Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bear with me...

I've just upgraded my blogger template to the new Beta Blogger template style meaning all of my customizations must be carefully reapplied. Hopefully normal service will be resumed by the end of the day.

Takes all sorts...

Once again I find myself amused by the search terms that bring people to this backwater of the interweb.

Looking at my statcounter information for yesterday I see that at least one person has been dragged here after searching on Tiscali for "where to go cottaging in Leicester".

They will have been sorely disappointed by the result of this search I fear.

More bizarrely I find that someone is looking for the "big fish little fish cardboard box lyrics" so they will have been probably quite surprised to come across the tongue-in-cheek whimsy that is the "K9 and Company : The Next Generation" episode guide that Glitter for Brains Lee and I wrote years back.

I still find that one amusing as it happens. As it happens Lee and I wrote three pieces of somewhat inspired Who-ery at the time - the others being a brilliant Julian and Sandy Sketch called "Bona Cybernetics" (which I may yet publish here one day) and also one which is potentially our finest hour: a spoof history of the true beginnings of Doctor Who which must never see the light of day due to the potentially libelous nature of much of its contents.

Which in many respects is a great shame. It means the wider world will never know of the secrets of the Blue Peter brain garden, nor of Who's early East End Mafia connections, or the precise quantity of opium needed to hallucinate CS Lewis.

But there we are. Such is the hazardous path a writer must tread.

Strumping About

One of the words served up by my Forgotten English calendar last week was the wonderful "strump" which I must confess is a word I had ne'er encountered before.

Turns out that it means "to tread heavily or pace about; whence, probably, strumpet, a street walker".

I find it fascinating isn't it that a derived word such as strumpet can happily remain in use (albeit in less common usage than I'd like) whereas its origin can just fade slowly away.

I shall be using "strump" more often in future I can assure you.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Weekend in the Provinces

Sad fact # 15436387625. It takes about 1.5 hours to travel from London to Canterbury. It also takes about 1.5 hours to travel from the improbably named Ashford International (trust me - Ashford is a dump) to Brussels.

I know this because on Thursday I wandered down to Canterbury to spend the weekend with the folks and on Friday we all went to Brussels for the day to celebrate Dad's 60th Birthday.

Our rail network's a joke it really is.

Anyway, a pleasant weekend (near not a single computer) was spent. I actually did some work on my novel on Sunday - at least until the cat decided to involve himself in the creative process and sit on my notebook - read a lot of newspapers, enjoyed the Pet Shop Boys live album "Concrete" (oddly Rufus Wainwright's delivery of Casanova in Hell didn't irritate me this time round - I must be warming to him) and enjoyed having various meals prepared for me. The added hour in bed on Sunday meaning I felt quite refreshed by the end of it.

I must admit I didn't take to Brussels. It had some fine lovely old buildings, but at the same time the city as a whole just seemed scruffy, seedy and unkempt. And it didn't seem to offer much in the way of attractions beyond lace, chocolate shops and art galleries. As it was Dad's birthday we did the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts which, it has to be said, bored my stepbrother and I silly.

Okay, there were a couple of pieces which caught my eye - being of unusual tones and composition - but on the whole I don't care for oil paintings. The tones and colours are just dreary (mainly due to the age I know) and to be fair there are only so many paintings of the crucifixion that one can take.

We ended up amusing ourselves with deciding what the rooms would be used for once we'd taken over the world and made it our palace.

Plus we had a couple of nice meals (oh I do love mussels) and I managed to buy myself some Kwak beer and one of the special glasses to drink it from (scroll down that link - you'll see why it appeals) so all told it was quite a fun trip - and Dad enjoyed himself enormously which was the main thing.

That I didn't have to fly to get there was also a definite plus.

So yes, by Sunday - despite having had something suspiciously akin to an ear infection for several days now - I was feeling bouyant, relaxed, refreshed and ready for anything.

Sadly yesterday afternoon on my return I became subject to a sore throat, this was joined in the evening with a blocked nose, and then alternate hot and cold flushes decided to join the party overnight to stop me sleeping.

This is what happens when I finally unwind - I get ill.

So I'm at home to recover. Except I'm not recovering. I was going to sleep it off, but it seems that next door have building works going on.

And as far as I can tell the workmen are using Thor's hammer to do the work.

My head is killing me now. Gah!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

So... Torchwood

Well, I think it's fair to say we enjoyed Torchwood the other night. Sunday evenings will never be the same again, I think.

My only real niggles were that for a series which we were so repeatedly reminded was going to be separate and distinct from Doctor Who, there were some heavy nods to the other series. The TARDIS being the cause of the perception filter and Jack's feverish attachment to the Doctor's hand-in-a-jar were both references I felt were just a bit too much. Still I suppose anyone who hasn't seen - or indeed won't see - the other series will not be bothered too much.

I can also see Jack not being able to die causing some dramatic difficulties, aside from stretching credibility a tad too much. I mean, unable to die or no, he's now got a sodding bullet lodged in his brain. That's gotta cause complications, surely?

I did also feel the resolution of the first episode was a little illogical - why would someone intentionally test such a device when there was a risk of them being identified as the killer by the person you're reviving? Eh? Eh?

I suppose you could just argue she was unhinged of course. You can get away with quite a lot like that.

But still, despite those niggles, it was pacey, gory, twisty, funny, beautifully shot and also managed to have some very classy titles and incidental music which didn't drown everything out - the latter two points being ones on which it scores highly over Who in my opinion.

And there aren't many series around where you can see a guy get shagged to death by an alien after all.

If I could choose a way to go I think that'd probably be it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Covered in Bees!

Yesterday, in amongst a plethora of other activities (I just don't seem to have stopped doing one thing or another so far this weekend) I popped up to Colindale to meet my dad for lunch at the National Honey Show.

This was actually not so much "popping" as slowly and painfully making my way there since (again) the sodding Northern Line was having engineering works on our bit - and will apparently be doing so for a few more weekends damnit. So it was all slow and painful and cramped conditions a-go-go on Rail Replacement Buses and so on, but I got to the RAF Museum conference centre anyway.

Now, I'm afraid that for the uninitiated seeing yet more jars of honey on display does tend to get a bit dull after a while - but in any case, amongst a couple of other wins, Dad managed to get a first prize in a national category which was gratifying for him and which certainly deserves a big "yay".

Yay!

It was however in the exhibition shop that my interest in the hobby was truly piqued.

No, it wasn't a boy (although one of the exhibitors - from KBS I think, whoever they are - was bloody hot) but merely my discovery of a couple of books on the subject of "Queen Rearing".

I pointed this out to Dad who just grinned at me and went "it's a technical term, Rob, you needn't don't get too excited".

So I didn't.

However, the subsequent idle conversation (regarding Johnny Kingdom rearing badgers) did result in the discovery that my half-brother Daniel has developed an incredibly dirty laugh.

Seriously. He'll be like Sid James in a couple of years I bet you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Day Two

Today is the second day on which I have been wearing my glasses at work.

Both the standard and tinted specs turned up on Monday, see, both in very cheap cases (you'd have thought Armani would be a tad more generous considering the sodding cost) and I was reasonably confident in their suitability to decide to take the plunge and wear them to work.

Surprisingly few people commented considering no-one had ever seen me in them before. There have been one or two double-takes and a couple of intrigued "so why start now?" conversations, but otherwise it's been a pretty positive reaction, all told.

Thankfully the prescription hasn't been too difficult to get used to, in fact my only real complaints are two-fold: 1) that I'd forgotten how often you have to clean the darned things (damn my long lashes); and 2) the bridge on my nose is making me paranoid about grease forming. I feel quite icky just thinking about it, to be honest.

I must admit I am still putting my lenses in for the gym, though. Not just for vanity - considering the presence of one or two ├╝ber-fit boys - but also because I'm too scared they'll bounce off or get crushed or something.

And at their price I ain't keen on that happening, I will admit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Walking Wounded

So last night we had the second Rampant Thingbox Sauna Party which - despite me no longer qualifying for membership due to my departure from the site - I gatecrashed due to it being: a) a public place, and: b) organsied by the flatmate.

No, I didn't partake of any action. Aside from the fact I'm really not casual-encounter oriented by nature (you know, fine if the mood takes me but it rarely does) I also managed to rip my knee open as I got out of the pool which kind of crimped my style.

Let's face it a great big bandaid isn't exactly sexy - I might as well have been covered in plaster-of-paris or have "damaged goods" stamped on my forehead.

But it was fun, nevertheless; to be honest I'm more happy about getting interest than actually getting it on, and I do genuinely enjoy the purging effects of a sauna and steam. This time I even splashed out on a massage which was - after a now typically hellish, hateful and soul-destroying day at work - extremely welcome.

And then of course we trolled along to Pizza Express for the meal and drinkies which it seems is now part of the tradition. Here the conversation veered between alcoholic beverages, Lidl, the importance of teaching Polari to the new generation of pooves (I have a feeling the Campaign for Real Polari - CARP - will be starting soon), and various intriguing and possibly wildly insane artistic events that young Howard was devising on the spot.

I do feel increasingly it's what life's about. Engaging conversation, good food, good wine, relaxation and the opportunity to see one or two very fit people with next to no clothes on.

This is not, I feel, in any measure a bad way to spend an evening.

Shoes Glorious Shoes

Our office cleaner, it must be said, is a bit crap. The devastation she leaves in her wake (mice hanging down the back of desks, broken cups, books and work-related documentation switched between desks) is always vaguely annoying but last night it appears she excelled herself.

I keep my shoes at work, switching to something more comfy to travel in (as indeed I do my work trousers during the week). I place them well out of the way under the desk and thus far nothing untoward has happened to them.

Until this morning when I reached for them and found one solitary lonesome shoe under my desk.

To make matters more interesting, it wasn't even my shoe. It was a size 10 with a buckle, not a lace-up size 12.

Further hunting around the immediate area revealed a second shoe which was mine, but no companion.

Luckily I twigged who the buckled shoe belonged to, and found my missing shoe right next to their pair's other half, tidily placed side by side under the IT manager's desk.

I'm charitably assuming this wasn't just a half-arsed job, and more some kind of intelligence test to see if I'd notice. But I think even I would struggle to fit into a size 10, and if I did I'm sure it wouldn't take me more than an hour or so to start wondering why they were pinching so much.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Goodbye Lenin

I am, despite my obvious pretensions and sneering arrogance, something of a cultural philistine really.

For instance, I'm not really into films - preferring marathon runs of TV programmes - and I rarely go to the cinema. In fact the last time I went to the Odeon on Holloway Road it was to see Van Helsing.

You can see why that might put me off, right? The most entertaining moment during the whole experience was when the flatmate leaned over in a practically deserted screening room and whispered about the couple in front "he's going down on her".

To be honest even as gay men we understood the comparative appeal of cunnilingus compared with the sewage being sprayed across the screen, so we didn't complain. (Although equally we didn't offer words of encouragement either.)

But if there's one type of film I tend to avoid like the plague even at home - aside from anything starring Will Ferrell, natch - it's anything with subtitles. Mention that it's a foriegn film with subtitles and my guard goes up in an instant. I usually get suspicious and start making excuses about one hundred things I have to do first (have all my teeth pulled, whitewash the cat, buy a cat first, that sort of thing).

To be fair, I suspect this isn't much to do with the fact it's a foreign language. That's certainly the case with pop music - if it ain't in English then I can't understand the lyrics so I'm just not interested - but I have no objection to watching a film which is in a language other than English if they'll subititle it.

But no, the problem is that most of the films that get classified as world cinema just don't interest me at all. The style and subject matter wouldn't interest me if they were in English either. Or even if they were in American. Suggest something along the lines of "Un homme et du Sel" or whatever and my gaze could freeze the blood in your hand.

But there is - as always with me - an exception. It was on BBC Four last night, and it's called Goodbye Lenin and I love it to bits. I was planning on doing allsorts of things last night but the second I saw it was on I dropped everything and remained glued to the screen.

I was, also, quite fortunate in that the flatmate was out and so I could happily indulge in the flood of tears the ending evoked in me (loss of parent issues, I get this from time to time). If you haven't seen it you really should because it is utterly beautiful, touching, heart-rending and yet at the same time preposterous and funny.

And I find myself vaguely surprised that a forign language film with subtitles should come along which vaults its way into the very short list of my favourite films ever.

Van Helsing, you'll be relieved to hear, doesn't even get a footnote.

This is MySpace

"He took her to a disco to dance the night away.
He took her to a disco - a discotheque Francais."
One of the things that surprises me most about MySpace is not so much the appalling customisations that people make (my eyes! my eyes!) but that so many artists and record companies stream entire tracks on them.

I mean, surely people must know that those of us with something like Total Recorder installed can record any streaming music and dump it on our MP3 players?

I suppose they rely on that fact that only about 10% of computer users actually know what they're doing, or actually want an unreleased track that badly, but it still surprises me really.

That said, I am also a big Modern/Matinee Club fan and so I will naturally be buying their new material when it finally comes out anyway.

I've just been waiting for a proper copy of "Discotheque Francais" for about three years now, damnit.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Charlotte Church Show

Well, I've got admit, it's recieved some fairly bad press but I for one have found the Charlotte Church Show to be rather an enjoyable series all told.

I've never been much of a Church fan to be honest, but having accidentally tuned in to an episode during a channel-hopping Friday night, I've decided I've got rather a lot of time for her.

It's a tad shambolic, and some of the American guests clearly haven't had an idea what the hell they were doing there, but it was all good fun with a presenter who clearly is having a good time, is refreshingly honest, and is prepared to take the piss out of herself as much as anybody else.

Last night, however, was doubly worth it for the sight of Miss Charlotte completely wiping the floor with Amy Winehouse. I've never seen anything like it. Winehouse was clearly completely wasted, could barely talk let alone sing, and was all over the shop during their duet.

And it wasn't even as if Charlotte actually had to do anything other than sing her part. But by doing so she made effortlessly made Winehouse look even more of a fool. It's not as if she drew any further attention to Winehouse's performance, she just rose above it and carried the song solo, which in a way was far more damning than any joke or look askance would have been.

Frankly if that ain't star quality I don't know what is.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bastards!

One weekend. One weekend is all we've had of there not being any suspension on our part of the Northern Line.

And after that one weekend they've decided they're suspending it again.

So, if I do want to do anything this weekend, Camden is essentially the furthest I can reasonably get without having to take supplies and a sherpa.

It's cruel to give people something and then snatch it away, you do know that don't you TFL?

Bad Cover Version

I popped along to the opening night of Other Rob and Darren's new club "Hello Hooray" last night at Trash Palace. Which was rather fun, albeit totally out of bounds to me 90% of the year due to it not starting until 11:00 PM. However, since I have today off I popped along and had a time suitably enjoyable to be regretting this morning.

Ow.

Anyway, there was one moment when it was probably a good job I don't have powers of telekinesis since the bar would have been demolished within minutes. It was during the playing of "Does Your Mother Know" quite late on in the proceedings that I suddenly felt irked.

Thomas noted my puzzled frown and in response to my question "who's this" he then had cause to look puzzled himself and go "well, it's ABBA". I was, in response to this, equally adamant that it sure as hell wasn't. The arrangement was almost identical - I could have conceded a slight remix maybe - but there was something about the vocal which made me sure it wasn't.

There was a slight to and fro between us at this point because he was as certain that it was ABBA as I was that it wasn't. So I said "one way to find out" and went and asked Other Rob who was playing it at the time.

As it turns out I was right - proving once again that I have more of a producer's ear than I do any creative talent for music - and it was actually Ash performing the track - at which point I joking announced that I wanted them dead and crushed my plastic wine-cup in my hand.

But I was only half joking. I mean, I like cover versions (I have dozens of the buggers after all) but I really couldn't see the point of Ash's one. After all, why do a cover of such a famous song if you're not going to do anything different with it?

Stock Aitken and Waterman, it must be said, were never ones for straying far from their formula, but when they picked a cover version for their artists at least it adhered to their formula.

Okay, the single version of Bananarama's "Nathan Jones" sounds like someone trying to do Motown horns sounds with a Yamaha DX7 and a drum machine, but it's still an obviously PWL / Nana's sounding track. (And if you want to hear a really bizarre take on the song, the version on the WOW album is just a bizarre atonal, clanking industrial-estate type mix).

In any case Nathan Jones is an interesting choice of track because the original song itself is somehow vaguely obscure despite being a big hit at the time. (It's largely airbrushed out of Supremes history because it was recorded after the Uber-Bitch Ross left the group. )

Cover versions, I feel, are always at their best when they either rescue something from obscurity or when the artists doing the cover brings something fresh to them. The Lemonheads, for example, have a great version of "Video Killed the Radio Star" which - amazingly - makes it sound refreshingly new and different.

Similarly Erasure's Abba-esque EP contains covers of ABBA tracks which make them sound like they were Erasure's all along (albeit with better lyrics). In response Bjorn Again did the Erasure-ish EP and took "Stop" and "A Little Respect" and made them sound like ABBA songs.

In all cases the different sound only goes to re-enforce the fact that the songs themselves were so strong they could be arranged in any way and still be great.

Ash, by contrast, made "Does Your Mother Know" sound almost exactly like ABBA which just seemed singularly pointless except perhaps in the eyes of humourless musos who won't admit to liking an ABBA track. (And as we all know anyone who doesn't even remotely like ABBA is dead on the inside.)

Robbie Williams, I'm afraid, has also made the same mistake with the Holy Trinity's "Louise". It's a singularly disappointing affair in so far as the bassline, chords and middle-eight are just carbon copies of the original. Slightly different sounding synths and drums, mind, but not very.

Still it is at least different to the League's version because Williams' baritone can't hold a candle to Phil Oakey's. In fact I feel rather embarrassed for him. And in terms of the arrangement I was hoping for something rather more unusual from a William Orbit collaboration.

So yes, artists and remixers of the world: by all means bring a whole new audience to great but forgotten songs. But if you must do do your own take on a big famous classic, try to make it your own take; bring something of yourself to it and make it your own.

Otherwise you might as well just be doing karaoke. And that's rarely a good thing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Time Out

I have two days off work now. Marvellous.

I'll be honest. It's been wearing me down and wearing me out. The workload is such now that it's just crushing, and I am increasingly feeling I just don't want to do it any more.

So I'm basically enjoying four days where it's all about me. Today I'm just relaxing, doing a spot of reading and a bit of admin. And for the next few days I'll be considering my options, hopefully kicking my creative drive into gear again by starting my novel properly, and maybe doing a spot of light shopping tomorrow as well.

It's about time I started focussing on what I want to do, rather than what I think I have to. For too many months now my life's been about somehow getting through it, without any real consideration of whether where "it" is getting me to is where I want to be.

And I realised just last week that it isn't.

Something's gonna change. I'm just not sure how yet.

My... That's a hard one!

Well, apparently the Qwiz - despite my best efforts - was a bit hard. Okay, I did make a mistake in that I put some of the hardest questions at the start, but I'm still a bit surprised people thought it as hard as they did. There were, after all, no actual trick questions.

In any case everyone found it equally hard and various people found different bits harder than others so since there were no major anomalies between the scores I'm not too fussed.

It's good to have a hard one occasionally after all.

The worst bit though was the logistics. For starters getting the private booking out again in time to start the thing proved tricky and talking over them was even worse, but that soon got sorted.

Then Halfway have consistently failed over the last few weeks to repair the microphone so I had to do it by voice alone. As Colin pointed out shouting was a bad idea but it took a while to remember my old drama training and manage to speak loud without actually shouting.

It is hard work, though - especially without the mic. I've always found performance slightly draining - be it stage, training or doing the Qwiz - but in this case the crowd is fairly rumbunctious and backchatty as well so you have to fight quite hard at times to move it along and keep a lid on things.

But of course it's worth it. If only for those moments during the answers when someone got something right and they cheer or just go "yesssss", and for those moments when someone realises they should have got that one but for some reason didn't.

Oh, how I live for those moments.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Almost Prepared

Well, Wednesday's qwiz is finally written.

Most of it was done on Saturday morning, to be honest, but there have been a couple of tweaks here and there since. Daniel cast an ear over the music qwestions and - once he started to cry - I decided to switch one of them out for something else in the interests of balance.

It's been interesting writing one again, actually. They're quite an art. It's been a couple of years since I'd last written one and I'd forgotten how much of a balance you have to try and strike, making sure it's a blend of subjects and questions at varying degrees of difficulty and so on.

Make it too hard, of course, and it can seem that all you're trying to do is prove how clever you are. Make it too easy and you run the risk of not challenging or surprising anyone (and personally I do like to be a little stretched).

Still, hopefully I've managed to pitch it at the right level - only time will tell of course.

Thats if we get to do it. Apparently it's a late start due to a private party so we won't start until 9 at the earliest which is less desirable, but hey.

My only worry now, of course, is two worst-case scenarios I have to contend with on Wednesday: one, next to nobody turns up; two, loads of people turn up.

I've always preferred a happy medium.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

So... Robin Hood

Well, unlike every single one of the miraculous arrows he let loose, last night's "season premiere" of Robin Hood somehow didn't hit the spot did it?

Unlike Daniel, whose verdict as the credits rolled was that it was utterly shit, I didn't feel it was irredeemably awful but there were some aspects of it which I did feel were somewhat crippling.

One of these, to be fair, wasn't the "modernisation". Yes there was a lot of anti-war stuff, female empowerment and so on which always feels a little anachronistic in any historical drama, and yes the budget was clearly spent on making it as nice on the eye as possible whilst avoiding too much detail.

This, however, I have no problem with whatsoever. It's entertainment for a modern family audience therefore it's not supposed to be an accurate depiction (although how you'd do Robin Hood accurately given it's largely a big fuck-off myth I have no idea).

So no, all the touchy-feely new-man stuff didn't grate on me at all.

But some things did seem a little bit off. First there was just a little bit too much make-up on the ladies for one thing. The mascara and lipstick were quite liberally applied and this was, for me, pushing a little too hard at the limits of how far I could suspend my disbelief. (And as a self-confessed Who-er I can suspend it quite some way, believe you me.)

Secondly it was way too quiet. I had to crank up the volume on the telly in order to hear a word, but found the increased amplification meant the actors were competing with the hiss from the speakers for my attention. (Which, given the ridiculous size of my aural appendages, meant I did worry how much trouble other people might be having.)

The third problem is really two problems, but I think they kind of interlink so I'll blend them here. The episode did suffer badly from first-episode-itis. It was quite a ploddy setup show, to be frank. Compared with "Rose", the first episode of Doctor Who's revival (the success of which has led to the Beeb doing Hood), it did take pretty much forty minutes for any action to really happen. Okay, so dramatic convention insists the big turning point had to happen at the end of the episode, but I kind of wished that a few things had happened prior to that too.

And what made the ploddiness even more frustrating for me of course is the fact that it's Robin Hood. Anyone who's ever picked up a book or watched television in the last twenty years already knows how the setup goes, it's ingrained in our culture. And since you already know that Much, Will Scarlet, Alan a Dale and so on joined the band the conclusion therefore was pretty much foregone. The only people who could possibly find this all new are the eight-year-olds that the family drama serial is, first and foremost, targeted at.

Ah yes, the younger part of the family audience. I've yet to speak to my stepbrother on the subject, but I do know how much - at 12 years old - he finds a big snog on screen to be something irritating and a suitable reason to sigh loudly and mutter. And I remember being like that at that age too, so all things considered I suspect Robin's roving eye and propensity for sticking his tongue down the throat of women he's never met before might be a slightly alienating factor for that core part of the audience.

Still, it wasn't all bad. The performances were pretty good, particularly Sam Troughton who I last saw being dazzling in Hex and thankfully seems to have inherited his father and grandfather's talent for blending drama and comedy. He's just always watchable. Keith Allen didn't really shine out in this episode as particularly evil, but I think that this side will come out more as his schemes are continually thwarted and I kind of liked the fact he was just a complacent bully to start with.

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisbourne was quite interesting, too, and I did enjoy the fact that he never took his eyes off Robin when the two of them were together - yes, in the absence of being drawn into the plot, Daniel and I were busy building homoerotic subtexts into it all.

And on that note, it's probably a bad thing to say this, but the main positive factor for me was the presence in one place of a lot of male eye candy. And eyes is the operative word: several of the male cast seem to have been hired because they have amazing peepers: Jonas Armstrong (Robin), Joe Armstrong (Alan) and Harry Lloyd (Will) had something about the eyes that was desperately attractive. Joe and Harry would have made me sit up and take notice anyway, mind, but the eyes were very much the icing on the cake.

And in Alan a Dale's case I suspect I'd have been on my back waiting pretty much the moment he walked into my glade (Historically I do have a thing for solid, charming, pathological liars).

So, yeah. Not that impressed all told. I'll probably watch a couple more just to see how it improves, but it does have a lot of improvement to do.

Okay, so Doctor Who admittedly didn't hit the ground running - it took about half a series to really raise the bar - but, based on last night's episode, Robin Hood hit it at a mild saunter and has yet to stop gawping at the scenery.

Kick it up a gear please. And urgently.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Brainstem! Brainstem!

Busy writing Wednesday's Halfway II Heaven Qwiz (do pop along - it'll start promptly at 8:00ish) so can't update you on anything much.

By way of an offering, however, I present "The Parts of the Brain" (which actually is not totally unrelated to one of the questions).

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Food for Thought

So following my sojourn to Optical Express on Friday, I went again yesterday to actually have the eye test and then actually pay for the glasses once they'd got the prescription made up.

I am currently trying terribly hard not to think about how much the two pairs cost me.

Every time I do, I wince.

However, the optician did mention in passing that he also felt I'd be an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery. My actual eyesight's bloody lousy, admittedly, and he did say that it's pretty much at the limit of what they can treat, but apparently the other characteristics of my eyes are unlikely to cause any complications.

Which is certainly an interesting piece of information.

I'm going to have to think very hard about this.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Weekend in Brief

Gosh, that went by a bit fast didn't it?

Still, I got a fair bit done over the weekend, so it's not all bad.

One of my current ongoing projects is a rejig of the Vitriol and Old Lace site. For one thing it's to make it a bit prettier, but alongside that is a need to have it database-driven so it's editable by Daniel and I wherever we happen to be. This also means brushing up my PHP knowledge which I'm glad to say is coming on fast apace.

Managed to get some of next Wednesday's pub qwiz written too, which is shaping up very nicely (the music questions could, as it turns out, be utterly evil, but I think they're dead simple).

And yesterday I went over Daniel's to have lunch and go through the V&OL script and see what we wanted to change prior to hawking it round a few people soon.

As it turned out it wasn't the most focussed of script-sessions, essentially being more lunch with friends (not in itself a bad thing by any means, though), but the Lady Miss Roberta did drag Orlando out for a walk at one point so Daniel and I could scribble over a copy of the text in peace for a while.

Gratifyingly we found it wasn’t in too bad a shape. The main problem was the excessive verbiage which was fairly easy to remedy ("Cut it! Cut it!"). We also found two scenes we want to completely rewrite, so we scribbled down a few notes as to how they could be beefed up with extra horridness.

On the whole, though, it's looking rather good. Whether of course anyone will take up a script involving old ladies burying each other alive, accidentally taking E, forcing hearses off the road and living inside the bonnets of invalid cars is, of course, debatable - but Daniel and I are pretty pleased with it anyway.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Speccy Git

You may recall that last year I finally bit the bullet and went to the opticians to get my contact lens prescription checked out and finally - after years of not having any - buy some glasses.

I was told at the time that I really needed to be using my contacts less and my glasses more. A couple of days a week at least.

And I intended to, I really did. But I very quickly figured that the frames I'd chosen didn't really suit me - they didn't quite work, close but no cigar. But I managed to wear them more, just never in public.

But then of course the summer hit and I quickly found that I needed to wear my lenses more so I could wear sunglasses and not accelerate the crow's-feet situation any further.

So, on Friday I thought "sod this" and popped into an optician with the expressed intention of finding some frames I liked first, then sorting out a pair each of normal and tinted prescription lenses.

I spent ages in there, checking out various types and styles, getting advice from the daisy on hand, and no matter how hard she tried we kept coming back to the same frames.

Naturally I was destined to go for the most expensive. Bloody typical.

Still, I've always wanted to wear Armani. I just hadn't imagined it would be on my face.