Monthly Archives: July 2009

Watchmen fail

Ever since reading Watchmen I have been fascinated by the idea of turning it into a film. Terry Gilliam was one of the many directors who had considered it in the past but eventually turned it down because he felt it was too long for a single film. He was obviously right.

Netflix delivered it to us today, and after 30 minutes it was turned off…not forever, just for now. Visually they managed to pull off a few scenes so they looked just like the comic book…oops…graphic novel. But somehow, and the exact details are difficult to explain, they’ve made it dull; boring even. Alan Moore’s seemingly odd hostility to his books being made into films is starting to make sense to me. Even if you could make an accurate movie version of the book, and convey all of the sentiments behind it, what would be the point ? It’s already a visual medium! The visual aspects have already been taken care of by the authors. Now that CGI is such a widespread and accessible technology, the idea of converting a set of hand-drawn graphics to high-res computer graphics seems pretty pointless; especially if compromises have to be made to the plot and characterisation.
So that just leaves the only thing that was missing from the graphic novel: the soundtrack. Frankly, I never envisioned the collection of popular classics present on the soundtrack CD (available from all mediocre vendors) being played in the background while I was reading it. But as long as you buy the CD, you’ll be giving money back to the people that count: the rich and talentless who run the music/movie industry.
Don’t bother.

Freedy Neet

Seeing pictures taken by the New Cross Massive often makes me homesick and long to participate in one of those rose-tinted evenings down at one of the many agreeable boozers that are splattered throughout.

But yesterday evening was surprisingly reminiscent of a good Friday out. In fact, it was one.

While we were down the pub with some neighbours, a guy in a Michael Bolton t-shirt approached Michele at the bar. I checked with Tim’s sister that it really was “Michael Bolton” on the back of the shirt and she confirmed that it wasn’t a problem with my vision. Perplexed, and slightly concerned, I joined the conversation and he was introducing himself as someone who literally lives over the road from us. He seemed to be way too cool to like “no talent ass clowns” and so I was confused. This is America! He surely can’t be wearing that t-shirt ironically! It has Michael Bolton’s boat on it! That would be extreme irony. Maybe he’s a terrorist ?

We got talking and he turns out to be a geeky, analogue-synth-collecting, really nice guy, who lived in the UK for nine years, called Matt. We were slightly irritated to have not known him for so long and then he told us he was about to leave the area and move to Chicago. Arses!

Later that evening, I was watching War Games on TCM with Leo on my shoulder. Now I must have watched that film hundreds of times, literally, but it gets better every time I see it. It’s also the only film I’ve watched with both Humphrey and Leo on my shoulder. They both seemed to enjoy it.

Just before that bollocks bit at the end (with the tic-tac-toe and the voice synthesizer in the control room) there was a banging at the door. I ended up playing Dominoes with Tim, his cousin, and some bloke they met at a party over the road. Fortunately I eschewed the Jagermeister in favour of Carlo Rossi’s cheapest and so managed to stay reasonably coherent.

Then, when it was really bed-time, new friend Matt arrived at the porch and asked if I wanted to share some single Malts with him and his friend on his porch. Before he had time to admit it was a joke and that he didn’t really have any malts, I was over there. And he did! 15 year old Glenfiddich! He also makes his own homebrew! And, as it was beginning to seem like it couldn’t get any better, the other guy waiting on the porch turned out to be one of the only other people I know in the area: Kevin. He’s a hairy UNIX geek too and a thoroughly bloody nice chap. As you can imagine, we get on quite well.

Good night.

Real things

Michele has been ill with a really nasty cold. It’s always a tad scary when she’s ill because asthma makes it potentially serious. But she’s getting better! While she’s been ill I’ve been snagging a ride into work with a neighbour who coincidently works in the building next to mine…10 miles a way from where we live.

Last night Michele went to bed early to fight off the lurgy and I ended up playing cards with Tim and Bob (guy that lives over the road) on Tim’s porch. Drinking wine, chatting, and playing Rummy in the balmy summer evenings is something I could learn to love.

Tonight Michele was well enough to make some of her awesome Calzones which we ate whilst watching Peep Show, and whilst drinking wine with a little Leo standing by. He’s currently preening himself on my shoulder.

Good night!


If there’s one thing that stands out to me about America and Americans in general it’s their detachment from the rest of the world and its ideas. There seems to be a lack of engagement that frequently stems from ignorance, but is defended as “pride”, “nationalism” or “freedom”. There are stratas of people who hate this situation and actively fight against it, but very few of them are prepared to embrace radically different views.

OK, if you’re an American and reading this you’re probably already irritated by this seemingly condescending viewpoint. Please bear with me.

Over here you are almost guaranteed to encounter arguments concerning “Republicans” and “Democrats”, or “Conservatives” and “Liberals” but very few people, even outside of the cracker stomping grounds, would ever argue in terms of “left”, “right”, “authoritarian” or “anarchist”. That’s odd to me.

Last week, a friend from work kindly gave me a lift home and we listened to a Rachel Maddow podcast which contained an interview with Pat Buchanan in which he successfully managed to make Nick Griffin seem like a reasonable logician. We discussed the interview and he explained that he believed that Americans have been indoctrinated with the idea that rules, and therefore laws, and therefore governments (who create laws) are bad and should be avoided.

Now, personally I agree; the more laws you have, the more flawed your society must be. But what I find bizarre is the animosity towards “government” in general. The entire point of government in America is supposedly that they represent the people! It’s obvious that these days that clearly isn’t the case, and that the government is prone to corruption but surely THAT is the problem. The idea of a democratic government is that it represents the viewpoints of you and me! That’s what the founding fathers were on about! Whether it be a local government, city government, state government or national government. If any of these governments are corrupt, dishonest or un-democratic then that’s what we should be fighting!

Even more perplexing is what the these so-called “libertarians” would prefer: private companies! Whilst attacking “gubmint bureaucracy” they are defending free enterprise which bleeds them dry every second of the day. These “libertarians” don’t seem to acknowledge their debts to the major companies (Comcast, Verizon, Bank of America, Energy companies, Visa, Mastercard etc) as “rules” or “laws”. They regard tax, which is supposedly intended to benefit everyone who contributes, as evil whilst happily bending over to take some serious taxing from the private sector who owe them NOTHING in return.

And let me tell you, as someone who has worked in environments ranging from UK local government up to some of the most enormous private companies in the world, I can state quite firmly that the worst bureaucracy I’ve come across was in the private sector. I can give you some case studies if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading this far.


Today I was implicitly accused of adopting a fashionable point of view on a matter of international importance: Michael Jackson; that he wasn’t a genius, and was in fact, at best, “meh”. Judging by the superlatives being used about him on the mainstream media since he cocked-his-little-legs-up I’d say my point of view wasn’t very fashionable at all. Not only that, but I’m quite serious! I’ve never thought his music was anything but well marketed blandness. OK, he could dance quite well, he could sing in tune, and he wrote a couple of tunes…but that’s even true of Peter Andre, and I can’t imagine anyone ever trying to claim he was a “genius”.
Around the time his first truly embarrassing album (“BAD”) was due to be released I was irritated that LL Cool J’s new album of the same name was being eclipsed. I was 16… but I still meant it. The idea of this ludicrous prancing ponce, who was determined to make himself look white and camp, being anywhere near as cool as LL Cool J seemed utterly pathetic to me at the time…still does in fact.

But Jacko isn’t the only thing that is making me feel marginalised at the moment. One other, less important (if you go by the column inches in the press), issue is the sudden solidarity that we now have for the poor innocent people of Iran, who have had their democracy ruptured by a fixed election. Suddenly teh Internets are full of pictures of stern-faced westerners trying to look dreadfully earnest and serious as they wear green clothes, bracelets and all sorts of other verdant poncery to show “solidarity” with the opressed people of Iran…who have been cheated out of democracy by a fraudulent election.

Green was a brilliant piece of marketing on behalf of Mousavi. It’s a colour with little partisan baggage (unlike red, blue or even yellow) and it has echoes of environmental responsibility too. We all like that. Everyone is greening out their website – even FARK has a green band.

And everyone seems to be ignoring the main problem that IRAN IS A THEOCRACY! The president is irrelevant! The unelected god-botherers are running the show. You can’t talk about rigged elections when you believe everything is God’s will.

And who is Mousavi ? What does he stand for ? Do you care ? He’s not Ahmadinejad is all we know, and that’s obviously a good thing as Ahmadinejad is clearly a lunatic. But what does Mousavi think ? Does he support the Jewish people ? Does he believe in dismantling the Iranian Theocracy in favour of real democracy ? Does he bollocks! If he did he’d never be allowed to stand.

Stop wearing green you fucktards! Iran has bigger problems than one beardy nutjob being cheated by another beardy nutjob. At the end of the day it’s the beardy nutjobs running the show from the top who really need to be defeated. Is that going to happen in Iran ? No! Should the west get involved and help it ? No! At least not unless there was a serious anti-theocracy movement there – until then you’re effectively trying to promote another shah.

Now China, that’s a different matter.

C is for ….

There won’t be many links to the Daily Mail from this blog but their front-page article about the new head of MI6’s wife is just too good to pass up. What can we learn from this ?

  • The new C is an “associate” of Holocaust denier David Irving. Glad to see them carrying on in the tradition of having a fascist sympathiser at the top of the secret service.
  • C’s wife is an irredeemable cretin with a facebook account.

I feel sorry for him; he must feel like an even bigger wanker than Jaqui Smith’s husband.

Addicted to lame

In case you haven’t come across “The Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever” [sic] then give it a go. It’s by no means the toughest puzzle I’ve ever done, and some parts of it are embarrassingly lame, but it’s addictive and very frustrating. In fact I’ve pissed away the best part of my holiday weekend doing it. Give it a go if you have a geek gene and time to spare.

The only tip I’ll give is to remember that this is written by .NET monkeys; if you find yourself doing anything even remotely complex in trying to answer the questions, you’re almost certainly on the wrong track.

Death of a genius

Despite not wanting to blog about this particular topic, it’s got to the point where I can no longer hold-in my grief. A true genius of marketing passed away under tragic circumstances this week, and many people are in mourning. I am of course referring to the sad loss of Billy “Kaboom” Mays.

For the benefit of those outside the US, Billy was a marketing wizard who managed to fulfill the American Dream by becoming a millionaire using his own skills… which essentially involved going on TV in a blue shirt, grinning, shouting, and then saying “But that’s not all!” before throwing in some tasteless dollar-store[paaaahnd shop] crap as an enticement.
Despite being one of the purest sources of human irritation on the planet, he still managed to become very rich. Funny old world.

But beware! His lifestyle appears to be fraught with danger: he died only weeks after his arch enemy Vince Shlomi got sent to prison for beating up a prostitute. What next ? Barry Scott getting caught claiming a ladyboy on expenses ?

Hell in a handcart, what mugs we are etc and so forth.

[but it does provide an excellent excuse to link to the Slap-Chop remix]

Quick rant against normal people

This post is two years late. Only this morning I realised that I’m no longer capable of working with normal people. The trigger was receiving an email that contained an attachment with the file extension ‘.docx’.

Now, it’s comforting to know that for two years since its launch I haven’t ever had to deal with Office 2007 in any way. Open-office does everything you could possibly want to do with an office suite, including opening Microsoft created files and having a “File” menu. You also don’t have to deal with, what a good friend of mine would refer to as, all of the “gay shit” they’ve sprayed all over the place like a epileptic at a urinal.

So, I had always figured that Office 2007 must just be more polish on a bigger turd…I mean, they’d surely not change the format of their files again would they? Even Microsoft wouldn’t be that stupid. Well guess what…even Office 2003 can’t open them!

So surely by now people have realised that this is unacceptably crap and abandoned Microsoft Office in favour of the free and superior OpenOffice ?

And then I receive a docx. This has depressed me so, so much that I’m having problems dealing with it…

So, I pulled down openoffice 3 (which supports the new bastardised docx format) and opened the attachment. It was a simple, bulleted list. Well that justifies the cost of upgrading to Office 2007 right there doesn’t it.

Normal people think that emailing Office 2007 files essentially containing plain text is acceptable behaviour. I can’t work with normal people any more.