Friday, 23 September 2011

sing a pore (or is that bore?)

Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.

I’m guessing it will also be he weekend when Sebastian Vettel gets his hands on the championship.

It will also likely be another very big challenge for the new rules as Singapore is a dire race usually.  Like Valencia and Monaco it’s on a tight street circuit and therefore ends to produce dull races.  Unlike Monaco, Valencia was still dull and I would guess Singapore will be too.

A big part of the problem has been the length in Singapore - laps take such a long time that the race usually drags on for ages.

But we’ll see - who knows, maybe it will be a good one.  Of particular interest is the other part of how I've written the title.  According to the weather thing the BBC does for the next race it's basically been raining all week in Singapore.  Usually rain adds a bit of spice, but given that Singapore is a night race, illuminated by great big spotlights, I'm unsure quite what will happen if it rains.

Other plans for the weekend are relatively simple.  I need to buy my dad a present.  What he's asked for can only really be picked up in a shop so I can actually pick things up and have a look at them.

I also really need a haircut.  I get this weird thing with my sideburn area where they become very curly when my hair gets too long.  It's odd - there's a point where they suddenly become curly.

Well, I say that.  Maybe it's more that I suddenly notice it's happened.

I've been watching a lot of telly in the evenings and, as I mentioned before, I trimmed out quite a few programmes.  Also, some others have come to an end.  I'm therefore hoping I can do some scanning and, in particular, get back up to speed with anime stuff.

I'd quite like to plough through the fansubs I've got.  I mentioned before that unfortunately, this season, there seemed to be a retro step that meant more stuff was only really accessible via fansub.  Well, the new season is rolling around, so the hard drive I use to hold fansubs is very nearly full because of the combination of all the shows I've downloaded and my poor watch rate.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

dental treatments

I mentioned a bit ago that I needed to get some dental treatment.

Usually on Thursday I’d talk about my weight, but it was pretty rubbish again this week.  I lost a pound (which I didn’t understand as I ate crap but then I thought about how much work and little sleep I’d had, so maybe it makes sense) and walking was average, so instead I want to talk about my dental work.

I had the last one the other week.  Basically, I’ve had two new fillings put in - both on the bottom of my mouth, but one on each side.

The one on the left of my mouth was a big one, and it’s that one that I think was really a replacement for a filling that fell out several months back.  It was also so big that it was close to my nerve and he was a bit worried that it would end up with constant pressure on the nerve that would cause me constant pain.

It’s that sort of pain that makes me uncomfortable with the dentists.  I know people are afraid of the dentist, but my thing isn’t really fear.

Basically, my teeth are rather sensitive, so whenever he has to do drilling, I’m always worried it will hurt.  Obviously everyone is worried about that, but mine is more like I’m worried that, although numbed, he’ll suddenly breakthrough to the nerve and it’ll be agony.

It’s quite specific and does literally go back to when I was very young and the dentist did a shallow filling and didn’t numb my teeth.  Now she didn’t break through, but there was a point where suddenly it went from a vague feeling of someone doing something to a sharp pain.

And I’ve also found that, even when numbed, I can often still feel them drilling and it hurts - even when it’s had a really long time to take effect.  It’s like when I had to have my root removed - he ended up having to numb two completely different areas in my mouth because apparently I have multiple nerve connections, which is quite rare he said.

Anyway point was I was fully expecting a rather unpleasant time of it.  In particular I was worried about when the pain killers wore off.  I've often had a lot of discomfort, but this time, both were all right.  The anaesthetic wore off, but I then wasn’t wracked with pain.

Now the one on the leftisn’t100% comfortable to eat particularly tough or hard food with, but overall I’d say it was a success.  In particular, the white filling used on the right is almost totally invisible, which is always nice.

But then given how much it’s all cost me, you would hope for good results.  I’m private (they used to be NHS, but, like most dentists around here, they went private a few years back - NHS dentists are like rocking horse poo around here, and the few there are have waiting lists as long as both my arms) so it costs silly amounts of money.

To be honest, it’s the hygienist that feels like the biggest rip off.  Especially now, as she’s given e about all the advice she can to help me do my cleaning, and it’s clearly helped as she did very little when I last went (though quite how two fillings ties into that, I don’t know).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Coraline is based on a book by Neil Gaiman.

I have to confess I’m not hugely familiar with Gaiman’s work.  I probably should be, but I dunno, I’ve never really had any exposure to his writing.  I also understand that the book is quite different to the film.

The film uses stop motion animation, which is something that I don’t gets enough exposure nowadays.  I think one of the main problems is that cgi animation tends to look a lot like a smoother, version of stop motion.

It’s odd, cgi is most identified as having very nearly killed off traditional animation (I’m talking Disney style films and western kids animation, obviously) but it also seems to have had a real impact on stop motion.  Even Aardman who were all abut stop motion produced a cgi film (the one about the sewer rats).

Anyway, one of the most popular stop motion films of recent years was the nightmare before Christmas.  For some reason, nightmare is very closely associated with Tim Burton, but he didn’t actually direct it.  It was directed by the same guy who adapted and directed Coraline.

You can see a lot of nightmare in Coraline.  There is a tonal similarity, both in terms of its direction and the story, though obviously the story is more influenced by Gaiman, but then as I understand it Gaiman’s work is quite gothical in style.

I have to confess I wasn’t a huge fan of nightmare.  The musical stuff felt too Disney and I found the story a bit predictable.

The Coraline story was a lot more imaginative, and the story themes are a lot more subtle.  Visually it was just as - if not more - inventive, and there’s some truly magical stuff in it.

It also puts in some nicely realised digital stuff, using it to really boost the film, rather than replacing it, like the rats film.

One of the real triumphs of the film is the characters.  They feel very real, being both beautifully animated, but also having surprising depth.  You can really feel Coraline is a real character - one you won’t necessarily always like, who is selfish as well as having a genuine cause for her behaviour.

Many of the supporting characters are quite fanciful and feel less real, but then that’s part of the point - we’re seeing them through Coraline’s eyes.

The switch into the other world is really well done and the bad guy of the piece is extremely cleverly handled - in particular with how it’s finally revealed and how that clicks several clever little visual clues into place when you watch it through again.

The DVD also had a really good commentary and some genuinely interesting documentaries.

You can hopefully tell I really liked the film.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

too much to watch

Yesterday I ended with a mention that I was selling a bunch of stuff on e-bay.

One thing this did throw into sharp relief was that I’d started slipping with my anime watching.  Part of this was because there’s been a load of stuff I’ve wanted to watch on TV, but another big part is of course that I’ve had so much work to do.  I’d actually thought I may need to come in this last weekend, but in the end I thought - no, I need the break.

Something that was pleasing, though, was that even though the Saturday was again intense and physically demanding I wasn’t shattered on Sunday.  Well, I was tired, but not like I had been in previous weeks.

This was part of what enabled me to do the e-baying.  I’d tried a couple of weeks before, but had found it all too much and not done it.

Anyway, what I was really going to say was that it became apparent when I was e-baying that I hadn’t really watched much anime or read much manga since I’d last done a proper session.  I mean, I have watched and read some bits, but certainly I realised that all the other stuff had really knocked the wind out of my sails.

Of course, the flipside is that I’ve now managed to really bight into the stack of TV stuff I’ve recorded and not managed to find the time to watch.  In particular I’ve gotten about half way into the recent Torchwood series.

It’s been quite good so far.  I have to say it’s been a little slow if I’m totally honest.  It would probably have worked if it was more like the Children one, or even if it was maybe 6 episodes, rather than 10.  However, it really seems to have ramped up in the last few episodes I’ve watched, and we’re also starting to get into the proper conspiracy stuff.

I mean, there was conspiracy before (I assume I’m okay with talking about this as I’m sure if you were even vaguely interested you’d have been watching.  Well, okay, I wasn’t, but I have my reasons.), but it was about a pharmaceutical company being evil, and big corp being evil is hardly original or even very torchwood as it’s not really alieny.  But it looks like we're about to get onto the proper underlying conspiracy stuff.

It also seems to have gotten a bit darker.  The children one was very bleak and I’m kinda hoping we get that way with this one as so far it’s not really focused on the nastier side of the story it’s telling.

But anyway, point is that I also rationalised some stuff I was recording and having made a real big dent in my stuff to watch, I’m hoping that very soon I’ll be able to start watching anime again and then I’ll have some more stuff to sell as we get towards Christmas.  Blimey, I said the Christmas word.  It’s ages off, but e-bay’s free listing weekends aren't that often and it’s nice to take advantage of them as it can really boost the money I make.

They’re one of the few good things e-bay does.

And on a vaguely related note, my lovely fired Ezy suggested I take some photos of my freshly re-reorganised shelves (they’re the ones with all the anime on - it’s a thin link, but a link none the less) and I’ll probably have a go at that at some point too.  Although to be frank, they’re a bit difficult to really photo in a way that’s easy and clear, because there’s multiple layers of stuff so it’s not really visible.

Monday, 19 September 2011

triple bagger

Last Friday I briefly mentioned what I would get up to on Saturday morning.

Well, actually I mainly talked about how it had been a hell of a week.  Friday was by far and away the worst day.  I actually did what was basically a 12 hour day at work, and that was before having to go shopping and do a bunch of other bits so that the weekend would be easier.

I ended up basically passing out at about 10:30 (very late for me) and of course I get up earlier when it’s a cleaning weekend so tat I can get into the laundrette when it opens, so I was then up at 6:00.

Actually, I got up at about 5:30AM as when I got up for a pee in the early morning I was wide awake and I filled in the time by watching a bit of telly.

The actually washing was a triple bagger - I had two black bags full of clothes and then another bag with bed sheets and towels.  I used one of the big machines and one of the medium machines and then three tumble dryers.  It actually cost a fortune, but it means I’d caught up with the overspill that was left when I switched to ding my own washing.

Best thing was that there was literally nobody in there, so I wasn’t using up machines other people wanted access too.  I also noticed on Sunday morning that the place was completely empty when I walked past it on my (slightly delayed) morning walk, so I may put that knowledge to use later on.

Particularly when the winter proper rolls around.  I’m worried that when I fully break out the warmer clothes I may have trouble with the amount of washing I need to do.  I mean, obviously the warmer clothes tend to be bigger, but of course I wear multiple layers, so that means loads more clothes.

Part of the saving grace might be that I won’t be quite so tied into doing it every other week - the F1 season will obviously be over, so timing's not so critical.  If I can also use Sunday mornings, that may help too.

I actually took the first step with winter as I broke out the winter duvet.  Eventually I’ll end up with both duvets and only wearing jeans and tracky bottoms, but for now it’s just the warmer duvet.  Of course that does mean I’ll have to actually buy some new winter clothes...

I threw away quite a few clothes hen I switched to summer clothes.  Partly that was due to the diet (and certainly most of them would now be too big) but also most of them were rather knackered and replacing anyway.

Where the heck I’m going to get the cash for that from I’m not sure.

I actually had to get a bunch of stuff on e-bay this weekend as my finances were looking a bit tight.  I got a letter a few weeks back that they were increasing the cost of my electricity, so I took the calculated gamble of buying advance buying a load of electricity this month so that I wouldn’t be so badly impacted when properly cold weather comes around.

Of course that put a really big hole in my finances, because I can’t use credit cards to buy the electricity.  I therefore did some e-baying of a bunch of stuff, especially as it was a no-insertion fee weekend.