'I just don't believe in dirt...'

Blog! Hey look everyone. Over there. Shauny's visiting my second year at university. Who says time travel isn't possible:
"In an ideal world, seven people living together would communicate. Perhaps there'd be a monthly meeting in which to air petty grievances before they escalated. But no, if you're not happy with the state of the kitchen, you bang a lot of pots and pans around at midnight and slam some doors then dash off a quick letter. There's been notes about the back door being left open, the bin not being emptied, and Ancient Relics of the Refrigerator."
By the end of that year I was communicating with my housemates entirely using notes. I'd come in late in the evening and check if one had been left on the kitchen table. If a bill needed paying I'd drop off a cheque. If someone wasn't happy with something I'd get it sorted. We avoided each other like the plague and it was bliss.

'You look tired...'

Life Christmas shopping trip to Cheshire Oaks today. It seemed more arduous than usual I think because this year I can't seem to concentrate on what to buy anyone. Long term readers will know I'm usually on top of this stuff but for some reason I'd walk around shops and not see anything that I'd want to buy anyone. This means that either there really wasn't anything worth buying, or that there was but I wasn't seeing any of it. I eventually bought 'a few odd bits' which isn't like me at all. I also thought about investing in some new jumpers but came away empty handed because I couldn't believe how awful some of the styles were. Who thought that woollen sleeves on a leather chested pullover was a good idea? Everything looked like it had been put there by set designers for some mid-Eighties ITV sci-fi series. I eventually bought a scarf from RedGreen in red and green and navy blue, which is nice and warm.

'Zed's dead, honey. Zed's dead.'

Film The Quentin Tarantino Blog was a fake after all. It was taken down in the last few hours, but via the magic of RSS I was able to grab a copy of the final revelatory post. I'd rather not post it on here, but if anyone wants to read it I'll email you a copy.

'Can I do it myself?' 'Ok.' 'I can't do it.'

TV Where do I start talking about the third season of 24? With the usual spoiler warnings that if you haven't seen the series you really should stop reading now because even more then what has gone before this turns everything upside down. Have they gone? Good. Let's begin.

With Sky resting the rights from the BBC, many of the fans who enjoyed the show but are without a dish will be seeing it first on dvd. Unless they exhibit mythical self control this means they won't be watching the show in the usual format of an episode a week. For me, this situation meant two things. That I didn't have the week's anticipation between cliffhanger and resolution so important to the success of the first two series and secondly the loss of the all important Pure 24 a magazine show which ran on the BBC after each episode of the second series, with all the added speculation and Tamsin Sylvester. It felt like a gap which couldn't be filled. Who can forget the interview with the guy who played Reza which managed to not refer to the character being killed off the following week and the videotaped apology. And Stefan Dennis turning up on the telephone to greet Jim Dale as Jim Robinson from Neighbours became the Vice President of the USA.

So where does this leave series three. Does the series still work even with the lack of anticipation between episode. Oh yes. As long as you change your perception of it being a weekly series to a but-clenchingly long film split into twenty-four segments. Watching it as intensively as I did (eight episodes one night, four every other) works wonders because the tension builds and builds, helped by an extraordinary attention to continuity in acting and writing from episode to episodes. It's all still bonkers and highly ludicrous, but in a brilliant way. Throughout there are knowing winks to the audience effectively saying 'if you think this is funky, wait'll you see what else we're going to do...'

That said everything does get off to an inevitably slow start. For some reason those first few episodes don't quite gel despite Jack's drug problem and the start of the virus plot. Perhaps it's that the teenagers at the centre are all so terribly unengaging, that a reset switch is effectively turned on the president's cliffhanger or that there isn't the same kind of stand out moment as the plane crash in the first season or the 'I need a hacksaw...' in series two. But then Jack decides to bust Salazar from jail, the Russian roulette scene engages and we're back in there.

If there is a weakness throughout it's that the president's subplot doesn't really work as well with the Bauer story this time around. Taken in itself it's of course an attempt create a kind of Shakespearean tragedy as the most powerful man in the world takes some very bad advice at all the wrong times but it feels like a distraction from the main story especially when it intrudes as the crisis tightens. It's not that there is anything wrong with the performances, or the writing of the scenes, it's just that the viewer keeps expecting the two to dovetail somehow but they never do, except now and then in thematic terms. It did offer the spectacle of a pseudo-Buffyverse re-union as D.B. Woodside (Principal Wood from Buffy) is revealed to have been having an affair with Gina Torres (Jasmine in Angel, Zoe in Firefly).

The main virus plot as it meanders on is probably as strong as the nuclear bombs and assassination attempts. At least this time it's the point of the series and provides the one constant throughout. It's also cleverly the place that most of the emotional subplots hang out. The Kim Bauer gets kidnapped again / chased by a cougar / her mum gets amnesia stuff of the past as filler goes out of the window in favour of fall out from Jack's undercover work, the virus being released in the wrong places and tensions with CTU. Granted, there is some repetition (He's a traitor / no he isn't / yes, but *he* is ...) but in the main it all hangs together very well.

Of the new characters, Chase comes off as a bit blank for me - although the trainee Jack angle was a bit interesting. The Salazars seemed to have walked in from a Roberto Rodriguez film, but I was sorry to see Claudio go out. It might have been nice to see Bauer introducing her to his daughter. The afformentioned but not actually mentioned before in the series Presidential brother felt like a Sherry replacement until the real one appeared at which time he felt redundant.

But you know who saved the series? Chloe, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, the George Mason of this series. She's apparently deeply unpopular with fans. Why? She turns the blandest of scenes into yak fests as she strides through CTU with the same kind of grumpiness most of us have in an office job were everyone takes us for granted. Time after time Tony, Adam or whoever are fishing around a problem trying to get their computer to work and there's Chloe rolling her eyes her expression saying 'You idiots...' If she'd been having Kim's day in series two she would have attacked the cougar and probably gone off and diffused the bomb herself because it was pissing her off. The producers have chosen her as one of the few elements or characters they're carrying over to the fourth series. Good.

Don't believe the doubters. Watched over a much shorter timeframe, series three of 24 is just as good and much more coherent that previous series. The main difference is that it's subtler and takes the time to build up to the big dumb twists and shocking moments. You have to love any show which is willing to kill off favourite characters in order to keep the tension motoring along, throwing caution to the wind with such wanton abandon. I mean how many times have you seen a major character have a limb hacked off in order to help save the day?



Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

The photographer went into the forest looking for a witch and all that was left was his camera and this photo. Probably my second favourite in the collection, I just keep looking at it expecting something to be moving, or for something to jump out.

Links for 2004-11-25 [del.icio.us]

Links for 2004-11-25 [del.icio.us]

  • Impeach Tony Blair? Not this crazy gang
    For some reason I wonder if the cast of Ocean's Twelve might have a better chance.
  • Why do so many fridges get thrown away?
  • Banana Guard
    "Protect your Banana, safe transportation and guard protection for your bananas"
  • Sex, Lies and Superheroes
    This is a real whatever happened to? (c) 2002 with screenings towards the end of last year. I'm assuming it's something along the lines of Comic Book Confidential ...
  • Flm of the Day: Comic Book Confidential (1988)
    Brilliant mid-Eighties history of the medium with good survey of what the indie scene was like at the time. 'I'm Zippy who are you?" "He's Zippy..."
  • Once In A Blue Moon

    An explanation of the phrase 'Once In A Blue Moon' has been posted at Reader's Digest: "A blue moon is defined as a second full moon within a calendar month. Since a lunar cycle lasts 29.5 days and a calendar month 30.5 days, it occurs only once every two and a half years or so. Astronomers have borrowed the phrase "blue moon" to describe this phenomenon from the traditional expression meaning rarely or never. A second full moon in a month is not actually blue in colour, yet there have been a number of occasions when the moon did appear to be blue. Dust from the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa turned the moon blue in 1883, as did smoke from western Canadian forest fires in 1951." More facts here.

    Print me

    There is a shop which only sells print cartridges. It's in Liverpool, England on Smithdown Road in Wavertree. Hanging all over every wall there are hundreds of different types of print cartridge seemingly for every model of printer ever produced. It's been open for nearly six months even though there never seems to be anyone inside buying.

    'Words. Words...'

    Any others missing?

    Another flower bed


    Another flower bed
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    What happened here? 'Tell you what nan, you stand here and I'll walk as far away as possible before I take the photo.' Seriously, I'm beginning to wonder the photographer was just someone who stalked pensioners, especially in their natural habitat.

    Links for 2004-11-24 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2004-11-24 [del.icio.us]

  • Buying for your girl: It's not that hard
    Handy hints for the many men you hate buying for that special someone.
  • Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwantysiliogogogoch website
    Mostly under construction.
  • Christmas with the Kranks (PG)
    I had to read this title several times before I realised it wouldn't featuring a small woman with red hair pretending to be a school boy. But judging by this Roger Ebert review that might have been preferable.
  • What Stanley didn't say
    "Six months after Stanley Kubrick died, a 'world exclusive' was published - a supposed last interview on the set of Eyes Wide Shut. Odd, thought Anthony Frewin, the director's long-time friend: this didn't sound like Kubrick. Was it a fake?"
  • Doctor Who: The Roof of the World
    The Big Finish audio eluded to in the Kubrick article
  • CHUD.reviews The Matrix DVD collection
    It's about what you'd expect then.
  • Liv Ullmann: A Ms. conversation with the legendary actor-turned-director
    Fascinating interview. Best bit: "REL: You’ll next be directing a new film version of A Doll’s House. LU: Yes, I have finished a script. Kate Winslet has said “yes” to do Nora, John Cusack has said “yes” to do Helmer..."
  • IMdb entry for A Doll's House
    Tim Roth as well? I once saw Juliet Stevenson as Nora in a BBC production so WInslet is following in auspicious footsteps.
  • New Carrots Offer Colorful Surprises--and Health Benefits
    Colour co-ordinated carrots coming to a supermarket near you.
  • Wired News: Newspapers Should Really Worry
    I was worried the other day as I sat on the bus watching someone ploughing through something by Proust that I don't read enough. But actually I read a hell of a lot. On screens. And I'm not the only one.
  • Clear Channel sponsor "Our Leader" Dubya Bush
    Not my leader.
  • Wockerjabby wished this would be her house when she grew up...
    .... that was by *bedroom* before I moved house and streamlined. You can never find anything, and you never have the time to read whatever it was you were looking for.
  • Astonishing X-Men: The Director’s Commentary—Deleted Scenes
  • Joss Whedon announces delay to release of 'Serenity' on Whedonesque. Suddenly, somewhere a server is collapsing.
    But I absolutely understand the decision. It was going to be opening the day before Star Wars. Which was a horrible idea. Big Sci-fi movies have appeared in September and done very well.
  • AllYouCanRead.com
    A global directory of newspaper and magazine websites. Electronic trees.
  • Sky takes over Oscar night mantle
    ... just as we cancelled our subscription. Back to listening to it on the radio then.
  • Film of the Day: Notting Hill (1999)
    'Thank you Gohd!'
  • Guardian Unlimited Special report: Ukraine
  • Thirsty?

    This isn't for people of a weak stomach, but apparently urine is sterile and is a perfectly good subsitute for water if you're stranded in the desert. Provided you have a glass with you. I suppose it depends what you've been drinking beforehand.


    Life On my desk sits a small model of the Eiffel Tower. Whenever I glance over I remember standing at the top looking out across Paris and get terribly wistful. I was only in the city for a few days but I can remember those days very clearly. I look across at my shelf and spot a video of The American President. I remember seeing it in my first triple bill with Babe and Sabrina. I can tell you which cinemas they were and what I had for my tea. That happened nearly nine years ago. For some reason I can descibe whole days from school right through university. So why have I for the past week forgotten to take a cheque out with me which I need to pay into my bank? Why can I never find my keys when I'm going out? Or remember to set the video when something I really want to see is on tv?

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwantysiliogogogoch Station (close up)


    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwantysiliogogogoch Station (close up)
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    The only time I'll be reframing one of these photos. It seems a crime not to have a shot which emphasises that sign in all its glory. Why has no one written a folk song about the place? What is erie here is that the woman is looking into the camera as though she knew fifty odd years later her pose would mean something as someone like me looks closer.

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwantysiliogogogoch Station


    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwantysiliogogogoch Station
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    Stations don't look like this anymore and I'm sure that it doesn't look like this under it's new owner Arriva. Thanks Dr Beeching for bringing an end to the scenic look on our railways. But yet something niggles me about this photo. I know what it is ...

    'Boogy.' 'Boogy?' 'Boogy.'

    Music I've just glanced at WinAmp and notice that I now have 19 days + 20 hrs or so of music. So if I turned my computer powered playing continuously I would need to do nothing but listen to music for a weekend short of three weeks hear everything. It's all legal -- my entire cd collection, taking up 33.33 gig of my hard drive. I'm currently listing to something called Tolovaj Mataj / Eno Drevce which sounds like a Far Eastern cover of an Elizabethen Madrigal. I suspect it's dropped in from a Rough Guide. The track before was Nick Cave's Red Right Hand and the next one along is Hue And Cry's Looking for Linda. I'm always slightly self critical about my own musical tastes -- too easy listening, maybe or generic. But as I glance down the list it's so ecclectic that actually I'm quite pleased. Yes there is an emphasis on female singers (and songwriters in particular) and I probably don't have nearly as much music by five guys with long hair, sweat, a growl and guitars (although I do seem have got some of The Libertines from somewhere). And I'm not quite sure how I ended up with so much pop (where did Liberty X drop in from? Was I drunk?). But I can't think of anywhere else that Bic Runga would segway into Maurice Chevalier ...


    James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader and star of 'Field of Dreams' had such a pronounced stutterer as a child that he used to write down everything he wanted to say so that he could interact with people.



    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    I'm slightly peturbed that the wall looks like a section of Helm's Deep in Lord of the Rings which makes this woman a giant. Also what kind of a drop is there on the other side if someone wanted to randomly walk along and push her off?


    Corrections According to Outpost Gallifrey (and they should know) Doctor Who began on the 23rd November 1963. I of course fell into the usual trap of assuming that the broadcast was delayed by the death of JFK. Which it wasn't. Although. Well, whatever.

    Links for 2004-11-22 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2004-11-22 [del.icio.us]

  • Also in 1963 ...
    BBC Bradford and West Yorkshire News website which pretends it's 41 years ago ...
  • After a massive delay (or hiatus) the new issue of the brilliantly witty TACHYON TV is published.
  • Death of video recorder in sight
    Dixons will stop selling VHS recorders after Christmas. I'm still waiting for dvd recorders to drop in price a little more and have a few more standard features like built in Freeview on board with a decent EPG facility. I'm such a geek at times.
  • Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly
    Collection of essays regarding the best tv series everyone has only seen on dvd. What do you mean you haven't seen it? And you read my weblog? Go now. I don't come back until you have ...
  • The 'Finding Serenity' page at Amazon.com ...
    ... has better details. Includes essay by Jewel Staite.
  • Amazon.co.uk: DVD: Firefly - The Complete Series [2003]
    Just to make it really easy for you. Look -- free postage!
  • Film of the Day: Ridicule (1996)
    Boardy French humour in corsettes. What is it about Fanny Ardant?
  • Secret Santa 2004
    I've just signed up. Should be exciting.
  • Coming to a high street near you ...
    Tesco store designers get a real telling off. Having visited the sumptuous alternative of a M&S Simply Foods I have to agree.
  • Fametracker's The Fame Audit visits Jared Leto country
    No mention of the wierd texting while kissing Scarlett Johannson activity. I'm still wondering if he got away with that one ...
  • "Dude. Energon crystal. Seriously."
    With those few words, John Rogers seems like the perfect person to be writing a Transformers film script. Even if his last classic was 'Catwoman'. Then again ...
  • Flickr: Color Fields
  • The Telegraph's music critics select the 50 best cover versions ever recorded
    .. and it's fairly well reasoned interesting list. Good to see The Bangles in there. And Devo (?). But no Tori Amos who's spent half her career doing covers. She's even done Chas 'n' Dave for goodness sake...
  • Work begins on city's 'paradise'
  • One third of gamers prefer retro consoles
  • look up to the skies and see
    Wil Wheaton nearly appears on Alias. Too small apparently.
  • Tollerant radio interview from Russell T Davies about Doctor Who
    I wish it had been Simon Mayo. Instead we get some nut stand-in who trots out all the usual cliches, even asking him if The Doctor is gay. Yawn. Next question.
  • "She was born in November 1963 the day Aldous Huxley died..."

    That Day I was amazed to find out that as well as JFK, both Aldous Huxley and C S Lewis died this day in 1963. On what was probably quite a busy time for news both their deaths might well have been overshadowed even though they were both giants in their own relative field. Without trying to be morbid I would be interested to see how long their obituaries were in relation to the assasination coverage in the days which followed.

    Of course this would also be the usual point which I would bitch and moan about how a certain long running sci-fi drama which also started on that same day is still not being shown on tv. But hey! It's coming back! It's about time! Chris and Billie and Russell! The Tardis! Daleks! I read in the paper today that outgoing head of drama Mal Young took an episode home to show his 7 year old to see if it worked for that demographic. She was reportedly watching it from behind the sofa in minutes scared out of her wits. This is going to be very, very good.

    Notice: No cycling. Dog not allowed unless on a lead.


    Notice: No cycling. Dog not allowed unless on a lead.
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    I should admit that I won't actually be posting all the photos in this collection. I made a choice to only include which had someone in them. There are about ten which looks almost exactly like this one, apart from a lack of a pensioner, just shot after shot of flower beds. It looks like a reunion of all the boring postcards which appeared on the BBC's 'Going Live' Saturday morning show during the early nineties. So this one isn't typical because it has a figure in it but again it's a bit alien. A great shot would have been the head and shoulders of the woman with the flowerbed in the background. But there she all the way up there, the real subject becoming the noticeboard. Could the message be that we should distance outselves from the rules of society, flowers and nature being the buffer for the message, making it both more palitable and ludicrous. Or was the photographer just mad. I'll let you decide.

    'My hands...'

    Life Lately I've been finding it very difficult to write. The ideas are all padding about in my head but when it actually comes to sitting at the keyboard and tapping the words onto the screen it's been a heartbreaking experience because I can't seem to be able to put them into sentences I'm at all proud of. Yesterday's Life Props column was torture because there were so many things I wanted to say, but I found myself casting about for the words and phrases, desperately trying not to repeat myself and for an elegance which was fundamentally eluding me. In the moments when I wanted to be frank or say what I really meant, cliche after cliche would get as far as my fingertips before I'd have to go back and think and produce something which was ultimately inferior. I'm not becoming bland am I?

    More Live Aid

    The following appears on the letters page of this month's Word Magazine : "One story I've never seen printed anywhere - may be true, may be fiction - was told to me by a woman who was part of the Harvey Goldsmith staff. Harvey was known for being a bit of a to-the-last-detail man, being especially filled with panic that anything that could go wrong, would go wrong at any event, so his nerves on Live Aid were especially bad. At one point before curtain-up, a man arrives in the backstage area with a big lorry, unloads eight donkeys from the lorry, and a load of hay, then for the rest of the day sits there calmly tending his donkeys. Nobody knows why he is there, including the man himself. Speculation about their purpose was rife: were they part of Queen's show? Were they there to give Geldof's kids donkey rides? Or was it just to make Status Quo look attractive? Late in the afternoon, someone finally manages to ask Harvey why the donkeys are there. He'd rented them in in case the motors for the revolving stage failed, so they could be lashed up to it and they could pull the stage round for the acts. That's what you call planning."

    Links for 2004-11-20 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2004-11-20 [del.icio.us]

  • Paula Rego: Untamed by age
    I've always found Rego's work slightly disturbing, just glancing along the edges of the what we expect reality and the reality of painting to be like.
  • The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set (Amazon.com Exclusive)
    It's the biggest dvd boxset in the world. Look at that price...
  • Film of the Day: Night on Earth (1991)
    "Five Taxis. Five Cities. One Night." Never was there a more descriptive tag line. Amazingly entertaining.
  • Another drunken error
    I knew it!
  • GirlHacker's Random Log is five.
    It's stunning that weblogs are hitting these kinds of anniversaries and this proves that it's the really good ones which hang around.
  • 10 ways to improve computer shops
    "Actually being able to demo the program or device you're interested in, rather than having to buy it to try it out. Too many of them aren't what they seem and you don't find that out till you get home. "
  • The Year's Best DVDs
    According to Rolling Stone. A good primer since most of those listed are identical over here.