Archive for the 'what i’m watching' Category
Oh. My. God.Â I just saw the epic cat yodelling video on LolCats and I simply had to share it:
In other news… Life’s pretty good.Â Apologies for the lack of posting.Â Been busy – new freelancing job, new man, new band.Â You know how it is… But I guess I can update y’all now, if’n y’like.
So I’m still working in the same job with the charity, but with slight changes to my remit – more Fundraising going on, along with the IT stuff.Â Fundraising doesn’t come as naturally as IT, but at least I’m not intimidated by putting words on the page.Â The quality of those words might not always be sublime, but I get there in the end.
But the freelancing has the potential to be exciting.Â I’ve been helping other Scottish non-profits develop their own Salesforce Databases.Â Salesforce is my database of choice these days, especially for non-profits.Â I’ve looked at all the other databases available in the charity industry – Raisers Edge and all the others.Â Salesforce beats them all for price and quality.Â And I love the look on other charity workers’ faces when I tell them that it’s free for non-profit orgs! So yeah, we’re liking the freelancing.Â If you know of any non-profits who need a database set up, tell em I’m the cheapest they’ll find, too! /wink
The lovelife is still going nicely.Â I’ve been dating a lovely boy who we shall call “J” for the past 8 months.Â He’s a geek.Â You’d like him.Â He builds computers in his spare time, he’s a recovering warcraft player (I’m suffering a relapse just now, but I’m working through it) and he puts up with my occasional rash of girlieness with the patience of a saint.Â Flat-Mate-Mads and I were watching Gok’s Fashion Fix the other night with J sat next to me on the couch, and he didn’t even sigh once.Â Ok, maybe once. But he held his tongue, bless him.
He gives good hugs, and he totally gets my slightly odd-ball humor (and equally, I enjoy his outlook on the world) PLUS he likes all the geeky things that any real man should – Galactica, Firefly, Dollhouse, Trek.Â All round, I’d say double thumbs up…
Oooh yeah, you’ll like this one.Â They’re called Ardentjohn, and they’re BRILLIANT! I answered a Gumtree ad late last year – they were looking for a new violinist to help add to the beautiful string sound already created by their cellist.Â I listened to their myspace and was pretty much hooked.Â Then they gave me a copy of their new album, due for release later this year, and it was all I could do not to BEG to let me join up!
So, a few months and many intensive weekend rehearsal sessions later (I love bands who take every element of their arrangements seriously) we’re going down to London in a fortnight to play our first gig. Excitement much? I think so.
Oh! I have a new bike, which you may have gathered from Twitter.Â The second bike to be featured on this blog (the first being my beautiful but not very practical bike in China), and I loves it with all my heart.Â I got it from The Bike Station – an Edinburgh based charity which accepts donated decrepit old bikes, refurbishes them, and sells them on to the public once a week, amid a mad Saturday morning scramble to be the first to find that gem of a bike.Â The competition is fierce.Â Doors open at The Bike Station at 10.30 am, but when J and I arrived there at 10.10am, there was already a queue of people waiting outside.Â More arrived as we waited, and when the doors finally opened, they only let people into the shop 10 at a time.Â Brits are very good a queueing, so it was all very orderly.
So I was let in with the second group of ten. I walked the line of bikes once, twice.Â Not much there to grab my attention – they were either all too big or too small.Â But then I walked it a third time, and lo! There she was.Â A glimmering frame of purple mountain bike, complete with the lowered bar for girls.Â Someone must have taken her out for a test ride, and then brought her back, dissatisfied.Â But I wasn’t dissatisfied.Â She was – IS – perfect.Â She has 18 gears (every one of which is needed in Edinburgh’s mountainous geography) and she has “Born to be Wild” written on the side.
She’s a little rusty I guess, but personally, I like to think of the rust as laugh-lines.Â She’s seen it all and is still giving good service.
And Edinburgh has never seemed smaller – I can get to work now faster than I would in a taxi.Â And I’ve only been outrageously soaked by the rain a couple of times.
And that, my friends, is my news for now. Per-maybe-haps I’ll blog from the road about Ardentjohn.Â Road trip down to London should be fun…
Much love petals!
I don’t do this often folks, and even less for music that’s not my own in some way, but Jubilee Hall (my lovely acoustic trio) played on Monday night with a fabulous musician called Alex Cornish, and after visiting his MySpace page last night, I really really had to share his music with you, because it’s been getting under my skin.Â In a big way.
I strongly suggest that you go check out his music – it has tinges of Radiohead, with a dash of almost Early Coldplay.Â Strings, smooth guitar, great vocals, and great melodies.
Don’t believe me? Have a listen for yourself on his MySpace page
This guy’s not to be missed.Â I believe he’s touring the UK in September – details are on the Myspace Page, so if you’re nearby, go check him out.
Why do they kill all the good ones?
I got sent this link to a wee online version of Deal Or No Deal, a gameshow which I’ve honestly never seen before, but through various bits of pop culture I know it has something to do with brief cases and long drawn out telephone calls.
It made me all nostalgic for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a masterpiece of television which went the way of Firefly – put on “hiatus” (ie more than likely cancelled). All I know of the aformentioned gameshow, I know from Studio 60 – cause they had the host of the show on S60′s show within a show (is that too complicated?), and did a spoof for Deal or No Deal.
I loved Studio 60. I truly loved everything about it. I loved the characters. I loved the snappy dialogue, written to perfection by Aaron Sorkin of West Wing fame. The show featured some of those things which made the West Wing so great.
There was that feeling that they were dealing with something important – and yes, I do feel that those who make television have a moral responsibility which should be taken seriously. Anyone who mewls about the characters taking this TV show too seriously obviously can’t grasp the fact that entertainment television is viewed by far more people than educational television. Therefore, don’t those in entertainment have a certain responsibility to make something which might make society a better place through their influence?
Also making a reappearence was Sorkin’s trademark walking-and-talking dialogue – something that doesn’t happen enough in shows of lesser ilk, but happens more often in shows which are well drawn, like Firefly.
And the whole Matt-Danny thing? Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry (above) were absolute gold together as the best-friends who become director and writer of the show within the show. Sorkin really captured the energy between the two characters, then Whitford & Perry stitched it all together. Gold. *sigh*
So while you’re waiting with anticipation for the next brilliant TV show to be cancelled (how long before Heroes gets it? Oh no, wait – It’s comic-book style, earlier in the evening and is considerably less complicated than S60) wander on over here and be diverted for at LEAST 2 minutes…1 comment
Could they GET anymore schmultzy?!
Having said that, this latest effort starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore is actually rather sweet. It tells the story of 80s pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who was part of the hit group “POP!”.
Fast forward 23 years, and he’s a washed out has-been, eking out an existence performing on the fairground and amusement park circuit (“Knott’s Berry Farm cancelled? When were you going to tell me this?”), living off the 80s nostalgia. Suddenly a Shakira-stlye pop superstar, Cora (played by Haley Bennett) offers him a chance to record a duet with her, so long as he provides the song, written specially for the occasion, in just 3 days. Problem here is that though Alex is a talented musician, writes great melodies and plays any instrument he needs to, his lyric writing skills are actually a bit pants.
Then in walks Sophie (Barrymore) to fill in for the lady who normally waters his plants in his tiny Manhattan apartment. Turns out that she’s got a bit of an untapped talent for lyrics, and thus is born the next AshmanMenken/Gilbert-Sullivan/Rice-Lloyd-Webber team.
All the singing is done by the cast members (ie Grant, Barrymore and Bennett), and the song written for the duet is actually a bit addictive.
Grant’s 80s style gyrations are absolute gold, and though he’s getting old, he’s aging well, I have to say. He’s no longer the annoyingly foppish floppy leading man-type – now he’s the slightly older, but still quite adorable leading many-type.
The script was (for me, at least) laugh-a-minute – though the only boy who accompanied us to the theatre apparently didn’t laugh once. I think this movie can possibly be used to define the ChickFlick genre. The only thing that annoyed me about the whole thing was Grant’s dialogue, which at times completely mimicked the same old “charmingly-sarcastic” thing that he’s done in practically EVERY other movie – except perhaps American Dreamz, a very underappreciated look at the American Idol type show, where Grant plays a jaded, Simon Cowell type with scathing aplomb… I loved that movie! I wish someone would write more varied dialogue for him, for once.
But it had all the right ingredients – talent to be nurtured, music, only real adversity being the attempt to find inspiration (there was one pseudo-villain who was more there as an idea than a villain), celebrities, a rather touching and inspired public declaration of love a-la-Notting-Hill, and it was a joy to hear Grant singing with Barrymore. And no, just this once I don’t care about the autotuning!
On the Romantic-Comedy-a-scale, I’d give it a solid 4 stars – a feel-good ChickFlick which will make the romantics out there leave with a smile on their faces, and a song on their lips.6 comments
Mildly diverting wee re-mix of the Dalek-Cyberman stand off – watch for a giggle…No comments
WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS CASINO ROYALE SPOILERS
Finally, the Brosnan-Bond years are over
I went with the lovely ThursdayWeld and ErnieMay to watch Casino Royale today. Now, I’d love to go for an entire blog entry talking about how much I loved the scripting, the editing, the music, the story line, the way they finally catered to their female audience by showing a little more heart from our favorite Superhero-Spy.
I’d really love to talk about all that for a whole blog entry. Honestly, I would. But I can’t. And I’ll tell you why:
Daniel Craig has about the most perfect arse known to man.
His face has a profile which I’ve heard accurately described as that of an Easter Island Statue.
ThursdayWeld, ErnieMay and I all agree, despite the eyelids which make him look like he suffers from permanent hay-fever (always a little red around the edges), his eyes are the most perfect blue we’ve ever seen:
OK, so perhaps they gave him blue contact lenses throughout the movie, but I care not, because…
Did I mention his arse? Or his chest, or (omg) his arms?
The man is, quite simply, the most perfect-looking Bond I have EVER seen. Even the baddie mentioned it during a surprisingly amusing torture scene – Bond is tied naked (!) to a chair, and our baddie stalks around him, saying “so, you like to keep in shape, Mister Bond?” ThursdayWeld made a comment which had me laughing even as I was hiding my face from the inevitable torture to come – “He so wants to shag Bond!” Can’t say I particularly blame him…
You know it’s a good Bond flick when they manage to make Bond cool, even during what is obviously an utterly excruciating and humiliating torture. I mean, it wasn’t like he was staunchly NOT reacting to the torture – he was screaming his head off. We all had our hands over our faces during the torture scene, it was horrid, but all of a sudden Bond says something to make us laugh, and we see the hero even more through the screams of agony.
The script was written with simplicity in mind, despite the inevitable twists and turns which go with any Filme-Bond. And I appreciated the way the story was obviously put together to bring in the female audience – without giving anything more away, the shower scene (no, it’s not what you think, get your minds out of the gutter!) really softened that hard Bond shell.
There were very few fancy gadgets, which gave the whole thing a brilliantly raw feeling. And there were blissfully few car chase scenes – that tired old theme makes me yawn at every action movie made in the past 30 years. I really hate car chase scenes.
No, this movie was about the man, the girl, the baddie and the card game. It was about a Bond who’s just a little more dangerous and ragged around the edges (the movie is based on the original book by Ian Fleming, and purports to take place *before* any of the other Bonds), but who still manages to make us laugh or smile in more subtle ways.
And there was … *drum roll* NO PIERCE BROSNAN!!! Words can hardly describe how much I dislike that actor. I lamented when it was announced that Brosnan was taking up the mantle of Bond, I sneered at every Bond movie which came out during the Brosnan years (slimy man, always gives me the impression that he’s a closet child molester – ugh!).
And then when they announced Daniel Craig, I danced the dance of joy. Not just because I thought he was haaaarrrt (I didn’t even know who he was back then), but because anything after Brosnan has to be some sort of step up.
And oh my, is Craig ever a step up!
Go see Casino Royale, my friends. Don’t hesitate another day. You will be pleasantly surprised.2 comments
From this week’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Harriet: I don’t even know what the sides ARE in the culture wars.
Matt: Well, your side hates my side because you think we think you’re stupid. And my side hates your side because we think you’re stupid. (said in jest… Many a true word spoken and all.)
A little distilled, losing a LOT of the essence, but that’s about the gist of it, as far as I’m concerned. I’m on Matt’s side, by the way.No comments
John Barrowman (AKA Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood fame), shows Maria Von Trapp wannabes how it’s done…
So, I used to think that John Barrowman was a bit cute. I was pretty fond of him as Captain Jack in Doctor Who, and loved his sass (and his ass, I suppose!). I don’t know HOW I missed the fact that he had bits to perform on “How do you solve a problem called Maria” – yet another UK reality-talent show, basically a public audition for the role of Maria in The Sound Of Music. Anyway, someone directed me towards this video, where all of the auditionees have to snog him to see how they react to theatrical intimacy (cause it’d be such a chore – he’s a REALLY unattractive man – NOT!)
So here it is for your enjoyment, some scrumdiddly-umptious John Barrowman girlie-porn. The really good bit comes at about the 2 minute mark… mmmmm…No comments
Why do they vote out the good acts?
So tonight was the first of the X-Factor live shows for 2006. You may remember last year I confessed a guilty love for the X-Factor, and expressed my outrage at Brenda – my favorite contestant – being voted out. Well now, it’s happened again. The act that I’d had my eye on since the very first audition is out. The Unconventionals gave the unequivocal best performance of the show – they’re this wonderfully unpretentious 6 piece group, all with voices which blow the rest of the singers out of the competition. You should hear them acapella – just amazing, and fantastic, interesting vocal arrangements which they do themselves.
But according to the phone voting polls, they were one of the two lowest scoring acts. Dionne, being just another boring girlie singer, was chosen by Simon-No-Taste-Cowell to stay in the competition. Simon Cowell – I don’t have a secret crush on him anymore, I think his comments to The Unconventionals was WAY out of line – he said they were messy, and that 2/3rds of them were singing out of tune. Simon Cowell, who probably wouldn’t be able to recognise, let alone sing a concert A if his life depended on it. The Unconventionals tuning was SPOT on. I say this without bragging, but I have perfect pitch. They were PERFECT. Simon was wrong, smug, and utterly obnoxious, and I hereby renounce him as my secret crush.
What gets me is that even the British Gaming Industry was giving pretty good odds to The Unconventionals. So why were they in the Bottom Two, when they were the Golden Children of the show?
Here’s my theory – most people text in their votes on their mobile phones, and the count is done automatically. Has anyone ever tried to SPELL “unconventionals” on their mobile phone? I had to erase it and start again several times (yes, I voted for them – it’s called putting your money where your mouth is!!) and TRAIN my phone how to spell it (didn’t like the s on the end). Even then, I realised that I’d voted wrong, and had to re-vote. I think when they look at all the phone votes they had over the next week, they’ll find ten thousand or so MIS-SPELLED votes for these guys.
I truly hope they release an album, I’ll be looking out for it!No comments
The new genre of TV show which focusses on the Entertainment Industry
Something interesting is happening to the TV that’s coming out of LA. After a few excruciating years of Big Brother, Survivor and all the other reality shows which have been dulling our minds, the wave of Reality TV has FINALLY broken, and over the past year or two, a couple of things have rolled in to take its place:
1) TV shows about the entertainment industry – things like Entourage (a TV show about a film star who keeps his childhood friends from the Bronx close, which helps keep him grounded), and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip – a show about a Saturday Night Live sketch show.
2) Fictional reality web-based entertainment – this one’s a bit more complicated. With the ever increasing popularity of YouTube – as evidenced by its recent purchase by Google for USD1.6b – web stars have been born, discovered and made famous by their video-blogging (vlogging!). The YouTube community is complex and varied, and would require a whole other blog entry to explain, but let’s focus on the facet of the community which has most been talked about in the press recently – the vloggers. Vlogging has got to be one of the duller sides of YouTube, where people plomp themselves down infront of their webcams, and moan on incoherently about their lives, or about other people’s videos. *yawn*
You may have heard about the whole LonelyGirl15 debacle, where for months and months, this lass who called herself LonelyGirl15 got infront of her webcam every couple of days and rabbited on about her life. She had MILLIONS of viewers, who lapped it up just like the latest episode of Big Brother. In fact, I’d hazard that the reason Reality shows have died out on network TV is because their audience has moved to the YouTube vloggers, who can provide bite sized, ad-free reality TV-on-demand.
However, it turned out that LonelyGirl15 was nothing but a creation, that LonelyGirl15 herself was an actress, and it was all some sort of bid to gain advertising revenue. And LonelyGirl’s not the only one.
Last night I finally caved and clicked on one of the videos which had been featured on YouTube for ages, by a couple of guys who call themselves “Nobody’s Watching”. Thus ensued a good half hour of confusion for me, cause I could have sworn that one of them was the actor who played Billy from Battlestar Galactica, but on the Nobody’s Watching website, he introduces himself as Will. Will – William – Billy – Geddit? They are in fact, actors – Paul Campbell (Billy from BSG) and Taran Killam, who play grassroots YouTube film makers who dream of becoming TV stars/writers, and want to get a show picked up by NBC. See the confusion? But it doesn’t end there.
These guys really did pitch a show to the WB, they made the Pilot and everything! Here’s the first part of it:
Anyway as I was saying, they’d pitched this pilot to NBC, but it got knocked back. So they decided to pitch it to the web viewers on YouTube, and lo-and-behold, they’re webstars. I gather that they’re re-pitching it to NBC – and the writer of Scrubs is involved – they have a relatively good chance to get it picked up.
So they’re actors who want to make it big in TV and initially fail, playing two guys from Ohio who want to make it big in television and succeed. The characters start out on YouTube and then make it big with the studios. The actors start out with the studios but fail, then make it big on YouTube, and then have a better chance with the studios. Are you confused yet?
Welcome to Web 2.0!
See, what gets me about all this is that in the past, we see something on TV and we (generally) know whether it’s real or not. YouTube used to be a haven for TV By The People. Now we have no idea whether a semi-slickly made video is by a talented amateur movie maker, or a film studio trying to make something that just LOOKS like it’s made by a talented amateur movie maker.
I find this whole phenomenon just FASCINATING. The inter-web-net in general – SO interesting. Did you know that firms are HIRING professional, full time bloggers? How good would that be, to be paid to blog on a permanent basis? You may have noticed that I’ve caved, and have set myself up a little Google AdSense account, and am now advertising scintillating products such as “DIY blogs” etc. Part of what I love about Google AdSense is seeing just what sort of ads it comes up with to complement each blog entry.
If it makes me enough money to pay for my web hosting bills (now due! Feel free to click on my ads!), then I’ll hold on to it. If not, we’ll return to our previous pristine ad-free condition.No comments