Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I wait. For the removal people to bring me some boxes so that I may finish my packing. Luckily I've already started or I wouldn't finish.

Sorry, did I not say? The Big Move is going forward on Friday! Huzzah! (Imagine a big smiley inserted here).

So, I wait....

Friday, October 20, 2006

A health joke

A woman goes into hospital for surgery on her cancerous innards. They remove, amongst others, her kidneys and uterus. These bits get sent to the fridge for storage until such time as they can be examined and tested thus gaining insight into the patients medical condition. But they don't make it to the fridge. Oh, no. They get put in a warming cabinet. For nine days. Rendering them useless dry husks. Treatment options? Erm....None.

This is in no way related to my job in a hospital. I must stress that or my bottom will burn from a tanning.

A good day

Well huzzah. My solicitor has called and suggested a date for my move. Next Friday, a full seven days from now. Not going to be stressed at all in the next week then...He has to phone my sellers and agree it with them first but with any luck...*fingers crossed*

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A sexy Christmas?

Today I have been introduced to the concept of 'Rodeo Sex '.

I may try this tonight or, if I consider I may wish to have ‘relations’ ever again, I may not. Not that I wouldn’t necessarily say no to my Sister-in-law’s advances but I’d probably be too busy imagining doing her bodily harm to gain a certain….rigidity, so the wife would suss it from the get go. I’d like to think she’d see the humour of the situation but like most ‘I’d like to think...’s about the wife, I would be disastrously wrong.

Such as Christmas 2003; I thought that she’d like her Christmas presents. Looking back the electric blanket, gloves, socks and water bottle cover had a theme but is it too much to ask of her undying love that she appreciates these gestures? She feels the cold incessantly (and oh she whinges so) and I thought I was doing what was best. For my nerves and tits, that she was getting on top of like a wheelchair bound Edmund Hilary, as well as her warmth. Apparently so. Three years later I’m still threatened that this year had better not be a repeat performance. I search in vain for the perfect ie cheap yet not tacky, present.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A mission (but not to Mars) - PART 1

Henceforth I am going on a mission. A quest. For new readers. I'm sorry to betray you single, solitary reader but I feel you need company. I need people that can genuflect properly. And leave comments. Lot's of comments that I may show to others as proof of my fawnability. Any sort of advice would be welcome...

Countdown to Christmas

Are you ready yet? Have you suffered the humiliation of being pounded in the buttocks by the granny behind you, eager for that last piece of plastic crap for dear Jason? There's only 67 days to go! Aaaaah! Or not. You see the sensible among us ie those under 40 with a sense of the technical use this 'ere internet. Last year I was proud, I stood up!, to have not stepped into one single, solitary shop for a present. It helped that the wife got most of it admittedly but not even her presents were shoplifted or purloined from the high street.

Where might this technological time-saver go next? Could we order own funeral on our death-bed? Might one just log-on during fornication to get the ever needed mornig after pill? Time can only tell and I wish it would for my body clock is ticking and time is running out.

Tick-tick-tick....life is running past. Not jogging, not walking but sprinting like Linford Christie on a souped up pimping bling mobile, with go zoooooooooooooooom stripes. Next year I may be dead and then I wouldn't get to find out what the frig Lost is all about and THAT is my biggest regret. Not that I'd leave my grieving widow (she'd better grieve!!) for I'd be dead and wouldn't know what state she's got herself in but we put so much time and effort into watching these things, if we died before the climax, like so many pensioners, what would be the point of it all? There, that's my big guide to life - make sure you see the end of any TV programs you're following or books you're reading otherwise your life has been pointless. That's deep that is.


Hello once more, single, solitary reader.

You will see that I've updated my blog with those pesky posts I mentioned. I have also redesigned it a rather snazzy beige colour. Hmm beige.

REVIEW: The Long Way Down - Nick Hornby

A second title for this latest Nick Hornby could be Suicide: The Hardway - It's never a good way to do something difficult by doing it as a group which is where the people of the novel go wrong.

Meeting by chance on New Year's Eve on top of a tower block four people have their own reasons for jumping, with varying factors of relevance. Mr Hornby covers a lot of the pop culture references in his group: the celebrity, the carer, the failed rock god and the chav, so from the get-go you're rooting for them just to get on with it and jump.

I won't spoil wether they do or not, suffice to say things happen along the way to drag the book out. Often funny, sometimes melancholy, it's possibly too blase about the subject matter, relying on comedy rather than reality to show people in emotional pain. Imagine a Joss Whedon TV program on suicide and you have the book; full of witticisms at a time when death is steps away, one of the characters even comments that they're talking like they're in a London Soap.

It would be difficult for a book on this subject to show motive if it wasn't in the first person, which is lucky as we read what amounts to four different monolgues, intertwining their story with different perspectives. Bizarrely though, the personalites barely change, with only Jess, being the most extreme, having any sort of different vocabulary and most of that derogatory.

I'd recommend it to fans of Mr Hornby's work but certainly not as a starting point. 3 out of 5

REVIEW: Coyote Blue - Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is a writer on the edge. Like a man with a penis is almost a woman, Mr Moore is almost a writer of pulp; he's pre-op. His ideas and characters belong in weighty tomes, 300 pages thick, while his writing style aid the words' trip through the mind. While not a book to rival a 'classic' this is TV in novel form.

Coyote Blue rockets along veering from surreal action piece to romantic interlude, while the reader looks on in the style of Mr. T ie a crazy fool. Most of his books can be described with a single strange soundbite and this is no exception: Indian with his own god has an existential crisis. OK the crisis might not actually exist until the Coyote of the title shows up in the opening pages, which makes for detached reading later on, but once he's there the turns and twists keep coming. One particularly memorable scene involves Sam's apartment and the Coyote in the form of...a coyote wreaking havoc. Manimal was never like this.

Coyote, the trickster, having visited Sam as a child in a vision quest, helps him with his life by destroying it and thus building it back up again. Out goes Sam's life, job and apartment and in comes a more fulfilling one as husband and potential father.By the end of the book you know how it's going to end up but it's a great ride getting there. It would have been nice to find out more of why Sam's life was so awful; he's only rich and successful after all. Similarly Coyote takes a sudden shift in personality in the final chapters which jars with what came earlier.

3 out of 5

REVIEW: 24 - Season 3

The one where...Jack stops the virus #

The superhuman CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent that is Jack Bauer serves his country once more. Along the way, people die, get tortured, kidnapped and generally don't have a nice time but then you probably knew that.

Season 3 sees Jack back at CTU having recovered from ordeals of dealing with the nuke and the death of Terry, his wife. He's subordinate to Tony Almeda the new Director of CTU but in charge of Field-Ops, a seemingly new addition to the team. For the past year Jack's been working under cover with a group of drug traffickers to buy a 'Weaponised' virus, that kills people in about 18 hours and it's effects are nasty to say the least. Needless to say, things go wrong. Big time. President Palmer is back (yawn) and has his own subplot this time, involving Sherry Palmer and the President's new Chief of Staff, Wayne Palmer, David's brother.

As ever, the action comes thick and fast, with contrived story devices thrown left and right like Plot Grenades. No other show has quite so many cliff hangers, not just in the final few minutes but also in the twentieth, twenty first and every other damn minute of screentime. For a man having heart trouble the last time we saw him Jack bounds around kicking three bells out of anyone and anything to get his *gruff voice* "job done". We even see a softer side, something we've not seen since the first few scenes of season 1 before the Presidents life was threatened. Old characters make a welcome return and some leave in a meh kind of way. Blink and you'll miss the death of a Big Bad which is the one major disappointment of this year.

No amount of disappointment however can prepare you for the blandness of David Palmer's B story. Much of the action revolves around Wayne Palmer and he has to shoulder the blame, as an actor. DB Woodside portrays Wayne like an arrogant younger sibling, petulantly throwing his toys out of the pram. Not even Penny Johnson Jerald as Sherry can liven up proceedings as we've seen her evil-woman-pretending-to-be-nice routine too often. Just how many times can the president use her, only to regret it? American Presidents have a reputation for being stupid but it would be nice to see even the fictitious ones be clever now and again. Time and again he makes choices which you feel he'd never make - you're the President David! Never heard of a pardon?

You'll be relieved to hear Kim Bauer's not put in danger umpteen times an episode having been given a job at CTU by her oh, so loving Dad, where she falls in love with...Jack's partner. Hop aboard the cliché train! New IT people jump in - do you need to be an IT specialist to work in CTU? - and work miracles with their 'future' technology. Paul Blackthorne is perhaps the best addition to this year as token English bad guy Stephen Saunders, playing malice for all he can get.

As usual characters and plot strands abound, revolving around each other with abandon; bluffs and double occur with all too common frequency and there's not a lot you think you haven't seen before - how many times can they play the "Someone’s hacked into CTU and/or are working undercover" card? Just how secure are the computers and staff in American Intelligence?

So, three seasons in and jack's looking tired. Let's hope season 4 re-invigorates the show as there's not a lot else as exciting. Dropping a point for unoriginality, 3 and a half out of 5.

REVIEW: House of Wax (2005)

Being better than it has any right to be, House of Wax is a decent teen-slasher. It seems to tick most ‘slasher’ boxes: pretty cast (Elisha Cuthbert, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki), camping in the woods, a road trip, creepy family, brother & sister, amongst others, which handily also sums up the plot if you chuck in copious amounts of wax. The only glaringly obvious omission is gratuitous nudity, especially given it’s rating and Ms Hilton’s extra-curricular internet videos.

The performances are (amazingly) solid, the effects are acceptable and the death scenes suitably gruesome, one of which features the best use of a javelin, ever. In fact, it’s the stuff that happens behind the camera that lets it down: The continuity is shocking, the directing tiresome and the editing slow.

3 out of 5

REVIEW: Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

Superhuman strength, sleeping all day, cool mist effects, immortality: what’s not to love about being a vampire? As Jody discovers it’s a pretty lonely affair. How can you love someone when you treat them as your next meal?

Such is the premise for the Christopher Moore’s vampire opus. Referencing many of the vampire classics, including Anne Rice’s Lestat series, Moore creates his vampire and leaves her for dead under a dumpster. Who did it and why, are questions explored during the course of the book and makes for compelling reading. Unfortunately the pay-off isn’t quite justified. Yes, we have fun along the way: Jody’s boyfriend and his work mates AKA ‘The Animals’, learning Jody’s powers and limitations via bizarre experiments, the best littlest hobo in town and one of the best uses for Turtles in literature today, makes for fun reading, right up until the closings chapter when we find out the justification for the Big Bad being the Big Bad. He’s not really that bad after all, he just wants to get laid…

It might be a big change to your life being a vampire but once through the process, Jody seems to forget about her previous life, one scene with her mother notwithstanding. Her job is barely mentioned, her friends certainly aren’t. Would it hurt Christopher Moore to fill in back story now and again? It seems to be a recurring trend in his books that you get to know what is happening now, how it affects now but none of the repercussions, or events that led to it.

Thus, while it’s a humorous read, it’s an ultimately unfulfilling one. 2 and a half out of 5.

REVIEW: Vellum by Hal Duncan

OK, I'm making no bones about it. It doesn't happen often but I failed this book. I got to page 117 and gave up. Before I go further,to give a sense of the book's prose I'm going to quote from the authors blog, something that had I read, and his blog is pretty much like this all the way through, I might never have bought it.

If we are to see the metaphysical narrative as utilising a third vector of dislocation in a 3D timespace, as part of a deeper system in which it is the Z-axis to the X and Y of parallel and future narratives, then the logical question is whether the metaphysicals are treated in the same way as the counterfactuals or hypotheticals. What I mean is: do writers use the same techniques we have identified within parallel / future narratives to validate these metaphysical unrealities, to prevent the collapse of suspension of disbelief? Do they explain them or excuse them? Do they exploit them?

Now, the book starts fantastically; it has an urgency, an immedicacy, a need to get the story out. It reads like the final reel of a thriller, the killer about to strike and I sat there thinking 'Wow'. Not since reading Stephen King's Dark Tower - with it's superb prose after years of him producing guff, which I since realised he wrote Dark Tower way before his 'guff' which gives you a sense of how his career his gone dontchathink? - have I had that feeling.

Then the second plotline kicks in. And the second. And the third, fourth and possibly fifth (I'm no longer quite sure). All of which occur at different times, in different places, in different perspectives and in different styles of writing. Headfuck? Oh yeah. And this would be fine, I'm not a dullard, I can cope with this complicated stuff, except for the schizophrenic nature of it. At no point is it clear just what the hell is going on. The plot, apparently (having taken this from various sources) is about armageddon and Heaven and Hell are searching for people to join their sid, including Big Good, Metatron. It's just so damn hard to give a toss when the narrative intertwines mid paragraph with the fate of characters in different timelines, when the prose makes no semantic, grammatic or plot-ic sense.

Some describe this as the best book of 2005 and for a short period I agreed. Unfortunately I'd describe it as Most Obtuse 20th Century.

REVIEW: The 4400 - series 3

The one where...We get an Adult Isabelle and like a club foot, it drags.

The American TV networks are a strange thing to behold. One the otherhand you have Firefly, a show beloved by fans and critically acclaimed, even by those who normally abhor the Whedonite cause (like me!) that gets cancelled half way though the first season. On the other, you get The 4400, with far from stratospheric ratings and mediocre reviews, now in it's third season with the fourth confirmed before the third had even finished.

This year should have been the end for many reasons. The major addition this year was Adult Isabelle, miraculously grown from a baby to late teen at the the end of last year through some sort of 4400 ability. Daughter of Lily and Richard, she'd been signposted as a Big Bad to come, being able to communicate and destroy from an early age IE birth. While played by the admittedly beautiful Megalyn Echikunwoke Isabelle is perhaps one of the most obnoxious characters ever created. Evil people should have charm and style, not throw tantrums and sulk. it wouldn't be so bad if she was played well; you can't lay all the blame at the feet of the writers but Ms Echikunwoke tries to act like the two year old person she technically, instead of giving her character a defined purpose.

Much of this year focuses on the characters and suffers because of it. Isabelle ponders her role in the coming war far too often and can't make up her damned mind which side she's going to be on. Despite the viewer knowing it way before the climax.Too much of what happens is signposted, too much is just bland. Matthew, Sean, Kyle...why should you care about them when they're just so boring! Matthew it turns out is an agent of the future and what do they do with him? NOTHING!

In the first two years this was an exciting program, you didn't know where it was going but it was good to watch them get there. This year you knew exactly where they were going and they took far too long about it. The entire middle third of the season could be excised and make a much better season. I actually stopped watching and only came back to it for want of something better to do - "What have they done to this program??!!" I cried.

In the final few episodes Jordan Collier returns from the dead and impacts like the Tunguskan Meteor. Boy did he save this series; he should have been bought back at least four episodes earlier and allowed to develop. Instead, he's in, he schemes, he's possibly Jesus Christ and he makes the program exciting once more but even for a season climax it's a damp squib.

The main stable of actors are satisfactory enough, Diana gets a new love interest, Maia is her normal great Child Actor Who Doesn't Annoy, Jeffrey Combs (he's got his own fan club dontchaknow) is one of the Sci-Fi alumni obviously and Summer Glau is now a semi-regular.

Final mark? Big disappointment. Must try harder. 5/10.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Moving House

If you ever get bored of where you live, especially if it's a flat with a rubbish management company for a landlord, get over it. It's far less stressful to hear your upstairs neighbours running up and down stairs at 3am or watch them throwing endless cigarette butts and food from their window to beneath yours, than it is to cope with endless paperwork, threatened deadlines and slow solicitors, believe me.

We started the process of moving (note this doesn't include the time spent looking for a house in the first place) in June. JUNE!! It's not the middle of October and we're nowehere near completion. My buyer keeps askign bizarre questions (Are there any medieval churches in the area? WTF??). It wouldn't be so bad if she could ask them directly but they via ger solicitor, to ours and then to us before being bounced back along the chain, so a simple question takes a week. To be fair we don't know if it's her asking the questions or her solicitor being thorough. Either way our 'seller' (new word for me!), is on the verge of pulling out as they're getting fed up of delays. Unfortunately we can't do anything but sit on our hands as we wait for our management company's solicitor (the third in this sorry affair) to sort out the answeres to yet more questions.

As far as we're aware our buyer really wants to move (she set-up her new phone bill three months ago), we're desperate (technically the weakest link but were ready first!!) and our sellers, as indicated are frothing like an over-excited cappucino. This is the state of play and it's not fun anymore. Once it was, once I was excited, but that soon gave way to boredom. We're now desperate to move as our neighbours are pissing us off. I used to go around picking litter up off the communal grass but as I was the only one doing it and I was moving I stopped. Now it looks like we may be staying AND I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO PICKING UP LITTER. I want my own garden that only I'm responsible for goddamnit!

REVIEW: The Big Over Easy - Jaspar Fforde

The first book in Jaspar Fforde's Nursery Crime Division, detective series gets off to a roaring start. Written in ooh, 2003?, I'm a bit late reading this, let alone reviewing it but it's set in 'almost' the same universe as his Thursday Next books ie you get a lot of weirdness with a soupcon of modern and contemporary gubbins thrown in.

The main story focuses on Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and the murder of Humpty Dumpty, the large anthromorphosised egg. Did he jump or was he pushed? Or shot? Or poisoned? Or something else? There are a lot of elements combined into one here. On one level it's a straight whodunnit, albeit a certain definition for straight ie a bit bent. On the other, it's also a parody of the great sleuths Morse, Marple, Holmes, Poirot and I'm sure countless others I've missed. And that's as well as being a story of rivalry bewteen former friends, of ambition and morality, all in a world where the three little pigs are up for attempted broiling of the wolf and the Gingerbreadman is a psychotic inmate of the local nuthouse.

So, not the usual run-of-the-mill book then. But then if you've read any of Mr Fforde's works you'll know what to expect. There are puns galore, most of the characters names are plays on words (Friedland Chymes! Genius!) and jokes a plenty. Like Terry Pratchett his books are frequently described as 'hilarious' but I never find myself laughing out loud at them but it should be noted by the end my cheek muscles needed replacing from smiling so much.


Friday, October 13, 2006


I've decided I'm going to amalgamate my other blog (You've got another blog?? I hear you cry) with this as, as little traffic as this gets, it's a veritible hive of activity compared to the other. So my reviews will shortly appear here, dear singular reader.

A Christmas Endeavour

The wife and I sat down last night and went through the list of undeserving causes we should give presents to for Christmas and ended up not deciding anything. This was a wasted half hour in which we could have done something more fruitful with our time. I could have been playing Full Spectrum Warrior on my XBOX. I could have found out who killed Humpty Dumpty in Jaspar Fforde's NCD opus. I could have cut out my tongue and fried it - not with onions and a nice chianti - but in a flambe type bearnaise sauce. This I would have fed to my cat quite happiily, in the knowledge I hadn't JUST WASTED HALF AN HOUR OF MY PRECIOUS LIFE. Why can't the wife do these things?? I though we had a deal. I deal with the important housey stuff and she deals with the crud I couldn't give a toss about. Words will be had.


Sorry. I know, I know. I've not been here for awhile. My apologies. My reader, for they are singular (prove me wrong! write a comment!) has been let down by my inactivity these past weeks.

What delightful occurencies have been going on? Well, my house sale is on the verge of falling through, my wife is getting more ill and I hate my job. Apart from that, life's peachy. Specifics to follow...

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