One fat geek's attempt to regenerate into a not-so-fat geek by watching the entirety of Doctor Who while walking on a treadmill

Wrong? It's an economic miracle. Of course it's wrong.

Nov 05 2017
Wrong? It's an economic miracle. Of course it's wrong.

I don't even know what to think at this point. I have no idea what magic switch I flipped in my body to make it suddenly go into fat-burning overdrive, because from a workout standpoint I haven't done anything materially different in the past week. Even so, after two months of only gradual progress, all of a sudden I have dropped nearly ten pounds in two weeks. Every morning I expect to discover that I have bounced back and returned to some kind of mean, and instead I find another drop. Two weeks ago I had set a modest goal to finally reach the 240's by Christmas, and now all of a sudden it seems plausible that I might get there sometime this week. That's just crazy! I'm just gonna keep plugging along and doing my thing, eating well and putting in my fifty five minutes of treadmill time each day, and I assume it will level off again soon. I am surely enjoying this ride while it happens, though!

In other news, I started a new Doctor Who story today, so let's talk about that.

The Pirate Planet - Parts 1 & 2

TARDIS Data Core recap)

The second story in the Key to Time sequence has the Doctor and Romana determine that the next segment of the key is located on the frigid planet Calufrax. After a bit of business where Romana actually reads the TARDIS operator's manual and criticizes the Doctor's piloting skills, they arrive at the correct location but the wrong planet. Instead of icy Calufrax they find themselves on the balmy planet Zanak, a world so overflowing with riches that there are diamonds, rubies, and other jewels just littering the streets of the city in which they land.

There's a whole thing with the Captain, the tyrant running the world who is a sci-fi riff on a Treasure Island style pirate captain, complete with a high tech eye patch and a deadly robot parrot on his shoulder. Out in the general populace there is a complacent worker class who go out of their way to not ask too many questions, and a secretive and menacing group of psychic boogeymen called the Mentiads. 

By the end of my viewing today, the Doctor has realized that Calufrax is actually a hollowed-out world that uses massive dematerialization engines in order to transmat around the universe, trapping entire planets inside its core and then mining out all of the victim planet's mineral wealth. They do so regardless of any sentient life on their victim planets, callously destroying civilization after civilization and leaving only useless refuse in their wake.

This story was written by Douglas Adams, who was at exactly the same time just finishing his original radio script for The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. You might expect more of his trademark humor in the story, and there are certainly flashes of it in clever bits of dialog, but aside from playing the Captain as a very broad caricature the entire story is played straight (or as straight as any other Doctor Who story).  As a side bit of trivia, the third book in the Hitchhikers series, Life, the Universe, and Everything, was initially supposed to be a Doctor Who script. When Adams decided to go the other way, he just swapped out the Doctor with Slartibartfast, the TARDIS with the Starship Bistromath, and the Daleks with the Krikkiters. 

One little bit of business that was added early in the first episode was a bit where the Doctor falls face-first into the TARDIS console during the turbulence of materialization, leaving the Doctor with visible scars on his face. This had to be done because while filming the end of the previous story 
Tom Baker was bitten by a Jack Russell Terrier owned by the actor who played the main villain. The scar remains visible for all of this season, and I think also the next. I am guessing that Tom Baker was not particularly friendly with actor Paul Seed after that incident.

So anyway, this is a fun story so far. It has been ages since I have watched it, certainly decades, and I have forgotten far more than I remember. This is one I have been particularly looking forward to, and I am not disappointed. Tomorrow will have one of the Doctor's greatest steely-moments, and I am excited to get there.

STATS:

Doctor(s): Fourth
Companion(s): Romana, K9
Episode(s): The Pirate Planet - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,438 today, 1,674,145 total
Distance Walked: 4.12 miles today, 839.20 miles total
Weight: 253.12 lbs (five day moving average), net change -54.18 lbs


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