17 January 2021

Donald Trump's last trump

In just under three days' time, Donald Trump will cease to be President of the United States, after a term of utter failure. He has been even worse than feared for the country, with his mishandling of the pandemic resulting in the worse mass death in the US in a single year since its creation.

And he topped it off with basically inciting an insurrection by refusing to accept that he had lost and claiming voter fraud with no actual evidence. His second impeachment is right and he should be investigated criminally in connection with this.

Good riddance.

12 January 2021

Coronavirus #24: Enter the vaccines

There are signs of us turning the tide in this pandemic; the recent data on numbers of new cases is suggesting that they are starting to drop and Tier 4/lockdown has been having an effect.

The reason that is arguably not having as much of an effect is that we're facing increasing non-compliance with restrictions from a significant minority of society, who are happily bending or outright breaking the rules. Some of this is down to outright exhaustion with all the rules that for many don't seem to make a huge amount of sense, arbitrary enforced and broken by the so-called great and good. For others, it's belief in dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation, while others are just selfish.

Ultimately, the vaccine rollout is the best way of getting out of this situation; with around 2.5 million having had their first dose as of time of writing. We may well get a million jabs done this week and every one will help, especially if it does indeed stop transmission. We need to go even faster; three million a week should be our goal.

But we still have a difficult few weeks ahead of us - the NHS remains under great strain with around 35,000 hospitalised with Covid-19 and around 750 deaths a day.

So, people need to heed the restrictions and avoid unnecessary social contact, wear a mask etc. It will keep the numbers of people who get this before they can be vaccinated down and so save many more lives.


03 January 2021

Doctor Who: "Revolution of the Daleks"

It's been ten months since the last televised episode of Doctor Who and a lot has happened since then. In fact, the controversial "The Timeless Children" aired on 1 March, a few weeks before things got really bad Covid-wise.

This episode was in fact filmed with Series 12 before lockdown, which means that the large crowd scenes filmed were done when we didn't have to worry about that sort of thing... However, aside from the editing, this also means that it reflects the quality and experience of that Series.

(Some spoilers ahead)

The Daleks have been heavily used throughout the show's history, arguably overused and it's getting somewhat difficult to find new stories to tell with them... so, credit to Chris Chibnall for something involving humans exploiting Dalek technology. In fact, it might have been even better without any actual Daleks. The actual Daleks were a bit on the dumb side, but frankly they generally are these days.

The story itself is a decent one, holding my attention for 70 minutes, although it isn't one that I'd likely return to again and again. 

Jodie Whittaker does a great job as the Doctor, engaging in a subtle and nuanced performance with some nice quirks of humour, like using Harry Potter as a bedtime story to herself. She's got no plans to go after Series 13 - at present - and I am glad she is sticking around.

Yaz is underwritten here and with the departure of her two other companions, hopefully she will have more to do here. Mandeep Gill does her best with the limited material and acts as a great foil to Captain Jack.

Graham and Ryan get a good send-off, with the possibility of Big Finish audios being set up. Bradley Walsh was a brilliant addition to the TARDIS in particular and I wish Tosin Cole well in his future endeavours.

Captain Jack is always worth the price of admission and John Barrowman has the part down pat - it's very much him playing himself - with some great call backs to past adventures. In fact, the whole alien prison sequence was great and could have easily justified an episode in its own right.

Robertson... wasn't hugely keen on having him back in the first place and wouldn't be overly keen on having him back for a second time, but he was suitably slimy. Got to hang some good lampshades on things too.

The self-serving government minister... well in the light of some stuff that's been going on, that seems pretty plausible.

Conclusion

By no means a classic, but definitely an enjoyable festive episode. Shame we're only getting eight episodes this year because of the pandemic...

8/10

02 January 2021

Coronavirus #23 - Real pressure on the NHS

New records are now being recorded frequently for detected coronavirus cases in the UK and while we are possibly not at the real levels of infection that we had in the first wave, we are definitely heading that way. Even Tier 4 and the schools currently being closed - they should not go back at all on Monday - does not seem to be keeping R below one. A significant minority have stopped complying with the rules and the more infectious strain is making things harder.

The NHS is now under real pressure and it may well end up overloaded at least on a regional level. The only way we can reduce the hospitalisations and deaths now is to vaccinate as fast as possible.

01 January 2021

Welcome to 2021

Well, that was one horror show of a year. No firm plans for 2021, but when we can start freely travelling again, I may well be doing some bits on train types I haven't been on before.

Also, expect a Doctor Who review at some point this week. Might as well...

I just want this pandemic to end... I think everyone does.

Stay safe; don't become a victim before your vaccine.

24 December 2020

Christmas 2020

This will be the most difficult Christmas of many people's lives, unable to see friends and family because of restrictions deemed necessary for public health. Yet there is hope in the form of the vaccines.

Jesus didn't exactly have an easy life, becoming a refugee pretty much as soon as he was born. His time on Earth saw him face opposition from the authorities that led to his crucifixion, as well as the thousands of other difficulties that someone growing up in his time and place would face.

Talk to God about your worries at this time. He understands.

And things will get better. Jesus has promised that.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

19 December 2020

Coronavirus #22: Tier 4

Well, that's Christmas pretty much cancelled for much of the country. Frankly the hope shouldn't have been held out in the first place.

The new more infectious strain is concerning and we now need to vaccinate as fast as possible to get out of this.