Monday, December 17, 2012

The Cover.

If I wish really really hard I can almost imagine it's illustrating my story.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fanfare, Please!

Time to pass on an announcement:
Announcing the release of The End: Visions of Apocalypse, an anthology presented by Including twelve stories that detail various depictions of the end of the world, the anthology features the work of Michael J. Sullivan, Hugh Howey, Tristis Ward, and nine other writers, all with their own apocalyptic visions. From grim destruction to tragic suffering, and even humor, no version of the Earth is safe. 
Now available through Smashwords. Coming soon to Amazon, and other online e-book retailers
I'm passing on the announcement because a story I wrote a while back is included. One of my stories in a book alongside stories by real published, actually got paid for their books, writers.  Woohoo!  The Story is called Silver Sky.  It's not the best story I wrote this year. But it's not dreadful.  Some of the other stories in there are pretty good.  At least one I would go so fas as to say is excellent.

Go get it.  It's free from Smashwords in a variety of interesting electronic formats. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Yet Another Brief Snippet From the Screenplay of My Life


Eben and I are playing with his wooden train set.  I've just set out the track and Eben is placing the carriages on the track as I hand them to him.  I pull another engine out of the box.  It is painted black.

...and here's a black one.

That's means it's evil - it's a BAD train!

(Pulling out a blue carriage.)
So this must be the goods train....

He didn't laugh either.

Daughter Number one has a blog:

I don't understand it but it probably makes more sense than mine...


Thursday, November 29, 2012


Here's this game I play at the checkouts at Morrison's supermarket. Morrison's, unlike the only other supermarket I use with any regularity (Tesco's), has, near its checkouts, racks of Celeb and Gossip magazines.   During the inevitable tedious delay as the three people in front of me in the queue, in turn, pack their bags, put their bags in their trolley, and THEN start to look for their wallets with which to pay... (after long and detailed analysis during the years I have spent in supermarket checkout queues I can, without fear of contradiction, state that most women do this. Most men on the other hand have their card in their hand as soon as the goods are on the conveyor belt and can't wait to get out of the hideous places.)

The game I play goes like this:  I look at the racks of magazines: Hello, Chat, Now, Heat, and so on and I try to see if I recognise anybody.  That's it.  All these magazines with 'famous' 'celebrities' on the front cover - quite often accompanied by their names in large yellow letters, "Keri dumps Rowan after Fiona fight!", "Louise Holiday Snap Cellulite Shock!" - and I see if I know any of them.  Hundreds of pictures of 'celebs' and I haven't got a scooby who 90% of them are.  Even with their names printed next to them and large arrows pointing at their paparazzi-snapped, bikini-clad buttocks. One of these days I will succeed in not recognising anyone.  This is my aim.  If I don't recognise anyone at all I will give myself a prize.  Buy a packet of chewing gum or something else from the impulse-buy, small child pacifying rack of sweeties next to the magazines. 

Most of the time I am let down by the fact that I recognise the skinny one from the Spice Girls who married a footballer, and the woman with all the teeth who married some royal bloke last year (or was it this year?).  If it wasn't for them I would have won lots of times.  I'm starting to get bored with this game,  Skinny and Teeth appear far to often to make it fun any more, so I'm thinking of starting a new game based on a chance discovery I made in Lidl's.

Lidl's sell magazines too and quite often on a Thursday the Woman Who Brings the New Magazines will leave the old stock in a pile by the door for people to help themselves. They're usually shit, breathy, carcrash "Pervy Husband Made Me Eat My Own Underpants as my Dog Watched!" type crap.  Last week the only one left when I did my shopping was last week's copy of Inside Soap.  For some stupid reason Inside Soap really appealed to me.  I can't find this particular issue on the web and I couldn't be arsed to scan it but it's a bit like this recent copy: (Actually this IS the copy I have.  My mind's going.)

It's a real mess of a cover.  They all are.  Magazine cover design is just hyperactive crap these days. But I was struck by the number of exclamation marks on the front of this one.  There are thirteen of the buggers.  'Carla & Peter Shock Split!', 'Cain Loses it!', 'I'll Kill You!', 'Wedding Day Carnage!' etc. etc.. The only things that don't seem to have a ! behind it are the barcode and the price.  The main headline gets two! 'Alfie's Revenge! He dumps cheating Kat for ROXY!'


The new game is to find the magazine in Morrison with most exclamation marks! Every Week! Beats Not Recognising People!   Beats Throwing Rocks at the numbskulls in front of me who only wake up the fact they have to pay for their shopping after they have packed it!

I haven't dared open the magazine.  God knows what the inside is like.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dad! Buzz's Head's Got Stuck up Mr. Potato Head's Bottom...

I like stuff.   I like charity shops because they are full of stuff.  Sometimes the stuff in charity shops has to become my stuff.  Stuff transference happened today.  The piece of stuff was this:

 The Official Halley's Comet Society Theme 7" single

This is educational stuff.  Not only did I discover there is (was) such a thing as the Halley's Comet Society but that it had an 'Official' Theme tune too!  Huzzah!  I had to have it.  There can't be that many 7" vinyl singles endorsed by the European Space Agency.

Actually, what really sold me on buying this was the photo of the composer on the back.  In years to come when my kids get on at me for my bad dress sense and weird facial hair I'll threaten the little buggers with this photo and cow them into silence.

Thank you Paul Hart.  Whoever you are.  I may actually get round to listening to your single one day.

Monday, October 08, 2012

A Thing I didn't Know Existed Yesterday - But Now NEED

WARNING.  This Post's Geeky Fan Boy Nerd Rating is High

I have long loved the wonderfully dreadful Italian, post Star Wars, Barbarella-lite, film StarCrash for all sorts of reasons. Though, if I'm honest, mostly because it has teenage crush Caroline Munro running around in a see-through space suit. 

 It is a bewilderingly bad film that leaps about all over the place, doesn't make much sense when it gets anywhere, but manages to be vastly entertaining all the same.

I have over the last few years come to appreciate the novels of A E van Vogt which often induce a similar sense of bewilderment in me. I'm sure a lot of his books made a lot of sense to him when he dreamed them up (literally) but they leave me deliciously baffled.

It was no surprise then to discover that the writer of StarCrash, Luigi Cozzi, was a fan of  van Vogt and had 'use[d] novels of A.E. Van Vogt as a model...'*.  It shows. The film has a very Vogtian jumpy, pulling rabbits out of thin air, WTF?ery feel.

What was a surprise, and a delight, however was to discover that van Vogt wrote the script for an unmade sequel to StarCrash called Star Riders**


Does anyone have a copy?

Though Star Riders never got made there is a film that purports to be a sequel. Giochi erotici nella 3a galassia (aka Escape From Galaxy 3 , StarCrash 2, Space Trap 1981)  I watched it last week. It has very little to do with the original other than  ALL of the special effects shots from it come from StarCrash. The film makes very little sense, not that anyone was really trying, and eventually dissolves into the softest softcore porn film ever made. Right at the end our heroes pull some hitherto unmentioned shooting lightbeams out of their eyes superpowers out of thin air, dissolve the bad guy and get naked again. Cheap, boring, and not worth a second viewing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trying to kickstart my blogging habit.

I realised it has been MONTHs since I did one of my tedious-to-everyone-but-me, every-film-I-have-watched posts.  To spare you a case of terminal scrollfinger while looking for the vaguely-funny-things-my-kids-say posts, the Tedious Film Lists are now to be tucked away over on a spare blog:

Snappy titles huh?

Another Brief Snippet From the Screenplay of My Life

Daisy has a day off school. She's 'not well' - my diagnosis is General Non-specific Duvet Lurgitis.  As an occasional sufferer myself I recognised it instantly and knew the cure; a day in bed watching crap on the telly works wonders.

Driving the girls into the Fort to their drama class I hear the following snippet of conversation from the back seat:


What happened in school on Monday?

Holly: (Gleefully)

Didn't anyone tell you? Johnny Depp
came and filmed a bit for his latest
 film and then he had his photo taken
 with everybody. It was awesome!


What was for lunch?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello, much neglected Blog.  Just to prove to the world I am still alive here's a picture of a bit of packaging.  Merriol bought a tomato planter recently and this is part of  the box it came in:


Zoom!  Enhance!


Some Countries! Wow!  Mostly, I suspect, Albania... late at night... on a shopping channel.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Daisy and Eben were having a raspberry blowing contest.  The one who made the longest loudest rude noise would win.  Holly didn't take part.  She watched them at it for a bit and said, "Oh survival of the fartest," and walked off.

Not a bad gag for a 10 year old.

Made me laugh anyway.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Nerts!  A story I submitted for a competition didn't win.  Boo hoo! Ach well.  It's an OK little story too.  I was almost happy with it. I might send it off somewhere else.

My last post, the pants cartoon, has got two Google + things.  I have no idea what this means.  I think if you get enough of them you can trade them in for consumer goods, like Green Shield Stamps.  And I thought of a nice wee joke that I might turn into another one in a couple of days.... Watch this space.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Ages since I felt the urge to do a cartoon. Been too busy sinking my creative brain juices into writing short stories with varying amounts of success. 'Success' here being defined as me:
  • a. finishing the story and 
  • b. not rereading it two days after I do and deleting it because 'it's crap'. (There's been a lot of that.) 

Holly lays claim to have come up with this joke; she may well be right.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My attempts to avoid the Olympics got off to a flying start on Saturday when the Coca-Cola © Olympic Coca-Cola © Torch Coca-Cola © Product of Hope was paraded past Glencoe.

While it was in Glencoe - which is dangerously near my house, I was half way across the country buying the usual boxes of tatty old  paperbacks and dubious Italian Eurosleeze DVDs from second-hand shops.  My day off.  So successful was my day off being that in the afternoon I ventured as far as the Big City.  Inverness! (pop. 58,963 - round here that's like Metropolis, Gotham City, and Greater LA combined.)  More tatty old  paperbacks!  More DVDs!  (I had a sandwich too!)  Eventually I got fed up with the mad giddy whirl of city life and headed for home. I decided to go by the shortest route.  A route which, if I had had the forethought to think about it for a few seconds, I would have eschewed it for a longer one*.  For on the way south, at Drumnadrochit to be precise (pop. 813 - told you), I encountered the the Official Coca-Cola © Olympic Coca-Cola © Torch Coca-Cola © Product of Hope Round Britain-athon coming the other way.  Buses, vans, thudding twat music shouted over by some halfwit local radio wannabee holding his microphone too close to his platitude dribbling gob (so all you heard was this shouty unintelligible babble) surrounded by the entire Northern Constabulary.  I have never seen so many policemen in one place.  I didn't know we had so many police vehicles in the Highlands.  It was incredible.  The first load I encountered were on motorbikes.  There was a whole display-team'sworth of the buggers, all flashing blue lights with their riders wildly gesticulating for oncoming vehicles like me to pull over and let the circus behind them get past.

Luckily I was right next to the bus stop.  (Or it might have been the other bus stop, I mean Drum' is a pretty big place. 813 people, wow!)  Anyway I pulled over, switched off the engine, and waited.  Got fed up with waiting, pulled out one of the staggering amount of tatty old paperbacks in the car and read for a bit till it was time to go.  I missed the Olympics by that much.  I was ordered to avoid it by a policeman.  That's my excuse.

Driving south I really felt sorry for the people trapped in the three mile tailback this farce was causing and got fed up with being amazed at the number of police vehicles parked in lay-bys. There were dozens of them.  Why?  What was going to happen?  This is the Highlands of Scotland.  Nothing ever happens here.  Even when something does happen nobody notices! How much is this police overtime costing?  Who is paying for all this?  Bet you it's not fucking Coca-Cola ©.

* I love the word 'eschewed',  it's almost as good as 'erstwhile'.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

May's Movie Milestones
  1. Dans Paris (2006) - "Luminous, enlightening and often hilarious..." says the Time Out quote on the front of the case. I have long avoided buying books with the word 'hilarious' anywhere on the cover, because they never are; they are mildly amusing at best, downright baffling, miserablist shite at worst. I now think I am going to have to do the same for films. I'm sure Dans Paris' 89 minutes (was that all??) must have been stuffed full of knowing-critic, Nouvelle Vague homaging yockfest moments but to us mere mortals it looked like the same old French cinéaste tripe-twaddle warmed over. The only real thought I had during the whole show was: why are French film-makers obsessed with small breasts? Two actresses get their kits off during the show and, sad, middle-aged bloke that I am, I have larger boobs than the both of them put together! I think there's some sort of secret annual prize at the Cannes Festival for the smallest breasts in a French film. 'Le nipple d'or'. (Any films with Charlotte Gainsbourg in them are, obviously, not allowed to compete.) Googleing the exact phrase "French actresses with large breasts" gets zero results. (Apart from, now, this one.) In the interests of fairness I should point out there is an equal quantity of male nudity too.

  2. Snow White (2001) - TV movie version with Miranda Richardson having fun as the evil Queen. Not good but but not terrible. The kids liked it. Though the presence of tarmacked roads and raccoons in Generic Euro Fairytale land was a bit odd.

  3. La guerra dei robot (1978 ) - I can't help wonder how or why the translators called one of the characters 'General Gonad' but I'm sure they had their reasons.

    I can recommend La guerra dei robot for many many reasons: the delirious script, "It's crazy! A harvest of human flesh!" the music, which is dead pure early experimental synthcrap; the 'climactic' space battle, which is one of the dullest and most repetitive pieces of film making ever committed to screen - and I do include some of Andy Warhol's early efforts here - but mostly I recommend it because its got Yanti Somer wearing skin tight wet-look leather. And that can't be bad.

  4. Maverick (1994) - Enjoyable nonsense.

  5. Danger: Diabolik (1968 ) - A Trash Masterpiece. One of the best scores Morricone wrote. And the sexy as hell Marisa Mell never looked better. Love it.

  6. Stranger than Fiction (2006) - In which Will Ferrel finds an odd enough script that allows him to go for a career-switch 'serious' role without pissing off his comedy fans (like Jim Carey did with the Truman Show)I was thoroughly enjoying it till it fell to bits and copped out in the last couple of minutes. God damn the Hollywood upbeat fucking 'can't kill the hero' endings. That was the whole point of the film! He had to die!.

  7. Inferno (1980) - Dario Argento's semi-sequel to his Susperia. I've never seen Susperia. I think I may have to go look it out. Inferno wasn't a good film by any means - basically the same old same old Italian horror shtick with endless corridor wandering characters fumbling their way to gruesome deaths - this time accompanied by a thundering bonkers OTT score by a third of thundering bonkers OTT prog-rockers Emerson, Lake and Palmer (the Emerson third). Parts of it were so odd that I just have to see the original.Inferno is another of the, now released uncut, 'Video Nasties' of the 1980s.

  8. The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962) - a rewatch of a particularly wonderful bad film with some great great lines. I particularly liked our mad doctor's speech to his assistant when we first see the (accidentally) severed head of his fiancée being kept alive by three test tubes, a bubbling beaker of Ingredient X, and a couple of G cramps.  It's delivered with a sincere passion too.  The Mad Scientist's Prayer :
    "What you see is real. What I've done, I've done, and what I've done is right - it is the work of science."

  9. Liar (1997) - interesting.

  10. The Lodger (2009) - the seventh or so screen version of Marie Belloc Lowndes' Jack the Ripper story. Pretty dull despite the ADHD camera work. No style left unturned - including a clumsy and pointless Hitchcock homage far too early in the show to make any sense. Second film in a row with the central American part played by an British actor - the part was central, the character wasn't someone from Belize or Honduras - Tim Roth in Liar and Alfred Molina in this.

  11. Django (1966) Over-long (at 90 minutes it dragged) plotless, rambling Spaghetti Western which only exists to make Sergio Leone's films look like staggering works of genius. (Which in some ways they are.)

  12. The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu (2009) - short, very cheap, occasionally vaguely funny, comedy based on the works of H P Lovecraft (and there's a idea you don't see every day).

  13. The Army of the Dead (2008 ) - incredibly tedious, lost in the desert, re-awakening an ancient curse, horror shot on digital (the second unit stuff looks like it was done with a camcorder, as if they had decided to do some found footage but forgot when it came to the edit.)
    After watching it about hour (or rather staring at the screen waiting for something to happen) I flipped up the DVD player's On Screen Display to discover that only about 30 minutes had passed. After that the most fun I had with this was spotting all the usual zero budget, zero wit fuckups; those moments where you saw the tyre tracks of vehicles from the rehearsal or first take in virgin desert - often in fairly tight shots, moments where 30 seconds with a brush would have eliminated them The moments where you see shadows of crew members when there shouldn't be anyone else around; and the really lovely moment where our hero and heroine, holed up in the middle of the night in 'an abandoned radio station' try to ignore the daylight coming through the holes in the blinds because no one had bothered to drape a piece of blackout material the other side of the window (or the other side of the blind for that matter. It's not as if anyone had to leave the room to do this.). Badly written, ploddingly directed and most of the 'actors' involved would have trouble holding down a day job as a walk on part in a daytime soaps. Crap, but, worse than that, boring crap.

  14. Mystery Men (1999) - Umpteenth watching.

  15. Split Second (1992) - Another Rutger Hauer SF movie that I'd never heard of until I found it in a charity shop. Just how many straight to obscurity SF films did this bloke make? This one is set in the not too distant future of four years ago ( 2008 ) and is the usual mismatched buddy cops chasing serial killer crap set in a London ankle deep in water, overrun with rats, and populated by people like Michael J Pollard, Kim Cattrall, and Pete Postlethwaite. Once the film has laboriously set up the usual mismatched buddy cops chasing serial killer crap set in a London ankle deep in water stuff - it then lurches about, crashing helplessly from one undercooked cliché to another and getting progressively more desperate and crapper as it does so - till some sort of critical mass of stupidities is reached, and then someone (probably the cast) suddenly decided they were making a comedy and for the last third it turns into quite a weirdly, OTT, stupidly funny film - till the crappy rubber monster turns up in the last couple of minutes. Then it falls flat on its arse again.

  16. Barbarella ( 1968 ) - again. I like Barberella.

  17. Alien Cargo ( 1999 ) - A made for TV movie that looks like it's going to be yet another deep space OMIGOD! THERE'S SOMETHING ELSE ON-BOARD EATING PEOPLE! piece of SF wallpaper but turns out (after a clunky opening act) to be a not bad piece of 'hard SF' with no huge plasma guns, no self-destruct buttons, no men in rubber suits or any of the other usual Sci-Fi channelly crap. An amazingly unusual downbeat ending too. Not that the ending is amazing but the fact that it is downbeat at all is remarkable - our likeable hero and heroine don't make it. They're not dead at the end of the film but they are well and truly fucked and resigned to their fate, and have just said goodbye to their only hope of rescue. It's a good inevitable ending. I have watched far too many films where some amazingly out of nowhere, pulled out of the scriptwriter's arse, twist ending saves everyone in the last minutes of the film. Sometimes when a film has engaged me, and even when I like the characters in deadly peril, I sometimes just sit there willing the film to end badly. Sometimes I want the film-makers to have the courage to let the story run where it has to and not manufacture a happy ending just to keep the card-filling preview audiences from having to actually think. Five stars to these guys for doing that.

    EDIT: Thinking about it, the ending totally saves this film. Even though I called it a 'not bad piece of 'hard SF'' it still had more than its fair share of "erm, I'm not sure that's right", and "Ooh, isn't that handy for our heroes," moments. Most of them forgiven, in hindsight, because of the ending.

    (No stars to me for splitting that infinitive.).

  18. Encounters in the Deep (1979) - There are some films which are just bafflingly hypnotic in their dullness. Encounters in the Deep is an Italian Spanish co-production set in the Bermuda Triangle in which nothing happens, then it happens again, and then again and then, in case you missed it the first couple of times, the whole cast diligently do nothing again - again, sometimes underwater, and then it just stops, after an extremely boring sequence of nothing happening which may (or may not) be the climax of the film.

  19. Centurion (2010) - Deliverance with Romans.

  20. My Darling Clementine (1946) - Great film. (apart from that producer added shitty studio insert shot right at the end).

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

RIP VHS (again)

The VHS tape is really dead this time.  I had already written its obituary back in 2005 when the local branch of Blockbuster stopped stocking them in their second-hand bins.

Despite my reading the rites the tape clung on though, appearing in vast quantities in charity shops.  Occasionally, beneath the tottering piles and boxes and boxes of series of Friends and Star Trek: Voyager,  I would find a gem; a never before heard of, never to be seen on DVD, piece of low-class dross with chrome effect lettering on the cover.  I found some terrifically dreadful films like that.  Slowly over the years the tapes came down in price.  Eventually they became so cheap that not buying them would have been rude.  Ten tapes for £1 was the cheapest I paid, though there was one shop I knew of which gave the things away in the end.  They had a big box of tapes from which you could just help yourself - if you could find anything worth watching - which I rarely did.

But, slowly though, shop by shop, over the last couple of years, the hand written...

 We No Longer Accept Donations of Video's 

 ...notices would inevitably appear on the shops' doors.  (Complete with misplaced apostrophe.)

Last week the last bastion, the last redoubt, of VHS in Lochaber fell. The final misspelled notice went up on the door of the Disability Action shop in Caol.  There are no longer any charity shops in this area that sell VHSs.  

So, unless a miracle happens, the last Rutger Hauer SF film I have never heard of that I will buy on VHS is Split Second (1992),  a particularly dreadful piece of cinematic poo which I will now be forced to treasure for all the wrong reasons.

---------------- .o0o. --------------- 

The kids got their school reports today:
'Holly reads with great expression and has a good understanding of what she is reading.  She needs to learn to read a bit slower when reading out allowed.'
There really is no point is there?

I missed the Jubilee!  Hurrah! Hurray!  In fact I only found out when it was actually happening - as opposed to vaguely knowing that it was sometime this year - after it was nearly over. Three days of supercilious toadying missed by accident, only one avoided on purpose.  

This bodes well. 

I've been treating missing the whole, four day, Royal Arse-lickathon as a warm up event for the really big piece of avoiding I am going to be doing later in the year. 

The Coca-cola © Olympics.

Last time I managed to miss the whole thing apart from a few radio interviews with gasping Lycra-clad members of  'Team GB' who had managed to crawl to seventh place in some twenty five second event which had taken them four years to prepare for and the BBC two hours to cover.

I used to listen to the radio a lot back then.  I don't now.  I stopped listening to it a couple of years ago in preparation.

There is a potential fly in the offing though*  in that one of the Coca-cola © Official Olympic Torches is being jogged down a local road for a few minutes before being shoved in the back of the Coca-cola © Official Olympic minibus and driven to the next Coca-cola © Official Olympic Torch Jogging Photo Opportunity.  See History in the Making!  'Man Carries Cigarette Lighter Down Street - A Nation Rejoices'! 

I'm going to bed for a couple of weeks with a pile of books about THAT big.  Wake me up when it's over.

*This week's FREE mixed metaphor.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


I hate Google.  I mean it's really really really useful tool, and I use it all the time - and not just to check my spelling, but sometimes it can be a disheartening and sobering tool.

Today ferinstance I had the blinding and overwhelmingly gigglesome thought that Harper Lee's second book had she ever written one should have been called 'To Mock a Killing Bird'.

Only to find 45 seconds later that the phrase, even when wrapped in quotes, returns 14,700 hits. 

Ah well.   It was funny while it lasted.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Let's Not Talk About That

Rubbish weekend.  Nothing to write about that is of any concern to anyone but those involved - cue movie quote:
"I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."


Today, going for a walk with the kids - See! I do do Real Dad stuff sometimes.  Nature walks! "Look kids, a tree!"

Walking along the beach we pick up litter - we take a carrier bag specially, (I do very middle-class Real Dad stuff:  "Look kids, a beer can!")

We find this:

Miracle Mil
 - Bargain Bumper Size  
 2/11  2/8

I haven't seen a washing up liquid bottle like this for years, and the pre-decimal price ('2/8' = 'two shillings and eightpence') means that this particular bit of beach rubbish is at least 40 years old.   

Aren't you glad I shared? 

I'm off to throw it in the bin now from whence it will ultimately go into a landfill site and, in some dim and distant future, confuse archaeologists by being an anachronism in an otherwise uninteresting bed of early 21st century garbage.

My gift to the future.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Nothing  interesting happened today so I have nothing interesting to write about tonight.  It didn't rain and I did some laundry.  That's as exciting as it got.  So, in lieu of telling you precisely how hot I did get and how many pairs of socks I washed, here are a couple of bits of scribbles I found in my notebooks:


Clara Schumann had a tragic life.  When things got really rough she went round to her friend Beethoven's for a bit of tea and symphony.

So I thought, 'why don't I put my money where my mouth is?'.  Why?  Because money tastes awful, that's why. If you don't believe me, take a well-worn and well-crumpled fiver out of your pocket, hold it up to your nose, and have a good sniff.  One of the most revolting smells you'll ever come across.  Imagine what it tastes like.


I'm going to bed now, 'night. 

(Actually this is a fib.  I'm going to be sitting here for a bit trying to write a story while trying  not to drink something called 'Hung Fook Tong Canton Love-pes Vine Drink'.  We're out of faux beer and this bottle was the only cool thing in the fridge.  It's been there since the last time we were in a Chinese supermarket buying things at random.  Hung Fook Tong Canton Love-pes Vine Drink's contents include 'Liquorice Root' and 'Grosvenor Mormodica Fruit' - and it tastes like it.  It's probably the most revolting thing I have tasted since Holly bought a packet of ready to eat, snack-sized, dried cuttlefish.  I may have to suck my loose change to get the taste out of my mouth.)

Solar Powered BBQ

It's been hot and sweaty and very very sunny around here for the past week or so.   We're not used to this sort of weather in Scotland.  BUT!  It did give me a chance to try out  something I have wondered about for a while now.  

The combination of clear cloudless sky, the satellite dish we took off the side of the building a couple of weeks ago and few other bits and bobs: some tinfoil, a squirt of spray mount, the legs off the concrete mixer, a piece of pipe, two pieces of wood, one woodscrew, two drawing pins and the aluminium tray from a meat pie I had for my lunch last week (washed) - and I was ready:

To cook sausages! 



Getting the sausages in just the right place was a little bit  tricky to start with but it didn't take long for us to get the hang of it.  the only real problem we had was that the focus of the dish was so small that we were only cooking one part of the sausage at a time we had to keep panning the dish from time to time to make sure the ends were done.

I had fun anyway.

More pictures on Merriol's Facebook.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Unwarranted and Unjustified Rant Against Twats on Bikes.

It's that time of year again - and before you run away; no, I'm not about to list every film I have watched, every book I have read, and every tinned food item I have purchased in the last six months. (You have to wait till next week for that particular treat.) 

The particular 'this time of year' I'm referring to is the annual start of the Twats Cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats season.   Some people do it for 'fun' ("It's a challenge innit?") but mostly, it seems, people do it for 'charity'.  Pedalling loons doing it to raise money for 'good causes': The Cycle Injury Support Association, The Bishop's Stortford Weasel and Stoats Lumbago Clinic, shit like that.  People get 'sponsored' to spend two weeks cycling from one end of the country to another. (Actually I suspect most people who do the 'sponsoring' are just paying people to 'go away'.  "All right! All right! Here's a fiver, just fuck off and play in the traffic for a fortnight!")

Today I (and about a mile's worth of other traffic) got stuck behind a bunch of these idiots.  For about seven miles on some of the twistiest, narrowest, least driver-friendly roads in the British Isles, a whole column of traffic was slowed to a crawl by about a dozen of these well-intentioned, over-energetic fuckwits on push bikes.  The frustration in the air was palpable. The traffic (people who had to get to work, people with appointments to keep, people with kids to deliver to clubs - you know; real people, with real lives. We're not tourists, we LIVE here!) managed to get past the lycra-clad clowns - mostly by crossing double white lines, overtaking on blind bends, and committing a variety of other traffic violations punishable by up to six months in prison and/or instant, painful death (depending on the traffic coming in the opposite direction).

During the agonizing long wait for my chance to dice with death and get points put on my licence I formulated a plan which I fully intend to put to the next politician I meet (odds are it will be Charles Kennedy who I occasionally see in the Fort).  The proposal runs something like this.  The newly independent Scotland - coming soon to a country near me - will raise, by taxation, a walloping great sum (several million pounds) which will, at the end of every year, be paid out to all sorts of charities, from the Upper Nidsdale Cheese Museum, to the National Society for the Prevention of Muscle Strain in Hamsters - on the condition that NO ONE cycles from Land's End to John O'Groats.  NO ONE! If only ONE person crosses the border wanting to cycle  to the top 'for charity' - the money gets spent (in Scotland) on beer, fags, and cakes.

For those people who want to do it for 'the challenge', a roundabout in Gretna will be carefully measured. And once the calculation has been done (ie distance from Gretna to John O'Groats divided by circumference of roundabout) a sign will be erected saying something along the lines of, 'Going Round This Roundabout 3467 Times is the Same distance to John O'Groats'.

This proposal will be environmentally friendly:  Cycling may be 'Green' but not when it's making dozens and dozens of vehicles crawl along at stupidly low speeds. Driving at 15 miles an hour is not fuel efficient.

It's that or we make the fuckers swim.

End Rant

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Slippers are Keeping my Fingers Warm

Holly and Daisy, (currently aged 10 and 7), have their friends Naomi and Jas over for a sleepover tonight. Holly and Daisy have been looking forward to this all week since they cooked it up behind our backs with Naomi and Jas and then presented the collective parents with a fait accompli. Since presenting us with it, our two have both had fixed ideas about what DVDs they would watch.  Separately but at the same time.  What do prepubescent girls watch on sleepovers?  Do they settle down watch nice, animated Disney films?  Something Shreky or Madagascarish from Dreamworks maybe? or anything else ultra girly and cute fluffy bunnies and knee-deep in pretty pink merchandising??


Daisy elects to introduce her best friend to her current heroine Xena: Warrior Princess...

  Grrrr! Xena smash!

An introduction that was met with wide eyed adoration.  I think Daisy has found her Gabrielle.

While downstairs, Holly is yelling things like "You cut his brain out! You bloody baboon!" as she introduces Naomi to the original 1968 Planet of the Apes.

It's moments like this that I suspect that, as a parent, I'm doing something right.

And, apropos absolutely nothing... Apparently God not only knows when a sparrow falls, he has a housing plan for them too:

Friday, May 18, 2012

CSI: Area 51

The other day I posted this picture that I had found in my 'Stuff I Have Scanned for Some Really Good Reason I Just Can't Remember' folder.

This morning I woke up remembering the (or having thought up a new) reason why I scanned it in the first place.

I remembered The Voyager Plaque, Carl Sagan's 'Hello BEMs' message that was stuck to the side of a couple of spaceships in the early 70s and then lobbed at an unsuspecting, and probably totally unpopulated, universe.





Now, let's look at the label again. But just the bit at the bottom corner.  The bit that looks like a spaceship pointing down.... that looks like a spaceship RETURNING TO EARTH!

Spooky coincidence? or proof that the aliens are amongst us and disguised as dishwashers? Only you can decide.

If they let you...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yet Another Brief Snippet From the Screenplay of my Life

Daisy? Why are you only wearing one sock?

I am wearing two socks! 
They're just both on the same foot.

And, because I don't post enough pics on this blog,  (boring blog.  It's all words...), here is a semi-randomly selected image from my 'Stuff I Have Scanned for Some Really Good Reason I Just Can't Remember' Folder.

 I think this was from the back of the packet of candles that went onto on Eben's last birthday cake.  I must have found something about it amusing but I've no idea what.  Though I suspect the fourth one means that these candles are really bad actors.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Shit, Sherlock!

Time, I think, for the annual weekly No Shit, Sherlock! Award.  A coveted award which I dole out for  brave and conspicuous stating of the obvious - in uncalled for situations (often above and beyond the call of duty).  Idiots of the world - we salute you!

Today's winner of the month is the nameless bozo responsible for writing the 'Problem Solving' section of the manual for my Pace Sky minibox satellite decoder.  It is a booklet I have never needed to look at until today when, after installing a new dish, we discovered the damn thing didn't work.  The 'signal test' showed a nice strong signal but no moving pictures....

The manual's 'Problem Solving' section is set out as a table with three columns: 'Message', 'Possible Reason', and 'What to do now'.... it was no help at all - but I did come across the following: 

On-screen messages: 


'This viewing card is not authorised.  Call your broadcaster for assistance.'

Possible Reason:
Your viewing card is not authorised.

What to do now:
Call the telephone number on your screen to get your viewing card authorised.


'This programme is not available.'

Possible Reason:
This programme is not available in your area.

What to do now:
You will not be able to watch this programme.


I really wish I was making these up, but I'm not.  The winner though is this one.  Remember, folks, this is a manual written for people who can: A. read. B. know how to open a folded booklet, hold it the right way up, and presumably have opposable thumbs.  The winner of this afternoon's No Shit, Sherlock! Award is...


'Insert your Sky Viewing Card.'

Possible Reason:
There is no viewing card in the Sky Viewing Card slot in your Sky minibox.

What to do now:
Insert your viewing card into the Sky Viewing Card slot.


How did we manage?

In the end I just unplugged the fucker and plugged it back in again.  That did the trick.

PS.  An honourable mention goes to the entries on the General problems pages where, after the problems 'You've forgotten your PIN.' and 'You can't find the remote control.' the Possible reason column has been left blank.  

Very tactful.


Friday, May 04, 2012

My latest pointless hatred of an eBay graphic...

What? What? WHAT?

I mean WHAT! the fuck is that supposed to say?  Is it really supposed to say, ' Look, I'm a gormless fucking git.  I have a face even more punchable than Elijah Wood's!?'  (One of the main reasons I have never managed to watch the Lord of the Rings films is my totally  irrational desire to punch or throw things at Frodo's face every time it appears on screen, and as he is the hero of the story, and I guess would therefore be on screen for a long time; watching them could get expensive in replacement televisions alone.)

And why, 'Sell your tablet now! Get ready for the new iPad'?  Wouldn't it make more sense to buy the new iPad and THEN sell your tablet - after you've transferred all your important stuff to it.  And made sure the bugger works?

And what are those things on the left?  The ones with 'sold' stickers on them?  Whatever they are, the one on the far left is in no way a rectangular object occupying the same physical space as the other two.  Its either some strange failed quadrangular make of tablet (The Sinclair XZTabloid? ) or it is falling into a different alien dimension with strangely altered rules of perspective.  (Possibly the same different* alien dimension where trout-faced Frodo-a-like has come from.)

Damn!  I have now run out of this month's ration of question marks.

The good news is that due to technical whatevers beyond my control and, to be honest, comprehension, this month's list of last month's films is shorter than usual.  Same number of films I've just been less verbose:


  1. Reign of Fire (2002) - which turned out to be a lot better than its reputation had lead me to expect. It's not art, it's not meaningful, it certainly doesn't make you want to think, it's Mad Max with dragons and it almost worked. Buggered if I can see where they spent 95 million dollars though.
  2. Alpha and Omega - a kids animated adventure about anthropomorphic wolves (that look like Sonic the Hedgehog), made by undercooking a collection of Disney clichés and hoping for the best.
  3. Red Rose (2005) - Many, many, many years ago I had the singular privilege of editing Red Rose director's first short. (A film he, wisely, does not list on his IMDb credits.) I thought at the time he was a over-confident, untalented, no-hoper (this was shortly before I realised I was an under-confident, talentless, no-hoper and got out of the business). He has gone on to finance produce and direct several feature films. If they are all as bad as as this one all I can say is he should have followed my lead.
  4. The Empire Strikes Back- I promised the kids I'd watch it with them.
  5. Profundo Rosso (aka Deep Red 1975) - At last! A Dario Argento film that lives up to its reputation.
  6. Videodrome (1983) - for the umpteenth time. I keep forgetting how funny it is.
  7. The Vindicator (1986) - even the presence of Foxy Brown herself, Pam Grier, can't save this Canadian evil corporation, creates cyborg killing machine with a soul, Robocopy.
  8. Mother of Invention (2009) Tiresomely over-long mockumentary with a very thin joke is stretched far beyond any hope of being funny. All credit though to the makers for getting a lot for their piddling budget of $60,000 and credit too for not going down the cheap horror schlock route.
  9. Dementia 13 (1963) early Francis Ford Coppola.
  10. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) - what a funny funny film. Loved it. I also loved it for the near total lack of music. I think I'm right in saying there were only two bits of non-diegetic music in the whole show and those were at the start and end. I love silence in films. It's rare these days.
  11. Rainbow (1995) - insipid, unmagical kids' tale directed by Bob Hoskins and notable only for being the first 35mm released theatrical feature to be shot on digital. And it shows.
  12. Lemming (2005) - A young couple find a lemming jammed in their waste pipe and then their boss' wife shoots herself in their spare bedroom. After that things start to get a bit strange. Initially interesting but soon turns very French (ie over-long and not as clever or unsettling as it thinks it is).
  13. Carnival of Souls (1962) - Creepy little film. Love it.
  14. Le beau mariage (1982) - I don't get Eric Rohmer or understand why anyone watches him. He made his made his first film in 1950 and by the time he made this one, 30 years later, you would have thought that would have learned something about film making. If he did it wasn't on show here. Not an interestingly framed shot in the whole show. 97 minutes of self-obsessed, endless, pointless repetitive wittering delivered in long static takes by characters slap in the centre of the frame. Occasionally the relentless whining is broken by dull transition sequences where someone walks or drives from somewhere to somewhere else for no real reason - and it starts all over again - in French. Le yadda yadda yadda. Pause. Le yadda yadda yadda. It's not even minimalism; it's just empty. Basically the whole plot is this: a silly and very annoying young woman decides she wants to marry. She is introduced to a man at a wedding reception. She decides he's the one. He tells her he's not interested. The end. Apparently it was a comedy. All I can say the 'comedy' must have lost a lot in translation - or the French are even weirder than I thought. It looked like the first run through of a dull play that the film crew just happened to stumble on.
    Another VHS yanked out of the machine as soon as the end titles started and on its way to the charity shop un-rewound. Not wasting any more electricity on that! thank you very much.

    The only real acting was done by André Dussollier who also appeared in Lemming which I watched a few days ago. He is rapidly turning into my favourite French Actor I Had Never Heard of Before Last Week. He's good, does very good listening which, given that his character hardly gets a word in edgeways for most of the time, is probably why he got the part.
  15. Starship Troopers (1997) - Space Ken and Space Barbie fight Evil Space Bugs for two hours.

*I know what I mean.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Before I bore the world rigid with this month's turgid list of films I have watched, here's an out. Something for you to go look at while I burble on to myself like the sad old obsessive I am. It's a page from a site devoted to Hammer Film Posters. A page of artwork for Unproduced projects. They were, apparently, working on a film called Zeppelin Vs Pterodactyls part of me is forever going to mourn the fact that it was never made.

Still here?
  1. Source Code (2011) - Not bad. Not bad at all - right up to the last minute, tacked on, 'happy' ending which sank the movie. Grrrrr.

  2. Boxing Helena (1993) - Not Good. Julian Sands is an actor I am coming to find perversely, weirdly compelling. Last film I saw him, in Ken Russell's Gothic, he spent the entire movie playing Percy Bysshe Bash Bosh Shelley wandering around like Julian from the Famous Five, grown up a bit, and having first year uni fun pissed out of his tiny little head on Newcastle Brown and coke. Nose coke, not 'the real thing' coke. I don't think anyone has ever tried drinking Newcastle Brown and Cola. I may be wrong.
    In Boxing Helena he is supposed to be a brilliant surgeon, with a galloping case of the Oedipuses, getting a fixation on Helena, played by the rather yummy Sherilyn 'Twin Peaks'* Fenn. He ends up keeping her captive in his house and then amputating all her limbs to stop her running away. Sands played this one like a British Crispin Glover all fumbling awkward manboy nervousness but without the charisma. (Luckily for him the rest of the cast didn't know what they were trying to do either; Bill Paxton turns in a particularly cringe-making performance.) I spent half the film just wondering what Sands was trying to do. He was obviously trying to 'do' something but I have no idea what. Maybe it's just me but I was pretty disappointed by the film. It's been on my 'must get round to' list for a few years now. People had warned me off it as a 'weird and horrible' film (And these were people who know me!? "I'sa begging you, Brer Fox, jess don't go an' throw me in thet briar patch!" I wonder how it took me so long to get round to watching it.) Sadly it just wasn't weirdly perverse enough. Maybe I'm getting old and jaded and have ODed on 'weird and horrible' films but Helena was pretty meh on both fronts. It was aiming to place itself in the creepily odd, but compelling, psycho-sexual darklands mapped out by Davids Lynch and Cronenberg et al, but missed and ended up in expensive, backlit humping, softcore erotic thriller territory - without the thriller bit and not that much of the erotic. Darklands lite. (And I can't blame the BBFC because they passed it uncut.) And then it all turned out to be a dream?! Fuck that.

    *and the rest of her's not bad too... (baboom-tish!)

  3. Plunkett & Macleane (1999) - another chunk of 'Cool Britannia' Arts Council not entirely wasted. It's a British buddy-movie / comedy-western done with lots of design, lots of anachronistic music, and plot holes you could drive a horse and carriage through. The sort of film America turns out without thinking but, because this was British, had to be helped into the world with tax money. Lots of people didn't like it. They didn't like it, I suspect, because we're not supposed to have fun with our history on film in Britain. It's all supposed to be:

    • Merchant Ivory reverential and lovely soft focus, swanning around with Helena Bonham Carter draped in muslin.
    • Dour, po-faced working-class, rickets and Hitler miserablism.
    • Based on a novel that has already sold several bejillion copies. Preferably out of copyright - sorry, 'a classic'.

    - special exemption licences are granted for proven producers with a track record in comedy ie Monty Python and the Carry-on team but anyone else who deviates without asking first is just asking for trouble.
    American films can do what they like with our history; no one gives a shit. We just raise our eyebrows, go "Tch! Americans, eh?,". If we're really incensed we write a letter to the Daily Mail. We still then buy the DVD by the truckload but home grown films? They have to toe the line. This one didn't. And it was fun. I liked it.

  4. Final Combination (1994) - Tedious, leadenly paced, join the dots, LA Cop vs serial killer crap. Made even more plodding than the script by having Michael 'The Plank' Madsen as our hero, and Lisa 'Am I in This Movie?' Bonet as our love interest. Oh the sexual tension! Both of them looked about as interested in each other as a couple of small kitchen appliances in a showroom window would be.

    A sample of the witty, 'flirtatious' dialogue:

    Her: "So, what about you?"
    Him: "What about me?"

    Trust me. That was as good as it got.

    A film so awful the killer had to jump out of character, and then through several really stupid and pointless hoops just so the film could end on a car chase. Then, after he was supposedly 'killed' at the end of that, he had to do something totally improbable, unexpected, unexplained (and conveniently off-screen) so we could have the inevitable fistfight in the hero's huge, hanger-like, loft apartment.

  5. Ninja Apocalypse (1982) - which, sadly, didn't live up to its title. How could it? No ninjas and no Apocalypse just another Hong Kong cop movie with some terrible dubbing. I did get to pop the cherry of this film on the IMDb though. Long time since I've done that. Actually not quite true - there was already a review there but it was for a different film; so I shopped him and posted my own.

  6. The True Story of Puss 'N Boots ( 2008 ) - well that was a mistake.

  7. Les destinées sentimentales (2001) - leisurely paced three hours spent watching rich French people wallowing in luxury and philosophising at the drop of a hat about Art and Love in only the way people in French family saga films can. All in period costume too. Usually the sort of film that has me running for the hills. I nearly cried at the end. Some lovely lovely camera movements including one masterful cockup that was kept in because it turned out to be wonderful - or a masterful camera move that looked like a cock up but wasn't. Either way it was a magic moment.

  8. Flesh Gordon (1974) - any way you look at it Flesh Gordon is a real mess of a film with dodgy non-acting, wobbly camera work, rubbish sets, hardly any jokes, very variable special effects, no plot, no rhythm - and it makes me laugh. It's so naïvely enthusiastic it's just wonderful. Porn's Golden Age of Innocence, 'let's get naked and make a movie' fun.

  9. Blood Simple (1984) - the Coen Brother's first. Meh.

  10. The Best of Sex and Violence (1981) - not really a movie but a straight to video compilation of sordid and sleazy seventies film trailers (wall to wall tits and kung-fu) linked by the late immortal John Carradine. A glorious wallow in pre-compacted trash with a genuinely laugh out loud funny joke in one of the links that I fully intend to use at the first opportunity.

  11. The Pyx (1973) I suspect there was an Early 70s Golden Age of Canadian Film going on at the same time as the Early 70s Golden Age going on in Hollywood (the period from Easy Rider to Star Wars). The Pyx, starring a very young looking Christopher Plummer and the always watchable Karen Black, is a odd one. A slowly paced, police procedural with Satanic elements, two storylines, one following the detective detecting the events leading up to Karen Black's character's death and the other following Karen's Black character in the days before her death. There's some very very odd pacing and very very odd framing (people almost falling out of the frame half the time - though that might be a bit to do with the cropped copy I saw), terse sparse dialogue, some very odd music (Karen Black wrote and performed the songs). All very unsettling. I'd love to see a decent copy in the proper aspect ratio.

  12. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) - Only one more to go...

  13. Hidden Agenda (1999) - Flat, plodding, unoriginal, under-achieving postwall Berlin straight to video 'thriller' with more than a few Third Man references. (Not overt homages, you understand. They just nicked stuff.) Second film of the week to have Christopher Plummer playing a cop. The most fun I had with it was trying to spot an exterior shot without a rising wisp or column of steam in it (some of the interior shots had them too) our director was big on steam rising from things for some reason. Quite often they were the most interesting things on the screen. My other game was betting which side of the screen our hero would clear the frame after walking down a long corridor towards the camera. That seemed to happen a lot too.

  14. She Freak (1967) - Whoohoo! Total grade A WTF? paydirt. The story is minimal, gold-digger waitress from a small town joins the carny and marries the boss of the Freak show. He gets killed by her roustabout lover and in revenge the freaks carve her up and put her in the show - the end. (It's a rehash of Tod Browning's Freaks - a film which still has the power to disturb and gave The Ramones some of their most meaningful lyrics.) The style here is incredible. Short bursts of dialogue sometimes rendered inaudible by lousy on-location recording and other times by inappropriately loud music slapped on in editing, interspersed with long (sometimes very long) silent 'sequences' (I'm being generous here) of documentary-style footage shot in a real carnival with whole catalogues of almost not terrible jazzy library music filling up the soundtrack. It's insane. Over half of this movie is silent footage of people putting up tents, eating candy floss, or riding the waltzers, occasionally our heroine appears and wanders around past these real fairground punters - in one shot she takes 50 seconds! to aimlessly wander across from one stall to another - and occasionally she interacts with other characters in that under-rehearsed, 'we have no real lines to say here' way that people used to do in cheap holiday commercials. Overly large gestures, smiling and nodding, Catalogue Man style pointing and uncomfortable body language. Everything screams,"We don't know what we're supposed to be doing but we're getting paid to be here and the camera's running so we had better do something!" an insane delight. The director went on to make several other films, only one of which I have seen: the gloriously awful Space Thing!

    She Freak makes Space Thing look like quality goods.

  15. Chained Heat (1983) - Linda Blair goes to jail. The jail is full of drug dealing lesbians, corrupt, sadistic guards, an even more corrupt warden (whose idea of fun is to tape himself having sex with prisoners in the office Jacuzzi), and an even even more more evil outside contractor (Henry Silver having fun hamming it up) who takes prisoners home for the weekend to parties. In short, all the usual Women in Prison staples:obligatory shower scenes, racial tension, plenty of sweary words and ultra-violence - at least two rapes, one drowning (in the Jacuzzi), and I lost count of the fatal stabbings and beatings.

    And it was as boring as hell. The 'climactic' prison riot is one of the most lacklustre ever staged for film. Prisoner Cell Block H with T&A.

  16. Hellraiser (1987) - erm... I liked the music?!

  17. Battle for Planet of the Apes (1973) The very cheap and tatty final chapter in the Apathon. Less awful and more boring than I remember. I'm glad my rewatch of all the Apes films is over. I still think the first one is a terrific piece of cinema but it was sad watching their rapid decline into TV movie quality shoddiness (the first film came out in 1968 this last in 1973, only 5 years later).

  18. Police (1985) - French. Very French.

  19. Garage Days (2002) - I have now watched all of Alex Proyas' features and this one,which comes half-wayish (no 4 of 6) through his career to date, confirms my long held theory/prejudice that his earlier films were better and the more money he gets to spend on CGI flasheroonies the less interesting his films become.

  20. Zoom Aacademy for Superheroes (2006) - which was no better than the last time I watched it. The kids loved it. But they have no taste.

    Abandoned this month:
    • Last Images of the Shipwreck (1989) (original title Últimas imágenes del naufragio) I woke up an hour in to it to find the same two characters sat in a dark room having the same not very interesting conversation in Spanish that I had fallen asleep during half an hour previously. It may have been a different dark room. I didn't rewind to find out.
    • Telling Lies in America (1997) - about 30 minutes in I realised I never want to see another obviously autobiographical American Coming of Age Story in my life, no matter how good the music, and acting is, or how shiny the huge, chrome-encrusted vintage cars are. I just don't care any more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recently I posted about Daisy coming home from school waving a certificate she had been awarded having 'acheived' the bronze level in the classroom good behaviour award scheme. Yesterday, apparently, one of her schoolmates went home with a certificate proving he had reached 'sliver' level.

The inner SF film geek in me that was so amused by

]==[]===© •

the other day was also quite taken by this:

|-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

I really do need to get out more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My inner geek is easily pleased. I just saw this in someone's signature on an SF forum:

]==[]===© •

And laughed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Merriol and I independently, and probably for very different reasons (which neither of us have deeply examined), have always wanted one of those old-fashioned roller type school blackboards. Today, as a result of raw unfettered serendipity - and me carpe dieming at just the right time, we have one.

Holly's classroom at school has a brand new superdooper interactive whiteboard and because I walked Holly up to school today - something I hardly ever do - we have the old one. It was lying in the playground waiting to be broken up. The Headmaster was more than glad to help Merriol's dad and I load it in the back of the car. Now all we have to do is shift a light fitting, and a couple of notice boards, and build a supporting structure for it....

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

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