Sunday, May 29, 2005

Following the herd.

I just got an email from Blogger HQ informing me that I was the only person in the world not to have posted a review of Episode III, and that if I do not rectify the situation as soon as possible I will be forcibly evicted from the blogosphere.

It was good. Not as good as the original three, better than the first two prequels. If every single line of dialogue had been cut out it would have been brilliant. As it was, I cringed every time someone opened their mouth. Especially Padme. She went from gung-ho action woman in the Phantom Menace, to simpering oh-Anni-please-woman in this one.

Annoyed by Yoda, I was. Backwards talking, all the time, he should not. Okay it is, every now and again. Continuous reversal of syntax, infuriate it does. Kick more arse, he should have. Great warrior is he, when shut up he does.

100% waste of wookies. They did nothing. There should have been more wookies. More specifically, there should have been more wookie-based droid thumpage. Like the Ewoks, but able to run instead of waddle, and bite throats out instead of knees.

Overall, not bad, could have been a lot worse. It made me want to watch the original three again, so that can't be bad.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My powers are weak.

Yesterday, the final Star Wars film was released. You may not have noticed, there was little fanfare. Anyway, the whole interwebs were filled with chatter from people who went to see the first one 28 years ago to the day. It got me thinking: did I actually go to see Star Wars in the cinema?

I've always been convinced I did. I would have been about 4 years old, but I can't remember going to the cinema to see it. I remember going to see Return of the Jedi with my mum, the same year we went to see Octopussy, the last year that there was a cinema in my home town. It closed down in 1984, I think. I can also remember going to see The Empire Strikes Back with my sister. I was racking my brains earlier today, trying to dredge up memories of Star Wars itself.

I can remember going to see Superman with my brother and sister, in my sister's Wolseley Hornet. We had to go to the next town, since the vaguaries of the distribution system meant that they got films a few weeks before our town. That was 1978, and I would have been 5. Star Wars is a bit of a blank, though. It just seems like I was born having seen it, it's always been part of my childhood.

My son is now the same age I was when I first saw it, and I've been introducing him to the DVD box set of the original trilogy. One of my proudest moments was to hear him do the Darth Vader breathing noises, followed by his C3P0 impression. I'm such a geek, and I have founded a geek dynasty. Mwuhahahaaaaa... now I just need to get my daughter to grow her hair long enough to be twizzled into big Belgian buns on the side of her head and my journey will be complete.

This isn't the post you're looking for. You may go about your business.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Three weeks ago I picked out a book from our local library: River of Gods, by Ian McDonald. It's nominated for, or has won, a sackful of awards. This is a book I should read, I thought. Awards = Good. That's a rule that's always true, right?

The rule may well hold in this case, but I wouldn't know. I never got any further than the first 8 chapters or so. This was due to a number of things.

Firstly, that I don't have that much time to read books these days; I'm either at work, or looking after the kids, or drooling insensibly in front of the television. Fitting in time to read around all this is difficult. Oh, and I have to talk to my wife occasionally too, otherwise I've found she can get a little irritable.

Secondly, the book is big. 583 pages. Big books take a long time to read, they take a hefty chunk out of my free time. A book has to be worth that investment. The last really big book I read was Jonathan Strange, which was very good but at 800 pages quite a struggle (especially in the middle, boring, part). No problem, I thought, this book has been getting very good reviews.

Thirdly, a book has to grab me fairly quickly. There are too many other demands for my time. If a book makes it easy for me to put it down and doesn't call me back soon, then before you know it, three weeks have passed and it's due back at the library.

The chapters I read were well written, interesting, and witty in places. All good, so far. However, they were all about different characters. Eight different characters introduced, with only the most tenuous of connections between them, if a connection was there at all. I quickly forgot who the first ones were and wasn't sure if the later chapters were continuing their stories or if these were yet more characters.

I wanted entertainment, not a memory game. Maybe if I'd read those first chapters in a single sitting, not spread out over a few days, I'd have kept track of them. When I was younger, I'd have made short work of this book - devoured it whole. I know, I ripped through the contents of our local library as a teenager. I'd like to think that I've got higher standards, more refined tastes these days. The truth is, I'm getting older and lazier. It won't be long before I start reading Mills & Boon romance pamphlets in large print editions and cuffing young whippersnappers round the ear when they question my reading choices. "They're easy to read, young 'un. Now clear off, before I jam this seven-volume derivative fantasy series up your arse."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Blogging about blogging.

Here we go... the post that signifies I'm about to disappear up my own arsehole.

I've added a little thing to the sidebar from blogpatrol, which counts the (lack of) visitors to the site, and tells me where they came from. It seemed like a good idea at the time, a way to find out about my readers.

What I've mainly found out is that I have none. Which makes sense - I've not told anyone about the blog, so there's no reason for anyone to read it. I didn't start this thing to get readers anyway. It's supposed to be just for me.

So why do I find myself obsessively checking the blogpatrol counter every day? Suddenly I want people to visit my site, whereas before - when I couldn't know anything about visitors - I didn't really care. Which brings up another point: is there any point writing things if no-one ever reads them? It would be very easy for me to neglect this blog, and have it join the thousands of other blogs in Blogger's big blog orphanage - blogs that have about 3 entries, the first one being "I don't know if this has worked properly", the second being "I'm going to write in this every day", and the third being "I know I haven't posted much lately, but that's going to change".

If I had an audience, no matter how small, then there would be an extra pressure on me to provide content for them. But the very fact of having an audience would mean that I would be writing for them, trying to give them what I think they would want, rather than what I want to write.

Listen to me, like I'm some struggling artist in a garret overlooking the Left Bank, desperately trying to stay pure to my art while still having to sketch tourists at Montmartre to pay my absinthe bill. Fuck this. Writing is for nothing if there's nobody to read it. I shall throw open my gates, let the public flood in and prostrate themselves before the altar of my magnificence.

Time passes...

Nobody, huh? Fine. Put the altar of magnificence away, boys. We won't be needing it. I guess it's just you and me. What do you want to read about?

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Image(632) custard
Originally uploaded by photosam.
About two days ago someone crept into my house, while I was asleep, sliced the top off my head, scooped my brains out and replaced them with custard.

I'm not sure how much custard was involved. Based on the volume of my head, I'd estimate about 4 cans. It feels like it's packed in quite tightly. My ears are throbbing. Maybe that means it's going to start oozing out soon.

It turns out to be surprisingly good for conducting thoughts. I can breathe, move, and drink coffee. All major functions are there. The only problem seems to be that any desire I once had to do productive work has gone. Thoughts related to my job are slowed to a crawl. I'd rather stare out of the window, than tippity-tap at the keyboard like a good little code monkey. Mind you, work-related thoughts have always been a little on the glacial side of speedy.

I've tried coffeeing the custard into action. Doesn't work. I just end up with shaking hands, birdlike head movements, and a desire to shout. The custard just sits there, smirking and roiling languidly, sloshing against the inside of my forehead. Fragments of coherent thought dashed against my skull.

Whoever has my brain had better return it soon. Or at least come back and slice a banana into the custard. I've a hunch it'd help - bananas are supposed to be brain food. But then, so are fish. I really don't want a shoal of fish swimming around in my custard sea. That can't be good.