November 2006 Archives
Well, I said I wouldn't post again until I got back, but here I am in the middle of a six hour stopover at Singapore Airport.Â We're both pretty bored, though found some free internet stations.Â It's also flipping HOT.Â 32 degrees when the plane landed earlier. Saw Pirates of the Carribbean 2 on the plane last night.Â OK, but not exactly spectacular.Â More of the same if you've seen the first film.
I'm off to New Zealand for a couple of weeks with my girlfriend touring the North island in a camper van, so I shall not be posting here again until early December.
Having watched the LotR films a few years ago I decided to buy the books and read through them. I splashed out on the big heavy illustrated edition, but upon opening the cover I found it to be a long, long slog that frankly bored me, though I persisted and eventually finished the books (finding the appendices more interesting than the story itself). What put me off was the pages and pages of description where nothing happened. Undoubtedly, this attention to detail aided the visual look of the excellent films, but I can't understand why people think this wooden prose makes LotR some of the best books every written. Admittedly, having the film's imagery fresh in my mind and me not adjusting well to the slower pace of the books didn't help. To draw a (rather strained) parallel, it's a bit like The Da Vinci Code - good plot, but awful writing. I'm currently in the middle of reading The Hobbit for the first time in my life. I'm up to where Bilbo and the dwarves have reached the Lonely Mountain, nicked a few gems, pissed off Smaug and are now wondering how to kill the dragon and make off with tons of loot. I'm finding it much easier going, though it too gets seriously bogged down in places. I'll stop before I fall foul of the same leaden pace, but am I alone in this critique of Tolkien's writings?
I take back what I said in this post. Torchwood is not clichÃ©d sci-fi staple - it's utterly bonkers nonsensical tripe, though somehow it's still remarkably entertaining. The only thing of interest now plotwise is finding out just how old Jack Harkness actually is. Also, their CG artists could do with learning a thing or two about lighting - the monster fairies looked awful. We can do much better in real time on a games console these days, there's no excuse in pre-rendered stuff. Also, they didn't seem to figure out the rather obvious problem of showing a woman taking photos with a flash, which ended up somehow lit from the side. In fact, the light fairies didn't cast any light on the world at all, though I can forgive that as it's harder to do.
I couldn't sleep last night, so I decided to see what was on TV in the small hours. We have a Freeview (free to air digital TV in the UK) box so have quite a few channels to choose from. Unfortunately, it appears that in the small hours at least ten of these channels (including a couple of mainstream ones) show phone in quiz shows all night. One channel was simply showing a scantily clad woman sat on a comfy chair and people could phone or text in to chat with her (at premium rate I might add!). They didn't even appear to have any adverts as the shows seem to be paying for themselves. I wasn't expecting the best TV ever at that time, but was at least thinking there'd be a decent film or two - maybe an interesting repeat of a documentary, comedy or drama. Instead we've got the cheapest possible TV production with an apparent revenue stream from insomniacs with a phone.
Is it just me, or is Halloween not really celebrated very much in Britain any more? I didn't see much evidence of Halloween stuff in the shops during October (apart from Woolworth's, which is probably still trying to flog last year's stuff), very few houses around had any decorations and we didn't get a single trick or treater ring our doorbell on the night itself (possibly because we don't have a doorbell...). I think this is because Halloween is so close to Guy Fawke's night (tonight!), which I think is far better and appeals to that deep sense in people's mind that setting fire to things and blowing them up is exceedingly good fun. However, I've not seen a single kid with a pathetic looking Guy trying to beg for money outside shops this year. I think there are two reasons for this.
- The youth of today have more profitable ways to make money - like having children and claiming benefit.
- The fall of Blue Peter. Kids no longer have any idea of the skills required to stuff a pillowcase full of newspaper and make arms, legs and a head for it.
I've seen the first three episodes of the BBC's new Dr Who spinoff and I'm generally quite impressed. The two main characters are entertaining and interesting, though so far we don't know much about the others. The humour in it reminds me of the excellent Farscape and it's nice that they're not bothering to try to make Cardiff look like London any more, especially since the Welsh capital has such landmark (though perhaps too modern) architecture. The only problem I have with it is that the plots so far are (like Dr Who) just clichÃ©d sci-fi staple - not exploring anything new or interesting. They keep banging on about "It all changes in the 21st century" which is promising, though hopefully it won't take 94 seasons before they reveal all... I've not checked the internet, where such things are almost certainly already known, but I'll bet anything that the Doctor himself will show up before the end of the first series (and Torchwood will no doubt continue to appear in the 3rd season of Dr Who).
I thought that in the last couple of years living in Guildford that I had finally escaped this pandemic taking over the country, but I've just nipped into town for something quick to eat to find North Street invaded by a whole gang of the fuckers. In the pasty shop they were pissing around shouting to each other as though no-one else was there and bullying the staff in the shop too - "Not that steak slice, this one... No, the other one." as if it makes a difference. To be fair, the staff took it well and eventually the manager (I presume) firmly asked them to quiet down or they'd be kicked out. They didn't argue then, so at least they're not quite as bad as the affliction in the country's larger cities, but still fucking annoying. I then headed outside after making my purchase and they're all hanging around at the bottom of the street shouting away, throwing their food at each other (and passers by) and making complete cunts of themselves. Of course, they're probably just trying to get their trophy ASBOs.