Friday, 18 January 2013

bookend of snow

So, as I sit here typing early-doors at work it has been snowing for at least 1.5 hours.

It's not heavy snow, but it is settling.  This is not particularly good news.  I had hoped that if we were going to get snow it would happen overnight and therefore mean I could skip the day at work (well, "work from home" but that's not something that really works for me).

Heavier snow is still forecast.  This lighter stuff was forecast for 8AM but is a good 2 hours early.  The heavier stuff was forecast for 1PM, but I don't know if that therefore means it will be early too.

The problem is the company I work for isn't very enlightened in terms of things like work hours.  We don't work, flexi, for example, which all our customers do.  That means once you're here you can't just say that you'll go home, because as I say, the work values are dragged straight from the Victorian era - if your bum's not on the seat, clearly you're not working.

I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

I've packed my sleeping bag and some extra warm clothes (I'm already buried under layers of warm cloths due to the inadequacies of the work heating!) as well as a bag of some snacky type food and a bottle of water.

It's not going to keep me going long-term, obviously, but it means if I get stuck I'll be able to keep warm, and that's the key thing.  Particularly at this time of year, with it getting dark early - it's easy to get in a situation where you're not sure if you're stuck because actually you can't really see what you're doing.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

weight for it

Last year didn't go well on the diet front.

Well, if my aim had been to gain a stone then it would have been a good year, but as it was almost exactly the opposite, it was fairly poor.

Christmas was particularly problematic this year.  I always put on weight at Christmas as I tend to stuff my face, but this year I had a bit of a problem with a tendon in my left foot and so decided to snot walk on it for a few days while I was on leave.  However, I didn't reign in my eating at all, so I gained 6 pounds just in the week that I was off, which is double what I've done before.

I'm fully expecting that over the next couple of weeks this will come off as that's the other part of the pattern.  However, the 6 pound loss was a addition to a 7 pound gain across the rest of the year, so not at all good.

This also actually pushes me back into the morbidly obese range, where I was hoping I would get a good way under that.  I never really set proper goals as such, but it was always the basic aim of the diet to take myself a good way under the morbid obesity range.  The odds and stats get quite... sobering for people who are that size.

On the up-side the walking has gone pretty well.  Apart from Christmas where I couldn't walk I stayed on target throughout the year.

It became particularly apparent to me how much fitter I was when I took my leave at the end of summer.  There's a little village I often walk around in Devon and where in previous years I'd struggled with some of the walks, last year I was easily able to walk right around the village (it has this loop around it) and wasn't really tired at all.

One of the things I have thought about on that front was whether I should step up the exercise.  Now that I'm able to walk longer distances with no problems does that mean I am working less hard?  Certainly I'm carrying around less weight so it's not quite the same level of workout.  And is that part of why my weight has gone up - I need to do more to achieve the same affect?

However, I think when I analyse it the reality is that the weight gain has been more to do with eating.  There have been a lot of weeks in the last year where I've not really stuck to my diet properly.  Indeed, it would be tough to really say I'd dieted with any consistency across the year, and it was that rigid sticking to my diet that I think gave me the greatest gains in previous years.

The problem I think therefore comes down to a slip of willpower combined with a fatigue over the diet.  I ate a lot of salad during the time I was successful and that's great if you want to fill yourself up, but I think I got very bored.  I've never actually been that big a fan of salad and after months and months of it I think I really wanted change and that change meant I strayed into areas of buying rubbish.

Anyway, I guess the point is I don't really make New Years resolutions, I really need to start taking this thing seriously again, particularly if I'm genuinely going to do some of the other stuff I want to in the next few years.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

resident evil - damnation

I seem to recall I did a review of the previous cgi resi movie.

I've not actually looked it up, but I think I thought it was okay, but the cgi wasn't great and it was a bit clunky.  I think I'd say the same basic thing about this one, which is also a cgi film.

It's not a sequel, though.  At least, I don't think it is - I found this aspect a bit vague, actually.  In some places it seemed to be that it was a sequel in some sense (with recurring characters having been involved in the events of the previous film, rather than events following on directly) but in others it seemed to be quite stand-alone.

I think a big part of my problem as that the background to this film wasn't properly fleshed out and explained.  I mean it was clear what the plot was, but quite why Leon was there and who he was working for was very vague indeed.  I think this was probably deliberate so that they could meld it to suit particularly markets, but it also meant it was all very vague.

I have to say it wasn't as strong a plot in this film either.  In the first the events are very reactive to particular situations, but in this they'd tried to use more in the way of deep schemes to form the plot and these just didn't hold together.  There seemed to be a lot of inconsistency and why stuff happened as it did came across as a bit more random than it should have done.

In particular both sides seemed to be using the bio-weapons, but in ways that suggested the other side wasn't using them, if that makes sense.  So one side was using them as if they were a secret weapon that the other side knew nothing about, but then it seemed like the other side was using the same thing like a secret weapon the other side knew nothing about.

Another good example is the tyrants, which are included in the movie.  It's not at all clear how they come to be there - were they developed, or bought or what, and why were they not actually using them?  They seem to get released almost by accident towards the end, but surely if the other side are using lickers you'd probably want to role your tyrants out, rather than keep them in your secret lab.

I dunno.  One of the criticisms I have of these cgi films is they feel just that bit too much like cut-scenes from games.  My problem here, I think, was that this felt like a cgi cut scene from half way through a game and I was watching over someone's shoulder, having not seen the previous half f the game.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

hunted

I mentioned last week that I watched a lot of stuff that I'd recorded.

This included quite a few documentaries, but also a few drama series, one of which was hunted.  I'd been under the impression that hunted as a single series, which is to say that the adventure was self-contained in the 8 episodes they showed.

It turned out this wasn't entirely the case, and I found myself quite annoyed by that.  Now to be fair, in some ways it was - the main plot of the series that revolved around what the team were doing in regards to a Pakistani dam that was being sold did resolve.  However, there was also a whole other element to the story about the main character Sam and this didn't really resolve.

Having looked the series up on wikipedia it's clear that this was intentional - they clearly wanted to make this something akin to 24 or homeland with an ongoing plot across all the series but with each individual series sort of self-contained.  I guess that's fair enough, but the problem is the first episode and about half o the second episode were essentially devoted to the long-term plot.  This therefore set me up for much more of a resolution on that plot than we got.

What's more annoying, though, is that the BBC has said they won't fund a second series.  The production company has indicated they are still looking to do a second series, but it will have to be smaller without the beeb's cash.  That could work as the production could easily be ramped down (fewer foreign episodes, for example) and still contain a good story.

Also, and I think this was probably one of the things that hurt the series, fewer episodes.  8 episodes was a lot and there was a lot of padding in the series.  They could easily have skipped whole chunks of it without any real impact on the story.

I've probably given the impression there that I want it to continue, but to some extent I think that's a bit more of a reflection of how maddening I found it not actually being told what was going on properly, even though the main character had clearly figured big chunks of stuff out.  In particular she was having half remembered flash back to her childhood and we saw she properly remembered these, but we never got any sort of explanation.

Anyway, point is I'm not entirely sure it was a good series, as such.  It relied very heavily on tropes and clich├ęs - the main bad guy was this cockney gangster pastiche, for example.  Also the violence was so over the top it became almost silly.  I actually fast forwarded through quite a lot of the fights as they were just so overblown it was boring.  They also stretched credibility - Melissa George is very skinny compared to the beefcakes she was supposedly thrashing to within and inch of their lives.

Also London is apparently a place where people are murdered left, right and centre but the one bent cop is all you need to cover it up and the media doesn't pay attention.

A lot of it was kinda daft, really.

Monday, 14 January 2013

snow-ho-ho

God, it's cold.

The building where I work is appalling during the winter.  We're all upstairs and it's a reasonably-sized open-plan office.  However, it has lots of glass windows, many of which are not particularly well sealed.  There's also no-one downstairs, so there's not much in the way of 'rising heat' effect.  Also, the insulation in the roof is very poor - I once poked my head up there and it's very thin indeed. 

The plumbing is also clearly a mess - some of the radiators don't get hot at all and those that do can be erratic, not being as warm as they should be.  Also there are lots of squares for lights and they're obviously un-insulated.  The boiler is also pathetic.  Well, it seems pathetic compared to the old one, which packed up a few years ago.  The old one used to get the radiators so hot you couldn't touch them, where this one doesn't achieve that.

My guess is that if the plumbing was decent, the rooms divided up more, there was proper insulation in the roof and the building better occupied then the boiler would be okay.  As all these aren't the case, the place ends up freezing.

Indeed, the room is generally so cold that we end up putting on a fan-heater to warm it up.  This, obviously, is expensive, and ironic, since a part of the reason it's cold is because the boss has set the heating up in such a way that she's clearly trying to save money.

The heating is almost totally off across the weekend (I believe it does a couple of hours to prevent the pipes freezing).  This means that early at the start of the week the building is particularly cold and it's often mid-week before we've compensated for that.  In other words we have to have the fan-heater on full blast, which surely defeats the point of the "money saving" of having it off at the weekend.

It's also been set so that it only comes on at about 8AM.  Now I get in early, but if you assume a 9AM start then that's only 1 hour of pre-heating.  It also turns off around lunch-time for a couple of hours.  This one seems bizarre to me - okay, that's generally the warmest part of the day, but by letting the building cool the heating then has to work extra hard to bring it back up to temperature when it comes back on.  It also means the fan-heater stays on all day.

It also decided to snow here.  I was watching the forecasts quite keenly over the weekend and none of them showed it snowing here.  I mean, it's not deep - about an inch or so, but settling makes everything that little bit more difficult than it otherwise would be.