Saturday, 28 February 2009

Saturday 9: Liar Liar

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

1. What is the last "white" lie that you told?
Someone at work this week asked me what I bought while I was out shopping the previous night and I omitted mentioning buying comic books for fear of ridicule.

2. Can you forgive a liar?
Yes, although it depends on the lie.

3. Do you tend to exaggerate or underestimate?
In a lies context, I'd guess I tend to underestimate, i.e. I hold back information; that way I can still semi-convince myself that I'm being honest.

4. Do you hold a grudge?
Very rarely.

5. What's the biggest lie you've ever told?
I don't think I've ever told any really big lies.

6. Are there times that you feel that it is okay to lie?
Yes, if the lie isn't for the benefit of the liar, but even then, I still think honesty would be the better policy.

7. Did you ever end a relationship because of lies?

8. Do you think you can tell when someone is lying to you?
Probably not.

9. Have you been caught lying?
Not that I can recall.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs this week they're asking for the Top 5 "Forget" ful songs...(interpret as you see fit), so here goes:

1. Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds

A song just full of the word "forget" that reminds me of The Breakfast Club and numerous discos.

2. I Remember It Well - Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold

A song from the musical Gigi all about memory loss.

3. It Started With A Kiss - Hot Chocolate

Appropriately enough considering this week's theme, I couldn't actually remember the name of this song, just the lyric "You don't remember me, do you?" (which tied in with the forgetful theme) and unfortunately in my mind I couldn't hear the original version just that lyric being shouted loud and accusingly by Alan Partridge who once sung along with the song on his show (not sure if the US readers of this blog will have heard of him; if not, it's a travesty of the highest order that over there you get Mamma Mia but not Knowing Me, Knowing You).

4. More Today Than Yesterday - Andy Williams

Andy doesn't remember what day it was or what time it was, in fact he's pretty blank on everything apart from his falling in love.

5. It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Pandora's Box

A Jim Steinman song also covered by Celine Dion and Meat Loaf, although I prefer the original version. Still, no matter who's singing it, the lyrics make it clearly that they've been fairly forgetful until now.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Thursday 13

Header from samulli

This week, thirteen of my favourite lyricists/lyrics:

1. W.S. Gilbert - Someone from incredibly long ago, mainly known these days for his comic operas with Arthur Sullivan (Pirates of Penzance, Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, etc.). While I'm naturally impressed with any writer who uses the words "binomial theorem", as he did in his song about a Modern Major-General, I actually decided to start with Gilbert purely in an attempt to be topical. Topical? I hear you say in disbelief (although you probably didn't say it out loud, so it's a wonder I heard you). Yes, topical, I reply (though again not aloud), since the following lyric seems appropriate for this time of year:

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I've no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don't know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
Through some singular coincidence - I shouldn't be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy -
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February;
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you'll easily discover,
That though you've lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you're only five and a little bit over!

Sorry for such a large quote, but just quoting the February bit out of context would have been a bit unfair on Gilbert. Anyway, it's got numbers, leap years, as many words on each line as possible, "discover" rhymed with "over", and the whole song revolves around a paradox; what's not to like?

2. Paul Simon - Tons of great songs, tons of great lyrics to choose from, but since we had a paradox last time, let's continue the trend with this one, the opening lines to "The Leaves That Are Green":

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long

Lyrics so good that Billy Bragg also borrowed them as the opening lines for his song A New England. As an aside, another memorable pair of opening lines of Paul Simon's come from his song "Duncan", which starts, "My father was a fisherman, my mother was a fisherman's friend"; although this might only be memorable to me because in the UK a Fisherman's Friend is a kind of inedible cough sweet.

3. Howard Ashman - Late great lyricist who provided songs for The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, and Aladdin, but I'll pick a lyric from Little Shop of Horrors' Dentist Song:

I thrill when I drill a bicuspid
It's swell though they tell me I'm maladjusted

Apart from the pleasing way he manages to fit three rhymes into two lines, I quite like the way that this is one of the few songs that uses the word "bicuspid" (just as "Gaston" from Beauty and the Beast is one of the few to feature the word "expectorating"; and similar to Gilbert who regularly uses seldom-lyricised words like hypoteneuse in his songs. Oh no, it looks like there's a theme developing).

4. Neil Innes - terrific songwriter both on his own (I wish his TV series The Innes Book of Records was available on DVD) and in groups (The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Rutles). As far as seldom-used words in songs, I think the following lyric from The Rutles' "Good Times Roll" winds hands down:

Fricasse chorus girl's thigh
Toffee and mackeral gateau
Pineapple pie in the sky

Dull trivia fact: Psychadelicatessen was on the shortlist when I was thinking up a name for this blog.

5. Neil Hannon - Driving force behind The Divine Comedy, as well as performing a few songs that have been played in the background of Doctor Who and also a few songs on the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy soundtrack. He writes some great intelligent music in all sorts of different styles, and here's a lyric I like from the Divine Comedy's "Don't Look Down":

Old-fashioned ferris wheels
Are no big deal
They’re just big wheels with chairs
So don’t be scared
Just set yourself free

6. Andy Partridge - main songwriter with XTC and their whimsical offshoot The Dukes of the Stratosphear. I was going to pick a lyric from one of my favourite XTC songs, Mayor of Simpleton , because it used the word "eproms", but when I looked up the exact lyrics I discovered I'd been mishearing it all these years (D'oh!) and I couldn't find a nice short snippet from my other favourite song of theirs, Dear God , so instead let's go for this from The Dukes of the Stratosphears' "The Mole From The Ministry":

I'm the mole from the ministry
And you'll all bow down to me
I'm the mole in your potting shed
I'm the bad thoughts inside your head
And you won't catch me

7. They Might Be Giants - Purveyors of quirky lyrics. Here's a palindromic lyric from "I Palindrome I" (which also features one of my favourite opening lines, "Someday mother will die and I'll get the money"):

"Son I am able," she said "though you scare me."
"Watch," said I
"Beloved," I said "watch me scare you though." said she,
"Able am I, Son."

8. Jim Steinman - Wagnerian songwriter behind Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell, who does terrific over-the-top lyrics that match the subtlety of his tunes. Here's one of my faves from his "Out Of The Frying Pan":

It's never been this hot and I've never been so bored
And breathing's just no fun anymore

9. Suzanne Vega - Singer/songwriter who writes great lyrics and tells great stories (Tom's Diner, The Queen and The Soldier). Choosing a lyric, I've got to go for something from her first album which I listened to ridiculously often when I first got it. Here are the opening lines of "Undertow":

I believe right now if I could
I would swallow you whole
I would leave only bones and teeth
We could see what was underneath
And we would be free then

10. Voice Of The Beehive - Terrific band, who did some terrific pop tunes (their second album Honey Lingers is notable for not having a bad track on it). Here's some lines from their song "Perfect Place":

I will assure all of the husbands who are guilty and the wives who feel useless.
I will nurse all of the black and blue babies with their unhappy parents who had unhappy parents.
I will assure all of the boys who feel awkward and the girls who feel clumsy.
I will walk alongside the old man who feels so alone as everyone rushes by him.

11. Tori Amos - Singer/songwriter/friend of Neil Gaiman. Thought her debut album was terrific, and my favourite lyric of hers are the first words of the first song I ever heard of hers, "Silent All These Years":
Excuse me but can I be you for a while
My dog wont bite if you sit real still
I got the anti-christ in the kitchen yellin' at me again
Yeah I can hear that

12. Neil Finn - I remember reading a possibly apocryphal story in Q Magazine about how, backstage after a Crowded House concert, Sting walked in singing "Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over," to which Neil Finn sang back "De-do-do-do De-da-da-da," and a disgruntled Sting promptly turned on his heels and walked straight out. Hope it's true, but regardless, Neil's written some terrific tunes for Split Enz and Crowded House. Here's some lines from Crowded House's "There Goes God".

Hey don't look now
But there goes God
In his sexy pants
And his sausage dog
And he can't stand Beelzebub
Cos he looks so good in black, in black

13. Kirsty MacColl - Wonderfully witty and talented songwriter, although tragically most of her big hits in the UK (A New England, Days, Fairytale of New York) were written by others. Here's some lyrics from her song "Soho Square":

An empty bench in Soho Square
If you'd have come you'd have found me there
But you never did 'cause you don't care
And I'm so sorry, baby
I don't mind loneliness too much
But when I met you I was touched
And that was good enough for me
But do we always have to be sorry
Why can't we just be happy, baby?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wednesday Media Mix

Here's a meme from over at My Digital Ghost :

[Listen] Do you ever make mixed CDs for friends? If so, what is your process for choosing what music to put in the mix?

No, although I once made a tape for a friend just over a decade ago, but there was no real process involved apart from putting together lots of music I liked at the time and thought they might like. Also, to be found somewhere on this blog, there's a playlist that I put together using the same throw-together-random-stuff-I-like principle.

[Watch] Are there shows that you never watched while they were running, but love watching re-runs now?

The only one that springs to mind is The Phil Silvers Show, which still remains eminently watchable despite the decades.

[Read] Use three words to describe the last book you read.

Short, scary, likeable (Coraline by Neil Gaiman)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tuesday Tunes: George Harrison

Wednesday would have been George Harrison's 66th birthday, so over at The Music Memoirs they're asking us to tell them about 5 things we like about George Harrison, so here goes:

1. Although obviously not as prolific as Lennon and McCartney, he wrote some great Beatles songs. Something comes to mind immediately, as does Taxman (mainly because The Jam's Start liberally borrows from it).

2. He helped finance the Monty Python films, plus he formed Handmade Films that made all sorts of great films such as Time Bandits and Withnail and I.

3. He made some fun videos. When We Was Fab springs to mind.

4. He was a pioneer of charity concerts with the Concert for Bangladesh he organised back in 1971.

5. I quite liked his general demeanour as the quiet Beatle.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are in Oscar-mode and are asking about favorite Best Picture winners? So here, on a decade by decade basis, are my favourites, starting from the 1930s (since I've not seen any of the 1920s winners):

It Happened One Night (1934)
Casablanca (1943)
The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Oliver! (1968)
Annie Hall (1977)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
TIE - The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Titanic (1997)
Chicago (2002) - by default, since embarrassingly this is the only best picture winner I've seen from the current decade.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Saturday 9: Letting the Sparks Fly

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

1. Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
Nowhere special. Just somewhere quiet, and that probably wouldn't work (my creativity tends to not spark on demand; it just creeps up on me when I'm least expecting it).

2. What would be one thing that would embarrass you a great deal?
Public speaking.

3. What values did your parents instill in you?
The good ones.

4. What’s a fad of your teen years that you remember well?
The Rubik's cube.

5. What is your favorite breakfast?
I don't eat breakfast, so I guess my favourite breakfast is none.

6. What is the best birthday gift that you have received?
Hard to say. I've liked most of them, but nothing leaps out as being the best. My favourite gifts this year were either some clay models of the Batman villain Clayface made by my nephew and niece (I wish I had a camera so I could post some pictures of them), or a story that a friend wrote for me to mark the occasion.

7. What gadget could you not live without?
My inhaler.

8. Do you collect anything?
Comic books, DVDs, dust.

9. What website (non-blog) do you regularly visit?
A DC comics fanfiction site, which I accidentally ended up running for the last few years.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Thursday 13

Header from samulli

Well, after last week's no-show, it seems only fair that this week I offer thirteen very feasible excuses as to why I didn't do the Thursday 13 last week:

1. I was abducted by aliens. Fortunately they returned me on Friday morning at one minute past midnight, but by then I'd missed the deadline.

2. I was staring at my screen, waiting for inspiration to hit, when I fell asleep and had a ridiculously-convincing dream where I'd written the greatest Thursday 13 of all time. Anyway, I woke up the next morning, not realising it was a dream, thinking I'd already written it (and thanks for all the nice comments I dreamed you left on it, by the way), and it was only when I looked back this week, and noticed that it wasn't there, that the truth dawned on me. Needless to say, dreams being what they are, I can't actually remember the contents of this greatest Thursday 13 of all time, although I'm fairly certain it didn't comprise a list of excuses.

3. I pushed the Publish Post button, but my internet connection is so incomprehensibly slow that you'll not see it until next Thursday.

4. You know how sometimes the brain can protect itself from traumatic situations by repressing memories. Well, that's what yours has done with last week's Thursday 13 of mine. I suspect if you look back you won't even see it - isn't the human mind an amazing thing?

5. Following my previous Thursday 13 about my favourite numbers, I was being held hostage by some militant mathematicians, incensed that I'd omitted their favourite of ninety-nine, a number that conjured up images for them of red balloons and bottles of beers on the wall. When I pointed out that I'd also had to miss out seven, despite it being magnificent, they finally let me go.

6. I was going to post a Thursday 13. Indeed, I'd spent ages working on a list of my favourite months, but then just at the end I saw the horrible flaw in my plan. As a result, at the last minute, thinking on my feet, I switched to discussing my favourite signs of the Zodiac. D'oh!

7. I had to abandon it since, despite hours working on it, it failed to reach the stringent standards of quality control required for my blog (i.e. it still consisted solely of the words "Thursday 13").

8. I did actually post it. It was a list of thirteen conspiracy theories, which blew the lid off just about everything. But as soon as I posted it, THEY removed it.

9. I posted it, but then it turned out to be exactly the same as the first person's Thursday 13, word for word. Thinking I'd be accused of plagiarism, I typed up another 13, but they matched the second person's. So I did it again, and they matched the third person's. At this point, I think you can see the pattern emerging.

10. Sure, I wrote it, but I didn't think you could handle it. Maybe next week.

11. At the last minute, I realised that if I did post it, then this week's Thursday 13 wouldn't make any sense.

12. Okay, my most faithful reader, I'll tell you the truth, but you're sworn to secrecy (don't worry about the other readers; I'm using clever HTML so that they're actually now reading something different and far more funny). I was out in Hollywood pitching a movie, hoping to get it greenlighted. It's yet another entry in the "Look Who's Talking" franchise, but this time with the high-concept twist that instead of having the adventures of a baby voiced by Bruce Willis, I turn things on their head and have the adventures of Bruce Willis voiced by a baby. It'll be called "What You Talkin' 'Bout, Willis?"

13. All of the above

Honest, that's what happened. Would I lie to you?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wednesday Media Mix

Here's a meme from over at My Digital Ghost :

[Listen] See how many songs you can list that have U.S. states in the titles. Hint: think folk and older country/Americana. (I could think of 3 songs about Georgia right away!)

There's an album I've got by John Linnell (one half of They Might Be Giants) called State Songs which contains 15 songs all named after, and about, U.S. states. Skipping that, here goes:

California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas
California Girls - The Beach Boys
Hotel California - The Eagles
What Did Delaware, Boys? - Perry Como
Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles
Sweet Georgia Brown
Theme from Hawaii 5-0
Indiana Wants Me - R Dean Taylor
Massachusetts - The Bee Gees
Mississippi - Pussycat
Mississippi Mud - The Muppets
Nebraska - definitely an album by Bruce Springsteen, not sure if it was a song
King of New York - from the movie "Newsies"
New York Groove - Ace Frehley
New York Mining Disaster - The Bee Gees
New York State of Mind - Billy Joel
New York - Art Garfunkel
New York, New York - from the movie "On The Town"
New York, New York - Frank Sinatra
New York, New York - Gerard Kenny
Oklahoma - from the musical of the same name
Memphis Tennessee - Chuck Berry
The Yellow Rose of Texas
The Eyes of Texas
Virginia Plain - Roxy Music

[Watch] Ever go through a phase in your life when you watched the same movie multiple times…maybe because it moved you in a certain way that was fitting to your life at the time?

I watched Broadcast News nine times at the cinema when it came out, and Little Shop of Horrors six. Not sure why; maybe some deep-rooted psychosis, maybe I had too much time on my hands, maybe I just liked them an awful lot and the cinema was fairly close by.

[Read] What’s something you read that didn’t meet your expectations, either in a positive or negative way?

Well, if you go in with high expectations, for any media, then there's always a possibility that the book/movie/whatever won't live up to the hype. Similarly, if you've been told something's awful, you prepare yourself for the worst and might well end up pleasantly surprised. Anyway, while there's quite a few examples of the former I can think of, just so I don't come across as too curmudgeonly, I'll go with something that exceeded my expectations. I was at school and they gave us, appropriately enough, Great Expectations to read, which seemed slow going at the start, and I didn't have great expectations (hilarious pun intended) for it, but as I got further into it, things started to improve and to my surprise I found myself getting caught up in it, and really liking it by the end (though I did find parts of the plot a bit contrived and coincidental; but it definitely exceeded my expectations at the time).

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Biggest Musical Regret

Over at The Music Memoirs they're asking us to tell them about our biggest musical regret. Mine is not going to see Kirsty MacColl in concert when I had the chance back in the nineties (wish I could be more accurate with the date, but sadly I can't). I'd wanted to see her for ages, since 1989's sublime Kite, but she suffered from stagefright (I'd tried to buy tickets for a concert for her a few years previously, but it had been cancelled). Anyway, I finally had a ticket to see her, and was all set to go that night, but it had been a busy day at work and I was dead on my feet and it was an all-standing venue, so I decided in my laziness to give it a miss, figuring I could catch her again some other day. Unfortunately, fate is fickle, and her tragic and untimely death in 2000 meant that I never did get to see her. Thank goodness I can still listen to her.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog ask about memorable/entertaining movie cameos (it also seemed to concentrate on cameos by non-actors, so I'll try and stick to that as much as I can ). Anyway, here goes with my list:

Marshall McLuhan - Annie Hall (1977) - Have to admit that I have no real idea who Marshall McLuhan is, but it's a great scene.

Ethel Merman - Airplane! (1980) - She manages to capture the full tragedy of Lieutenant Hurwitz.

Merv Griffin - The Man With Two Brains (1983) - Being from the UK, he is, like McLuhan, someone else I've only ever vaguely heard of - indeed the only time I'm ever heard his name mentioned in conversation was as a result of his appearance in this movie - but again I like the actual idea, even if some of it's obviously lost on me.

Robby The Robot - Gremlins (1984) - Turns up, along with a disappearing Time Machine, at an inventors' convention.

Leonard Maltin - Gremlins 2 : The New Batch (1990) - Gets attacked while reviewing the video of the first Gremlins movie. Have to admit I've only heard of him because of his annual movie and video guides, where coincidentally he picks Ethel Merman's scene as his favourite from Airplane!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sunday Stealing

You can play here.

1. where is your significant other?
No doubt drumming her fingers on her desk wondering when fate's going to introduce me into her life.

2. your favorite thing?
Raindrops on roses.

3. your dream last night?
I remembered it when I woke up this morning, but I've completely forgotten it now. I'm fairly sure it wasn't particularly interesting.

4. your goal?
Long term: Don't think I have one. Short term: Answer this and sixteen subsequent questions.

5. your hobby?
Collect comic books. Write fanfiction.

6. where do you want to be in 6 years?
Working from home.

7. where were you last night?
Around at my sister's house, eating pizza and watching television.

8. what you're not?
Psychopathic (although I guess that's what all psychopaths say).

9. one of your wish list items?
I'd like an iPod that plays movies.

10. your pet?
The last one was a cat called Cindy a few years ago.

11. missing someone?

12. your car?
It's chauffeur-driven and looks identical to a bus.

13. something you're not wearing?
Deely boppers.

14. love someone?
Good question. I might do, but not really sure.

15. when is the last time you laughed?
That would be this morning when I was reading Bud Weiser's Saturday 9.

16. last time you cried?
That would be this morning when I was reading Bud Weiser's Saturday 9.

17. favorite past time?
Watching movies.

18. are you a hater or a lover?
Mainly a hater (don't blame me, blame Sturgeon's Law).

19. any vices?
No tools of any kind.

20. favorite meme other than Sunday Stealing?
The Monday Movie Meme.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Saturday 9: Be My Valentine

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

1. Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?

2. Do you buy a Valentine’s Day gift for someone special?

3. What, so far, was the happiest event of your life?
Can't think of anything in particular.

4. What is the best job that you ever have had?
Got to be my current one, mainly because it's been my only one.

5. What would be your fantasy job?
One that didn't involve any actual work (a lot like my current one, come to think of it).

6. What would you think would be the worst job?
Probably depends more on who you work with and for, than the actual job itself.

7. What foreign countries have you visited?
France, Holland, Norway and Spain.

8. What foreign country would be your fantasy trip?
America or Japan.

9. Since leaving your home growing up, how many places have you lived?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask, on this Friday 13th for the top 5 songs that horrify me and why, so here goes:

1. Read 'Em And Weep - Barry Manilow

Loved the Meat Loaf original, but just really hate this version, nay travesty, which seems to suck all of the life out of the song. Worst cover version I can think of (before anyone points me towards William Shatner, at least his cover versions are entertaining).

2. When You Wish Upon A Star - Gene Simmons

Then again, this could be the worst cover version ever. A superb mismatch of voice and song as a rasping, croaking voice from the stygian depths of Hades sings a song about wishing upon a heavenly object.

3. Darling Violetta - I Want To Kill You

Doing away with songs that horrify me merely because they're bad, it's time to move to the unsettling and sinister. And so we start with Darling Violetta where, to a shady Portishead-esque background tune, the lead singer keeps reiterating that she's going to kill me in a childlike voice of the highest unhingement. Creepy!

4. Sinister Ducks - The March Of The Sinister Ducks

And now to the sinister, as the mind that brought us the facist future of V for Vendetta, now delivers a prophetic swaggering Kurt-Weillian nightmare vision of those "web-footed facists with mad little eyes". You'll never look at ducks the same way again afterwards.

5. Dawn's Lament - Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Once More With Feeling

I was running short of things that horrified me, but my niece thinks that the sudden instrumental whoosh at the end of this song is scary, and she's not usually afraid of anything, so I figured it deserved a mention.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Disney Music

Over at The Music Memoirs they're asking about Disney tunes, namely:

What is your favorite song from a Disney Movie?

Hard to narrow it down to one. "Baby Mine" from Dumbo, "The Second Star To The Right" from Peter Pan, and "Part Of Your World" from The Little Mermaid spring to mind, but I'll go with "Santa Fe" from Newsies.

Do you like any of the current crop of Disney pop stars?

No, but I don't particularly dislike any either.

Old school Disney music or new and why?

Well, I'd have to say old school Disney but that's because there's 60 years of classics there which people have grown up with compared against today's output, so the comparison seems unfair. Like all things it goes in peaks and troughs (I'm hard pressed to think of a good Disney song in the two decades or so between The Aristocrats and The Little Mermaid). There's definitely still good Disney music now (Enchanted had some good songs, and so did the first High School Musical for that matter).

Monday, 9 February 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog ask about movie quotes, so here are some lines I've either been known to use. Feel free to guess the movies (a warning that at least one of them's ridiculously obscure, and apologies for any misquotes in there).

"It's not the years, it's the mileage."
"Nobody's perfect."
"Guess somebody's going to have to rebuild Rio."
"Thanks, I made them myself."
"Feed me, Seymour."
"Great, kid. Don't get cocky."

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sunday Stealing: The "Get to Know Your Friends" Meme

You can play here.

1. What is your occupation right now?

Computer programmer.

2. What color are your socks right now?

They're black, with a small picture of Captain America's head and shield on them.

3. What are you listening to right now?

Just my computer's hard drive whirring around (or maybe it's the fan; I'm loathe to take my computer apart to find out just for the sake off an accurate answer).

4. Last person you spoke to on the phone.

It was just as I was getting ready to leave work on Friday when a customer phoned up moaning about some problem with their computer system.

5. How old are you today?


6. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?

Any, so long as it's about to finish.

7. What is your favorite drink?

Vimto (a UK fruit juice drink that I've always loved, even when someone pointed out to me it was an anagram of vomit).

8. Have you ever dyed your hair?

No, but my sister once tried to put food-colouring in it.

9. Favorite food?

Meringue pie.

10. What is the last movie you watched?

The Spirit.

11. Favorite day of the year?

Christmas Day.

12. How do you vent anger?

I tend to let it fester, possibly moan about it later to any poor souls within earshot. If it ever does get vented, it's invariably delivered verbally, wrapped up in as much sarcasm as I can muster (which tends to be quite a lot).

13. What was your favorite toy as a child?

Action Man (the UK version of G.I. Joe).

14. Living arrangements?

I live in a flat during the week, while I'm away at work, and pop home at weekends to my mother's house.

15. What was the last thing that you cried about?

A piece of fanfiction (for all the right reasons I hasten to add).

16. Who is the friend you have had the longest?

It's probably someone who starting work around the same time as me twenty-something years ago.

17. What did you do last night?

I was over at my sister's house, eating pizza and watching television.

18. What are you most afraid of?

It varies. At the moment, it's not being able to come up with a good answer for this question (and lo and behold, it appears my fears were justified).

19. In how many areas of your country have you lived?


20. What is your favorite flower?

Black orchid.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Saturday 9: Time Has Come Today

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

1. What time of day do you usually play Saturday 9?
Late Saturday night.

2. At 9AM on a weekday, what are you doing?
I'm at work, looking at a computer screen.

3. At 9PM on any given night, what would you most like to be doing?
I'm at home, looking at a computer screen.

4. What is your most frequent activity online?
Checking my e-mail probably.

5. Is there one day of the week that seems to fly by? If yes, why?
Sunday. Maybe because I always have tons of things I plan to get done then but there never seems enough time to get round to them; maybe just because I get up so much later than usual.

6. Do you agree that the older you get, the faster time seems to go by?
No, time can still drag pretty effectively when it wants to.

7. What is your favorite thing to do with free time?
Waste it.

8. How much time do you spend alone? Would you like it to be more? Less?
Weekdays, quite a lot; weekends, hardly any. I'd like to spend less time alone, but it would depend a lot on who I had for company.

9. If you could spend one hour doing something what would it be?
Depends on how I'm feeling. Since I'm answering these questions late Saturday night, sleeping currently comes to mind. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, 6 February 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask for the top 5 music videos from the 80s, so here goes:

1. "Let's Hang On" - Barry Manilow

Cool Four Seasons song given the Manilow magic. In this video he plays multiple parts, and without his trailblazing ways Outkast's "Hey Ya" video may never have happened.

2. "The Safety Dance" - Men Without Hats

Another video which I've probably only seen once, but all of my other possibilities (Thriller, lots of Madness videos, Ashes to Ashes, You Can Call Me Al) seemed a bit obvious.

3. "Once In A Lifetime" - Talking Heads

Talking Heads did loads of cool videos during the 80s, but this was the first of theirs I saw and the one I always think of.

4. "Money For Nothing" - Dire Straits

Hard to believe now how cutting edge the computer graphics seemed to me at the time.

5. "Take On Me" - A-ha

Cool blend of animation and real life.

YouTube Music Videos 80s 90s - A-ha - Take On Me via

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Thursday 13

Header from samulli

Thirteen of my favourite numbers:

1. Negative numbers

Not a number as such, but a whole substrata, and yet, despite being just as prolific as the positive numbers and indeed being identical to them apart from their minus sign accessory, they get nowhere near the same level of attention and are sometimes actively discriminated against.

For instance, how many times have you seen a quiz show where the host will ask a question like "What's the square root of 81?" Of course most numbers have two square roots (and three cube roots, but then things start to get complex). Anyway, because of this, I usually feel obliged to shout out "-9" at the television in support of that infinite minority of negative numbers (I used to shout out that the question itself was erroneous in its premise but that was a bit long-winded and made me even more unpopular with those watching television with me than merely shouting out negative numbers does).

2. Zero

Not positive, not negative, possibly the most apathetic of numbers. Still, while it doesn't seem to amount to much, and having zero dollars in your bank account is fairly depressing, start shoving those zeroes after other numbers and things look a lot rosier.

Having said that, the reason I like it is that it's the only number with one square root, so it saves me shouting at the television.

3. One

Why do I like one? Well, mainly because one is the loneliest number, so I figure it needs all the friends I can get.

4. Two

Why do I like two? Well, it's the loneliest number since the number one, so again I figure it needs friends.

5. Euler's Number

Well, it lets me call it e. Sure it can be irrational at times, but if you differentiate e to the power x you get e to the power x so that's kind of cool.

6. Pi

The ratio of a circle's cirumference to its diameter. I like it because it sounds like PIE. Also, it's had a film named after it, unlike so many other numbers.

7. Thirteen

Where would I be without the number 13? Doing another meme, that's where. Sure, some people think thirteen's unlucky, but being a Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy fan, I quite like the fact that in base 13, six times nine does actually equal forty-two.

8. Thirty-Six

Sure, it might look like a square, but it's the highest number on a roulette wheel, and if you add up all the numbers between 1 and 36 you end up with 666, the Number of the Beast.

9. 789

It reminds me of the hilarious joke:

Q: Why do all the numbers fear 7?
A: Because seven ate nine.

10. 1729

Long, long ago, in the mists of time, back when I was at University, a lecturer told us the tale of some famous mathematician of the past (I sadly forget the mathematician's name). Anyway the mathematician and his friend were talking and for some reason the number 1729 came into the conversation (maybe that was the year, maybe they were discussing PIN numbers, maybe it was almost half past five, who knows). "1729," said the mathematician, "there's an interesting number. It's the sum of two cubes - twelve cubed (1728) and one cubed (1) - and also the sum of another pair of cubes - ten cubed (1000) and nine cubed (729)."

Now, you can't get much more interesting than that, can you?

11. Avagadro's number

Picture the scene. It's the past and Euler walks into the bar after a long day at work and reveals he's been building a number.

"How big is it?" asks the guy at the end of the bar.

"2.71828 18284 59045 23536 or thereabouts," replies Euler.

"What?" says the guy, laughing. "That's less than Pi."

As Euler walks off in a huff, Max Planck enters. "Hey, I've just come up with a new constant."

"Is it big?" asks the guy at the end of the bar.

"Nein," says Planck, suddenly realising he's German, "Es ist sehr kleine."

Just as the guy's about to burst out laughing, some astronomer or other rushes in and says he's measured the speed of light at 300 millions metres per second."

"That's nothing," says the guy at the end of the bar. "My name's Avogadro and I spent the day counting the atoms in a mole. Something like 6.022 times 10 to the power 23."

It's possible that this story's apocryphal, and even more possible that I just made it up, but regardless of those things, Avogadro's Number is really, really big, and you've got to respect that.

12. Googolplex

A googol, as you no doubt all know, is a one with a hundred zeroes after it (there's a one that's not a lonely number). Following on from that, a googolplex is a one with a googol zeroes after it, and is more than the number of the atoms in the Universe (or so I seem to remember Carl Sagan saying on Cosmos once). It laughs at Avogadro's number.

13. Aleph Numbers

Let's finish, as we began, with a bunch of number. Once upon a time, I spent a term at University doing Logic and learning about levels of infinity, and cool numbers like Aleph-null and Aleph-one. What I discovered the next year was that I could have learned exactly the same things just by reading Rudy Rucker's White Light. Anyway, I can see I've started to send you off to sleep already (and myself too for that matter) so I'll spare you the gory details (if you're really interested please feel free to ask).

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wednesday Media Mix

Here's a meme I came across over at My Digital Ghost :

Listen: What’s the silliest song you’ve had stuck in your head lately?

Well, last week I was reading through the letters over at some DC comics fanfiction site about a story featuring a villain called Onomatopoeia, and someone referred to him as "Onomona... well, you know". Ever since I read the Onomona bit, I've not been able to get Mahna Mahna by The Muppets out of my head.

Watch: Have you seen any of the films that have received Oscar nominations? If so, which ones?

All the highbrow stuff - The Dark Knight (really disappointed by it), Iron Man (really liked it), Kung Fu Panda (good fun film), Wall-E (excellent), Wanted (terrific popcorn actioner; preferred it to the original graphic novel, although, to be fair, I saw the movie first).

Read: Do you have have dreams that are spawned from the things you read? If so, share an interesting dream.

No, I don't and, since I'm reading Neil Gaiman's scary little book Coraline at the moment, I'm kind of glad I don't.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Eight Days: A Week

It's now been eight days since I started this blog (although since I'm writing this at a minute before midnight, it's just about to be nine days, but that would have made for a lousy title). Anyway, to mark the fact that this blog's already lasted a week longer than I expected, I thought I'd take a break from the usual unbearable lightness of meme-ing, and instead cast an eye back over the week (don't worry, I'll be back to my usual meme-addition tomorrow, which is now today as it's now six minutes past midnight; although it might still be tomorrow for you, so forget I mentioned it).

First of all, thanks beyond all measure go to A Blog In The Rough for all of her help in getting me started (I suspect she now knows how Victor Von Frankenstein must have felt), as well as for publicising this blog on her blog today , along with making this one of the best-carpeted blogs around (many no doubt come here just for the decor). Also, many thanks to those who have commented, especially to The Bumbles for pointing me towards a new meme, as well as to any lurkers out there, and also to anyone who's following the blog.

Surprisingly, the main obstacle to my blogging over the first week wasn't my natural laziness, but my laptop which died on me while I was in the middle of doing Sunday's meme. Actually it was a work laptop, which I'm still waiting for them to replace. Faced with the sad prospect of days without a laptop (akin to losing an arm, or maybe even television), I ended up impulsively deciding to buy myself a shiny new one (I briefly worried, having read recent meme answers, that with the current economical climate, some of you might hate me for my extravagance and were probably heading over now with your burning torches or your tar and feathers, but then I realised, hey, it's not as if they'll be able to afford the travel costs).

Anyway, I bought a new laptop last night (does everyone else get completely ignored by salespeople when they actually want to buy something, but otherwise can't avoid them; or is it just me?), spent ages waiting for Vista to set itself up and then had fun twice trying and failing to burn a recovery disc. Still, it was all worthwhile, I figured, as I finally plugged in my mobile broadband and prepared to get on the internet. Then, as soon as I got on, Vista and the virus scan software decided to download hundreds of megabytes of updates, so I'm now near my download limit for the month, and have to watch my internet usage like a hawk for the next two weeks, since the prices get ridiculously extortionate should I exceed the limit (looking at the small print, I believe they're entitled to your soul).

Still, hopefully I'll be going through less than one laptop a week for the rest of my blogging career. Also, on the plus side, on my way home today I spotted and picked up a discounted copy of Blogging for Dummies, so when I've read that I'll hopefully be a fully-fledged blogger (or failing that, a fully-fledged dummy).

Monday, 2 February 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


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

  • Bullitt (1968) - First film that came to mind when the words car chase were mentioned.
  • $ (1971) - From what I remember, there's a great, ridiculously long chase at the end where a car is after Warren Beatty, who's unfortunately on foot. For an even longer, more leisurely chase, I might have chosen Duel.
  • Used Cars (1980) - Brilliant film all the way through, where there's a fight going on atop the chasing cars.
  • Matrix Reloaded (2003) - A car chase from the Wachowski Brothers, that makes up what for what it lacks in subtlety, with utter non-subtlety.
  • Grindhouse (2007) - the Death Proof segment.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Super Sunday Stealing Meme

You can play here.

1) What was your dream growing up?

When I was really young I wanted to be an astronaut. After that, I didn't really have a clue what I wanted to do.

2) What talent do you wish you had?

I wish I was good at art.

3) If I bought you a drink what would it be?

Lager and lime.

4) What was the last book you read?

Stephen King's On Writing.

5) Worst Habit?


6) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?

Well, I don't drive, so, sorry, you'll have to get a ride from one of the other kind people answering these questions.

7) What is your favorite sport?

Air hockey.

8) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

It would depend on what you did.

9) Worst thing to ever happen to you?

Well, I recently got stuck in a hypothetical lift, but apart from that no worst thing springs to mind.

10) Tell me one weird fact about you.

I hold my pen in a weird way which means I'm really slow at writing.

11) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?

I'd ask how you got my address.

12) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

I'd look with X-ray vision.

13) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

Your conscience.

14) Ever been arrested?

No, but I was nearly arrested once when the police turned up at four in the morning because the guy they were actually looking for had the same name as me.

15) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?

Put it in the bank.

16) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Watch television.

17) Biggest pet peeve?

While I was pondering this, my laptop suddenly died with a blue screen and then failed to restart again, so I'll go with computers.

18) In one word, how would you describe yourself?


19) Do you believe in/appreciate romance?


20) Who wins today: Arizona or Pittsburgh?

I'm sorry, I'm from the UK, and I wasn't even aware that war had broken out between them.