Friday, 3 June 2011

how does that work?

So as mentioned I didn't do much exercise last weekend and I drank beer on Saturday and we ate takeaway pizza.

And yet I'd still lost 1 pound when I weighed myself on Sunday. It hadn't even been a particularly good week to compensate. I guess there's the possibility I was horribly dehydrated when I weighed myself, but I didn't feel that way - more tired than dehydrated.

Still, happy to take a 1 pound loss and won't be too harsh on myself if the "bad living" shows up next weekend instead.

It feels like I've gotten way behind with the scanning. I seem to have lost a bit of momentum with it.

I mean, I have done quite a lot of catching up - I'm no longer 15 months behind, I'm now only about 6 months behind - but I've been feeling like I'm never going to catch up, so why even bother trying?

I mean, it's not that bad, but you get what I mean. I think to myself that I've so much of it to do, doing x instead of some scanning is hardly going to hurt. trouble is all that adds up and I'll soon be a stupid amount behind again.

Part of the problem I think was the all problems I had with the cable internet connection. That coincided with me being off around Easter and meant I couldn't watch crunchyroll stuff. At the time the new UK one - Anime On Demand - was just getting going too and those were what I really wanted to watch while I scanned.

Instead I watched (older) fansubs I'd downloaded, and while that was good and needed doing, it meant I've gotten some way behind with new season stuff where I'd hoped I was going to be fully up to date.

As mentioned there's also this AOD thing and while I have subscribed to it, I'm not hugely impressed. It only seems to work in either a small window or full-screen, even if you adjust the resolution setting. This really doesn't work for me with watching it while I'm scanning, because the window is too small to easily watch and read the subtitles and of course full screen means you can't practically do anything else at the same time.

It's also all over the place in terms of episode numbers. To be fair they launched it just when the earthquake hit Japan and it's a brand new thing, so it's understandable, but it's a bit confusing with the episode numbers they're on and how big a delay they have from Japanese screening.

Also I'm unsure about the whole "season pass" model.

I hope what they're getting at is a quarterly subscription model that's basically a similar idea to crunchyroll. What I'm slightly worried about is that once the season is over, the videos will basically expire. That's a pain for me because I watch anime quite randomly, so it might be several weeks before I get around to watching some things.

The advantage with crunchyroll's model is that they try to keep things on for as long as possible. So if you come along several seasons later you can still watch stuff. A "season pass" implies that previous season's content will not be available to you.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Monaco GP

Last weekend saw the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was the second Grand Prix in as many weeks, but now that it's back in Europe for a while that doesn't seem quite as bad - Spain is just down the road from Monaco. And of course both aren't far from where most teams are based, in the UK.

Monaco of course is a traditionally processional race.

It's held in the narrow streets of Monte Carlo and if it were proposed as a race today it would almost certainly be rejected as being unsafe / too risky. The cars travel within millimetres of the solid barriers (the famous phrase is that you need to leave the tyres manufacturers logo behind on the barriers to know you've had a good lap) with few run of areas and nothing in the way of gravel to slow them down should they fail to make a corner.

Of course, being so twisty and turn they don't really ever get up to full speed, but there's no margin for error at all. This is one of the reasons why many of the drivers like it - it's a technical challenge and for the spectators it's more about getting really close to the cars and soaking up the atmosphere than stuff like overtaking.

I went a couple of years ago and it really is an amazing, atmospheric race and spectacle.

And this year it was almost a good race as well. To be fair it was nowhere near as some of the previous races, but compared to the dull, processional races at Monaco I've seen it was a hell of a lot better.

For some reason (slower speed maybe?) the Pirelli tyres seemed to last longer than at previous races, despite them using the super soft and soft combo for the first time. Also of course the DRS zone was a bit redundant, although there's some suggestion it helped in one or two passes.

And there were quite a few overtakes, which is quite novelty for Monaco.

Unfortunately for Lewis Hamilton in particular his weren't the best executed of overtakes.

To be frank, Lewis is my favourite driver of the current crop. I think the grid has a lot of good drivers at the moment, but I love the fact Lewis is a proper racer, never content to give half measure and always all about taking people on track. He wants to rave everybody and try to beat them fair and square.

Lewis is also a bit of a demon around Monaco, loving the challenge of the circuit.

But in the last part of qualifying there was quite a nasty accident that spoiled his only planned attempt at a qualifying lap. then, when they came out again he didn't do so well but also made an error and so was demoted to 9th. Not great considering how difficult it is to overtake, even with the current rules.

But of course he went for it and ended up having a terrible time - two of his moves ended with collisions that were, to be frank, entirely his fault. He was being way too ambitious (which, as I say, is kinda why he love him). In particular, the crash was Massa he was way off even being alongside and they got quite badly tangled.

He got penalised for both of these. Also the team called him in at one point, but they didn't have the tyres ready for him.

He was also peripherally involved in a complicated accident that saw Petrov in the barriers and the race red flagged while they took him to hospital.

So things didn't go well.

Unfortunately he also made it a bit worse by giving an interview when he was clearly still very annoyed, blaming the other drivers for basically being rubbish and the stewards for being over-sensitive. Which he then made worse by making a reference to the Ali G thing of "is it cos I is black?"

He was clearly not being serious, but it was a rather cringeworthy foot-in-mouth moment.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

burn after reading

Until about half way through Burn After Reading I wasn't at all sure if I liked it.

The main reason for this was that all the characters were either unlikeable or stupid or, mainly, both. Being a Coen Borthers film I was also expecting it to be darkly comic but it was also quite light on jokes.

However, a bit like the title (ooh, clever), it's a bit of a slow burner. There's a lot of build up and then about half way through things reach a kind of tipping point and just about everything flips into the ridiculous, with truly hilarious results.

Stupid people are quite a common theme in Coen Brothers films, although usually there's at least one character who's sensible or clever. Here the only people who come close to that are the CIA men, although they're not really major characters and even they come across as being a litte dumb.

What I think makes burn really work is the central stupidity - the mistaking of CD containing a fired CIA analyst's financial info and a copy of their memoires. This is mistaken for somethign valuable/secret by the two main chracters. The particularly clever bit is that a lot of the chracters fall into what you might call architypal roles are expected actions, despite this data not actually being of any interst.

So, for example, they try to sell the information to the Russains. This is the very much post cold war Russains. But it's like everybody forgets that the cold war is over and that they're not actually in a spy film. Liek they're acting on autopilot.

I'm finding it a bit difficult to explain and that's why it needs such a big build-up. Without that build up the farcical stuff would just seem bizarre. The punchlines need that much preamble in order to work.

You know really there's not a lot more I can say - I really enjoyed the film, but it took a while to really become funny.

My favourite characters were probably the CIA men. The scenes between Palmer and his boss had me in stitches. The palpable embarressment and bafflment of Palmer was rather delicious. The whole "We don't know why" "But we're the CIA" feel of it was just perfect.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

more work then

Back to work then.

I already feel like I could do with another holiday. The whole Bank Holiday madness and my associated holidays at the beginning of this month seemed like a good idea, but I'm not entirely sure it really worked.

It certainly doesn't feel like I've had a proper holiday a few weeks ago.

Or maybe it's just general fatigue.

It was a tiring weekend. Saturday I went to see a couple of good friends who I knew from school and haven't seen for what must be 2 years. It was the Champions League final, which is a football thing and I don't really do football.

I stayed over that night and came back on the Sunday, getting back about mid-day, which gave me just enough time to shower and have some lunch and then it was the Monaco Grand Prix., which I'll talk about that a bit more later in the week.

The rest of Sunday was pretty much spent bumming around. I watched quite a lot of telly I'd recorded and also played some games. One thing I didn't really do that I should have was go for any walks.

On the Sunday I wouldn't really describe myself as hung over - I got a bit tipsy on Saturday, no more - it was more to do with lack of sleep. My body clock combined with strange surroundings meant I got up at 6:30, having only gone to bed at 2:30.

Monday I wasted, to be frank.

I watched some more telly and played some more games, and that was pretty much it. I did go for a walk, but it was just the one in the afternoon, and it wasn't a long one. It was weirdly humid out, which made sense when it started raining just as I was getting home, so I guess the humidity was the build up for the rain.