Monday, 31 January 2011

The Last Excoriation

At last! A movie where the skeptic is proven to be totally right and science and reality win! Although not this movie... (to be honest, I have no idea what movie I was referring to there...)

It does give it a good go. A preacher who has lost his faith is out to show how fake exorcisms are and goes on one last case... and at that point (about 10 minutes in) a three-year-old baby can tell you the rest of the plot. We do get the fake exorcism through some nicely spliced footage(*), but then, of course, it starts getting actually weird and what is really going on? Could it be... there is something to believe in...?

(*) There's a huge issue with this "documentary" about who is releasing this film, let alone editing it, but I've given enough away...

Patrick Fabian gives a great performance as the lead Cotton Marcus. Ashley Bell proves rather flexible as Nell Sweetzer (I could tell there was no CGI there!). ...and the rest of the actors are there.

This film could nearly be a rational film... but of course where's the money in that? As a horror movie, it's decent enough, but nothing too spectacular.


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Sunday, 30 January 2011

there are monsters

Very freaky / creepy.

(Actually, click through to the movie, make sure overlay comments are off (the speech balloon) then watch full screen. Not that there are comments all over the place, but they kind of ruin the mood at the end.)


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Saturday, 29 January 2011


Just to prove he's talented Ryan Reynolds skips from action, to rom-com, to independent-film-about-being-stuck-in-a-coffin to another action movie with a green ring.

The story is simple: Paul was a trucker in Iraq that got captured and stuck in a coffin underground so the terrorists can ransom him for money. We then follow him as he tries to survive and reach out to the world through a cellphone, until he...

Well, what do you think? This is an indie picture, so don't expect the usual plot points to happen. There are some very nasty moments, and Ryan Reynolds delivers a very credible performance, being in which I'm sure must have been an extremely uncomfortable shooting set.

Looking at the IMDB entry, it doesn't look like it came to meeting it's costs... on the other hand, I highly doubt the budget was $3mil... While a sequel would be tricky, I can certainly see this team going on to other movies...


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Friday, 28 January 2011

The Liev Schreiber Trope

While re-watching Salt, I saw that Liev Schreiber is in it. (Yeah, like you remembered anyone in that other than Angelina.) And I remembered a basic premise about Liev's roles. He's usually a jerk, and ultimately ends up:
a) the bad guy; or
b) dead.
Or both. And not necessarily in that order.

However, as I'm about to discuss several movies of his, and possibly give away spoilers, I'm going to hide the rest of this away. Note: I'm not going for all his movies, just those I can remember, so mainly the action ones...

Start with Salt. Is revealed as a), then ends up b).

In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he starts out as Logan's brother, but ends up as Sabertooth, so a) he is! Doesn't get b) though.

In The Omen he completely fails to be a). b) is de rigueur for those movies though...

His a) status in The Manchurian Candidate is debatable. His b) status isn't.

He nearly survives the Scream movies, but by number 3, he's b).

Phantoms is interesting in that first he is b)... and then he becomes a).

...and I can't remember any others. Anyone else?


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Thursday, 27 January 2011

From Bad To... Less Bad

Why do I watch these movies?

Dark Island (2010): The basic premise is generic, but interesting. Team of people goes missing on island, another team is sent in to find out what's up. The big bad in this case is the Smoke Monster from Lost. However, exactly what caused this monster is explained... but I wasn't paying attention. We are subjected to backstories for the characters, and twists and turns as people's agendas are suddenly uncovered, and... gah! Way to mess up an interesting story! Actors in the movie you might have heard of are... Um... not a good movie.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009): A Japanese movie that is in the classic style of bizarre happenings and buckets and buckets and fountains of blood flowing. The Vampire Girl decides she wants a new boyfriend, but there's another girl interested, and the teachers are crazy, and the Vampire Girl enjoys being a vampire and is completely callous about killing off anyone who finds out, and then there are the wrist cutters (it's an event!) and the wanna-be African girls and... madness... enjoyable, wacky madness, but madness none-the-less.

Coming Soon (2008): A ghost horror movie from Thailand, which reminded me of Ringu. A new film is about to be released, some people get previews, and then deaths start happening, and it seems to be one of the characters from the movie. I won't explain what exactly is causing it, but it is an interesting variant on the usual ghost story causings. Not a lot of shocking scares, although the atmosphere is well built up and maintained. A decent ghost story.

Virus X (2010): (Also known as H1N1: Virus X.) A wealthy woman wants her own plague, so H1N1 is called in to service. However, the medical team creating it are exposed to the virus, and now they are on the road to death. A dreary, slow and, again, fatalistic movie, but at least it has a known actor in the form of Sybil Danning. This movie takes itself too seriously to be enjoyed.

Look at that, the two worst movies were American... how about that?


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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Let's Compare, Shall We?

There's something in the darkness, something that can reach out and grab you without even a pause for breath. Something is out there...can you survive?

Take One: Phantoms (1998)
Yes, that's right, a movie starring Ben Affleck, but even more so Joanna Going, Rose McGowan and Peter O'Toole. The two women arrive in town to find people dead and other people missing. What's going on? It's the Ancient Enemy, and it lives in the darkness, and can do all manner of weirdness. The only way to survive is to work out what's going on.

Take Two: Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)
This time featuring Hayden "I start off as the most unobservant man in the world, but quickly become the biggest douche in the world" Christensen, with Thandie "I'd like to have a career sometime" Newton and John "Slid the Slothththth" Leguizamo. There is a blackout, and everyone disappears, leaving behind their empty clothes. Only a few people remain, and the sun is making shorter appearances in the day (so we are told and not shown), and in the darkness something or someones are moving. The only way to survive is to stay in the light. [Not in a Pitch Black way.]

A mere twelve years apart, these films could hardly be different. Both does have something strange happening, and the darkness becomes a threat (and both cite the Roanoke incident). In both movies, the main characters are pretty ineffectual... However, there is a completely different mindset. In Phantoms, it's all about "what can we do to defeat this?" In Vanishing, there is no hint whatsoever of fighting back, instead it's all about the main characters getting together and whining about being trapped, until they get picked off one by one (with obvious exceptions).

Phantoms is Action. Could even call it Victorious. Vanishing is Survival. Indeed, it's really part of a category that could be called Defeatist.

I know which I think is the better movie...


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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I've Been Watching...

This time, I worked my way through The Keys of Marinus. Spaced it over a few days, and the pace of the story, quite enjoyable! Although I want to go through TSV issues and read Altos Loves Yartek strips... (which aren't online :( ).

This was the first story to have an episode (in fact two) without the Doctor in it. Is it still Doctor Who if there's no Doctor? How far can you go with no Doctor and still call it Doctor Who? At what point do you call it Torchwood or Sarah Jane Adventures? Anyway, William Hartnell is visibly better after two weeks holiday. You can understand why they go for younger actors...

There's not a lot of features on the disc. There is an interesting feature with Ray Cusick, where he says how much he completely failed to like anything about this story. Have to side with the commentary that the picture hides a lot of issues. I also liked the photo gallery, which I usually just skim through. However...

After seeing those photos, in particularly the colour photos... I'm with Carol Ann Ford. Yes, getting animations or similar of the missing episodes would be nice, but I've love to see one of these black and white series done in colour. Especially this episode. There are some sets and costumes that would be amazing!

Off to Babelcolour!


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Monday, 24 January 2011

Relic of Lovecraft

While Lovecraft does enjoy a rather cult (sic) following, I don't think it would be undue to say that many people know of it due to the RPG than the books. But Devin McGinn clearly knows the books, and shows it in what is undeniably, albeit better produced than most, fan film to Lovecraft.

There's a Relic, it's of Cthulhu, and if it, and its other half, are united Great Cthulhu will be released from his tomb beneath the sea. Fortunately, there is a descendant of Lovecraft (yep, Lovecraft had heirs) who can protect the Relic... and by "can" I mean he's presented as something of a loser, gets given the Relic, and then is involved in a mad scramble to try to beat off the oncoming hordes.

For this isn't a horror epic so much as a comedy buddy pic (and the writer gives himself "jerk friend with better lines" role), as these two guys suddenly come to terms with living in a cthonian world with deep ones and Starspawn and it's all real! There is a lot of Cthulhu here, but there is also a lot of attempted humour. Ultimately, it is someone trying to give their own love letter to Lovecraft, and trying to make it funny as well. Um.

But, of course, the main question is: how good are the effects? For the most part, not bad. There are some rather dodgy deep one costumes, but the director fortunately had the presence of mind to keep shots of them brief and in the dark. The Starspawn makeup is well done, and the half-deep one gills are very well blended into the skin.

This is very much "we made it with our mates" style of fan movie, with a reasonable budget. If you can get past the humour, it's a decent Lovecraft film, and they definitely set up the possibility of future films. Rate it as "good effort".


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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

We finally have the funeral of Telsa... and somehow the PCs completely fail to fall into inter-party bickering! There's lots of excitement, and Gavin is well out of it. Not to say he doesn't have his moment, going 'Jack Bauer' on a Frenchman, and hobbling communications of the bad guys...

(Speaking of bad guys, this is what the creatures looked like.)

And he also kicks off a major plot device in the form of... well, just listen, and see if the other PCs want any part of it... (Bert wanted the PCs to be more cohesive, so I guess I should get everyone involved...)

You can download Game 29 from either RapidShare or Hotfile.


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Friday, 21 January 2011


This is an odd pseudo-Romanian film, and by "pseudo-" I mean that it was filmed in Romania, with Romanian actors, but was written and directed by Faye Jackson, not a Romanian. Strigoi is a kind of vampire.

Vlad returns home to find that the old drunkard has died, but isn't accepting "accident" as a death. Instead he suspects that the real culprit is Constantin Tirescu. Who is dead. But that hasn't stopped him from cropping up and making a nuisance of himself. But who are the real killers?

This is a mixture of fantasy horror and comedy, although filtered through a very odd perspective. It's also... I don't want to use the word "slow", but it's certainly not fast paced. It takes its time, savours the scenes... and yet doesn't completely explain what's going on. The idea of the Strigoi is a given in the movie, and it's only touched on at the margins. Also, the idea of what's really going on is also really only touched on at the margins. Clearly the audience is supposed to get behind that "these things are going on, run with it", but the most watchable scenes aren't often enough to pull that off.

The two leads of this movie are Catalin Paraschiv, who plays Vlad, and Camelia Maxim, who plays Mara Tomsa. It is Catalin who gives the movie a sense of gravitas, and Camelia that gives most of the humour. Constantine Barbuiescu also gives a strong performance as Constantine Tirescu.

If you are in the right frame of mind, definitely a movie to check out. But don't expect your typically Romanian vampire comedy fantasy horror...


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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Exponential Decrease on Exponential Growth

In a fit of randomness, I decided to look up math lectures on YouTube, and got distracted watching "Arithmetic, Population, and Energy". A lecture by Dr. Albert Bartlett about exponential growth and what it means for populations and energy usage, and warnings thereof. ... And yeah, it is rather compelling...

The video is labeled as "The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See", and it comes in eight parts. (You can tell it's important because of the capital letters.) And the first part, added below, has over two million viewers... as I said, it is oddly watchable.

However, looking at part two, there isn't quite as many... in fact (at time of writing):
Part One: 2,212,586 viewers
Part Two: 604,322 viewers
Part Three: 450,124 viewers
Part Four: 370,463 viewers
Part Five: 175,983 viewers
Part Six: 277,386 viewers
Part Seven: 270,737 viewers
Part Eight: 359,072 viewers

It is over an hour, so it's not surprising that not everyone made it though the entire series. However it drops fairly radically to under 10% by part 5. That's a dramatic drop! But then it picks up again to end on around 14%. However, there's a lot of people who clearly jumped over the middle videos to find out what's going on at the end. It's an interesting curve. Looking for math, I found math about the math... it's a meta world out there...


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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Gotter-GAMMA-rung - 4

I am Cool Grrr, an alien being from another planet. When my ancestor-being arrived, it took on the form of the first thing it came across, that of a large cat, and I preserve that appearance. I ride around, giving protection to the convoys that travel from town to town.

In town, I join up with Dr Bruce Frost, who is looking for Science!, Lrr a blob from another planet, and Maxwell Dillion, the closest to human in the group. We set out to get back to find out what happened to the city in the jungle that got imploded. In the desert, we are attacked by two birds... and a land shark! With a really vicious bite! That chomped me! To death!!!

And that was the second time I died...

I am Kelly, a plant from another planet, man. I met them in a jungle, man, with, like, plants, man. A weird moth thing and some strange lizard things attacked us, man. Way to harsh the buzz, dude.

I throw around the wood, man, laying down a smack. That Lrr creature smells weird, but he's in there, laying down a smack as well. Although there are some other dudes there, it's really us that deal with those bummers.

Woah, what a rush, man! Party on!


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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

That is Bullshit!

I'm the first to discuss this, but I do want to raise awareness of this. I watch Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, and they go up against a lot of topics (although still not homeopathy...)

Now, their seasons are ten episodes each. The DVDs come out, the first one with some great extra features, but since then the rest have been pretty much vanilla, with some episodes of another series thrown in (Dexter is similar). Showtime have obviously decided that no-one really wants the DVDs...

But they they go one step further. Season Seven, when screened, was ten episodes long. However, the Season 7 DVD... I was extremely surprised to find out that it was only nine episodes long. Hang on... what?

Even the Showtime list of episodes only has nine episodes... that tenth one must really be a dozy, perhaps Scientology? Perhaps about something proved wrong? Perhaps...

The Vatican.

Yep, somehow, probably by lawsuits backed up by lots and lots of money (I'm guessing here), the Vatican have come down on Showtime, CBS and Penn and Teller to remove this episode from existence.

F- you Vatican for doing this. And f- you Showtime et al for giving in...

Go watch this episode now... before the internet gets completely scrubbed...


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Monday, 17 January 2011

Feasting with Heston

Another food show I got caught by is "Heston's Feasts". Heston Blumenthal is a chef that runs the "greatest restaurant in the world" (according to him).

The format of each show is the same. Heston announces he's going to create a feast, according to some scheme, then six guests arrive. There are four courses, and each segment of the show is showing how Heston creates the particular dish and them it is served and we see the reaction.

There's a lot of strange dishes, all with a lot of flair, and the whole show is a fun time (even if we don't ourselves get to taste the food). Heston ranges over various periods in history (Tudors, Victorian, 1980s...) and also picks on some... not too real dishes (based on Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). (Some of these periods I was already aware of due to Supersizers.)

Fun show, two seasons and a Christmas special, check it out if you can find it...


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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Rating < 50%

Watched two movies. Go on, try to guess what their score on IMDB is... any hints?

The Maze is a straight to video release that would have been over-priced if it had been straight to free digital download. Five youngsters decide to "break into" (read: move a thin chain across the entrance) to a corn maze, which can basically be considered a building with thin corridors to run down when chased by a killer. Of course there is a killer, so of course they all split up and then are killed. Except the movie runs out half-way through it, so they helpfully stick the sequel on which reveals who was behind it all. There's an interesting plot point involving what items we know are on a dead body that get passed around, although I'm not sure it aligns correctly (as in who has it) at the end. Aside from that minor point, a complete waste of time.

Stonehenge Apocalypse is one of the SyFy movies of the minute, starring such Canadian actors as Misha Collins (Supernatural), Torri Higginson (Stargate Atlantis) and Brent Stait (Andromeda). The plot involves some jackass activating Stonehenge, so we are treated to Stonehenge as a setting, as shot in Canada. There's a lot of rubbish about "earth energy grid", and we get to find out what Stonehenge is really for. Yeah, it is silly, but... it is more fun than The Maze was, so I'm saying this was the better movie (and its rating is higher than The Maze's).


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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Lower the Hutt

Since I now have a better camera, why not take another video? This is of the Hutt Valley to the north of Wellington. If you have a good knowledge of the local geography and/or a good triangulation software, you might be able to work out where exactly I was, but I'm not saying.

Really should do more of these...


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Friday, 14 January 2011

The US meets Tim Minchin

We don't acknowledge Australia as giving us much of worth, but Tim Minchin is a world asset from that small blog of land... and now the US is hearing him!


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Thursday, 13 January 2011

Diluting the effect

Presumably, the weaker the evidence is, the stronger the evidence is? And by evidence, we mean "people who think it had an effect", combining the placebo effect, correlation and causation, and post hoc ergo propter hoc.


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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

It's a "view"

Surely because I think so, it must be so? Or maybe not, according to this rather informative video.


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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

El Capo

It's been a while coming, but The Cape has finally made its debut. It's the story of a man who was framed as a killer and so became... The Batman! No, wait, not that, something else...

Anyway, he's a cop turned hero, and this is his origin story. A huge driving force of the pilot is the father/son relationship, will have to see if that continues. I doubt it, but there will probably be brief touching moments of him and his kid.

This also opens up a world of... well, not superheros and villains per se, but definitely people who can fit that role within more normal bounds of reality. The show is split up into smaller acts that have mini opening titles, usually the name of one of the "colourful characters". Is a touch different, and nice.

Talent-wise, as lead we have David Lyons - about whom I know nothing (don't watch ER). We also have Eric Roberts... I mean James Frain. Summer Glau is also has a main role, so this series will probably be canceled after a season or two.

But in the mean time, I definitely intend to check out episode two.


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Monday, 10 January 2011

Tron Legaced

Yes it had to happen sooner or later. This is one film that opens up the question of: how long can you leave it before you do a sequel?

As usual, I saw this movie in 2D, as that was easier. That isn't to say that I wouldn't mind seeing it in 3D. In fact, I can see that it would be a more spectacular movie in 3D. ... However, that does get to the heart of the point I have about this movie. This movie is a spectacle, in the full sense of it being something to look at. As for the other senses...

This movie is about the son of Flynn re-entering the computer world, and taking us back to the loved moments of Tron. And it repeats many of those moments from Tron. Yes, it has some new bits, but it does borrow a lot from that earlier script. (Speaking of 'bit' where was that, eh?) But the movie does boil down to "I'm a User, get me out of here!"

The full point of the spectacle comes out in the action scenes, which are very actiony... and then compared to the talky scenes, which are incredibly talky and, more to the point, slow. This is a very schizophrenic movie, switching between fast paced action to dead slow everything else. Was there humour in the first movie? I can't remember as there's none here. There's just earnest serious and Flynn giving us bad hippy speak.

And looking young. The Clu effect works... in a lot of cases. Not so much on the full on close up, when you can see the computer generating the face before you, but in the mid and long shots... There's clearly a lot of money in the effects, and, like Clu, work mostly.

In some ways, Jeff Bridges also steals the movie from Garrett Hedlund, but then everyone does. Bruce Boxleitner does, Olivia Wilde does, even Michael Sheen does! And yet, he'll probably be back for the sequel...

I can't say this is a brilliant Legacy to the Tron movie. Or even a brilliant movie in and of itself. Unfortunately, it is supposed to have the job of being the Legacy, so...


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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

Our big move this game is to move yet another day forward and investigate Tesla's private lab. And find out once more that we completely fail to function as a team. Although Gavin does prove that he can make any computer bend to his will, muhahaha!

Oh, and Tesla has a funeral, which we are still trying to catch up to...

Just imagine what other delights await in Game 28. Note: there was a Skype issue, so there's a discontinuity between parts 3 and 4.


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I've Been Watching...

Over the past few days, I've worked my way through Four To Doomsday. It's been a while since I've seen it (possibly not since it first screened over here), and I remembered bits about it more than I remembered it itself, so was definitely looking forwards to it.

Oh dear. Not the most exciting story. I recalled there being more Recreational than there was, but that's not to say that there isn't a lot of Recreational in this, and I doubt any of the ethnicities involved are eager to applaud their efforts. These are used as backgrounds to the Doctor and others plotting, and there's a great scene where the Doctor lets rip at Adric, clearly showing that this Doctor isn't all sweetness and light (and indeed, 'tetchy' is a word I would associate with the Peter Davison Doctor).

I am disappointed by the lack of the basic "talking head" documentary. The studio shooting is interesting, and they have great fun on the commentary (although please, keep Janet quiet!), but it does seem like they didn't put the effort into this that they have into other DVDs.


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Saturday, 8 January 2011

Team Xero #004

Team Xero has a task ahead of them in that they only have a sonnet in which to defeat the latest plan of Dis Aster! Go, team, go!


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Friday, 7 January 2011

The Supersizers Go and Eat

Saw the pilot episode, and had to watch all episodes of The Supersizers.... This series features Giles Coren and Sue Perkins eating in the styles of different periods of British history, for example the 20s, Restoration, Medieval, Wartime, etc...

The show consists of them eating in that period's style for a week, each day they are restricted to menus from the time, although they can range over several different menus from all over the period. They also dress up in the style of the time, and indulged in the other past times going on (such as motor racing in the twenties, gladiatorial battles in Ancient Rome and so on). And this is all done with light hearted banter and some remarkably spot on wit.

The focus, of course, is the food itself. In each time, they happen to be near the top of the wealthy classes, so they can indulge in the best the periods had to offer (well, it would be boring if they had peasant meals all the time), although they do sometimes lose their wealth to eat skimpily for a day. They also get medical evaluations before and after to see what impact the diet has had, a touch I like.

This all said, they do go through a lot of food, getting chefs to prepare entire banquets. And there is often a lot of food left over. I do have to wonder just how much was spent on some of the more esoteric dishes, often most of which they barely touch. Huge amount of waste there (unless the production team eats well?).

Anyway, great series, and I look forward to any more series they care to make...


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Thursday, 6 January 2011

I've Been Watching...

In a vague attempt to try to get through some of the backlog, I watched the Barnsley classic The Creature From Down't Pit.

It's actually quite a well paced story, nearly taking place in real time for the most part. We go from arrival, to Adastra's palace, to down the pit, to everyone getting down the pit, to the translater, and then the final bit with putting aluminium around a neutron star (as one does), and boom! that's ninety enjoyable minutes later!

No, it's not all perfect. The bandits were all cast from the ham school of over-acting, and then there's Erato, firmly in place with such other creations as the Magma Beast and the Myrka... On the other hand, Myra Frances is brilliant, and one might almost think that Geoffry Bayldon should be playing the Doctor... oh, hang on.

On the extras side, Lalla gets in a few digs at Tom (as he would have at her), and we get to see Tom in completely mad mode in Animal Magic.

Yes, sir, I liked that a lot.


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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Big 5 Mil

No, not 5 million dollars (I wish), but 5 million people. As in when will New Zealand hit that? I thought, quick calculation, by 2020 (we hit 4 mil in 2003), but... let's take a look at properly done calculations, using information from Statistics New Zealand.

First, we could use the population clock, which puts us currently at just under 4.4, and growing at, basically, 1 person per 10 minutes. So with 605,432 to at the moment, that works out at... 11.5 years, so 2022-2023. [Note that these estimates are updated so this can change.]

However, we also have population projections
for upcoming years. Although this series is produced by the 5 year mark, we can get a yearly breakdown from Table Builder. Now, this is broken down in to various series 1-9 to allow for variability in assumptions of birth rate, death rate and migration rate. (There are more detailed sub series, but this is fine.) [Note that these estimates were rebased to 2009, and will probably change again come the next Census in a few months.]

According to Series 5, the middle of the road assumptions typically used, we hit 5 mil in 2027. Series 9, the highest growth, hits 5 mil in 2022 (which matches the clock, interesting). Series 1, the slowest, doesn't even hit 5 mil.

Ignoring Series 1 (as we can't use it), the years of 5 mil are 2030, 2028, 2031, 2027, 2024, 2026, 2025 and 2022, giving a range from 2022 to 2031, and an average year of 2026/27. (The latest release gives "mid-2020s" for 5 mil, about right.)

So, yeah, while my estimate was off, we are looking at 5 mil in around 15 years. Be interesting to see where we house them all...


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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I've Been Watching...

Since I've had a few days off (back to work tomorrow, sigh), I managed to work my way through The Trial of a Time Lord. Although, to be honest, I've done everything but watch it. In that I watched the main story with commentary and production subtitles on, and haven't watched the story straight per se, as well as all the extras.

Certainly an interesting event in what was happening during the "hiatus" (*) and during the season itself in terms of who was supposed to write what versus who did actually write it. This is one of the most interesting periods of Doctor Who in what was going on behind the scenes, and a lot of that does come up during the DVD, but it is spread out a bit, and could have been done with being better collated (presuming they wanted to give the full picture, they might not have wanted to focus too much on that side of things).

One question I do have: why no Bonnie Langford? It's not like she gave up on DW, so where is she? Was it just really unfortunate scheduling? (Is she on any DVDs?)

One DVD per day was better than trying to get them all out in one day. Does suggest that it is better to keep with DW as intended, and watch, at best, one episode per day. DVD compilation isn't necessarily better.

(*) It does have to be pointed out that the BBC / Michael Grade said "it's off for 18 months" and it was only off for 18 months. The fan effort to bring things back didn't really do too much, did it? Aside from producing a truly horrible song.


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Monday, 3 January 2011

24 things wrong

I've just finished watching season eight of 24, and have realised I've been watching it wrong.

With a series like this, and with having it on DVD, the standard approach is throw in the DVDs and watch until you run out. For 24, it can be made more interesting by trying to watch it in 24 hours (well, 18 given the lack of ads). This is basically what I did.

The problem is, the series isn't written like that. It's written so you are supposed to have a week between episodes. Now, I don't think, if you have the DVDs, you should wait a week between episodes, but I would now recommend spacing the episodes out a bit.

There are two issues, the first is action fatigue. This is a high action series, every episode there is usually someone getting shot or something blown up, or... and basically you get sated by having the constant boom that you start not paying attention, and then why are you even watching?

The second issue is information replay. As it was written with a week between episodes, there are continual recaps of what happened last time. However, when you watch it back to back to back, you quickly realise that what happened last time isn't what they said did (they found out that information? no, they didn't!), and you also realise just how ridiculous some of the revelations are. Given this is 24, most people are going to turn out to be working for the enemy (even predictably so), but if you watch continuously, you have a much harder time buying their sudden turns as you can't picture the person you just saw getting smacked down by a "surprise ex!" is now an action specialist.

Some year from now, I'll probably rewatch 24. When I do, I hope I remember to break it up.


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Sunday, 2 January 2011

That Far-Off Sleep

So what do you do when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep?

This morning, I listened to some music. Sometimes I go on the internet, sometimes I just lie there, yearning for sleep. They say you should get up and do something (eg read a book in another room (so different posture as well)), but too often I'm too tired to do anything, but not tired enough to actually sleep.

This morning was the added bonus of an alarm off in the distance, just barely audible, but I knew it was there. Reminded me of the alarm that awoke me while I was on holiday. Four loud blaring notes, then a voice saying "a fire alarm has been set off elsewhere, be ready to move your ass" (although it eventually was just switched off, so I guess the fire wasn't that bad). No idea what the voice was actually saying this morning. Have to say that a part of me hopes it annoyed another people as well, as all too often it seems that when there is a loud noise in the middle of the night (eg from a large metal door to the meter box that fell open and started banging about in the wind), I'm the only one that seems to hear it and so I'm the one to has to deal with it. Really, really annoying...

Anyway, sleep, need it, especially when having to work that day (fortunately not today). What's your remedy for getting it? Warm milk anyone?


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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Seeing in the New Year

Much like for the Mayans in a few years, we now hit the end of our calendar, and just like the Mayans' predicted the world has been destroyed when you reach the end of a calendar..., hang on...

Anyways, typically around this time of the year, everyone stays up late, drinks, parties until after midnight and... actually, that sounds like most nights for many people.

Many young people. Me, I gave up and went to bed. I'm old and tired. But here is some random fireworks I found on YouTube to celebrate:


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