23 Nov 2011

A vague sense of regret

Good evening

I probably should not be blogging as I have had about an hours sleep in the past 24. But I am restless and can't go to bed yet.

I am preparing to travel to the city of Lambs on the morrow, other wise known as Palmerston North. Is there a Palmerston south of that city? I wonder?

Any way my wonderful girl is graduating on Friday morning; HUZZAH!

But due to the time table we have to drive up tomorrow afternoon and spend the night there.  But that is not the subject of tonight's post. More a disclaimer if this makes absolutely no sense.

Recently I was offered the opportunity to write up an article about my office on the departments web page, to educate and illuminate the populace on our curious history and what we do.  Perhaps a sentence or two about our shrine to Winston? Or maybe a humorous anecdote from the past? Like when tall Stanly bit young Tom during a debate over which font to use in emails, and then poor Tom died of  scrofula.

Aerial 10 apparently.

It seemed like a great opportunity to put my skills to the test.  A chance to shine, to show the world the real me!
However I declined.
  Regardless of what I wrote; good or bad, accurate or mythological, the project would turn into a farce. Perhaps one word in ten of mine might be used, if it was thought to be "dynamic enough". My suspicions were confirmed today by a friend in management and also by recent experiences. I was told "You are well out of it."
It seems that whether  you were; Graeme Green, Dr. Seuss, or R. L. Stine, the result would be the same if  results of similar projects is anything to go by.
Not quite "snappy enough"
Hemingway was disappointed that Marie Claire rejected his idea for an advice column
I can imagine the conversation now....

Me- "What did you think?
Project manager - "I don't like it?"
Me-" oh OK you wanted a history so that's it, in a nutshell. But I can change it."
Project manager- "It's a bit dry....could you make it more dynamic?"
 Me "It's a history of our office, not Thermopylae? but sure what do you want?'
Project manager- "Well this is OK, but give it pizazz, make it creative! make it snappier!"

5 Min's later....

Project manager- " And then just as I completed the health and safety module, ironically Ian was attacked by Velociraptors. We saved the day by Marty completing the Health and Safety risk escalation form and I unleashed the Tyrannosaurus Rex who ate them all. Hooray! What is this?"
Me "You said you wanted snappy? Whats snappier than a Tyrannosaurus Rex fighting Velociraptors? 7.9 on IMDB can't be wrong"

Well maybe not, but you get the idea.

From experience and observation I know that the end product will not really be mine, and I doubt there would be any credit granted, and if there was would I want it? Also the experience would be frustrating to the point of farcical, so I believe I have made the correct choice.

Still it is a niggle that I turned down an opportunity to write.

Oh well what's done is done and it seems less like an opportunity to write, and an opportunity to give me heart disease. I will worry not. It will be soon time to rest and travel to celebrate a my good and gracious girl I am so proud of.

Love you darling.

19 Nov 2011

Thngs I am looking forward to

Ahhh what the future brings. When I was a boy it was; Summer, Space travel, Nuclear Holocaust and Jet packs. Sadly the end of the cold war, the decline of N.A.S.A. and the prospect of a new ice age has put paid to those salad day dreams. Now I must look elsewhere for the promise of entertainment. 

But as I gaze into the future it is not all HBO, and Victoria's secrets. There is dread, change and with the prospect of a newly released Adam Sander movie; fear.

But without further ado here is stuff I am looking forward to and stuff I am not looking forward to.

Looking forward to
  • Brave 
I like Pixar films, and this looks fun. The story of a young Scottish princess fighting to change her fate in a land of tradition. Wow that looks quite dull written down. But it looks great; there is adventure, fun and promise of a well crafted story. Oh and it has Billy Connolly as well.
  • The Rum Diary, both the book and the film
 I like Hunter S. Thompson and I have yet to read this story by him. Good summer holiday read I think. And you can't really go too wrong with Johnnny Depp.
  • Second season of Walking Dead
Loved the first season, and I am looking forward to seeing what trials await our heroes. But I do have a considerable amount of TV to catch up on such as Game of Thrones.

  • The Muppets
From the previews I am very hopeful that this project will capture the fun and humour created by Jim Henson. Jason Segal is a good story teller in his own right, and he has worked hard to reboot the Muppet's on the big screen.  I just hope that he succeeded.
  • Tinker, Tailor. Soldier, Spy (the film)
Loved the book, and the TV series and this looks like a it's going to be great.  Superb cast and it has the director of the Swedish classic vampire film "Let the right one in."  I have very high hopes.
  • A Dance with Dragons
Many of you may have experienced the pleasure and drama of the HBO series Game of Thrones.  Well this is the latest book in the series. The author George R.R. Martin was told by his editor that he should split his next book into two separate works, and he did. Excellent writer, ghastly but wonderful books.
  • The Pirates, It's a Plunderful life
If you like Wallace and Grommit and Flushed away, and I do, then this movie is for you. Yes Even I put away my Alistair Crowley or John Dee, and go into the sunlight breifly, before retiring back into the darkness in front of some Plasticine pirates with a glass of Pepperjack Shiraz. Huzzah!

 Not looking forward to
  •   Monday 
Seriously need a new job. It's like working at Dantes inferno.
  • Twilight franchises next offering
I cannot wait until this highly perturbing and disturbing dross masquerading as a teen romance literature is consigned to the literary commode of history. Lent to me as a "Good vampire book". I have de-friended that person on face book.
  • Jack and Jill
Hansel and Gretal, Snow white, Abraham Lincoln, all these fairy tales are being brought to the big screen with a twist. Hansel and Gretal are witch hunters, Abraham Lincoln  is a Vampire killer and Snow white has two separate new interpretations. Jack and Jill however is the story of one successful star, and his decline into terrible and embarrassing projects. I am of course referring to Al Pacino and his cameo in this vile pastiche of humour. Jack and Jill is  Adam Sandler playing himself and his twin sister. I have no intention of watching this incredulous mess. Just seeing the movie poster makes my gums itch.
  • Star Wars episode I, the Phantom Menace in 3D
  • Battleship
Yes  the movie of the board game. 

  • Clash of the Titans II
 I don't understand why they hate Greek Myhtology so much?
  • Mission impossible IV
Is the impossible mission trying to get people to watch this?
  • Underworld IV
Kate Beckensale in a tight leather jumpsuit, battling vampires and were-wolves with swords and guns. How can something that seems so cool, be so dumb?

OK that's me for now. Anything you are particularly looking forward to? Whether it be on the big, small screen, or in print or music?

I'd love to see your thoughts

13 Nov 2011

Comments and Anticipation

Hi my name is John and I used to read comments on the interweb.

Occasionally there would be an article on Stuff or some other site which would allow people to comment, at length mostly about how they are right and how stupid other people were. Reading peoples comments usually made me quite angry. I am one of those awful intolerant people that hate bullies and bigots.

I know I should learn to be more accepting.

In fact reading comments made me so angry that my new years resolution for this year was to stop reading comments at all. The two exceptions being Face Book and the comments made on this blog.

And I am reconsidering FB. 

This is the first resolution I have ever kept. There have been a couple of minor transgressions, but nothing major. Sadly One of them occurred today. Today's blog post was going to be about things I am looking forward to, and I am interested in looking at American Vampire.  Here is an article about it:

Curious I went online looking for a review. I soon found a site which I thought was of readers review. I started reading and before I knew it I was no longer reading reviews about the comic, but a comparison between Twilight and American Vampire.  This quickly turned into a comment war between one Twilight fan and everybody else.  Here is an example;

" I read back of kings book once, and couldnt understand some word, he uses big fancy words, and SO WHAT? meyer is REAL LITERATURE, ok"

I then realised what I was doing and closed the whole site down and went into the sun and did some gardening.  My apologies to the world, I will endeavour to be more diligent in future.

I did go back to copy that comment for this post, and it was a difficult choice between that example and the one where the girl (?) confused Stephen King with Stephen Hawking.


OK so I will do some sit ups in further penance and  tomorrows blog will be things I am looking forward to and thing I am trying to avoid.

Hope you are enjoying the sun.

5 Nov 2011

Angels and Demons

In the early part of the previous decade you weren’t any one unless you had read Dan Brown. Seriously you could have your New Zealand residence revoked if you had not read the Di Vinci Code. It was the new literary zeitgeist, and at the time I hadn’t seen this much  excitement hit adults over a book since Harry Potter. 

Being the curious animal I am, I borrowed a copy and read it

My most memorable moment of that book was muttering out loud “If there is one more bloody flash back I’ll rip this bloody book in half!” to which the actual owner of the book said “Oh no you won’t”

I returned to the flash backs shame faced.

So no I did not enjoy the Di Vinci Code. To me it was a pulp version of Umberto Ecos Foucaults pendulum, which if you like Eco, then I would recommend it.  But Dan Browns Di Vinci Code left me cold.  I found the plot ludicrous, and I found the writing sloppy.

When I heard that they were making a movie, and logically they would, I had no interest to see it. Then when they made a prequel of one of Mr Brown’s earlier books, I had even less inclination to spend my hard earned silver at the cinema watching it. You can imagine my unbridled joy to know that both movies are in H’s collection.

Lets move to a synopsis:
The Pope is dead and the next candidates in line have been kidnapped by a secret society, the Illuminati. The church persecuted the Illuminati in the middle ages and now they want revenge. The Illuminati have also stolen some anti matter from the CERN science facility located in Switzerland, where the large hadron collider is. The Illuminati are going to use the anti matter to create a bomb to enact their revenge on their ancient enemies. 

 The Vatican police recruit Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a professor of religious iconology and symbology at Harvard University, who is also the most prominent scholar of Illuminati history.  Langdon with help from Camerlengo McKenna (Ewan McGregor), Vittoria Vetra, a scientist from CERN (Ayelet Zurer) ,and inspector Olivetti (Pierfrancesco Favino) race against timeto save the cardinals from being murdered, and Vatican City blown up.

It is directed by Ron Howard and written by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman, The first writer did Spider Man and then wrote a whole parcel of bad scripts after that.  Goldsman wrote I Robot and episodes of Fringe the TV show. Both of which I enjoyed.

Prior to this, and despite a reasonable cast and good director, the film just didn’t interest me, as I have mentioned earlier. My experience with Brown did not interest me in his writing or anything associated with his work. I suspect that he is playing to the general trend of anti-Christian sentiment to gain popularity by demonising (no pun intended) the Catholic Church. I could be wrong in this, but given the history of the Church, why would you need to invent stuff about them.

As a student of history I do not like people inventing or changing history in a way that I think is inappropriate. The use of artistic licence obviously assists with a good narrative, and can assist in the transition form one medium to the other.  Also a tweak here and there can create marvellous opportunities for story telling. 
Kayne West revealing the secret of his success

But this sort of invention annoys me. The premise that the church burned the Illuminati to death in the fourteenth century is completely untrue, and is historical slander.  Not to a scale of U571, but it makes me cringe to know people are quoting this movie to demonise the church. Even though the film itself portrays the Vatican characters in a sympathetic light.

But in saying all that, the film was enjoyable to watch. With such a strong cast the performances were very good. I thought McGregor’s performance was excellent, and he stole pretty much most of the scenes. The film was shot in Vatican city and Rome, the setting adding to the drama of the work . The story pacing was good, if the story itself was a bit ludicrous. Normally that sort of thing makes me detach, but the movie did still manage to hold my focus until the finale.  I suspect if you had a weaker cast this would have bombed, as it was it was not a great critical or financial success. It was a lot better than I expected, and depending on your taste a very enjoyable movie.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I think you will be too.

Five and a half Monkeys from me.