Archive for September 2004
I’m leaving now, but leaving slowly, because I have a diamond tiara up my pipe.
— Lorraine (Minnie Driver), Will & Grace
I’ve started logging website referrals again, and it’s looking very different from the last time. There are many referrals from the MPC Forums and mpc1000.com, a site belonging to a developer working on a program editor, now with a link to my MPC1000 FAQ on the front page. I’m also seeing search engines returning results from searches for “MPC1000” and “MIDI”, “tutorial”, “FAQ”. There are also some Rush-related searches, mostly finding my review of Peart’s Ghost Rider.
Then there are the odd ones…
- I have no idea what is going on at http://ime.nu/stereoroid.com/ . The Japanese text reads something like “here’s a useful link”, but I can see no reason for it.
- Ditto for: http://www.poppville.com/homepage.html . I think the webmaster just likes the rotating logo.
- OK, I did include the Kanji for “sushi” back in March, which Google found, that’s understandable.
- Palladino vs Entwistle: the former joined The Who’s tour after the latter died back in June 2002. (Over two years ago? Sheesh.) It’s not like they’re competing, folks.
- What is “Grant’s Topographic Memory”? Whatever it is, bits of it are found here, as are “Southern California Tsunamis” and a “pretty Indian girl”.
- Then there’s the man – must be a man – who Googled* for “huge breasted Germans” and wound up in my August 2004 blog, when I saw Germans in Dubai, then breast reduction surgery on Channel 4. That’s what I get for dividing this blog into month-sized chunks, I suppose.
* Yes, I know – Verbing a Noun is a typical Americanism, but it suits Google.
Now it’s after midnight – I should retire, I suppose. Night Night.
I’m browsing a few Usenet messages, and someone on alt.fan.pratchett made the mistake of asking for a quick definition of Newton’s law of gravitation. It didn’t take too long for the discussion to hit the following level:
According to Newton, bigger things suck more, but if you’re sucked by something, you blow as much as they suck, and if nobody sucks you, you just go on doing what you were doing before.
— Ori Pessach
OK, I give up… my head is still spinning a little from the Japanese class earlier this evening, after all. We have 先生 telling us this is a difficult section, and she’s not kidding. Getting a verb from the “dictionary” form to the commonly-used forms is a tricky multi-stage process, with added complications such as the way you use two or more verbs in a sentence means mixing the forms up in a particular way. She tells us it will be easier after we get over this hill, which may mean more to her than to us, since she’ll be about nine months pregnant by the end of this course, the silly mare…
After my communication experiments, last night, I went to see Collateral, the latest movie from Michael Mann, the director behind Heat, one of my favourite films. It marks Mann’s return to Los Angeles, the city that played a leading role in Heat and does so here, too. It also features a performance from Tom Cruise that will appeal to those, like me, who are not particular fans of his.
He plays Vincent, a hitman with a list of targets in LA, who rents a cab for the night, saying he needs to make some real estate deals. Things do not go to plan, however: he botches the first job, letting the victim fall three stories on to the cab, damaging it, forcing him to take Max (Jamie Foxx), the driver, hostage to keep him quiet. He underestimates Max, however, even ironically encouraging him to take charge of the situation and his life, a strategy that backfires in a most spectacular fashion. You get the impression that he’d spoken this way before, but this time Max was listening and paying attention.
The direction is inspiring, the most impressive set piece being a shootout in a nightclub, in which we see Vincent’s in his element, and it’s not a pretty sight. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his character is drawn in shades of grey, down to the steely hair and the expensive suit that eventually comes apart at the seams. Max, meanwhile, has had enough, and flips things over in no uncertain terms.
Mann doesn’t go in search of LA, merely lets it show itself to the camera, and finds it through many unusual camera angles and textures; close-ups, top-down aerial shots, monochromatic scenes with the downtown area a background rainbow blur. It’s all shot on digital cameras with much use of “practical” light from fluorescents and sodium street lights, a palette of colour I’m not used to seeing on the big screen, but one I recognise in spirit from the times I’ve spent in various cities around the world, up way past my bedtime.
Someone on Henry St., Dublin’s main shopping street, has unsecured wireless internet access. OK…
1/2 hour later: this is ridiculous. I’m sat on a bench next to the Liffey, in the heart of Dublin, with free internet access. I can’t even tell whose bandwidth I’ve been poaching, since all three access points I’ve connected to had SSIDs of “Wireless”, “SMC”, “Apple” – the latter two being wireless equipment makers – but nothing that indicates the current owner.
In the unlikely event that an administrator logs this page’s FTP upload and reads this: you’re an idiot who needn’t bother moaning at me, just secure your bloody network. If you don’t know how, contact me and I’ll enlighten you without charging my usual consultancy fee, which you probably can’t afford anyway.
Last night I went to the agreed bar for the leaving bash, but no-one was there, so I went home. It was only when I was nearly home, curry in hand, when I figured that the gang probably got settled in the local pub near our offices. Being literal-minded, I assumed they would have actually done what they said they were going to do, and I was even an hour late, which cut them some slack on the timing. It seems that, after five years in Ireland, I still have not learned my lesson. Good!
This afternoon I’m checking out a film I may or may not have seen many years ago: Robin and Marian, with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Maltin’s Movie Guide says “arid, uninvolving film strips beloved characters of their magic”. Huh? These characters are only “magic” if you buy into the Disney version of events.
The Robin Hood story is fiction on a historical timeline: the Disney film is set in c. 1194, ending when King Richard I (Lionheart) returned from a Crusade to find his traitorous brother John trying to usurp the throne, a plot thwarted with Robin’s help. Robin and Marian starts with the death of Richard in a skirmish in 1199, leaving the throne to John, while Robin returns to Sherwood forest to look for Marian.
The gap between the two events is stretched to 16 years in the latter story, with Robin, Marian, and all the supporting characters much older, but only Marian any wiser. On neither historical occasion was Robin Hood actually involved, of course: the legend is based on accounts of thieves in two separate locations (Sherwood Forest near Nottingham, and Barnsdale in Yorkshire). That was over two hundred years later, if I understand my sources correctly.
The way Robin and Marian ends is justly celebrated, the only part I remembered. The legends have little to say about the way Robin or Marian died, so I can’t begrudge the writer the chance to bring the story to a satisfying emotional conclusion.
Another Friday evening, another leaving bash to go to. This is for a guy who’s been here for seven years, was in the team I used to be in before I was promoted, and was still there, until today. His departure is being regarded as serious but inevitable, considering that his current position will be outsourced to Bangalore, and a colleague of his has just been promoted. Unlike other departees, he kept his leaving email short and polite, then sent another “thank you” note to my boss that included some nice words about the help I had been giving. To be fair, I had been helping him more because he was pestering me more, but I didn’t mind because he actually understands the way to do it. (If you want the right answer… ask the right question!)