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I have been trying to retrain myself to use WINDOWS+E to launch Windows Explorer, rather than Right Clicking on Start, partly because the latter means that Explorer is launched within your profile, rather than at the Computer level, which is usually fractionally closer to where I want to be.

Anyway, by pure accident, this morning I discovered that WINDOWS+R is a shortcut to the Run... dialogue, which is good news, because I use that a lot (it's faster to type 'excel' or 'iexplore' {for those rare occasions where I need IE} than it is to navigate Start/Programs/Microsoft Office/etc...).

Was offline over the weekend - doubly frustrating because I'd arranged to play Forza 3 online against my brother over XBox Live on the Sunday. Alack, alas, not to be. Some other time, then.

On Saturday evening, P and I teamed up with [personal profile] cynthia_black and her family to watch Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief; overall, I don't think it did justice to the books, and was mostly an underwhelming piece of cinema.

Work is busy, and not particularly good right now.
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...that we haven't got any heating in the office. Again.

See, since I walk in, the building feels warmer than the outside world, and therefore it doesn't immediately register that it's cold. The drivers who've come aways, though (thus discounting the short-hop folk where the cars don't really warm up) definitely do notice.

The same thing happened yesterday; it's just that yesterday, we didn't have snow settled on the ground.

In other news, the tangential discussion on this week's Football Weekly was collective astonishment on the panel's part that Jimbo (the host) hadn't seen Pretty in Pink nor The Breakfast Club nor The Goonies (yeah, 'football' weekly :-) Also good for learning how to poach eggs). He had, somewhat redeemingly, seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Lost Boys. For my part, I've not seen Pretty in Pink, nor the Breakfast Club and I'll also volunteer the cultural disadvantage that is not having seen St Elmo's Fire, nor even Heathers.

Any other 80s classics that I should've seen?

Bone Idle

Jan. 29th, 2010 08:16 am
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I drove in today - normally, of course, I walk, but I'm still feeling pretty flaky, and I also wanted to take a detour via the Sorting Office to double-check that a missing eBay purchase wasn't languishing in the Royal Mail's dungeons sans Castle Fox notification card.

It wasn't :-/ So I'm chasing up the eBay seller at the moment. Joy.

I finished watching Edge of Darkness last night - good, good stuff from the 80s; quality drama, good storyline, excellent acting, but perhaps a little slow-paced compared to today's fare. On the other hand, I had a great time geeking out over all those 80s cars. The music is an Eric Clapton/Michael Kamen combo, and those two brought in David Sandborn to do the soundtrack to the first of the Lethal Weapons. The wheel turns full circle when you note that Mel Gibson was the star of Lethal Weapon, and he's again the star of the Edge of Darkness remake being released this year.

I've also just finished reading (well, actually, listening) to Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, mainly because that's the current discussion book for the Sword and Laser podcast. It had some nice touches, although I have to confess that I suspected whodunnit rather early on (perhaps as a consequence of the book's rather limited cast). Still, some interesting stuff therein, particularly about the psychology of a post-death society, and in a world of near-infinite resource, how they get around the money problem.
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Chud has an article about James Cameron's original treatment for the concept that would become Avatar, initially entitled Project 880.

And I have to say, having read the article (but not the treatment), it sounds pretty cool - and explains a lot of things that went unexplained in the film proper.

I mention this because the good ol' Grauniad had an article talking about Cameron's envisaged Avatar trilogy, which, again, sounds as if it could be pretty cool, given the right plot.
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2009 has been a bit of an up and down year, all told, but I think I'm ending it better than I started, and I'm hoping that's what's important.

I read a lot of books - my target was 36, and I got past that. Next year's target will again be 36, but I'm going to try and read more non-fiction (new Sook notwithstanding). And I'm definitely going to try to read less Stephanie Meyer in the new year. Heck, if I could unread Breaking Dawn, I most definitely would.

We moved buildings at work in October (if memory serves): overall, I prefer the new place to the old, if only because we're squirrelled away somewhat, which means fewer walk-in distractions. Colleague H and I have been assigned a full-on project for the new year, which could well take some getting into, so I'm expecting January and onwards to be pretty busy.

DVD-wise, I've obviously discovered The Wire, which is seriously, seriously good. I've yet to finish either Battlestar Galactica or Prison Break, and I have the first five seasons of Lost waiting to go through too. As for Flash Forward, though, I think I'm going to give up on that one.

I don't really remember too many notable films. Coraline was OK, but nothing compared to the book. The Star Trek reboot was certainly watchable, but not ground-breaking. Avatar, ultimately, disappointed. Was there a stand-out film this year?

I've just received a 'Happy New Year!' text from a number I don't recognise... have at least returned the good wishes, but I hate it when that happens!

Anyway, have a good New Year, all you people! Hope 2010 brings you all things good! :D
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Quick update whilst I transfer The Wire 1x13 to a USB drive to watch on the XBox (yes, I could just as easily watch it on the PC, but I prefer the XBox, and it's the one with sound, which is obviously beneficial).

Out walking Mali on the ice this morning, and was pulled flying to land hard in the middle of the road. Predictably, there was a wide and varied audience, and it grieves me to confess that a car stopped to enquire after my health in the aftermath.

Me, I was fine - light bruising to hand, more bruising to ego. Ah well.

Have read Morganville IV, moved swiftly on to Morganville V. P and I went to see Avatar, review to follow tomorrow, methinks. Will note that there were trailers for Percy Jackson and Alice in Wonderland, and a great big display in the foyer for Sherlock Holmes, along with the trailer, which suddenly made me slightly more warmly disposed to the concept...

Am spending this evening finishing off Season 1 of The Wire, which is excellent.
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No sooner than the the Sidekick fiasco starts to dim in the memory, we learn that a T-Mobile employee passed on customer data to other networks... Not good.

I'm feeling kinda linky: awesome industrial photography by Edward Burtynsky: check out, particularly, the Oil series (not exactly uplifting, I confess, but good, all the same).

The imminent end of the year traditionally heralds listing frenzies as magazines try to capture the essence of the past twelve months in music or whatever, but the end of a *9 year means that they can do the same for the whole decade. Stereogum has been collating the various efforts, so you don't have to: a list of lists, so to speak.

More lists over at Total Film, where they post a totally non-contentious list of the 30 killer closing lines from movies.

It's been a tad breezy in Blighty these last few days: as proof, I offer this Beeb story about kite surfers jumping over Worthing Pier.

It's been a while since I've moseyed on over to The Torygraph, but I should frequent that place more often, as this collection of wildlife photography demonstrates. They also tell us about a French hotel where you can live like hamsters... Whoa, that's like high-concept (can you imagine the pitch to the bank for the small business start-up loan?)...

You've possibly not heard of Eric Roche - he was a guitarist famed for his precussive style of play, but sadly died waaaaaaaaay to young at 37. He explains how he builds up his technique in this vid here, and as an example, here's his rendition of Drives Me Crazy. I saw him live once, at Music Live at the NEC in Birmingham, and it was just mind-blowing that one guy could induce an acoustic guitar to produce such an incredible array of sounds...

Another boundary-pushing guitarist who's tenure on this earth was all too brief, was Michael Hedges: here's his take on Drives Me Crazy, which is a verily different interpretation, but the post-chorus guitar solos are mad :D He also does an an excellent cover of that ubiquitous Bob Dylan song... And here's a different version, this time with hair!

To close, Oli Lemieux training trampoline wall Dralion Cirque du Soleil. Impressive. Most impressive.
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So, P and W and I went to see Cirque de Freak: The Vampire's Assistant yesterday - fairly bland fare, to be honest; there are better vampire flicks about, and I think I'll have to dig out The Lost Boys for P soon so that he gets to appreciate the genre a little better.

I've also been lent Glass Houses, Book I of the Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine, which was recommended to me by a colleague - the same colleague, as it happens, who pushed Twiglet on me.

Y'all know about my Sookie thing, and there's always Buffy ticking along in the background. I really ought to re-read Dracula (good, good book), but I'm starting to see Teh Neil's grumble about vampires appearing to be a food group, rather than a spice...
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Back in Hull, and just returned to Castle Fox having seen District 9, which was *awesome*... although the ending seemed to be developing a touch of sequelitis. Definitely worth watching (a couple of gruesome bits, mind), and probably best to go in completely 'cold', as I did, knowing next to nothing about the plot.

I'm still ploughing my way through Sookie Stackhouse canon - finished Definitely Dead earlier this evening, and am now on All Together Dead. I'll probably cobble a review for each in due course, but just wanted to reassure you all that I haven't broken my addiction I've not lost my stride :-)

Remember the American missionary people doorstepping me in previous weeks here at Castle Fox? They pounced on my in Haywards Heath, too! Same American Christian dudes, same $63,000* smiles, same name badges.

Same response from me, too (because I've had some practice now).

The trip computer in the car told me that through the course of the week's trip I'd driven 638 miles averaging 51.4mpg, with an overall average speed of 40mph. Both the journey down and the journey back up were remarkably undistinguished - I prefer the A1/M11/Dartford Crossing route to my previously favoured M18/M1/Heathrow course. There's not much in it, either distance-wise or timewise. It's basically a 6 hour journey each way, but rather than worry too fixedly about what time I'm going to arrive, I just settle in for the duration.

HMV have a sale on, so I've picked up Buffy S2 (finally), along with the Box Set of The West Wing (for completeness' sake: at £50, it seemed silly not to).

* not quite the full deal
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Hull City 1, Bolton Wanderers 0.


In the second half, Jozy Altidore made his Hull debut, despite only having landed in the country a couple of days previously. With his first touch, he sends another new acquisition, Kamel Ghilas clear in the penalty area, and we're one up.

Anyway, the subject line refers to the semi-ironic chant that the crowd got going after this fantastic introduction in Altidore's honour: ordinarily, football chants are a lot more involved, and it is a near constant source of mirth on this side of the pond that the colonies haven't yet come up with a more inventive repertoire than 'USA! USA! USA!'

There is, indeed, a great Billy Connolly sketch* about football crowd chants, where he's describing how, as one, the crowd will all say something, complete with arm gestures and the like, and you never see anyone on the fringe sort of trying to keep up.

Wisdom of crowds, 'n all that.

Anyway, 'twas a good game, quoth I, from the safe perspective of 3 points, but in truth we were outplayed in the first half, and although we might have scored another two goals, the same could be said of Bolton. Three games in, three points on the board: it's generally reckoned that 40 points is assured safety, which, given that there are 38 games in the season, means that we need to average a little over a point a game. And that, in turn, means that we still need to pick up some momentum.

Typing this from work - am on call here from 9am to 3pm today. Then it's a mad dash home, whisk Mali 'round the Avenues before heading out again for a second viewing of HBP, this time with a work colleague who I'd promised to watch the film with (we've done the last few), but where events on either their part or mine have continually conspired to thwart whatever plans this mouse fox might lay.

* there are *lots* of great Billy Connolly sketches {"insist on Afghan melons", "about that carpet...", "Beware! Stingers!" and so on}
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Prompted by [personal profile] linaelyn's recent(ish) acquisition of same, I rewatched High Fidelity yesterday. John Cusack is always good value, but he really shines in that film...

...and it's also one of the better book -> film adaptations I can think of. They transplanted it from London to Chicago (and how I wailed on hearing that news initially), but managed to keep the book's spirit intact.
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P and I have just watched Ghostbusters - he'd never seen it before, and I saw it as a core parental duty to rectify that deficit.

In some ways, the film's not aged well, but it's still a fun tale, and P liked it a lot. But my, can you tell it's 80s or what? The women's hair... eek! :-P

Also, Dan Akroyd looks so young!
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Reasonably busy weekend, all told. Aside from the usual library and dog-walking stuff, instead of kayaking at the swimming pool yesterday afternoon, P got to paddle around Princes' Quay in town instead.

The weather wasn't being very co-operative, what with the especially timed downpours and all, but I think the main reason the boy ended up getting soaked was his paddling through the fountain multiple times :-P

I had thought that the 18:50 showing of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen would be relatively OK, but it turns out it's a loooooooooooooong film. And, truth be told, not a very good one either - the first was much better. But P liked it lots, which was, of course, the point.

Bookwise, have just finished Subsmash by Alan Gallop, which is all about the loss of the Royal Navy submarine HMS Affray in 1951. First half of the book, dealing with the circumstances surrounding her loss, the subsequent search mission and the corresponding press reaction was good. The second part of the book, mainly conjecture as to possible reasons for the loss of the boat was less compelling. Tremendously sad tale, all told: 75 people lost their lives :-(

Have now moved on to Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant, which is subtitled Guns, Votes, Debt and Delusion in Redneck America, and is very good. In fact, it seems to be addressing much the same issues as Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason, but from almost exactly the opposite end of the spectrum - looking at life for the American working class, rather than surveying the landscape from the confines of the ivory tower.
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P and I have just come back from having watched Coraline at the cinema in town: we caught the early showing, which meant that the cinema was crowded - nearly eight people in! ;-P

Coraline wasn't quite what I expected, I must confess. I much prefer the book (as any true fan surely must), but did feel myself warming to the feel as the story unfurled. The opening sequence is well freaky! :D

I've finished Necropolis, book four of Anthony Horowitz' Power of Five series. I quite enjoyed the Hong Kong setting, having ambled around some of the locations myself, it made it a little easier to visualise. Overall, though, the tale did feel as though Horowitz was trying just a bit too hard on this one - nonetheless, I'm keen to find out what happens next with the gang.

I was in Tescos getting the shopping yesterday, and happened to notice a new Philip Reeve novel: Fever Crumb. Better still, it's a Mortal Engines novel, although I'm not clear whereabouts in the timeline it's going to sit. Still, Mortal Engines was an absolutely fantastic (in the proper sense of the word) world, and anything that expands upon the legend of Municipal Darwinism can only be a Good Thing, write very large.

And finally (cue Mood), just settling down to listen to Radio 5's coverage of the Premier League's final day relegation battle. The portents don't look good for Hull, I fear - could well be us playing Championship* football next season...

* note to the unschooled in football proper: Premiership is the topmost league, beneath which sit the Championship, then League One and then League Two in that order.
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Quick post:

Took the boy to see Star Trek today - we both enjoyed it, so definitely a success.

Also, have now finished Night Rise, book 3 of Anthony Horowitz' 'Power of Five' series, and thought that it was rather good. Now onto Necroplois.

Finally, Films of Books wise, the trailer for Half-Blood Prince looked pretty good (actually, all three trailers were good: Public Enemies and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were the other two).


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