March 30, 2003

BS Time

Having written several times lately about other people being caught out by the sunshine I'm quite embarrased to admit that I failed to notice the official start of summer. Somehow I've managed to make it though the entire day running one hour behind everyone else. I feel quite cheated in the knowledge that everyone else knew what was coming an hour before me.

In fact I didn't find out that I was running late until my 'puter told me it had changed it's clock a few minutes ago. S'pose I should go and change mine now.

March 29, 2003

On Black and White Movies

No, I'm not on a Hollywood nostalgia trip and no, my TV isn't broken (although I'm sure that squig in my loft has shifted the aerial just no nark me off). No, I'm talking about movies that can be easily categorised as either 'good' or 'bad'.

The film that brought this little rant on was 'The Recruit', which I saw last night. It was one of those films that you enjoy in parts, but other parts drag. Problem was, you couldn't really tell the parts that were dragging until after they'd finished, which in turn eats into the cool bits with spies and guns and stuff. Am I making myself clear? Probably not.

My point is, it fell into that grey area between 'good' and 'bad'. Admittedly, it was more toward the 'good' side, but it wasn't a film where you could stand up, stretch, scratch, rub your eyes and say 'yes, that was a good movie'.

Lately fewer and fewer movies lately have been just downright good. A lot of them seem to have blatantly snagged bits from genuinely good movies, be it cast members, directors or plot tools, in order to prop themselves up. Which works for a while, but becomes a bit blatant when you see it for the third time. It's a shame. We can't have run out of original ideas yet, can we?

March 24, 2003

Transitional Clothing

Further evidence of how unexpected good weather catches people out: If you make it out and about while the weather's still nice, take a glance of what some people are wearing on their feet: A lot of people seem to be convinced that, despite the sunshine, it's still winter until you get at least two feet clear of the ground.

There I was on Sunday, trundling around the town and enjoying the outdoors with absolutely no shopping agenda whatsoever (as is occasionally my habit) when I began to notice how many of my fellow shoppers were dressed: all ready for spring from the waist upward, but still wearing boots or heavy clunky shoes on their feet.

Why is it we can get away with that, but not the other way around? T-shirts and boots you can get away with all year round (provided you're impervious to any kind of weather), but a Puffa Jacket and sandals would just look daft, wouldn't it?

Fashion. So many rules.

March 22, 2003

Walk in the park

Being as it's been so gorgeous outside today, I thought I'd walk to the bank today.

Note to self: Southampton is an eleven mile round trip from your house and should not be attempted because you get fed up waiting for the bus.

Had an odd encounter as I was walking through the woods on the way to the common. There I was, strolling along, listening to some REM with the sun on my face when all of a sudden a man wearing a long navy robe and big leather Strider-style boots jumped out from the bushes and shouted 'HALT!'. Of course, I didn't acually hear his shout, so it was a bit like a being ambushed by a Robin Hood goldfish.

He then proceeded to look quite embarassed, and explained that he thought I was Charles, and scurried back off into the bushes. I pray that whoever Charles is, he had that gentleman's medication.

More than mouse sensitivity

Emotion sensitive computers will be bad.

Everyone's heard the urban legend about guy who got a SWAT team through has front door because the neighbours mistook his excessively loud iMac abuse as death threats against his partner? If my computer knew the sort of abuse I give it when I'm frustrated it'd develop a complex. The next thing you know it'll be afraid to play Quake against me because it knows i'll be out with a rocket launcher baying for digital blood. It'll end up in a support group for battered computers, locked in a tearful embrace with an Amiga that's still suffering from rejection after I dumped it 5 years ago.

Or worse, what if in response to this anger it gets a real strop on? Imagine the frustration of getting the silent treatment from your 'puter when you've got a report to finish?

I know I have a bad relationship with my computer sometimes, but I can forgive it now when it's being awkward because it doesn't know better. Let's leave things as they are, shall we?

March 21, 2003

A series of tactical operations

Going to be doing some minor bits of behind-the-scenes stuff tonight. Actually, it's kind of major behind-the-scenes stuff. In fact, if you peek just behind the scenes later on, you may not find anything there except some sawdust, balled up woodlice and last August's yellowing newspapers.

I'm doing some spring cleaning. You'd probably not have noticed had I not mentioned it, but I just wanted to make sure in case the scenes fall down when I start playing with the stuff that's behind them.

Right, where's that shovel?

On the bright side

But the good news is, at least now we won't have to watch the new Meg Ryan Movie.

March 20, 2003

It's begun

Not good news.

This morning I was woken by a text message telling me that last night the US launched it's campaign against Iraq. For the rest of the day the media has constantly been relaying the events in the middle east, with blurred shots from the end of runways, green glowing flashy things over Iraq and lots of soldiers in gas masks. It's a scary thing, and it's difficult to know what else to write about.

The last time we were at war with Iraq, I was still in school. I remember pictures of planes, of cutting out diagrams in the newspapers for scrapbooks and generally being awestruck by the whole thing. So far this time, I'm just confused. I just hope for everyones sake, it's over quickly.

March 17, 2003

Is it a bird? Is it a...

...bat? Is it a spider the size of a puppy?

No. It's a SQUIRREL.

(Or a 'skwerl', if you're from the US)

That noise in the attic? It's a big, roof-scratching, nut-munching, bushy-haired SQUIRREL. I mean honestly, who saw that coming?

Obviously, it has to go. But how the hell do you evict a squirrel? I could put down some poison, or poke it with a stick and scream at it until it gets the message and leaves, but I worry about what my sister would do if she found out. For those of you who don't know, my sister is the sort of person who loves all animals unconditionally. Especially cute fuzzy ones. I think she'd sooner see me skinned than a squirrel.

So what else? I asked around the office:

'You have to stop it from getting to the food up there, Dave. You need to cut off its nuts...'

Come on, I need suggestions people...

March 09, 2003

Things you don't often read on Messenger, No. 164

Stuart says:
    'I would very much like to see a picture of your evil sheep, Dave.'

Right. Doubt that one will crop up again.

Friends again

Blockbuster and Warner Bros have made friends again. So, this weeks challenge will be: Can anyone out there get away with renting Eight Legged Freaks, Training Day or Oceans Eleven for free under the Blockbuster promise because they haven't had them in stock for the last six months?

March 08, 2003

Sticks and smoke

Smoking-related lung disease can lead to profound changes in the way the brain works, researchers have found.

Apparently, the brains of long-term smokers can compensate over time to operate with lower levels of blood oxygen caused by lung disease, so they don't display the same symptoms as short-term oxygen deprivation. Obviously, this doesn't mean smoking isn't really bad for you, but it once again demonstrates the brain's reflex for self-preservation.

The fact that the very parts we're made up of are 'designed' to be resiliant and adapt to keep going should show us that we're built to be capable of getting through hard times. Even in the face of damage and sometimes disrespect from the people who should take care of them, our bodies soldier on. It makes me hope that under the same circumstances, I can do my body justice.

March 04, 2003

Playing God

Last week, in a rage of boredom, picked up where I left off with Black & White. Having not played it for about six months, I expected to be a little rusty, but I was back into the swing of it in no time. Oddly though, within the first hour my creature (a normally very friendly fifty-foot tall tiger) took on a really mean streak and started burning buildings, eating villagers and generally making a nuisance of itself. For no reason. It's the weirdest game I ever played: you just can't tell if something's happening because it was programmed, or if it's really because of the way you're playing it. Can it really be this smart?

Definately a fan of Molyneux's work, and will be checking Lionhead's next title out when it shows up in the shops.

Oh, and if anyone can tell me how to get a fifty-foot tall evil tiger to stop pooing in the middle of a village, please let me know.

March 02, 2003

Toys for boys

Exhibit A: 'Cellphone companies are pinning their hopes on games to drive the next generation of 3G handsets.'

Exhibit B: '...a staggering 2.5bn will be spent on pornography by mobile phone users annually by 2006'

It looks like the main demand for 3rd Gen mobile phones will be from people playing with each other, and from people playing with thems... you get the idea.

New lease of...whatever

For the first time this year Sunday has just about managed to justify both its syllables and caught everyone out. All expecting bad weather, the residents of my street were sound asleep 'till well past 11am today. Then, realising that the weather service had once again failed us, the neighbourhood took to the streets en mass, armed with buckets, sponges and chamois. The braver elements were even in shorts!

Once again a turtle wax slick shimmers over the tarmac of suburban hell as it sweats off the bonnets of freshly polished Volvo estates. The car parks in town were treated to a display of Z3s and TTs defying the cold and going topless, flashing their sunglass-clad passengers like page 3 models smiling with false enthusiasm for the cricket season.

Obscure attempts at poetic analogy aside, it's a bit early for it, isn't it? With the little black cloud on the weather map still crying over the south I opted to leave the motor alone and start on the spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning for me really just comprises the jobs that I really should do regularly, but don't. When I do get around to doing them, it requires an operation of military proportions. This morning I went to ASDA (when you use capitals it could pass of as an army acronym) and bought a ton of the strongest, nastiest most foul-stinkin' flesh-strippin' bacteria-killin' cleaning products I could lay my mitts on, as well as the biggest feck-off can of Raid I could find (I had to beat a really big wasp to death with the paper earlier. It was messy.).

This evening, I shall be doing one-man ironing drills, having already exhausted my supply of multi-surface cleaner on the windows and bathroom. I'm now going for a walk while the disinfectant smell airs away. Hmmmm...citrus fresh...