Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Monkey Movie

It's always good to get a few movies in over the Christmas season so Ali and I trundled into town to see King Kong on the big screen at The Odeon in Leicester Square yesterday. The only turkey I want to see is on Christmas day so I had high hopes that Peter Jackson would not disappoint me with his monkey movie and he certainly did not. This is one of the best films I have seen in ages. It runs for three hours and 17 minutes but you would be forgiven for thinking it was half that length. There are occasional moments when the special effects look a bit unfinished, for example the folks running between the legs of the stampeding diplodocus looked a bit "blue screen", but on the whole the effects were a marvel. The monkey itself never looked anything other than 25 foot sliver back gorilla with a range of expression and tenderness that was almost human. But more important than all that emotion crap, he kicks serious butt, for example at one point he takes on and beats three T-Rex's at once. Now that's Monkey Magic.

I won't go into any more details incase there is, unlikely as it seems, anyone out there doesn't know what happens or hasn't seen the 1933 original. But if you want to go and see a thrilling, scary, occasionally funny and very touching film then King Kong is great. Just need to check out Narnia and Potter now. I doubt that will be as good as the monkey.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas is coming ...

So we enter the last week before Christmas. I would normally now be worrying about having to do all my Christmas shopping. I hate shopping. I don't mean I not very fond of shopping, I mean I really hate it. Many is the year when I have gone out to buy presents for my friends and family, only to return home after many hours of tortured slog with just a couple of DVD's for myself, as was the case in my previous Web Log entry. A quick trip to Ye Booke Shoppe on Christmas Eve has often given the impression that I am uncommonly literate and thoughtful, rather than late and desperate.

All change this years though! Up until now I have always gone to my parent in Hull for Christmas. And very splendid it has been every time. However, my twin sister Pink is married to Stew, the landlord of a Pub in Barnes and he always has to work Christmas day so he is never able to join the rest of the family oop North. As a result Pink alternates with Christmas in Hull one year and then with her Hubby in Barnes the next. So just for a change Ali and I have decided to stay in London and join Pink and Stew. What a chore having to spend all Christmas day in a lovely pub by the River Thames :-)

Whilst this is very cool it did kick up a bit of a logistical problem. We had to take all the presents for the family up to Hull this weekend! So I had less time than ever to do the hated Christmas shopping. Doh! So a couple of weeks ago I decided to see if I could buy all my presents on the Interweb. In order to minimise the number of packages that I would receive and have to sign for (and potentially miss!) I decided to try and get every thing from a single supplier. I chose since they seem to be pretty well thought of. So I spent an enjoyable evening watching a few episodes of Lost whilst surfing cool web sites like Firebox and When I found the stuff that I wanted I searched and ordered it on Amazon. Perhaps a bit unfair to the smaller sites, but in the space of 3 hours I had got every present and everything arrived in two boxes within 4 days. I don't think I'll ever bother with "real" shops again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Winter Wonderland

I was returning from tedious Christmas shopping this afternoon when I caught this lovely view over the cricket pitch at the end of our road. Pink sky over rolling mist. Just glad I happened to have my camera with me. There are many downsides to Winter, not least the cold wet weather, short days and Strictly Come Dancing on the tele. But seeing things like this on a crisp Winters day almost makes it worth it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wire eating critters

The new kittens, Barney and Boo, are excellent in so many ways. But they do have a down side. Obviously there are the normal things like smelly cat litter, scratched furniture, "accidents" and them trying to wake you up in the middle of the night. However, these problems have been reasonably easy to get round. You can get cat litter that is very effective in masking the smell and using litter liners (like bin bags) makes it easy to change the litter. We have given them a number of scratching posts and what not so, touch wood, they haven't destroyed any furniture. Only once have they had an "accident" (not sure which the culprit was) but that ain't bad in two months and we stopped them waking us up in the night by closing the bedroom door.

However, there is one dastardly crime that has remained unsolved! Because Boo is much smaller than Barney and is all black like a witches cat, we have always characterised him as being the criminal master mind and Barney being his hulking henchcat. So when it became clear that there was a wire chewer in our midst, Boo was immediately in the frame. The first time Ali came down to find that one of the headphones from her Walkman had been chewed off we were quite amused. Ali is certainly not amused any more since she is now on her 3rd set since the boys arrived! I still found it quite funny until I today spotted Barney tucking into my Sennheiser HD 447's (very nice headphones). He had chewed through the left hand wire and was half way through the other one. Our criminal is revealed and Boo's in the clear (unless Boo convinced Barney to do it).

It is one thing knowing who the guilty party is but quite another thing preventing him doing it any more. My mate Marcus suggested putting chilli oil on the cables but that seems a bit harsh. Aside from covering the wiring, which is totally impractical, or sending Barney down to the Glue Factory, which Ali has ruled out, how can we stop the little fella chewing? If he starts chewing a power cable it could be very dangerous for him not to mention being a fire risk. Any suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I am Kermit!

Wow - I just did a test to see which Sesame Street character I was. Of course I hoped that I would be like Kermit the Frog since he is my all time hero. He's one cool piece of green. But of course I didn't take it very seriously. Until, that is, it not only decided that I was like Kermit, but it was also more acurate than many of the Myers-Briggs and Jung tests I have done over the years.

You can try it here and see what you think

These are my results (ignore the bad grammar which results from it being automated);

You are mostly organized, both concrete and abstract, and more extroverted.

Here is why are you Kermit the Frog.

You are somewhat organized. You have a good idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Kermit is also reasonably tidy. He'll even dress up for interviews.

You are sometimes concrete and sometimes an abstract thinker. Kermit spends a lot of his time as a reporter collecting facts, but he is also the author of the dreamy song "The Rainbow Connection." You have a good balance in your life. You know when to be logical at times, but you also aren't afraid to explore your dreams and desires... within limits of course.

You are both extroverts. Kermit gets along with everyone. Sure a few folks annoy him, but that's just because they are annoying. Kermit likes to meet new people when he does his job as a street reporter. You definitely enjoy the company of others, and you don't have problems meeting new people... in fact you probably look forward to it. You are willing to take charge when necessary or work as part of a team.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Kermit starred on Sesame Street years before The Muppet Show.

The other possible characters are
Oscar the Grouch
Big Bird
Cookie Monster
The Count
Guy Smiley

You are Kermit the Frog
You scored 58% Organization, 46% abstract, and 76% extroverted!