Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Work, Mr President

No, not the multi-billion dolldar stimulus package for economy. Time will tell on that one.

I'm referring to his family's decision on their dog. They've apparently decided on a Portuguse Water Dog.

Their temperament is described thus:

Portuguese Water dogs make excellent companions. They are loving, independent, and intelligent and are easily trained in obedience and agility skills. Once introduced, they are generally friendly to strangers, and actively enjoy being petted, which, due to their soft, fluffy coats, is a favour that human beings willingly grant them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Project: 1950s Hollywood

Many years ago I read Peter Biskind’s book “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” which was a fantastic warts and all account of film-making in Hollywood in the Sixties and Seventies. I enjoyed it so much I rushed out to buy another book of his “Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood taught us to stop worrying and love the fifties” (not the most snappy of titles).

I expected it to be similar to his previous book, but on an earlier period, but that wasn’t the case. It is an analysis of over 30 films and how they relate to ideology of the 1950s. Unfortunately of this 30+ films, I’d only seen one and the book has been languishing on my shelves unread.

This year, I’m determined to read it, but in order to appreciate it I obviously need to watch the films discussed. So my project (for I’m quite fond of such things) is to watch the films and read the accompanying chapters.

So far I’ve watched:

  • Twelve Angry Men – my favourite so far. Perhaps a little too neatly tied up for modern tastes but very well done.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still – classic Sci-Fi. Surprisingly intelligent.
  • Attack – decent war film and not a world away from Generation Kill which I’m also currently watching.
  • From Here to Eternity – star-studded war and romance. Quite enjoyable considering I don’t really like war or romance films.
  • My Darling Clementine – the disc started to skip, so I didn’t finish it. I struggle with Westerns, which doesn't bode well for one section.

Tonight, I’m back to the Sci-Fi with “It Came From Outer Space”.

Friday, February 13, 2009

That New Car Smell

Next week I turned 34.

Invariably when I mention my age, people will be surprised and comment that I look a lot younger. I accept that I probably do look younger than 34, but I have lost that youthful glow. The gloss has gone.

I was finding it hard to describe this, but then last week I saw John Stewart interviewing the 21 year old star of Slumdog Millionaire. Stuart was comparing himself with the young actor, and saying how fresh the actor was. The way he described it was that he (at 46) might not look too bad, but he had lost "that new car smell".

This perfectly describes how I feel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Other "Me"s

Claire over at the Mummy's Bracelet mentioned googling your own name in her list of 25 things which made me google myself again.

Here are the versions of "me" I came across:

  • Lead singer of a Manchester-based rock band

  • Photographer

  • Me in my work capacity

  • Failed Democrat candidate in a Pennsylvania election

  • Someone in planning in Local Government

  • Me in my freelance capacity

  • Someone who attended a Hawkwind event

I wouldn't mind people thinking the first two were me, but I suspect I'm more likely to be confused with the fnal one.

Who shares your name? Do you wonder what else you have in common?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Your Home is a Dump"

The girlfriend of the footballer Andrey Arshavin has been reported as saying she hates London because it is dirty and the woman are scruffy. She might have a point about it being a bit on the grubby side, but who judges a place on how its people are dressed? Are you going to dismiss a place brimming with culture and history because its citizens haven't all had manicures?

If a British person went to another city and made similar comments, it would spark a diplomatic incident and within a few days, they would be apologising and back peddling.

But it is perfectly acceptable for people to insult London.

A lot of British people do it too. Every time I go back up north, someone will tell me that they don't know how I can live in London/they hate London/London is too crowded/London is too expensive. Its so rude.

Imagine their response if I replied by saying how much I hated the town where they lived. I'd probably be punched. But it is fine for everyone to insult the place where I live.

Yes, it is expensive, but so are all capital cities, and so is Newcastle if you only ever go out on the Quayside.

And the transport system isn't very good, but it is just a means to an end. We don't choose to live in London because of the tube, unless of course, you work for Transport for London.

In Search of Stripes

For nearly three years now I've been searching for the perfect striped dress without success.

Ideally it should be black & white, round or slash neck (not v or scooped), preferably long or 3/4 sleeves, but I'm flexible on that detail.

Inspired mainly by this.

with a touch of her

and not too much of this

The closest I've come is this from American Apparel.

Unfortunately it is One Size Fits All, and whilst it does fit, it fails to flatter.
The search continues.
If you see anything suitable let me know.

Friday, February 06, 2009

25 Things about Me.

Roses posted a list of 25 things about herself with the invitation for others to do the same.
25? I struggled with the list of seven that was doing the rounds a while back. Apologies if some of these repeat things I’ve said before.

1. I have always looked pretty much the same as I do now, just in a different sized version.

2. I’m left-handed in terms of pen-holding, but do some things the right-handed way. I think I’m actually the opposite of ambidextrous in that I’m not good with either.

3. I found my first grey hair while I was waiting to go into a French lesson aged 15. If it wasn’t the invention of hair dye, I may be entirely silvered haired by now. I inherited this from my father.

4. I have claimed that The Monkees are better than The Beatles on more than one occasion because I know it annoys people, but I think I actually do prefer them.

5. I really love art and doing creative things, however I am generally rubbish at these things as I have no natural ability. An art exam at school was the one and only exam I’ve ever failed in my life.

6. I still find going to the cinema exciting, especially if the “Pearl & Dean” advert comes on before the film. The music sends a shiver of excitement down my spine.

7. My favourite clothing items are short black dresses and flared jeans, and I think I might be getting too old to wear either.

8. I can’t drive. I’ve never had a single lesson or attempt at it. I’ve just never been able to picture myself doing it and traffic scares me. I know I should do something to change this.

9. I grew up by the sea and still miss living by the sea (the smell of the salt air in the evening especially), but I never go on beach holidays.

10. I like spending time on my own and many of my favourite things are best enjoyed alone (swimming, reading and sometimes even going to the cinema)

11. I find it very difficult to relax. I’m either doing something or I’m asleep. There isn’t much of a middle ground.

12. I am such a bad singer that I don’t even like to sing to myself in private. I often have a song going round in my head though – today it is “Cover Girl” by New Kids on the Block which destroys any credibility I may have had. (My sister went to see them last week, that’s why I thought about it)

13. I don’t have much money, but given the choice between more money and more time, I’d definitely take the more time option.

14. I feel guilty about living far away from my family but in all honesty could not imagine myself living in my hometown again.

15. Aged 5, I organised a talent contest for the employees of my parents’ company and some of my toys. I was the judge. My toy Mickey Mouse won, my dad came second, my mum third. I was a very harsh judge of the other contestants.

16. I’ve just eaten some pumpkin seeds.

17. I know a little bit about a lot of things and am not an expert in anything.

18. I went swimming outside this morning even though it had been snowing.

19. I’m not a good cook, but I always enjoy anything I’ve cooked myself because of the sense of achievement. My family’s business was catering, so I used to see it as my small rebellion that I couldn’t.

20. I’m trying to do something good each day, no matter how small.

21. As a child, it was explained to me that films were different from normal television programmes because they were only on once. I went through a phase of crying if I’d missed a film on television because I thought I’d never get another chance to see it.

22. The best job I’ve ever had was working in a charity shop. Unfortunately it was unpaid. Other than that, it was ideal.

23. I worry constantly. About everything. I know I shouldn't but I can't help it.

24. I'm not at all competitive, which may be one reason why I was terrible at sport. I am however very competitive at pub quizzes.

25. I'm off to the theatre now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

So much for January

Where did it go? What did I do?

In summary:

Had a haircut and changed where my hair is parted (a subtle change)
Celebrated the 60th birthdays of the OH and my remaining parents
Caught a bug
Dined out using some discount vouchers

In a word, uneventful.