TV Just a quick salute to the good people who run the Cult websites at BBCi who have gon ahead a begun an Angel website, even though it isn't even shown on that network. The fact the beeb were outbid was a tragedy, but they're taking it well. They've even created an official site for 'Wolfram and Hart', the demon law firm from the show: "Wolfram & Hart inspire confidence and success through the unique way in which we undertake business. Fearless and with a strong commercial stance, we’ve worked with an ever-expanding client base to take both them and the firm to the next stage. We’ve always got an eye on the future, and, it’s fair to say, we’ve always got an eye on you."

What? A scene from the film adaptation of the comic book 'Ghost World'
Why? It's a staggeringly good film. Released with some largese the same day as Harry Potter, this was a film which captures the dispondency of a generation in the same way 'American Grafitti' did on release, a kind-of teen film which actually went some way to capturing the real experience within what at first appears to be a very artificial environment. Thora Birch is turning into a very good actress indeed ...
first appeared 6th January 2002; finally

What? Zen Buddhists celebrating the coming New Year
first appeared 30th December 2001; finally

What? Christmas Tree Worms
Why? Aren't they the strangest, most extra-ordinary things you've ever seen? I suppose I wanted to bring some magic into Christmas -- and I didn't post over the festive period so I was trying to cover all the bases in one picture.
first appeared 22nd December 2001; finally
Film Two stories caught my eye in The Guardian this morning. Firstly, the bound to be linked by LMG ''How superheroes took over the cinema" which despite completely failing to mention that Spider-man is published by Marvel Comics (anyone not in the know would think he was a product of DC Comics), is a pretty good survey of film to comic book adaptations. And the glorious hatchet job of the new film 'Killingly Me Softly' -- you get the feeling the newspaper is a bit disappointed to find their name associated with such a obvious piece of twaddle.
Site News Brief update tonight. Just stepping in to remind everyone that 'feeling listless' is coming up to it's first birthday at the end of the month and I'm hoping to run a series of updates on previous entries. So if you've got any favourite posts or links, let me know and I'll run them again, together with your comments and a 'where are they now' ...
Food Cooking your own bread is a liberating experience. We recently bought a bread machine, and every night I find myself drawn to its white contours and silvery cooking pan. Yes, it's the ultimate convenience -- simply putting all of the ingredience in what is essentially a mini-oven, but after a few failures (bread failing to rise / tasting bloody awful) each new loaf feels like a triumph. I've another brown loaf cooking now and I still keeping checking it every half an hour watch it rise through the little glass hole at the top -- a kind of ultra-realistic ultra-sound.
People Anyone who saw Michael Moore's 'The Big One' will know how adventurous his book tours are. No film about this one, (his new movie is about gun control), but this piece in Shift suggests that 'Stupid White Men' has bred an even grander experience:
"First there is the activist-girl with the glint in her eye, who steps up to the mic, not to ask a question, but to plug her own affair. She is followed by a member of an independent political party, who does not have a question either (nor a chance of being elected to Parliament), but takes the opportunity to announce to the audience his candidacy and an upcoming fundraising benefit. Neither step down from the mic until Moore has relayed back to the audience an endorsement for their particular brand of activism."
It's you're own fault Michael. If you build yourself up as the people's champion, it means you have to champion all of the people.
Internet Guimp is supposed to be the world's smallest website. That's it's space on screen not file size. It's still quite impressive though ... haiku? [via Shift]
TV And yet I continue to watch it. Stop press. Sunita is already thinking about leaving. Quelle surprise. But, if she goes, I think I'll be going with her ...
TV The odour of disappointment which surrounds the third Big Brother series can be smelt by us all. For two years people in offices have had something to talk about -- a chance for men and women, and women and women to break the ice over a drinks machine. Now there is only one topic -- "It's crap isn't it." It's almost as though one of the last few collective experiences has been wiped out. Here is the comment I wrote about BB2 which was published at the BBC News website:
"The classic formulae for a lower budget film is to have ten or less people in a house and getting them to sit around talking about their problems. With Big Brother, I had traces of 'The Usual Suspect', with its misguided loyalties and shifting realities, blended with the desperation to be liked found in 'Bodies, Rest and Motion'.
Big Brother 2 already feels like a lighter concoction, an ensemble drama in the tradition of 'The Big Chill' and 'Queens Logic' but with the hipper coarser side of Richard Linklater's 'Slacker' and Kevin Smith's 'Clerks'.
It will be interesting to follow whether these people, so prepared to be open with each other now, will become more secretive as the final prize slowly comes within their grasp."
Still proud I managed to get the direct to video classic which no one has seen 'Queen's Logic' in a highlighted quote on a BBC webpage, but anyway. I wrote that because I genuinely like the people who appeared through the door last year. Brian and Narinder were funny together. Elizabeth was lovely, and I liked Dean's music. Even Bubble has something. But this year? Having watched the documentary "How not to get on Big Brother", I can't believe that production team, when faced with the people they rejected, decided to pick such a personality free, uninteresting bunch of people. I think one of them said it best the other night -- "It's a bit like being on the worst package tour in the world, you just keep hoping it will get better..." It might be like that for you, but we're being asked to watch it.

Perhaps I'm being slightly unfare. Sandy, the personal shopper, created some interest the first day with his kilt. And Sunita has created a few sparks. But in the core of the group there isn't anything for these personalities to bounce off. It's almost like trying to do the full text of 'Hamlet' in front of a group of five year old. You just aren't going to engage them. So without anyone to lighten they're or hell understand them, they've drawn into themselves. Sunita actually has the potential to be another Nick Bateman. Sadly she's already having second thoughts about even being there. And since she represents a core part of the Channel 4's audience unless something exciting happens (and an early eviction simply doesn't cover this) by week six they're going to be in serious trouble... I mean would you want to watch a final wee which consisted of Jade, Sandy and whatsisface?
Books It's staggering that as we lurch towards an almost total dependancy on digital media to store our words imperpetuity, the most durable format still seems to be paper. As we've discussed before the trouble with digital media is that as time passes new technologies can mean the peoples words become inaccessable. In order for them to be 'cross-compatible' we need a hard copy for storage anyway. Any argument for continued use of paper must include the recent discover in an Egyptian monastry of descipherable manuscripts from fifteen hundred years ago.
"A single completed manuscript and hundreds of fragments were found when reconstruction work was undertaken on the ancient tower, which is probably well over a millennium old. The library had originally been established there, since it was the most protected part of the monastery, but the first floor collapsed around five centuries ago and a new wooden floor was simply inserted above. Recently the rubble of the earlier floor was removed during renovations, and curator Father Bigoul found a complete manuscript, embedded in a section of disused water pipe (it is unclear if it was hidden there for safekeeping or got there by accident)."
Yes, the books appear to have been discarded by an older generation, but we also find here an example of why no literature should be lost or destroyed. Every fragment offers a glimpse into our collective history.
Commuter Life The bus arrived. Everyone ran forward towards the doors as they opened. I managed to dive to the front. I was on board. Safe. People piled on behind me. Then I heard the thud. We all heard it. A dull slamming against the side of the bus.
"Don't move the bus." Someone shouted.
"Is he dead?" A school girl shouted.
I looked out of window. A crowd had gathered.
On the edge of the kerb lay an old man in a brown coat. He was unconcious. I immediately reached for my mobile phone but three people in the crowd outside the bus had were already dialling.
"Don't move the bus." Someone else said. Then another eventually we became a choir.
This bus lurched forward.
"Don't move!" I screamed angrily.
"I'm just going forward a bit," growled the driver angrily.
"But he's under the bus!" Someone shouted from outside.
"They shouldn't move him." I muttered.
They moved him off the kerb, onto the pavement. A tall man was hanging out of the open door of the bus checking that the bus was free to move.
"He's clear."
Someone else shouted it.
"OK I hard you the first time!" The driver pushed the bus forward out of the way and on our journey.
"He slipped on the step," a pensioner explained, "and 'it his head on the bus. I think he's dead."
As the bus turned the corner, no one seemed to think more about it.
TV It seems the paucity of new drama on ITV is set to continue. It seems that although the channel has produced a number of dramas, they cannot afford to show them because once they're gone they're gone and there simply isn't the revenue to create new pieces. So it's just cheaper to show docusoaps and game shows than quality dramas. This accounts for the cheap feeling of the channel's output in the past six months. They're just beginning to realise that for the majority of people the BBC is the place to to be entertained, especially on a Sunday night were 'Born and Bred' and 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet' (ironically an old ITV series) have destroyed the commercial channel's hold on Sunday nights. A few weeks ago I was hoaxing some work colleagues (none too successfully) that they might have to cut back the number of episodes of Coronation Street being shown per week due to lack of money. I might not have been too far from the truth.
Dad gets the chop! On sunday at about 3:30 I began to make and write a book to go with the game I made. All of a sudden, Just like that, the words rand out like a foghorn in a destresable state, tand the worlds "!£$%&*+" (sorry for any incovenience coursed). I ran out like a bat out of hell, to see that my dad was hopping around ore garden like a dimented rasberry. Mum Quickly rang for a taxi; and told the driver to take us to Broad Green Hospital. We were there for about an hour and my dad got four stitches in his foot. Luckily he was all right but he had the day off today. [from my Personal Writing excerise book, 19th May 1986 aged eleven]

[The health service in 1986 everyone -- seen to in an hour. What my teacher failed to point out when he marked the piece with 'Glad he's alright now Stuart' was that I don't actually point out why he went to hospital in the first place (it's accompanied by an extremely abstract picture of a foot in crayon with about three toes). My Dad had actually been chopping the branches back on the trees in the garden when his axe missed, hitting his foot hard in the slot next to his big toe. I do remember him hopping about in a cartoon manner and swearing loudly, and crying -- you can imagine the pain. This was the first time I'd been to a hospital (I've only been again twice since) and thankfully it was relatively benign. I think I spent the whole time pestering my Mum to buy me a packet of crisps from the machine. The other bit at the beginning to do with creating a booklet for a game that I'd written was an ongoing fiction I'd created for the journal that even at that tender age I was able to code the most fabulously complex games. Of course if I was embellishing it now there wouldn't be a computer in sight ...]
Logobar Ed Harris' biopic of Jackson 'Pollock' is finally released in the UK, two years after it's appearance at The Oscars. Remember what I was saying about distribution as censorship?
Blogger Insider Martin of MysticSchism asks:

What do you think is better, stream of consiousness writing or editing?
I'm not entirely sure what that menaing but I'll have a go. In my weblog I try to include both. Sometimes I'll think of an idea for a piece and I'll do some research -- I'll look at the breadth of opinion on the subject, some of the history and find something on the web to link to. Other times (like my recent piece on the girl I saw on the bus who cuts herself) I'll have a gut reaction to something and I find I just have to get it out of myself. At times like these I don't have an answer ... I just find find myself looking outwards the electonic highway and shout 'Why?'

How do you find the time to write so damned much? What would you do with your spare time if you *weren't* blogging?
Oddly enough I don't write as much as I used to. Look back at my archives from the first few months and I was adding something new every day. But I think you find that with any hobby -- at first it's all you think about, it consumes you ... then you take a step back and realise there are other things you're interested in. I did think about giving up all together, but what little writing I do now focuses the mind. Also I've always been writing something and this allows me to keep the habit.

Hand writing vs. typing?
I've been using the keyboard as language tool for getting on for ten years now and I've found my handwriting has stopped developing. It isn't joined up for example. But its at least legible. In my job I have to inspect all kinds of handwriting and the scrawls I come across ...

List top 10 worst possible things you could lick in your home town.
The Liver Buildings, the Mersey Tunnel, the painted Penny Lane sign, my old school's gates, the John Lennon statue in Matthew Street, the trees, the sweat on a doorman's shoulder, the dusty shelves of the Central Library, the tables in the local MacDonalds, the rails at Lime Street Station (what an odd question...)

It is said amongst my circle of friends that everyone can do three things better than anyone else. What are your three?
My typing speed can be freakishly fast sometimes -- think Matthew Broderick in 'WarGames'. I'm also extremely good at finding myself in slightly odd situations -- mostly normal but with a centre of wierdness. I've also got a fantastic memory for useless information -- like I can remember what I was wearing on particular days in particular years or when I saw most films for the first time.

Why does your biography page spend more time talking about your 'ideal' woman than about yourself?
The whole plan with the biography page was to answer all of those email quizzes which seem to be bouncing around -- sadly the only ones whcih have bouced my way have predictably been about that kind of thing which makes that page make me look like a sex-crazed lunatic. Which is why I've bumped up the bottom with some old writing from within the weblog and from Metafilter. I'm going to look at build it up in the future.

You are clearly an avid movie watcher, and apparently a woman watcher, so what do you think about the prodominant 'male gaze' of most films? Is it merely a reflection of society, or does it needlessly perpetuate a problem that it could be working to dispell?
I think I really do need to have go at that 'about me' page -- who do you think I am? Anyway to answer the question, I think things are changing. There doesn't seem to be a move towards creating films for a general audience which feature female lead characters. 'Panic Room' isn't a classic film, but at least it allows Jodie Foster to be the hero without shedding all of her femininity. In the Eighties that character would automatically have been male (and no doubt played by Michael Douglas). Some of this is a result of the increase in the number of female producers in films and not just in Hollywood. Keep and eye on the credits and you'll see what I mean. I do think films only reflect society -- I think that people do put too much stall in trying to prove that films are perpetuating a status quo -- that they're that influencial. If films had the power to change society, how come no one is still prepared for a terrorist attack for example, the subject of a hundred action pictures. 'The Shawshank Redemption' is supposed to be one of the top three best films ever made and yet prison systems throughout the world are still in a mess. Film and film show that war is stupid -- and yet here we are again, two years into a new millenium and people are still blowing each other up. I think that if anything women seeing men get the upper hand all the time on the silver screen has actually inspired them to go out and prove their equality.

What is your favourite source of caffine?
Coca-cola. Coffee sends me to sleep.

What music do you hear right now, if any?
I'm actually listening to the NOW 36 compilation I bought today. I'm trying to collect the NOW albums, because they're an unwitting musical history. This piece from 1997 offers a glimpse into the abyss where indie would never again grace the charts to any great degree. It was a time when established act gave their last gasp and new talents were emerging. On the same compilation we have The Spice Girls, Texas, No Doubt, George Michael, Eternal, Boyzone, East 17 (yes they were in the charts at the same time), U2, Prodigy, Shery Crow, Blur, Cast, Cathy Dennis, Alisha's Attic and The Divine Comedy. A transitional period -- you can see old bands mixed with new groups who seem old fashioned now. How time flies.

Do you take your blogger questions from a pat list? (You repeated two questions in the list you sent me).
Oooop. Actually, I've been collecting all of the questions I've asked since I started this thing. I passed these questions on late at night in a hurry. Clumsy. But anyway I like getting different perspectives on the same questions...

11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?
New York. I just love the metropolitan experience. I like the idea of turning a corner and not knowing were you might find yourself or who you might meet.