Search Requests "He who has no job should search for a camel" I knew that would come in handy one day ...
Big Brother proves the theory out of sight, out of mind. I wouldn't be surprised if Lynn had been sitting there watching shouting 'She'll never remember me ...' I propose a new website ... ...
www Rogue's Gallery of the Weblogging A-List. For some reason I thought Steven Den Beste would be younger; Jason Kottke would be older; Rebecca Blood's picture is lovely; Meg Hourihan is a babe; and Evan Williams looks like he's walked out of a Whit Stillman film.
Life It was my last day of work today. This is the kind of place were whenever anyone leaves, they just disappeared. I found out today that someone had gone a whole month ago, and that was why I hadn't seem them around. One day a face is there, the next it's not. I was determined I wouldn't be one of those people. One telecaster message saying 'Good Luck' (unheardof) took care of that. But I made sure, that rather than just going, I would say take care to anyone who meant anything. Some knew I was leaving and said nice things. Some thought I was just in a loony mood shaking their hand when I would be seeing them again on Tuesday (no I won't). I wish I was there when someone points out to them I won't be coming back. Some just smiled and waved. I'm pleased that someone said that I would truly be missed, and that my manager said that if I ever wanted to return that I should give her a call. Take care, everyone.

[Damn, I really did miss someone. Ben, could you say so long to Michelle on Stella's team for me? And Piers?]
Site News Still looking for submissions for the end of first celebrations -- email with your favourite moments -- but also want to compile a list of regular visitors to the site on the sidebar to the left -- so if you are a regular in this neck of the woods, email with your name and website address -- and if you haven't got a site of your own, tell me what your favourite is and I'll link that instead ...
Gender 'flat as a board' is a feminist showcase of small breasted women. No really.
Fashion Cartoon Couture. Jaunty. [Metafilter]
Health Whenever I get a headache I very seldom take asprin. Partly because I know my immune system will cope with it eventually, but also because it feels like an easy option. Time Magazine offers tips for avoiding a migraine, but I think the best option is not to go out, go anywhere, do anything and just lay in bed all day with your curtains drawn. But that would be silly.
Big Brother And so despite my best efforts, Sophie is leaving Big Brother tonight. The voting ratio 85:15 doesn't seem that fair, but to be honest, I'm not surprised. Whatever we saw of her was through the editing of other people's opinions so if she did do anything entertaining we didn't see it. And to just clarify, yes, when she entered the house originally, I did think her and Alex would have fling. See, told you I was a good judge of character ...
Nature In the 1930s, Sequoia National Park in California became home to a large market place. It was designed to attract visitors to the park and, I suppose, to generate cash for the upkeep of the park. Over the years, this man-made structure and it's car park surrounding began to encroach on the natural beauty of the place, despite it's rustic design. The attitude of the park owners is horrific:
"Over the years, the human-built environment proved destructive. Vast parking areas had compacted the sequoia root systems and hastened erosion. Furthermore, nearly 300 park buildings encroached on the forest, and human needs had taken precedence. Whenever a massive sequoia tree or branch threatened to fall on a structure, the tree was cut down.
Happily though, there is a plan the sensitively bring the place back to it's former self. The number of buildings are to be stipped to the bear (sic) minimum, so that people can get away from civilisation without having to worry that they'll bump into a car park. I'm reminded of the restoration process which goes into a painting, the removal of the tainting varnish and overpainting so that the real beauty can be seen underneath.
Architecture The Big Brother concept in general is of course a very micro version of a planned community, which are apparently becoming increasingly popular in India. Their, though the idea is for a utopia, a place where people can live in peprfect peace. And unlike Milton Keynes, the idea here for the expression of an artist:
"For the city plan, the Mother turned to her son-in-law, French architect Roger Anger. The original master plan--still the emblem of the town--is indelible, a brilliant period piece. From a still center the city radiates in spirals, meant to evoke a galaxy. Each of the big spiraling arms was intended to be a megastructure, curving to a greenbelt.
Sounds like the way I play SimCity in real life.
TV (oh what the hell) Big Brother Did the hairs on anyone else's back stand on end as the housemates of Big Brother 3 discussed Jade's place within the house tonight. I can't be the only one who found themelves transported back two years to the moment that everyone in Big Brother One realised that Nick Bateman had not been completely honest with them (and yes I know I'm writing about *that* show, but this is down and I feel obligated to fill the breach for now. Also, it's keeping my mind off my impending voluntary unemployment in two days time).

The 'revelation' that Jade isn't as stupid as she's pigmy looking, especially from PJ was perhaps one of the more exciting moments in the entire show so far (no Sandy going over the top though). The realistation that all the things they used to like about Jade, the little funny things, aren't that funny any more. The glint in their eye that they may made a terrible mistake with the nominations this week.

When the Nasty Nick story broke, there was speculation that he'd snuck in a mobile phone. I think someone must have snuck in with an internet ready palm pilot and found out about my Sophie Supporting Campaign. Adele's realised that everyone thinks that she thinks the same as Jade ('I can make my own mind up about someone') and Alex thinking she's lovely. See, told you so. The shower moment when she coolly resigned herself to not being able to win on anything was magic. She's right. If she'd turned up and ignored everyone she would have been a 'slag'. But because she was nice and tried to fit in she becomes 'false'. (See yesterday for relevant comments).

And, oh the irony, on the day this came to light, Tim decides that money makes you happy ...
TV The Sophie supporting campaign starts here. I can see how she feels in 'Big Brother'. When I was at University in my second year, my housemates took a dislike to me because I was there (a tip to any guys reading ... don't move into a shared house where you're the only man ... eventually you'll end up paying for all the shitty things your fellow men do to your housemates for the rest of the year ... it might sound cool when you tell your friends you live with all girls ... but unless you're Alex from 'Big Brother' you'll never carry it off).

Unfortunately, no matter what she does, the other housemates won't want to get to know her. By gossiping about her, it give the dullards in the house something to talk about. If they spoke to her and started to befriend her, there wouldn't be anyone else to make fun of and they'd end up turning on each other. I they wouldn't want that.

So poor Soph is going to leave unloved. We have a catch 22 situation here people. Becuase she has no one she can talk to, we as an audience can't get to know her -- so we see her through the opinions of the other housemates and since this is mostly negative, she'll be meeting Davina on friday. My theory is that if we got see more of her, much of the audience would find something to identify with and see you Jonny (who'll probably end up staying by default).

Two other points:

Tim mate. Walk. You're annoying as hell, no one likes you and you're a walking advert for everything which wrong with the class structure. Even Alex has started to dislike you ('Jonny and Kate have already spent a week in there, PJ and Spencer spent two weeks in there...'). What the hell did you think 'Big Brother' was going to be about. You're living better than the cast of the first one did in their final weeks ('The housemates have failed their task, which means they will have £3.50 to spend on their shopping budget next week').

What is the writing on the wall of the 'poor' bedroom? It seems to be scores from the dartboard, but I thought they weren't allowed to keep writing implements. Look at poor Bubble last year trying to say 'Happy Birthday' to his kid ...
Usually I cried tonight. I cried so long and so hard my throat hurt. I felt the tears falling down my cheeks and I chocked. I haven't cried like that in months.

Mark Greene has left the 'er' for the final time.

I kept it in for much of the episode. Even when he decided to give up treatment, nothing much happened.

And then as he ministered to his final patient with a splinter, it began and wouldn't stop.

Funny that.
Film One of my favourite films of the 1990s was the low budget 'Walking and Talking', an ensembe piece set in New York with younger versions of Liev Schrieber, Catherine Keener, Anne Heche and Todd 'In The Bedroom' Field. It was funny and sad and told you everything you needed to know about the importance of knowing what people are like, not what they looked like. Hadn't seen the director Nicole Holofcener's name on any credits lately and I was getting worried that like so many indie film maker's she'd be burnt out by the process of making her first feature film. It turns out she's been doing television ('Sex in the City' and the US version of 'Cold Feet') but now she's back with second feature, 'Lovely & Amazing' and Catherine Keener is back:
"Having worked with Catherine [Keener] before, I certainly felt more comfortable. I think she felt she could trust me right away. I wrote the part for her. She had more confidence coming in and whatever she would bring would be right. I also learned about different ways she liked to be directed, so it’s definitely beneficial and easier to work with someone more than once."
The most telling quote from the piece somehow crystalises how unsatisfying tv directing can be and how people who work there are always wanting to have some kind of creative control:
"Directing others’ writing can be good and bad, depending on the material. The Sex and the City scripts are so good that it was a pleasure and I just wanted to do well for the writers. And they are on set enough so that I know when I’m doing well, or I can ask them questions. It’s hard to work on a television show when the script is only okay, and I have to drum up enough enthusiasm to get people through the day and make it look great."
It's a nice candid quote. Good to see you back Nicole. How is the UK distribution deal going on the film or will I be visiting the door of again?
Film On the bus this morning I described 'Baise-moi' to a friend as an ultra-violent porn film. That description doesn't even scratch the surface. Oddly for a French film it has a one line plot summary -- a hooker and a porn star go on a two girl shagging and killing spree. The piece begins quietly enough -- bunch of people sit around chatting about how shitty life is and how there never seem to be enough drugs. Then one girl is raped, the other murders her pimp and the two go on the run into a series of increasing bizarre situations, the restrictions of society are cast aside. It's repetitive, it's annoying, and lacks a moral centre. I once watched a documentary about a group of juveniles at a detention centre. A doctor was psycho-analysing them, wondering how they will cope with real society when all they do is sit up late watching violent films. I can imagine those guys thinking this is the best film they ever saw -- "You mean there a birds and they sleep around and the go and kill people for no reason? Cool." In a way it feels like Natural Born Killers in the style of the gameshow 'Banzai' ... 'Are they going to sleep with them, shoot them, or both? Place bets now.' Banned in it's native country and Australia and only passed here after a ten second cut. It's crass, annoying, and you should go and see it. If only so that next time you see a so-called violent film or 'sexy' film you can smugly say you've seen something much, much worse ... [Ebert, The Guardian]
Logobar An aging John McEnroe. Excellent biography, by the way.
Games I never could follow 'Dragon's Lair'. Don Blum's fantasy action coin-ops were a nice idea on the drawing board, but faled misery in playability ... based around (I think) a laser disc, the player was presented with a series of tasks for Dirk the knight to master. But instead of being able to actually control the character within the environment, all that was required of the player was the nudge of the joystick in a seemingly random direction in the hope that he didn't die. In other words, it looked great, but Pac-man was more interactive. Somehow it limped through a sequel and sci-fi spin-off 'Space Ace'.

But the idea was still there. For years there were adaptations on everything from the ZX Spectrum to the Commodore Amiga, and recently remastered versions turned up on DVD for playing on you own TV set. With the new wave of games machines, Bloom (via Ubi-soft) is relaunching the title on multiple formats and in three dimensions.

Judging by the screenshots, it seems that the gameplay has been extended to become a third-person adventure in the style of Tomb Raider, but with cell-animation style visuals. Like the first version it may have missed the boat, or they may be over-estimating people's interest in the franchise but we'll see. [via Animation Magazine]
Commuter Tales In the film 'Stardust Memories', Woody Allen steps onto a train which has chugged out of a Bergmanesque nightmare. With some pain he looks out of the window across to a train which is running parallel to his, filled with revellers in a twenty-four hour party (including Sharon Stone having her first on-screen appearance). It's supposed to be a metaphore of course, how everyone seems to be having more fun than you are. This is a scene I've played out, night after night on my train home from work.

For some reason I've always found myself standing in the carriage which is half second class and half Arriva Premiere (first) class. Each night I gaize through the window at Premiere's plush purple seats, its lights and curtains. People sitting around relaxed, reading their newspaper or asleep in the stillness. Then I look back (much like Woody) at the old drunk farting and slovering over the foreign student wedged into the seat on the other side of him. Some day, I say. Some day.

Some day then, like today. And yesterday, when I went to Manchester for Spider-man and Baise-moi, The Lowrey and Frappacino. As I got on yesterday morning, the guard defiantly told everyone as they passed into the section that it was first class.
"I know." I said, and sat down.
It was no trouble to hand over my switch card and pay the £10.00 updgrade, and to receive in return a voucher giving me a free tea or coffee. As he trundled away I just sat about in the silence of the carriage. For once I felt like I'd made it. Somewhere.

Indeed the seats are more comfortable. You can put for head back onto something other than the plastic bar where the reserve label is stuffed. I could fit my legs under the table top without have to stop my blood circulating. There is a light on the table. The curtains to stops the sun breaking through. And it's cooler. It's addictive.

Do I wish I'd upgraded every week during my time in Manchester, instead of waiting for my final week. Actually, no. Yes, in the past few weeks it's been difficult getting the train because after my shiftback from 10-6 to 9-5 I'm in the middle of rush hour and so seats are at a premium and everything is hotter. But Premiere is earily quiet. I miss the hustle of people. Eavesdropping on conversations other people are having about work. I would have never met Clare who works for the BBC, or Katherine who I felt like I'd known forever. I wouldn't have spent that night in the dark, or been able to ask the two lawyers about the accuracy of 'North Square'.

In other words, I'm comfortable sitting in First Class, but the really interesting things in life are passing me by.
Film Spider-man [review laced with spoilers]

I should start by saying that this is a great film. It's entertaining and exciting and you should all go and see it. Everyone is perfectly cast and you'll want to see it again. It's prove more that proof that we no longer just want action in our films -- it has to come from somewhere and should be subserviant to story. This is the most heartbreaking superhero film since Superman II.


It's too much. What I mean to say is, that over ten years of continuity from the comic has been condensed into two hours of screen time. Within an hour Peter Parker goes from being a lame college student to a professional man about the city. This has the effect of making the narrative feel like one of those DTV films which are editied highlights from a Hallmark mini-series (see Patrick Stewart's 'Moby Dick').

With a sequel an almost a certainty (possibly a trilogy), would it not have been more logical to separate the story into three sections. The first - let's call it Episode One -- would have been the college years. Even when Peter was still in education there was scaope for him being the superhero. Episode Two would have been about the city boy. By Episode Three he might has settled down with MJ (as he did in the comics) and we would have seen him trying to balance a family and heroing. This would have given scope for more J. Jonah Jameson (here he feels one dimensional).

My other issue (and this happens a lot with such things) is that the development of the Green Goblin is artificially grafted onto Parker's story. Before we've even got to know Peter, Osborne is showing some big wigs about his factory. When we want to be following the story of Spider-man we're having to sit through lot's of set-up for the later story.

But it's still a great film. Damn, I'm conflicted.