Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tenant Time

My latest tenant has come from the other side of the world to stay (well, the other side of the world from me, he may be just down the road from you). Onemanbandwidth is an American Professor working in China. His blog is about his thoughts on both China and the USA, and jolly interesting it is, too, so give him a click and read for yourself.....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Random Irritations and Joys No 117

Random irritations of life: The same articles popping up in different magazines, and magazines that are in bags so you don't know if it's got the same articles in it..... coming home in the dark....The Beeb's ad for DAB radio. Many women would be grateful for any gift for their anniversary, let alone on costing "only" fifty quid.....the state of mainstream sport at the national level.....

Random Joys of Life: The Beeb reshowing the whole run of This Life, (the downside being that they're showing them two at a time and so late at night I can only see the first one....) seeing the likes of Miles, Egg and Anna again has been like seeing old friends (the series was billed as the British Friends - something that another series - Coupling - also suffered from. Besides being about a group of people who knew each other, neither were anything like the US sitcom)..... For once having knuckled down and saved for Christmas, so it won't be a shock to the wallet next month - I might even have some left over - woohoo! The recent repeat of the Seeger Sessions live show, superb stuff....

Friday, November 24, 2006

Stumped

This is the poster npower have put up on billboards all around the country. Sadly, after the results of the first two days of the first Ashes test (Aussies 602-9 declared, England 53-3), it seems someone forgot to flick the switch to turn on the England team, while the Aussies are signing up the Duracell bunny as their new mascot.... For those unfamiliar with how to play the game (like the English players at the moment it seems) go here for an explanation of the basics. For an alternative view of the game, and why the rest of the galaxy finds our playing it is in bad taste, see here....

Judged

I've recently had my site reviewed by Soapbox Jury. Thankfully it was more reasoned - and more favourable - than the one I had on italk2much.com. To read what the juror said, go here. If you agree or disagree with what's said, drop me or them a line, I'd like to know. All constructive criticism is taken on board. Abuse will be ignored, unless it's really witty. Then I may steal it to use myself....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Casino Royale

James Blonde Brand Bond is back. Back to basics, that is. When I hear arguments about the best Bond, I always recall a quote about Sean Connery in the role, "He looked good in a tux, but also looked like he could beat the **** out of you." Daniel Craig is the first Bond since to truly live up to that standard. (He also doesn't do too badly in a pair of trunks, if the gasps from the three young women sitting next to us in the cinema are anything to go by....) Though I would've liked to have seen Clive Owen given a chance, unlike others I had no doubt that Daniel would do a great job in the role. Forget his woefully underused role in the first Tomb Raider movie, check out stuff like Layer Cake, and, if you can find it, the BBC series Our Friends In The North. If you haven't seen the movie yet, be aware there are spoilers below the fold. I will say this here though: this isn't a film for young children. It has a 12A rating in the UK, which means under twelves can see it with an adult. I read somewhere they trimmed it to get the 12A. I wish they hadn't, and even gone a bit further to get it a fifteen. The eight year-old in the row in front of us was in turn covering her eyes or complaining she was tired. I didn't have to cover my eyes, but they did start watering as...

...a nude Bond is strapped to a chair and his privates are whacked with a knotted rope. This Bond gets battered, beaten and almost killed on more than one occasion. The difference with this movie to previous Bond outings is that this Bond doesn't just shrug off the villains, dust himself down and leave with a quip. His scars show. This is just one example of the film's makers breaking with the old formula, as they strive to match the new benchmarks set by movies like the The Bourne series. Going even further than they did with Goldeneye to reinvent the character, they've gone back to the source material and started afresh. This Bond is closer to the character Ian Fleming envisaged. Cold, cruel, detached, in many ways not very likeable. The childish humour has gone, as has old standards such as Moneypenney and Q, though gadgets still abound. The action is spectacular, especially the chase through the construction site and Embassy near the beginning, which is truly breathtaking. Out too are the outlandish take over the world plots, and the main action is centred in the Casino Royale itself, as Bond plays a game of high-stakes poker with the main villian La Chiffre (a fourtutious bit of timing with the game's popularity exploding recently). The tension increases as Bond's fortunes rollercoaster thoughout the game, so much so that after he finally wins, what comes after does seem like an anti-climax, though necessary for the plot. That and the blatant product plugs (it seems the government has an exclusive contract with Sony, who just happens to be the owner of Columbia, the film's distributor) are the only gripes. Make no mistake, Bond is back. Roll on 2008.....


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Life Begins (to suck) at 40

So Funny. So True. So Depressing..... StiK says, "I have recently turned 40. It's a milestone. People will tell you."Life Begins at 40". Unfortunately, I do not share this view, you see, I'd prefer to be 30. It all started for me when I was about 22. I was out socializing with friends when I started feeling my left leg going numb. Fearing the worst, I made my excuses any hobbled off home. Walking seemed to make it deteriorate even more, so when I finally made it to the couch I was in a right state.
It wasn't until I undid my 28 inch baggy trousers that it all became horribly clear to me as the wet sensation of blood ran into my buttocks, I realized my trousers were too tight. My blood had been cut off from my leg by the forces of my expanding trunk.The heady days of the 28 inch waist had passed me by. My waistline was putting its foot down and accelerating. From there on in, it was downhill all the way. This blog will be a testiment to why"Life Begins to Suck at 40"
I managed to keep my waistline in check until my mid-thirties, when it rebelled and expaned by two sizes as I put on two stone, jumping from the ten I'd maintained from my teenage years to two twelve. Stints at the gym and a change of job have kept things at bay, but I feel I'm only a couple of bags of crisps away from staring at a 36 inch label..... This is only one of many of StiK's cartoons that strike a chord, as well as a twinge in my back.....

We all need a bit of motivation every now and again. For a shot of inspiration on your desktop, try clicking here. If you think you can do better, try here. You can even have it as a poster to adorn your wall. It's just one of the things you can do at fd's flickr toys site. Other things you can do is create your own magazine cover, movie poster or mosaic.

Tenant Time

A picture paints a thousand words the says goes, and this weeks renter takes that to heart. Bozette uses pictures to document his life, using words sparingly in the main. Give him a click to see what I mean.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This is a test

To see if this works......

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Load of Pollacks....

Not the most original title I know, but a sentiment that probably crossed a lot of minds recently when they read or heard about one of Jackson Pollock's pieces selling for £73 million (around $140 million). If you fancy following in his paint covered footsteps, there's an easier way than Tony Hancock does in The Rebel. Instead of riding round on a bicycle in a frozen garret, you can go to this site and chuck colours around to your heart's content without having to worry about sticking the brushes in turps afterwards. If Picasso is more your artist, click here and create some Picassoesque faces. Any offers for my masterpiece above will be considered, then laughed at while I ask for four times as much.....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Is it me?

In Cardiff an art exhibition consisted of no art at all. Visitors of the Chapter Art Centre were met with an empty space. The artist, Simon Pope, called his "work" Gallery Space Recall. The idea behind the installation was for patrons to remember previous exhibitions they had been to. "You are asked to summon up these remote spaces - through memory, body, speech and movement - so that they exist at two locations simultaneously, both here and there," reads the introduction to the show. More here.

It seems laughter is not the best medicine for the managers of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. A proposed review of dress code suggests banning novelty socks. Staff could be disciplined for sporting socks with characters such as Homer Simpson on them (like the pair I'm sporting right now...). See-though clothing, and clothing that is too tight or too loose (?) will also be scrutinised. More here.

Has a batch of ladies trousers been made with the wrong washing instructions sewn in? Only there's a lot of women wearing pairs that seem to have shrunk, so that they only reach just past the knee. One women at work had such a pair, teamed with knee length boots and red a jumper. How I restrained myself from asking if she was auditioning for the new Star Trek movie I don't know. Ok, I do, I like my kneecaps facing forwards.....

Poppy sellers have been told they could not set up stall in Derby's Eagle Star centre. I appears the centre is being redeveloped and the stall would constitute a fire risk. Elsewhere, sellers are being advised not to give out pins with their poppies, in case someone injures themselves and tries to claim compensation.....

Tenant Time

Lodging this week is Lucy's Dilemma. Not sure what her dilemma is, but here's what she says about herself: "I'm 36, married with 2 kids. I'm stupid, silly, irreverent and completely evanescent. Former band geek, current book nerd and music lover. Oh, and I'll eat you alive with a side of refried beans and spanish rice if you f**k with me. Have a nice day! :)" So if you want to know more, click on the box......

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Off to the Crusades....

One of the reasons I haven't posted much recently is I've been honing my skills on the Dawn of War Dark Crusade demo in preparation for the full game, which I got yesterday. For the uninitiated, the game is derived from the table top role playing game Warhammer 40000, one of the Gamesworkshop franchises. This game is the third in the series, after Dawn of War and Winter Assault. This instalment expands the game, as this time instead of a single episode in the unending war, the game's remit is to conquer an entire planet, taking on the other various races in the 40K universe. Winter nights seem less bleak now.....

Bah, humbug!

It seems the weather here in the UK has decided to go straight from Summer to Winter and skipped Autumn completely. In the last week or so we've gone from balmy days to morning frosts. The trees have turned from lush green to autumnal gold in a matter of days, and the wintry feel has been compounded by the clocks changing last week, which means leaving work in the dark. So we begin the decent into Christmas. Mention the word and the overwhelming response is a groan. Is it an age thing that turns the Christmas/New Year from a magical experience into a grind? Or the pressure advertising and the media put on us, making the whole thing seem like an expensive waste of time? When did it stop being a celebration of Christ's birth and simply become the Season to be Gorgeous? We are encouraged to over-eat, over-drink and over-spend, as Ad-land pushes a world of tables groaning with food and drink and Christmas trees with expensive presents piled at their bases. Even though it comes round the same time every year, most people don't plan for it, trying to pay for it with only one month's money, or simply sticking on the credit card, making January a bleak month as the bills roll in and the money rolls out, and we are left thinking, what was all that about? And if the commercialisation of Christmas wasn't bad enough, we have the PC brigade trying to take religion out of the event all together. A couple of years ago Birmingham council announced it wasn't calling Christmas Christmas but the Winter Festival. It got shot down in flames. Imagine if they had tried renaming Diwali or Hanukkah or Ramadam? It would never happen, as offending minorities is the big no-no. Mainly 'cos if the Christian majority get offended the most that happens is someone writes a stern letter the the local paper, they don't go burning flags in the street and calling for your head on a pike.

Ok, rant over, I feel better now....