Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Have you been aware of the fact that as you move through life you get access to more and more hidden or previously unknown places? Duh, I don't mean the obvious ones, like primary school when you're 5 or the pub when you're 18. I mean like in Grand Theft Auto after you've committed enough crime to get you access to new parts of the island to rag your car and kill innocent pedestrians. Places like play gyms when you become father to a turbo charged toddler. It's like discovering a whole new subculture where parents don't give a shit about their kids and sit around gossiping and eating flapjacks while their sons and daughters run amok, terrorising and being terrorised. There's screaming, snot and stress everywhere you look and for some reason (maybe because we appear interested and "nice") most of the ignored children gravitate towards my wife and I. We end up with a Pied Piper scenario of grubby, underprivileged urchins clambering all over us while our own little cherub looks on bemused. I don't like them. Play gyms or urchins.

Just watched American Beauty (only the second time, but I would still class it as one of my favourite movies ever) and saw an early use of the "random" term I mentioned yesterday. Mena Soverislinky (or whatever) says that the eyebrow bloke with the camera said some, "random weird stuff" to her the other day. Makes me laugh when those 'Valley' terms make it into the UK yoof culture. I doubt very much you would hear it in reverse with Jason Priestley in Beverley Hills 90210 calling Luke Perry a spaz or a bender.

Also watched Solaris (the George Clooney version) and I loved it. I ran through a conversation in my head with a film critic (I'm not mental; just cerebral) telling me that the Russian original is far superior and in my defence I would have to say that whilst subtitled films pose absolutely no threat to the choice I would make about seeing a film, the effort of reading subtitles does take your eye away from the screen and therefore removes the actors emotion from the words, which in turn makes for a very different movie. Also saw The Hulk, which again I thought was excellent (I'll eat humble pie now after saying it looked shit from the trailer where he busts out of the water chamber, throws a hissy fit and looks about as scary as the Honey Monster) and would recommend Spike Lee's 25th Hour, although is there any chance that Phillip Seymour-Hoffman could just for once play a character other than a repressed/awkward, chubby, sweat monster in one of his films? I'm only thinking of him and his chances with the ladies. Playing a French heart surgeon who saves orphaned children from congenital coronary conditions and then adopts them once in a while might increase his sex appeal. Think about it Phil.

Talking about films, as I was just then, The Guardian is currently lamenting the fact that of the 132 films being shown over Christmas, only 8 are UK films. Who cares? Apart from the UK film crews who don't have enough money to buy their kids Christmas presents of course. UK films are historically shit, but also, I see films as a the most enjoyable form of escapism and setting them in a country other than mine helps to increase that escapism yeah? To be honest I couldn't imagine The Hulk being set in Cardiff ("You wouldn't like me when I'm proper angry boyo") or Die Hard in Canary Wharf Tower ("Yippee kiyay Mr. Fortesque"). Am I wrong?

Bloody Watershed in Bristol is screening the entire Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney, which is a real pisser because it's miles away, I can't go anyway, and it also looks like they're screening 1, 2, 4 and 5 on one night and then 3 the next night. Is that some sort of deconstructionist statement about order and randomisation (there's that word again). Or are they just stoned ex-students who failed maths?

Did I tell you (whoever you are) we took Tobe le Rone to the Natural History Museum the other day (loads of stuff happens on "other" days)? Amongst many weird and wunderbar exhibits there was a stuffed wolf/dog looking creature which, the placard underneath it stated, had probably evolved INTO today's whales and dolphins. Which confused me a little, because, didn't mammals come from the sea anyway? So the little lungfish or mudskipper or whatever got on land, evolved a bit into a squirrel, upgraded to a cat, got a promotion to canine class and thought, " This is rubbish; furry an' that. It's all dry. And when I do a wee or a poo, it just stays there instead of drifting away. Hmm, not called a dog's life for nothing is it?". So it goes back to the sea, drowns a few times before it remembers how to breathe water and devolves back into a dolphin after a couple of years or so (probably). Now dolphins and whales are getting wiped out; caught in tuna nets; they're forced to work for the government laying mines; dancing in strip clubs etc and the bloody dogs are indoors with a bed, food and their owners scoop up their poop for them in a bag before it's even finished steaming!! That's why dolphins are always hanging around humans when they get the chance. They're trying to get in with us. With that stupid fixed grin and a, "Hi Mr. Human, yeah, swim with me, hold my fin. Throw me a ball and I'll balance it on my nose then bat it back to you with my tail. Can I come back to your house? I could sleep in the bath; I'll be no bother honest". Dolphins; not quite as smart as people make out I reckon.

Monday, December 22, 2003

OK, so I learned the hard way that you can't download a Microsoft update (TCP/IP) and upload a blog posting (FTP) at the same time and I lost about an hours worth of some of the finest comedy this planet would ever have seen. Damn shame. Anyway, let's see if we can get lightning to ring twice, or something.

Ha! Managed to order the Daft Punk 5555 DVD with Bearbrick limited edition box set direct from Japan for a fraction of the price asked by Figuro. Just hope I don't get royally stung by Customs as I did for The Directors Label DVDs I got last month.

Took the Tobester to feed the ducks the other day and had a chortle to myself when I saw his feeding style, which was mostly an anarchic flinging of whole slices straight into groups of muttering mallards to watch them fight it out over the pieces. Then he stood on the bridge eating most of the loaf (even though he wasn't hungry) in a bourgeois display of gluttony.

Languishing in front of the TV on my Christmas holiday break (yes, 3 weeks chaps) I watched Rudyard Kipling's 'Kim' the other day. Random quote (note the proper use of the word 'random', I'll come to the improper use later): "Children should never see the carpet on the loom before the pattern appears". OK, couple of things wrong with that anyway:

a. trying to convince a child to go to a carpet factory will instantly brand you as an effing weirdo
b. even if it is to illustrate a poncy analogy
c. it's against health and safety

And, the bloke that plays Lurgan Sahib in the film, Arnold Moss, looks exactly like Alistair McGowan. McGowan could do an impression of him at the drop of a hat. He could keep it for emergencies, but would probably have to do a bit of work to get Arnold Moss' profile up so people didn't think that he was losing it and, or, schizophrenic.

So, what's all this "random" business? It appears to have been adopted by "yoof culture" to mean weird or bizarre. And I have already got bored of hearing it. Scott Mills on Radio 1 used it about 5 times in as many minutes, "Someone is sending me random texts". Err no, they meant to send you that text. If it was random, it would have been a text asking for you to meet them at the offy at 8.00 before going to the football club disco. You tit.

Lastly, I made up a joke in my sleep, which I thought was quite cool. I didn't go so far as to laugh at my own joke in my sleep, but here it is: I think hip operations are wrong. You shouldn't get an operation just because it's trendy. Hmm. Actually reading it back it's not very funny, which is why probably why I woke up shortly afterwards. Bye.

Friday, December 19, 2003

I am a hypocrite. I'm getting really pissed off with having to spend hours trawling the internet to find certain collectibles, only to find that I'm too late and they've turned up on eBay at an increased price of at least 25%. I'm a hypocrite because I do this sort of thing as well - I'm skint so I have to. So, I was aware of the UNKLE triple picture disc, which was apparently cancelled. Can't remember where I read it (think it was on some way too anal message board) and at the time the postings that I kept seeing were going on about production costs and how it would never see the light of day and that the normal LP has been put back about 5 times etc. Oh yeah, until I just did my weekly trawl of eBay's UNKLE listings to see it being sold for up to #28 (all my symbols appear to have been transposed on my keyboard and I can't find the pound sign). Luckily, Sister Ray have still got some at 19.99. My local HMV and Virgin are shit and don't know their La's from their Elbow (hey that was quite good). They'll swear blind that something isn't out yet and that there is no release date for it while some dim witted shelf stacker is standing behind me racking out the bloody 12" I enquiring about, so there's no point asking them. The UNKLE and Universal websites are absolutely useless and so eBay becomes the best place to buy (and not just for UNKLE) - because there are people there who know what they're doing and have made the effort to advertise in a very easily browsable global marketplace. I sold 10 copies of the UNKLE - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beats 2xCD a couple of months back for a clear 10 pound profit on each one. It was a limited release, only available from Hideout in London. I wanted a copy but lived in Oxford. I rang them and asked if I could buy a copy and get it posted to me. They said no; I'd have to come to London, as they don't do mail order. So I thought about all the UNKLE fans in Australia, Japan, USA etc and how pissed I would be if I was them. So I went to London, bought 11 copies, kept one for myself and made 100 pounds selling the others to very happy customers in Australia, Japan, USA and Scotland. Now I want the Daft Punk/Bearbrick 5555 DVD/CD set thing, which as far as I can see, is only available in Japan - great.

Saw Thom Yorke in Notcutts (garden centre) near Abingdon the other day. My wife and I were trying to guess which car in the car park would be his. We reckon that although he's a whiney car-hater, he'd probably still succumb to the air-conditioned, tinted window, leather upholstered luxury of the big Mercedes 4x4 that looked most likely candidate out of about 10 cars in the car park. We got a nice non-drop Spruce fir. I think he was looking at the fake plastic trees. Ho ho. And a green plastic watering can...oh, sorry.

I am always bemused by the way the proletariat masses queue round the block at the bakers in the morning? You can buy bread all day these days, wonders of technology and that. But in crummy provincial precincts all round the UK you still see Russian-supermarket style queues of dullards waiting in the sleet and drizzle to get their wholemeal bloomer sliced by a geriatric shop assistant who can occasionally remember their name. What's the point? And cream horns. Who the hell still eats those?!

Friday, December 12, 2003

"So, so, so scandalous". Have you ever looked closely at the Lyle (Tate and Lyle - sugar people) logo? It's a dead lion with a swarm of bees making a nest in it's guts. The text around it says, "Out of the strong, came forth sweetness". That's just gross and weird isn't it? Why would you use a logo like that and think, "Oh yeah, people will think that's a really good logo. Our customers will be attracted to our products because there is the possibility that they contain bits of dead lion". The only people that that's going to work with are Native Americans (not that they experience lions day to day) who believe that consuming part of a dead animal imparts some of its spirit and strength to the consumer. In which case, we are all cows, pigs, sheep and chickens. Much better to be a tiger or and eagle, but have you seen the price of eagle burgers these days?

I'm going to put forward a scientific theory here and then check it out on the net afterwards. You know when you look into the sky and after a while, if it's bright-ish, you start seeing what look like little worms and stuff floating about? It's not exactly spots in front of your eyes, but it does build up the more you look to be a bit of a problem. Well I reckon it's brought on by light flooding your eyeball and making the little bits of mucus and dust that sit on your eyeball more visible.

Close. Apparently there's a big bag of liquid "stuff", the vitreous humour, that sits between your cornea and lens, and the retina at the back of the eye. The "bits" are just that, bits of stuff, clumps of cells, bits of tissue etc. They become more visible when you flood your eye with light. So there you go.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Travolta in Broken Arrow says, "Goddam what a rush!". But I say goddam, what a rip off. I ordered those Directors Label DVDs from Amazon USA, saved my self about £15. Then got hit by taxes when they arrived in this country which cost me £9. I repeat, goddam! They look mighty good though, roll on Christmas.

All my anecdotes and stories are too specific. i.e they relate to people at work. I need to get some interesting stuff to post for you. I can feel you slipping away. Buffy's good at the moment isn't it? Nope, I'm losing it. Always leave them laughing I was told: a coward and a scientist having sex with a woman, which came first; the chicken or the egg? I thank you.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Homos may call me names but they will never break me - or something.

During a particularily drab management debrief just now I discovered that I can make myself feel anxious at will - very anxious; stomach churningly with a light head anxious. Not a very useful ability I admit, but it made me wonder if there were other things I could do with the power of my mind - shazam.

Toby was funny yesterday. I had a stack of about 300 12"s behind the sofa, which he always plays with. I leant over and told him not to touch them, that he had his records and that these were mine. "Nuh, my" was his reply and all 20 successive replies.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Yip! I'm convinced that Network Services are trying to limit my internet usage. My line manager asked for my IP address last week and now I get shit slow access to all my Kubrick\hip hop\sneaker\UNKLE style sites - fascists.

Had a run in with one of the BBS Saddos last week as well. Do you have a BBS at your place of work? BBS's are electronic bulletin boards that are supposed to be used for selling second hand cars, books, breast pumps etc or asking where not to go in Algeria if you're woman - stuff like that. Anyway, it's a funny sort of domain that people who have very little social skills like to stomp around in. They make little sarcy comments about postings or follow ups that are attempting to invite a thread of conversation. These quite often get removed by THE ADMINISTRATOR! So, I posted an ad for the first Lord of the Rings DVD, watched once - £8. Within about 5 minutes some knobstick had replied, "But I can get it at Play.com for £7.99 brand new". Their usual excuse for these postings are, "I'm letting people know about cheaper alternatives so they don't get ripped off", which is such a load of baloney. I would argue point blank that they get more satisfaction (and a little tingle in their winky) from pissing someone off, who is genuinely trying to make some small change, than they do from thinking that they have saved someone 1p and got a DVD that has been watched one less time than mine.

Another BBS'er actually retaliated for me with, "Go on then.."

I fumed a little and then let my vindictive spirit uncoil and twist into a pleasing, inconspicuous shape. I posted a reply that said, "Inspired by the desire to help others: I will sell this to the first person to offer me £7, on the condition that they donate £1 towards a charity of their choice before Christmas.". I sold it almost straight away to AK47 (more of him later). The knobstick then replied to me, "I will give 50p to charity too". I don't care - you're a knob.

Went to buy a newspaper at the Scum Shop (local newsagents where the local proles get their fags, lottery tickets and giro) on Saturday. The place stank of fish. The "lady" behind the counter said to the mucky urchin loitering by the magazines, "Have you got fish n chips Kylie?". Kylie?! Jesus Christ! The suspected paedophile in front of me claimed ownership and the lady said, "They smell gorgeous, get out of here". They actually smelled like the partially digested fish spew that guillemots puke at you when you get too close to their nests. Looked behind me and there was a kid with no shoes or socks on (in winter!) and the madness just overwhelmed me. On the radio was a fuzzy broadcast of "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" by Slade and after "Put a great big smile on somebody's face", I grunted the Duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh duh, took my change and tootled off.

633 Squadron and PT109 were on the telly over the weekend and I love the way in old films that they film night scenes during the day and then just turn the brightness down. Genius! What I don't like is their dismissal of the scale of flames and water when using models to simulate real airplane/boat crashes and explosions. Very sloppy. I'll have to tell you about AK47 tomorrow...it's worth the wait though.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Holy chuffing christ (mas)! I had the misfortune to watch QVC the other day and what in the sam hill is going on with these brooches? Holy crap, people that have enough money to waste on shite like this need some serous re-education in how to spend money and they might then feel that the 350 quid they spent on a Xmas bike reflector would have been better spent at a homeless hostel or orphanage. You get mongrels ringing in to the channel saying, "Oh yes, I've got six of these brooches now (oh right, one for every 4 days of December - like you need that much coloured glass in your life!!)". I bet you're a road hazard stumbling back from the Conservative Club on a dark night, smashed out of your face on dry sherry; cars swerving into the ditch trying to avoid the dazzle and glare from your vulgar encrustation.

Talking of donating money though, I used to put all my spare change into different pockets when I went to Oxford so that it wouldn't rattle so much when I went past beggars and I could pretend I had no money. Ho ho.

I had a dream last night that Ricky from Eastenders had opened a scrap yard in a field near us. I was walking through it with an asian reporter and I noticed a few egg boxes in the back of a crashed van covered in straw. When I had a closer look at the boxes they opened and I could see pink speckled eggs inside in various shapes and sizes, some looking like clam shells. Some fell out and smashed on the grass. Shortly afterwards I woke up and came down to look after Toby while Seal caught 40 winks. We were watching a programme called Come Outside and the woman in it went to a chicken farm, collected some eggs and gave one to her dog to hold. He dropped it on the floor. Spooky coincidence eh?

Egg, chicken, chicken, egg.....

Don't you hate it when you have a Kentucky Fried Chicken and one of the drumsticks has got a broken leg. It doesn't give you a very good feeling about the origins of the meat, does it? But it makes me think that there was a work experience kid at the abattoir who was having trouble coming to terms with the close quarters slaughter of the broilers and took to pushing them down the stairs, or running them over in his car; tears streaming down his face, blood and feathers on the windshield.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Kill Bill was awesome, but by now everyone knows that. Saw the last Matrix, which I thought was amzing. Ha ha to all those who didn't like it, you wasted your money didn't you?

To Kill A Mockingbird is the next on my read list. Went to the Wembley European Record Fair on Saturday and managed to spend £100 on CDs. Good news is that they were all £3 promo CD albums, so I picked up the latest People Under The Stairs, King Geedorah, DJ Craze, P*Nut, Goldfrapp, Y4K - Tayo etc albums for a fraction of their retail price. Ha. And Sam Fox was there signing autographs, which was a bit weird. There were about 7 people waiting to get autographs at £10 a pop, which was probably money well spent for them, as the closest they could get to her previously would have been lukewarm DNA on newsprint from 3ft.

There are a lot of dealers on the record fair circuit that would be happy to sell Elvis records exclusively and obviously begrudge having to sell inferior modern music as well to supplement their meagre takings. 30 year old blokes with winkle picker shoes, biker jackets and grease-quiffed hair. What the hell do they look like? Music did not stop evolving in the 1950s, daddyio. Then there are the Tesco carrier bag brigade with crazy man hair and long fingernails. They were waiting for Sam, poor girl. Deluding herself into thinking that they respected her late 80s soft rock/guitar pop "singing" career and that was why they were getting all sweaty standing in line for her autograph. Other oddities was the Fat Boy who tried to charge me £30 for a badly scratched Beatnuts LP (err, thanks, I might come back when you're hungry and a little bit more desperate for money); the 2 nervous Welshmen trying unsuccessfully to sell crap, plastic record boxes, which were actually normal storage boxes that might accomodate records with a bit of force and a French guy who could hardly speak English and as such was having real problems trying to explain his prices, describe his records and ultimately take any money at all.

Can recommend the Ricky Gervais Live Animals DVD as one that doesn't lose it's laugh quota even after 10 viewings over 3 days. Byeee.