The Rules

One of the most important things to remember about eating in America - no matter how strange it seems, always go for the small option. I’m currently staring at a medium Diet Coke. Which is almost the size of my head. I’m guessing that they just shove a pressure hose down your throat if you ask for large.

Confirmation has come through about next week, so I’m not going to be sleeping rough in the computer building through Thanksgiving. Always a plus.

When I was little, I loved James Bond films. Every Bank Holiday, I’d happily sit down and watch Sean Connery or Roger Moore save the world. As I grew up, the appeal waned, partly because I’d seen them all about ten times before, and partly because I felt that they weren’t really all that good. My university friends dragged me to The World Is Not Enough (thus giving the distinction of being the first Bond film that I saw in a cinema), and I was not impressed. At all. Bad effects, a faintly ridiculous plot, the waste of Robert Carlyle, and it seriously attempted to pass Denise Richards off as a nuclear physicist. However, I’m all about the second chances; so instead of doing important work today I went to the mall and made a stop at the cinema for Die Another Day.

Now this is a Bond film. An over-the-top car chase that seems to last for ten minutes? Check. America/British friction? Check. Silly gadgets? Check. A swordfight? You bet. Look, it even manages to make good use of Madonna in an acting role. Yes, it’s that good.

Although it stays true to the well-worn formula, there are a few surprises, especially in the opening segment, which ends in a rather different way to all the other films. John Cleese’s Q scene is great, with a brief glimpse at gadgets from past films, and a priceless moment when Q shows Bond his new Aston Martin. There are a few niggles; one plot point was so obvious that I’m surprised that it wasn’t highlighted with the aid of large neon tubes, and some of the CGI effects are really bad (this is not just my anti-CGI bias; there’s one scene which looks worse than some of the composite effects that films were using in the 1960s) . And there’s Halle Berry. Okay, she’s better than she was in X-Men, but she’s nothing special here, and I can’t really see why they want to spin off this character into a new franchise (oh, while I’m here. Halle? Your character is almost exactly the same as every other Bond in the series, so please, stop with ‘She’s the equal of Bond’ line. Otherwise we’ll bring up Michelle Yeoh).

Despite that, I really enjoyed the film (it has Michael Madsen as the head of the NSA. What’s not to love?). Which is just as well, as the trailers beforehand made me want to descend on Hollywood and lay waste to the people who greenlit next summer’s big films. Legally Blonde 2? shudder. A poor-looking photocopy of Spy Kids? Yes, that’s what we need. I also see that Bill Murray decided to cut his losses, as he doesn’t appear anywhere in the trailer for Charlie’s Angels II. Which featured a CGI sequence that somehow managed to be worse than the one in Die Another Day. If that’s supposed to make me want to spend $8 next year, they’re sadly mistaken. The one bright spot was the Catch Me If You Can trailer. This looks like a lot of fun; I’ll hopefully be seeing it when I come back after the Christmas break (it’s released at the end of Janurary in the UK, but Christmas Day over here).

I arrived back at the hall to find that Amazon had delivered the contents of their warehouse to my room. Christmas presents and the My So-Called Life DVDs. Moohahahahaha. Which I will be bringing home and leaving in the capable hands of my sister, because it would be silly to actually watch them (historical note: I taped every episode of MSCL when it was first on Channel 4. And I saw the first episode, and the last episode. But none of the others. I recorded over them, after they had sat around the house for two years. Hey, ask me about Neverwhere sometime). It’s a pity that the pilot looks like the MPEG encoding was performed on a third-generation videotape, but after all the twists and turns that were involved in producing the set, I’m just glad I have it in my hands. Now all I have to do is get my $100 back from AnotherUniverse…

currently playing: Beat - Rankin Full Stop

Things I didn't know

NTSC was formalised in 1953, fourteen years before PAL. Which probably explains why PAL is much better.

Sliced bread does not taste as nice as non-sliced, even if they are exactly the same type.

The Mighty Wah! were a fine band.

Christopher Priest is writing a fill-in on Thor in February.

My Graphics course is ending with a take-home exam.

The iBook comes with built-in speech recognition.

It’s been a slow day today, in case you were wondering…

currently playing: The Specials - Too Much Too Young

I'm so dead at Christmas...

I made the mistake of having some crisps today. And spent most of the evening doubled over with heartburn.

It seems that I’ve managed to escape having to give the revision lecture, so I can stop worrying about that, and concentrate on the impending Deadlines of DOOOM…

currently playing: Aimee Mann - This Is How It Goes

Answers To Readers' Questions

Glad to hear that you’re liking the new job, Roy. Sounds as if it’s a bit less physical than Somerfields.

What music am I listening to at the moment? I don’t know whether you’d consider it an improvement, but I’ve spent the last week on a musical trip into the past, thanks to SoulSeek, with bands such as Altered Images, KLF, Orange Juice, The Pretenders, Wire, and The Mighty Wah! It’s not a nostalgia thing; I was only two or three when most of these songs were released. Of course, this means that my Amazon wishlist has grown a little. Actually, thinking about it, I’m still going to be in Britain when HMV starts their January sale. Bwahahahaha. I’ve also been listening to a Japanese group called Shonen Knife, and the new Aimee Mann album. As well as the 3,000 other songs I have on rotation on my computer, obviously…

I really hope that it was a misleading cliffhanger. For the safety of the writers.

currently playing: The Mighty Wah! - Heart As Big As Liverpool

"We have received your loan application"

“We do wonder, however, why a college student needs this amount of money…”

Quite simple. You see, there’s this:

Now, there’s seven seasons to get, and the retail price of each set is about $90. Which adds up to a rather large $630. Excluding sales tax, obviously.

“Obviously. Just one question.”



That depends. Do you think it strange that I want this, despite that a) I don’t really like greatest hits collections, and b) that I already have most of the songs on discs 1 and 2?


Will this harm my chances of a successful application?

A Weekend Of Fun

Three days later, I’ve finally got a hold on a graphics homework that took me two evenings to do three years ago. Yay for progress.

The weekend hasn’t been a complete disaster - in a fit of despair last night I managed to write a five-page comic script, plus the germ of another five/six page short.

Have any of you PS2 owning people bought GTA3: Vice City yet? Is it good?

currently playing: Orange Juice - Falling And Laughing


[ This Entry Intentionally Left Blank ]

Are we having fun?

It’s like you’ve only just discovered the image tag. God help us all when you discover OBJECT.

Hopelessly behind in buying Christmas presents, but I’ve worked out the songs for the Christmas CD. I’ve just got to come up with a decent order. Which is normally where things fall apart. I know what’s coming first, and what’s going last, but I have fifteen other tracks to arrange. Mind you, I’m still tracking songs down on SoulSeek (you really have to hear Vic Reeves’ version of Vienna. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget), so the tracks aren’t finalised yet either. But you can be sure that New Kids On The Block’s “Funky, Funky Christmas” won’t be there. Or Mull of Kintyre…

currently playing: The Pixies - Letter To Memphis

With great power comes great responsibility.

Listen, children: HTML posting is now enabled. Play nice.

Already starting to get worried about the new Bond film. Bond seems to have gained a sidekick. And this news doesn’t help matters. Let’s hope that Berry manages to act a little better than she did in X-Men.

Usual fun with the computer this morning - it decided that resetting at random intervals was a good idea. I felt otherwise, so I took it apart again this afternoon. Turns out the motherboard power connector wasn’t securely in place, so the power kept disappearing. The reset button was wired in the wrong place as well, but I’m not sure if that was contributing to the problem. It seems to be okay at the moment, and my CD-R driver is working again. I’m getting the duct tape out for the next major emergency…

Really, really, really hating the Mutant Enemy team. Still.

At last the major media begins to realise what the Homeland Security Bill is about. Why certainly, I trust one of the major players of Iran-Contra with an extensive database of information on everybody in the United States of America. You’d have to be some sort of Islamic Liberal Communist Terrorist to think otherwise. REX84! REX84!

currently playing: Call and Response - Rollerskate

It's Christmas!

All the malls are covered with Christmas decorations, so it must be true. I’ll be breaking out Fairytale of New York shortly. By the time I leave, the floor will understand that it is the greatest Christmas song of all time. Or they have smashed my speakers and taken a high-power electromagnet to my hard drives. I’m willing to undertake this sacrifice to educate America.

I have a great idea for a TV credits sequence. It’s the inverse of the current trend of just have a ten/fifteen second stab of music and titles. We play The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. For all nine minutes. Now, tell me that wouldn’t be cool…

My CD-R drive seems to be broken. It was working fine on Sunday, but now refuses to write anything. Obviously, fixing Windows 2000 was just too much for it to handle.

currently playing: Ze Malibu Kids - I Won’t Forget You