Thursday, 31 January 2008

Hung over with not much to say. Don't waste your time reading this one.

I gotta stop leaving these posts until so late in the day. I keep doing these at around 11:30 or midnight, but coz I put off doing it until the evening I'm starting to miss doing it sometimes coz I end up going out and getting drunk, like last night.

Last night was one of those nights where I got really drunk and done some stuff I should be regretting, though for the first time in a long time, I don't regret what I did. Unfortunately for anyone reading this you're not gonna find out what happened coz I'm not gonna say. And no, I didn't have sex with someone I shouldn't. Unfortunately for me it wasn't a sexually related incident, not that I would ever have any cause to regret doing something like that anyway.

No.... I'm not telling.... Now lets move off this.

Not suprisingly I had one heck of a hangover this morning. I felt like I was actually dying. I am such a wimp when it comes to hangovers. I really do suffer badly. I think I've talked about that before in one of these posts anyway. So because of the hangover I've not done much today except complain, and I don't really have much else to talk about in this blog.

For any film enthusiasts who have seen the film Night Watch, i watched the sequel yesterday; Day Watch (can you guess what the next film is gonna be called?... close, they're calling it Dusk Watch). I have to say it was a terrible film. I didn't think Night Watch was that bad, I liked the ideas in the film and it had some great moments, but generally the all round execution of the story was quite poor. It suffered from a below par script, and was much more concerned with looking like a good sci-fi movie, rather than actually being a good sci-fi movie. Day Watch had exactly the same problem, except you have to times them by about a hundred.

The film was a complete mess. I'm not even sure I could describe the plot effectively so I'm not gonna bother (if you haven't seen the first film and know nothing about these films then you might as well stop reading this post now- if you haven't already).

The film had a half decent set up, and to begin with I thought it seemed quite promising, but it appears that the larger budget and the better special effects open to them went to the film makers head as they just went overboard with the visuals. The story progressively became more confusing and there were far too many characters for the film to have them develop properly. The character at the centre of the story, Anton, is supposed to be in a big love affair with one character, while also trying to reconnect with his wayward son, but neither of these plots are developed anyway near enough to make what happens in the last act of the film as effective as it wants to be.

Enough of that. I could be here all day ranting about that film but I got dinner on. Garlic chicken kievs, hmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

First deadline

I feel as if I can breath a very short sigh of relief today as I have completed the main bulk of one of my uni projects. I worked on it pretty much all day yesterday, and had to miss a lecture for it. The only break i got was the writing cirlce that I host every Monday evening, but even then I used part of my time there to help me with my work by reading out a script treatment.

I'll just fill you in on a few details of what this particular project is all about. It's called a minor project, so although I'm skipping and jumping about right now, the amount of work involved pales in comparison to the work for our major project and dissertation. For the minor project we have to develop a film idea to the treatment stage and pitch it as though we were pitching it to a Hollywood producer, or production company. Basically who we choose to pitch it to is up to us, we just have to do the research for it.

It's took me ages to get round to doing anything for this project because although the film idea is really good and very marketable, it was a bit of a nightmare to plot. But when deadlines loom you just have to grit your teeth and slog your way through it into the early hours of the morning. For an all nighter I actually got to bed relatively early at around 2:30am, but had set the alarm for half seven so I could continue with the work today.

However, I couldn't get any sleep, and it wasn't because I was worrying about the deadline or failing the project, or even having to stand up and talk for 15 minutes. I'm getting used to public speaking now, I only ever feel nervous just moments before I begin but once I get going I generally keep it together. I couldn't get to sleep because I had been working on the thing so solidly for several hours that my mind was still working on it. It kept writing and planning the thing out. I think altogther I must have got 2 hours sleep because even when I got to sleep I would wake up again up wondering how long it would be before my alarm would go off. My housemate Sophie was pulling an all nighter as well, and she didn't even bother with sleep. I could hear her coming in from the summer house to get cups of tea or coffee.

So when my alarm finally did go off I had been awake for 10 minutes already, but I had slept just long enough to not to want to get up again. In fact I was really scared a few hours before when I was setting the alarm that I would refuse to get up for it until it would be time to go to uni without the work being finished. But I stayed in bed for another hour and got up not long after eight, although that was a pretty painful experience.

The first thing I had to do this morning was test the length of my pitch. The whole thing is meant to be 15 mins long with 2 mins leeway either side. The bulk of the pitch was for telling the story, and the last 5 mins would be for giving budget proposals, and production details, marketability etc. Anyway all I really had this morning was my story and I timed how long it took for me to talk it aloud - it clocked in at 18mins! already over the 15 min timeframe and I wouldn't even be able to say all the other stuff that we're supposed to include. So I spent alot of my time this morning editing the piece down so I could still tell all the good parts of the story without it running over. After much fussing about with it I got it down to around 8 mins, which was a lot better.

I then spent the rest of the day finding things to backup my words when I start talking about things like marketability and it's proposed budget. To be honest I still haven't a clue how much it would cost to produce this film. I just used the budgets of two other films as reference points, trying to point out similarities between how they were filmed to what mine film could be like and had my budget come somewhere in the middle.

So my presentation was scheduled for 12:40 and I literally had everything done and ready by 12, which gave me just enough time to have a shower and copy the powerpoint I made to disc. I then had to rush the twenty minute walk to uni making it through the door just on time and feeling a little out of breath. I psyched myself up ready for the pitch (which as well as being watched by our marking lecturers it is being filmed as well) and put my disc in the pc to start up my powerpoint, but.... It's not working. Powerpoint won't open my powerpoint document. Then it dawned on me that my computer now uses the latest version of powerpoint and I hadn't saved it so that it would be compatible with later formats. My lecturerers spoke of rescheduling and I almost leapt for joy - another day or two longer and I can make my power point slide really snappy, with sound effects and shit like that! But they meant reschedule it for later that day - infact they gave me an hour. An hour to walk my 20 minute walk home make another copy of my powerpoint and make the 20 minute walk back...

For a very brief moment I got an inkling, just a very very, itsy bitsy, teeny tiny, very very, little bit of an inkling of what it must've felt like for one of those prisoners on death row on the day of his execution, having his last meal, speaking with the priest, making his piece with the world, really finally excepting the fact that his time is up and he is going to die today... only to be told in the eleventh hour that today is in fact not the day - perhaps in that moment he is also thinking "maybe they'll give me another month? or a year even?!" - but then he is told that they're rescheduling it for tomorow instead. He has spent the last few hours psyching himself up for the end of his own existence but then they open up to him the possibility that he could live a few hours more.

So the feeling I got in that moment was a severly diminished version of that without the morbid awareness of knowing you're going to die very shortly.

But go home I did, got the work saved in a format that the computer at uni could read, came back and gave my pitch. I think it went okay. For the most part my pacing was pretty good, and I felt i was speaking clearly enough. If anything it will be the content that lets me down but it will be a while before I get my marks anyway. The hardest part about the pitch was trying to read the reaction of my lecturers. It was hard to tell if they were getting it, understanding it or even if they thought it was complete shit or not - it was even worse when one of them would suddenly start writing notes cause your mind starts screaming

"What are they writing?! Something I said just now has made him start writing! He found something wrong, or he didn't like something!".

Having this screaming voice going on in my head as i'm trying to deliver a verbal pitch was really distracting, and I think there was a moment when I did lose my place and I had to pause to remember where I was.

I'm not really expecting first for this one, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for a 2:1

Sunday, 27 January 2008

A quickie before bed

It's about 20 mins past midnight so I guess technically it means I've missed today's (yesterdays) blog, but for me it's not tomorrow until I've woken up after 2 or 3 hours sleep and it's light outside. Actually I almost forgot about doing the blog today until about 5 mins ago when I started thinking about getting an early night.

Typing this is a bit difficult at the moment as my hands are really cold for some reason so my fingers aren't working properly. I keep accidently hitting the wrong keys and retype everything as I go. It'l be okay in a moment though coz I've just turned the heater on and warming my hands up on it.

I'm having problems with my ipod at the moment. It was originally synced up to a computer back at home and I haven't been able to connect it to my computer here because the ipod was a hand me down and the person who gave it me didn't have a spare usb lead. But I got hold of one recently so I've been going through the annoying process of extracting all my albums off the ipod (coz I left the albums at home) then putting them on itunes and resyncing my ipod to this computers itunes.

Apple really like to make it nice and easy for people to move their music around don't they? To get to the music in my ipod I would have to go into the processes running on my computer to make sure that none of the itunes processes were running and then connect the ipod to my computer and quickly select the device in the brief window of time that it appears and drag the music out of the ipod (before you do this you have to make sure that Windows is allowing hidden files and folders to appear otherwise you just won't see them.)

Then in the long time you're waiting for the music to be copied over you have to hope that itunes doesn't decide to start up as it interrupts the whole thing and you have to start again. What makes this even more difficult for me on my pc is that the usb ports are apparently the shittier old ones, and so they have a tendancy to just disconnect my ipod then reconnect it over and over. But I finally managed to get through all that and I'm now on the second go of trying to sync my ipod to this pc.

As I type this it's about halfway through. The last time it got interrupted because my ipod had run out of battery. But am I right in thinking that the ipod should be able to recharge while it was connected to my computer? Coz this one isn't. Fortunately I can recharge it with the speakers that I got with it.

I'm not complaining really. The ipod I have is one of the much earlier ones and probably on its last legs, hence the fact that the person who gave it to me, gave me the ipod because he bought a new one for himself. If he hadn't of gave me his old one it would probably be a long time before I would be able to afford to buy myself a new one. As long as it keeps letting me play music I'm happy.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Just a few words

I'm gonna keep todays post kind of brief as I'm not sure exactly what to say as it concerns some bad news I heard yesterday.

A guy I knew from highschool called Vincent Harrison died a couple of days ago. He was a very likeable and popular guy. For a few years I was in the same tech class as him and I would sit with him and another guy called Danny Sherman. Those lessons were always a laugh and Vincent was really funny. I didn't really hang around with him much outside of those classes but when I left school I would still bump into him every now and then and say hi. I went back to college when I was 21 to study TV and film, and he was there on a music course so we'd talk sometimes. The last time I saw him was a couple of years ago when I was back in London from Uni. I met him on a train to Harrow and caught up on what he'd been up to since I last saw him.

So like everyone else who knew him I'm really saddened by what's happened. It doesn't feel real to me.

Vincent's family and everyone that knew him and were close to him have my deepest sympathy.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Shave and a haircut

Two bits!

Haircut! Haircut! I got myself a haircut!

I was long overdue a haircut. My hair had gotten so long and so big a friend of mine said I looked like Henry out of the film Eraserhead. So today I decided enough was enough, I should stop putting it off, and get it cut. My typical routine when it comes to hair grooming is to let it grow really long before borrowing a pair of clippers off of someone and shaving it off. I only do this because I don't really like going to the hairdressers. If you've read one of my early posts about "small talk" you'll know why. Hairdressers generally tend to love small talk, and there is nothing wrong with that, it just means they're very social people and their job means they get to talk to loads of different people everyday.

Whenever I'm sat in those chairs it's never long before I feel uncomfortable. Particularly when I'm not really that familiar with the person cutting my hair. Back home in Northwood I found the perfect hairdresser for me. The guy is a bit of a phenomenon when it comes to hairdressing as he never says a word... ever. He doesn't do small talk, he just cuts your hair and lets you get on your way. Perfect for me. Not that it isn't a little uncomfortable being sat in his shop in total silence, save for the radio, but I feel less uncomfortable because there isn't that pressure to chat.

But today's hairdressing experience wasn't that bad actually. The guy liked to talk but he wasn't excessive with his talking like he wanted to fill every gap of silence. It didn't take me long to find myself in a comfortable conversation with him. It was just general small talk but something he told me about a friend of his was pretty interesting. He hit his head when he fell out of a tree as a kid and almost totally lost his sense of smell. This got me thinking about what it would be like losing my sense of smell.

As one of our five senses the thought of losing your sense of smell doesn't appear as horrifying as losing say your sight, hearing, or ability to feel, but it would be something quite difficult to deal with. The first most obvious thing you would lose out on is the favour of food. A persons tongue only picks up a handful of distinctive tastes, such as salty, sour, sweet, or bitter, but all the variety of flavours that exist in food come through its scent. I love my food and I would be so depressed if I couldn't taste it anymore I would probably eat far less as a result (hmmm, maybe that should make something for people with dieting problems that temporarily removes their sense of smell? - It could work).

The other thing you lose are those scents that you associate with certain memories. So many of my own memories are activated by random smells. Walking past a freshly painted fence and soaking in that smell of creosote always lightens my mood as it brings back memories of my childhood summer holidays (no I wasn't made to paint fences in my summers as a kid). Freshly cut grass brings similar feelings as well. Whenever I walk past a woman wearing a strong familiar smelling perfume it will always bring with it certain emotions. Even if I can't exactly place who the smell reminded me of there is always an emotional memory attached to it, some of them positive, some of them not.

I got curious enough about this to look it up on wikipedia and there are two slightly different conditions: Anosmia, which is a total loss of smell, and the other is Hyposmia, which is a reduced ability to smell. What I found most sad about the condition is that an anosmic person will probably never meet another person in their life with that condition, which results in them feeling perhaps slightly alienated and confused about their disability. They are probably not met with that much sensitivity or sympathy for it either as it doesn't really seem like a 'proper' disability.

... Right, I can't think of a good way to sum this post up and end it so I can go and get some other things done, so I'm not gonna bother. I'll just end it abrubtly like this:

Thursday, 24 January 2008

I'm poorly ill

An early post today as proof that I am up at a more reasonable time and active. In theory I have a busy day of work ahead of me so I'm using this blog as a sort of "warmup" to doing work, very much like what Richard Herring does with his blog "warmups", which was also what influenced me to start writing this thing anyway. Yes you could say I am ripping him off, but I'm saying influenced by - you say potato I say potaato (this btw is another inside joke for those who may have seen some of Richard Herring's stand-up, in which he satirises use of the word potato in that song and then goes on to critisize the French language for calling potato's "apples of the ground" when clearly a potato and an apple are two completely different things. Again, am I being influenced by him or just ripping him off? Well, it's more of a reference to him really. I'm kind of sourcing the information).

I haven't been very well the past few days. Myself and most of my housemates have come down with a cold although I don't think having a cold should be considered an illness. I know in a technical sense it means you're sick, but i would say it is more of a nuisance than a sickness. It only really has one physical symptom and that is my nose leaks. Constantly.
I suppose you have the sneezing too, so that could be considered another symptom. And sometimes my sinuses become infected as well, and that can hurt, but generally the only main symptom I have is that my nose leaks. That is a shit illness to have. It's not like it's bigger, tougher brother, the flu, that leaves you aching all over with a temperature, and at it's worse can incapacitate you leaving you bed ridden for a week.

I'm not saying that I would rather have the flu, but at least with the flu it makes you feel that unwell that you are justified in having time off work for it. A cold doesn't do this. With a cold I can still do things, but I do them in a generally cranky and agitated state because my nose is bunged up, leaking fluids, stopping me from breathing comfortably, and making me feel generally self concious when talking to people because I'm always worried they can see snot coming out of my nose.

A big mistake I make when i've got a cold is that I blow my nose far too much. This causes my nasal passage to become irritated so I end up sneezing even more frequently than a person usually would when they have this "illness". I'll have such long and terrible sneezing fits. Some people may have heard that urban legend a few years ago that if you sneezed ten times in a row you would have an orgasm? Who ever made that up probably thought that sneezing ten times in a row would be an impossible feat so they would never get caught in such a blatant lie, but I have sneezed that many times in one go and no, I've never achieved orgasm from it. It just left me with pains in my chest and snot and germs all over my hands.

Anyway, that's enough moaning for one day. It's time to get some work done. I'll just leave you with this youtube video that attempts to prove once and for the theory that "if you sneeze with you're eyes open you're eyes will pop out" - it won't dissapoint.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Doing a whole lot of nothing

I'm feeling quite bad right now as I have appeared to have lapsed some what into my old routine of doing nothing.

I haven't done anything today. I don't mean in the literal sense of doing nothing, I have in fact done many things today. For example I stayed in bed until 12 noon trying to sleep for much longer than is really necessary. I got up, had a shower, ate some food, played guitar for a little bit, put some washing on, helped tidy the house, put my washing in the newly fixed tumble dryer, played xbox, cooked dinner, checked my washing from the tumble dryer it was still wet, then watched two DVD's, checked the washing again, the clothes are still wet (I don't think the tumble dryer is working). Now I am writing this blog. It would seem I have done quite a few things today, though none of it productive, and in fact almost every activity I immersed myself in today was just a way to keep me from doing anything productive, like writing my feature script or my dissertation, or my minor project.

This avoidance of work has been happening for a few days. I've had other excuses for previous days, like hangovers, or working at blockbusters, but there's no excuse today. I'm promising myself I'll get an early night tonight, that always helps with doing work. Two of my housemates are really good at that. From about 10:30pm onwards it is rare for us to see them downstairs. We could be in the middle of watching something pretty good on TV and they'll still leave to go and get on with whatever they might be doing upstairs, and I imagine they're almost always in bed before midnight. But for me and the other two the day doesn't really start until 10:30pm. We're up until the early hours having a few drinks, smoking, watching DVD's or playing Mario Kart, and generally having a good time. Not like those other squares, upstairs in their rooms, miserable and getting all their work done, while we're downstairs living the good life, laughing and having fun without a care in the world.... until the morning (well, afternoon really), and I get up realising that I'm still behind on work; feeling too rough to know I'm not gonna get anything done today and waiting until the evening where I can kid myself some more into thinking everything is all right and I can have a good time.

At least I still have you blog. I've been pretty good with you haven't I? I write in you everyday..... What? I've missed out a couple of days? Yes, I know there has been the occasional slip up but I'm still here aren't I? Writing in you this very moment! And I keep on writing, even on the days when I really can't be bothered or have nothing to write about (which is becoming more and more of a common thing).... Now blog, don't get upset. Relationships aren't always easy, they do take hard work and commitment. I can't want to write in you everyday, like I'm sure you don't always find yourself attracted to me... Oh you do? All the time? Well that is understandable, I am an attractive guy.

The point I'm trying to get to is that writing this blog all the time shows that I am capable of doing something that I can't always be bothered to do on a regular basis. It's only been a few weeks so far but I'm suprised at myself for even doing it this long. I'll just focus on the thought that if I can keep something like this up for an extended period of time it means I am able to push myself into carrying out other productive activities on a regular basis as well, regardless of how enthusiastic I feel about it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Actor dies young

So, Heath Ledger is dead. I heard it on the news about an hour ago, and already his Wikipedia page, and imdb page have updated his status to deceased.

Whenever you first hear that someone is dead, whether it's someone you know personally, or just someone you know off of T.V. there is always that really strange feeling of disbelief. Like any minute now you're gonna find out it's a joke or there has been some sort of mistake. Of course, with people you know, particularly if they're close, it is that much more acute and takes longer to go away. I hear that if they're really close to you, that feeling never fully leaves.

I've never been a fan of Heath Ledger. He's not someone i've really idolised or admire. I would say that i've been generally indifferent to him. To me he's just another actor who has done some good films, but I'm feeling more sad about it than I think I should be. I wasn't sure why that was, but then I realised it probably has something to do with him being in the new Batman film as the Joker.

When I first found out he had been picked for the role I thought it was a terrible casting choice, very much like when I found out Daniel Craig had been cast as James Bond. But I turned out to be wrong about Daniel Craig, and after seeing the Dark Knight trailer I believe I'm wrong about Ledger. He looks (looked) amazing in the role, and while most people will disagree with me, I'm gonna go as far as saying that he looks like he could be a better Joker than Jack Nicholson was. Heath's Joker appears to have that real sinister edge that Nicholson's Joker was lacking; there was nothing really that scary about him and Jack Nicholson was more or less playing a really over the top characterisation of himself. Heath's Joker looks creepy, and seems more believable as an out of control homicidal maniac and I was really looking forward to seeing him face off against Batman in the new movie when it comes out. Though now I might have to wait a bit longer for it to come out.

Maybe that is the reason I am sad? The new Batman movie might be delayed as a result of Heath's tragic (yet possibly selfish for us expectant Batman fans) death.

Of course I am only joking, and I think having just acted as a clown like figure with a particularly morbid sense of humour, Heath Ledger might even appreciate the joke. No, what makes me sad when I hear about someone dying at a relatively young age is all that talent and potential going to waste. You start thinking about what they could've achieved; about how far they could've gone. Despite leading what many of us might consider a life to aspire to already, it's a tragic shame that his life has been cut short like this.

(I hope the Batman movie doesn't get delayed for too long)

Monday, 21 January 2008

A sick joke

Okay, first off, I know it seems like I missed Sunday's blog, but no. I didn't miss it, I just chose not to publish it. Something happened on Sunday that I needed to write about, but it involved a personal matter between me and someone else so publishing it wouldn't be right as it included that other person too. It would have been like airing dirty laundry, and i didn't want to do that. But i did write it, so I didn't break my own rules about posting a blog everyday (although I have actually done that twice so far, but stuff like that will happen from time to time).

This blog is being written pretty late actually. In some ways i have actually broken the rules seeing as it's almost quarter four and technically Tuesday, but it's my blog and i can break the rules if i wanna.

I also have to warn you that I'm a little intoxicated right now. So if my grammar is worse than usual, or if typos are abundant, i'll blame it on the alcohol. I'll try and keep this brief as I wanna go to bed, and I'm having a hard time focusing my thoughts.

I watched that film Knocked up the other night, and while watching the extras I got an excellent idea for a prank I'd like to play on someone. I tried to find a photo that would better help show the idea for my prank, but I guess I'll just have to try and explain it.

In the extras they have an outtake that show the "birthing" scene. In it the doctor holds up a plastic new born baby replica all covered in red goop with its umbilical chord still attached. The replica could be convincing for maybe a second but that should be all I need. If i could get my own model of that replica new born baby doll, i thought how funny it would be to wake up one of my housemates in the middle of the night holding the prosthetic new born baby in my arms from the bottom of the bed as if they had just given birth...

Actually, now, as i type this, the joke sounds pretty sick and twisted. But i think, still pretty funny.

You may not think that it could work, but when people are woken up suddenly they are pretty open to suggestion. Years ago I woke my brother up in the middle of the night and jumped up and down enthusiastically exclaming "it's christmas morning, it's christmas! Get up and open your presents!". I think he was about four or five, but he believed me and got out of bed and walked into the living room. My mum was still up and when he asked her if it was christmas morning she shouted at him and told him to go back to bed.

Yes I was mean, but it was still pretty funny.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

This is another one of those blogs where I don't really have something to talk about, so I'm gonna make it a short one.

Just had one of those shifts at work that seemed to have no end. It feels like I have just spent a whole week at Blockbusters and I've got an even longer shift to look forward to tomorrow.

I got in from work in time to see the end of the Italian Job remake. It's one of those really annoying films that are full of gimmicky "cool" characters. Every scene of the film seems to be about showing off the coolness of the cast. Their cool driving skills, their cool safe cracking skills, thier cool computer hacking skills. There is never a moment in these films when it looks like the main characters might lose or get beaten by the bad guy (because they're so damn perfect and brilliant at everything), thus taking away any sense of jeapordy.

But the most interesting thing that myself and my housemate both picked up on as we watched the end of this film was how much money the main characters must have to spend on setting up one of these heists? If you watch heist films like this Italian Job movie or the Oceans Eleven films, to set up one of these complicated heists looks as though it requires a lot of money in the first place so the heroes must be rich bastards when the films already starts and they are just being plain greedy! If these guys are really that smart and have these amazing skills, there must be more cost effective ways for them to make money that involve far less risk and chance of failure than heists as complicated as these ones. But I suppose that's what is supposed to make heist films exciting to watch in the first place.

Something moderately funny (moderately funny?) happened the other night when I went out and missed doing this blog but I forgot to put it in yesterdays blog. It was nothing that amazing. While we were waiting to get into Dusk til Dawn night club a guy who I thought looked indian or pakistani, though my friends reckon he looked mixed race (I wouldn't usually point out a person's ethnicity during an anecdote but this becomes neccesary to the story in a minute), comes up to bouncer (who was black, by the way, I was white, Swpnil who was with me is Indian, and Paddy, Grant and James who were with us are all white, though it is also worth noting that Grant is ginger, which unfortunately makes him the lowest class citizen there (for the record I have nothing against ginger people, they should be entitled to the same rights as the rest of us - except for the right to reproduce (i joke again (not really)))), and starts shouting at him about something. From what I remember I think the bouncer refused the guy or threw him out because he might've been smoking drugs nearby. The guy kept shouting and getting aggresive, but he had a mate with him who kept trying to drag him away. The argument took a slight turn when the guy suddenly shouts to the bouncer "you ain't black! You're white", then after that he kept calling the bouncer a "fake nigger". Then the guy made us all laugh when he starts shouting to the bouncer with all seriousness "I'm twelth black! You fake nigger! I'm more black than you! I'm twelth nigger man!"
This made me feel a little competitive as my nan on my mother's side is mixed race, her father was black and her mother indian. So according to this guy I'm 8th black and actually winning in the "who is the blackest" stakes. Though in some ways the better point this guy was making (without actually meaning to - he was just being a dick) is that being "black" is less a skin colour and more of a frame of mind. At least it should be. I'm not sure if it is because I come from a family that is "ethnically diverse", but for me the distinctions we make between people over the colour of their skin or the country they come from is nothing more than a social construct. The difference is a pigmentation of the skin making it something totally cosmetic and supervicial.

I'm finding it difficult to make my point here without sounding patronising, or stating the obvious. I think what I mean is, is that I refuse to let myself be pigeon holed based on my race and I think we all should. Like whenever you have to fill in an application form for lets say a job, and you get that section that asks you what your ethnic back ground is, from the moment I first saw that years ago I would refuse to fill that section in, sometimes I even would write "does it matter?". It makes me feel really angry.

Forget "i'm proud to be black/white", we're human, that should be enough. Forget patriotism, England's not my home, the Earth is, and what the fuck do we need passports for anyway?! Why should I have to have a form that says where I can and can't live on this planet! This probably sounds stupid to you, but for me I see it the other way around. It's all the strange rules and customs that we live by and take for granted that I think are perverse. I seriously think passports, country borders, and boundries are stupid the same way racists should realise they're beliefs are stupid. I know it's is unrealistic to think that this will change over night but I'm sure one day in the future, history classes will look back on the way we run the world today, and the way we live, and think we were absolutely insane.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Missing a blog, cool housemates, and Eagle Vs Shark

Oh no, it appears I missed another blog post out yesterday, and this one is going out pretty late. I don't feel too bad about missing it yesterday, although this time I missed it out of choice rather than an internet problem. The reason why i missed it is because I went out straight after work yesterday. It wasn't planned, I just didn't get the blog done in the day time because I got up late and decided to focus on doing some writing on my feature script before I had to go to work at Blockbusters. I planned to get the blog out when I got back, but I got a phone call just after closing time (though we hadn't actually closed the store yet because a pair of annoying customers wouldn't leave - a point I expressed loudly on the phone to my friend while one of the customers were in ear shot. It didn't seem to make any difference... Twats!!!). My housemates were around a friends house and they were going to a party. It had been a while since I'd been out anywhere so I decided I would go out and miss doing my blog with the intention that I would do two blogs today to make up for it, one in the morning and one this evening... Of course that didn't happen.

It didn't happen coz I was hung over this morning. It was one of those bad ones. The only way I can deal with these sorts of hangovers is to spend most of the day in bed curled up into a fetal position crying to myself about how much my head hurts. At around three I started feeling hungry so I sent a text to Sophie that said "My head hurts. I'm hungry can u make me breakfast... Please".

Amazingly 15 minutes later Sophie came into my room with eggs and beans on toast! How cool is that? But as a house I would say we're all pretty good like that when it comes to cooking. Each night we take it in turns over who is going to cook for everyone. This evening Yoli made us all pancakes - with both savory and sweet options for fillings... Not bad eh?

Anway, enough bragging about how cool my housemates are, I just watched a film called Eagle Vs Shark, the best word I could use to describe it is "sweet". I don't mean "sweet" as "Dude what does my tattoo say? - Sweet! Cool what does mine say? - Dude!". I mean the film was "sweet", as in it was kind of nice, but in a good way. It was really funny as well, particularly as it features Jemaine Clement, one half of the hilarious folk paradoy duo Flight of the Conchords. I'm not gonna go into a detailed analysis or breakdown of the film as I only really do that with films that I think are shit, or piss me off. If a film is a good like this one is, I'll just recommend that people should watch it and let it speak for itself. So yeah, go and watch it, and while you're at it download some Flight of the Conchords songs or check out the TV series if you can find it on DVD or maybe online. It is totally sweet! (btw this is the only time I will use the words totally and sweet together, not because I think it's a special occasion or anything but because I'm attempting to make a humourous reference to what I said earlier in this paragraph about the word "sweet". I just thought I would explain the joke in this "trying to be post-modern" manner, to "A" get more out of it, and "B", not mislead you into thinking I say "totally sweet" or "totally" in that surfer dude sort of way all the time.)

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Another Tarantino masterpiece?

(If you haven't seen Death Proof and don't want it spoiled for you then don't read this - though I will probably be saving you a precious two hours of your life if you do.)

I watched Death Proof last night, and I have to say that I wasn't disapointed by it. But then again, everyone I know who has seen it (excluding one person) told me it was rubbish. I would say out of the whole 2 hours of the movie only 30 mins of it was worth watching, provided you just skipped through the DVD to the good bits. Sitting through the whole thing for those half decent 30 mins is a total waste of time, which is exactly what I did last night.

The whole first hour of the film is pretty much just four women talking non-stop. I know that Taratino's movies have always been really dialogue heavy, and he is well known for writing some quality lines of dialogue. Everyone is familiar with the argument over tipping in Resevoir Dogs, or John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson's conversation about hamburgers and foot massages in Pulp Fiction. These were funny and entertaining little scenes that were totally dialogue driven and they worked. But in Death Proof it's not working at all. There is nothing particularly interesting that these characters are saying most of the time. The dialogue says very little about the actual characters, none of it alludes to the plot (because there is almost no plot at all, but we'll come to that), and it does not even feature those humourous little insights or unique perspectives that characters in previous Tarantino films would show us through their dialogue.

Tarantino has many little tricks in his arsenal as a writer/director, and the secret to most of his work when it comes to writing, is write the characters dialogue almost like they're stand-up comedians. Think of the scene in Resevoir Dogs where Mr Pink says "I don't tip." Then he goes on to give a list of reasons why, "why should we feel obligated to tip?" "You don't tip the person who serves you in McDonalds" "the government taxes their tips, I'm not gonna help the government" - These quotes are loosely paraphrased from the movie (obviously), but you could just as easily imagine them to be coming out of the mouth of a stand-up comedian. Just as John Travolta's and Samuel L Jackson's dialogue exchanges in Pulp Fiction are in someways similar to the head-to-head duologues perfomed by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones in Alas Smith and Jones.

In previous movies each of his characters were interesting because each of them were expressing a unique point of view. In Death Proof, I can only think of one character that was actually interesting and unique and that was Kurt Russell's character "Stunt-man Mike", who was not in the film as much as he should have been. The film only started becoming even slightly entertaining when he appears, and he's the only person in the film who gets any good lines of dialogue.

I think in many ways Tarantino has been really ambitious with this movie. Rather than creating a film that relies on a plot to move it along the way, he's created a movie with very few plot points, which are as follows:

(spoilers warning if you haven't seen the film - although I think it would actually be very hard to spoil the experience of watching this film anymore than it does itself already)

1) Four girls meet up and talk, they go out get drunk and talk some more. 2) Stunt man Mike turns up, he talks. 3) Stunt man Mike drives his "Death Proof" stunt car into the girls when they drive home and kills them. 4) Four new girls, Stunt man Mike watches them as they talk, 5) the girls take a sports car for a test drive 6) Stunt man Mike tries to kill them, he gets shot 7) They chase him and kill him. THE END. (Okay, i've undersold the last part somewhat, the 2nd half of the film is better than the first, but even then, you still have to wait half an hour before it gets exciting.)

So I think what Tarantino was trying to do with this film is to try and make it work, for the most part, on dialogue and conversation alone, but he failed big time. Because in his previous movies, it never mattered how much the characters talked, the plotting was always good, and the characters always found themselves in interesting situations. It doubt that Pulp Fiction would still be a good film if it was just Travolta and Jackson talking about McDonalds hamburgers.

One thing that is always pressed on us in our course is that screenplays are about conflict and drama, without conflict you have no story. The conflict in Death Proof is practically non existent until Kurt Russel commits automobile homicide midway through the movie. I think it's funny that Tarantino tried to do something similar to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho where the main character is suddenly killed almost halfway through the film. Even now that sequence is still jarring and never fails to shock anyone who watches it for the first time. But in Death Proof, it's like Tarantino has mistaken his audience for someone who should give a shit about what happens next because not much has happened so far. As an audience you've sat through a whole hour with these very boring annoying characters so when you find out he only set them up for a whole hour to kill them off you're left feeling really pissed off. He could've condensed that whole first hour down into a 15 minute sequence.

In Psycho they make it work because we're fooled into thinking it is a film about a woman who stole some money and goes on the run. There was a dilema being played out, and while didn't know where it was going, we were interested to find out what happens. So when her death happens midway through the film it comes as a complete shock and we suddenly find out we're watching a film about a serial killer in Motel.

There's a lot more I could say about this film, and this whole piece could do with some tidying up but I got other stuff that needs doing. The only other thing I will say about the movie for now is that it has some really cool music. It was probably one of the best things about the movie. At least Tarantino can still do something right.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Not much to talk about today

I guess today could be considered my first day back at University, even though it was for a half hour tutorial. And we really don't go into uni for that many lectures anyway. 1 day a week is about all we do and the rest of the time is meant to be spent working on our own. I remember when we first started the course two years ago, a lot of people were critisizing the fact that we don't have to go in that much for lectures. I had assumed from the start that's how it would be. Writing for the most part is a solitary activity so why should we need so much lesson time?

I suppose you could answer that back with "then why come to Uni at all if you don't need to go in?" Well, we do get a lot out of the lectures even if they are only once a week, plus we get alot of feedback and guidance from our tutors that you wouldn't be able to get if you really did work totally alone. You could end up making the same mistakes over an over, and with no one to point them out you might never learn from them.

Anyway enough of all that. I feel as if i'm being quite patronising to anyone who might be reading this. I don't feel I have much other stuff to talk about today, except perhaps my slight dissapointment that our landlord wasn't able to put up the punchbag my flatmate and I bought at the end of last term.

I had decided quite a while ago that I wanted to get fit but my finances for this term won't really cover the cost of gym membership, and over the last year or two I had discovered a new found interest in boxing. I've never been a big fan of most sports. I find football quite boring to watch and conversations that turn to the football are about as appealing to me as chewing on broken glass, but I do enjoy playing football (in both real life and on computer games). Sometimes. But boxing I do enjoy watching, though I have to admit that my interest in boxing grew out of playing the game Fightnight Round 3 on XBOX 360. I remember I used to love boxing as a kid, and it wasn't because of the film Rocky. I loved watching the Prince Naseem fights on ITV, and I remember being really upset when Tyson beat Frank Bruno.

So back to the beginning of last term, I had decided I was going to get fit but realised I was going to have to do it at home coz of money problems. I'm not sure why but for some reason I ended looking at the cost of punching bags. Of course boxers have to be in really good shape, and I knew that really, they only needed the most basic equipment to get fit. I found some really cheap bags on the internet and spoke to Paddy, my housemate, who used to do boxing and had expressed interest in doing it again. After speaking to our landlord, who said it was fine if we put up a bag and even offered to bring a drill round and put it up for us, we went halfs on the bag and ended up paying around £22 each for it. But when the landlord came round today he hadn't brought a drill bit bigger enough for the plugs to fit into the wall. Paddy thinks it'll be ages before he'll be back to do it, as the landlord hadn't just come to do the punchbag he had also come round to fix our tumbledryer, which hasn't worked since we'd moved in and we had been asking him to have it fixed for a while. I'm sure we won't have that long to wait.

Monday, 14 January 2008

I am lizard boy!!!

At last I have money!!!! Yes, the loans have come through today and I can finally get off the pasta and soup diet that I have been on for the last two weeks. I was getting so low on stuff that I ran out of pasta sauce and had to resort using my soup as a sauce instead. For some students at this time that in itself would be a luxury so I wasn't that bad off.

I am finding myself constantly cold at the moment though. It is ever since my housemate Paddy returned from Scotland last Thursday and it appears that he's brought the highland weather back with him as well. Well actually, it's cold in the house because when he got back he insisted that we not use the heating because it's costing us money. It's easy to say that when you're climatized to the frozen wastes of Scotland (okay it's a gross exageration but it's still further away from the equator than where I am now), and if there is one thing I really can't stand (among a whole host of other things), it is to be cold. I much rather be too hot than he even the slightest bit on the chilly side.

My other housemates don't seem to mind the subzero conditions that we are living in. They don't have to put up with having the coldest bedroom in the house either, that misfortune happens to be mine. The room used to be a garage that has been converted into a bedroom, which means that I don't think the walls are properly insuluated. Houses are meant to be built with two walls that are close together, one inside the other. This is because nothing insulates better than air, so it's likely that because my bedroom used to be a garage it only has one wall and therefore poor insulation.

Another cause for the rooms lack of heat, and an inability to stay warm for more than two seconds when the heating is turned off, is because of the huge patio doors I have at one end of my room. The big glass on those doors becomes freezing cold due to the low temperatures outside turning my patio doors into something like a villain from the Superman comics called the Parasite, (yes my geekiness comes through again) who sucks the energy out of anything. Heat, electricity, the stored up solar energy from Superman's Kryptonian cells, you name it the Parasite absorbs it. The sliding patio doors at the end of my room is no different as it literally sucks every last bit of heat out of the air before feeding on the heat in my body as well. Not content with that I think it has also been responsible for sucking out all of my motivation and any postive thoughts in my head as well. This is the reason why I am so far behind with my Uni work, and having moaning fits such as the ones I keep writing in these blogs

My housemate Sophie has started calling me lizard boy because of my constant moaning about being cold, and it really wouldn't suprise me if I did turn out to be cold blooded. In fact it is not the first time that someone has compared me to a a lizard. Back in junior school a couple of kids in my class decided that I resembled a lizard, which seemed to catch on with everybody else. So this and my transgendered surname meant not only did I have the appearance of a lizard but even worse than this, apparently I was a gender confused lizard as well. Life was hard back in those days.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A days absence from the daily blog

Oh no! I've been very bad and didn't write in my blog yesterday. It's the first time I've missed it since I've started. And although it wasn't really a fault of mine that I didn't do it I still felt guilty about it. I think this is because I really couldn't be bothered to write in it yesterday.

That didn't mean I didn't sit down to do it, but on both occasions that I tried something went wrong with the internet in our house. When I tried to go online yesterday morning it was refusing to connect so I could write nothing in the blog then, but a couple of hours later we sorted it out. At which point I was in the middle of doing some work on my dissertation and wanted to get as much of that done as possible before I went to work at Blockbusters. I decided I would write in my blog when I got back.

So come eleven o'clock in the evening, after walking some 2 and a half miles back from work to home I forced myself to sit down in front of the computer to write my blog but again the internet wasn't working. For about half and hour we kepts fiddling about with the router, switching it on and off, making sure the leads are connected but it did no good. I was gonna have to miss it out for the night. My housemate, Sophie, suggested that I write the blog up on microsoft word and post it the next day, but for some reason I can't write my blog unless I'm actually writing it on the eblogger site. I've tried to write it in word a couple of times before because it's easier to check for spelling and grammar but I just couldn't do it. I don't know why. I don't feel like i'm in the right mindset when I do that, I don't feel that I'm writing in my blog. Hence why my blog is full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, I very rarely even bother using the spellchecker on it.

After much fiddling about with the modem I gave up, and felt a pang of relief that I wouldn't have to write anything. This was swiftly followed by an even bigger pang of guilt for allowing myself to experience the feeling of relief in regards to missing out a blog entry.

This morning the internet still wasn't working on anyones computer so Sophie decided to call our internet provider as it was clear that the fault wasn't with the router. They must have thought we were idiots. She was on the phone with them for about a minute and they went through the usual routine of going through the most basic of trouble shooting guides such as "is the modem correctly connected to the phone line" or "is the modem switched on?". Turns out that was what the problem was. Someone had unplugged the modem and not one of us had even thought of even considering that the modem could be a factor in the problems with the internet connection. We had become the very people that I often find myself laughing at. The idiot who has no idea why is computer won't switch on because he hasn't plugged it in, or the person who thinks the remote to his TV is broken when in fact he has forgotten to put any batteries in it.

But here I am, finally getting around to writing todays entry after a day spent procrastinating, following three good days of hard work on my various course projects. I think I have finally got my idea for my final major project. After months of bashing my head against the wall an idea for my feature script has finally popped out and I'm feeling really excited about it. If I can keep up the level of work that I have done for the past three days I'll be back on track with my work in no time.

Friday, 11 January 2008

A sneak peak into my finances

Another beautiful day. Everything outside is wet and there is no identifiable light source to be seen in the sky. Yes, it is another beautiful grey grey day. I'm not gonna leave my house today. I've just decided. I'm not going anywhere. I haven't got work tonight, I don't need to buy any food, in fact there is nothing for me in the outside world. Everything I need is right here in the house.

Oh shit... I gotta go to the bank. I just remembered that I got a phone call from my mum yesterday. The bank have sent me a letter and they are demanding £1500 from me by the 20th of this month. I'm not sure why. It's for my student account and it has an overdraft limit of around the same amount, why do they want it back? Hmmmm, maybe it's something to do with the other account I have with them. You see the other account has an overdraft limit of £300 but I haven't used it for the past year and a half because it's been acumulating £30 charges every month. I think the account is at something like £700 overdrawn (that's £400 over the limit they set me). You're probably wondering how I could let the account get in that state?

I wanna teach them a lesson and generally get on their nerves. About 2 years ago or maybe a bit more that account accidently went over its overdraft limit meaning I got one of those £30 charges, the only problem was the charge came out of my account when there was no money in it bringing my account over the overdraft limit again meaning I was to be faced with paying another charge. The way I see it they should only be able to charge you once and not keep charging you for the charges they keep giving you. I was in and out of the bank for weeks trying to sort that out. For a whole month the woman in the bank kept telling me to come back in a week while she puts in some sort of request with the head office against my charges. I let her know that I'm not gonna be putting any money back into that account unless they do something about the bank charges they are giving me. More than a month goes by before the people from head office or where ever give her the go ahead to clear some of my charges... She only clears £30 of it. The same £30 they would have given me during that month of waiting for them to clear my charges. So my bank account at this time was still £60 over the limit with another charge on its way.

Around this time I hear about those letters on the internet that some lawyers have drawn up on the internet that you can use to send into your banks head office to get the charges refunded. So I got one of those letters filled in my little bit, sent it off to the bank and had a load of money refunded back to me. I was in the clear... But, a couple of weeks later a charge comes out of my account putting it over the overdraft limit, but I know it had nothing to do with me. I hadn't used any direct debits or anything like that. It was the banks computer system that was doing it. You see, the bank had refunded me the money but the system that deals with the charges is automated and I still had another scheduled charge coming, but I wasn't aware of this at the time.

So the cycle started again. And I had lost patience. I decided I wasn't going to use that account anymore, my wages had been going into a different account for a while when this whole bank charges scenario started. I decided I'm going to teach those fuckers a lesson and see how long I can keep those charges mounting up on my account until they start trying to make demands to give it back, then I will send them a letter demanding they give all the money back. I know its reckless behaviour, but these banks take the piss so I'm taking the piss out of them.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Something for the dream diary

Wow, look at the time. It is 8:18am, I am out of bed and typing away in my blog. And you know what, it didn't need no fancy tricks, no putting my alarm on the other side of the room, no snooze button, no special pact with my housemate that we'd promise to wake each other up. No. All it took was going to bed at a reasonable time. Seems pretty obvious now, yeah I'm sure those of you who knew that are all feeling pretty smug at the moment.

I even had an alarm set for 9 0'clock, but I actually woke up naturally just before 8. And that seems to be the real secret to getting out of bed. The best alarm clock for my body seems to be itself. It knows best when to wake up, and it'll wake up when it feels it's the right time and it's had enough sleep. Having an alarm going off before it's time to wake up is why I'm having problems getting up. An alarm going off when you're in the middle of a deep sleep is (for me particularly) quite a painful and traumatic experience. It sounds as if I'm exagerating but I'm not. In those rare cases when I actually manage to get out of bed after such a small amount of sleep (and it's usually because someone else is forcing me to get up), I'm in a very irrational and angry state of mind. Any sharp objects such as knifes, razorblades, or kettle chips (eating those things are such a weird blend of pleasure and pain; they taste so good but their rough serrated edges are unfriendly to the inside of your mouth) must be kept away from me because I'll lash out in an indiscriminate manner at anyone who comes near me, failing that, if I'm still really desperate to get back to sleep I might attempt to cut my own wrists with them.

Yes I'm being dramatic, so what? It's eight in the bloody morning!!!! I'm not supposed to be up at this time, it's weird. As punishment you're now going to have to read about the dreams I had last night (I don't care that you reading this right now had nothing to do with me getting up this early in the morning).

I can't remember that much of it, but I know one of my housemates is gonna like the first part because it was about Doctor Who, and she's always having Doctor Who dreams - I've never understood these people who are always having dreams about the things or the people they like. Like another friend of mine who used to always seem to have dreams about meeting Greenday, or getting to play in the band Greenday. Why do they get to have dreams about such nice subjects when the rest of us are having dreams about being born out of a womb and then left abandoned on the floor as a helpless baby with nothing else to provide you with sustenance other than the afterbirth from your absent mother's womb (this was actually a dream I had once years ago, and the whole experience of being born and eating the afterbirth to survive happened in the dream five times over. I know it's really weird but I can't control this stuff, it just happens - I told a friend about this dream recently and her reply was "that's the kind of dream that if you were to tell your mother about it, she cries").

Hmmmmm, I'm not sure I should carry on after just telling you that. You probably don't want to read anymore of this now that you've had this curious glimpse into my unconcious mind.

So, I was having this Doctor Who dream, and rather than getting to be the man himself I was his assistant. We had some sort of adventure, I can't remember it really but I know it was set on New Years eve, there was a party or someting. Dreams are crap you can never remember anything from them. I know usually at some point in my housemates version of the dream she would have sex with the Doctor, but it didn't happen in mine. I think after the Doctor Who part the dream changed and other stuff happened. I remember that near the end of the dream I was some sort of toy inspector, and my job was to check a production line of dolls and action figures for any illegal instances of A.I. (artificial intelligence but I'm sure you all already knew that, but just in case).

For some reason in this dream world A.I. was illegal, even in kids' toy dolls because there was some fear that they could take over the world. I think the government in my dream were actually in the middle of the war with some renegade Mattel toys, so we had to be on the lookout for any sleeper agents I suppose... When I think about it now, in some ways this dream is actually cuts a very weird parallel with the current the War on Terror! that's being going on for all these years. Or, maybe it's as Freud would have it, and it's all about sex or repressed sexual desires, like maybe I wanna have sex with toys or action figures or something.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Sleeping in.

Today's blog was supposed to be coming at you from around 9am this morning but it's now 6 in the evening and I have had another day of doing nout. You see I have not been getting up at a reasonable time these past few weeks (for much of the whole of first term as well), and it's something that needs sorting out. My housemate, Geoff, is in the same boat as well. Neither of us are out of our bedrooms until about lunchtime and the pair of us have decided we have had enough of it.

So last night we decided we'd both get up 8'oclock this morning. The deal was that we'd both try to get up at 8 and if the other one wasn't up we'd go bang on their door to wake them. We made this pact together sometime after midnight last night before we sat down to watch two films that didn't finish until three thirty in the morning. We then both agreed that perhaps we should set our alarms for 9 o'clock instead. Yes 9o'clock meant we'd be getting up a little later than our agreed 8'oclock, but 9 was still a good time to get up. It would still be classified as the morning, or the breakfast period and after I had eaten and got myself cleaned up I would probably be ready to start working at 10.

I set the alarm on my phone for 9 o'clock feeling pretty positive about getting up at that time. But to ensure I wouldn't just turnover and put my alarm on snooze the minute it woke me up in the morning I put my phone on the other side of the room, which means I have to actually get out of my bed to turn it off. In theory this is a really good tactic for getting up, but I have done this loads already. In fact I do this most nights. And while it worked the first couple of times I did it, it doesn't work anymore.

The main problem I have with getting up in the morning, and the reason that this tactic with the alarm doesn't work anymore, is all to do with changing mindsets. The mindset I am in when I am going to bed and setting the alarm is a completely different mindset to when I wake up in the morning. In fact, I would say my early morning mindset is so much different to my evening mindset that I would argue that they are completely different people, with very different priorities. The morning persons priority is to get back to sleep. That seems to be its sole motivation. Nothing will keep him out of bed very long. Even when I need to go to the toilet he will hold on as long as he can until the seal is almost broken before pulling himself out of bed to relieve himself. And even when he's in the toilet, and in the process of relieveing himself, he will try to steal every little bit of sleep that he can. This is why men piss all over the toilet when they get up to go during the night. It's not because they can't aim (because they can), it's because they try to piss and sleep at the same time.

I could wake up and my bedroom could be on fire but my morning self will try to rationalise staying in bed for just "another minute" before he'll get out of bed to save himself. Because that's what happens when my alarm goes off in the morning. I grumpily get out of bed and push the "snooze" button, which I think should be banned off of all alarms. They are absolutely pointless. All it does is give you another 5 or 10 minutes in bed, so why don't you just program your alarm to wake you later? - Oh, because you were supposed to be up 5 or ten minutes earlier? So what has the snooze button done for your except make you late? That's its purpose. TO make you late.

Unless you fall for the same trick I used to when I would set my alarm for a little earlier than I needed, then I would use the snooze button to wake me up ten minutes later thus somehow giving me the illusion of having got a little extra time in bed. It's like I've got my own makeshift time traveling device. The alarm goes off, I push the snooze button, and hey presto! I get an extra ten minutes in bed.

The trouble is, at that time an extra ten minutes is not enough. I need hours, but I'll refuse to stop using the snooze button. I just keep the phone by my bed, sometimes clutched in my hand, pressing it every 10 minutes when it decides to go off, making an empty promise to myself that "I will get up the next time it goes off. The next time it beeps I will get up" - BEEP BEEP BEE-*CLICK* ... "The next time it goes off I will get up. The next time".

It's only now as I write about this that I realise that I've subjected myself to my own Sisyphean punishment (that bloke from Greek mythology who had to push a boulder up a hill for eternity). I found that this was even more true after a little bit of research on the origin of the snooze button (i know, i'm a nerd). Aparently it goes off every nine minutes, the reason for this being that it takes the average person 10 to 20 minutes asleep, which means it is actually designed to go off moments before you can go back to sleep. So for all those hours I spend pushing that button over and over I'm not sleeping I am torturing myself. I am stealing sleep from myself, and making all those hours spent in bed an even bigger waste of time because I'm awake the whole time!

So what happened this morning? With our great plan of waking each other up? What do you think happened? In some ways it was the stupidest plan we could ever have come up with. Two people who are unable to wake themselves up relying on the other to wake them up was never gonna work. My alarm went off, I put it on snooze and went back to bed thinking that Geoff would probably wake me up in the minute, and I imagine he probably thought something similar as well.

I'm sure it will work when we try doing it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

My new archenemy: The Wilt & Dorset bus company.

Todays blog is gonna be a big moan about the bus I have to take to work. Getting to work this year is a real pain in the arse for me at the moment because I (perhaps foolishly) have chosen to live in a place called Wallisdown which is almost 3 miles from where I work in Blockbusters. In fact it is miles away from almost anything. Winton, Charminster, the two most popular areas for students to live in are a trek to get to, and town is even further away. The only place Wallisdown is close to is the Uni, which is about 15mins walk away. But at least there are plenty of reliable buses that go to those places.

But where I work in Moordown, there is only one bus. The number 15. It is the most unreliable bus service I have had the misfortune of waiting around for, and it only runs until about 7 or 8 o'clock which means it can get me to work but it can't get me home. Almost every shift I have to walk almost 3 miles to get home, but I'm getting used to that now, so long as it's not pouring with rain.

What really gets me angry with the service is the fact that the bus is never on time, ever. They could use traffic as an excuse if it happened every so often, but there is always traffic between 4 and 6 every night. If the bus can't make the time it says on the time table then change the fucking timetable!!! Plus all the other buses are on time what is this bus' problem?

Today's little episode with the bus has got to be the worst so far. Because the bus is always late i send a text to a traveline service that will send me a text back with a (hopefully) accurate time for my bus to arrive. I sent a a text at 4:05pm because I hoped to get the 4:13pm bus but the text came back saying it won't be there until 4:39pm. I thought fair enough, I don't have to be at work until 5pm, if it gets at the stop for that time I should be on time for work (but I knew this was unlikely).

I get to the stop in time for that bus and I look up at the electronic screen (that is a pretty new addition to this particular bus stop), and it says the bus is due to come at 4:43 (which is what time the bus is supposed to arrive according to the timetable). I wasn't worried, that should still get me to work on time. After 5 minutes I look at my watch it is now 45 minutes past the hour and I look up at the screen to see the 15 bus at 4:43pm suddenly disappears. It doesn't update to another time, the bus doesn't turn up around the corner of the roundabout. The bus times just disappears. I wait another 5 minutes and nothing happens. No bus, no times, nothing. I phone work to tell them i'll be late and sit back down.

Now everytime this happens, and it more or less happens very similiar to this everytime, like most people I start to get really angry. I get sooo fucking annoyed, in this state I am angry in a way that only the incredible hulk wished he could get angry. I decide I'm going to call the Wilts and dorset offices to shout down the phone at them, but oh no, they're offices are closed at this time and shouting at an answering service will only serve to exacerbate my enraged state. I think, "okay then, I'll wait til I get home tonight and send them an angry email, no wait, better yet, I wait until tomorrow morning and then I'll phone their offices and shout at the fuckers. No! I'll march down to their offices and scream in their weasley pathetic little faces! Actually no, I'll march down their, find the person responsible for the bus time tables and the number 15 service and do violence on him. And if I get taken to court, in my defence I'll have the judge and the jury to ride the 15 bus service for a week. At the end of the week they unanimously decide that it was a provoked attack and that the victim actually deserved the beating I gave him. In fact they'll commend me for my efforts, and while they wouldn't usually encourage such behaviour, on this occasion they'll agree that my actions had justifiable cause."

But then I thought "no, your usual brand of violence isn't enough, bones will knit, bruises will heal, plus I'm not really that tough, and pretty cowardly to be honest. One on one confrontations scare me. I know, I'll phone in a bomb threat! In fact I'm that angry right now that I'll convert to Islam and put a Jihad on the Wilts and dorset bus service!!!!!" (In fact a bomb scare is not a bad idea if I do it like the plot of the film Speed, and tell them that there is a bomb on the bus that will blow up if it drops below 50 mph. That way it might actually get me to work on time, though I think that will only work once or twice. They'll probably realise it's a prank after that).

kay, you're probably thinking that I've gone to far with this. But in the heat of the moment I actually feel that I could do many of things that I have said here (except from writing them an email, that's just a pointless waste of time.) However once the moment has passed, the minute my bus finally arrives and I'm on my way to work the anger quickly subsides. My rage seems to exist only for that particular moment, once the situation changes I'm back to a very normal rational state. And what's more I'll forget to do all those things I said I'll do. Like I really think it probably would be a good idea to phone the Wilts and Dorset buses about their bus service. I'm not sure that it would achieve anything, but for all those times they made me angry I feel someone there should be on the receiving end of my loud angry voice at least once.

But shit like that is never one persons fault, and the chances are the person you're speaking to is nothing more than a customer service representative taking all the flak for someone elses crap. And it's not fair for them to get shouted at because of it.

So lets go back to what happened this evening. It got to after 5 o'clock, the bus still hadn't arrived and my shift was supposed to have started now. The little electronic screen was now showing the bus time for the next scheduled 15 bus at 5:13pm. Where the fuck did the other bus go?!!!!

I decided to phone the company knowing that the offices were closed but I managed to get an extension to the traveline service, the very same service that operates the text update on my mobile, they informed me that there are no 15 buses running today because of a bus strike!!!!!!!
Now I have no problem with strike action. I have just taken a look on the internet about it and the drivers are striking because they're having to drive more hours than i reasonably save without a break. Good luck to them. But the company should provide some sort of notification for it.

If that electronic screen they have at the top of the bus stop is nothing more than a glorified timetable!!!! Those things are meant to provide accurate and frequent updates for bus times, but when all they do is show you exactly what can be found on the bus timetable then they are nothing more than a flashy looking bus timetable! And what about the traveline text service that I used? That told me that the 15 bus would be at the stop at 4:39, but clearly it was a load of bollox!!! Why not just send a text back saying there is no 15, or even just return with providing no time for the 15 bus?

In the end I had no choice but to get a cab in to work, so I was an hour late for my shift and had to pay £7.50 for a cab, which equates to almost an hour and a halfs worth of my wages. Someone's going to pay.


Monday, 7 January 2008

Running out of steam? I think not.

I can feel the enthusiasm I had for writing this blog is wanning away already, which strangely gives me all the more reason to continue. It's easy to do something when you're feeling really good about it or having a good day, but you're not really proving your dedication and commitment to something unless you're still doing it on the days where you feel you just can't be bothered to do anything. Because that's what i've done today... absolutely nothing. I didn't even get up until 3 this afternoon, and its not even as if I had to get out of bed as I slept on the couch last night. In my defence I got very little sleep. I wasn't feeling well. I was aching all over and thought I might be coming down with flu. I'm not, I think it's just a cold.

I feel there is very little else for me to talk about today but this was gonna be a problem when I made this promise to myself to post in my blog everyday without fail. So right now I'm thinking of a way of generating topics of conversation for myself on the days when I have little else to talk about. That way I won't have to post up uneventful and boring blogs like this one.

I suppose could talk about the two TV programs I have just watched. The first was an episode of Panorama called One Click from danger, which was another scare mongering piece about the danger kids are from stalkers on networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. I find it difficult to watch a program like this without feeling as if I'm watching Chris Morris' Brasseye special on paedophilia.

I've been doing media based subjects for the past four years so I'm very aware of the fact that even supposedly "factual" programing is constructed in a very deliberate and careful way in order to get a certain message, or point of view across. But the brilliance of Chris Morris' Brasseye series is that when I watch a documentary such as that episode of Panorama or the program that followed it, Road Rage, I find myself laughing at the over the top way they dramatise everything.

One of the opening lines from the program on Road Rage could easily be appropriated for an episode of Brasseye without any exageration or tampering for comedic effect "CYCLISTS AND MOTORISTS ARE AT WAR! OUR ROADS ARE NOW A BATTLE GROUND!"

If anything, language like this, and the variety of other techniques programs like this utilise, only serve to trivialise serious and sensitive subject matter by taking it into the realms of ridiculous melodrama.

That's all for today. But I will leave you with this, a short clip of satirical brilliance from the infamous Brasseye special:

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Picking up the old guitar again.

This whole post is about learning to play guitar again.
After my post about new years resolutions a friend of mine left a comment suggesting I pick up my guitar and start writing songs again. Up until I was about 21 years old I used to play my guitar all the time and I'm not being big headed when I say that I was pretty good. I was a strong rhythm player and wasn't bad at song writing either. It's difficult to say why it was I stopped playing, I think it was a gradual thing. The bands I had been in fell apart, and I remember becoming bored with a lot of music that was out at the time. I think I went through one of those phases where I was looking for a "new sound", or something that could at the very least provide me with some inspiration, but it didn't happen. I started listening to music less and less and my interest started moving towards film, hence why I am where I am today.
I never totally stopped playing the guitar, but unlike before where I would play it for hours everyday, over these past few years I would perhaps pick it up for for only 15 mins at a time once a week, or maybe even once every fortnight. But I have decided to take my friends advice to start playing again and write some new songs. I picked up my acoustic guitar with bags of enthusiasm, and I considered making some sort of pledge to myself that I would write one new song every week. But of course I started playing, and quickly realised that I'm not the player I used to be, and generating one song everyweek was perhaps a tad too ambitious.
I felt like a beginner again. The callouses that I had developed on my fingers when I first started playing at 14 years of age have now completely gone. My fingers are soft, and have lost much of their former dexterity and nimbleness. But really, this is all by the by. It won't take long for my fingertips to become hard again, and the dexterity will return, I'm just a little rusty. The basic skills are all there and I can still remember the chords. The thing I seem to be lacking is my musical creativity. I have made several attempts at trying to come up with a riff, or playing some chords and trying to develop some sort of melody but it doesn't seem to be happening. At first this left me feeling a little worried. Is it possible to just loose that knack for song writing?
But after much thought on the matter I realised that like my stiff clumsy fingers, I just needed practise. It's the same with writing. A lecturer on my course said that creativity is like a muscle. It's something that needs to be worked at everyday if you're gonna get any good. So, being out of practise with my guitar I decided I would approach it as if I were a beginner.

I first began playing when I was 14 years old and I never had guitar lessons. Like a lot of people I learnt to play by learning the songs of other bands. I would do this by downloading tabs of the internet or buying guitar tablature books, but after a while I was able to learn songs by ear. I never really learnt much music theory, I knew the notes on each fret but I didn't really know any of the scales. Instead I developed a natural feel of where the notes should go and what would come next. I don't really have that any more, and I know it will take a long time to get to that place again. But there are loads of sites on the internet that teach guitar so I'm using this as an opportunity to learn all the stuff I never learnt before. If I keep at it I might become an even better player than I was when I was 20 years old. I guess we'll see.

Now if you've read this post as far as this (because I have a feeling it's probably quite boring, I know I'm feeling a little bored writing this one. It's feeling like one of those youtube videos where some kid demonstrates the best way to eat a Jaffa Cake) I will show you a little exercise I found on a site that is supposed to help with developing dexterity in your left hand (unless your left handed, then do this with your right) and you won't need a guitar to do it.

Lay your hand on a flat surface and slightly arch your fingers...

Now raise just your index and ring fingers...

Put them down and raise your middle and pinky fingers...

Now repeat this over and over and over and over again.

(this can be found on the site

When I first tried this I found it quite difficult to do. I was shocked that as an experienced (if out of practise) guitar player I should be able to do this with ease. It wasn't until I demonstrated the exercise to my housemate that I discovered the secret to doing it. Because as I showed him the exercise and complaining about how awkward I found it I realised that I had been doing it effortlessly for almost a minute as I was talking to him.

The trick is to not actually think about what you're doing. It seems the more concious effort you put into doing the exercise the more mistakes you make. It's like walking, we do it all the time without thinking about what we're doing, but the minute you start conciously thinking about the act of walking and where you should place your foot next you'll find it might become a little awkward.

That's enough rambling for now. Until tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

When a small thing like God ruins a perfectly good movie

I have just got back from watching the film I am legend, feeling a little angry at how the film turned out. I'm not about to launch into an in depth critical review of the film but I am going to point out its greatest flaw and why I actually felt a little offended by it. I think most people are aware of the films premise and have seen the adverts, yes it is similar to the opening of 28 days later and through out most of the film it is just Wil Smith and his dog. But it works, it's entertaining and there's lots of tension, and I think most of the people in the audience were dreading the inevitable moment where his dog gets it (I really haven't spoilt it for you, we all knew it was gonna happen).

What spoilt the film was the introduction of a survivor near the final act who insists that God has spoken to her and he sent her to find Wil Smith, and everything that happens is part of God's plan etc. When she first says this to him he sensibly calls her mad, but by the films climax his views of course change and he almost takes on the role of a Jesus Christ figure. This sudden introduction of a Christian element to the film annoyed the hell out of me as it really seemed to have no place in the movie except for one short flashback scene with his dead family.

I haven't read the original book the film is adapted from but I am familiar with the story. In it, Smith's character, as the last human survivor, has been killing the infected humans, but by the end he finds out a small group of them have evolved and are becoming civilised but they fear him because he's been killing them all. He has become a legendary figure among this emerging new race, and realises he has become a monster to them. They eventually capture him and he commits suicide before they can publically execute him.

Now, the film seemed to be running along similar lines (well he's been catching some of them to try and cure them) until it cops out at the end with this Christian angle. Because that's what happened. A cop out. I am almost certain that the original script for this film had a very different ending because for me it felt like it turned into a different story for the last half hour. I found it made me angry because when she was asking Wil Smith to believe in God I felt like the film makers were asking me to believe in God, but I'm not a Christian. And then I thought of the other people in the audience. Fair enough they don't refer directly to Christianity, but they are refering to God in the sense of "the one true God" of the Abrahamic religeons, so it seems everyone else watching can fuck off.

But then I thought about other films with God or Christianity in it, such as Bruce Almighty. It didn't really bother me in the movie so why should it with this film? I think it's because it was made clear from the start what Bruce Almighty was about. There are many films out there that are about someone finding their faith, or with strong Christian values that are central to the story, but the theme is kept consistent throughout those movies and it's always set up early on. But I Am Legend seems to just springs it on you in the last act, and it felt out of place. It jolted me out of the movie.

I have had a brief look at the critical reception of this film and many of them say it has a weak last act though they don't cite the Christian element added to the film as the reason for blame (guess it's just me). But I am sure the real reason the last act fails is because the story changes in the last act and the film becomes something else from what they originally intended it to be. I think if they stuck with something similar to what they had in the ending of the original story they would have had produced a much better film with an ending that is consistent with the story they were trying to tell.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Hell is other people (it's not as bad as it sounds)

At last, I got paid to day so I was able to buy some food that isn't pasta. I even got up early this morning to go down the local cafe and have a fry up and it was amazing. I really can't remember the last time I had one, I think it might've been over a month ago on my housemates birthday.
Ordering and waiting for my food was a slightly awkward experience though. The lady who works in the cafe is a really nice, friendly, and welcoming person who enjoys small talk. I however, am quiet, at times stand offish, not unfriendly but not always the warmest person either, and I really really hate small talk. To me it's pointless talk. They call it small talk because it is about nothing, and people only really use it with people they don't know because for some reason, when you don't know someone very well, silence is uncomfortable and wrong. In those moments we all seem to forget that often with friends and loved ones there are times conversation stops and you share long moments of silence togther that can go by unnoticed.

Back to the lady in the cafe, like I said she's friendly and likes to chat, though really it's kind of one sided, which suits me fine. She just makes short bubbly statements that don't necessarily require an answer; that I can just smile and nod my head to, and she seems happy with that. I've found that the kind of women you generally find working in places like greasy spoons and burger vans actually find me quite sweet and think I have a lovely smile (though according to one friend I have a face that says "I'm gonna fuck you hard", so maybe that's why they take a shine to me (when my friend made that comment to me about my face I took it as a compliment, but I have since started to think that it could be interpreted to mean that I have one of those faces that says "I'm gonna rape you"). So ordering my food this time wasn't too bad as I didn't really have to say anything.

While waiting for my food I began to feel uncomfortable again. I made the mistake of not bringing a paper, which means having sit around pretending to read the menus off the walls or looking at my table. In most restaurants or cafes waiting around generally isn't a problem, but like I said the woman in the cafe was quite chatty and I was afraid at any minute she was gonna say something to me like "cheer up love, it might never happen". I know it sounds neurotic for me to think like this, but that particular phrase is said to me all the time because people think I look unhappy even though I'm not. It's just the way my face sits. I'm not saying I'm bursting with joy in those particular moments, I'm usually either in a state of indifference or in deep thought about something. In fact, someone telling me to cheer up when I'm enjoying a perfectly good think will almost certainly put me in a bad mood.

So to avoid this happening I looked around to see if there was a newspaper free but it looked like the four builders sitting at the table next to me already had them all. I then considered going across the road to the newsagents to buy a paper, but if i did that I would have to buy the Sun, Mirror, or *shudder* the Daily Mail. To walk back in and sit down to read the Guardian could draw negative attention from the Daily Star reading builders next to me, because a) I'm a reading a "lefty" newspaper, and b) they'll realise I'm a student. In the end I opted not to leave to buy a newspaper and just waited for my food to arrive, desperately hoping that the lady in the cafe wouldn't make a comment regarding the state of my face (the emotional state that she thinks it's projecting I mean).

Now I know I was probably overthinking the situation far too much, shifting myself into the realms of paranoia, but this is the way I think nearly all the time. But I do know that I'm not the only one. Like a friend of mine who has a fear of walking past groups of young girls because he thinks they might start trying to shout at him or make fun. I have another friend who now walks further away than he should have to so he can buy cigerrettes in a shop where the woman who serves him is rude and abrasive because he can't think of anything new to chat about with the guy in his local shop.

If I'm honest though, I've always been paranoid, it's not been a subtle progression into neurosis. For example, when I was about four I really liked fish (still do), but I refused to eat fish that had come out of a can or a packet. I didn't trust it. I wasn't convinced it was real fish and I would make my dad go to the fish mongers and buy a fish with it's head still attached. With morbid fascination I would insist on watching him cut its head off and prepare it in the kitchen to make sure he wasn't goint to try and switch it with the canned stuff.

Another case in point, this evening when I went to the bus stop to catch my bus to work, as I approached the stop, a woman/girl (i'll explain in a minute) who was sitting waiting for her bus stared at me for longer than felt comfortable. I imediately thought that there must be something wrong with me, like a bird had shat on my head, or maybe she thought I had one of those "I'm gonna rape you" faces. I began to feel very concious of myself. To avoid her stares I stood behind her.

She turned her head and looked at me again. I put my hand to my face to check there was nothing on it. But then I considered the possibility that perhaps she was checking me out, but perhaps a little (a lot) more blantantly than a girl would usually check a guy out.
Over the next couple of minutes she frequently looked my way and I became more certain that she was looking at me, but in some ways it was too late for me to want to do anything about it. That initial look from her as I came up to the bus stop had made me feel a little uncomfortable and freaked me out a little and it wasn't going away. Plus there was the issue of her age. I tried to glance over at her a few times without letting her see me staring just as she would turn her head away from looking at me. She seemed to look different each time I looked at her. One minute she looked like a fairly attractive girl of around 21, but I would look again and she looked like she could be a woman in her mid to late thirties, and not quite as attractive.

Then the moment came when it was made very clear that she was looking at me. She got out of her seat to look at the bus times behind her and pretended to read it for a few moments. Then, rather than turning back to her right to face the direction she was facing before and the direction the bus would be coming from, she instead made a needless and almost bizarre looking 360 degree turn to her left, looking at me as she went round and back to the direction she was facing before. Still undecided whether she was young and attractive, or over thirty and not so attractive (i think she was probably still attractive), I realised it didn't matter what she looked like because I now thought she was a little odd and was scaring me a little.

Anyway, the bus came shortly after and like a gentlemen I let her get on before me, which also meant that I could choose to sit away from her. Now I could be left alone with my thoughts, not having to worry about someone staring at me or telling me to "cheer up". It might never happen.


Thursday, 3 January 2008

Getting the joke (and then some)

Today's post isn't gonna be about much as not a great deal has happened since yesterday, and there is nothing really major on my mind. I haven't got any new bugbears that are getting to me (i'm speaking metaphorically, not of the mythological bugbear that eats children) but I'm trying to make sure I write something in here every day even if it is about nothing in particular.

So I'm just gonna post something in here that I read the other night that made me laugh. It's from a book on stand-up comedy called Getting the Joke by Oliver Double and the chapter this is taken from is all about working the audience. The general gist of the chapter is about the exchange of energy between the comedian and the audience. This particular excerpt is from an interview with a comedian called James Campbell:

James Campbell finds that playing to audiences of children means he has to pay particular attention to energy levels: "With an adult stand-up gig, you try and build it and build it and build it until you've got people literally rolling around in the aisles with tears streaming down their face. You try and do that with a kids' audience, they get hysterical. And the lid just blows off. So you have to keep calming them down every now and again. So you don't get that constant build up. You can do it to a certain extent, towards the end, but I mean some of them will literally wet themselves... There is nothing more horrible than the sound of three hundred children laughing because you've paused. You get that fake laughter, hysterical laughter. They're just laughing because they're supposed to be laughing, and they can't remember why they're supposed to be laughing. It's horrible, it's demonic."

I could just imagine the first time James Campbell did a comedy routine to kids without being aware of this phenomenon. Getting halfway through his routine and the realisation dawning on him that the kids won't stop laughing. He's stopped telling jokes but they're still going and he becomes scared. He tries to shout for them to calm down but they're not listening. They're like those weasels from Who framed Roger Rabbit and they're in danger of laughing themselves to death. The parents rush in to settle their kids down but they can't. He's created a monster and they can't stop it. And even as he walks away and out of the building he can still hear them; their wails of laughter still haunting him.

I'm off to get some work done now. Got my minor project pitching session in a month so I'll probably do a little bit on that and I gotta try and get 2000 words on my dissertation done by the end of January as well, and so far I got zip... But I'm not worried (probably a bit of a stupid thing to say but it's true).

Until tomorrow