Saturday, October 29, 2011

Show Me The Puppies - Part 1

In the wee hours of this morning I caught myself waking up in front of the TV at 3h42. I'd been watching the stuff recorded on the HD, trying to free up some space for all that Xfe has programmed in. Never aware of loosing time, sleeping. So I had the idea that it was a good time to go to bed.

Suddenly I was awake, listening to the calming tones and sensible interrogatories of Evan Davis. Which meant (knowing it was Saturday) it was after 7h00 but still before 9h00.

Despite a bottle and a bit of wine I had a not too throbbing head.

I rose, prematurely. Had some pepsi max (always my soda of choice) for breakfast. I would have liked some instant coffee but the milk was off, Xfe being away.  Followed by cold pizza. The Mexican from Papa Johns. Two slices more than half were left over from the night before.

I think I prefer cold pizza to fresh, especially if spicy. No pizza expert I rely on friend R1's recommendation of Papa John. Though they had no coleslaw, which I love on hot pizza. Instead to get the 25% online discount I ordered sides of chicken dippers with potato wedges and chicken dippers with stuffed jalapenos. I ordered 4 of their buffalo dips. I am addicted to them. Delicious. Though I never ate any last night. You see, like any good hoarder I need to keep them for a better time to have... (I did notice their best before goes into the New Year. Brilliant).

Selecting 4 buffalo dips, Papa John must have thought I was mistaken. For in addition to the 4 buffalo, my delivery came with a couple of others instantly forgettable.


At some point I went back to bed to listen to the Reverend Richard "Communard" Cole. It was too involved to do otherwise. Sue Johnston's Inheritance Tracks, disappointingly unlike their sponsor, were predictably true to type.

After some WhatsApp exchanges with Tel Aviv located Xfe, it was time for action. A shopping trip adventure to Wood Green.

Sometimes It is another world up there. Always. I think I just fit in up there.  That is until I open my mouth, or present my selections for purchase and pay. My new favourite store there is Wilkinson. It's like crack cocaine for the non-earning income supported.

Today when paying for another bunch of foil wrapped Doctor Who Series 2 Character Building figures and more Christmas shit, I was asked if I needed to top-up. I was lost for words. I didn't want to stand out, but I didn't know what she was offering me. My instant reaction was that her question was related to alcohol. Many of the people who shop there use alcohol in extreme. The third time she asked me I had to own up that I had no idea what she was asking me about.

She explained - did I want to add money to my mobile. Nothing to do with wodka.

As with an Oyster card you can choose a phone to "pay as you go". They also can do it for electricity (though I think you need a different sim card for that). Looking around many people appeared to be doing it. In fact, many "Wilko's" had smartphones. They were buying "top up" points and lottery scratch cards. Here's an idea for someone - top up scratch cards. I think I'd be on to a winner!!!


Looking around I couldn't believe so many of the people around me had expensive smartphones. I just got my first smartphone 2 weekends ago. It took me a long time to weigh up if I could have one. Cost -vs- benefit. Whereas it seems benefits -vs- mobile phones is a no brainer, even though they have not enough to do without benefits (I think that is why they shop in Wilkinson etc). This I don't understand. Me - City salary, doubting if I can afford the iPhone. Them... not. Simples.

Thus - if anyone from Waitrose is paying attention - look up! Why can't we "top up" when buying monkfish tail and parma ham?

Before getting the bus to save me a 15 minute walk, I decided to pop into LIDL on the way back (glad I did; got some stollen and other Christmas muck). In store I found myself thinking about the 2 week old smartphone in my pocket. The place was full of families with children taught to be more interested in what is in my pockets than what is on the shelves. But the cropped haired boys and the girls with full length skirts are all too easily distracted by dropping a £1 coin and pretending not to notice.

It may be only 1000m away, but Wood Green is a different world...


Friday, October 28, 2011

FilmCram

Never enough time. Sky+ almost maxed. Watch or delete? Kidulthood. God. Do. I. Really. Want. To. Live. In London? These kids. Jokers, right. Who would. Seriously. Dangerously though. Fucking blood. Man. Innit.

Von Trier - he gets 7 mins with 1h56m remaining. Delete. With relief.

39% on the HD left.

How about a Threesome? I rather liked it last week. Then I'll delete. I know Xfe would like to watch it, but if I do I shan't want to see it again. And he has tons of TV to watch. Really, I promise.

Besides, next week the Becky/Russell Tovey bedsit sitcom starts again, and we rather liked that and we can't keep recording all these comedies and stuff to watch.

Innit, Blood.

I say, blood. Get back to your estate.

TFI FRIDAY

Is it just me, or is life really getting more difficult?

The day job (a misnomer, obviously) gets harder. I find stress more difficult to deal with. I worry about so much. I sleep fitfully....

When Thursday arrives it really feels it should be Friday. When Friday arrives, I just want to sleep in.

One more journey to make to work before I can kick back for the weekend. Kick back meaning destroy 2 bottles of wine and eat some seriously junk food. And go to bed without worrying about having to get up to go to the office.

I recently read blogging is so vintage. My blogging conduct over the last 18 months or so would seem to substantiate that.

Still, TFI FRIDAY.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Excuse Me?

Today I got this email from a colleague who also happens to be the compliance officer of the firm.


Really! The demands that are put on us at work to comply....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The New Look

 So, the new Christmas light works better receded.
Still, you will be converted.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Message From Xfe #1

This of course is the only way I manage when Xfe is away.

#1


















- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 21, 2011

While Xfe's Away

I'm gonna' play.....



With a takeaway arrived, I guess you can conclude Xfe has gone to work. Three weels in Tel Aviv this time.

So, what's for dinner?

Indian takeaway. Yum.



But, I assure you - this isn't one meal. Honest. It will do me 2 or 3 meals over the weekend.

Mmmm.....






- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hot Harvest

From our chilli plant. Great success.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bye Bye Betty

She's gone to make hotpot in heaven...



RIP Betty Driver, Betty Turpin

Can You Guess What It Is?


Hint: Just reference my last post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iMadeInScotland

Once again it's i-Everything.

Having pondered I have decided that I cannot afford the iPhone 4S. Not this month.

I'm thinking about downgrading to a 10mb internet service and ditching Sky+ for a freeview or freesat.

All I can see are rising costs and outlays and static income.

This month Foxtons clawed back £1,700 commission on the next 6 months rent, so no voluntary mortgage payment this month.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Season 6 - Been And Gone

From today's Observer.

I have still to post my thoughts, but in brief, over-complicated for a large part, the split was a mistake and well, they are always changing the timing and have been for a number of seasons.

Though The Girl Who Waited was...wonderful.

Is time up for Doctor Who?

 

Its stories might be getting darker, and its plots ever more outlandish, but the Time Lord still has millions of fellow travellers. Helen Lewis-Hasteley and Andrew Harrison debate the tea-time institution
    DOCTOR WHO
    'Perhaps the show has become too complicated for adults, but children seem to get it just fine'. Photograph: BBC/James Stenson/BBC

    Helen Lewis-Hasteley is assistant editor of the New Statesman

     

    God love the BBC, but they do make some baffling decisions. In Doctor Who, they have more than a TV show, they have a national institution. So what do they do? Monkey around with its scheduling – a split series this year, and the next 13 episodes to be spread across 2012 and 2013 in some unspecified way, like it's some failed American import that no one knows what to do with. Even worse, BBC1's controller, Danny Cohen, put the blame on the showrunner, Steven Moffat, who also executive produces Sherlock. Moffat took to Twitter to respond: "The scheduling of Dr Who has got NOTHING to do with Sherlock", so I'm guessing there was  a frosty atmosphere the next time the pair met.

    Then there's the penny-pinching: I can't quite believe they scored the coup of getting Neil Gaiman to write an episode, then told him he couldn't have a new monster and would have to make do with a recycled Ood.

    Andrew Harrison is editor-at-large of Word magazine

     

    You know what? You're right. The BBC really should show more love to the series that practically regenerated the corporation's family viewing remit all on its own. The idea that there won't be a full, 13-part season for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in 2013 is a crime on a par with Scaroth of Jagaroth forging the Mona Lisa.

    But when you look at the figures, the idea that Doctor Who is fading just doesn't stand up. This season averaged about 7.5m viewers (a little down on David Tennant in his rock-star pomp, but hardly a collapse) and between 1.5m and 2m people watch it on timeshift. In September, four out of the five most-requested shows on iPlayer were episodes of Doctor Who. These are figures that TV executives dream of.

    But let's talk about the stories instead. The other complaint is that under Steven Moffat, the show has become too complicated for kids. Too many loose threads (Amy's baby, the Doctor's death, River Song), too many time paradoxes, too much concentration on giant story arcs and not enough on one-off tales. All I'd say is, if it's too confusing for kids then nobody has told my nieces and nephews, all of whom understand the show completely. Perhaps it's become too complex for adults – but children seem to get it just fine.

    HLH I wouldn't deny that Doctor Who is a phenomenally successful show, and I agree that the viewing figures are a red herring in the age of the iPlayer. But I will see your nephews and nieces, and raise you my own nephew, with whom I watched "The Curse of the Black Spot". He might only be eight, but even he could spot plot holes so big you could pilot a star whale through them (sorry, no more nerdy references, I promise).

    The current vogue of 45-minute, high-concept single episodes means that everything else can get squeezed to the margins, resulting in dollops of exposition and all-over-the-place characterisations, like Hugh Bonneville's heartwarming-yet-bloodthirsty buccaneer, or the cheery Silurian medical researcher in "The Hungry Earth", memorably described by the Androzani review site as "lovable old Dr Mengele". And how could Rory and Amy lose their baby in one episode, and in the next be blithely unaffected by the story of a child who feared being abandoned? Instead they were larking about with giant scissors.

    Oh, and while we're on the subject of Amy, what happened to Steven Moffat's hatred of "clingy girlfriends"? They've eased up this series, but I could definitely live with fewer longing looks across the Tardis console, and I bet your nephews and nieces could too.
    And as you're clearly a "City of Death" fan, answer me this: how many of these episodes will you want to watch again? Isn't the danger with relying so much on cliffhangers, twists and big reveals that the shows don't stand up to repeated viewings?

    AH Well, one person's plot hole is another's unfathomable mystery – and I'm glad that Moffat is pushing the Doctor back into the realms of inscrutability. It's more fun that way, and it's best not to focus on plot holes in a show that's based on the flatly impossible. But you're right to question Amy and Rory's weird reaction to the abduction of their baby. Spods like you and me know it was because the producers switched a couple of episodes around, so that a relatively simple pirate story would follow the plot-heavy "Day of the Moon". It's not the ideal way to play it, but neither does it constitute bad characterisation.

    Instead, I prefer to think of it this way: Doctor Who is a kids' show – one that adults love because they can share it with their own children, and with the part of themselves that is still a child. It's one thing to see a human brain sliced out and inserted into a Cyberman's body (in fact, I'd say it's an essential part of a rounded upbringing); but a mother in weeping despair over a stolen baby would just be too raw and too real for Saturday tea-time. Better to treat it as a fairy tale, where children vanish and are rescued without any real pain.

    Too much seething passion in the Tardis? When Russell T Davies resurrected the show, his masterstroke was to understand that it had to win over women viewers as well as nerdy males. Remove the "emotional content" and you've got a husk of a series. As for the re-watch value of new Who, how could you not want to see "The Doctor's Wife" or "The Girl Who Waited" again? They're self-contained modern Who classics, up there with "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".

    HLH Hmm. I'm not sure that pointing out there's a reason for bad characterisation excuses it, when as you say, the vast majority of viewers wouldn't know about it.

    That said, I'm pleased to see you acknowledge that some topics aren't right for a Saturday tea-time programme, because the classic deflection of anyone criticising Doctor Who is to argue that "kids understand a lot more than you think". I'm sure they do, but that doesn't mean there isn't a difference between a children's show and a grown-up drama, and the recent series have tended more towards the latter.

    Still, I'm pleased to be having this argument. While I love the fact that Doctor Who fans feel so possessive about the show (I do, too), it can mean that any whisper of dissent is met with a thunderous wall of denunciation. And here's one thing I bet you can't defend: James Corden's acting when he was on the floor being attacked by that CyberWoodlouse. Preposterous.

    AH The thing is, Doctor Who is like Queen: there's so much of it, and it's so ridiculously diverse, that no sane person can sincerely say they love every single aspect of it. I've got a soft spot for "Don't Stop Me Now" but I wouldn't care if I never heard "Bohemian Rhapsody" again. Similarly, I'd defend "Vincent and the Doctor" or "The God Complex" as epitomes of quality telly until the eventual heat death of the universe. But every time the music goes soupy and some tearful character tells the Doctor what a wonderful man he is – and every time that Love Saves the Day – I find my faith wavering.

    No, I'm not going to stand up for James Corden and his Rod Hull-and-Emu routine with the CyberMat… the comedy bits are not for me. But following Doctor Who is a bit like following your football team: some Saturdays you get beaten 3-0. Some Saturdays it's a boring story about a girl whose drawings come to life. It doesn't mean that next week won't be amazing. And as for those over-possessive fans, my advice is to stay away from the message boards. There be dragons. And Skarasens, Myrkas and Slythers.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

In The Closet

Today I took my Dad 1h50m approx across London to see a game of footie.

Truth is, I'm a closeted fan. I know the bare minimum to converse about. Though I can't/won't comment on technical happenings. I have no idea.

Truth is, I ended up thinking I should sponsor the kit of one of the players. I get to meet him and get it (his kilt) end of season.

Hope I can negotiate it unwashed.

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