided to add “Photo” to the name, except maybe to avoid confusion with Corel Painter. I was a bit undecided on whether I should upgrade. I haven’t been using it much lately, and I’d just switched to Linux. I use it at work, though, and the upgrade was only $40, so I decided to just go ahead and put in the order for the upgrade. I ordered the physical box because it was the same price and hey, they sent me two last time.

This time, however, they sent me a copy of Corel Painter X instead of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI. I guess the “Photo” didn’t help them much after all.

I’m trying to decide how I feel about this. On the one hand, I didn’t get what I ordered. On the other, they sent me a $500 piece of software for $40.

Maybe I should put it on eBay…

Bullets over Belleville

  • I spent the weekend in Ottawa for a friend’s wedding. That was pretty wonderful. I’m a big fan of weddings, and this was the first one I’d been to for friends (surprisingly, it’s taken this long). That’s so much cooler than extended family sorts of weddings. Not that I don’t like my family… Weddings are (at their best, anyways) parties, and parties with friends are quantitatively better.

  • After the wedding, I spent a couple days in Belleville setting up my parents with my sister’s old computer. Old, but still newer and better than theirs. Actually, my parents computer would still be serviceable, except I think the harddrive is toast.

  • So I missed the first couple days of the commuter challenge. I’m kind of annoyed that the metric they’re using for participation is kilometres. So because I bought a house 2.5km from work, even if I walk every day, I can’t hope to come close to matching the contribution of some dude who decides to take the bus in from his monster house in Cambridge one day (and never again, because that takes like two hours). So I’m a little perturbed. My dedication to the cause is obviously superior and I should be acknowledged and lauded for that fact! Because I’m awesome.

  • Dell’s Days of Deals are dangerous. I bought a new printer yesterday. My old one sucked, though, and the new one prints duplex and works fine with Linux and Mac OS X. I might give the old one to my sister or something.

  • Speaking of walking, I’m debating whether it’s possible to do most of my regular grocery shopping between the butcher, the baker and the international grocer which are all on my route home from work. The only problem is the butcher and baker both close around 6. Hm. More on this in a future non-bullet post.

  • Doctor Who on Sunday. 7pm my place, unless I hear a better idea.