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

I Was Expecting a Tentacle-y Thing

Feb 09 2019
I Was Expecting a Tentacle-y Thing

Today, after six months of wading through spin-offs, I finally returned to Doctor Who proper. When I crossed the finish line of Phase One of this ridiculous project, the latest season was still months away from airing. Today, then, I started a re-watch of the Thirteenth Doctor's first season -- this time while walking on a treadmill, as any sensible fan should view it. 

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

(TARDIS Data Core recap)

Before I get to the story. let's talk about my workout progress. As you may have noticed, my weight trend since May of 2018 has not necessarily been encouraging. I like to blame some of it on building muscle mass, as that's about the time I started adding strength training to my workout. To a certain degree that is absolutely true. It is also true that (unfortunately) most people who lost a significant amount of weight wind up gaining it all back. As frustrated as I may be on any given day, I am at least pleased that while I have gained back some weight I have not blown back up to my previous size. 

The fact is, it is difficult to remain focused for such a long period of time. I am coming up on two full years of this project. If you look at the amazing free fall in my chart from February of 2017 through December of the same year, that's when I was focused like a laser on the project every single day. I don't think it is any great coincidence that the point the free fall stopped is also the point where I started getting out and performing in theatrical productions, with two large stage productions as well as two of my own cabarets. My priorities shifted. I am still enjoying this ridiculous project, sure, but I also have several other ridiculous projects in the works. I auditioned for one show a few weeks ago, I have another audition on Monday, I am finally starting to take material steps towards my long-stated goal of doing voice-work, and I am starting to seriously think about my next cabaret as well as a one-man non-musical show.

Oh, and I also have a wife who likes to spend time with me every now and then, and an adult autistic son who has a regular roster of Disney Princesses to photograph.

I got a lot going on, is what I am sayin'. Life is good. I feel fantastic, and I never felt as good as how I do right now. Two weeks ago I started going to hot yoga classes two mornings a week, partially in order to get some variety in my workouts and partially for the meditative aspects. On both counts it seems to be working. In the last ten days I seem to have turned  the weight trend around and I am moving back in the desired direction. Two weeks in I am definitely bad at yoga, but two weeks ago I was awful at yoga so I count that as forward progress. We just got a new (to us) elliptical machine, and I am looking forward to breaking that in this week.

Mostly, though, I am trying to focus back onto my original mantra that started this whole stupid thing two years ago:  Drink more water, eat less crap, get more exercise, and watch lots of Doctor Who.

Speaking of which:

The biggest realization I had to day during my treadmill re-watch of The Woman Who Fell to Earth is that the title isn't about the Doctor. I mean, sure, she fits the description. She literally enters the story by plummeting to Earth and into a train. But that isn't what the title refers to, not really. The story opens with Ryan talking in a YouTube vlog, saying "So today I want to talk about the greatest woman I ever met. Smart, funny, caring, special. Proper special." And of course, the implication is that he is talking about the Doctor. And also of course, over the course of the story he meets Thirteen, along with Graham and Yaz, and along with his grandmother Grace.

Ah, poor Grace.

She is the titular woman who falls to Earth. At the climax of the story, while Thirteen is up on top of a construction crane facing down Tim Shaw Tzim-Sha, Grace takes the initiative to climb up the other crane in order to electrocute the squirmy ball of alien tentacles called the Gathering Coil. She succeeds, but at the cost of her own life. In the electrical overload she is thrown away from the crane and plummets to her death. It is Grace who provides the character motivation and growth for both Ryan and Graham over the course of the season. And it is Grace that Ryan was describing in the opening moments of the story.

The first time I watched this episode, during it's initial global simulcast, I was frequently interrupted by my autistic son, who frankly could not care less about Doctor Who and who wanted to get on with the program of going to Disney World to photograph princesses. I can't rightly blame him, the broadcast happened during Benjamin time and it was foolish of me to try to alter his schedule.

This time around I really got to enjoy it, and appreciate all of the subtleties going on in the story. I think Jodie Whitaker is a fantastic Doctor, and I think Bradley Walsh is a national treasure and a pure joy to watch every moment he is on screen. Yeah, Ryan and Yaz are fine companions as well, but it is Thirteen and Graham that make this particular season fun to watch. I also very much appreciate the shift in tone. This is a very different show than what has been there in previous seasons. The bombastic Murray Gold score has been replaced by Segun Akinola's much more subtle accompaniment. The skiffy fantasy vibe has been replaced with a much more pure science fiction style, and it is sooooo nice to have stories with original villains and not the same-old same-old rogues gallery. Most of all, it is nice to have a full TARDIS crew, the largest since the Fifth Doctor era.  I know it is not to many people's taste, and I worry about the overall ratings, but I am so happy to see the show trying something actually new after fifty five years.

I am really gonna enjoy the next two weeks.


Doctor(s): Thirteenth
Companion(s): Graham O'Brien, Grace O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan
Episode(s): The Woman Who Fell to Earth
Steps Walked: 9,018 today, 4,398,077 total
Distance Walked: 4.87 miles today, 2,302.86 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 10,700 total
Sit-ups Completed: 200 today, 5,265 total
Weight: 262.58 lbs (five day moving average), net change -44.72 lbs


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