Thursday, 22 December 2011

merry wishmsases

I hope you have a good Christmas and New Year period :)

I am away on holiday now until the 10th of January, so I thought I'd post my usual Chrimbalo message for over the festive season.

As I mentioned earlier this week I will actually be going on contract next year, so the blog will almost certainly switch to being a weekly one next year.  The contract doesn't actually start until a little after I'm back, so initially I'll be blogging as usual, so see you then.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

saw vii

My basic feeling when I reviewed saw 6 was that it had kinda disappeared up its own fundament.

The saw films have always tried to have an approach where there's a twist to them, so when you get to the point of having 6 or 7 films, you've piled on so many twists that you probably don't know whether you're coming or going.  It also probably doesn't help that (as the commentaries indicate) none of it was really planned - they've just kinda gone with the flow.

I'm setting aside the fact that the twist in the first film isn't really a twist as such and was kinda irrelevant.  What's more important is that in the early films you could genuinely see that there was a reasonable chance most of the people would have a chance of doing what was required of them and surviving.

Yes, it would be brutal and nasty and the thing they'd have to do was traumatising and painful, but you felt there was a good chance of them making it.  In the later films - 7 especially - that seems to have gone away.

Indeed, in most traps they came to rely on other people having to do something and / or there was a death guaranteed.  In other words, one or more people had to make a decision that affected somebody else and often times that decision resulted in one person dying, rather than another.

This was kinda explained by what happened in the story that flowed through the narrative, but it also started to feel a lot like pandering to the audience.  An audience that was, by now, almost entirely consisting of gore hounds and more hardcore fans.

This of course was not helped by all the complicated back story - you couldn't watch most of the later films unless you'd seen the earlier ones.  There was no way you could 'dip in'.

In 7 you get more of the same.  Indeed, you get so much more of the same this feeling of pandering to the core audience becomes pretty overt.  I mean, they've set it up as the last one (both commentary tracks hint that actually maybe they'd do more in the future - you never could keep a good horror movie killer down) so they kinda had to do that, but still, there's so many deaths and so much gore that it just becomes a bit silly.

Especially at the end - the people who die have nothing to do with traps or what was meant to be the point of the film in the first place.  I mean, at the start, Jigsaw was very clear about how he never killed anybody - he just tested them to see if they could break through and survive.

At the end of 7 you've got exactly the opposite - all the traps are virtually un-winnable or some people are guaranteed to die and a lot of the deaths are just nasty killings, not even traps.

In other words, it kinda has become torture porn - that label the critics slapped on it but probably wasn't deserved at the start is really what the films now definitely are.

One last thing - the screaming in this film is ridiculous.  I mean, people always used to scream a bit, obviously, but mainly when they really had something to scream about.  Or you'd get bits where they tried to hold back the screaming or they couldn't scream.  Now the screaming becomes like an iron bar to beat you into submission with.  It's all just a bit too much, much like the film itself.

If they ever do re-start it, I hope they go for something a little less complicated, or go back to when it was Jigsaw proper and it was about proper (and significant) moral lessons and winnable traps.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

ringing in the changes

Right then, a bit of an announcement.

The intention of this blog was always that I would post every weekday about things happening in my life or giving my opinions on things that were happening and to post up reviews of stuff.  Fairly mundane stuff, but at the least it kept me writing and it makes it more like a diary, which was kinda the idea.

Anyway, this was all pretty much based on my work situation, where I was based at the main offices of my company and would only be out of the office due to the occasional meeting or through holiday or illness.

Well that situation will be changing at the start of next year.

I don't tend to talk too much about what my company actually does, but one of the things we do is provide contractors.  Another, more precise name for this is "Manpower Substitution" and as this suggest we provide people to fill roles.

And that's what I'm going to be doing from next year.

It's initially a three month contract, running until the end of the financial year, but there's the possibility of an extension.  Financial year is obviously when budgets get re-worked out so they will see if there's money for me to continue.

Also it's obviously dependent on whether it goes well.  They may hate me or I may prove to be incompetent or the work may dry up - anything could happen - but what is certain is I will be there until March.

Now the weird thing is that actually while on contract I will be doing less hours than I do at my normal work.  The reason is that the contract is paid per hour and they effectively by a set number of hours a week, but at my work, although we have a working day, I actually work loads of (unpaid!) overtime in the sense that I get to work at least an hour early and often go home half an hour later.

However, the place I will be working at will be an extra hours drive on my commute (which may actually act as a bit more of an incentive for me to move) there and back, so although I'll be doing less working hours it'll still be about the same length of day.

Of course I get to claim expenses on the extra miles, so that'll be a nice little cash bonus (except of course the increased wear and tear on the vehicle does add up), but it does mean that I won't be able to post blogs on weekdays.

The reason is that where I'll be working I won't have any internet access, and I'm very unlikely to be bothered to do anything like write a blog post every evening when I get back.

I will keep the blog though, with the intention that it will become a weekend blog.  Whether that means I post on both Saturday and Sunday, I don't yet know, but it'll be some sort of weekend thing.

The reason I'm going on contract is that it's not been the best year for the company - expenditure has increased while revenue has decreased, so we need as much cash coming in as we can get.

Monday, 19 December 2011

it's actually back this time

Total Wipeout appears to be properly back this time.

It also appears to have started in a "Winter Wipeout" format.  Whether this is a temporary Christmas thing or the whole series will be Winter Wipeout I'm not sure.

It was again very quiet in the Laundrette.  Not sure why it was quiet, but I did therefore take the opportunity of not being worried about my machine ending without me there (not from a people may knick my stuff point of view, but due to politeness - not wanting to keep a machine occupied when it's not doing anything) to go and explore the Co-op.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this before, but a new Co-op mini-supermarket / convenience store type of thing has opened up at the end of the road.  It's taken over an old electrical goods store that's been closed for years and is of a reasonable size.

I think there's quite a lot of the store been used for storage and back-room area, though, because I was actually a little surprised by the actual shop-floor space.  It's quite 'rammed in' to compensate.  Most of the aisles are very narrow - it would be a struggle to get past someone if they were down the row and you certainly couldn't get two trolleys past each other.

IT was obviously quite early so it wasn't exactly busy, but I could imagine it would seem quite full even if there were only 5 or 6 people in there as you'd all be getting in each others way.

Having said that, part of the reason for it being so full is that they've tried to get as much in as possible.  The range of stock is really quite good and you could easily do a reasonable shop in the one place.  I mean, it doesn't have as much as a big supermarket, obviously, but there's a good range of products.

The opening hours are also very long - it's open 7AM to 11PM according to the sign, and I've been past it quite early on my walks and going to the laundrette and it did genuinely appear to be open.

I didn't exactly buy a lot - just some mini-baguette things - but then it was more of a reconnaissance exercise than anything.

And speaking of my wanders, on this weekend's saunters I got to see some of the damage the reason storms caused.

It was obviously not as bad as they had up north, but there were a couple of trees down and where there were roads with lots of trees there was a lot of detritus of broken off bits of branches in the road.  It was obviously a lot windier than I'd appreciated at the time.