Saturday, 31 January 2009

Saturday 9: Gone To Pot

Here's my answers to this week's questions from the Saturday 9 Meme:

1. When was the last time you smoked pot?
Apologies in advance for the dull answer, but I've never smoked it.

2. What do you think is your biggest weakness?
Never getting round to doing things.
3. What is your biggest fear?
My mother getting ill.
4. Is there a particular goal that you’d like accomplish this year?
No particular goal. No.
5. What do you miss most from your youth?
Possibly my youth, possibly my grandmother, possibly having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted.
6. What is your best physical feature?
Possibly my eyes. Everything else seems to be looking older these days, but they seem fairly consistent.
7. Are you very confident?
In areas where I have a good understanding, yes, but in the main, no, not at all.
8. Tell us about the last time you were drunk.
It'd be nine days ago. I went out with friends to a beer festival, and, since I seldom drink beer, I ended up just drinking a few ciders and perrys with ridiculous percentages of alcohol in them. Didn't get particularly drunk though, so nothing that interesting to tell (if the question had asked about the last time I got really drunk, then I'd have given a much better answer; indeed I wouldn't be blogging now if not for that occasion).
9. Have you ever cheated on a lover?
Let's finish as I began, with another dull answer. No.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask for the top 5 songs to rock out to. To be honest, I find it fairly hard coming up with one, since I don't tend to rock out much, and my iPod seems to be a fairly rock-free zone, but here goes. The first one I have actually rocked out to (I was at a concert and with the floorboards oscillating, so it seemed easier to rock out than stand still), the second one I could imagine rocking out to, the third I saw two people rocking out to on St. Elsewhere once, and the fourth and fifth I've seen people rocking out to in movies (I'll let any commenters have the satisfaction of naming the movies).

1. "Stompbox" - They Might Be Giants
2. "Since You've Been Gone" - Rainbow
3. "Rock And Roll High School" - The Ramones
4. "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen
5. "My Sharona" - The Knack

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Header from samulli

Thirteen examples of Muppet deception:

1. "Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?" sings Kermit in The Muppet Movie. In actual fact, I can only think of' three: Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the Rainbow Connection song itself, and A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow (which Kermit couldn't have been referring to since it came along way after The Muppet Movie). Maybe a better question to have asked would be Why are there so few songs about rainbows, and why do they all get Oscar-nominated?

2. Who amongst us hasn't ventured to Sweden and, following failed attempts to engage in conversation with the locals and failed, just assumed that nobody there knows the language. But no, the startling truth is that the Swedish Chef isn't actually speaking Swedish but just some crazy made-up language. Also, not all of his recipes bear close scrutiny.

3. Vampires are evil bloodthirsty creatures of the night, and if they should laugh it's not because they've just counted to three.
4. All dog owners should be wary of the example set by Rowlf. While it might be quite possible for dogs to play the piano (although their repertoires tend to err on the highly-experimental side), they should on no account be given a mask and asked to do open-heart surgery.

5. It is easy being green. Recycling has never been easier.

6. Kermit's nephew, Robin, trots out some A A Milne propaganda, says that halfway down the stairs is the stair that he sits, and that there isn't any other stair quite like it. Now, unless you're an obsessive stair-counter the adjacent stairs are exactly like it. Also, why does he always stop there - he should be stopping at the top or the bottom. Has no one taught him the concept of stairs?

7. Rubber duckies don't make the bathtime lots of fun. You get bored with them after twenty minutes.

8. Despite what Sesame Street teaches you, kids really should try and avoid talking to anyone who lives in the local trashcan.

9. Despite the strange appearances of Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, surveys have shown that a good five percent of scientists are normal looking.

10. There is a school of thought that suggests the Muppets are just puppets. If this is the case then there is now way they could have ever been two-dimensional babies.

11. The Cookie Monster alleges that nobody loves cookies as much as he. I beg to differ.

12. Despite the example of Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone, creating music by beating fluffy sentient creatures on the head is still frowned upon by society (as it was by my flat-headed childhood pets).

13. Bert seems like a nice guy, but a quick browse of the internet reveals that he is in fact evil.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Reading About Writing

I've been reading a lot of books about writing recently (indeed I seem to do more reading about writing than actually writing these days). Anyway, the latest was Stephen King's On Writing - a book divided into three parts. The first section gives us an insight into his growing up with a series of snapshots from his life, the second goes into detail about how to write, and the final section deals with his being hit by a truck back in 1999 (in the middle of the book being written).

While I like the book, it's three-section approach goes against it somewhat, since the autobiographical stuff is a terrific read, while the technical stuff about writing, while engaging enough, isn't quite as interesting, creating a bit of a dip in the centre of the book.

On the other end of the spectrum is Russell T Davies's Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale which is a collection of e-mails taken over a year of his writing/executive producing Doctor Who. Because of its form, where everyday events intermingle with Russell's thoughts on writing, the quality's pretty consistent throughout (fun, kind of bloggy), apart from the script excerpts scattered throughout that to be honest I just skipped.

Of course, I might also be drawn to the Davies book because I can identify far more with his experience of writing (Davies is a procrastinator who keeps it all in his head and can't put it down on paper until he's plummeting towards the deadline; whereas King is a non-stop reading/writing machine). Then again, it could just be that it's got lots of pretty pictures.

Anyway, both of them are recommended.

Finally just thought I'd mention another great book about writing, especially for any would-be comic book writers out there. I'm talking about Alan Moore's Writing For Comics - short, concise and inspiring. You can also find a terrific interview with him where he talks about writing in details here . It's been a good while since I read either of these, but they come to mind after I finally got my sister and my nephew interested in something by Alan Moore over the weekend. While I'd have loved for it to be due to one of his groundbreaking works like Watchmen (my nephew expressed interest when he saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, but when I hopefully brought the book around, he flicked through it in a matter of seconds, and then assured me he'd read it), or even for something more accessible like his DC Comics work or D.R. & Quinch or Halo Jones, but instead it turned out to be for his musical foray The March Of The Sinister Ducks. Ah, well, I guess it's a start.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Weekend Television Highlights

Surely the coolest advert on UK TV this week involves two children and their disturbing eyebrows:

Meanwhile, back in the world of actual television programmes, there was Dancing On Ice where, as you might guess from the title, celebrities dance on ice. Being a big fan of schadenfreude, here, without a doubt, is my favourite performance so far:

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog ask about our favorite movie musicals, so here goes with my list:

  • Little Shop Of Horrors - Love Steve Martin's Dentist song. Great musical despite the songs getting worse as it goes along.

  • The Blues Brothers - Endlessly rewatchable. More musicals should have car crashes.

  • Beauty and the Beast - Like Little Shop, another great set of Ashmen & Menken songs.

  • Carousel - Far from perfect, but the fantasy element, along with My Boy Bill and You'll Never Walk Alone earn it a place in my top five.

  • Paint Your Wagon - Songs about beans and wind, and the sublime Wanderin' Star.

Also, as far as musicals that might have been, I wouldn't mind seeing James L Brooks's I'll Do Anything with its musical numbers reinstated.

Got To Start Somewhere

Well, having spent the last couple of days reading about how to create a perfect blog, it's hard to believe that I've started with a first post as lame as this.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and hopefully the posts can only get better after this one.