Monthly Archives: September 2003

Cheekbones Akimbo

Went to see Underworld yesterday. “Buffy meets the Matrix”. Good fun for a Sunday afternoon, all told.

The gothic imagery is getting a bit cliched, but it looked great, the fight scenes were all very exciting, if a bit predictable in our post-Matrix world. Bill Nighy is good as the head vampire, although worryingly for him, he was recognisable long before he’d finished growing his flesh back. Kate Beckinsdale was brooding and driven, despite being a shite actress, but the character Michael could have been played by anyone. All he had to do was look confused, then scared, then angry. And he had to be built.

I was slightly disappointed by the results of the final injection, after the transformation looked so promising. He ended up looking like a orc (“Man-flesh!”)

A few plot questions were raised though. Why was Lucian so cultured? His “you must forgive my colleagues’ behaviour, they have no manners” didn’t really fit in.

Why wasn’t the blonde vampire given more of a part? She seemed to have a bit of Roman intrigue and Machiavellian maneuvering about her.

Mairi and I were discussing whether we’d like to be a vampire or a werewolf. Of course, in this film, the vamps were the usual elegant, black leather, lace and PVC-clad skinny types, and the werewolves were your basic bruisers.

I really don’t have the cheekbones to be a vampire, or the muscles for the other lot. Great, looks like I’m food for them both. “Bite Neil, he’s strawberry flavoured!“*.

And of course it’s been set up for a sequel or three. Or at least a cheap CG-enhanced TV series. Still, enjoyable enough. I have to ask, though, these dark rainy goth things wouldn’t work so well in Florida, would they?

*these idiots have managed to mis-transcribe The Young Ones – they’ve got Rick saying ‘coffee flavoured’. Fools.

Shopping Lists Are The Only Truth

You can stop your to-do lists falling into the wrong hands.

Then again, some people might want others to read what’s going on in their head.


It appears it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day so here goes…

“This cabin-boy’s grown haggard
so in the pot he goes.
And from his skin we’ll make a little drum
to beat as we fire human heads
from cannon at our foes,
and set the seas ablaze with burning rum.”

“I tread a lurching timber world
a reeking salt-caked hell.
But then perhaps, no worse a world than yours
where Bishops stroll through charnel yards
with pomanders to smell
where vile men thrive
and love crawls on all fours.”

Me hearties.

Break Out The Andrex

In this post, Louise talks about what G2’s article calls possibly ‘the future of shopping.’

I had experience of similar machines when studying in Germany. They sold hot snacks like sausage rolls and other more Teutonic snackage, and were popular with the after-closing-time crowd.

The food in them was revolting in that artificial, heated-by-lamps way, and usually gave you the trots in the morning (if the Flensburger Pilsener didn’t). I remember a friend buying and eating them while drunk as like being in a car accident,

“You can see what is going to happen in slow motion, but no matter what you do, you can’t stop it.”

A similar tale revolves around my time at High Wycombe. There was a van which sold burgers and stuff after the oft-attended Attic nightclub closed. One speciality was the ‘Student Burger’, which contained 2 cheap burgers, salad and a fried egg. An excellent way to lose 2 stone over a weekend.

Video Repair Blues

I’ve got a video being repaired by Currys at the moment. It’s getting frustrating. I was going to go into details, but these links tell it all far more clearly – If only I’d listened…

In short – Don’t shop at Dixons, Currys, PC World, The Link or any of Dixons Store Group.

I thank you.

The What-O-Sphere?

Last night’s seminar organised by spiked was pretty interesting. It was the first one of this kind of thing I’ve been to. My good friend Mira told me about it. We thought it would be a good insight into how this blogging is affecting publishing and online life, considering the fact that I’ve just started doing it.

Various luminaries of the area vented forth, from various heights of moral ground. A blog was defined as a series of posts, in reverse chronological order. Surprisingly little was said about the ease with which bloggers can now blog. For example, this blog, small and meaningless as it is, is hosted on Blogger, which is free, and the rest of the site is hosted on Freeserve, which is also free (hence the adverts). To update my site, all I need do is login to Blogger, and type away. I hit Post, and the site is updated. No mad skeelz necessary. I can do it at work, or wherever I am, with any web connection. It’s an easy way to keep your site up-to-date. I think that’s the point. Or one key point of many. People had regularly updated web journals since the beginning, but with the content management tools like Movable Type etc, the process of posting and maintaining the content became much easier, in fact almost transparent. (MT still needs techie knowledge though – Perl etc.)

In the seminar, much was made of the political aspects of blogging. I think this is very important, but I seriously doubt whether it will revolutionise politics. It will have an impact though, as did the printing press, and radio. Printing presses allowed more people to produce pamphlets, although the technology was still costly. Radio allows easy communication across the world, but again the technology is costly (to some). The personal computer is a machine that many people already have, or have access to, so the technology hurdle is jumped. OK, OK, a huge percentage of the world’s population don’t access to the web, but a huge percentage don’t have access to clean drinking water, either, so I’m just starting from my own position, here in Western Europe. Publishing is political: the act of someone writing down their thoughts so that others can read is inherently political – even if the person is just yammering on about themselves.

Usenet was mentioned as a technology and community that was touted as a catalyst for political change. Or at least as a community where like minded people can blah blah blah. But Usenet had/has a structure. The tree hierarchy helped a user to find exactly the topic they wanted. And they could be pretty certain that the people on that newsgroup would be discussing/having flame wars about that topic. Blogs are in the web. They dilute and are diluted by other web pages. You have to search hard to find a blog discussing the topic you want, and even then it may not stick to it. Anyway, those are just my comments on the seminar, and on my first experiences with blogging. Will anyone read it? Probably not. That’s another feature of blogs. They aren’t necessarily read by anyone.

After the seminar, it was down to the Mulberry for a swift jar or two. There I had the good fortune to meet Dave Green, one of the men behind the rather splendid NTK. Had good chat with him, as well as Gareth Lloyd of Kuboid, which I’ve just been looking at, and it has a very flattering (ie blurred) pic of Green and myself. I will be visiting Kuboid again – good looking site and what I’ve read sounds cool. I already read NTK every week.

Actually, Beer In The Evening is a good site for finding somewhere to sink a few. Hmmm, Streatham…

Libertarian Nonsense

Angle-Grinder Man is a guy who will remove wheel clamps in Kent. Another example of the eternal battle between freedom and libertarianism, rights and responsibilities, etc etc.

Another case of this is Speed Cameras. These take pictures of people breaking the law by driving over the speed limit. Some people say this is unfair.

These same people often say there should be more policemen on the beat. Is this not unfair to muggers, burglars and the like? How are they supposed to break the law with someone watching?

Back In Blighty

Well, here we are back in the good old 51st state. We had a great time in Scotland, first in Dundee, Mairi’s birthplace, and then in a quiet-now-the-festival’s-finished Edinburgh.

Dundee was an experience for me, never having been before. Had a tour of the old haunts, primary school, the beautiful, burned-to-the-ground but now being restored Morgan Academy, and of course the chippy.

A delicacy to be savoured was the macaroni cheese pie, eaten hot or cold, with hot chips with salt and vinegar, and of course the red sauce. Fantastic, but very non-Atkins-friendly. This is good because the Atkins diet is frankly scary – but as is normal with these fad diets (sorry, ‘lifestyle changes’), people get very tetchy towards non-believers.

Broughty Ferry is along the Tay estuary, and is a great little coastal town – not much to do there, mind, but the peace and view makes up for it.

We stayed with some family friends of Mairis, who were very nice and hospitable. Beautiful house too. They kept urging us to sell up and move to Dundee or thereabouts. Detached stone 3 bedroom house for the cost of a taxi ride to Waterloo, or something.

Then to Edinburgh, which is always busy, but the edge had been taken off by the festival being over. Very relaxing. Went to a nice ‘contemporary Scottish’ restaturant, where I had haggis (of course), but haggis in filo pastry with red wine sauce. Lovely stuff. A bit slack on the veggie options though. I’m not veggie myself, but Mairi is, and it’s very frustrating for us when we’re trying to find a decent restaurant. The trouble is, IMHO, that really gastronautical places would rather die than limit what they could serve, because they’re very snobbish. This snobbery translates into a breathtaking lack of imagination. Roasted vegetables ahoy! French cuisine (once the best in the world, but now stagnating and complacent, apparently) is another case of, “if you don’t eat meat, you don’t love food” which is of course nonsense. Alternatively, you get veggie places which seem to lump all veggies into a kind of ‘knit your own yoghurt’ pigeonhole, with wholemeal pasta being offered. This consists of sawdust, flour and water mixed to a paste and extruded.

Rant over.

Porcine Humour

Q – What genre of fiction do young swine prefer?

A – Pig-lit

I thank you

I Love Amateur Cartoons…

…especially when they’re really crap – this has had me giggling through my tea for the last 10 minutes. Check out the Hanna Barbera ones!