Monday, December 31, 2012
2013 is more ominous, but then that's because I have a minor tridecaphobia (sp?) and although that's really about Friday the 13th, it's just 13 in general. The correct approach is to embrace the fear of 13 and just bloody well get on with it, and stop worrying about something that isn't happening.
As it happens, the end of 2012 is actually causing me no end of grief. The weather is just hampering everything, I've been feeling generally rough and worn out (although that may have something to do with over consuming and under exercising), and now I need a plumber.
These things always happen at the worst possible time - generally during or just before a bank holiday, just so that the call out fees can skyrocket. We have a sealed hot water and heating system which has been running just fine for the past 6 years without a hitch. Part of the system includes an expansion tank to allow for water expansion as it heats up. This is a sturdy tank that's mounted on the wall of the airing cupboard using a metal strap with a jubilee clip.
Last night for no apparent reason, the metal strap decided to just snap. I can't see a reason for it, it's a piece of stainless steel that just decided it had had enough of holding up the expansion tank, so it just gave way. This led to the tank falling about 4 inches toward the upper shelf in the cupboard, so in theory should have cause little or no damage en-route. However, on its short downward journey, it met up with the return pipe from the pressurised vessel that feeds the boiler. It gave this pipe a hefty wallop and split the joint, thus creating a leak for the pressurised take to empty through (at some speed) into the airing cupboard.
The pressurised tank has its own separate filler feed, so is easily isolated, but it does of course render the heating and hot water system inoperable. This leaves us with no hot water and extra jumpers until the plumber can come and fix it on Thursday. Impressed, I am not. Cold, I am. A great start to the new year.
Ordinarily on the 1st, Mrs G and I partake of some outdoor sport in the form of Cheltenham races. This year however, that's also going down the swanny river thanks to the weather. Rain has waterlogged the course, so it's looking like its not going to happen. On the plus side I suppose this is some deity's way of telling me I can't afford it, not least because I have to pay for a plumber instead.
Haven't done much in the way of traditional Christmas telly in the last week. Pretty much avoided most of it, but we did make a point of watching the queen's speech in 3D on Christmas Day. To be fair, it was the novelty factor of having her maj stood in the living room as much as anything else. I still think 3D is a gimmick, and more likely just a stepping stone on the way to 4KTV or 8K for the UK (knowing how long it takes for licences for such things to get approved in this country)
A different story on the movie front however. Managed to consume Prometheus, Avatar, The Dark Knight Rises, all three Back to the Future movies (back to back), White Christmas, Holiday Inn, American Gangster and way back in 1990, Narrow Margin. Still on the list to do - Ted. As the races are off, (and someone has a birthday coming up) I might try and persuade Mrs G (who really isn't a fan of cinemas) to spend an evening in the screening rooms (http://www.thescreeningrooms.co.uk/) to catch something on the bigger screen. Probably not the Hobbit though... TL;DW
Next week is likely to se me travelling back up to London on the work front - but in the words of the late great Gerry Anderson "Anything can happen in the next half hour".
Anyway, here's hoping that whatever you do, you have a good one and that any injuries you've sustained over the Christmas period make a rapid disappearance.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Here's a post I've been putting off for a bit, but as it's almost Christmas and I've got a spare 10 minutes, I'll give you the lowdown...
Sadly - It's time for me to move on. I've had a great time. It's been really wonderful in fact - and on occasion, really easy, but in recent weeks it's just been gettin all a bit too much.
It seems that everytime I send an email to posterous - it doesn't arrive. Maybe the spam filter is blocking me - or maybe since twitter aquired it, they've just stopped looking after the infrastructure properly. A huge shame, because it's definetly been a great service in the past - having been fast and reliable. So it's with a very heavy heart that I have to leave now that it's both slow and barely useable more often than not.
So - should you be sad enough to wish to continue reading my ongoing adventures or mde up stuff, then you'll need to redirect your browser to this address:
So long posterous, and thanks for all the fish.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Sunday, December 23, 2012
According to all the major news outlets today is last-minute-Saturday (I don't really hold much truck with this fad of naming days based on their retail opportunities or just position relative to a national holiday - but I'm sure I can have some fun with it). The last Saturday before Christmas Day and all those that waited to see if the world was going to end, now have to go and get their present shopping sorted all at a bit of a rush and with much swearing and jostling I suspect. Should probably be called Sweary Saturday.
Luckily Mrs G and I have been particularly well organised this year - so what am I doing on a train?
Well, the Wiltshire lads also have to have a Christmas do, and so a few of us are getting together in that other well known spa city (Bath) to celebrate the season, have a bit of a catch up and no doubt rather too many festive beverages.
Now, this being England and the weather being our main topic of conversation, last-minute-Saturday wouldn't be half as much fun without total and utter travel chaos caused by a few drops of rain. Sure enough, and on cue, the rail network has failed to run smoothly, aided by a fire in a signal box in Paddington and floods throughout large parts if the south west. That being said, my journey to Bath (via Bristol) is running smoothly all be it 20 odd minutes late.
This wasted time (just sitting and waiting) provides the perfect opportunity for me to actually get on and write something vaguely interesting (obviously that's somewhere else- Ed). Actually it's one of the rules of life which I recently stumbled upon (see below) and honestly, if you take note of them - life's a lot better than you think it might be.
Last time I promised I'd tell you what the X-37 is up to... Well here it is. Bear in mind this is tip top secret, not to be divulged to anyone, keep it under your hat and a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man - know what I mean? Say no more....
As you're aware the government have been trying to make some in-roads into tracking all of our Internet usage via various legal routes. Of course there are several groups who leap on their every move and stop it in its tracks citing things such as privacy and free speech and so on and so forth. This makes us all feel good and that we're winning the war for an open and free Internet for the benefit of all mankind.
And while we were busy looking into this huge pile of paperwork that the various governments of the world were creating we didn't see that they'd cancelled the space shuttle program in favour of the X-37 to deal with the Alien invasion and off planet storage of all human knowledge to a server farm on the dark side of the moon. Probably.
We all know that Aliens first made contact with the governments of the world in the late 1950's (although of course they'd been slowly and surely laying their plans against us for eons before that). Obviously when we as a populous first ventured into space, they couldn't have that and so had to make themselves known. This led to the governments of the world realising that to preserve human life they'd have to deal with the Aliens.
It turns out that Aliens like nothing more than looking at pictures of cats... Especially ones that are dressed up, or pulling strange expressions in unusual circumstances. Well, actually, not just cats. They like unicorns with rainbows shooting out of them, they like dogs dressed up as lawyers, they like knowing that "one simply does not walk into moordor" and all that other meme based comedy that makes the underbelly of the internet simply perfect for procrastination. The only way to stop an Alien eating your brain is to show it a picture of a cat/dog/random individual with a funny expression... And so "Can I haz cheezeburger" and 9gag (among others) were invented to protect us all. Memebase Alpha if you will.
With some governments unplugging or tampering with the internetz - memes were suddenly at risk and so a mahoosive server farm on the dark side of the moon has been constructed, (memebase) where a complete copy of all that sh1te that's online is kept. This way, should the unthinkable happen and the internetz fails thus leaving us wide open to alien attack, then our defences would in theory at least fail over to the dark side of the moon where Nyan cat, grumpy cat, lawyer dog and all the other time wasting pop culture distractions would keep us safe. Think of it as the dumb equivalent of the Star Wars programme from the 1980's
I'm pretty sure that's true, factual and correct - or it might not be.
So seriously... Have a very merry Christmas and enjoy your break if you're getting one. Here's the list of really helpful instructions for living life and generally enjoying it rather than letting it eat you.
Until next time - take care out there.
Use travel delay as opportunity to stop rather than get stressed. When the world stands still, let it. [Karl Durrant]
Whenever your spouse says something the first thing you should hear is “I love you & want to spend my life with you”. [David Inman]
Stop clinging and embrace change as a constant. [Isabelle Cholette]
Try and give people the benefit of the doubt if they snap at you. Might be something going on you don’t know about. [misslmdavis]
Wash your bowl immediately after eating! [niekstarr]
The daily practice of silence. [dimovich]
Life is so much easier when you make a decision within 5 minutes. Longer than that and you get bogged down & never decide. [Tiffany Cooper]
Friendship is a gift, not a possession. [Chris Reetz]
Mostly nothing is that serious as it seems in the first moment. [Julian Pollman]
Before you go to bed, write down only 3 things that you want to do the following day. This is how to prioritize. [Ziba]
Do the most important task first thing in the morning. [Jordan Ayres]
Make all driving a mindfulness practice. Well being and safety! [Branden Barnett]
When you think you want something, put it on the planner a month from now. When that month rolls around and you still want it, OK. [connie baber]
Smiling … seems to help with most things. :-) [zen fostering]
Love where you live, and work in walking distance from where you live. [Anoel]
Expecting less or nothing, and just being. That way disappointments are nil and you are pleasantly surprised often. Simple. [Traci]
Allow extra time in your schedule for wandering. [dylan]
Meditate — it makes everything fall into place. Being happy makes life so much better and easier! [Gabriel Rocheleau]
Do something relaxing before going to bed. No electronics. [Rozanne Paxman]
Don’t fold clothes. Saves time and hassle. [Rachel Jonat]
QTIP: quit taking it personally. [Will Hopkins]
To avoid cluttering: After any activity, put everything in place. It only takes 5 minutes vs. 3 hours if you allowed to pile things up. [La Piña]
Organic steel cut oats. YUM! [Prem]
Realizing that you treasure experiences over possessions makes life better. [Sophia Khan]
If you lick a glass before drinking from it, your lipstick doesn’t smear the glass. [natalie fergie]
When in doubt, take a deep breath. [Kevin Cuccaro]
Define what’s necessary; say no to the rest. [Dana]
Expect nothing. Welcome everything. (from a homeless man with AIDS on the streets of Vancouver.) [Sarah Chauncey]
Thursday, December 13, 2012
You can keep up with your weather (on iOS) with this: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/today-weather/id556002847?mt=8
Now according to the Myans, their calendar is going to end along with the rest of the world on the 21st of December 2012. Personally I think they've got that wrong - what with them being dyslexic and all - and it would be so much neater if it we today at 12 minutes past 12 on the 12th day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of the second millennium. Ah... Yes, that wouldn't work would it. We're 10 millennia too early.
So the next chance will be at 3 minutes past 3 in the morning on the 3rd of March 3003... A little while yet then.
Regardless, if the Myans are right, I'm alright Jack. We already had Christmas and with any luck none of us will have to endure the JLS Christmas special on the telly.
Today sees me back on the train up that Laaandan, but this time strictly for pleasure. Mrs G, daughter and I are going to spend some quality family time being tourists and doing a bit of Christmas shopping. Expect mulled wine from borough market and gaping at the overpriced elephant statues in Harrods (probably).
On the work front, I'm pretty much out of a job at the moment, so a couple of days holiday is actually really useful. I'm sure it'll ramp up again, but Christmas is looking like its going to be pretty quiet. I have to thank my lucky stars I'm not on contractor - even if most of the time it feels like I am.
Right - gotta dash - here comes Paddington.... again.
PS - next time I'm going to tell you what the X37 is really up to
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Chancellor shows fracking support in Autumn Statement
And then this:
4 Scary New Finds About Fracking This Week
Bothersome in the extreme....
Friday, December 07, 2012
So while I'm sat peeling sprouts and awaiting the thawing of the turkey, I have been putting some thought to Boxing Day (of which I also have two) and what this years Boxing Day movie(s) should be.
For some people, spending a few days with their families is a bit of a horror story, so maybe we should go with the nightmare before christmas (although thats really a Halloween film in my book), or lets go to the all time top of the horror movies and consider, The Shining, The Thing (1980 not the new one) or Omen (the first one). After all, I'm sure most kids a little devils even though there supposed to be good. He knows who's been nasty or nice you know.....
While I think of it, it's worth remembering that Gregory Peck is Darth Vaders father.
Well, it's very straightforward actually. In the early 1970's 20th century fox was in a bit of bother. They'd made some bad movies, and that meant they'd not made much money. The pressure was on for a hit movie, and it just wasn't happening. Things were getting wobbly. The situation was not good. What they needed was a massive hit on a tiny budget - because budgets were pretty much non-existent.
Enter stage right - Director, Richard Donner, Gregory Peck and 2,225,000 dollars. In the grand scheme of movie making that's not a lot of money but when they make a movie like the Omen, and scare the living bejesus out of everyone, they manage to turn $2.2m into $60m - and that's in the US alone. According to Mr Donner himself, it's this very healthy profit that went into Fox's coffers and enabled them to make Star Wars. So without Gregory Peck's fine performance and one of the most impressive and most talked about in-camera visual effects of a fall (courtesy of Mr Donner), Darth never would have seen the dark of night. May the force be with you - always.
Anyway, I digress. Of course what we really need is a proper festive film, with all the trimmings. There's a long list of possibles with things like "It's a wonderful life", "Miracle on 54th street", "Home Alone", "The Snowman", "Elf" and no end of Santa Claus related movies.... But no. Not for me.
For me - its some of the most memorable scriptwriting, and all round fun and games of any holiday season movie ever made. With gems like "nice suit", and "nice bear", or classics like "I'll kiss your fugging Dalmatian" (If you're still wondering what that means, it's a reference to Dalmatian dogs being fire station mascots in the United States), "Fists with your toes" or "now, I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho" and of course the immortal "Yippee Kai Ay".... It can only be Die Hard...
Topical references to Twinkies, a Top Draw bad guy in the form of Alan Rickman's "Hans" ("by the time they figure out what went wrong we'll be sitting on a beach earning 20%" and "Where are my detonators"), the dumb schmuck that is Ellis ("Hans. Boobie! I can give him to you"), a cocky and unlikely hacker ("Merry Christmas"), an annoying investigative journalist ("Tell me you got that") and some all round hammy cop/FBI acting ("Woohoo, just like fugging Saigon hey slick?", "I was in junior high dickhead")... Oh yes, and how could I forget the ballet dancing Russian playing a German - Alexander Goodunov?
It's what Christmas is all about.
And as we have two Christmasii, our second Boxing Day needs more of the same - so thank god for Die Hard 2 - yet another great Christmas movie. It's true it's not as good as the first one, but it's still classic action fare.
The 3rd one is for the summer, the 4th one is for different generation and 5th will be next years fun, so in the meantime, I'll leave you with this memorable NSFW gem - with a little help from Alan.
Yippee Kai Aye Mellon Farmers
Friday, November 30, 2012
We are working on a resolution to get this fixed.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this cause.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Thursday, November 29, 2012
No really, I do. This is a bout of full blown man flu going on here, and I might actually die. Possibly.
It's at times like this that I have to turn to the comfortable things in life. Comfort food, comfort sofa, comfort TV and comfort wine.... If it gets much worse I may have to take some comfort drugs and who knows where that might end. Mrs G has some sympathy, but man flu is never as bad as we men make out - naturally.
Winter has well and truly arrived. It's dark before 4pm, it's cold enough to freeze the wotsits off a brass monkey, and it's been pouring cats and dogs (none of which I've ever really understood, but I get the drift - basically, a lot!)
The comfort food had to be something exceptionally spicy. I'm a big believer in killing off the bugs with hot and burning foods with peppers and garlic and all that in it. We stumped for a firm favourite (well I'd cooked it once before so knew it was a winner) with extra chilies, from the stoke chef's cookbook - http://for-forks-sake.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/day-15.html I keep promising myself to cook a load more of his efforts, but I just need to put a bit more planning into that plan.
He's not about at the moment, and in fact I've barely seen anything of him since we've left London due to lack of foresight on someone's part. What's particularly odd about that situation is that there are still some of the more expensive members of the team in situ for no apparent reason. I predict bad things, but for the time being - IIWII.
Comfort sofa is easy - but that's because a few years ago we bought a ridiculous sofa. Too big and so way too comfortable. It's not uncommon for people to fall asleep on it purely because its that comfortable. We love it, but it is too big.
Comfort TV has been that terrible ITV stuff about so called celebrities in a jungle in Australia. I don't actually care about any of it, but it's easy watching. The only other thing that's as simple to deal with is Coronation Street (which as I've said before) is some of the best written comedy on the box. Aside from that its the devouring of movies - which always makes me feel a little better.
Comfort wine = nearest bottle of red.
None of this is very sophisticated, but I'm too damn knackered to care. As Max headroom once said: Come sweet slumber, enshroud me I thy purple cloak. Just rolling back to the comforting TV for a moment.... I always find this makes me feel better too:
a poem by Queenie*
When the night is dark,
And the dogs go 'bark';
When the clouds are black,
And the ducks go 'quack';
When the sky is blue,
And the cows go 'mooo';
Think of lovely Queenie,
She'll be thinking of you.
(* William Shakespeare helped with the title)
Beware the snuffles - they lead to manflu.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Those of you that know me, will know about my film obsession. I try not to make too big a thing about it because one could easily become a frightful bore, (what do you mean “become”? - Ed) but it's still there nevertheless. I mention it to try and explain away the incredulity of the following post - to be fair I can hardly believe I've written myself, but here's how it came about:
In the course of my movie watching I see Film Studio logos a lot... An awful lot. While they're interesting the first time, they tend to go unnoticed (and certainly uncommented upon) in subsequent appearances. That is until one of them changes. It might only be a minor change but when you notice it, it's like the proverbial sore thumb for the next two or three outings, until it becomes the new norm.
For example, when 20th Century Fox became part of the Newscorp Corporation (1981-84), I'm sure like me, all you ever noticed under the glare of the famous searchlights was the "A News Corporation Company" sign at the bottom of the screen... (Or perhaps you didn't and I'm just a cinema weirdo)
Anyway, this weekend I realised that another one of them had had a fairly minor change recently, and what caught my attention was the size of the logo. This got me to thinking how big would these arduous logos be if they were ever rendered in real life - and is size important? :-) I was always told its what you do with it that matters, although luckily this has never been an issue..... Moving on...
To correctly answer the question, some research was required. Here for your delectation and amazement are the results. The rules (as defined by me) are measurement of Logo Text size is the score. So, in no particular order....
DreamWorks SKG Animation - The boy on the moon.
So it turns out that DreamWorks logo features the son of the artist that painted the original artwork for the sign. The young man sat on the edge of a crescent moon fishing is an image of William Hunt, son of Robert Hunt. Safe to assume then, that as a young boy he is probably about 5 feet tall which gives us a logo size of 3 feet (give or take)
However, he's clearly sat in the crescent of THE moon, and as we know the moon is 3,474km in diameter so perhaps it could be that William is depicted as being 768Km tall, thus giving us a total logo size of 983Km or 610 miles.
Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen (yes, thats what SKG stands for) had a pretty good shot at the title with a logo that big.
Worth noting that Dreamworks is now owned by Paramount Pictures, however Dreamworks Animation is still independent, so that’s the logo I’ve used here.
And here's the clip:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) - Roaring Lion
Lions aren't very big in the grand scheme of logos. Average shoulder height of a fully grown male african Lion is up to 123cm (4 ft). MGM have changed the logo a few times, all with basically the same theme and they've had four named lions (and probably a couple of unnamed ones) who are respectively Slats, Jackie, Tanner and Leo. But then as the logo says this is "Art for art's Sake" so the casual observer shouldn't read anything of importance into it I suppose.
Anyway, all that aside, a 4ft Lion, gives MGM a total logo size of 5ft 8in (1.75m)
and here's all the MGM Logos rolled into one convenient clip:
20th Century Fox - Searchlights
Emil Kosa Junior created the original 20th Century Pictures logo in 1933. Two years later they became 20th Century Fox through a merger with the Fox Film Company and Pictures became Fox. Emil Kosa was a well known Matte Artist and examples of his work can be found in such movie greats as The Sound of Music, Cleopatra, The Fantastic Voyage, and probably most famously the Planet of the Apes - spoiler alert - see that Statue of Liberty?, That's a painting that is.
Luckily, the logo is easily scaled based on Searchlight technology. For military use initially (but also for public events, and Grand openings - and no doubt lighting up studio logo's) two companies together, Sperry and General Electric, manufactured Carbon Arc Searchlights right around the time the 20th Century Fox logo got going. While Movie Arc Lights were 24 inch diameter, it's a fair assumption to make, that the larger version are what are imagined in the logo. They have a 60" diameter, originally cost $60,000 each and have an effective beam length of 5.6 miles. Impressive stuff eh?
Right then. So a 60" diameter light translates into a total logo size of 12.16 meters
And the now obligatory collection:
Paramount Pictures Mountain
Paramount Pictures have a mountain of a logo - known as “The Majestic Mountain”. The story goes that it started life as a doodle drawn by W.W.Hodkinson during a meeting with Adolph Zukor (the founder) and is loosely based on the “Ben Lomond Mountain” in Utah (which incidentally is 2,960m high). However, Paramount went on to film a live action version of a mountain widely believed to be “Artesonraju” in Peru (which stands at 6,025m).
Of course nowadays, everyone’s logo’s are digital representations, but for the purposes of the exercise and to be favorable we’ll go with the Peruvian version of events.
Interestingly, the stars around the logo were originally there to represent the 24 film stars that were contractually signed up to Paramount at the time. This changed to 22 in 1974, but I can’t find any reference as to why - probably just aesthetics.
Regardless - given a little bit of measuring and maths, Paramount score a TLS of 7.23Km.
And the whole range of Paramount logo's….
The Warner Bros Shield
A tricky one this - not much to go on, in the way of scaling. There have been hundereds of different versions of this logo, but I’m going to go with the Warner Bros / New Line Cinema version because at least here there is something….
This version of the logo is animated and transitions from the standard WB Shield that you’ll have seen many times, into the NewLine Cinema logo (A Frame of film with the sprocket holes at an angle across the right hand corner). This is our reference point. The sprocket holes on the New Line logo are represented as being square - thus directing us to CinemaScope film. Interestingly, CineScope sprocket holes were originally referred to as “Fox Holes” because all CineScope films were made by 20th Century Fox.
A single “Fox Hole” is a mere 1.85mm in height, thus giving us a film strip which is 15.91mm in length. Following back through the animation, this translates to the downward edge of the “B” in the logo, giving us a Total Logo Size for Warner Bros. a piddling 22.02mm... Hmm, those clouds must be water vapor from a cup of tea!
Columbia Pictures and that woman with the Torch
So this woman with the torch is the personification of America, known as “Columbia”. She was given the elbow by much of the US in 1920 when that other woman came along (The Statue of Liberty). Essentially, she is America’s version of Britannia - another goddess we don’t hear much of nowadays....
As for who actually modeled for the logo - well there’s a long list of names, among them, Claudia Dell, Amelia Batchler, Jane Bartholomew and Annette Bening. The current model is Jenny Joseph, who stood for Michael Deas when the digital rendition was made in 1993. However, he says that the face is a composite and not that of Jenny Joseph.
To the maths... The average height of an american woman is 1.76m, thus the Columbia logo has a TLS of 0.76m
In all her glory:
And it's here that we appear to have a clear winner. Appropriately so, given that this year marks their 100th anniversary.
From Tangier all the way down North Africa to Grand Lahou is a distance of 2,117 miles (3,407Km)
So scaling up (and excluding subsidiary text) this gives Universal Studios a whopping Total Logo Size of 4,543Km (2,822 miles). Insane!
All the Universal logos:
Does Size Matter?
The reults then - as follows:
1st: Universal Studios (4,543 million mm)
2nd: DreamWorks Animation (983 million mm)
3rd: Paramount (7.23 million mm)
4th: 20th Century Fox (12,160 mm)
5th: M.G.M. (1,750 mm)
6th: Columbia (760 mm)
7th: Warner Bros. (22.02 mm)
Well, there you go then - I’m sure that’s wasted 10 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back, but does it really mean anything? Is there any relationship between logo size and Film Production??
Nope - it's utterly meaningless... unless you know otherwise.... :-)
Time I found something else to worry about.
P.S. - With thanks to the internets, wikipedia and my memory for finding all this guff. #KeepItFree
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Friday, November 23, 2012
- Terrence Stamp Singing in Song for Marion
- Emma Thompson’s witchery in Beautiful Creatures
- John Simm in Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday
- Guillermo Del Toro’s Horror movie Mama
- Barbara Streisand & Seth Rogen’s Comedy Road Trip movie The Guilt Trip
- Bullet to the head with Sly Stallone back from the 80’s with Walter Hill in charge
- All Stars - Dance movie.... Pah!
- Movie 43 - Ensemble Comedy.... Meh.
- Run for Your Wife - Danny Dyer in a romantic comedy?? Do me a favor.
- Fire with Fire - There’s just never enough Bruce Willis . Witness Protection, here comes the bad guy action movie.
- Robot & Frank - Anti tech retiree Frank Langella gets a Robot and gets into trouble.
- The Look of Love - The Porn Baron, Paul Raymond with Imogen Poots, Anna Friel and Stephen Fry.
- Side Effects (also known as The Bitter Pill) - Jude Law in a Drug conspiracy
- Trashed - Jeremy Irons narrates and stars in an ecological disaster documentary
- Welcome to the Punch - James McAvoy, David Morrissey and Mark Strong are some of the best current british actors and all three of them in one place has to be promising. Action/Crime type thing.
- About Time - Richard Curtis doe SciFi comedy. Expect Bill Nighy and a pregnant Rachel McAdams.
- The Croods - Family adventure fun from Dreamworks Animation
- Citadel - It’s Frodo in a Horror Movie...
- Compliance - Dark Psychological Thriller
- Trance - Danny Boyle has James McAvoy recovering a lost painting - sounds boring - bound not to be.
- Identity Thief - although possibly a couple of giggles in here, I can wait for the DVD
- The Bay - Mysterious stuff in the water and another bloody “found footage” film
- Good Vibrations - Dylan Moran tells the Terri Hooley Story. Expect great soundtrack though.
- Jadoo - Comedy chef brothers with Tom Mison
- Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Yet again another old fairy tale rebooted. Forgetting about Jack the Giant Killer for a moment, I’ve yet to see one of these efforts work out to be any good, so I’ll wait for the DVD.
- Cuban Fury - Nick Frost and Chris ODowd (who I enjoy watching) dancing about.
- John Dies at the End - Drug addled insanity, and we know the ending
- G.I.Joe: Retaliation - Warmongering action type stuff with Channing Tatum
- 21 and Over - Feels like a younger version of the Hangover.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Yet again I find myself eastbound to that Laandan on the early train. But hang about... What's this? It's Tuesday! What happened to Monday? In fact what happened to all of last week? And what was that about phones? And golf? (really this blog is becoming ridiculous... I mean, it's late, it runs teasers to stories that never appear. I'm actually considering leaving and setting up on my own - Ed)
Alright, alright.... Last Monday.... (Wibbly wobbly - back in time special effect - wibbly wobbly)... Same old same old, back down to the city for another week of trying to get the numbers together and write something believable to help out our forlorn customer and our totally knackered team. This particular deal has been a very long slog so far, and it's not over by quite a long way, so everyone involved is aware that the a lot more of this to come still. The stoke chef is bearing up under the strain of it all, and is doing a remarkably sound job. However, next week he has approvals, and with personal experience I'm aware of how stressful that can be. I think the best advice (certainly the most unhelpful) I ever got in such a situation, was from the badman and it went something along the lines of "It'll be alright"... As it turns out, even if this is of little comfort at the time, it is generally true... Unless you're about to get eaten by a lion, or crash the goddam plane into the mountain.... Rarely is that "alright"
Outside of the actual work, Monday night saw the stoke chef, me and a few other lads take a wander over primrose hill to an Italian place near the Queens.... I had a pizza. It was hot. I had some wine. I was glad of the walk home because I was stuffed. All in all very nice. Can't for the life of me remember the name of the place, but I'm sure ill go back.
Tuesday, was something a bit more adventurous, in that we tried somewhere we've never been before. This time is was, the tall fella, the stoke chef, me and Neil (who I could come up with an interesting name for, but unlike the rest of the world, I'm generally nice to ginger's :-) ) This time it was a new-ish place on Marylebone lane called "28-50" which describes itself as a wine workshop and kitchen. Bit of a poncy premise, but actually very nice. The only thing they seemed to get wrong was the chips - oh and watch out for ordering side dishes separately (which seems to be becoming the new norm). Catches you out when the bill arrives though.
Post food, we had a pint in the pub around the corner (the cock and lion - how rude, naming a pub after such a majestic beast.... What?) and then on the corner (the running horse) - although I should add that this wasn't the same corner.
Wednesday and the hours are starting to bite. the other team in the office have all come down with a bout of man flu (even the woman of their team) and they resolve to kill it dead by going for a curry. I tag along with the stoke chef, because I haven't had a curry in ages and because if I'm going to catch this cold, I might as well launch a pre-emptive strike against it. The Curry Manjill - on England's Lane, near Primrose Hill, provided an excellent bit of nosh and a couple of pints of Cobra to wash it down with.
Back in the office, the pressure is on for us to get the numbers complete but that is proving to be a challenge. Part of the problem is the shear number of people involved in this one. They also come from two opposite sides of the business, so while we are all one team, there is a bit of them and us going on, and allocated budgets do cause a bit of a punch up - especially when it's quarter four, and there are targets to be met.
The pressure is causing me another problem though. I need to be back home on Thursday (preferably early) because Scottish uncle Dave will be there, with Aunty L and the kids, to celebrate his birthday. Eventually I get away a couple of hours later than planned, and make it back to the West Country at a reasonably sensible time.
Dinner - and as is customary, as its his birthday, Scottish Uncle Dave gets to choose what he would like.... He chose curry... And as I haven't had one in ages... Oh, hang about. Ah well. It was fine, but I'm off the curry for a while now. A good time was had and a birthday was well celebrated. The kids even enjoyed a bit of a 3D fest with Tintin on the big telly.
Friday saw the Scottish clan take a trip out to Bristol, Mrs G off to work and I was left to the peace and quiet of the house to get my head down and finish collating costs. With this out of the way, there was the general admin of travel to get done, along with preparation for next week - another hotel, another train and so on and so forth. And finally the weekend is in sight.
The Scottish contingent returned from their trip and we gin and tonic'd our way through the evening. All in all, a long but achieving week - even if there's still work to be done.
Now, you may ask... What of telephones and golf? Ah yes. Good point, well made. Honestly, I will get to that in the next one. It's just for now I have another distraction to deal with... And it's not a pretty one. It's all about a Tuesday in Swindon....
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Saturday dawned, and we didn't wake up early, because we didn't have to. Having learned from our expedition to Ibiza earlier in the year, this time we had bloody sensible flights meaning there was no sense of rush and no danger over oversleeping and nearly missing the damn thing.
The kids (which they really aren't anymore - and this makes me feel very very old) arrived at 9am and by 9.30 the taxi was whizzing up the M5 towards Birmingham International with all the luggage and necessary paperwork and of course the four of us.
The tieving (yes that's how you spell it) gits that are Ryanair, flew us south to Mallorca without any hitch worth mentioning beyond their constant and annoying sales pitches. Every two minutes it's - "Ryanair would like to bring your attention to the (insert retail opportunity here)". And then that bloody fanfare when they land which is clearly yet another lie. It's interesting how they claim the flight time will be 2 and half hours (in either direction I might add (so no Gulf Stream, Trade winds or any other such nonsense to adjust this timing) and yet no matter what happens, they seem to be able to make it in 2 hours every time.... No wonder they're such a well performing airline... Doodle-Da-do-da-dooo My arse!
Hertz for a rent-a-car did a great job (so far) and instead of providing us with the pre-booked Vauxhall Astra (or equivalent) came up with a Renault bus. A seven seater which was far more than we needed, but turned out to be a great vehicle and far more useful than we can have imagined. As usual, seriously unreasonable charges appear at this stage which can, for the most part, be ignored. I did swallow the excess insurance waiver though at €10 per day. Well, it was that or risk €1200 if I reversed into a bollard in a vehicle I'm unfamiliar with, on the wrong side of the road. A likely outcome - so worth it probably.
With daughter riding shotgun, 50 minutes later we arrived safely at our villa on the edge of Puerto Pollença and squeezed the bus onto the tiny driveway. Dropped off the cases and went in hunt of the rest of the family, for there were many of us on the island....
Less than a mile from our gaff was the gaff de la cousins, and sure enough they were all on site either up to their necks in the swimming pool or in gin and tonic - naturally we joined in and the holiday proper got underway. Mrs G's sister, brother-in-law, and 3 kids were accompanied by their close friends, J and B and their daughter who is good friends with the chip shop boys. Then there was Mother-in-law and W as well. A grand total of 10 in their expansive villa, which included tennis courts, the aforementioned pool, table tennis, pool, barbecues and the like.
Our gaff was a little less pretentious, but the only major difference (aside from its size) was the lack of tennis courts. If your looking for one of these sorts of places, I'd recommend VillaPlus.com - very reasonable prices and good quality accommodation to boot.
All four of us have now done time on all three of the Balearic Islands (off the coast of mainland spain for those of you with a lack of geography in the region), being Menorca, Mallorca (Majorca if you like) and Ibiza and we've immensely enjoyed all three. I prefer Ibiza and Mallorca over Menorca but I can't really decide between those two.
As the week wandered on in the balmy 25 degrees worth of regular sunshine, the days gently merged into one and all thoughts of work were forgotten. The beaches were sandy, the sea warm and inviting, the food enjoyable, the company remarkably well behaved for family. :-). No one fell out, and no one felt left out (as far as I could tell). Obviously with such a large group, you can't please all the people all the time, and teenagers will be teenagers, while old codgers will be old codgers and I dare say parents will be parents in some eyes... Regardless, we all all had a good time, and none of us really wanted to come home again to wet and windy blighty..
Still, all good things must come to an end, and after an especially enjoyable breakfast at "Tolo's" along the front in the port, we had to head back across the island to the airport and our flight back with the tieves that brought us here.
On arrival, daughter had some sad news, that her fish had survived the week with Sons friends - can't say that I'm especially surprised - lads shouldn't be trusted with fish - they'll batter them given half a chance. The cats both appeared completely unharmed though.
Sunday meant getting organised for the first day back at work - up that Laaandan, with a hotel and a train and all the grief associated with that. A quick look through the emails, at what's this???? MrH (who had allegedly not been well of late) has resigned!!!? Uh oh... Something is obviously amiss. So god know what sort of position things will be in when I arrive on Monday morning.
I don't know - I only left them to it for a week, and the place has gone to hell in a handcart as the saying goes.
Oh and as if by magic - here's paddington. Remind me to tell you on my next visit about the phone situation, I've acquired another one. Oh and the forthcoming golf. there really are not enough hours in the day right now. Ridiculous.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
It's been a couple of weeks since I put virtual pen to paper, but here at last is a bit of a catchup. It's Monday morning, and as has been the way of things in recent weeks, I'm back on the train up that Laandann to resume the slog and hard trudge in what I'm led to believe is going to be a very different landscape to the one that I left a week or so ago.
Imagine for a moment, a wibbly wobbly picture of the world as we go baaack-iiinnnn-ttiiimmmee to a fortnight ago, and see what I can recall of the past fourteen days.
Rain was the order of the day a couple of Mondays ago, but I didn't mind given the fact that this was to be my last week before clearing off to the sunshine on holiday for a week. The work was as the work is. Plodding and largely uneventful, but for the fact that we were still a man down and the working out of the numbers still had to be done, with me firmly in the firing line to do it - because, as I've said before, no one else can be arsed with such a menial job. I spent some time with the Pricer, an amiable chap from Wales and we drew up a plan that should make churning out future revisions - for there will be many - very straight forward.
I also spent some time getting things lined up for the Stoke Chef and hopefully that should make is upcoming review cycle a little less painful than he envisages it being. It's his first time as "lead" and I think he has concerns. He needn't though. He's more than capable even if he may not have all the bits and pieces he needs to make a polished job of it.
It seems, that some how (blind luck in all honesty) I've managed to align my vacation week perfectly with release week for both deals, and as such (at least in theory) I won't be around for the last big push before we drop the results for the clients. I'm sure there's every chance it won't work out quite perfectly, and I am getting a few "jammy ba&@£?d" type jibes from the tall one and the chef, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
The down side to this is that I have to handover what I've done so far to a stand in. Obviously I've been doing far more work than I should have been, because the powers that be have arranged two stand ins, one for each deal. I have the utmost faith in at least one of them, and concerns - though mostly second hand ones - regarding the other. It's only really a worry, because I know that when I return from holiday, I'll probably be picking up the pieces and if its badly broken and needs repairing, you can bet some pieces will be missing, and the picture on the lid of the box will have been painted over. (Go pick your own analogies out of that)
This week I was located in the Holiday Inn. The mob persuaded me to travel over to Swiss Cottage for dinner, which would have been fine but for the journey "home", which took forever thanks to delayed services late in the evening. The Queens is a perfectly enjoyable pub on the edge of primrose hill, but having visited twice, I'm yearning for somewhere more interesting and can't really see me returning in a hurry.
Tuesday night saw the tall,one, the chef and I take a trip to Ledenhall Market, up the city. I spent some time here a while ago, whilst helping out an insurance firm that sponsor rugby and its a gem of a spot, with a nice little boozer and a couple of restaurants in the heart of the city proper. This time we had Italian, which was completely bearable and not part of a chain. Up a very narrow staircase just next to the pub - if you're passing that way, it's definitely worth a look.
Wednesday, we finally decided to make a curry night and headed off to the now infamous Brick Lane. Interestingly we failed to find it on the first go, having exited the tube station turned right and walk straight past it. We trudged on until we hit upon a dirty little boozer all painted green who's name completely escapes me, but a gem it was. The sort of place you wouldn't take your mum, has probably not seen a paintbrush, or even fresh air, since before the smoking ban, and with a local artists pictures strewn around the faded walls. A single bar is tucked under the stairs and you really do feel like you might be intruding on someone else's party. Marvellous.
It was here that we discover we'd walked past the "Lane" and two pints later sauntered back in search of food. Brick Lane is a hive of activity, and I'm told the best curries in London. Sadly, I'm not convinced. There are plenty of places to choose from, for sure, but the constant sales pitch from the staff at almost every one of them gets a bit wearing and is not a little off putting. "Yessir. come on in. We give you free beer sir. How much you wanna pay?" And so on and so forth. We settled for a place near the end of the road, next door the the Aladdin. It was a curry just like every other I've ever had. Perfectly acceptable. Nothing to shout about. After all the hype of "Brick Lane" I can't help but be disappointed. Perhaps we just chose an average one, and a second visit might improve it - who knows.
Back in the office and with most of the handovers complete it was back out west to finish the week off and get ready to fly off to he sunshine. Friday still kept me tied to my laptop with last minute bits and pieces which was agonising, not least because I needed half an hour out to go and get some Sterling turned into Euro's - but it all worked out in the end.
Friday night saw a plethora of packing and preparing all ready for the off and we tried to get an early night despite the excitement of getting away being so imminent.....
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Monday, October 08, 2012
Monday churned. Goalposts didn't move dramatically, but we were a man down and that way lies hard work..... The lead - MrH - isn't a well bunny and has the flu that's knocking out people left right and center. As result there's few of us left to try and get things sorted. He's in a difficult position, between a rock and a soft place and there's sh1t to get done.
I already knew we had to get "War and Peace" completed by Friday to be in front of the customer, I just hadn't realised that it was going to be down to me to get it done while everyone else swanned off to drink tea and eat biscuits with said customer elsewhere in the city. Not only that, but the other deal is also in need of some attention because basically no-one else can be arsed to do the menial and yet essential tasks required to get the job done. It's times like these that it feels like I shouldn't bloody bother and I should just retire with my secret lottery winnings - I mean its not like I need the money or anything. (What am I reading here? Clearly a work of fiction, and not a very good one at that - ed)
Monday night saw the tall one go off to his hotel (over tired), while the chef and a few other colleagues and I went to "The Queens" near Primrose Hill for a couple of pints and some dinner. And very good it was too. Some quality pub grub. I don't like the term gastropub, but I can see what they mean. I had the fish and chips, which sounds far more lowbrow than it was. After all it had "crushed peas" as opposed to mushy ones....
Tuesday had nothing of note during the day aside from the usual slog. There was writing, copying, pasting and more writing. The evening held a bit of a treat though. The tall one, the chef and I headed off north to Exmouth Market in search of interesting food and drink and found "Moro" and next door "Morito" (as in "little Moro"). What a find. The logic applied here, is if you're taking your mum out for a poshed up family type dinner, you go to Moro's, whereas if you're looking for more of a cafe, afterwork, or first date style joint, got to Morito's.
It was very busy, so we had a word and the lovely woman behind the counter said she'd give us a ring as soon as a table was available. During the wait we headed over to the Exmouth Inn (or arms, I can't recall right now) for some most enjoyable beer from their very extensive beer menu. They have a particular beer thats about 15 quid for a pint - needless to say, we declined, but what we did have was excellent.
Two pints later and back to Morito's. Think Spanish tapas dishes, with North African influences and whatever else the chef feels like adding to it. We had 9 different dishes and two bottles of wine all for 30quid each. This isn't exactly cheap, but for the quality of the food, it's most definitely not expensive. Highly recommended.
Wednesday evening ended up being a Chinese round the corner from the office. I won't be going back. It was just a very unappetising meal even if the company - which included about 8 of us - was wide and varied.
By Thursday night and the journey home, "War and Peace" was about 90% complete and I was confident, even with the last minute additions caused by the client meeting that day, that I'd have it in good shape ready to be sent off to them on Friday. Thursday night proper was a trip to the Whittle to celebrate Rod's retirement. A few beers and reasonable grub provided by J (his boss) was extraordinarily enjoyable and would have been more so if it wasn't for the fact that I was pretty much dead on my feet and conscious of the looming deadline. I battled on, and still managed to enjoy the banter nonetheless.
Friday was an early start to finish the beast, and by lunchtime it was done and off to review by those that have to do so. A few tweaks, a couple of comments, turn it into a PDF and by 5pm all is over and it feels like a job well done. No doubt the customer will barf all over it, and we'll have to write something new and probably longer. To me, it's 300 pages of useful guff.
Next thing I know, it's the weekend! Yay! Friday night, Mrs G and I enjoyed some well deserved wine with our perfectly cooked Gammon steak (I do like overly large Bacon - for that is what it is). I also noted the arrival of Adele singing the new James Bond theme - Skyfall. Those of you that know, will know I'm a bit of a fan of the bond films, and I'm greatly looking forward to the arrival of the next outing. If things go to plan, I might even be able to catch the IMAX version of it - October the 26th in the UK I think. A cracking way to celebrate 50 years of a well worn cinematic franchise.
Saturday morning saw a whole host of jobs that have to get done before next weekend - when we jet off to the sun for a bit of late winter vitamin D. Daughter made an appearance, which always brightens even the brightest of days. She has bough more fish. We also had Auntie S and the kids round for an evening of Pizza, frivolity and dumb telly.
Sunday, in-laws for lunch. They're pretty chewy, but have a great flavour (the old ones are always the best - see what I did there?). Son appeared and regaled us with stories of him not ducking quite quickly enough in a club in the West Midlands - not a fun story but he's perfectly alright and we printed tickets and assembled paperwork in preparation for the trip. Then there was railway tickets and hotels to organise for this coming week. Bags to pack and suitcases to extract from the loft. Playlists to organise and booklists to load up the kindles with.
Finally on Sunday night I sat down and relaxed for only the second time this weekend and promptly fell asleep on the sofa.
6.45 Monday morning and I'm back on the train for another week of fun in the city. This week is all about numbers - and I'll be reinforcing the fact that if I don't bloody well do them, no one else will, even though without them nothing will happen. Frustrating at best. Still, the tall one, the chef and I will hunt out some diverse digestion destinations I'm sure, so thank god for small mercies.
Until next time....
This post originally appeared here: Posterous