Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Word Association

Over at The Music Memoirs it's time for a little word association:

10 words, you give the song/artist/album etc that come to mind.

Egg: I Am The Walrus / The Beatles /Magical Mystery Tour
Spring: You Make Me Feel So Young / Frank Sinatra / Songs for Swinging Lovers
Friday: Friday I'm In Love / The Cure / Wish
Rain: Raining In My Heart / Buddy Holly / Greatest Hits
Stormy: Bad for Good / Jim Steinman / Bad for Good
Flower: Rose's Theme / Murray Gold / Doctor Who Series One & Two Soundtrack
Awake: Stay Awake / Suzanne Vega / Stay Awake
Ride: Bike Ride To The Moon / The Dukes of Stratosphear / Chips from the Chocolate Fireball
Shine: Shine A Little Love / ELO / Discovery
Orchestra: Brass In Pocket / The Pretenders / Greatest Hits

Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking all about movie soundtracks, so here's my pick:

One From The Heart (1982)

After Hours (1985)

The Piano (1993)

Magnolia (1999)

A Mighty Wind (2003)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Ginormous Meme

You can play here.

1. Are you single?


2. Are your parents still married?


3. Are you in love?

Not sure.

4. Do you believe in love at first sight?


5. Who ended your last relationship?

She did.

6. Have you ever been hurt by a break up?


7. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

If I have, they've never told me.

8. Have you ever had a secret admirer?

If I did, they were sufficiently secret that I never found out.

9. Prefer love or lust?

Love, although lust's okay too.

10. Prefer a few best friends or many regular friends?

A few best friends.

11. Wild night out or romantic night in?

Romantic night in.

12. Back in the day: Been caught sneaking out?


13. Ever wanted something/someone so badly it hurt?

No, not literally.

14. Who are/is your best friend(s)?

Probably my sister.

15. Ever wanted to disappear?

I've wanted to be invisible. Does that count?

16. First attraction: Smile or eyes?


17. Prefer intelligence or attraction?


18. Last phone call you received?

It'd be somebody at work asking about something work-related and no doubt very dull.

19. Last thing you drank?

A cup of drinking chocolate.

20. Before your current one, when was your last relationship?

Well, I've not got a current one, and my last one was embarrassingly long ago.

21. Do you and your family get along?

Get along super-duper with most of my family, although I have a loathe/hate relationship with one of my aunts.

22. Would you say you have a "screwed up life"?

No, more of an uneventful one.

23. Have you ever gotten kicked out somewhere? If yes, do tell.

I don't think I've ever gotten kicked out of anywhere, but I was once refused entry to a club because I was deemed too drunk (although to be fair, it was the kind of place you'd have to be fairly drunk to want to go into in the first place, and I was quite glad I got turned away).

24. Do you trust all your friends?


25. Who knows the most about you?

That would be me.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday 9: Inside The Actors Studio

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

1. What is your favorite word?
Psychadelicatessen - it's from a Rutles' song.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Agadoo - bad song from the '80s.

3. What turns you on, creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

4. What turns you off?
People who believe they're always right.

5. What is your favorite curse word?
Furshlugginer - a word from Mad Comic.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Music on other people's cell phones/iPods/whatever when played too loud on public transport.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

9. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Sorry, we're not ready for you yet.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Yahoo's 100 Movies ...

Here's the list of 100 Movies that Yahoo! says we should see before we die (in alphabetical order). Have you seen them?

Put the ones you've seen in bold, the ones you liked in italics and √ the ones you didn't like. Add one movie that's not on the list. Tag your friends!

If you participate, please let me know so I can come check our your list.

12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
The African Queen (1952)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Annie Hall (1977)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Blade Runner (1982)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blow Up (1966)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Breathless (1960)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Casablanca (1942)
Chinatown (1974)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Die Hard (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Duck Soup (1933)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
The French Connection (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Goldfinger (1964)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Graduate (1967)
Grand Illusion (1938)
Groundhog Day (1993)
H A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
In the Mood For Love (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Lord of the Rings (2001)
M (1931)
M*A*S*H (1970)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Matrix (1999)
Modern Times (1936)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Network (1976)
Nosferatu (1922)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Paths of Glory (1958)
Princess Mononoke (1999)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
Rashomon (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Rocky (1976)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Seven Samurai (1954)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Star Wars (1977)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Third Man (1949)
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Titanic (1997)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Toy Story (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Vertigo (1958)
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
Wild Strawberries (1957)
Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988)
The World of Apu (1959)

ENDOMENTAL'S ADD: The Philadelphia Story (1940)
THE GAL HERSELF'S ADD: The Way We Were (1973)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Thursday 13: Things I Learned From The A-Team

Header from samulli

This week, thirteen things I learned from watching The A-Team:

1. If you look like George Peppard there's no point in trying to disguise yourself, because you'll still end up looking just like George Peppard (albeit George Peppard wearing a bad disguise).

2. Mental illness is fun; you get to be wacky and fly planes.

3. If you've got a friend who's afraid of flying, just give them a drugged glass of milk before their fllight; they'll fall for it every time.

4. The corollary to #3. If you're ever confronted in a dark alley by a big black blinged-up dude, be sure to be carrying a drugged glass of milk; works every time.

5. "War is stupid and people are stupid," sang Boy George, a guest star in one of the episodes, and of course he has a point. There's no point sacrificing soldiers and unleashing your most powerful weapons to win a war, when, as we saw week after week, all you need to defeat the enemy and win any battle, no matter what the size, is a set of tools and the contents of a garden shed (or if McGuyver's on hand, any three random household items will suffice).

6. Statistics say that flying is the safest form of transport, but statistics can be misleading, and you only have to watch a few A-Teams to realise that the safest form of transport is undoubtedly a crashing vehicle. It doesn't matter how it crashes, how many times it rolls over, or the number of ensuing explosions, the occupants will inevitably still walk away from it unharmed.

7. There are all kinds of love, from platonic to puppy, from true to tainted, but surely the greatest love of all, the love that stands the test of time, is the love of a plan coming together.

8. If you're a fugitive from justice, don't worry. You can star in movies like Hannibal, you can wear jewelry like B.A., you can keep driving the same black van all the time, and you'll still be able to blend in and go unnoticed.

9. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. To be fair this lesson came from the military who kept chasing the A-Team, kept failing, but finally managed to capture them in the last series.

10. Fools should be pitied.
11. At the very end, after the credits, the writer Stephen J Cannell was seen pulling a page out of a typewriter and throwing it into the air. This is clearly how all writers work, and ever since then, hoping to be a writer someday, whenever I've finished writing something I throw it up in the air (although when I switched to writing things on my laptop, this definitely caused a few headaches).

12. If you've got a dull name like John Smith, change it to something a bit more Carthaginian like Hannibal. Then again, you might prefer to meet Pocahontas, or shoot a presidential candidate (like Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone), or become an angel (like Jonathan Smith in Highway To Heaven). Hey, you might even decide to call yourself John Smith like The Doctor or the android superhero Red Tornado. Wow, I'm glad my name's not John Smith or I'd be really conflicted.

13. If you want to be cool, wear lots of bling and use your initials (like BA). The whole of rap is built on this premise (Ice-T even stole Mr. T's surname).

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wednesday Media Mix

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

[Listen] What song have you listened to the most in the past month? Does it an any way reflect the current state of your life, or is it a song you just happen to like a lot?

Well, I've not had any particular song I've listened to a lot in the last month, but if I had have done, it would probably just be because I liked it a lot. Mainly, I've just had my iPod on shuffle (and that in itself might be fairly reflective of the current state of my life, where I seem to have a mass of things to do, and keep flitting from one to the other in a fairly random way).

[Watch] Do you feel like you always root for the right people in movies/TV?

Yes, I tend to, but that's because the right people tend to be the main characters (if the bad guys are the main characters, e.g. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, V for Vendetta, Goodfellas; then I tend to root for the bad guys), Basically it's the writers who decide who we should root for, usually trying to make us like the good guys and hate the bad guys, so I just play along.

[Read] Do you prefer to read fiction with very clear good guys/bad guys, or is it better if the line is blurred?

I probably prefer clear good guys/bad guys (assuming the story's that type of story) because that way I can easily figure out whether the story has a happy ending or not. I don't mind blurring in an anti-hero sort of way, but if all the characters are too blurred then things just get confusing.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Tuesday Tunes

Over at The Music Memoirs it's time for recents. They're asking what was the most recent:

concert: Not recent at all. It was ages ago, and some friends dragged me to see a band called Rockbitch.

song you listened to: I've no idea. I fell asleep last night watching Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle (a television programme rather than a mode of transport), and its theme tune was "Tom Hark" by The Pirahnas, so does that count?

album you bought: The soundtrack to Coraline.

artist you discovered: The last one I discovered that I remember was Charlotte Hatherley but that was quite a while ago too.

song you downloaded: That would either have been "Kayleigh" by Marillion, "Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush, "Back of my Hand" by The Jags, or "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins. I downloaded them all on the same day, so I'm not sure which was the most recent.

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking all about eye candy in the movies, so here's my pick:

Teri Hatcher - The Big Picture - 1989 (it's clear from the film that's she there purely as eye candy, but at least it's done in a satirical way, being filmed in the manner of a '80s video)

Salma Hayek - From Dusk Till Dawn - 1996 (Salma also dances provocatively in both Four Rooms and Dogma, but she does it best here)

Denise Richards - Wild Things - 1998 (I looked up eye candy in my dictionary, and lo and behold there was a picture of Denise Richards there)

Liv Tyler - One Night At McCool's - 2001 (with an update on the car wash scene from Cool Hand Luke)

Monica Bellucci - The Matrix Reloaded - 2003 (Mamma mia!)

Malin Ackerman - Watchmen - 2009 (surprisingly she makes more of an impact in her costume, than out of it during the sex scene; then again I was watching it at an Imax cinema and while I innocently thought that would make the nudity better, it just made it seem weird at that size - like I was watching porn made for giants.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Family Meme

You can play here.

1. What is something your mom/wife always says to you?

Well, since I've not got a wife, and also since it's Mother's Day over here in the UK today, I guess all of my answers today will be about my mother. Accordingly, I'll edit all future question from 'mom/wife' to 'mother' since 'mom/wife' makes it sound like I'm married to her.

Back to the question, something she always says to me is, "Do you want some drinking chocolate?", although she somehow manages to curb the impulse if I'm actually drinking something at the time.

2. What makes your mother happy?

Her grandchildren, watching musicals.

3. What makes your mother sad?

When my aunt comes over and starts to criticise her, her house, her family (although to be fair, my aunt makes most people sad).

4. How does your mother make you laugh?

She says funny things.

5. What was your mother like as a child?

Clever, studious, shorter.

6. How old is your mother?


7. How tall is your mother?

Not tall at all.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Well, she spends a lot of time these days doing embroidery, so either that or talking on the phone.

9. What does your mother do when you're not around?

I don't know; I'm not around.

10. If your mother becomes famous, what will it be for?

Whatever she does when I'm not around.

11. What is your mother really good at?

Being a mother. She's the best.

12. What is your mother not very good at?

Downloading email attachments. That's a black art she has to call me in for.

13. What does your mother do for a job?

She used to be a chartered accountant. These days she helps out on a part-time basis doing volunteer work at the local school, helping young children with their reading.

14. What is your mother's favorite food?

Turkish Delight.

15. What makes you proud of your mother?

Bringing me and my sister up as a single-parent family (we were a real handful; although judging by my nephew and niece, all siblings are a real handful).

16. If your mother were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Betty Boop.

17. What do you and your mother do together?

Watch an awful lot of television.

18. How are you and your mother the same?

We're both fairly intelligent, easy-going, nice (although my mother's way nicer than me).

19. How are you and your mother different?

She's much better at cooking and cleaning than I am. Less lazy too (though so are most people). I'm better at downloading email attachments.

20. How do you know your mother loves you?

She's been doing my laundry for four decades - what greater love can there be?

21. What does your mother like most about your dad/yourself?

Don't know about what she likes about my father, since I've seen them together on less than a handful of occasions. As for what she likes about me, no idea - I'm guessing it must all be unconditional love.

22. Where is your mother's favorite place to go?


Saturday, 21 March 2009

Saturday 9: Crank Up The Tunes

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

1. What is your favorite 50’s band?
The Coasters

2. What is your favorite 60’s band?
The Move

3. What is your favorite 60’s record album?
Paul Simon - The Paul Simon Songbook

4. What is your favorite 70’s band?

5. What is your favorite 70’s record album?
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell

6. What is your favorite 80’s band?
Voice of the Beehive

7. What is your favorite 80’s record album?
Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega

8. What is your favorite 90’s band?
They Might Be Giants

9. What is your favorite 90’s record album?
They Might Be Giants - Flood

Friday, 20 March 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask for the top 5 greatest hits albums, so here goes:

1. The Beach Boys - Not sure what the album was called (probably something along the line of 20 Golden Greats) but it was the first time I'd been exposed to The Beach Boys (invariably Greatest Hits albums have a bigger impact if it's the first time you've come across the artist/band, because otherwise you're already familiar with most of the tunes).

2. It would be remiss if I didn't includes either the Beatles' blue greatest hits or red greatest hits.

3. The Four Seasons - Again not sure what the album was actually called (maybe something imaginative like The Four Seasons Greatest Hits) but my sister bought it when I was a teenager and it was the first time I'd come across them. I remember being really impressed by how many great songs were on there (loved Electric Stories).

4. The Hollies - similar comments as those for The Four Seasons

5. Madness - Some great tunes and interesting notes about them by the band. Also their greatest hits albums actually had memorable titles (Complete Madness, followed by Utter Madness, collected together in Divine Madness).

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Thursday 13: The Future's Bright, The Future's Apple

Header from samulli

Don't you just hate it when you have prophetic dreams about what Apple are planning following the successes of the iPod, iTouch and iPhone? I know I do. Anyway, I had one such dream last night and here, verbatim, are the 13 future items that I saw on one of their top-secret hush-hush executive memos (to tell the truth, there could have been more than 13, or maybe it just said "Stuff" - it's all a little hazy now):

1. iSay

It's been said that television has killed the art of conversation, and indeed the same accusation could be levelled at the iPod (although we of course wouldn't hear it with our volume cranked way up high). Anyway, to redress the balance, and to help the conversationally-stifled, we have the new microsocopic iSay which lodges in the eardrum and, whenever it detects a deafening silence, will provide the user with an apt quotation or a deep insight that the user can then utter (or, if the user remains silent, its telepathic shuffle feature will cycle through some alternative responses). Due to Digital Rights Management, the user can then repeat the said utterance to up to five listeners, although any further repetition will naturally cause the iSay to self-destruct, thus handily leaving the user needing to buy another one.

Of course, even if they don't upgrade their iSay due to its self-destruction, they'll no doubt prefer to be thought of as funny rather than profound, and so will want to upgrade a year later to the subsequently-released third-generation iSay-iSay-iSay which will provide them with numerous witty ripostes to help fill any vacuum of silence, which the user can buy in numerous comedy stylings to suit their taste (observational, surreal, droll, sarcastic, witheringly sarcastic, childish, puntastic and classic).
Of course, when faced with such wit, some might just want to fling epithets back at the speaker, which is where yet another version, the iCarumba comes in.

Naturally, none of these will be made available to the UK market, where instead they'll be supplied with the iOfTheStorm which will provide users with suitably uninteresting things to say about the weather.

2. iMax

Following the success of the iPod nano, it's time for the other extreme of the iMax, a giant iPod of immense proportions. With enough hard disc to hold every movie, song and television programme in existence (and then some), its massive high resolution screen, taller than the tallest skyscraper, offers the ultimate audio/visual experience. Even when it's not showing anything, its screen rotates its pixels through all their near-infinite possible combinations at speeds too fast to take in, so that in its downtime, in a matter of seconds, amongst all the static, observers will see every image possible - every event that there ever was, is, will be, might have been or can never be (plus numerous subliminal advertisements for the other products listed here).

Naturally, the iMax isn't portable, but that doesn't matter because it's so big you can see it from everywhere. Of course, there's no obvious place where the owner could keep it, so instead they'll be placed into orbit, where the screen will still be clearly visible. Yes, it's THAT big!

3. iOfTheTiger

Tests carried out by Apple have shown that pets don't like their owner's music; indeed when dogs might appear to sing along with music they are, as their sounds suggest, actually howling in pain.

That's where iOfTheTiger comes in - an iPod for pets. Now pets can listen to special pet-specific music (available exclusively from the iTunes store).

4. iClaudius

Claudius, the most famous stutterer in history, gives his name to the latest iPod which can do automatic scratching of any music on it to give it that '80s hip hop sound.

5. iGore

Since teens love horror movies, this version of the iPod adds additional blood to any movie, not to mention an ever-increasing eerie baking track to any song being played, until eventually the singer's voice is distorted into screams.

6. iCandy

While the world's not quite ready yet for the iRobot (as market research disguised as a Will Smith movie showed), a more human robot is planned. iCandy is her name and she's been shown by market research to be man's new best friend. Not only does she come in the desired anatomically-incorrect proportions, but she can cook, clean, run completely silently and, most important of all, she gets all the sports channels.

7. iStillHaven'tFoundWhatImLookingFor

Having trouble finding music, movies, car keys? Whatever, you lose, the new iStillHaven'tFoundWhatImLookingFor, using advanced search engine technology to search reality itself,will find it for you.

Unfortunately, while development's complete on this, we've mislaid the prototype.

8. iBelieve

A new iPod that analyses the world's music preference to deliver only the most heavenly tunes to the listener. Available in cloud white, angelic white and whiter than white.

9. iPredict

Using data gathered from iPods all over the world, this gadget analyses the current state of the universe and extrapolates it to show you the future.

Work has been slow on this, especially with the development teams constantly leaving as they found themselves winning the lottery, but we finally got a large city-sized working version. Using that we saw what they did in the future to shrink its size, stole that future technology, and now it's reduced to its optimum shape, that of a magic 8 ball.

10. iFive

It's an iPod! It's a glove! It's a glove and an iPod! Driven by hand gestures, the iFive will play appropriate music for every occasion, whether it be hardcore rap for the more colourful gestures, or the Theme from Rocky when you make a fist. Finally, thanks to this revolutionary technology, blind people will get to play Rock, Scissors, Paper.

11. iCanDoAnything

The ultimate gadget, brought to us years ahead of our time thanks to the power of iPredict. It would have been called the iGod but that was dropped after it didn't quite do it justice.

Yes, the iCanDoAnything can, as it's name suggests do anything, perform any feat, answer any question. For what it's worth, Douglas Adams was right with 42.

Available for a limited time only, until it takes over the world.

12. iiCaptain

Not just an i- prefix, but an ii- prefix, as this gadget takes charges of all your other Apple gadgets, keeping them running at their maximum capacity, along with maintaining a log of everything that's happening.

To the end user, this gadget should be unobtrusive, and it might appear to the casual observer that it isn't actually doing anything that important. This is indeed the case, so we'll charge an exorbitant price for it to convince everyone it must be doing something important.

13. iCanCountToThirteen

Surveys have shown that people seem to have trouble finding the thirteenth item to add to a list. This gadget automatically generates one for you. How invaluable is that?

Wednesday Media Mix

Here's a meme from over at My Digital Ghost. This week it's all about genres.

[Listen] Who are your top 3 favorite lyricists?

Well, I've already listed the top 13 in exhaustive detail in a previous post. My top 3 would probably be Howard Ashman, Jim Steinman and Suzanne Vega.

[Watch] What was the last movie you saw in the theater, and what was your reaction to it?

The last movie was Watchmen. Overall I thought it was a faithful adaptation of the comic books (thought some deviations to save time weakened some of the Doctor Manhatten/Silk Spectre scenes, but I might just be misremembering the original, which I haven't read since it first came out). However, it was so faithful it seemed kind of redundant for readers who'd read the graphic novel (although Dave Gibbons' art for the original always struck me as just too clean and precise, more pleasing aesthetically than dynamic, so I liked the more visceral feel of the movie - although the sex and violence seemed needlessly amped up - and it was nice to see it on screen). Overall, I liked it (loved the opening titles montage of historical events) although it had the same weaknesses as the original.

[Read] Do you read any political columns? If so, which ones?


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Tuesday Tunes

It's St. Patrick's Day, so over at The Music Memoirs they're asking us to tell them our favorite Irish Band/Album/Song and why we like them, so here goes:

Band: The Divine Comedy - Just picked them because they're one of my favourite bands (albeit pretty much of a one man band), writing quirky, intelligent and funny songs. Their music isn't particularly Irish sounding (I can only recall one of their tracks actually relating to Ireland) although they did provide the theme tune for the Irish-set sitcom Father Ted.

Album: Casanova - The Divine Comedy - Chosen because The Divine Comedy's the only Irish act I can think of that I actually own an album by. Admittedly, the music's not at all Irish-sounding, but I suspect if I chose my favourite UK or American album they wouldn't necessarily represent their country of origin particularly either. If not a Divine Comedy album then I would have chosen a U2 album that a housemate kept playing over and over again while I was at university, but I can't remember its name.

Song: A tough one. Almost went for U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" or the Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays", and The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" was also in with a chance, but I've finally settled on The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's "Fairytale of New York".

Monday, 16 March 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking for the best war movies, so, despite my hardly ever watching such movies, here's my pick:

La Grande Illusion (1937)

The Dambusters (1955)

The Great Escape (1963)

Doctor Strangelove (1964)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sunday Stealing: A High School Meme

You can play here.

1. Did you date someone from your school?


2. Did you marry someone from your high school?

What? Without dating them first? That would have been kind of premature, don't you think?

3. Did you car pool to school?

No, I walked there.

4. What kind of car did you have?

I didn't have a car.

5. What kind of car do you have now?

I still don't have a car.

6. Its Friday night...where are you now?

On Friday, I was travelling home for the weekend, and then I had tea, watched television and messed about on my computer.

7. It is Friday night...where were you then?

Probably at home, having tea and watching television. Either that or around at a friend's house.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school?

I didn't have a job.

9. What kind of job do you do now?

I mess about with computers.

10. Were you a party animal?

No. That was afterwards, once I'd discovered alcohol.

11. Were you considered a flirt?

No. That was afterwards, once I'd discovered alcohol.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?

I was in the boys' choir, but there were only about five of us, and we were probably fairly awful.

13. Were you a nerd?

Yeah, I've always been a nerd.

14. Did you get suspended from school?


15. Can you sing the fight song?

Here in the UK, schools don't have fight songs, so unless you're referring to "Eye of the Tiger" the answer's no.

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher?

Probably one of my physics teacher; a trendy teacher who managed to make his lessons entertaining.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?

At home. I only lived five moinutes away and the food tended to be better there.

18. What was your school's full name?

Well, it started out as Fleetwood Grammar School, and then it merged with the local comprehensive school to become Fleetwood Hesketh High School.

19. Where did you party the most?

I didn't party a lot at school.

20. What was your school mascot?

We didn't have one.

21. Would you do it again?

I don't think the uniform would fit now, and I'd feel a bit conspicuous, but it might be worth it for the holiday entitlement.

22. Did you have fun at Prom?

We never had a prom. We had a dinner, and that was okay.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?

Well, as I said before, and you clearly didn't hear, I didn't go to Prom.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?

I'd go if there was one, but we don't have reunions.

25. Do you still talk to people from school?

Rarely, since they're scattered about now , but it happens. One of the girls I knew there is now my dentist, and another one occasionally checks my ticket on the train.

26. What are/were your school's colors?

I can't remember. There was definitely blue in it somewhere, because at the open evening prior to starting, my mother - who had a natural gift for embarrassing myself and my sister - remarked how the blue in my tie would go with my eyes, and thereafter a classmate who'd been in earshot kept reminding me of this whenever he had a chance to.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Saturday 9: School Daze

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

1. Do you have children in school?
I've not got children, but if I did I'd hope they'd have the sense to not be in school on a Saturday.

2. Did you go to public school? If you have children did/do they?
No, but since I'm not sure what the American definition is, I should probably mention that, in the UK, public school is paradoxically the school that most of the public don't get to go to.

3. Are you currently in school or taking classes?

4. What level of education have you completed?
I got a degree at university.

5. Do you, or did you have loans out for your (or your children's) education?

6. What are your thoughts on the cost of tuition for colleges and universities?
I think it's wrong; learning should be open to everyone and economics shouldn't come into it. When I went to university (decades ago, and I'm talking just about the UK here) most, if not all of it, was paid for by the government; these days students have to take out loans and end up in debt, and universities have to find funding.

7. Did school prepare you education wise for working in the real world?
Yes, in a general sense. It taught me to read, write, learn, solve problems, and to keep an eye on when it was time to leave at night, and that's all you really need.

8. Did school prepare you emotionally for what lay ahead?
To an extent, although some things you can never be prepared emotionally for.

9. If you were to run a high school, what changes would you make?
Well, it's been so long since I've attended one, that I'm not sure what UK high schools are like these days, so I've no idea what changes are needed there. As far as American high schools are concerned, all I see is what's portrayed in the media, and if that's to be believed then I'd cut down on the amount of singing and dancing that goes on there, which can hardly be conducive to learning. Still they're way better than they used to be; at least they're not building them over hellmouths anymore.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask for the top 5 artists that should never have tried acting:

1. Macy Gray

2. David Bowie

3. Sting

4. Madonna

5. Susannah Hoffs

To be fair, I'm sure there are far more deserving candidates, but I've probably just not seen the films they've been in.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Thursday 13: Pitches

Header from samulli

Several weeks ago, buried in my list of thirteen excuses for not doing Thursday 13 the previous week, I mentioned my trip to Hollywood pitching a movie. To tell the truth, I actually pitched thirteen other movies while out there, so here they are:

1. Since Enchanted has sort of stole Shrek's thunder in the fairytale mickey-taking stakes, I proposed a sequel to Shrek where the green ogre, along with Fiona and Donkey, find themselves transported out of their computer-generated landscape and into the real world of New York City. It's called "Shrek's In The City".

2. Superheroes meet Harry Potter, as a stray spell at Hogwarts creates havoc by producing four super-powered pizza-eating Moaning Myrtles, in "Teenage Mutant Whinger Myrtles".

3. A sort of Gremlins-meets-Chucky scenario as a Furby takes on a life of its own, slaying people and then repeating their final screams. It's called "Furby Goes Bananas".

4. Everybody knows that all good movie franchises come in trilogies (Lord of the Rings, Back To The Future, and, hey, look what happened when Star Wars decided to add a fourth film), so how about a sequel to the Kill Bill movies. Now the main problem with this is that the Bride slayed all of her enemies (and then some) in the first two movies, so most of the characters from the first two movies are no more, but we'll get round this by using some voodoo to bring them all back. That's right - a Kill Bill zombie movie where all of the Bride's victims are raised from the dead to get their revenge. It will of course be called "Kill Bill Vol. 3" (sorry, got to stick to the winning formula. Bet you thought I was going to say "Bride's Dead Revisited") .

5. Speaking of Kill Bill, how about a Disney sequel, ripped off ever so slightly from the former, in which the kick-ass heroine travels to France to avenge her family, and finally ends up stained red by the blood of all of her opponents. It's called "Mulan Rouge".

6. Sticking to the Disney theme, I pitched a TV spin-off in which some cooks, desperate to win a restaurant of their own, compete with each other in a kitchen, in a race against time to prepare a meal for two, all under the watchful eye of a monstrous chef with unkempt fur who keeps growling at them, and with the added disadvantage that sometimes the clock they use to time things suddenly performs musical numbers along with their cooking utensils. It's called "Belle's Kitchen".

7. Steve Guttenburg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson wake up to find their little lady's all grown up and considering gender realignment surgery in "Three Men and a Maybe".

8. Snake Plisken's back, but this time, thanks to state-of-the-ark 2D graphics, he's trapped in a two-dimensional terrorland, in John Carpenter's "Escape From Flatland" (or maybe that should be "Snake's on a Plain").

9. Ben Stiller plays a milkman (not just any milkman, mind you, this is a high-concept movie where he's a man quite literally made of milk following being bitten by a radioactive cow). Anyway, he falls in love with Cameron Diaz, only to discover that she's lactose intolerant, in the romantic comedy "There's Something About Dairy".

10. Following the success of High School Musical comes a musical based on Smallville. It's called Super-Kal-El-Lionel-Chloe-Lex-Pete-Lana-Lois.

11. No doubt the upcoming Star Trek film will reinvigorate the franchise, but, if not, here's a Plan B. To appeal to the teen market, how about a Starfleet Academy movie that drifts into American Pie territory. Since no one wants to see Kirk going around being successful with women, let's focus on Spock and McCoy, on the eve of graduation, desperate to go where they've never gone before, before they get sent off on their five year mission. Anyway, while Spock's going through Pon Farr and McCoy's overdosing on cordrazine, they hatch a desperate plan - with the aid of their incomprehensible Scottish pal - to use a replicator to create duplicates of Kirk's sexy latest squeeze Carol Marcus. Unfortunately, some of Spock's Ponn-Farr-imbued DNA gets mixed up with the DNA they steal from Carol Marcus, and they end up creating two new sex-crazed Carol Marcus clones, and hilarious hijinks ensue, with the red-hot twosome threatening to give tribbles a run for their money. It's called "Doc, Spock and Two Smoking Carols".

12. A follow up to The Bourne Ultimatum (hard to see how they resisted calling that one Bourne Three). This time around, in a fourth-wall-breaking Truman-Showesque twist. the former amnesiac finds that he's not actually Jason Bourne but just a Hollywood actor playing Jason Bourne and in disbelief has to resort to expletives. It's called "I'm %£!$ing Matt Damon".

13. Jason Vorhees turns to memes in "Thursday The Thirteen".

Wednesday Media Mix

Here's a meme from over at My Digital Ghost. This week it's all about genres.

[Listen] Some people don’t like music being categorized into genres at all. Are genres helpful, or do they hinder a musician’s creative potential?

Yeah, genres are helpful (whether it be music, movies, books, whatever). It helps steer consumers towards music they might be interested in, and saves them having to sort through music they're not. Musicians tend to be creative anyway, and putting labels on them is to just help market them; it doesn't restrict their output.

[Watch] Are there types of movie genres you tend to watch with different social circles? (I.e., maybe you watch romantic comedies with your parents, action flicks with your spouse, horror movies with a special friend, etc.)

Yes, I tend to watch kid-friendly stuff with my sister and her kids. Other stuff I tend to watch alone (my social circle don't go to the movies a lot, or if they do, they don't invite me).

[Read] Is there a type of genre you feel a little ashamed to enjoy reading?

No, but then again I don't think I read that many genres.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Music Of Your Life

Over at The Music Memoirs they're asking you to pick one album you remember the most about every 5 years of your life and tell us why it's important to you. So, let's start at the very beginning:

1964-1968: While I could easily pick lots of great albums released in my first five years of life, I can't actually remember any from that time (possibly because we didn't have a record player at the time).

1969-1973: Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970): One of my uncles, who was staying with us at the time, had this on tape (one of the big massive tape recorders with big round tapes rather than a cassette tape) and would play this a lot. It was in these five years that I also bought my first albums, but on reflection they don't quite stand up to Paul & Art's effort.

1974-1978: Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell (1977): Bizarre as it seems now, once upon a time, in the UK, I was one of the few people I knew who had this album (at this point You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth and Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad had stalled just outside the top 30, and the only TV appearance of Meat here had been hidden away around midnight). Anyway, looking back, I must have bored my friends silly recommending it all the time. I guess honorable mentions for this five-year period must also go to the Muppet Show album and the Star Wars soundtrack which I played in those moments when I wasn't boring people about Meat Loaf.

1979-1983: Paul Simon - Hearts and Bones (1983): Sorry to be repetitive, but if it hadnt been this, it would have been more Meat Loaf-related stuff like Dead Ringer or Jim Steinman's Bad for Good. Anyway, somewhere along the line, I bought a cassette recorder and this was the first tape I bought for it. Really good and under-rated album.

1984-1988: Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega (1985): Just before I left university in 1985, I saw Suzanne Vega performing Marlene on the Wall, and on the strength of that, plus the lyrics to Cracking on the sleeve, I bought this, shortly after I'd finally found employment and using the money I got for relocation expenses, and then proceeded to play it to death.

1989-1993: They Might Be Giants - Flood (1990): Saw the Birdhouse In Your Soul video and promptly bought this, followed quickly by their earlier albums, and have been a fan ever since. Honorable mentions here for Kirsty MacColl's Kite, Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes and Voice of the Beehive's Honey Lingers.

1994-1998: Blur - Parklife (1994). To be honest,I'm slightly grasping here, remembering few albums from that time. Somewhere around 1994, some burglars, no doubt hearing of my terrific musical taste, made off with my CD collection, so I remember just trying to rebuild my music collection again from the ground up during this time (it'd have been so much easier with the internet) so didn't really listen to much new music during that time.

1999-2003: Peter Bagge's Rockin' Poppin' Favorites (1999). A compilation album full of great pop tunes over the decades with a great booklet written and illustrated by Peter Bagge discussing the songs. Just thought this was a great collection, but again no other albums are leaping out at me from this period, apart from maybe the Buffy, Once More With Feeling soundtrack and Darling Violetta's The Kill You EP

2004-2009: William Shatner - Has Been (2004). I bought it for the novelty value to be honest (the same reason I'd bought his earlier The Transformed Man), but this was a terrific album, and the greatest improvement over a first album ever. Humour, pathos - it's got everything. Honorable mentions go to The Divine Comedy's Absent Friends and the Flight of the Conchords' eponymous album.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking about documentaries, i.e. those films I hardly ever watch, so here's the few I can think of:

The Hellstrom Chronicle (1971) - A mixture of drama and documentary all about insects and how they'll take over the Earth. I remember it for cool statistics like a plague of locusts in a week eating enough to feed a million people for a year.

Swimming To Cambodia (1987) - A monologue rather than a documentary, but a great film so I thought I'd include it anyway.

Roger and Me (1989) - Entertaining documentary from Michael Moore.

Lost In La Mancha (2002) - Documentary about Terry Gilliam's failed attempts to make a film of Don Quixote. Other movie documentaries I considered were The Hamster Factor (about the making of Twelve Monkeys) and Full Tilt Boogie (about the making of From Dusk Till Dawn). Hearts of Darkness (about the making of Apocalypse Now) might be even better, but I've sadly never got round to seeing it.

The Mindscape of Alan Moore (2003) - A chance to bask in the wit and intelligence of writer and magician Alan Moore.

The Aristocrats (2005) - A documentary featuring numerous comedians all discussing and telling variations on the same joke.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Random Question Meme

You can play here.

1. How old do you look?

I used to look younger than I actually was, but now that I'm older and wider and my hair's getting thinner I might actually look my age. Depends on who's looking I guess. My young niece thinks I look ridiculously old, my aged aunt says I look younger than I am, and Wii Fit never guesses my age right even though it knows when I was born.

2. Where do you live?

I split my time between the UK and cyberspace.

3. Are you waiting for something?


4. What’s one pet peeve of yours that is not common?

Well, not quite a peeve, but I dislike people with their umbrellas up outdoors because I'm afraid those bits of metal at the edges could poke my eyes out, but I guess everyone feels like that.

5. Do you want/have kids?

Don't have them. Wouldn't mind them.

6. Have you ever thought about converting your religion?

Well, I don't use it much, so depends what I could convert it into. Cash would be nice.

7. Last shocking news you heard?

That someone I used to work with had died.

8. What was the last thing you drank?

A mug of drinking chocolate.

9. Who do you most look like in your family?

At the risk of pedantry, I most look like me (the likeness is uncanny). I've also been told I resemble my father, and my grandmother used to often mistakenly call me the name of one of my uncles, so I guess I must resemble him slightly too.

10. If you could have something right now, anything, what would it be?


11. Where does most of your family live?

My immediate family live in Fleetwood, a UK seaside town. The rest of them are scattered around.

12. Where did you grow up?

That would be Fleetwood again.

13. Where do you want to go on vacation?

Fleetwood's nice this time of year.

14. Have you ever had a panic attack?


15. What can’t you wait for?

Tomorrow night. I'm going to see Watchmen on Imax.

16. When’s the last time you told someone you loved him or her and meant it?

Quite a while ago.

17. Have your parents ever smoked pot?


18. Want someone back in your life?

Yeah, but not if they came back as a zombie.

19. What do you order at the bar?

A pint of lager and lime.

20. When was the last time you cried really, really hard?

When I was ten.

21. Ever licked someone’s cheek?

Only the inside of mine.

22. What is your favorite thing to eat with peanut butter?


23. Where were you on July 4th, 2008?

I don't remember. Why, did I miss something?

24. What are your nicknames?

These days just Barker (which only my sister ever uses, despite the fact it's refusing to catch on) and the incredibly imaginative Marky Mark.

25. If you could go back in time, how far back would you go?

Just far enough to buy tickets for this weekend's lottery.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Saturday 9: Your Bestest Day

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

1. What one day of your life do you think was your best day?
No idea. There's been thousands of them, so it's hard to pick. My nineteenth birthday was fun, so if you really want a definitive answer I'll go for that one.

2. What one day of your life do you think was your worst day?
Again, no idea. Possibly when I found out one of my friends at university had died.

3. If you had to pick the best year of your life, when was it and why?
1989 was a fun year. Working away, doing a fun job, getting paid tons of expenses, going out with friends from work every night. Also, it just might have seemed good in comparison to the previous year (see my next answer).

4. If you had to pick the worst year of your life, when was it and why?
Maybe 1988. Well, just a couple of months in 1988 actually. Working away, spending most of my time stuck in a hotel, with no one for company.

5. Most recently, what night did you do something that you loved?
Well, I played some video games earlier this week, so that was fun.

6. Most recently, what night did you do something that you hated?
Hate's a strong word, but I'm in charge of a website and it can be a drag maintaining it, which I tend to find myself doing on a more or less daily basis.

7. Tell us about your best relationship that did not work out.
Not sure there was a best relationship among them, and I'd hate to pick a favourite.

8. Tell us about your worst romantic relationship that you’ve had.
Not sure there was a worst relationship among them, and I'd hate to pick a least favourite.

9. Is there a celebrity that you’d love to spend a “no hold bars” night with?
No, because then I'd no doubt have to change the answer to #1, and I'm just too darn lazy.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Top 5 On Friday

Over at The Music Memoirs they ask for the top 5 songs about pets or animals you keep as pets:

1. "Love Cats" - The Cure

2. "Rabbit" - Chas and Dave

3 "Hounds of Love" - Kate Bush

4. "Old Shep" - Elvis Presley

5. "Legend of Sailcat" from the Cow and Chicken cartoon

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Thursday 13: Boulevard of Broken Memes

Header from samulli

Since everyone loves memes, here's a list of thirteen potential memes covering all the days of the week (for the sake of giving credit where credit is due, I should point out that the better ones have been provided by Blog In The Rough).

1. Make-A-Blog Monday

It's the beginning of the week, so what better time to start a new blog. Participants create a new blog from scratch, pouring their heart and soul into it, using the ideas they might have had for their own blog but never got round to, using a different blog creation site (for the learning experience and just to make it that bit different from their current site), creating what they consider a must-read blog.

Anyway, once that's finished, and the participants have created a site, posted some posts, commented on other people's new blogs, and maybe learned ways to improve their current blogs, it's time for the final act as the blogs are abandoned, never to be returned to. The excitement and the heartbreak of blogging, captured in a single day.

2. Monkey Monday

In this meme, based on the infinite monkey theorem, everyone types a post by just hitting keys at random (a method I tend to favour anyway). Sure, most of them will be unreadable junk, but if enough people get involved then a masterpiece is bound to come along sooner or later.

3. Tumbleweed Tuesday

A fun meme where you post something so lame that all the readers are reduced to silence. This finally gives you an excuse to posts the posts you consider to be too mundane, too unfunny or just too strange; posts that would either have the readers abandoning you, scratching their heads, or pulling their jaws up from the floor. The great thing is that when nobody comments on it, you know that you've succeeded.

4. Takeover Tuesday

On Monday, numerous heartless types abandoned their fledging blogs. Now's your chance to take one of those, mold it, shape it, and make it the greatest blog of all time.

5. World Hunger Wednesday

Every week the might of blogdom concentrate their collective powers on solving a major problem affecting the world. It could takes weeks, years, maybe even decades, but eventually this meme would no doubt lead to a utopia.

6. Weeping Gorilla Wednesday

Well, in a vague attempt to be topical, with the opening of Watchmen this week, here's a meme based on writer Alan Moore's Weeping Gorilla Comix which featured in his Promethea series.

For those unfamiliar with the Weeping Gorilla, it was a gorilla who'd weep (you'd probably guessed that part) while thinking a sad thought. Seems to me, that with the number of bloggers liking animals, this could be a natural, as each week the bloggers produce a picture of a weeping gorilla - either by drawing one (not just swiping as I've done here, that's just lazy), modifying a stock phot of a gorilla, or, for those lucky bloggers with gorillas as pets, taking a photo of it in one of its melancholy moments - and then adding a pithy caption to indicate what's saddening the simian. Who knows what pathos and profundity would result?

7. Thoughtless Thursday

It's time to admit to all those thoughtless actions you did to others and repent, or maybe tell us about the thoughtless things done to you, or maybe just leave the blog for that day because you've got no ideas and just wile away the hours conversing with the flowers. To be honest, I haven't really given this one a lot of thought.

8. Theatrical Thursday

Memes - the natural enemy of just telling the readers what's happening in your life. However, this meme combines both meming and diarying into one, as the participants tell the readers what they've been doing recently, but doing it in an overly-theatrical manner. Thus, even those of us with the dullest of lives can verily wax lyrical, canneth we not, about how on this day in this year in this century, verily did we arise from the grip of Morpheus and go about our lives and sat before a distorted mirror of finest rectangle that reflected our thoughts and our fingers tippety-tapped against the glyphs beneath them, producing something spectular, nay, spectacularly spectacular and the whole world rejoiced upon reading the outpourings.

Something like that, although obviously far better and with way more name-dropping.

9. Feedline Friday

A fun meme where people think up interesting things that I can say when I reach a converational impasse while chatting online. Think of it, you'd be providing a service for me, providing me with chat material, while also getting to exorcise your messianic tendencies knowing I'm a puppet voicing your words (well, maybe that's more your ventriloquistic tendencies, albeit a ventriloquist whose dummy types rather than talks).

10. Filibuster Friday

Participants type a really long post, discussing something at bizarre length, going on and on, way into the night, until their fingers no longer work, their eyes are getting blurry and the readers have fallen asleep. Oh, wait, sorry, wrong meme; I was thinking of Thursday 13.

11. Sick Saturday

For all the hypochondriacs out there, and the genuinely sick, a chance to discuss whatever ails you. Share your problems and worries with others, and hey, with the power of suggestion, they'll start to feel the same symptoms, and soon, thanks to the internet, the whole world will be sick; which is a bit of a waste really, when you're probably off work for the weekend.

12. Super Saturday!

A meme so super it's got an exclamation mark! Who cares what it's about, it's got an exclamation mark! Isn't that exciting enough!?

No? Okay, well as the exclamation mark indicates, the participants have to answer some questions with unbridled enthusiasm, regardless of any disinterest, finding some reason or other to find the whole thing super! Isn't that super?! What's that you say? It sucks? Wow, you'd be lousy at this meme.

13. Sarcasm Sunday

Just one meme for Sunday - after all, it is a day of rest - but what a meme, undoubtedly the greatest meme of all time. It truly is phenomenal.

No, it isn't; I was being sarcastic. Unfortunately, until they invent an emoticon for sarcasm, it's not always obvious when that lowest form of wit is present. That's why we need a day for unbridled sarcasm, where it's obvious where people are being sardonic about the questions they answer. Needless to say the comments on these posts can also be sarcastic, just to mess with the participants' heads as they worry because they're getting such nice comments.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday Media Mix

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

[Listen] I’m making a “TGI Almost Spring” playlist. What are a few songs you would put on a spring playlist?

Presumably I'd go for songs about spring, but unfortunately this season is fairly neglected in song, compared to summer and winter. Off the top of my head, I can only think of "Spring, Spring, Spring" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers. Also, purely on a springy theme, maybe The Tigger Song. Possibly Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On", just because the weather's getting warmer. Maybe a few April songs as well - "April, Come She Will" by Simon & Garfunkel, and Little April Shower from Bambi (although I'd probably use the version by Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant in a desperate attempt to retain my street cred).

[Watch] Have you ever watched one of your childhood movies as an adult and thought “Wow, how was I NOT disturbed by that!?”

Well, there was The Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang who didn't seem the least bit creepy at the time, and lots of early Disney (Snow White seemed scarier than I remembered from my childhood days, as did Pinnochio with the kids turning into donkeys, and then there was the technicolour pachyderm nightmare scene in Dumbo).

[Read] Name a character in a book you think you would have romantic feelings for.

I clearly must read the wrong books, since I can't recall any such characters. Well, there's the female lead in Peter David's Howling Mad who seemed witty and down-to-earth, and had the best line in the book, but I can't even remember her name so that's hardly the best start to the relationship (plus her boyfriend would no doubt rip my throat out) so I guess it's best left at the unrequited level.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Monday Movie Meme

Feature Presentation...


This week Molly and Andy at the Bumbles Blog are asking about adaptations and whether the movie is ever really BETTER than the book, comic book, musical, play, folk story, or true life story. Here's my list of adaptations that I found better than the originals:

Stardust (2007) - I thought it was better than the Neil Gaiman novel, although to be fair I saw the movie first (and, although I have it lying around somewhere, I've never gotten around to reading the Neil Gaiman/Charles Vess graphic novel that preceded both of them)

Mystery Men (1999) - I found this a lot more entertaining, albeit less quirky, than the team of misfit heroes featured in Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot comic. The only case listed here where I read the source material before seeing the film.

Goldfinger (1964) - Preferred it to Ian Fleming's novel (and to most other Bond films for that matter).

Wanted (2008) - Quite different to the Mark Millar/J.G. Jones graphic novel (all the superhero/supervillain stuff has been removed), but I enjoyed it a lot more (though I'm sure lots of readers disagree with me).

Also, I think Stand By Me (1986) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994), while not surpassing the original Stephen King short stories ("The Body" and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", both from his "Different Seasons" collection) are the equal of them.

For an alternate take, from someone who's obviously read a lot more books than me, samulli covered similar ground recently with a list of thirteen adaptations that don't suck.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Procrastination Tool Meme

You can play here.

1. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?

I don't have a favourite.

2. What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it?


3. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?

Just teeth by the dentist to avoid overcrowding when I was a teenager (my front teeth decided to overlap anyway, years later, just to thwart his efforts).

4. What is the last heavy item you lifted?

A cabinet, although the lifting was fairly minimal; it was more a case of pushing it along the ground.

5. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?

No, despite, as a kid, having a rock land on my head and a car hit me (not simultaneously, I hasten to add).

6. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?

If it came with details of how I was going to die so I could take steps to avoid it, sure. Failing that, I wouldn't want to know about it now since I might just get obsessed with it or stop looking both ways before crossing the street because I was convinced that I couldn't get killed. However, I wouldn't mind them telling me a few months beforehand so I could make the most of my final days, take care of affairs, and maybe tell everyone about it so they'd be ridiculously nice to me.

7. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

I'd change it to something terribly obscure that no one would ever think of; that way I'd know the e-mail address and domain name would be free and if I googled my name I'd be the only one who'd show up. Either that or something silly like "Goodbye" so that when people met me they'd tell me the name of a Beatles song.

8. What’s your goal for the year?

I only have short-term goals, if that. No goals for the year, unless some of the short-term goals slip.

9. Last person you hugged?

I honestly can't remember.

10. First place you went this morning?

My computer.

11. Do you always answer your phone?


12. It’s four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?

Most probably a wrong number

13. If you could change your eye color what would it be?

Such is my vanity, that I'd change them to the colour they are now, only more so.

14. What’s on your wish list for your birthday?

Thanks for asking, but I'm sure whatever you get me will be fine. Besides, it's not until next year so I haven't really started thinking about it yet. Maybe a Kindle 2, if they're being released in the UK by then.

15. Does the future make you more nervous or excited?


16. Do you have any saved texts?

Loads of them.

17. Ever been in a car wreck?


18. Do you have an accent?

I started off with a strong one apparently (these are things you never notice yourself), but mislaid it sometime during my university years. I've been told my voice sounds posh now.

19. What was the last song to make you cry?

Probably one at the end of some film or other.

20. What did you do last night?

Ate pizza and watched TV over at my sister's house. Then got back, planning to catch up with all sorts of online stuff, but fell asleep in front of the television.

21. Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?

I've felt low, but never anywhere near rock bottom.

22. Current hate right now?

I don't think I actually hate anything right now. A few slight annoyances at worst.

23. Met someone who changed your life?

Everyone you meet changes your life in some way or other.

24. How did you bring in the New Year?

Probably watching television. Fairly uneventful.

25. What song represents you?

XTC's "One Of The Millions". A likable song of inertia and procrastination.