Watched Daredevil, courtesy of a friend. Broadly speaking I enjoyed it. I watched it to the end of the season, anyhow.

However, if sense8 went for stereotypes, Dear Goddess, could Daredevil have got anymore hopeless on that front? And oh look, they killed off or disposed of *EVERY* non-white actor by the end of the season.


Meanwhile, on ebay

So ebay, for some reason, conflates ‘Steal’ – the 1995 film with Alfred Molina, with ‘The Steal’, a 2002 film. Due to a moment of idiotdom I ended up with the latter not the former. I’d be more annoyed, but I paid £1.99 for it, so I don’t really find it in my heart to care that much.

It’d been ripped to the media server and has sat for a few weeks waiting for me to be bored enough to watch it. The awesome headache I’ve got right now was enough of a push, so I sat down and watched it. And y’know what? It’s fucking terrible.

It’s got a couple of nice action-y set pieces, and I quite like the premise, but the acting is worse even than I could do and the script… Well, the script makes the fantastic film I wrote and filmed in secondary school look like a oscar worthy piece of genius. I can’t say that I paid it a great deal of attention, it distracted from my headache sufficiently to make it worth the experience, just. But for once in my life I’m actually tempted to delete it from the media server to reclaim the space.

Review: Covergalls

So last year, whilst I was in the US I picked up some Covergalls. Now I’ve worn (C)overalls for working on the car for years. Years and years. My current set, which consist mostly of a mixture of oil, grease and grit combined with some cheap poly-cotton fabric came second hand from a classic motor show and are emblazoned with ‘European Airspace’ or something like that.

I’ve also got an almost as ill-fitting and similarly grotty, but higher cotton percentage pair that I got in secondary (high) school for my work experience*.

Part of the reason I’ve been loath to pay actual money for work wear is because it fits like shit. I mean, if it fits in the *cough* chest region then it’s flapping around like a tent elsewhere. If it fits elsewhere, then it doesn’t do up. So besides the point that they get covered in shite in my workshop (I’m not the tidiest, nor the cleanest of workers, and classic cars are hardly a feast of non-oilyness), if I’m going to buy something that doesn’t fit…I’ll get something cheap.

Anyhow, fed up of this craptastic situation and with The Electric Minor Project slowly working its way towards actual progress I decided to fork out real money for a decent set of (c)overalls. After much searching I found Covergalls and after some more pondering ended up buying them.

And they’ve languished at the back of the cupboard since. Why? Well, I’ve not actually done anything sufficient on the car, and also I’ve been slightly wanting to christen them on the Minor. But in the end I decided that I’d use them whilst I was changing the battery on the Prius.

Changing the battery on the Prius is a surprisingly involved procedure, involving removing a brake controller, and whilst it wasn’t going to be filthy I’d be outside for a while poking and fishing. So I popped on my shiny new (c)overalls and set to.

I can sum up the experience in one word. Awesome. Maybe two words. Amazing.

They don’t ruck up, they actually fit, they’re comfortable. I can use the loo without shimmying out of them and shedding crap everywhere. At fucking last.

They’re sturdy, and feel like they’ll last, certainly for the level of hardship they’ll have with me.

I have never been quite so excited about (c)overalls, but for my female type friends, I highly recommend them. They are about 50 billion times better than any (c)overalls I’ve ever had before.

Mens, I cannot help you. You’ll just have to live with your sucky (c)overalls.

* Yes, I did my work experience at a Ford garage. It was literally my last choice.

A few small things

So, today has been another day of tidying and cleaning. We’re not bad at cleaning per-se, just disorganised about it. Having done the kitchen and lounge fairly thoroughly last week, we tackled the bedroom and bathroom today. It was mainly just failure to tidy away clothes when they’re clean (which is, to be honest, a mixture of both of us not being great about it (they get folded and taken upstairs… and then it falls apart; but also it’s too many clothes / not enough space). We had a fair old cull of clothing, I’ve got a whole bunch of ‘work’ clothes sitting in the ‘work clothing laundry pile’ which I need to cull fairly spectacularly, too. I hate throwing clothing away until it’s completely knackered, but the new policy of making rags from old clothing makes me feel less bad about retiring stuff with holes in.
Continue reading “A few small things”

The pre-nights posting spree; now with Grotesquely Ugly Shoes

So, it’s that time again (already?!) when I stay up most of the night to try and swing my body around to nights. This is, of course, tedious. I actually have something I want to be doing; I want to be capturing my mum and Paramito’s wedding – I plugged in the Miglia box, went to load FCP and realised that FCP isn’t installed anymore. Then I looked around the chaos that is the desk, and considered weeping openly. I checked the OS X box in the hope that, like Photoshop I’d’ve stuck the disks somewhere ‘sensible’. But of course, I haven’t. I’ve no idea where FCP is.

This is ‘upsetting’, to coin a phrase. It’s what I’d planned for the entire evening. Capture and then FCP my evening away editing first M+P’s, then Kathryn and my ceremonies.

I may have a solution though, so we’ll see if it works out.

Anyhow, since I’ve got some time to kill, here’s a little early on review of the Vibram Five Finger KSOs.

I’d been intrigued by these since

mentioned them, the concept of bare-footing without bare-footing, and the positive statements she’d made about stress on joints and comfort made me think, hrm, worth a shot. I’m used to paying around 15 quid for my runners, the most expensive shoes I’ve got are my £55 Doc Martens that I bought for work, and which, are now 5 years old and still in service. My *best* pair of shoes, which I wore to destruction were a pair of £6 boots from Bacons, or PriceLess or Shite-CheapoShoe in Birmingham (not even a particularly salubrious bit of Birmingham) – they were in a sale, and I loved and loved them.

So forking out around 60 quid for a pair of runners, not least runners which actually consist of, frankly, very little, was a bit difficult for me. That and the buggers wouldn’t ship to the UK…

But having bitten the bullet, so to speak, I ordered them and they were delivered to Kathryn’s Mom’s house while we were in the States (just). We’d already left, but we were meeting up to say bye, and they kindly brought the runners with them. After a bit of wiggling I managed to get my toes in the right holes. It wasn’t difficult per-se, but I have quite long and dexterous toes (monkey like ;) ). I proceeded to wander around the hotel lobby in a very odd way.

My first thought was that it was freeing, and also that the world seemed a more tactile place.

I’ve not managed to get much wear time in; my job means I can’t wear them at work, but I’ve worn them to the shops, and just around about. And I think my first opinion was right. The world is just a more interesting, tactile place. I’ve always liked my experiences on the visceral side; mountains, sea, forests, fresh air, dirt. I drive a car with the minimum between me and the road because I want to *feel* the road. I ride a bike so I can feel the world going by. I take joy in the world. These shoes enhance that joy.

Going outside barefoot tends to hurt my puny feet. Pointy rocks and bits of jagged stuff dig in and make it an uncomfortable experience. The Fivefingers, well, it’s like going barefoot. The difference between KSO’s and a pair of ordinary runners is like the difference between, say, a Ford Mondeo and an Ariel Atom. I was concerned that the KSO’s, like my ancient Lonsdale (OneStar clone) runners, would suffer from the thin sole making walking on Concrete or Tarmac (or any hard surface) uncomfortable. But the majority of my walking has been on such surfaces and it’s not been a problem so far….although the sight of grass or earth or pebbles leads me to disregard any pretence of decorum and stalk over to whichever surface it is, then walk about on it like a cat, while saying “OOoooh, textured!” (or possibly “Pebbles!”).

I’ve found that zipping up and down stairs and perching, my balance is better. My toes are able to do their job and curl around things or adjust my posture to make me more stable (and lord knows, I need stability ;) ).

The only bad things I’ve found are that there’s no ability to try them on before you buy; mine are very marginally smaller than I’d like, I think, but Howlsthunder suggested that the next size up is actually ‘huge’, since they don’t do half-sizes. I think the next size up would be too big, but I’d like to check. I’m sure that with wearing the KSO’s and me’ll get used to each other. It’s really a couple of millimeters I want, and just on one toe (the big / great toe).

The other thing is people’s reactions to them; most people don’t look that closely at your shoes, but Paramito’s comment I suspect sums their opinion up when they do: “Grotesquely ugly”. I actually don’t think they’re ugly at all; interesting is the word I’d’ve applied. It perhaps doesn’t help that mine are the black/black KSOs, which essentially swarth your feet in a layer of black material and plastic. But quite honestly, these aren’t shoes for people who care about what people think. If you spend your life wondering whether you’re looking suitably fashionable and cool, these aren’t the shoes for you.

But they are the shoes for me, ‘cos while I don’t want people to go ‘ugh’ when they see me, I’d rather be reasonably comfortable than knacker my knees any day :)

And there endeth today’s review.

Quick pop quiz, is Katy Perry’s song ‘I Kissed A Girl’ derogatory or not? I quite enjoy it, in that way that I do, but then I have my concerns about an artist who’s toured US churches and makes comments on her Christianity. Previous knowledge suggests that US Churches, as a rule, do not look on being gay favourably…. and that makes me ‘suspicious’. Unfortunately it’s a boppy bouncy song, and I’m known for liking boppy bouncy songs.

Voila, Spam

So, I decided to kill time watching ‘Fatherland’; for those of you who don’t know, Fatherland is an excellent novel which is set in a future in which Hitler won the second world war; continued extermination of the Jewish people, and in which America has a right wing president, and the Soviet Union continues to fight the might of the new German empire.

It is, in fact, a truly excellent book; chilling and well written, especially to those of us who had it drilled into us at school that the war was won by luck and 3 days (the German tactic of destroying the RAF would have worked had they continued for about 3 more days; after which we’d’ve run out of pilots). I heard an interview with the author of Fatherland in which he said he regretted selling the rights to it; and disliked the film. And had always vaguely wondered what it was like. So I watched it.

Meh, read the book. The film is far too short, the characters just, well, the whole thing doesn’t feel believeable and it doesn’t have the texture of the book. My dad always used to say that the pictures were better on the Radio, and I’ve always kind of mentally extended this to books. Books have the best effects, too. And the Berlin of Albert Speer really feels deeply real in the book, but like much else it really doesn’t come across in the film.

So, there you go. I can’t decide if I think it’s really a bad film, or if it’s really an okay made-for-tv movie but it just doesn’t compare to the book…

Reviews, spolier free and brief…

Saawariya: This is the first time in my life I’ve seen a bollywood film on the big screen, and probably only about the third time I’ve ever watched an entire bollywood film. This is not to be damning of the genre, but simply that growing up my mum didn’t watch them, so I didn’t get into the habit. For this reason I can’t say how unusual Saawariya is compared to other Bollywood films, but I can say it was completely not what I expected. The film is basically your fairly traditional love story; but it’s set in this incredible Moulin Rougeesqe, fantastical land; a sort of indian-venice.

It didn’t let down on the dances, the singing or the other traditional Bollywood aspects; and I found myself quite sucked in to it – although the man in black? I don’t like him – and despite what my mum thought, I didn’t reckon he was much of a hunk… :)

Geek Mafia – Mile Zero: This is the follow up to the original Geek Mafia – and without giving anything much away it sets the Geek Mafia up for being quite a series. As with the original book there’s some notable proofing errors in the book; something I find hard to justify in the second book… The downloadable PDF also has some formatting quirks – but a book isn’t about how it looks, it’s about the contents. Geek Mafia – Mile Zero, I somehow found less engaging initally than the original book. I found the beginning somewhat, well, slow – and found myself kind of reading it through a perverse desire to find out what happened to the characters. Rick Dakan seems very keen to position the characters above ordinary criminals, which I find somewhat grating at times; but it does all come together as the plot develops.

Really, it’s a sequel; it’s not quite as good as the first book, but once you get past that first chunk then it does become compelling reading as you work towards the denouement. And if Mr Dakan does ever sort out mailing his books in a manner which doesn’t involve gold coated unicorns carrying the books across the ocean stepping from diamond lilly-pad to diamond lilly-pad before placing them in your very hands dusted in fresh pixie dust (i.e. when he makes his shipping cheaper) then I’ll be sure and get the pair :)

Blacklist: I’ve loved Sara Paretsky’s VI Warshawski since my dad introduced me to her in my teens. He apparently listened to the BBC’s adaptation of her earlier crime mysteries, and so any review I give of a VI Warshawski novel is likely to be rather positive. It’s another great story, puliing you in (compelling to nick a word I’ve used already) and discussing the political situation in America at the moment; it’s very interesting to feel the change in her relationship with the police, her concerns about what can happen to you in a world where the American Government can abduct people off the streets… Dystopian futures have always been something that I’ve rather enjoyed, dystopian present makes me nervous, but it also makes for an excellent read. Anyhow, Sara Paretsky continues to Rock. I’ve just realised there’s a few older novels that I don’t have – which means I shall have to go hunt them down at a store. What I really need is a book database which lists every book I own so I can be sure and not buy one I’ve already got :)

The Golden Compass: So we headed to Sloughs illustrious cinema yet again to see something somewhat more mainstream. Unlike Kathryn I’ve never read the His Dark Materials trilogy (heh, a trilogy that’s actually a trilogy!) and so was a little concerned since one of the reviews said that it’s rather dependent on you having read the novels. I’m not sure if the little bits and pieces that Kathryn’s told me were enough to make the story fit together easily in my head, or whether it’s the case that if you came in knowing nothing at all that it’d make sense.

Kathryn said that they didn’t develop the characters enough in the film which is something that when she said it did become apparent to me; the characters certainly don’t develop a great deal in the time of the film; which is obviously a restriction related to the relatively short running time of the film. However, as someone who’s not read the books I found it a truly engaging tale; I slipped into the world with daemons, it’s a concept which I don’t feel uncomfortable with (Kaisa, you ought to enjoy the concept, I’d’ve thought :) ). They clearly have toned down the anti-religious sentiment quite markedly; whether for the American market or for the market generally it’s difficult to say; I’m aware that Britain is a much less Secular place than I thought it was :-/. Sorry, rambling off topic there. Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So there you go. As promised, reviews.

In other news, I’ve started work on the Viva project; I’ve accidentally bought myself a stupidly expensive Xmas present (a video camera, on which I bid the minimum truly expecting to get outbid, as I usually do, and uh; didn’t). And I’ve finally admitted to myself that the heating won’t be in until after Xmas… Clearly the way past this is to spend as much time as possible at work ;)

The BeBox continues to actually work, unlike the HomeHub. We’ve got faster ADSL, can torrent files, and apart from the dubious PC in the lounge’s wireless we seem to be working. The Mac should be off to be repaired tomorrow, depending on when I wake up. I just need to check if Nikki took the supply apart, and if she did attempt to remove any evidence of warranty stickers :)

it’s an ambulance!

So, today I decided to scare the pants off myself; or more accurately, agreed cheerfully to scare the pants off myself. My beloved asked me a while ago if I’d mind giving a little talk at the school at which she teaches; and possibly due to a bout of clinical insanity*, I agreed and thought about what I was going to say, and do. We got some information from the 2 classes teacher’s (argh, I can’t work out where that apostrophe should live), and today I headed down there in my best (quite literally my best) ironed uniform (believe me, the words Ironing and Kate rarely go together); along with a selection of bits of stuff for plastering and slinging.

Having got there, I met up with Kathryn and proceeded to mentally pace around the staff room. I did a pretty good job of actually sitting still and looking like a startled rabbit tho’. When my time came, I was ready….well, ish. And out from it’s usual hiding place came the confident, competent, together and talk-giving persona. Apparently I pitched it about right, I certainly enjoyed it in a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-terrified-kind of way. And most importantly the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Some of them asked really good questions; some of them were incredibly good on what bones were what; and poor old Gromit (who came with me to be my plastered assistant) got totally plastered having alledgedly broken both arms (uh, legs?). And just as I was leaving a slightly smaller? child proclaimed that I’m an ambulance… Perhaps I should lose some weight ;)

The journey home was a little long however…

Parcelfarce failed to leave the new modem with anyone when they couldn’t deliver it yesterday; and so I rang them up (knowing I’d be out today) and said ‘can I collect it from your hideously inconveniently located and difficult to get to depot in the land of london?’ to which I was informed that this was indeed possible, and yes I could go get it. After about an hour of hideous london pre-rush-hour traffic, we finally reached the depot where I was informed that they’d sent it out on a lorry to try and deliver it again today.

I must admit I was unimpressed. I’ve never had a good experience with Parcelforce. Or at least, the bad ones are so common that they outnumber the good by a substantial margin. Having arranged a ‘it will be at your postoffice tomorrow’ arrangement, we headed out again. Pausing only to buy a burger king meal (yes, yes, I know. But it was there, and I was there, and it smelt so good). When we finally made it home it turned out that this time he’d decided to leave it with a neighbour. The new modem-router-of-justice was here.

Only… it didn’t have any firmware in it. All credit to Be though; they offered to send a new one and, indeed, working together we got the one they’d sent to accept the firmware from the supplied disk (it took a few goes), and suddenly we have internet. I can’t say ‘screamingly fast broadband of joy’, but we have about a 3.5Meg connection, which is a huge step up from the home hub’s pathetic 1.5 Meg. Apparently the little magic box will also do VOIP, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

Technology was on my side though; this I know, because the BT HomeHub Phone (the one that crashes on speaker phone and which can’t detect that there’s new firmware to update to, model 1010, I think); well, contrary to expectations it registered with the Tevion base on our new phones first time… and so there’s the faintest hope that things might be good in the land of Teknowlegie.

On the superplus side, Kathryn’s other-half-of-her-present-which-is-unrelated-to-the-first-half is winging it’s way here. Lauren and Chrissy’s present is here…. most of the others are ordered… so, in general, Ra.

Less Ra, however, is Rebecca. Jonathon from JLH sent me the first photos of Rebeccas rust monster. He rung me to chat about what we’re going to do…and, well, she’s… not quite as well as I’d thought.

The driver’s side’s not quite so bad, but basically Charles Ware’s Morris Minor Centre left me with a car that was ‘structurally sound’; uh, yeah, except that the chassis/floorpan isn’t actually attached to the body at the back at all. I had my friends travelling in that car. If we’d’ve been shunted at any speed there would have been *nothing* left of that back passenger area. Nothing at all. *sighs*

Annyhow, we’ll see what happens. Apart from me working scary numbers of extra shifts to pay for it all. On the plus side I’ve read Geek Mafia: Mile Zero and I’m a good way through Blacklist. Reviews may follow if I’m feeling wordy.

* Actually I agreed because I love her, and because I need to scare the pants off myself once in a while to remind myself that I’m alive.

Um, yeah, this Journal thing.

See, thing is I have to avoid ranting. I want to rant, sometimes. Like when I came home from work having looked after the person with back pain that radiated around to the centre of their chest… they’d been to see the GP with this pain, and he’d said he’d check it out at their next appointment…

…although that doesn’t beat the GP who informed the person suffering severe central chest pain radiating to their left arm that they should leave the surgery and ring 999. Never mind the handy ideas such as a nice ECG, throwing some oxygen on, or administering even some asprin (hell, I have that in my *car*).

So I tend to leave it ’til I’ve got rid of the urge to rant, or at least minimised it, because otherwise this’ll become like Nee naw, or Random Acts Of Reality, only without the quality of writing that those guys bring to the topic.

So we’ll skip over that; although I have to share that I’ve started doing venepuncture. Which is fabby. Now I can wear my ‘Tapping the Vein’ teeshirt and it really will have a double meaning.

On the subject of music…

recommended Splashdown a little while ago; and I have to say they are fantastic. I’ve been listening to the Stars and Garters album a lot; and also both Redshift and Blueshift. Free music, ‘s pretty cool eh? That faintly leads onto film (it really does), and I saw this link about reactions in Texas to Sicko. Maybe free universal healthcare is going to finally make it’s way to America. And about time.

Uh, what else? Well, what’s been keeping me from updating, apart from obviously working my ass off at work and then working my ass off on the house, has been, well, the house. The bathroom continues, if not ‘apace’ then with as much alacrity as I can manage. I kind of overdid it today, but the benefit of that is I just need to go and get one more hunk of wood and then I can start aqua-boarding the faux-wall at the end of the shower. Once that’s done… well… then I might as well commence tiling. Although right now, commencing sleeping is quite high on the priority list.

[8 days]