Blog! Spaceflight Now's real time blogging of the events.
News Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up on re-entry. [Google News, Metafilter, Slashdot]
TV You may have noticed 'The Book Group' is back, and so is Anne Dudek. Still love the show, but I also love off the telly's brilliantly negative review:
"Populated by cartoon buffoon-by-numbers stereotypes and written with an innate sense of not being nearly half as clever as it thinks it is, this was the most bitterly disappointing slice of comedy to appear on television on recent years. Underpinned by the laziest writing and, to be brutally frank, one dimensional characterization that it is surely possible to witness, this lumbered and wheezed its way back onto the schedules for another run."
Always good to have someone disagree with you horrendously ...
People Adam Goldberg is one of those actors you would expect to see in more films. He was perfect in 'Dazed and Confused' and had was perfectly psycho as Eddie, Chandler's temporary room mate in 'Friends'. Flametracker worships.
Blog! Reading Dubberly is a hair-raising experience. A writer of sex manuals and erotica, Emily's weblog is deeply educational and always provocative. Today she met with stripper and went to buy lingerie. Strangely this is one I visit every day ...
TV Remember the Steven Soderbergh film 'Traffic' which looked at the drugs trade from multiple points of view using unusual camera work for contrast? Well someone has replicated it, thrown in a bit of Doug Liman style time shifting and turned it into a cop drama. 'Boomtown' began on Channel Five on Tuesday night, and although it tried its best to seem fresh it did feel a bit like it was placing it's footsteps in a well worn mud track. It was enjoyable, but it felt a bit forced and threadbare in places. The actual crime incident at the centre, a drive-by shooting was undoubtedly shocking, the audience's attention was kept through the small character vignettes around the event. The trouble was in order to introduce so many of these new characters, just when something was getting interesting, we were forced to meet someone else. It felt bitty, it didn't flow in places, and it suffered from 'Law & Order' syndrome -- are these characters lives always going to be connected by the same incidents. It's a big city, are they always going to br rubbing shoulders so often? Surely there are more people in the police department/paramedic services/in newspapers. Anyway, it's definately worth simply for attempting something new on TV, but in some ways I would have preferred a straight down the line cop drama with Danny Wahlerg and Mykelti Williamson -- the 'Sleep with a hooker' moment was classic.
Which OS are You?
Which OS are You?
History The girl situation is the same as usual (that bad eh?). A mixture of unavailable and unusual. There is one girl - Katrine. She seems to think the same way I do. ('We dram the same, dream we want the same things -- ooh!). Thing is, she's French. But having said that, we don't seem to have any problem communicating. Like me, she can think of a lot of other things to do other than drinking, like just talking with friends, making food, reading and watching movies. She finds Macaulay Hall 'Desparing' or 'Desperating' (why aren't these words in the English language yet?). I just know she's got boyfriend in France. Having said that, she did say I was probably the only English person who talks to her so I guess this is in my favour.

[If only you people knew how much resonance that little passage from my college years has now. Just another example of some things coming back to you over and over to go haunting; that sound of history repeating.]
Art I know how he feels. Really.

Cinemas I've always been divided in the multiplex debate. As these picture meccas are moving into the city centres, the original multi-screens are being squeezed out of the market place. I should be up in arms about this, but sadly I can't get too depressed over another Odeon closure. For some reason they've always offered an inferior product. The reason I travel all the way to Manchester to The Filmworks for anything good, is because the local city centre Odeon cinema in Liverpool is such a mess. The screens are too small, the Dolby Surround is frequently switched off, the seats are uncomfortable, the actual cinema screens themselves are often dirty with stains distractingly in the front middle, their adherence to the BBFC certificates is patchy at best, the seats are set out in some screens in such a way that you're sitting at an angle to watch the show even in the middle of the auditorium, and overall I sort of dread the experience. And this is after the refurbishment. When I saw 'The Avengers' at the Edinburgh cinema in this article in '99 all of the above was true. But despite my vitriol they article is worth a look for all of the sniping between the chains ...
Liverpool Life, Jim but not as .... etc etc etc Cains Brewery has gained the license to create real Romulan Ale:
"All the bottles are uniquely numbered so they are all collectors' items."
All 38,000 of them. Including the flask the man is pouring in the photo. Which is probably number one. Expect numbers 2 upwards to be fetching heavily inflated prices on ebay some time soon.
Photography My Paris bridge collection.
Blog! For anyone who is still in the dark, here is the full story of Bloggygate from East/West:
"Ladies and gentlemen, there's been some trouble with the Bloggies this year. Between the time my suspicions were first raised and now, so much has transpired. I've even received death threats, been accused of destroying lives, on top of being called a liar and a selfish opportunist desperate for attention. It's all been pretty hilarious. As for the assumption that those who take issue are simply bitter they did not get nominated, I did get nominated. Vote East West for Best Webcam. Or don't. I don't really care."
Still a bit hoofed I wasn't in the list of finalists for the 'best kept secret' award (still available Google-cached somewhere) but then no one I read every day was ...
TV A mesmerising video of every time Tom Baker said 'What?' in Doctor Who. Too much time ... Happy Birthday Tom ...
Advertising And now you can take a test to see how good all that made you feel. Apparently I'm feeling 57% good about myself.
Maths And if that doesn't make you blind, this probably will. What happens when you mix LSD with fractiles? You end up writing programmes in BASIC.
Photography Jason's having fun with stereographic photography.
Educations On this day in 1969, students took over a university building to protest the closure of the the London School of Economics. Full story here. If it had happened today, the conversation might have gone something like this:
"See they've closed the LSE."
"That's sad."
"Did you see Eastenders last night? Dirty Den's daughter's in it and she's a yank."
Buffy Figures ...
Film Apt Pupil The film that Bryan Singer directed between ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘X-Men’ looks like neither, drifting in from the suburban drama genre which also spawned ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle’ and ‘Consenting Adults’, but here there isn’t a main character worth rooting for as both are despicable in their own ways. A teenager becomes interested in the holocaust as part of a class project and decides to blackmail the local nazi into telling him stories of the Third Reich. Possibly because of the source novella (a story from Stephen King from a collection which also included ‘The Shawshank Redemption’) it’s a very uneven tale. Not much happens in the first hour other than some heavy symbolism and some dramatic acting as the extermination of the jews is played out in our imaginations. Then weird twist is piled on left field co-incidence as the films falls away into a ludicrous final act which would give ‘Murder by Numbers’ a run for its money. Suddenly a series of new characters appear to swamp a story which was going ahead with just a couple thanks very much. Worth seeing for Ian Mckellan’s haunting performance, David Schwimmer’s embarrassing moustache and Pacey from ‘Dawson’s Creek’ stealing the few scenes he’s actually in.
Film Two Ninas Low budget romantic drama set Manhatten featuring a bunch of cute, slightly affluent late-twentysomethings. There probably only so many of these films which need to be seen, let alone made, but there they are every year trying to get a cinema release. This one tells the story of Marty, a slightly dull man who suddenly finds himself with two girlfriends called Nina who he likes in different ways. And we have been here before; he riffs with his friend Dave just as they did in Swingers; the plot is pure Friends; the co-incidences are right out of Walking and Talking; the story telling style even smacks of Tom Green in Road Trip. But somehow, it really works. Whether it’s the charismatic performances, or the funny script, or the look of the thing, but from some initial reservations you’ll find yourself in the thick of it laughing your head off at what in other films you simply would not buy into. This is The Brother McMullen without that dull section about the marriage breakup; a Two Girls and a Guy in which they leave the apartment; a Chasing Amy with a happy ending. Another example of your misconceptions being blown away, and of a film which deserved better than to be bought for 48p as an ex-rental in a Blockbuster video.