Friday, October 28, 2005

Shock Horror! Da Vinci Code was not an original idea

Well darn me... and here was me thinking that the world was right to go bananas for the excellent original fiction writing of Mr Brown.

That's irony folks... just in case you cannot tell. And I actually quite enjoyed the damn book. [Both the history - hee hee hee - and the fiction... can you tell them apart?]

Re-writing Billy Joel

Shakespeare's Sister does the business in updating Billy Joel's lyric.

Being homophobic is "against basic decency and what American values stand for"

Too true. Glad he found courage to say what America should take as read.

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister.

Missing Bleak House

Circumstances beyond control - mostly, blooming hungry and had to cook tea - but Cloud and I missed Bleak House last night. At least there will be chance to catch up.

Ta Norm for the tip-off.

BTW: Cloud, I hope George tells you off for not identifying Gillian...

On knowing Debbie Reynolds

Hmm, Norm may be able to proclaim allegiance with Maureen Lipman, but where does that leave me? Under 40 and with that knowledge?

Telling your mobile company to "shove it!" in style the Marie way

Brilliant: hard to know which is funnier: her complaint or her change to another company (and the comments)!


Snap Rob!

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Isabelle Huppert

One of my favourite actresses, not least because goddamn it she is gorgeous, is currently the centre of attention in NYC.

I have long been adn admirer of her work and her beauty: she is wonderful in Heaven's Gate (on which I have written previously) and Amateur is a film I never tire of re-watching. How can you resist a tale of a nymphomaniac ex-nun who has never had sex? ["I'm choosy"]

Besides... Martin Donovan is VERY watchable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

To take a name (or not): that was the question

Shakespeare's Sister again does the business with a great post to generate comments:
"name changes in association with marriage and/or long-term partnership".

The comments board has been pretty active with everything from remarks about what Immigration Services require or encourage or expect to issues of dealing with family history.

For me personally I don't think I would let go of my current surname, partly because it is very uncommon (even in Germany where my dad came from), though I do have a residual love for the name Chapman which as recipients of my emails will know is the name I use there. It was the family name of my great gran etc, so I know a lot of the history of the Chapmans. That means something to me.

Of course, I could always be tempted into taking up another name --- say, Henshall or Tennant...

.... only kidding....

Cloud: you are the one for me (I'm just not about to extend that family name: your bro has already provided the requisite family additions and as I say, my name is too uncommon to let go of that easily!)

Public voting not always bad

Three awards for Doctor Who. The collective hysteria and public geekery continues (yeah!) despite John's previous criticisms at Counago and Spaves about it bringing guilty pleasures out into the open.

Damn: my annual avoidance of Children in Need may have to be modified


I guess I could video it and just skip to that bit?


Yes, yes, yes. Why didn't I think of that?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Classic Movie identity

From Kara at Radio Active.

What Classic Movie Are You?

Hmmm. I think I did a similar test before and I had the same answer. Well at least it shows I am consistent...

Three (More) Beautiful Things

(1) my students - I love them really, and many of them are such treasures.
(2) the sunlight in my office (even if I do have to close the blind to see the computer/not bedazzle my students eyes)
(3) the thought of getting my house back from the lecky and moving the DVDs back in place...

Hollywood reporter on Blackpool (and a certain actor's song and dance routine)

The review from Hollywood Reporter is medium coll about the quirkiness that was Blackpool, but this quote really made me smile.
There is a tremendous burst of energy with the appearance of David Tennant, a sexy visiting P.I. investigating a murder at Holden's just-opened casino (called an A.W.P., "amusement with prizes"). There's a good laugh when Holden greets the Scot with, "Hey, Braveheart," and they quickly develop an excellent divisive chemistry. Also funny is the scene in which Tennant and Morrissey, both more than 6 feet tall, literally tango to "These Boots Are Made for Walking," effectively dancing in step. It's here where the series is at its best.

Sleater Kinney cancelled

John Peel always kept us interested in new music (can it be one year on tomorrow?). So we keep going to gigs of bands in small and obscure venues.

Damn thing when they cancel though.

**CANCELLED SORRY**Thursday 10th November. £10adv SLEATER KINNEY
Statement from Sleater-Kinney"Sleater-Kinney regretfully must cancel their November European dates on account of medical issues. Guitarist/Singer Carrie Brownstein has suffered two severe allergic reactions within the past four months, both resulting in trips to the emergency room. Her doctor has advised that she not travel/tour for prolonged periods of time until the condition stabilizes and furthertests are conducted. The band apologizes to all the people that this cancellation affects."

Sigh. Ah well, we'll just have to try for Four Tet and Explosions in the Sky (8th November)

Marie and the important questions of life: how do YOU hang your toilet paper?

Just hilarious (especially the comment from Vern).

First lines and poor memory

Shakespeare's Sister (where else?!) has a great post today on first lines of novels.

There's some famous and infamous examples, but why can I never remember any of these when trying to think of my own!?

The tattoo you do not want to think about

Wouldn't you know that Joe would have that tale...

Architecture: the Rob view

Nice post at Rob's place on architecture, modern and old, with plenty of great pics of contemporary buildings.

Go take a look! And think about what you feel about new buildings.

More six degrees

Ah, Virginia also has the ability to link "anyone" to "anyone."

Hours of endless fun...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Six degrees

Universities can get these things down to a fine art.

Douglas Henshall gets 2 degrees of separation (I knew that)

Cloud's relative (it's a bit complicated: the brother of his aunty by marriage), David Daker, is also 2 degrees.

This guy has a link of 8, and he was born in 1835!

Feline birthday

Hak Mao blog day. 2 years apparantly!

Crawley is cool

Well, with this array of pics to delve into...

Especially love the excellent fungi at the end!

Cloud and his Napoleon obsession

He never quite got over his youthful admiration for Napoleon, which in turn led to a delight in the works of Rod Steiger (who surely offers a better "6-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon" better than Kevin Bacon does by virtue of coming from an older generation).

So we had a Steiger fest at the weekend. On the Waterfront and In the Heat of the Night. Neither unproblematic films, but boths featuring some dazzling performances.

As Cloud repeatedly says, "splendid"!!!

Cloud finally puts up his Norm poets

Ha: he couldn't choose between two so he has four and will get told off by Norm.

Choose, Cloud, CHOOSE!

Great choices btw.

From Duffman to Douglas

Now you know there is something strange going on. That's not a journey you (or I) expected to see posted...

In my wilful ignoring of some people's pleas to be added to my blogroll, I wandered (as I sometimes do: masochist that I am) over to Duffman's site of spectacular meanderings.

And what do I find?

Not only a declaration of love for Tom Stoppard, but a proclamation of pleasure for the trilogy of plays "The Coast of Utopia".

Regular viewers of this site will know I saw bits of the trilogy on many occasions: "Voyage" multiple times with just about everyone I knew, and "Shipwreck" and "Salvage" twice (or did I see "Shipwreck" three times?). I saw "Shipwreck" and "Salvage" with Helen Lisette due to admiration for Stephen Dillane; but, as my personal favourite, "Voyage," was my main repeat visit that I frequently re-read and quote from at random. I cannot think why... (ahem...)

Yes, I did spend a huge amount of money on train fares and tickets (even when I went for the £10 front row crick-your-neck tickets on the day). But as the trilogy represented the wonderful Douglas Henshall's return to the stage after five years away it was worth it.

Anyway, as much as Duffman baits me (is it a sport, perchance? Rullsenberg Baiting?) he does at least acknowledge that my boy done good in the trilogy.

And I have to be happy for that...

Oops: misplaced post and football

This should have been a post here at Rullsenbergs rather than as a guest post at Rob's (Doh... Mind, as I said in apology there, it could have been worse: I could have posted it at Blogtionary. Doesn't stop me being a dumb ass).

BTW they arrived safely (we spoke to them late on Saturday night UK time). Must have been feeling okay as Cloud's dad asked how the Wolves got on: a gripping 1-1 draw for those interested.

Got to be better than suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Yeovil.


The shame. I almost have to whisper "Not-in-gum Forest."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Age: I remain defiant

I think Shuggy's feeling the strain though.

I resolutely cling in immaturity and youthful exhuberance. Even if I too am approaching 40...

I just do not care (kinda)...

Hak Mao hits the spot feline style


Belated blogroll addition

Apart from those whose notoriety means that really do not require a blogroll link from me (you know who you are), I do like to try and add a fair number of my visiting commentators to the blog roll on the right of the screen.

So with apologies for how long this has taken me, a belated hello to Skuds.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Classic West Wing

Watched a couple of classic Season 1 West Wing eps last night: mighty fine stuff too. "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" and "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics". Glorious stuff: Toby saying Laurie's name when he's talking to POTUS just brings a twist to my stomach everytime.

[Aside: link to House! and to 24! - Lisa Edelstein playing Laurie now plays Cuddy and Reiko Aylesworth playing her "friend" (pah!) Janine went on to play Michelle Dessler]

Does anyone else feel the wind went out of the series with Sorkins departure? Is that a standard response? If so, why is it still staggering on?

I'm only about halfway through s5 at the mo, and s6 has only slightly been spoilered for me (though some have remarked it is better than s5 was). Am I wasting my time investing in its narrative?

Confess your geekiness sister!

Go on, you know you want to!

Try here for a quiz on this.

Send your poets to Norm!

He needs them! Hurry, hurry!

By special request: The Angel files

You know, I have to be honest and say that due to reasons of inaccessibility (Channel 4 screwing up; poor editing; no cable/digital TV) the first two seasons of Angel really passed me by. I sought out the Channel 4 showings at first - yes, I was there when they first butchered "City of Angel" - and although I knew it WAS a good show, I was just so hacked off by the obvious cuts and the incoherence it created that I just couldn't stick with it (also, they then started bumming it around the schedules to try and accommodate its darker tone: all that did was piss me off). I sat and cheered when "Right to Reply" - the TV feedback show - had a fan on to critique what was happening with the schedule, but I really just lost interest in chasing the still flawed screenings.

So it was only when "The West Wing" season 1 ended and Cloud and me jumped into having digital TV for a while that I really got into Angel. If you like, by virtue of us not being able to wait to find out about the Rosslyn shooting (remember that West Wing fans, back when Sorkin was around and the narrative really gripped? Happy days), I got the bonus package of picking up on Season 6 of Buffy and Season 3 of Angel. Cue Fred, Lorne, Darla and the pregnancy, the arrival of baby Connor and the transformation into grown-up Connor, falling out with Wesley (when did he get all dark and broody?) and the incarceration of Angel at the bottom of the ocean by Connor and the ascending of Cordy to the PTBs.

And then Season 4 arrived, alongside Season 7 of Buffy, and if it could be believed things got darker still. Cordy went all big bad, taking Connor along with her and bringing out Angelus to the bargain (actually, that shaman episode was one of the better ones of the season, whether or not you had been spoilered in advance about what wasreally going on). Willow came and strutted her witchy stuff to get Angel back, and Angel ultimately walked into a deus ex machina to try and put the series back on track.

[Long aside: I agree with what was said on TWP about the contrast in character development between Willow and Wesley.
Willow admits that Wesley seems gloomier. He sighs, "I've been -- I've changed. I've seen a darkness in myself... I'm not sure you could even begin to understand." Willow chirps, "I flayed a guy alive and tried to destroy the world." Well, that exchange certainly highlights the differences between Angel and Buffy. Here are two characters (or, technically, one character and one collection of quirky mannerisms) who had season-long descents last year, who made bad decisions for selfish reasons, and whose behavior had significant consequences for the other characters. But one of them has been dealing with the personal and interpersonal fallout of his decisions in virtually every episode for a year now. The other one occasionally makes jokes about that time she tortured and murdered someone. I mean, I hate Wesley, but at this point he is at least a developed character that resembles actual human beings. Willow is more like a Real Doll. In a number of ways. Fine, so Wesley mentions, "I had a woman chained in a closet..." but admits that he can't compete with the flaying, and Willow tries to comfort him, and see my previous rant. Wesley changes the subject because he clearly won't win the "who's a bigger sociopath" contest, and tellingly observes that Willow seems exactly the same as she was when he left Sunnydale. My point exactly. "Any major changes I'm not up on?" he asks, and Willow mugs, "Little things." Because she's gay now, you know. Like Cordelia wouldn't have shared that tidbit? Whatever. Then Willow asks what Fred's deal is, and Wesley gives her a confused look. We cut away before he digs out the DSM IV.
As much as I love Willow, I must admit that exchange really irked me.]

And then, although I made it as far the end of Season 7 of Buffy and the end of Season 4 of Angel, trouble struck. We went broke, and even the £10 a month the digital TV package cost us was on the dump-list. I went into a black hole of Angel-less-ness. And although I have avidly read the quotes on Vyra's website and the synopses on TWP, I still haven't seen Angel Season 5.

Didn't stop a tear coming to my eyes when I read about Fred/Illyria and Cordy in "You're Welcome".

Joe, I hope that clears up where I stand on Angel. Its not cos I don't love the show. I'll try and do better justice to my fav shows more often here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Kind of Day...

... where all you want to do is go home, collapse, eat and watch a Buffy episode.

Madness all day. Students coming out of woodwork!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fighting the idiots with our words and deeds

Great post and links here from Shakespeare's Sister on challenging idoicy.

As Cloud would cite from "The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)":
Klaatu: I'm impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it.

A nominated magazine

My friend Rita is involved with the production of a magazine called InsideOUT.

So I was thrilled to find out from her today that it had been nominated for an award at the FolioShow. They're in the Ozzie category for Best Design, New Magazine in the Nonprofit / Institutional / Custom section.

I don't know anyone whose been nominated for an award: unless there's something you lot are not telling me.

Cloud, football and the connection across nations

Cloud has a really neat post here about his connection to Lenin.

(Tenuous, but a fascinating narrative)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Yeah... just what I needed...a collision of people

Glance at one of the David Tennent fansites. Scan down the last few days news. Spot headline "Free Jimmy etc!" (scroll to 16/10/05)

Think: "I recognise that title..."

Yep - here (scroll to September 20th), and here (scroll).

Think: "wonder if they will do the voice-overs at the same time?"

Think: "I think too much, my brain will have one of its strange moments again...."

Note to Christine Anjela: I know what you're thinking, so let's not go there here! (As the saying goes, "we'll have that conversation some other time!")

The Long Farewell

Well, yesterday Cloud and I made emotional aurevoirs to his parents as they plot the last stage of their departure for New Zealand. Their plan is that they will get residency there and can live near to Cloud's bro and sis-in-law and their two kids (Grace and James). Whatever happens, Cloud and I plan to go out there next spring to visit. By then, his parents will probably know if they can get residency or not. So they may be in their own place even!

Anyway, it all felt very odd saying "bye" when in practice we'll probably only be missing out on 2 or 3 visits we would have made to see them between now and next spring. And yet, and yet.... especially as I'm now without relatives, it feels very strange to say "bye" to parental figures.

All in all, a bit draining: but looking at the bright side, next year we will get a spectacular holiday!

Beyond Belief

An age ago, before we went up to see our friend George in Aberdeen (talking of whom, hope you are settling into the new location, especially after all your excitement of going to see Ladytron) I had been on the phone to my friend Ian.

Whilst rattling away - honestly, Ian can put me to shame with the whole trail of 3-legged donkeys behind me - in the background Radio6 was playing and I vaguely recognised the track "Beyond Belief". Well, it took a while to get to that title to tell the truth. And when we did get chance to check it out at George's it resolutely said the track was by Elvis Costello and that was the version played.

But something continued to nag at us.

It was resolved when we travelled back from Cloud's parental aurevoir this weekend.

We were playing one of my infamous compilation tapes in the car: in this instance, a collection of various Lampchop songs. I'd opened the tape with various tracks we'd accumulated from several compilation CDs such as the "Beyond Nashville" and the classic Uncut collection "Sounds of the new West."

And that's where it was all made clear: both Cloud and I had been convinced that "Beyond Belief" was actually by Pere Ubu or some other random-generating avant-garde machine of popular music. Actually, it was Kurt Wagner in one of his cover moments taking on Elvis C and making him uniquely his own. In the US, you may best find the track on the Vinyl Junkie collection "Loose: New Sounds of the West Vol. 2" (Vinyl Junkie CD 111) 2/21/00. In the UK, try "Beyond Nashville: The Twisted Heart of Country Music" (Manteca) 10/30/01

It's a shame

Departure from Pandagon.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Poets at Norm

I've just sent my thoughts on Norm's Poets in English poll to him. Look here for further information on the poll and the original call for poets.

Its a semi-considered list and its not intended to be definitive because I'm not sure I have favourites above all else. Like music, poetry is tied to the soul and offers different kinds of comfort at different moments. When I want ascerbic humour, nothing beats Dorothy Parker; when I want something witty and insightful I love Eleanor Brown; when I want to 'hear' the poetry in my head, I like Liz Lochhead...

hmm, so many women... William Blake for comment on religion and society, the Mersey poets for a 1960s feel, e.e. cummings for being an early joint favourite of me and Cloud, and of course the current poet of the moment, Mr Robert Allen Zimmerman...

Anyway, my final choices are:
Elizabeth Barett Browning: for conveying love and narrative so beautifully
Emily Dickinson: for the beauty and elaborate simplicity of her language and her writing style
WH Auden: for being one of the first poets who moved me
PB Shelley: for bringing a poets voice to politics

If I REALLY have to drop to 3, I'll have to take Auden out... sniff.

Laughter and tears: recognising a lot at Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister

Ta for tip off from Kara for directing me to this which led me to this. Awh, all those opportunities to recall what makes me cry and laugh at the movies/tv.

Giggles wise: I'll think on that. I'm sure there are some crackers.

Vic, Rob and matters of charity

A really smart post by Rob - of course - on his encounter with Vic.

Read Rob's post: there's a link I could give you, but it's worth reading the full story of unions, political nattering, and alternative ways of raising money for charity.

The long weekend...

Cloud's parents go to New Zealand next week. We're off to see them tomorrow to say ta-ta for the moment. All being well, next Easter we're off to NZ to see all the family there (his bro, sis-in-law and neice and nephew moved out 3 years ago).

And the 'lecky may finally start work on our rewiring on Monday...


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Spoiler-free Serenity

Want to get a feel, but not yet seen it (or maybe even not seen the show?): you just knew Casyn would come up with the goods.

Clare's back and her page has a sparkly intro to all she is!

Its great: really clear and if you ain't already a friend of Clare's, then make yourself into one.

Clare is lovely and wonderful and her writing has great sparkle and heart and wit and sexiness.

We miss her being around in the blogworld as much (follow her links to Boob Pencil), but we know she's a busy gal.

John Peel Day

You know that it's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Damn. I forgot it's October again. Next month is NaNoWriMo. Last year I thought about doing this. Now it's so close, I'm not so sure...

A Little Bit of Boob

That's Clare btw...

We miss her; we miss her so much. But we wouldn't stand in the way of her home, family and work.

Just have to wait for the new book...

Damn language and memory

Marie brings a smile with this tale of poor memory and muddled words.

Out of a window


All I can say is WOW.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Give me Serenity

I was cool: I didn't get heartbroken that my Serenity character came up as the bad guy (81%). It's a great part and nicely played (even if, you know, part of the EVIL!).

Instead I took heart from coming up as the wisely enigmatic Shepherd Derrial Book in second (75%), and in joint third - nice thrill this - River Tam and Capt. Mal Reynolds both on 69%.

Serenity kicked ass on every level possible. It was witty (of course! JW wrote it!) and it was action-packed (of course! JW directed it!) The characters were well drawn and transferred to the big screen, and although it drew on small-screen brilliance to make it work, I definitely felt a big-screen was worthwhile.

Of course, Jayne is a git (there's a reason most of us have him come last on our list) but then Adam Baldwin plays a lot of those.

And River Tam? Totally, she is, like, AWESOME cool...

You know what? You really can't stop the signal when its this shiny!

Wallace and Gromit


Okay, that's a pretty feeble review, but the film is cheesy! It has cheese as a key theme; more than one character is obsessed with cheese (well, kinda); and its a very cheesy heart-warming film for its humour. I say that makes it well-cheesy!

There's lots of excitement and the acting is far more nuanced than many actual human actors can convey (not sure who / which that says more about really...)

And stay till the end as there's a nice gag in the final credits.

Gratuitous announcement: it's my birthday!

Sorry; really self indulgent I know.

Had a very cool weekend though with much nice food and trip to the cinema (twice!), so I can happily announce that Serenity is an absolute BLAST, and that Wallace and Gromit is a complete joy.

Better reviews on both will follow, but I doubt I will write as well as Casyn on Serenity (forthcoming, forthcoming, forthcoming....)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Call them bunnies; call them underground mutton; call them furry things...

... but don't say "RABBIT" to the people of Portland, Dorset.

What struck me when they talked about this on the radio today, was that the guy from Portland said it was "unnecessary" for the film-makers to have chosen rabbits....!

As for me, I was struck by the idea that maybe bunnies were less to blame for the landslips and collapses than the fact that the people had been quarrying there for centuries!

I can so identify with this

I knocked down, but I get up again... (as Jane would say)


Death at the Cinema

Some people are just rude and unpleasant.

Maybe that's why they get cast in roles that get them killed off.

Thanks to Marie who at least got a little bit of flirty chat with someone.

The "23rd post" meme

Via Darren (and beyond)

Go into your archive.
Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

Yikes. Well, in my case I've got a quote-heavy post entitled "Quote of the day 6 October 04: Canadian submarines and The West Wing..."

The post is on the selling of some rather duff submarines to the Canadian forces by the British Navy. Reminded of a scene in The West Wing from one of my favourite episodes, the 5th sentence is actually a line of Sam Seabourne's dialogue - "Don't buy these ships" - a phrase I felt could be easily adapted to the real-life scenario on the news.

And you thought my blog was all about the ramblings of me: most times I just take the words of other writers. And the following post? Well, of course, it was back to Joss Whedon...

Who next? Volunteer yourselves folks; I've had a busy week!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The "Hollywood Jesus" view on Buffy

Okay, this is either going to annoy the hell out of you or make you think.

Courtesy of the Recommended reading list for Issue 18 of Slayage: the On-Line Journal of Buffy Studies, this is a piece on Buffy and spirituality.

And if you're wondering what a show about Vampire Killers says about spirituality and Christianity in particular, you clearly have not read the excellent book "What Would Buffy Do?" by Jana Reiss.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Great American Songbook

Now this I like. A sister/brother site to this.

Could be worth watching.

Black and white, everytime

Of course.

John back with a vengeance

Utterly unrelated to the travels of a certain spy-boy.

Still, if he's going to make it impossible to work with gems like this and this, maybe a longer holiday would have helped?

Nah. I'm still glad he's back.

Booger Gizzardbrain (updated 6 October 05)

Alternative name.

Thanks to Marie, you can find out yours from Professor Poopy-Pants.

Yeah, thanks, I think.

Thanks to JoeInVegas and his link to DarkAngel, it seems there are some variations on this naming process.

This makes me Snooty Chuckletush

Not sure that's any better....?

The end of the world as we know it (can we postpone till after Quatermass comes out...?)

Marie makes me laugh (again) and the comments identify crucial concerns for the winter months. Please do not end the world till we have had chance to get the DVD of Quatermass...

Serenity character...

Well, I had to follow up on Casyn's findings...

My results:
The Operative.

You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative 81%
Shepherd Derrial Book 75%
River Tam 69%
Capt. Mal Reynolds 69%
Simon Tam 56%
Zoe Alleyne Washburne 56%
Inara Serra 50%
Kaylee Frye 44%
Hoban 'Wash' Washburne 31%
Jayne Cobb 19%

For some reason, I feel rather like Willow felt being identified as "Old Reliable" (or was it "Old Faithful", or "Old Yeller"...)

"Xander, I beg you not to help me..."

Shuggy goes on hiatus


I hope things get better for him.

Reasons to see "A History of Violence"

In no particular order:

1) its based on a good little graphic novel

2) as Norm says, it has Maria Bello and Ed Harris in it (for some, the draw my be Viggo Mortensen: I don't get that myself, I prefer the acting qualities)

3) it is actually rather violent but any 'pleasure' the audience might take from the violence soon gets undercut. There is a good review in Sight and Sound which HAS SPOILERS (the link is here), but I'd also urge anyone interested to read the article by Graham Fuller from the same edition of S&S that is unfortunately not available online. The film is not quite what it seems, and its ending rather reminds me of the final song from the musical Buffy episode: "Where do we go from here?" What happens when violence becomes the means to end/escape violence and its history?

Thought provoking stuff.

I have no young people to blame

... but Jane does.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Penguin Laughs (or the return of John at C&S)

BWAH!!!!! This is brilliant! *

One of a series of wonderul posts over at Counago&Spaves to mark the return of John.

Just a thought, but John, you do know that with the others posts there it took us a while to note your absence...???


Just kidding. I've been fretting like crazy!

* BWAH = generic sound of gasped laughter (close relation of MWAH-HA-HA = the sound made by evil villians in pantomime)

Talking of moustaches: a little happy birthday aside to pal George (I got him a card with 'taches on it), who this weekend induldged early in watching Season 6 Buffy on DVD despite his belief in presents being for the day itself because he couldn't bear to have Dark Willow in the house and not be gazing at the TV screen....

The uses of a PhD

Mary Midgley has some provocative thoughts on (not) having a doctorate.

As someone who has one, I cannot say it necessarily makes me more capable of seeing the big picture, or the details. I guess it depends on your subject area and the approach you take to your thesis. Do I think that PhDs can be inadequate or irrelevant to a person's teaching ability in HE or to producing fine research? Yep, because they are mostly dominant because the boundaries needed to shift rather than because of their intrinsic value or purpose (in much the same way as now it is almost impossible to get a teaching post in HE without a PhD, PLUS a list of publications).

What I would say is that a PhD can be useful: but that shouldn't make anyone believe that just because they have one, they are better than someone who doesn't.

Albums vs Singles vs Selecting tracks

Caroline Sullivan wrote a rather amusing and interesting piece yesterday on the Death of the Album. Whilst I can't entirely agree with her comments about large collections - I'm no John Peel but we're at the higher end of music collection quantities (partly because we have not yet entered the download age) - I did think her remark about there being too many filler tracks on albums very telling.

It reminded me of why I often put together compilations. Really, in some instances there are only a couple of tracks I like and the rest is just... well, dull. Maybe if I did have downloading/putting on my hard drive I would shed some of the music I own....?

But then I rather like the eclectic nature of our collection: some good, some bad, some so-so, some amazing tracks alongside the fillers on certain albums (and, despite what Sullivan said, the same can go for singles).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Simeon Solomon at Birmingham Art Gallery

I have long been telling people about the (relatively) obscure Pre-Raphaelite artist Simeon Solomon and his fall from public grace. Solomon's work has a soft flavour to it, but is worth savouring when seen 'in the flesh', so-to-speak.

You can now check out a show of his work called "Love Revealed" at the Gas Hall, Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries, on show until January 2006.

Some pictures can be seen here.


Not sure what to think about this... good move? bad move? unknown quantity?

Walk this (don't walk that way...)


(Thanks to The Scottish Patient)

Belated Pottering

I know, I know. I have only just got around to reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Will be borrowing the most recent one this coming week.

Not going to re-read 4 until after the film though...

Old Boy: revenge served very cold

Holy moley for a birthday weekend (Cloud: yesterday), we certainly had some challenging movie watching!

Old Boy is brutal and surreal: very, very strange. The cinematography is stunning, but you can't escape the feeling that your brain has been chewed by something otherworldly.

"It's okay to wear your boyfriend's boxers, but you can't wear your dad's pants"

As overheard amongst a gang of 1st year University girls in Sainsbury's.

Priceless advice.

The Grudge with Smudge

Holy mackrel... that scared the Bejeezus out of me and Cloud (not helped by the cat coming downstairs part way through and chomping loudly on biscuits in the hallway without ever coming in to see us!)

Don't care if the original was better, or not as good as Ring, it still scared the crap out of me.