Friday, 10 June 2011

of course we go there

Note that I pre-wrote this at the beginning of the week, so it doesn't reflect the later news about the Bahrain GP.

Towards the end of last week it was announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was postponed from the start of the season due to the political unrest in the country, is to be slotted into where the Indian GP is currently sat. The Indian GP will be bumped to the end of the year.

It should be noted that this isn't due to any need to move the Indian GP - as I understand it, they're just dotting the t's and crossing the i's. Indeed, quite why they've gone for this approach is a bit of a mystery - plopping it on the end if we're going to have it at all would seem more sensible.

And that isn't to say I think having the Bahrain GP at all this year is in any way sensible.

Bahrain is unfortunately one of the countries where the remarkable "Arab Spring" seems to have come up against the rather less savoury powers of the jackbooted powers that be. The phrase "brutal crushing of decent" springs instantly to mind.

Now there is of course an argument that sport should be above such things as politics, but this, quite frankly is a ridiculous position. Sport - the pitting of individuals and teams against each other within a framework of agreed rules and conduct - should be exactly the sort of thing we use to express disapproval at such behaviour.

If you're not decent enough to treat people decently, you shouldn't get to play ball with the grown up kids.

It's frankly ridiculous that they're even considering it going ahead. But then I've talked before about how it's frankly ridiculous that F1 is a sport that's as cosy with the dodgy dictatorships of the world as it is.

Anyway, this weekend it's the Canadian GP, where I'm pretty sure they don't go around oppressing their population, so I'll be watching that.

Quite a lot of telly I've been watching has either come to an end this week or stops next week. I'm therefore hoping that we're about to start the quiet summer telly period (for me). I'm also hoping that I'll be watching lots of DVDs so I can then get them on e-bay.

I had a resort the other week, transferring DVDs and books around between my various shelves.

The reason I gave myself for doing this was because how I had them before was rather inefficient. And this was true - there were lots of big gaps, especially now that I've cleared a big chunk of my scanning backlog.

But another reason underneath that was that I needed to utilise that space, because I was running out of room with how I used to have them. In other words, the unwatched DVD pile has gown even bigger.

An unexpected benefit to the new layout is that said pile basically sits there in my eye line, nagging at me when I'm watching telly. And I think in part due to this pressure I've actually watched a few bits.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

new iron

Here's a random one for you - I bought a new iron recently.

I've been rather impressed by it, actually. I had to get a new one because the old one started leaking. Well, I dropped it, so that's hardly surprising, but it was one of those leaks where it was a small dribble, so I kept using it for a while, but in the end I picked one up at Tesco for about £25.

The cost of bog standard electrical equipment is staggering nowadays. It really has become cheaper to buy new things than to get old stuff repaired, which can't be a good thing for the environment.

Especially when (and I don't know for sure with my iron, but I'm assuming) everything is made in China. The quantities of raw materials and then finished products transported around the globe is mind-blowing. All of it done using fossil fuels.

It's one of those extra 'bonus' problems of unrestrained global capitalism. The main one of course being the fact that the workers who put this stuff together in China probably can't actually afford to buy the stuff they make. Especially when it comes to high-end electrical goods.

And of course the fact that part of the way these manufacturers make money is because environmental regulations for pollutants are so lax in China, so they don't have to spend money cleaning up.

Wow - that was a tangent and a half.

All I was really going to talk about is that I've actually found the new iron to be really good. It seems to get hotter and stay hotter than my old one, and it glides over the clothes much more smoothly.

I've no idea if that's because iron technology has advanced, or this is a better model (or, more likely, the features that were on the better models are now routinely available on the cheap ones) or simply that it's newer and therefore not worn out in any way.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

the a team

doo-do-doo do do do doo

I loved the a-team as a kid.

Really it was daft show. A group of American special forces who were convicted of "a crime they didn't commit" go around the US as hired guns, only not hired in the sense of being mercenaries. It was more along the lines of them saving the weak from criminals and thugs.

The episodes were extremely formulaic, picking on particularly bits and pieces and using them in most every episode. Some of the more famous things were BA's fear of flying and them drugging him to get him on planes and the fact that despite all the shooting of guns and explosions no one would ever be killed.

Then of course there was the fact that at some point the bad guys would capture and imprison the A Team, but they'd put them in a warehouse or garage with access to loads of stuff that they would use to create some sort of cool vehicle with improvised weapons that help them escape and/or bring victory.

I fully expected to hate this film.

My problem is that I didn't, but I also didn't really like it either.

Firstly, it's obviously updated. For example, in the original it was the Vietnam war, in this it's the recent war in Iraq. I didn't mind this too much.

But some of the same basic ideas are there.

In the original I remember it being very much an ensemble piece, with individual episodes focusing more on one or other of the characters. Here, most of the characters have sufficient time in the spotlight to give that feel.

Also, the basic character traits are there. Murdoch is a loony, but a genius pilot. Hannibal is the implacable tough-nut leader. Face is a babe magnet. B.A. is super strong.

But other things have been tweaked in ways that I wasn't entirely keen on.

As mentioned, the main idea of the original was that it involved saving the weak from the strong and the improvising of cool machines from spare parts after having been captured.

Well, the first part isn't there, because this actually focuses on the origin story - the imprisoned for "a crime they didn't commit bit", which I'm pretty sure they never showed in the original series. I think this was a mistake. What was cool about the A-Team was that they were already fugitives going round saving other people (thus proving they were actually good guys) where this is just about proving they were acting on orders.

Also the improvising of cool machines to escape has become putting together cool machines or weird ideas to achieve an objective. This was okay, but less good.

Which pretty much sums up my feeling on the entire thing - okay, but less good.

Oh, except for the sound - the sound mix was horrible. I actually had to put on the subtitles as I could barely make out what people were saying half he time.

And while it looked good there was an awful lot of CGI. While I've no issue with this fundamentally, it kinda feels against the basic spirit of the original show to be using CGI to achieve stunts.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

fat bodies

There was a programme on last night called embarrassing fat bodies.

It's part of a series that basically gets people on who have medical problems. I remember watching the first series, which was more general.

I didn't watch anything after that first series for a couple of reasons. First off it was clearly bordering on exploitative telly. It fell just the wrong side of the line where shows are basically the equivalent of gawping at carnival freaks.

I mean, it was also trying to act in a public information way, giving medical advice and highlighting conditions and stuff, but the actual people featured on the show tended to have extreme versions, which was the other reason I stopped watching.

So, for example, there would be someone on who had athlete's foot. Only the person featured didn't just have it, they'd had it for years and instead of visiting their GP or even going down boots/superdrug/tescos and getting some over-the-counter creams or whatever, they'd left it. And of course it had gotten to the stage where their nails had become a deformed mess and it looked like their feet were being eaten away.

Then the doctor would prescribe them some simple treatment like a pill or a cream and that would clean it up in a couple of weeks I'd just end up wondering why the hell they'd let it get so bad.

Of course the ironic element to this is that I essentially did the same thing in regards to my weight. I just kept 'leaving it' for my entire life until I got to the stage of being 24 and a half stone.

Anyway, the version I came across last night was all about being overweight, so I thought I'd watch and see what was going on. Quite a lot of the stuff I talked about I already knew, but one thing they did have on there was a woman who'd lost more than half her entire bodyweight, having dropped some 14 stone and been fat her entire life. Which, broadly speaking, is what I'm doing.

Her problem was what I think I'm actually most worried about now, which was that she had huge amounts of loose skin. She was only about 40, but her skin drooped down like that of someone more than twice her age. She looked okay clothed, but it meant she had to be fully clothed all the time.

She ended up having several rounds of plastic surgery to trim all the spare skin away. Obviously what I worry about now is ending up with similar piles of loose skin.

My hope is that the big difference was that she lost all that weight very quickly, where my plan is to shed it quite slowly and steadily. In reality I think it's inevitable that I'll end up with excess skin. In the programme they basically said that if you're really big for a long time, when you loose that weight the skin basically doesn't go away and surgery is the only option.

I could use the above as an excuse for this month's weigh in - that I'm taking it gradually - but that wasn't the reason I didn't loose any weight this last week. The reason was because I had the bad boozy weekend before and I ate too much bad stuff.

I have to say that, knowing what I did eat, I'm actually a little bit relieved the weigh in was no change, but still, I need to make sure I get back on track.

I'm more worried about putting the weight back on than I am having a lot of loose skin.

Monday, 6 June 2011

feck me

Horribly busy at work today.

With the exception of very first thing, I think this is the first time I've even fired up firefox today. I usually at least get the chance to glance at the forums I frequent and check my e-mail and stuff.

Not today.