Philosophy Movie philosophy actually, courtesy of YIL: "Don't sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. Don't sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.", "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side." and my favourite "You may not know the moment love begins, but you always know the moment it ends." Might I also add: "Life can move pretty fast. You don't stop to look around once in while you could miss it."

Music A fantastically passionate article from freakytrigger about a Dexy's Midnight Runners song, which reminds us how three minutes can change our lives: "But even in this context "Come On Eileen" still stands alone - a perfect marriage of subject and effect, a song about the public impact of pop that has soundtracked surely tens of thousands of kisses, heart-skips and tears. I find it tireless, moving, almost awe-inspiring, and its survival and popularity only adds to that awe. The first time I ever DJed, when we had to lie to the promoter that we weren't going to put on any 80s music it was so unpopular, I played it three times and the walls swam in sweat."

Quiz Dare you take the Are You A Sad (Male) Sci Fi Fan Quiz? I scored 46% "No doubt about it, you bloody love space. You know the best way to disable a cyberman is by rubbing gold into his chestplate, you know the names of all the Ewoks, you know how to say "phasers to stun" in Romulan, but you can't remember where you live. You'll watch any old tosh as long as it's got robots in it, and you will end up married to a goth librarian with the Seal of Rassillon tattooed on her neck. We hope you'll be very happy together." I might point out that whoever wrote the quiz also knows their science fiction references...

Rings The nitters are already picking: "In the credits, the word "Technical" is spelled "Technicial" in one instance (it's on the right side, reasonably early on, but they move so fast it's hard to say what it was for)." How many times have they seen the film? [via theonering]

Fashion The lanerie market is currently beset by monopolistic tendencies. Items which seem to be from totally different manufacturers are actually from the same company trading under different markets. Good business sense or lying to the customer? Lucire investigates.

Wars N'Sync are not going to be in Episode II after all -- does this mean Lucas will also bow to fan pressure over Jar Jar? [Metafilter thread]

Blog! And our final report tonight is of a hit and run accident which occured is Orange County last night. The victim, H, picks up the story: "I was in a hit and run accident with a really drunk asshole last night. If you live in Southern California and want to be my hero forever find him. He drives a silver/grey mid 80's American car with out of state plates (Nevada?) The plate number is either 754 MSX or something very similar to it. The cops suck, They didn't even go after him, Isn't that the worst thing you've ever heard? I got lucky, I'm fine, But the next person he hits might not be." If you know who the man was contact I am Marla's Dress as soon as possible. Now, please, don't have nightmares, do sleep well...good night.
Education Imagine how you would feel. You've toiled for nine months in preparation for resitting an exam. Then, just before you're due to take it, you find out that there had been an administrative error and you'd passed it anyway in the first place. You could have spent that time contructively working on an extra subject which have helped you into university. Now all you're qualified for is a back end college. I've heard this story a few times before actually, stemming from the cock-up that was results day in Scotland last year when thousands of teenagers received the wrong results, most shrugged and moved on. Not this girl. She's going to sue: "This is one of the more extreme cases to come out of the fiasco. Many of the other pupils who were let down did not bother to sue because they wanted to get on with their lives. But Claire feels she is entitled to claim compensation for the stress, distress and trauma this has caused her. We are also trying to claim compensation for the fact that she spent a year unnecessarily studying a subject again, which may have harmed her academic career. There is no legal precedent for the latter claim, so we are breaking new ground." Fingers crossed.
Science I've often wondered what would happen if Changing Room's Linda Barker would be let loose on the universe. Without a doubt, the moon wouldn't stay grey for too long and she'd be arranging the asteriod belt into arrangements influenced by eastern philosophy. Of course, that last sentence is just a Richard Madeley style segway into the rather unusual finding that the real colour of the universe is a rather lovely shade of pastel green, as reported by CNN. Personally, I think it looks more like mint ice cream. Hmm...I should get some of that.
SMS Watching Mtv's Video Clash is always a dubious and curious option. Apart from the choice of combatants (in recent episode the boy band 'Blue' Vs PJ Harvey), is there real value in watching a scrolling message featuring comments like 'show us your arse robbie we luv you b & jules'? And I always wonder how many people actually txtd anyway. Well it seems too many. Thousands of messages are actually being junked before they even reach the channel's servers by the network operators: "The problem arises when broadcasters don't warn us they are publicising a text message number," said an Orange spokeswoman, "Radio 1 uses a machine attached to the back of a PC, which can only handle a slightly greater volume of messages than an average mobile phone can."
Spring Term 1986 - Christmas Holiday "Christmas" The Eve, was one, darn exciting day. Wrapped presented, watched the telly, read my chapter story, went to bed. Next morning I woke up and saw my christmas stocking and sack. I open what was there was and went down stairs. Then we opened our present. I got: a Transformer, A joystick, 10 computer games, Cluedo, TV Times Quiz game, Annuals, 2 Star Wars figures, Burtons gift token, spider-man story tape, Band-aid (one year on), 3, 15 minute computer tapes, and Dr, Octopus. Then we are: Steak, sprouts, spuds, Lemon, gravy, apple. and for afters: chocolate gateu, cream, Ice-cream.

[Who needs 'I Love the 1980s' when you've got a list of Christmas presents like that one. I'm an only child so this would seem to be my only defence for being so terribly spoilt, even at the age of eleven. On the actual journal page, the presents are listed on the page from top to bottom in various shades of felt-tip pen and there is an illustration of the joystick (actually it's a black blob with a big red blob on top which I think are the buttons). I was still using an Acorn Electron at the time, so I suspect those computer cassettes would have stored the ceaseless genius of the type in games from 'Electron User'. The Doc Ock was from an early attempt by Marvel comics to ship action figures under the banner 'Secret Wars' and as usual whilst other people no doubt got Spider-man I got the less popular villian (my first Star Wars figure was Bib Fortuna). I think this somehow sums up my life. I've still got the TV Time game around somewhere, although at the time it was terribly difficult to play unless you had an encyclopedic knowlege of ITV programmes. I wasn't watching channel 3 even then.]
Verse II And the answer to the brief riddle. Everyone and nobody. Although this Mr. Anderson does seem to want to pin it on two teachers in the deep south of America. Why does everything go back to The Big Country? "The next time you hear “Happy Birthday” in a movie—and now that you’re listening, it won’t be long—stay for the credits at the end of the movie. Think about how Hollywood would love the story of the Hill sisters, two Southern kindergarten teachers who write a song that they only hope will be a useful teacher’s aid. Instead, the song is a hit that never goes away. It is sung hundreds of millions of times each year, a musical juggernaut that tops the efforts of Tin Pan Alley’s best. Appropriately, then, film credits are the one place left where Mildred and Patty Hill still get their due."

Life And finally I present what happens when you admit to anyone you might know something about 'computers': "No I'm not your personal Microsoft hotline, and when I go to your place for dinner, please dont ask me if I could "Just take a look at something" you've been having trouble with. The next time you tell me you pride yourself on how much you've learned about computers over the years, just know that I'm thinking "Bullshit" over and over in my mind ya prick." Genius.
Hello To everyone who's clicked through lately on account of Darren at linkmachinego splattering one of my titlebar's across his weblog. Deeply humbled and embarassed. What is there to say but thanks for visiting and keep checking back weekly for a new one. And if anyone has any suggestions for who they would like to see up there, Outlook is one click away (erm ... that would be the comments link at the bottom of this post).
Style As I think I've mentioned before I'm a bit fascinated with the Goth lifestyle. At the time I couldn't quite put into words exactly why -- luckily Claudia Conway of AMP magazine is one hand with this six month old article (just being honest): "From an anthropological point of view, it's just fascinating trying to follow the disparate strands that bound these people together - hardcore piercings 'n' PVC pervs will sneer at half-hearted 'Spooky Kids' and cute Glitter Goth girls will laugh off white-swathed Medievalists, and everyone will deride role-players." Alright then, perhaps nooo ....
Rings After misty eyed review yesterday, it comes as no surprise that this little film has won it's first best picture -- at the American Film Institute, US films unglitziest ceremony, behind the Blockbust Video show where only the winners show up. Not that anyone turned up for this one either: "But so few of the winners of the AFI Awards were present that backstage wags quickly dubbed the event the M.I.A. Awards. Presenter Samuel L. Jackson joked that he'd hold onto the absentee winners' awards, and that they could pick them up at his house."
Blog! In the spirit of my friend from Greece, Fani, returning after the christmas break (who I sadly won't see for a few weeks during her exams) I looked up a few Greek webloggers and found Fenia, the flight attendent's LogBook. I mean some weblogger's want to make, like, big statements and stuff, and others just link to stuff they like, but some just want to tell friends who they don't see as often as they'd like what they've been UP TO :o) and where they've been to. Fenia's been to Tel Aviv, Toronto and Kalamata and that's just in the past fortnight!!! (sorry I'm suddenly overcome with a warm glow -- I suspect it's the caffiene) Anyway, many kisses, hugs and my best wishes to you too, Fenia. Fly safely.
Verse 'Happy Birthday' is the most famous song in the English language. Pop quiz. Who wrote it? The answer will come later in today's weblog.
Askew A fantastically negative review of 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' from The Budapest Sun: "The biggest problem is that this just isn’t funny. Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) speaks twice in the film, in a hackneyed dramatic device, but apart from this we are subjected to Jay’s dope-head rambling rants involving wee, poo, farting and getting a certain part of his anatomy sucked ... This is actually the saddest and most negative film I have seen all year. It left a stale, rancid taste and, in this festive season, an unnatural feeling of ill-will towards all men ... I didn’t laugh once and neither did most of the audience, no doubt bored with one joke running now for four identical films."
Commuter Life There has always been a dread at the back of my mind that my commuter train would be effected by stike action, and that bereft of transport I wouldn't be able to make it into work. It's going to happen. Conductors are going out because they haven't been offered the same pay deal as the drivers. Personally it's the buffet cart people I feel sorry for. They're bound to get caught in the middle. And as always there is always the other view...
Music This is odd. It seems perfectly natural to go to a pub and see 'The Maximum Who' -- you aren't going to hear the real thing live any time soon, so this is the next best thing. But can some explain to me the point of tribute albums by unknown artists in the world of the CD? I'm not talking about radical re-inventions like Travis' 'Hit Me Baby One More Time'. I'm talking about specimens like 'A Tribute to Alanis Morissette'. Here we have a compilation of arguable the Canadian's best tracks recreated by a selection of unknown artists. The problem is they haven't tried to change anything. They've produced what is basically a photocopy of the original. Even the nonsenses from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie are there, all note and vocalisation perfect. Huh?
Obituary Jennifer Jane Brown has died.
Film Watching ‘Serendipity’ after the above three hour opus was bound to be a let down. I’m happy to report that it still had a spark despite it’s obvious derivativeness. This is film as Aibodog – safe, reliable, predictable. This is another high-concept rom-com in the style of ‘One Fine Day’ and ‘Martha meet…’, and I’ve always had a soft spot for those. John Cusack is of course playing his usual self – but there is something comforting about that, reliable. Kate Beckinsale manages to overcome Pearl Harbor embarrassment producing a sparky little rom-com showing – this is the girl we fell in love with watching ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This is a Nora Ephron film without sentimentality (a good thing).

A few criticisms. Cusack and Beckinsale don’t spend enough time on screen together even though there is an obvious chemistry there. It looks wrong that the twin towers are missing from the scenes set in the past.

But a major flaw is in the motivations of the characters. Much of the time we have little sense of desperation – for this to have worked we needed to feel that perhaps this is the last chance either of them have to be happy. This would have been brought out in the scenes when they are with their respective fiancĂ©s – the feeling of making do which made Meg Ryan’s search in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ so important. Beckinsale doesn’t seem too unhappy in her relationship with Chris in the Morning on K-Ber, just a bit overlooked (and we ought to wonder what kind of heartless wench would still dump the guy who travelled all the way across the country to find her and traipsed about a much of hotels in the freezing cold looking for her). Cusack’s character seems to brush off his wedding a bit too easily – making him seem a touch unsympathetic. The only thing which seems to be wrong with his fiancĂ© is blandness, as far as we can tell. Instead we just have the story of two people going to extra-ordinary lengths just because they fancy each other a bit. But on reflections this could be the one message the film has in it’s favour. Never to let those tiny moments of romance pass you by.
The Buses Bus travel in Liverpool is always an adventure. Always seem to be on board at the moment when a couple start to have an arguement, some drunk is chatting up a pensioner or there is a breakdown. Frankly I'd be happier on a journey like the one Kirsty Ross of took in Bolivia: "The cacophony of snorts emanating from the crate of ill-mannered piglets seated just off the aisle failed to wake the baby that was sleeping contentedly on my feet. A limegreen parrot with a roving eye and colourful diction completed the menagerie aboard the bus to Rurrenabaque. To add to my discomfort, the windows had been thoughtfully glued shut, much to the disgust of the ravenously thirsty dog in the front row." [from journey further]
TV Channel 4 has pulled the Jon Ronson documentary about Jonathan King because of a legal considerations over content. "Written and directed by Ronson, the programme is also understood to contain allegations against other 1970s pop impresarios who frequented the Walton Hop disco where King picked up boys." Can open, worms everywhere... [Ronson's obligatory article from The Guardian]
Film I don’t quite know were to begin. Now and then there are films that are so overwhelming, so able to consume my emotions that I’m scarcely able to comment beyond superlatives. The last time this happened was ‘The Matrix’ and before that ‘The Red Violin’. This is a film feeling as old as time itself, yet relevant and shiny new. Ancient, yet modern. If I even began to start a proper review I’d be here for days. So I won’t. I’ll leave you to see it and feel as dumb-struck as I do now. Believe me when I say this – in forty years your great-grand-kids are going to look up at up at you in amazement when you tell the story of the first time you saw ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that film they watch on digi-pic every Christmas. So treat it with the kind of occasion you afford a birth or a marriage. Yes, it’s that important.

If I had to select one aspect which makes me wonder if anyone else will bother making any other fantasy films now, it’s the scale. Such quest films, even featuring a group of characters who travel from one end of a land to another, are always rooted in a locale. ‘Conan’ had it’s deserts. ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ is mostly set in yes, dungeons. Even ‘Shrek’ finds himself lost in forests and fields. In ‘The Rings’ we gat all of these and many more. Instead of wondering why these people are still in same place even though they’ve walked a hundred miles, we get a sense that they have travelled. Whenever they take a rest we are happy to rest with them and feel just as annoyed as they are when they’re disturbed by some invading army or other horror.