Monday, March 28, 2005

An interesting discussion on how to rewrite song lyrics

It's a bit geeky but a lot of fun, and has kept me up this evening. Can you figure out which ones are mine?

Song lyrics as lists

Sunday, March 27, 2005

My back tattoo

Needed for a discussion elsewhere. Apologies if it grosses you out. It won't happen again.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

This is not me I swear!

I wouldn't be so stupid to have a webcam on if I was going to dance at the computer

Original Numa Numa Dance

Friday, March 25, 2005

First day of packing..

With the start of the holidays I thought I'd make a start on the packing.

The plan was to do the kitchen, and although I've not completed it, I have done some stuff in the other rooms to make up for it. Clearing out the food was quite interesting I had food that was 2 years out of date buried at the back. Quite a lot of it is being thrown out. Pots and pans are packed but I've left the microwave out so I can eat, that's not going to be good for the diet. Freezer is defrosted.

Elsewhere all the books are and DVDs are packed as are one of my chest of drawers (one other and the wardrobe to go). The bathroom has also been done.

I've also bagged up 6 bags of crap to throw out. I can't put them all out at once as I'll fill the bin, unfair on the other tenants. I'm going to have to stagger them.

I've also sorted out all my paperwork and have it filed in a new metal organiser. This means I can throw out the briefcase I've had the stuff in for years. It's buckled due to the weight and needs to be retired. Whilst I was buying those I also purchased Timesplitters Future Perfect. Curse impulse purchases. That kept me busy for a few hours this afternoon.

Tomorrow I will finish the kitchen and bedroom.

I'm a homeowner

Today I completed my property purchase and I'm now officially on the ladder.
The next thing to organise is the move.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Andrew WK - Party Hard


I thought I'd put something other than movies on this blog.
I do list music as an interest but don't document enough of it on here so I'll post what I'm listening to.

The first one is the old hit from Andrew WK and OK, its been out for a few years and I will admit to it totally passing me by initially but I'm loving it now. I can quite happily put it on loop, and the last time I did that with anything Rock based it was "Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson.

I've exchanged!!!

It's definitely worthy of three exclamation marks as today I got the call I've fought for 15 months to hear.

"You've exchanged and will complete on Thursday"

Looks like I'm going to be a homeowner after all. I was thinking that the only thing I had left to give to see this through was bleed to get the purchase through, and ironically today I gave blood, so it looks like I did.

The next big step is the move when I shall become a Sarf Larndaner!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm going to Japan!!!

I got the email I was waiting for today. I am part of the Japan trip this September.

Woohoo!!!

Constantine


Not to be confused with...

Consonant. A film about a letter of the alphabet torn between 2 worlds, that of the living and that of the dead.

or

Clementine. A film in which Keanu Reeves plays a citrus fruit who kills demons in an attempt of getting the forgiveness from Satan.

or

Continent. A film in which Rachel Weisz stars alongside a large land mass and has a scene with her almost drowning.


The film itself was alright and you could tell it had been adapted from a comic book as there is a good story. Forget the fact the Movie Execs moved it from UK to LA and that Keanu took the place of a blond scouse. The film does seem to lose its way in places but the effects make up for that.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I've become a spammer

When I first came online I signed up with freeserve, one of the main providers in the U.K. who have subsequently been taken over by Wanadoo. I've never actually used the email that comes with the account, prefering hotmail instead. However within a matter of days of joining up I started getting a lot of spam, so I've been keeping the account to see how the spam industry is developing over time. I've seen phishing examples for all the major UK banks posted to this address.

Today I look in the inbox to find it full of "Undeliverable" or "Returned" mail notifications. As if I'd been sending the mail out. The format of the email address you get on joining is john@smith.freeserve.co.uk but you can in theory have anything at the front so that you can have accounts for all the family. What appears to have happened is the spammers have got hold of the bit following the @ and are putting random womens' names in the front bit.

I've reported it to Wanadoo and await their reponse. I doubt there's anything they can do though. It's just as well I don't use this account, I'd never be able to pick my legit mail out from the junk.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Payment cards

Last weekend I went to order a hotel room online (for the Gothenburg trip) to find I couldn't find my mastercard. Panic kicks in and I call up card protection and inadvertantly cancel the visa card. On Sunday I realise what I've done and call up a second time to cancel the right card. They advise me to inform the police. I tell them that I've probably misplaced it at home. I never use the cards as a rule and they're wedged tight in my wallet; there's no way it could be nicked.

Go to the police station who tell me that they're not interested unless I can prove it's been misused. So I call the bank and find out if either card had been used and they hadn't.

Panic over, except for the fact I still haven't ordered my hotel room. New cards have arrived this morning and I will do it this weekend.

Today was a good day...

(respect to Ice Cube for the inspiration in the title)

No, there weren'tt any cops pulling me over as I ran the intersection, and I don't know if anyone was killed in South Central L.A. It was however a glorious day in London, not a cloud in the sky. It was funny to see the local pub put it's tables and chairs out onto the street to attract the punters, it did work but there's a petrol station nearby and the diesel fumes were being blown towards them. We had lunch indoors and I managed to get my food order wrong, somehow a chilli burger became a spicy bean burger; and no I hadn't been drinking.

If it's as nice tomorrow I suspect the vain people will be out in their sunglasses as normally happens in the 1 or 2 days that it's not raining. Of course warmer weather means the women dress down. Nice!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hostage @ Apollo Piccadilly


Yup, another bloody movie review.

Bruce Willis (and you won't recognise him at first) plays a negotiator who cocks things up and finds himself moved to a quiet town just outside L.A. where a bunch of kids break into an accountant's house and take them hostage. Some bad guys, who want something from the house, then kidnap Bruce's kids to ensure he succeeds in his mission.

Nice tension and some decent acting by Bruce. The weird hostage taker, "Mars" is a pretty good character; totally messed up and twisted. A little far fetched how he is able to deal with the FBI (who act mysteriously like SWAT).

Definitely worth seeing!!

I went with a friend to the new Apollo cinema near Piccadilly, it's not obvious as it's mostly underground. It's a really posh cinema with decent bar, and nice seating areas to shmooze before going in the cinema. Arena seating, super wide arms rests and comfy seating make the cinema standing out above the rest. However it's also the dearest at 12.50 a ticket, and the screens aren't massive. I will go again however. In fact I've agreed with the friend to make it a regular thing and we'll take turns to pick the movie we'll see.

She's jokingly chosen Hitch or Miss Congeniality 2. What have I let myself in for?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Gothenburg Day Trip

The coaster club has been invited to the press event for the new launched coaster at Liseberg. This is a wonderful park close to Gothenburg in Sweden that welcomes the club and just has a superb attitude. A few years ago they got a wooden coaster called "Balder" that quickly jumped to the top of the fan's favourite lists. This year they're opening Kanonen (Cannon), a launched coaster similar to Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point but nowhere near as tall, but it looks a lot more fun; it has inversions for a start.

So the invite came and a group of us are flying out at 7 in the morning, spending the day at the park then travelling back at 9 at night. Having never done a day trip to the continent before I'm really excited, especially as it's not France, which is where most people go. The flight is costing me £50 and I can get a hotel room for about the same but split it with someone else who's going. The only other money I need is cab fare to and from the park and that will be around £5 a head.

It's going to be a great day out!

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Streets - Alexandra Palace

My brother works at the venue and was going to try to get myself and a few friends in. However due to computer failure they'd sold too many tickets and there was a chance the event would be cancelled. Not wanting to risk anything, especially my brother's job, we agreed to leave it.

I spent the night catching up on lost sleep from the night before.

I nearly have a new home!

I've been keeping this quiet but after the year wasted trying to find a place I didn't want to pre-empt anything.

I've found a 2 bedroom flat in Hackbridge and this time the purchase has gone through smoothly. I've exchanged and complete just before the Easter Holidays. The flat isn't as nice as the one I spent 8 months trying to buy but I get an extra bedroom and I'll be paying £100 less a month on the mortgage. I have a good opportunity to do the place up (double glazing, central heating and new kitchen) and make more money on it too. In hindsight the other flat was so perfect it didn't need anything and so the potential would have been less.

This time next month I'll be a south-londoner!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Comedy Night

The second, and final, event I'd attended as part of the Diversity week at work. This was a stand up comedy night at Leicester Square (I spend too much time here!) and featured 4 acts; A gay asian, an Australian woman, A cockney and a black, oh, and the compére was Jewish. I can't recall the name of the first guy, but he was very funny, probably the best act of the four. The headline was Junior Simpson who I was supposed to see at the usual comedy haunt I go to but he no-showed. He was quite funny too.

The problem with the show is that there was a sense that some of the acts were holding back, perhaps saving their best material for an audience that pays.

After the comedy, the venue opened its doors to the public and became a nightclub. I hadn't intended on staying too late and I was leaving at around 10.30 when a met a mate, who'd left earlier in the evening to watch Middlesboro lose, but come back. I eventually found myself dancing and drinking until 2. There were a group of Californian girls spending their last night in town and they kept me partying as long as I did.

I stumbled home at 4ish and then called a friend in the states. I should really have gone to bed but it had been a good night and I wanted it to continue.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fix Up

No! It's not another movie review honest!

This week my big corporate firm has been hosting several events as part of it's "Inclusion and Diversity Week". The aim is to show that they're not biased to any minority group. Why it's only happening for one week, I don't know but if it gives them the tick in the box to say they're a diverse company then so be it.

I went along to this play, written by Kwame Kway-Armah (of Casualty and Fame Academy) telling the story of a black book shop owner facing threat of closure. A small cast but a well written play which covered a number of black issues. After it, 4 of the 5 cast joined us for a Q&A session.

It was an enjoyable evening, made even more so by the vast quantity of free champagne and canapés. Usually the bar runs dry at these things, but not this time. No idea how much I drunk, it's always hard to tell when your glass keeps being topped up.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ring 2


Had a mate at work manage to get some tickets to an advance showing of this.
I really enjoyed the original Japanese film and didn't like the idea of a Hollywood interpretation as they tend to ruin it (Nikita and The Vanishing to name but two examples).

I wasn't disappointed with the film, I knew it would be shit. If I had to pay to see it I wouldn't have done, but because it was free I went along. There are 2 good sequences; the first when deer attack a car, and the second when the girl is climbing out the well. The former has some very clever CGI, the other looking like it is CGI but according to the production notes we were provided was just a stunt woman who was also a contortionist who could get her feet above her head whilst climbing. The rest of the film is too slow and doesn't build up any tension.

In one scene where the kid is explaining he doesn't sleep, I felt it necessary to comment that if he'd been made to watch this film he'd have found a cure. Putting a "b" and "o" in front of the title is the easiest way to sum it up.

Alls well that ends well. (The best Ring pun I could come up with)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Boogey Man


Hurrah, a horror movie with no twist, no ghosts, kids who see dead people, no schizophrenic lead actor, and fortunately for a film about monsters in closets, no blue furry beasts with the voice of John Goodman.

This is a straightforward monster movie like the monster movies of the 80s. Sam Raimi produced it but there is so much steadycam camerawork that you would think he was directing it too. A simple enough story about a kid who sees his dad captured by the eponymous bad guy and then finds him returning 15 years on.

A couple of jumpy bits, some good tension build up and a pretty scary bad guy makes this worth seeing, Oh, and it was nice to see the blonde die and not the brunette as usually happens.

There, I've totally spoiled that film for you!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Metal Gear Solid 3


I didn't want to buy this until I'd got 100% on GTA San Andreas. I'm nearly there though, just got to steal some cars, buy some property and deliver some drugs around San Fierro. Well I was out buying a Mother's Day present for "guess who" and picked up a copy along the way.

The game looks solid enough but is a little shorter than I would have liked. Yep, I've already completed it, albeit on "Very Easy" level. Decent boss battles, especially the one-on-one sniper battle with The End. A very odd sub-game with you shooting monkeys is also included in there.

To be honest I'll give this a break until I've done GTA then I'll return to it, and play it properly.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hide and Seek


Whilst looking for a birthday present for my dad I decided to pop into Leicester Square (to any Americans reading this it's pronounced "lesta" not "lie-sesta") , the only film that looked the slightest bit interesting was this so called "super scary" Hide and Seek.

Starring Robert de Niro and Dakota Fanning (the little girl out of "Man on Fire"), it's a story of a man who's wife is found dead and who decides to retreat to the country with his traumatised daughter to help her. She then makes friends with an "imaginary" friend called Charlie and as their friendship develops sinister things start happening around the house..

It's not a very scary film at all, in fact it's a bit contrived and clichéd. Any film that tries to build up tension by increasing the music and having a cat jump out isn't going to enthrall me. There is a twist, and since Sixth Sense you'd be surprised if there wasn't. However this particular twist has been seen before, and done better. (I won't name the film as it would give it away). You do see the clues but they don't register as such, which I guess is how they're supposed to be; at least they get that right.

In the same week "Saw" came out on DVD, and that's still my favourite film of this genre. See that instead.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Yet another movie review,.....The Life Aquatic


This was a really quirky film but then if you've seen anything else by Wes Anders (Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore) then you know what you're expecting.

Great characters that break the Hollywood mould by having facets of their characters that have nothing to do with the plot. Other characters that have nothing to do with the plot whatsoever, in this film they include a character who does nothing but sing David Bowie songs in Portuguese.

The story about is about an aquatic film maker, Steve Zizzou (played superbly by Bill Murray) and his quest for a "Jaguar Shark" after it reputedly eats his best friend. Along the way he meets his long lost son played by Owen Wilson, and runs into pirates.

The film is a lot of fun, with some stunning sets (the best being a cross section of the boat) and a great story. Whenever I watch a film that stars Owen Wilson I can't help but wonder what the hell he did to his nose to bend it so badly, but that didn't happen this time round. Either he's had it fixed or the film really is that absorbing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

We have snow!!!

OK, so it doesn't stay around for long but we are getting snow in London and as expected it's totally crippling our public transport. This week I've been getting into work at 10 instead of 9 and getting home at 7 instead of 6. But I have been able to make it in, some of the team haven't; in Kent the snow has been much worse.

Near where I live there's a big church at the top of the hill that attracts the local kids. I guess if we had a 24 hour store, or a cinema they'd hang around that instead. Given the options the church seems not a bad place to congregate. However rather than do anything good with their lives they use the hedges around the church to hide behind whilst throwing eggs at people walking past.

Even with the cold temperatures they're still gathering there, but rather than throw eggs, it's snowballs this week; a preferred option of the two. Give them time and they may even get their aim right, I had 2 fly past my head and smash against the wall beside me tonight on my way home.