Wednesday 31 December 2008

Well, that's another film ruined

Last night, I was watching 30 Rock on Five, lusting after Tina Fey, as is my wont. When suddenly, as is commercial television's wont, it went to an ad break. My tendency in recent years has been to overcome this affront to my senses by riding the remote control like a skilled horseman. So, for 3 minutes, I settled on BBC1, which was showing the film Deep Impact.

Deep Impact deals with a frightening - and possible - scenario. I think the producers of the film realised this, and therefore with some delicacy decided to make sure that everyone watching knew it was just a work of fiction. The best way to suspend reality? Black American President, of course!

For those three minutes, I sat there terrified, under an umbrella. I also realised that Hollywood is in something of a bind. It's going to have to completely redesign its coded mise-en-scène for the Obama Generation. My suggestion for future Deep Impact-style films - Austrian-born Presidents. There's no way that shit could ever possibly go down.

Of course, this will put a crimp in Morgan Freeman's style, but he's a skilled enough actor to play other parts. Having said that, his nose is incredible. Have any of you ever really looked at the nose on that fella? It's quite a feat of nature. Leonardo Fibonacci cried when he saw it, and that's true.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Holmes in one

More Holmes-Holmeserie
Yesterday evening I watched me a documentary on BBC2 about the varied portrayals of Sherlock Holmes down the years. I concluded that 1. Minette Walters is a titwitch and 2. I would solve the problem myself. I drew this as I watched the program. You can probably see the anger.

Sidney Paget and me will shortly be seen going over the Reichenbach Falls.

Monday 29 December 2008

On the sales

You know, all these sales at the moment, with a view to stimulating retail growth... I think they may be counter-productive. There's so many bargains to be had that innocent types such as myself assume that the shops will be full of herds of stinking humanity clamouring for deals. As such, I've been studiously avoiding consumer durables.

I am as far from being an expert on economics as you could be. In fact, it makes my head hurt. However, surely the best way to stimulate market growth would be to simply cull all the ugly, smelly and stupid people so as to allow the delicate and intelligent to have free reign?

As a basic guideline, they could start by rounding up anyone who has ever voted on the X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing. If that isn't a convenient guide to total cerebral atrophy, I don't know what is.

Sunday 28 December 2008

On still being alive

I'm still here, although you'd be hard pressed to find much solid evidence of this unless you were spying on me. Which would not be particularly rewarding.

Basically, I seem to be spending less time online recently, particularly in the evenings. This causes me to worry that people will forget who I am. But not so much that it makes me do the honourable thing and sign in to MSN messenger or whatever the hell they call it nowadays.

Truth be told, I'm increasingly feeling a bit phobic. I know some people who have always said that they don't like instant messaging, that it makes them uncomfortable and so on. For some reason, I can now relate to what they are on about but the odd thing is, it's come out of nowhere.

I think the problem is that it's merely an extension of social interaction, whatever the paedo-baiting media will have you think. My dealings with people are largely diseased, so it perhaps shouldn't be a surprise that it has finally taken its toll on sitting and typing. I find myself increasingly full of admiration for those people who can leave themselves logged in and deal with any communications they receive at their own pace, rather than my white-knuckle method of sitting there, eyes on stalks and stomach tangibly knotting inside me with the stress of it all, feeling that I have to respond immediately to everything, whatever the cost to any other activity I may be engaged in, lest I accidentally commit some terrible social faux pas.

One day, I hope to regain enough control of my sanity to get back into the swing of the IM thing, but in a new, improved and laid back way. "(Away)" will hopefully become my mantra, as contacts around the globe marvel at my chillaxed ability to get back to them at my own cool-ass pace. Though, mindful of the whole 'baby steps' thing, I should probably start by typing in there rather than typing in here.

But not now. I'm going to go and look for little egrets. And not make some sort of facile "Be right back" comment as a smart full-stop to this piece.


Sunday 14 December 2008

New links

Listen up, minions. I've got some new el-clickos in my sidebar there, and you should probably be made aware of them because I always assume you either have no initiative or are, at least, not as nosey as me. The latter thing, obviously, is nothing to be ashamed of.

The first is a blog by someone who might or might not have diabetes. Why you should be reading this blog? Because the author is my friend and she is a lot more intelligent and eloquent than me. And you're reading this, so where's the harm?

Next is a blog by another friend, who is a bona fide local media celebrity. However, I'm not going to tell you the locality, because it's none of your business. However, she's bound to have some shizzle to get off of her nizzle. Whatever that means.

Also on the menu is Richard Tingley, who has moved his webnet activities to an artier forum. He's very good as well. (Incidentally, anyone who has gotten here from the link on his site, promising that this is the blog of a creative, I would like to remind you that 1. writing IS a creative pursuit and 2. I'm a lazy oaf)

The fourth offering is a blog about a pub in Suffolk. I have been to this pub. I had some drinks in there and it was nice. The end.

The last is something I thought would be a good project for me, started and then promptly forgot for a full 8 months. However, I'm going to try to keep it going because celebrities need to be judged more. Frankly, they get an easy ride from the media. Hopefully, I'll manage to get some other authors active on there too in time, so we can share the hate burden and bask in the crapulence.

(Actually, you should be visiting ALL my links. Do it now.)

Saturday 13 December 2008

Slow burner

In recent evenings, I've been playing IndyCar Series on the Playstation 2 a lot. This is notable because I've had the game for five years and this is the first time I've ever really sat down and tried to get to grips with it. I actually won the game, which is based on the 2002 IRL IndyCar season, for getting the Star Letter in Autosport magazine in 2003. This is because I know more than you about motor racing and am also a very eloquent writer. You loser. Until the past month, though, I'd barely played it at all.

Because, if I'm honest, I found it very hard. This is in part due to the basic fact that it is an oval racing series, which is a form of racing alien to anyone from Europe, where cars also turn right. But mainly, it's because the computer AI was entirely unsympathetic to my L plates. I could qualify on pole, only to be passed by 7 cars into the first corner, 6 more blasting by on the back straight, causing me to panic sufficiently to crash into retirement in the turn 3 wall. More despiritingly still, the game helpfully kept records of my race performances. The other week I checked out my combined efforts for the past half-decade. 36 starts, 6 finishes. Ouch. Worse still, I had over 20 pole positions, evidence that if I could drive more than one lap without crashing, I could probably be competitive*.

It's odd how video games can give you a feeling of pride. Perhaps it's a generational thing. I'm 28, which means I'm pretty much of the last generation who grew up playing very basic computer games which were frowned upon as mere fripperies by our parents. I imagine that people who grew up with Playstations or PCs, with their multi-textured, epic games would feel no such latent guilt. However, I do. Mastering a computer game is simply not a noble thing to do, in the small part of my mind which deals with snobbery and fecund pleasures.

Yesterday, I rounded on that part of my noggin by playing the game all evening, growing more capable and confident with each lap. This culminated in my driving a full-length Pikes Peak 225 mile race. I hope my brain's snobbery centre is disgusted, because I engaged in a 90-minute immersive battle and came out feeling my evening had been one of achievement. I raced wheel to wheel, I made tactical decisions, I saved fuel in the beginning so I could press on later. And I'm happy to say, in the end I won the race by a full lap over the computerised rabble. I felt just like a real racing driver.

A real racing driver with a huge, distended left thumb with a massive callous on it.

* Completists may be interested to learn that I have since started afresh with a new profile. My record now reads 6 starts, 5 finishes, 6 poles and 3 wins. And I have a proper racing driver excuse for the one retirement, which was on the penultimate lap of the Phoenix race. It was the other bloke's fault. I rule.

Friday 12 December 2008

Viewing update

I've recently been watching The Gilmore Girls, but I'm not entirely sure why. Nor, indeed, do I know what the hell is going on, who any of the characters are or what they are meant to be doing. Yet, I will continue to watch The Gilmore Girls.

It might as well be in Flemish, but I'll still watch it. More TV programmes need to be like this.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Christmas shopping

I went Christmas shopping this afternoon. Well, it's really more an exercise in note-taking. I wonder quite how despiriting it must be for the manager of a bookshop to see me, writing down what to get later on from Amazon at a better price, but still. If it bothered them that much, they'd not make their wares so expensive.

Nevertheless, the credit crunch did make for some (shock horror) actual real life bargains, including some offers in HMV which would have been scarcely bettered by just thieving it. In fact, their hateful doorway alarm seemed to keep going off of its own free will today, so that would have been a viable option. The weary staff, ears bleeding, would probably just wave you on. However, Immanuel Kant was, sadly, right about morality and I left the store without having stolen a single thing.

The upshot of all this is that I'm about to go and make Amazon a bit richer and, from a position of not knowing what I wanted for Christmas, I now have a list of about half a dozen items, several of which I simply cannot imagine living my life beyond December 26th without being in the possession of. Curse it all.

Despite this, the range of stuff available was, as has been typical of the past few years, crap. I made sure not to delve too deeply into any of the "comedy" books, knowing with a soul-crushing certainty that I'll have plenty of time to leaf through the bloody things from Boxing Day. Worst of all was a book called 101 Books To Read Before You Die. Yes, that's right. For Christmas, I got you a book outlining the fact that you are a pleb. Good heavens.

All in all, I'm now starting to feel a bit more festive. I think that all shopping trips should take place in the last hour of daylight, for one thing. Coming out of a shop to find it's now dark outside distinctly helps make you feel like you've left no stone left unturned and, therefore, like less of a fink when you end up buying shit presents for your parents. Also, everyone else seemed to be much more panicked and repulsively ugly than me, which can only help bolster one's mood. I ate three mince pies when I got back home.


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