Meme "Go into your archive, find your 23rd post (or closest to), find the fifth sentence (or closest to) and post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions."

At first I thought it was a processor, but its on now and I definitely think my the power pack is fitzed. [full post]

I remember this. I'd never bought anything mechanical for the computer before and attaching the pack again was an agonising process. I might as well have been doing brain surgery. I mentioned it here. Lord that was 2001. I have been blogging for a looong time. [via]

Thought processes

Life It's been an odd day. The idea was that I'd have a break from college work, sit around watch a few films, do as little as possible. And yet my essays are still at the back of my mind, my conscious and subconscious constantly problem solving and thinking about all the things I still have yet to do. I'd forgotten about that aspect of being at university, that unlike work, at the least the work I was doing, you don't suddenly stop worrying about it at the end of the day.

Boom, boom

TV I've just watched Basil Brush win The Weakest Link, beating Christopher Biggins in the final. I think it must be nearly Christmas. Either that or someone's dropped a cloud of LSD in the air.

Links for 2005-12-09 [] y.ah.oo!
Tell's its own story. So I guess in the not too distant future I'll have one log in for delicious, yahoo and flickr. Am I the only one who thinks that at some point Google is going to come along and buy the lot of them?

Lost 13th episode of Fawlty Towers
Called 'The Robbers'. Did everybody know about this? I feel like I've been in the dark for many years...

Star Trek: Enterprise Reviews
Or a fan tells Brannon Braga what to go do with himself. Really funny stuff. "The reviews I post here isn't to show what they did right, but to show what they did wrong and where they messed up."

Review 2005

Annette C Arrigucci

I've always had a great admiration for the printed word. I've been a reader of books, magazines, and newspapers for most of my life. I've read the El Paso Times, my city newspaper, nearly every day since I was nine years old. It was a ritual imparted to me by my dad. Every morning before work he would eat cereal and read the paper. Wanting to be just like him, I would do the same before I left for school. Over breakfast, my dad and I would divide up the sections so each of us would have something to read.

The newspaper was gospel to me growing up. I loved reading the editorials and columnists, and, of course, the features and comics section. Later on, I developed a taste for hard news. I remember reading the reporters' bylines and wondering what their lives were like, imagining how exciting it would be to be out there in the city covering important news and writing about it for a living. It was my earliest career aspiration- the way other kids wanted to be astronauts and firemen, I wanted to be a reporter.

College went by, and I pursued other, more practical interests, eventually earning a degree in computer science. But somehow my childhood fascination with working in news was still in the back of my mind. In May of this year, I applied for a news assistant job at the sports desk of the El Paso Times (not because I'm a huge sports fan but because it was the only job opening that didn't require years of experience). I applied for the job on a whim and thought nothing would come of it, that a hard-boiled sports editor would see my resume, have a good laugh, then crumple it up and toss it in the garbage can next to his desk. I was happily surprised when I was offered the job without so much as an interview.

I remember how excited I was my first night of work. I entered the newspaper building and felt an almost religious sense of awe- here was the institution I had admired for so many years. The rotunda at the center entrance of the building made me feel as if I were in a cathedral. On every wall there were photos and memorabilia of 19th-century El Paso. I even loved the smell of it- very brisk and official. I went up a flight of stairs into the newsroom. Though most of the reporters had gone home for the evening, I could feel the energy circulating among the rows of cubicles decorated with photos and political cartoons. This was where the news was put together. A year earlier, I never would have imagined that I would be there. It wasn't in the role of reporter, the way I had envisioned when I was younger, but it was close enough. I was going to be a part of the news, and the idea of that thrilled me.

Since that first night, working at the newspaper has not disappointed. My work is mainly limited to copy editing, so I don't get to write articles (yet), but I've gotten to know well the rush of meeting a deadline. I've experienced the satisfaction of knowing that the work I do is going to be seen by thousands of people and that it will be a useful part of their lives. Plus the sportswriters I work with are the most hilarious people alive, and it's a real kick to work among the frenetic phone calls and furious typing as they hurry to finish their stories. I don't know if this experience will end up changing the course of my life or will end up being just an interesting diversion, but it has definitely opened up some new career possibilities for me besides adding some much-needed excitement to my life. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had this year to do something I've dreamed about for so long.

Annette C Arrigucci writes for the El Paso Times

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

Links for 2005-12-08 []

A fan site for Andre Tarkovsky

Complete Guide to Jennifers @ MetaFilter
Someone doesn't read the guidelines with hill-ar-ious consequences. The panda picture is one of the funniest things I've seen all week.

nextplease for Firefox
"Does it frustrate you having to scroll to the bottom of a search results page to hit that link for the next results?"

Emily Woof is available for voicework
Samples available

All the X3 characters!
Mugshots of the cast. No Nightcrawler?

Thinking Outside the Box Office
Steven Soderbergh interviewed by Xeni from Boing Boing about release day multiformat film releases and upcoming technology.

Essential Hitchcock by Atom Egoyan
"For all his status as the "master of suspense," Hitchcock was first and foremost the master of self-consciousness."

Review 2005

Nice Guy Eddie

Lying on the beach in Sperlonga in Italy after a rainstorm had left the sand marked with the pattern of raindrops. It had rained the day before, so this time we weren't caught by surprise, and had picked up our bags and gone to a restaurant on the beach early enough to avoid the mad rush for cover when the storm suddenly hit. Most people went home, but just as the day before, after an hour or so the clouds departed and the sun was still there, smiling away. We walked slowly back to the shore, and lay down together on the damp sand, like lovers do. If I have a bad day at work, or am sitting in traffic daydreaming, or just want to have a nice thought and smile, this is the memory from this year I pick. Every time.

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

"I was looking at your internet movie database entry..."

Film In the spirit of all this, I managed something I've always wanted to do this evening. The Cornerhouse in Manchester held a Actor/Director Masterclass and invited Emily Woof to talk about her work. There wasn't a great interviewer but she did offer some good, honest, insights and presented an excellent short film she's directed and a 'pilot' reel for a film she'll be shooting next year called The Rides with Peter Mullen and Juliet Stephenson filmed at the Nottingham Goose Fair. The Q&A happened at the end and ... I said:

"I was looking at your Internet Movie Database entry earlier and I notice that you mix both films and television. Do you have a different approach to acting in both?"

For some reason I've always wanted to mention the imdb to a real filmmaker. I expected there to be a slight look of consternation. And you know what? Woof did it! In case you were wondering, she answered that television filming tends to be more relaxed because everyone is for hire and she was always a bit sniffy about her tv work. But in recent years she's come to see them as being just as important as film, because of the people she's been working with -- the directors.

Review 2005

Jacques Baptiste

I have now returned to France after a couple of years living in my adopted home of London England. I enjoyed here very much, your eccentric lifestyles, your obsession with umbrellas and the drinking of many beers. While I lived here I promised myself that when I eventually returned back to my native France I would finally do something that had intrigued me during my time working at the Tour Eiffel. Yes, that had been a summer job of mine once when I needed a few euros to pay my way through university. I had been watching a programme on English television where celebrities had parachuted onto an island and then it turned into some kind of gameshow - I must say I am not sure who these persons were as we dont get much English TV in France. Luckily I recognised Joe Pasquale as back home he is well revired and know as " l'homme avec le voix de le fond". It struck me there and then - I shall parachute from La Tour Eiffel when I return to France. I will not bore you with the legal banter and necessary procedures, but on my return I actually got to do it. As I am assured your readers will know, the view is resplendent from the summit and I savoured the moment as best I could. I felt excitement as the wind blew through my hair. I even felt warm inside my body too. I couldnt not believe that I was here again, but this time I was going to really jump. I now can sense irony as it was shortly before I left for England I had once tried to talk a man from throwing himself off in like a suicide. And here was me now doing the same thing, yet hopefully not ending up in a similar pile of bones and bodily liquid at the foot of the Tour Eiffel - I do apologise for my English but it was not a good sight. But now I was to do it and I would survive, though in the back of my mind I did have serious reservations. But there was no more time to reflect, my instructor told me the time was now or never as the wind was being to make the jump dangerous. He yelled "now !" (but in French) and before I knew it I had taken that leap of faith. I cannot describe the feeling for that brief moment before the parachute takes effect. So many emotions ran through my mind - fear, panic, exhilaration, being at one with nature. Then the parachute opened and I felt an enormous tug back, as my free fall was stopped and I began to float gently towards the ground. I could see the coffee shop from here, the one I used to work at before my time here, the place that will always remind me of that humours incident with the "pan au chocolate". As my feet touched back to the earth I felt I was now totally safe again. Yet with more irony during my first few steps after landing I managed to trip over a small mound of earth and fall flat on my face. People laughed, but I didnt care - I had just jumped off La Tour Eiffel and lived to tell the tale. I wonder how many of them scoffing can tell their grandchildren "la meme chose" !

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

Review 2005

Karina Westermann

2005 was a year of two halves for me; two halves very much defined by weblogging. I have maintained a weblog for several years now and while it has always been part of my life, 2005 saw the weblog /forming/ my life.

The first half of 2005 was characterised by problems I had with regular readers of my blog. At one point I had to contact the police in order to put an end to unwanted attentions from one of my blog readers. The reader had confused the friendly tone of my blogging with personal messages to him - the entire experience was nasty and taught me valuable lessons about how much you can control how you are being perceived; it underlined how important it is to protect one's personal details online. It also made me reconsider the act of keeping a weblog and why I felt it was important to me.

But if the first half of 2005 had been characterised by weblog-related problems, then the second half proved that there are benefits too. Webloggers tend to form networks. Usually these informal networks shift rapidly as bloggers fall in and out of view, but throughout all my blogging years I have kept in contact with a small handful of fellow bloggers. The network provided great feedback during the problems mentioned above but one person turned out to be a particularly valuable friend. The second half of 2005 saw this friendship turn into something else. Although we both keep our personal lives separate from our weblogs, we never would have met if it had not been for that strange practice of putting words online on a daily basis.

While I continue to view weblogging as an entertaining (if time-consuming) hobby, it has changed my life in 2005. It may have spawned some nasty moments, but eventually weblogging has brought me much (very unexpected) happiness this year.

Karina Westermann writes Bookish

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

Links for 2005-12-05 []

Eye Level
The Smithsonian Art Museum has a weblog which is just the sort of thing institutions like this should be doing. I would imagine if the local Liverpool museums had something like this it would prove popular

Avril Lavigne Lands A Role In Richard Gere Crime Drama 'The Flock'
Buried deep in the article is this disturbing sentence: "In her first film role, she'll share (virtual) screen time with William Shatner, onscreen dad Bruce Willis and Gary Shandling." Luckily it's just an animation...

Bootleg subtitles for the Ewan McGregor starring film, 'Nightwatch'
"You can select among them one in two films. Two girls brilliant momente the summer different one told a heroic story preceding 45. ls more over that about one man sits to read on the table to. in 45 minutes?"

The Wookieepedia
I think you can guess what this is. Massive amounts of research although some entries re-appear at the Wikipedia proper which seems like a division of labour. Did you know Luke Skywalker eventually got married?

RSA Journal - In defence of creativity
Essay describing the details of intellectual property and the implications for new technology. Fails to mention Creative Commons etc though

Brian Singer interested in directing Star Trek movie
Now that would be something.

Aleks Krotoski interviews Neil Thompson and Stephen McGill
Xbox's Senior Regional Director, Northern & Eastern Europe, Home and Entertainment Division, Neil Thompson, and the head of Xbox UK Marketing, Stephen McGill

Whatever happened Idha Ovelius?
I was listening to 'Melody Inn' for the first time in a decade yesterday and it's a really great record. And it hasn't aged. If it was rereleased now it would be such a hit ...

Nice Things to Say to Chris Columbus after Seeing Rent
"You know, I know some choreographers, they?re really great people."

Eric Stoltz talks Some Kind of Wonderful dvd
Special Edition forthcoming with commentaries and the like. Grr. Another vanilla I bought in haste.

Jayne's World: Gorillas And Dolls
Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' in quite good really shocker...

Vertigo...Then and Now
"Before and after images of various San Francisco locations used"

'For some idiotic reason, your most horrific experiences are the stories you most love to tell.' -- Xavier (L' Auberge Espagnole)

Film Just dropping by to recommend L' Auberge Espagnole or as it's known in the UK, Pot Luck. This is an excellent ramshackle film about an Erasmus student from France spending a year in Barcelona in an apartment with other young people from throughout Europe. It's sort of plotless -- lots of romantic things happen to him and his friends but the only structure is that he's there for a year and how he deals with being away from his real home but getting used to being in a new home. There are some excellent performances and extraordinary visual flourishes and in the end it simply presents exactly what it's like for a student or anyone abroad falling in love with a different city and its people. It's a multicultural Secret Life of Us, perhaps with slightly less tragedy. Features Audrey 'Amelie' Tautou in a supporting role and the main British contingent is the excellent Kelly Reilly who was Caroline Bingley in recent big screen version of Pride and Prejudice (although she's totally lovable here which demonstrates what a great and underused actress she is).

The Start Line


The Start Line
Originally uploaded by Contrived.

There was a Santa Dash in Liverpool City Centre at the weekend and this is one of a group of fabulous photos of the event someones uploaded to flickr. Just amazing.

Review 2005


It is 4:30 in the morning on September 30th 2005 and I'm sitting on platform 13 of Manchester Piccadilly railway station waiting for the first train back home to Liverpool. It is cold and whatever skeleton staff are manning the station are pumping music through the annoucement speakers to keep everyone awake. I'm reminded of the scene from Ang Lee's film The Ice Storm were Tobey Maguire is sitting on the iced up morning train reading a Fantastic Four comic. I have a book, but I'm so tired I can't see the words, let alone understand their meaning.

The point about being so cold that you can't move is that it gives you time to think. Not necessarily about the revelation at the end of this paragraph but just about how, for some reason I've waited years for a moment like this. I've always been someone who doesn't so much want to tick experiences off a list as feelings. It's not about being at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for example, but how I felt when I got there. There are some feelings I've never had and at this moment I don't know that I will ever have. Being in love with someone and them knowingly love me back. One day, perhaps.

So back to the platform. When I was an undergraduate in Leeds, I commuted there across the pennines every week for a four hours shift at my Saturday job. Being my only income I didn't mind the trip and it gave me something to think about. On the early shift I would have get the first train out, 7 am, and every time there would be a group of students who had been to the Cream superclub the night before, had stayed up all night and were just getting the train home. I'm not sure where too although they were still there chatting away when I stepped off in Leeds. I was actually very envious of them. It seemed like a very exciting thing to do. Although I tried whilst I was studying then, it never seemed to happen to me.

So September 29th, Wednesday night, I helped talk some people into staying out for a late drink and I actually decided that I would miss the train. On purpose. And once 11:20 pm passed by, time of the last train, there would be no going back. Sifting through a whats on guide to Manchester we began chasing the closing times - as one place shut its doors we'd chase off to somewhere. Then at 2 am, everything closed. I think there was some swanky place still letting people in, but were weren't really dressed for it and the music sounded as though someone was getting their head banged against a bar repeatedly. Or someone actually was getting their head banged against the bar repeatedly in which case it was a good job we didn't go in.

We caught a taxi back to the student hall for pool and laughs. Although everyone else was drinking, by this time I was ... incoherent. Not because I was drunk (really) just because I was so tired. I'd been up since early the morning before and had been at university all day. I felt very old. I turned into the quiet man. By half three I knew it was time to go. Actually I knew I'd be leaving at half three and hour before but stuck it out until then. I said my goodbyes and started to walk.

And I walked. If you know Manchester, I walked from somewhere just behind the curry mile to Piccadilly Station. It is really just one long road and goes on forever and it's deceptive - in some places you seem to have taken no time at all in others the buildings only come into your field of view after much effort. Eventually, and unexpectedly, the station hoved into view.

At that time of the night the concourse is filled with cleaning staff, homeless people and as I said the loudest music I'd ever heard - at least as loud as Dexy's Midnight Runners can be at that time of night. I'm not sure if it's there to entertain the cleaners or keep the homeless from sleeping, but it doesn't appear to be doing anything but break the silence. With the escalators switched off it took a bit longer than normal to drag myself up to the platform and even longer to find somewhere to sit since the usual seating has been locked away overnight. I'd thought they were concreted to the floor. I pondered this at the other end of the platform were I was due to be for the next half and hour waiting for the train.

I felt happy. And tired. And as I might have mentioned cold. It was another of those moments from the beginning of the university year when the weight of what I'd achieved actually being back there was on my shoulder, the elation and also the pressure of failure. I have that every day actually, wondering when the dream will drift into nightmare. I hope that's not spoiling things. I'd hate that. But I supposed I would notice.

There isn't really an end to this story, not yet. The train inevitably came, on time, presumably because there wasn't anything else on the rails at that time of the morning. I helped an elderly couple who had been on holiday off the train with their cases before I got on, then found a seat with a table and slept. I caught a taxi home at the other and it took me three days to catch up on the sleep, and I decided I was too old and I wouldn't ever do it again.

Until the next time.

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

Review 2005


The idea of joining a gym was only something that I had become comfortable with a couple of years ago, which is impressive because my ma has been nagging at me for ten years to join the gym and had me convinced that I was an abomination with my feckless attitude towards exercise. The weird thing was that I'd always wanted to join the gym, seriously I did! - but I just didn't know what I'd do when I got there and always found something else to distract me like work, go out with a silly boy, or slob out in front of the telly.

I have visited a gym for a tour almost every year for the past ten years but I didn't actually join until April of this year. It was down to the fact that after spending almost 28 years being tiny, a year of taking steroid medication had added a stone and a half to my weight. Now to be fair, I only went up to 8.5 stone and I got a great bum out of it although I could have done without making my wayward boobs into comedy tits as a result. The thing I hated most was having a steroid tummy - no more flat tummy!.

I 'invested' in some gym gear so that I'd be incentivised to keep going and I rocked up one Sunday for my induction with Arnold Schwarznegger (his twin). Twenty minutes later, I was jogging on the treadmill and trying not to look down for fear that I'd fall on my face. Oh have I mentioned that I sneaked onto a treadmill during a PE class and it got turned up too fast and I fell on it face first and was sent to the other side of the room? I had a face like a very bad mugging victim and after the anger and sympathy had subsided, my nutcase family couldn't help but laugh as I looked ri-di-cu-lous!

I surprised myself and took to the gym like a duck to water and surprisingly, the treadmill was my favourite. I went three/four times a week for a couple of months but it did start to pitter out. It wasn't because I work with a load of social animals but because after finishing the steroids I became ill after a month or so and I was in so much pain I couldn't run the risk of doing something that could aggravate things. I was surprised at how upset I was at this discovery and I do miss the gym, but cancelled the membership a few months ago. I still don't feel confident about going back to the gym and it's very possible that I may not be allowed to go for a good while, but I'm glad I finally did it because I know that I actually like the gym, like exercise and like losing myself for an hour as I pound out the mental stresses of my life. I do gentle exercise at home, which aside from lifting the remote includes sit ups and er, shopping?

NML writes Tired of Men

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

Links for 2005-12-02 []

Cinematical Seven: Great movie critics
They forgot Mark Kermode. But then it is an American list ...

Kevin Smith answers his online critics again.
Doesn't go well. Although funny.

Jay And Silent Bob Do Degrassi: The Next Generation on Region One DVD
Very tempting at £11.99. But will it go Region Two? For: It's a Kevin Smith film and the Clerks X set sold boxes and boxes over here. Against: Degrassi hasn't been on TV here since the eighties. Decisions, decisions...

Review 2005

Pete Nu

When I saw the invitation to describe a moment when I succeeded in doing something that I've always wanted to do, I foolishly pounced upon it. Not because I had already started writing my entry in my head, but for precisely the opposite reason. I figured that perhaps I needed a little coaxing into actually paying attention to my own life, and this might be a good opportunity to actually examine in some way the year that has just finished.

The end of the year is a time when I always find myself looking back - not over the year that just finished, but over all the years that went before it. I see winters past, in the village where I grew up. My parents are currently in the process of splitting up, so I expect that this Christmas will be the last time that I ever set foot in that village. When I left the village three and a half years ago, I told all my friends that I'd stay in touch, but I didn't. I feel bad about that, but I guess they've forgotten about me by now, so it will never be the right time to make amends, and I'll have to bear the memory of that myself.

I've already decided what my New Years Resolution will be, but it's too embarrassing to talk about. Oh, okay then - I've resolved to "Be More Aragorn". It's one of those Zen adjectives which can't be defined, hence the confused look on your face. I began my preparations a few months ago by beginning to grow my hair, but then on Friday (18th November) I decided that long hair didn't suit me, and that being "Aragorn" wasn't really about the hair anyway, otherwise it wouldn't be so undefinable, so I went to the barber and was restored to my smarter self.

Oh golly, I seem to be rambling. To business...

I have travelled a fair bit this year - I've been abroad no less than three times, which I think is a record for me. And in May I finally succeeded in making my way out of Europe for the first time in my life, and to New York.

Now, visiting New York is not something that has exactly consumed me as a big must-do thing, but I guess I've always known that at some point in my life I would end up visiting there, and I've always quietly looked forward to it. My best friend went there a few years back, and when he came back he was a changed man. I don't think I've ever known him to show as much enthusiasm in anything, neither before nor since. And then, last year, circumstances finally started to spiral into place to make it possible for Karen and I to visit. Her new job was going to require her to head over on business, so while she was there, I might as well tag along and see it for myself.

My brain's a slightly different shape these days as a result. I don't know whether New York is a thick liquid that poured into a vacant space, causing it to bulge under the pressure, or whether it is a foam-like substance that nuzzles its way in between two existing brainy bits, but either way it is in there now, like my own little conjoined twin, giving little kicks and yelps a few times a day.

Though "Going to New York" fulfils the requirements of this assignment, it is going to have to share the billing with another item, which is probably much more exciting for me than for you, but this is my review so stick it up your nose - this year I ceased to use Microsoft Windows on my home computer. Isn't that great?

Back story: I'd tried Mandrake Linux a few years back but had to give up as I only had a winmodem, and didn't want to buy new hardware at the time. This year, in February, I installed Ubuntu Linux, and got on much better with it. I'm not going to claim that it is suitable for everyone, and even for me it was looking doubtful at first, but all my answers were on Google and now I can't imagine myself ever switching back. If there were things that I could do on Windows that I can't do with Linux, then I've forgotten what they were.

Pete Nu @

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.