Whatever happened to...

A long time ago... a loooong time ago... almost half a lifetime ago... I wrote a little humour piece about the lives of the "Famous Five" as they entered middle age, and there bitterness and misery at their subsequent lives and portrayal in the media. Now, fifteen years later, it seems that there are plans afoot for a television series with a similar idea. I imagine this version would not be quite so dark or cynical, but I look forward with some interest to seeing how this plays out.


Tired of...

Every time I head "I was tired of January, I was tired of June", I wonder what the world would be like if it was "I was tired of Terry, I was tired of June" instead.

Weak British sitcoms of the 1970's, doncha just love 'em?


Bobby DeNiro

Saw 'Stardust' yesterday -- probably the only film you'll see all year starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap, David Walliams and Adam Buxton playing ghosts. Which means -- awesomely -- that we now have Adam Buxton and Robert DeNiro together at last! (no sign of Bob Hoskins, though).


Good and bad

Americans! Here are two linguistic constructions that really irritate me when you use them in a formal context!

Bad is an adjective, not a noun. Stop saying 'bad' when you mean 'mistake'. This is fine in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", but comes across as childish and insincere when used in an apology from a multi-billion-dollar company.

Good is an adjective, not an adverb. Correct: "The performance of the code was good". Incorrect: "The program did good". Unless, of course, you mean that the code performed some moral and improving acts for humanity.


Mark Ronson

Was listening to the inflight entertainment, and the recorded DJ commented that Mark Ronson had recently collaborated with Jimmy Fallon. Was this, I wondered, some bizarre mishearing of Lily Allen? No, it turns out that they really have worked together. Still, Jimmy Fallon and Lily Allen - together at last?


Do you know the way?

Finally recovering from my jaunt to San Jose, the main repuercussion of which is to have a certain Bacharach and David composition resounding through my head for a whole week (not good). The climate there is simply unbearable -- constant sunshine and pleasant temperatures year-round -- which makes one wonder how it was possible civilisation developed there at all, given the quite workable alternative of just sitting around all the time. An unexpected upgrade on the flight out, coupled with an unceremonial return to coach class for the return red-eye is pushing me to the conclusion that flight is only bearable under the standards of first class. Although domestic first class on a 737 -- with shared TVs, limit reclining and so on -- is nothing to write home about, despite the fact that I seem to be doing exactly that.

Communications between San Jose and San Francisco are surprisingly convenient given my prejudices about public transport in the Golden State, although a crowded train and the need to change were a slight disappointment. No significant sights to be seen either, unless you count the picturesque Berkeley campus which the designer erroneously decided to place on a severe incline, a basic mistake which even I could have pointed out to them. Here, apparently "jay-walking" is a serious crime and punished by a large fine. I'm not sure that I could tolerate to tarry long in a place where crossing the road is a criminal act, but this just goes to show that these Americans are crazy.

Signs of Aging

Just tuned into British radio to hear a song I had never heard before, and then to have the DJ back announce it as "the current UK number one". I don't remember that happening before (I'm rarely aware what is top of the pops, but when I am, it's usually a song I have heard before). Is this a sign of advancing years, or indicative of our increasingly fractured iPod generation?

On other matters UKadian, I sought out the New York Times "London Food Company" in Montclair yesterday, and was rather disappointed by the contents. Its shelves were stacked with foods such as custard, baked beans, and cadbury's chocolate, all of which are available in plentiful supply in most mainstream supermarkets here if you know where to look (usually in the quaintly named "Ethnic foods -- Irish" section). Likewise, all varieties of tea in abundance, which is no problem to find generally. They had Walkers crisps, but in the red, green and blue of ready salted, salt and vinegar, and cheese and onion -- all of which flavours are approximated tolerably well by Lays over here. They were distinctly lacking in the real rarities of UK snackdom: where were the frazzles, the nik naks and the like? I left disappointed and empty-handed.



A helpful advert in the newspaper that I am a participant in a class action lawsuit because, at some point in the last decade, I have bought, hired, consumed or otherwise engaged with bananas. More info here (although watch out for the nutty neo-con bias).


Pocket Watches

19th Century: the pocket watch. In order to tell the time, you have to take it from your pocket and press a button to reveal the time.
1970s: The digital LED wrist watch. Now the watch fits on your wrist, but you still need to press a button to reveal the time.
1980s: The digital LCD wrist watch. No more buttons!
1990s: People start using their mobile telephones instead of a watch to tell the time. So you need to pull it out your pocket in order to see the time on the LCD display.
2000s: I get a new mobile phone which has a color display. But because the display uses up the battery, it switches off the display. So in order to tell the time, I have to take it from my pocket, and press a button to reveal the time.

Is it me, or has all this technology advancement set us back to how things were a few hundred years ago? I'm now tempted to get an ornate gold chain to attach my phone to my jacket pocket. Except that I don't wear a jacket.


Semper Fi

Spent an unnecessary amount of time trying to work out which of the interchangeable Coldplay/Athlete/Keane/Muse/Starsailor/Snow Patrol melange that I heard on a mix CD recently. It had the very distinctive refrain "Oh Semper Fi", so I thought I would easily find it.

Of course, it turns out to be "Somewhere only we know" by Keane, and according to the Internet, the actual words are "Oh simple thing", which of course is not as good as my version.

It occurs to me that I don't actually seem to mind rejection as much as other people; but rather I do mind not knowing what the outcome is. I suppose I just strive for certainty above other ends.


Hang up your hats

Rather ignominiously, the saga of the Hat Bandit seems to be over (see postings past); a perp was nabbed a few weeks back, although he denies it. Check local and national press for details.

Also see this handy info graphic which shows where the bandit has struck in his months of terror.

More UC Fun

Was watching the new series of University Challenge, when this little repartee from SOAS seemed to catch Jezza off-guard. Does he really not know what they are referring to, or is he just a little slow of the mark on this one? Judge for yourself:

Direct Youchoob link

If it's still not clear, see this old post and in particular, this youchoob vid for context.