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mike, seagull



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14th July 2008

No, really?

mike, seagull
Just a quickie.  Tonight someone asked me why I was being a bit mentally slow, I responded with the fact I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder and have been lucky to sleep till 5am.  Their response was "Oh....well you didn't TELL me about that".

Well, no, I didn't.  There's nothing I can do about it, nothing you can do about it, I know it's painful (believe me), and, well, there's no point in telling someone.  You don't hear about every time my dodgy right knee plays up, or every time my ring or index fingers dislocates.  I just don't share everything.  Not an insult, I just don't care enough to tell people.

So yeah, I have a pinched nerve.  Sitting is painful, as is standing, sleeping, breathing, moving, standing still, and BEING.  It's not fatal or even harmful....just uncomfortable.

13th July 2008

I am in shock...

mike, seagull
I have just, for the first time in my life, seen Citizen Kane.

You know, for years I just assumed everything said about it was overhype, but I wanted to see it anyway.

There is no level of hyperbole appropriate for this film.

The lighting alone had me in awe, there's a beautiful, subtle genius about it, characters can stand in a well lit room and still move into shadow if a point needs to be made, there's always beautiful pools of light to hint at things, and bars of light that hit only the eyes and brow.  It's a visually gorgeous film that, while in Black and White, loses none of the tone a colour film would have.

The cinematography is fantastic.  One scene in particular (where Susan is leaving) could be played with no sound and explained purely with how camera perspective shows the relative size of the two characters.  Many many times seemingly impossibly focussed shots are made just because having 4 or 5 layers of focus is what Welles wanted.

The story is.....incredible.  A man who rises from nothing up to the top of the world and then loses it all is hardly anything new, but the direction and the achronological ordering makes it work so very well.  The film TELLS you the whole plot in the opening five minutes in a newspaper montage but keeps you gripped from end to end by how it will all play out.

This is a film made 67 years ago.  It contains a charm ad wit that Hollywood cannot or will not bring about today.  It does with a line of dialogue what a thousand directors today would struggle to do in a whole film, and by paring itself back to a mere 2 hours it manages to convey this wonderful life story, and the many facets of it without ever becoming overbearing.

I cannot tell you how good this film is, I can only tell you what I think of it.  For a film with no violence, sex, bad language, action, or suspense it manages to rise above it all and just become a classic film.  It made those cliches, it pioneered that camera work, it created that lighting, and it did it all in a fantastic film to boot.

That said.....watch it, cretin.

7th July 2008

Now, as some of you may have seen my interest in anime has slowly declined since uni. I'd still watch it....but the passion was gone...or so I thought....something somehow has re-triggered the part of my brain that needs pretty colours and explosions....

Thus was created this screenshot of my PC:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

It is a thing of madness and genius that has overtaken me.
Right, people, I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed by every single person who says William Shakespeare was a great writer. Enjoying his latest Novel? His best shotr story? No. You're not, you're reading a bloody script.

This annoys me so much I'm going to have a good old rant about it. I mean I've gone into a thousand times why Shakespeare is completely unsuitable for schools. It has outmoded language, little modern relevance, and most of all what are we telling people to study as part of a literature GCSE/A-Level? Plays. Most kids never see the damn thing performed and that makes studying the play WORTHLESS. It takes the damn thing so far out of context that half the people turn off. Yes, well done, way to make our already linguistically challenged yobbo youth turn off and become the "uh" generation because you want them to understand 400 year old iambic pentameter instead of something modern they can 1. understand, and 2. contextualise.

Pick some modern works, some modern PROSE works to study, people. Shakespeare is not, after all, this shining beacon of literature. He was a balding, pudgy brummy who wrote works that appealed to the common man, celebrating him is like celebrating Eastenders writers.

And why are you reading it, eh? You're reading it to look pretentious, let's face it, you want to give off a facade of intelligence. You want something proper to read go and grab some James Joyce, he's challenging. Up for some Sci Fi then grab Frank Herbert, but please don't insult my intelligence by reading the script of a play.

At best you're getting 15% of the authorial intent, at worst you're insulting actors, set designers, directors, and stage managers the world over by saying they bring nothing to the production. Shakespeare is meant to be seen, enjoyed, it's meant to make you laugh, cry, FEEL, it's not there as some sort of neo-intellectual exercise to prove your brain is bigger than someone else's because YOU and YOU ALONE can decipher the true meaning of what our balding little friend may have written.

You want to read his sonnets, fine, but if you're going to read his plays then you annoy me. Go out, watch them in the theatre, and have a proper reaction to them, after all they were designed as just grown up pantomime of the day, people booed the baddies, cheered the goodies, and laughed at the jokes rather than sealing them in some sort of intellectual bubble where normal human emotion would be an insult to 400 years of artistic tradition.

I realise this is all very ranty, but I just don't care, people annoy me, they really do, and I'm absolutely sick to death of it.

15th June 2008

I'm serious, this is just for Yu.

Only Yuuuuuuuuuu can make this world seem riiiiiight, only Yuuuuuuuuu can make the daaarkness briiiiight....oh enough with the rubbish singing, it'll start raining if I carry on.

Right, anyway, what to update you on.

Well, first off I'm on the "New Deal" now, so still no job and I have to go to a small room in Walsall twice a week and spend 4 hours jobsearching. Or more appropriately 2 hours applying for everything under the sun, and 2 hours doing the Sudoku/Crossword/Reading. It is dull, horrible, and the drinks machine is shite. On the plus side I haven't killed anyone yet, and I have improved my CV!

Secondly I think I'm rediscovering my love of anime. I've finally dusted off Black Lagoon and finished that, and Planetes, and now I've begun watching a whole new series called Code Geass. I'm thinking of downloading Honey and Clover for a bit of that slice of life experience after Planetes' ending left me all warm and fuzzy. Oh, I also bought Appleseed Ex Machina. Great action but somehow it didn't quite feel as coherent as the first...this is the price you pay for hiring John Woo.

I finally won a WoW TCG tournament, it was a draft in Birmingham and it was a great day largely because I was the only person picking Horde and so got all the choice allies. Not only did I go up 3-0 but I didn't drop a single game in any of my matches. Props to Josh Ng, though, he gave me one HELL of a run for my money in the final. Next time, people, draft what looks good, not just whatever blue cards are coming your way.

What else....oh, I bought a new 360 because the old one upped and died....well...the CD drive did....and it was £50 and an "unspecified" wait to get the damn thing back. Not good enough, MS, I paid £300 for the machine when it was new, the least you can do is offer to repair a component you KNEW was dodgy when you shipped it. Still, I'm a sucker for new games and so lapped up GTA4 when it came out, and am now splitting my time between that and Lost Odyssey.

Couple of weeks back I had a NASTY chest infection and I'm still not back on top of things. I don't normally get seriously ill, but this was just horrible. The low point was when I was coughing so hard I actually managed to become light headed and fell to my knees.....six inches further forward and I'd have gone down the stairs.

Hmmm....anything else....

Oh, I've been watching The Apprentice. Michael was a cock, and I'm glad Lee won, he's a real trooper, NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT. I'm not a business guy (Except for a sideline in trading cards that nets me enough each week for petrol, dinner, and a little bit left over) but I can appreciate some of the brilliant and CATASTROPHIC decisions people were making. I mean, honestly, who the fuck is going to spend £400 on a cake when you're hawking cut-price dresses on the same stall. Pick an audience, stick with it. Oh, and Lee with those thongs was amazing, his "Well hello Ladies" is something I can't forget.

Aside from that....no...I'm good.

See you next time!

14th June 2008

So I made a panormaic view of my room:
Click Here!!!

15th March 2008

An update or two...

mike, seagull
Firstly, didn't get the job with Apple, BOO.

Secondly. Started playing WoW after a brief hiatus.

Thirdly, I attended my first WoW TCG tourneys, both in Leicester. I finished 2-2 to qualify for the Realm Championship, but a PATHETIC 1-5 in the Spectral Safari (walked away with a loot card though). For those of you who don't know WoW TCG is a lot like Magic: The Gathering...just with Warcraft stuff. I've probably been talking about this a bit too much recently, but when going to Dudley Darklords to play it is the social highlight of most weeks you do start to get a bit involved. Just on the off chance you want to get involved: Zapped Giants is the place to go. I post there, so do most of the other WoW TCG community in the UK, I suspect I'm just making up the numbers, whatever.

Fourthly I finished my first module of the MCSA, and I'm now onto the bloody technical bits. Spent 45 minutes doing binary mathematics in my head last tuesday....and yes....that's fun for me. Seriously, I like in-depth networking stuff, and getting 2000+ pages of Microsoft text books for free. Oh, and I now have student licences for pretty much everything except MS Office.

Fifthly, I am still unemployed...but only half looking. Full time work would pull me out of my MCSA and I quite like education right now. I've applied for a couple of data entry and basic sysadmin jobs, but people don't seem to like me or I smell or something, whatever.

Sixthly, it's nearly Easter, and that means EASTER EGG CHALLENGE, WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Seriously.

Seventhly, given that my failed, half-assed project of GrumpyGamers failed I'm now helping to write for a PROPER WEBSITE....well....a resurrection of a proper website Skullkids Expect to see me being very grumpy, angry, dismissive, and ranty. We also plan to have a review section, so god knows how many people will want to kill us after that.

Eighthly, I've had an enforced change of diet. Lots of stomach upsets, as well as some horrible joint pain recently have meant cutting back even more on cheese and milk, cutting out the fat and the salt, switching to porridge for breakfast, halving the size of my lunch, etc etc etc. Now I'm getting no stomach upsets (apart from absolute ravenous hunger) except when I try and have, say, a portion of chips from the chippy; the joint paint is also subsiding. Looks like I'm developing the same digestive problems as my mother and grandmother but with the knowledge to work around them. On the plus side I've gone down two notches on my belt since I started this.

This doesn't mean I'm giving up dessert though. It's all mine, and you can't have any.

Ninthly, I have decided that if I am not in stable employment by my 26th birthday (that is October 19th 2009) then I need to do one of two things. 1. Find a country where my MCSA and tech skills are needed and go work there for six months, or 2. Consider going back to uni, and all that entails. (Probably to do Comp Sci, but that's a bridge I hope to never have to cross). Bit radical, but life at the moment is a delicious combo of no money, and desire for immense amounts of stuff.

Tenthly, I don't like lists of ten things.

Elevently, I'm still working out as often as I can, recognising when to stop is the problem though. I don't want to hurt myself and then try to work through it.

Twelfthly, Daniel got kicked out of the house because he's drug dealing scum and I hope he and his dad are very happy together, frankly they deserve each other. Daniel has been banned from driving for 9 months, and it should have been more. I'll never stop loving him, he's family, and if he ever learns to admit the hell he put my parents through I will forgive him before he's finished the sentence. Right now, I just don't LIKE him very much, it's a terrible dichotomy, and one I dislike having to make, but there we go.

Thirteenthly, keeping an open bottle of whisky in your bedroom is not a smart idea...I don't know why I do it.

Fourteenthly, I've learned more about one person I know in two late night drunken chats recently than I think I have in the entire of the last few years. Not a slight, just every true...then again...when you've known someone for that long there doesn't tend to be much left hidden between you.

Fifteenthly, I really should keep in touch with people more. So, Danny, Nick, Andy, Goran, Tammy, expect an email in the next month or two as I try and keep in touch...

Sixteenthly, House is awesome.

Right, that's it for now, I'm done, hope you all enjoyed that, because I'm off for some TV and a tall glass of Southern Comfort.

12th February 2008

I just saw Juno...

mike, seagull
...you should too.

I'm serious, if you like witty dialogue, independent-ish film and some light, warmhearted comedy then this is the film you need to be seeing.

I mean, I know it's taken $100m+ already, I know, it's BIG, but seriously, this is a GOOD mainstream film.  People have said it's political....it's not.  There's no moralising about abortion, there's no moralising about Juno keeping the baby....it's a love story and that's about it.  It touched me, I almost cried near the end.

Heck, people who know me know I HATE almost anything with Jennifer Garner in....and this movie made me think she was good!  I am willing to publicly re-evaluate what she's done before now I have evidence she can act!  Ellen page, for being almost 21, plays a very convincing 16 year old too, so I approve.  Every single bit of money this film takes it deserves, in spades.

Oh, and if you like Clerks then it is most DEFINITELY for you.  Little bits of camera work homage it, the dialogue is reminiscent etc.  Good stuff.

8th February 2008

The Evil Empire

Give me your spywared, give me your fragmented,
Your firewall-less masses yearning for a format,
The wretched refuse of Microsoft land.
Send these useless, half-broken boxes to me:
For I have a very big hammer.

by M.Chomyk

For those who don't get the joke I'd suggest googling for "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus.

I'm doing an MCSA and applying for a job with Apple, I have every right to be bitter at MS...especially seeing as I seem to be getting a lot of Spyware to deal with lately.

Why the hell can't people look at what they're installing, I mean for goodness sake, how hard can it be? Too hard, apparently. Seriously, I wish that people could get more of a clue about technology, it's not like it's hard, if you can use the Internet then you can learn this stuff....for free. If you want to install something put it and the word "spyware" or "adware" into google.....see what you get.

I really wish I was hard hearted enough to refuse my services.

24th January 2008

I see DUMB people...

mike, seagull
So Fox News ran a biased item on Mass Effect, they lambasted it, lampooned it, and compared it to "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie does Dallas".  There's a huge backlash in the US it seems against the game, people in uproar, they're saying this 17 rated game is amoral, unnatural, and basically just commenting without actually playing the game.  Here's a hint, if Mass Effect was a 2 hour movie and everything was scaled in relation to that the love scene would be 15 seconds long, feature about a second of butt crack, and take place after over an hour and a half of dialogue and battle.  Compare that 15 seconds to the last James Bond movie.....heck....compare the full TWO MINUTES to the last James Bond movie.

There's no outcry here in the UK and it's a 12 here, even the Daily Mail has refrained from putting in the size 12s to the thing.  You know why?  The US for all its free speech and fairness has become the land of the prude.  We Brits may be reserved, but we're allowed boobs in a U rated film, and sex references in a PG.  Admittedly we mark violence more hashly....especially imitatable violence...but surely that's a fair way to do things?  I mean, come on, what's more objectionable here, a love scene between two people who form a bond, who have talked about their pasts, shared their hopes and dreams, or the 5+ hours of pure violence with you gunning down everything in sight to save the universe?

I mean, seriously, a woman's ass on screen for 6 seconds is a hell of a lot more comfortable viewing than watching a platoon of armoured marines gun down a colony full of people to me.  I'm not saying the game's wrong or bad, I love it, but what I'm saying is that people need some perspective.

You're watching a video with little Timmy, he's 7, you see a bedroom scene where the woman is face down on the bed with her arm over a man's chest, she gets out of bed, and for a second you see some crack as she pulls on trousers.  Little Timmy knows, if he's been allowed to watch, that the two people get on well and you can explain to him that this is something adults do when they love each other.  That's SIMPLE.  Little Timmy watches a second film, in this one the same man leaves the same woman to be shot to pieces and blown up while he makes his getaway.  He spends the rest of the film as a damaged man, with everyone around him in tears over what he did.  Explaining that is a LOT harder because Little Timmy knows that the Hero should always be brave and valiant, and end up with the girl.  Mass Effect does both of these and why people pick on the former instead of the latter is just some kind of sick joke.

Have we as a society really gone so far that the mere hint of sexuality or ass crack in something other than a movie is wrong or something, did I genuinely miss the meeting where we decided all this, because gosh darnit, I just don't remember.

Oh, and another thing, people are SURPRISED there has been a gamer backlash.  No shit, you've pretty much branded us all as violent, sex obsessed terrorists with a fetish for using a wiimote to simulate removing a man's testicles with pliers over the last two years.  Every time there's a murder it's video games that get the blame, people stealing cars and driving them fast, it's a video game, anything IT'S A VIDEO GAME.  That makes as much sense as blaming gang violence on cricket because there you learn how to wield a cricket bat, and that also you need to protect your goolies from oncoming objects.  Video games are not blameless by any standard, they should be held to the exact same standards as TV and Mo--OH WAIT THEY ALREADY ARE, perhaps even stricter ones, I defy you to find a movie in the US with a sex scene as "indecent" as Mass Effect where there was an outcry to move it to NC-17 based PURELY on the sex scene.

Get a grip, American Media, please.
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