29 Mar 2011
I watched District 9 for the first time last night. It’s a fillum that was much talked about at the time of its release but I managed to miss.
So what to say about it?
I rather liked it. Mainly in a “that was well done” way rather than a visceral “that moved me” way tho.
Your main actor (Sharlto Copley) was excellent. His portayal of a bloke that we all know (if you’ve worked in an office) doing his job was very good as was his descent into the meat of the plot.
The story was nothing desperately new, nor were the morals: “humans are the nasty ones”, “aliens may not be all they seem”, “money trumps everything”, “alien weapons are waaaaay cooool” and of course “Nigerians are evil money-grubbing bullies and psychopaths” (err maybe not that last there). But I thought it handled them well.
The last section. It moved the fillum from quite a thoughtful one into a Transformers movie of all things. I guess it was only to be expected; after all what’s a sci-fi fillum without exploding heads and fizzy weapons? I reckon they had to sell the thing to distributors and without the fizz-bang of the ending it wouldn’t have been bought.
Stil there’s ample scope for a sequel (I’d guess that was in the deal as well) to address these short-comings. As we know sequels often improve upon the original…
27 Mar 2011
We went to Conkers on Sunday. (Worth buying tickets on the net tho as it’s 20% cheaper)
Friends of N’s were going and it was a last minute thing for us to join them. I’d been before a few years ago and thought it had potential as a good place to visit if only the stuff around would grow a bit.
Getting there was odd. The route was confusing, the sat nav picked a weird way. I’m sure there should be a quicker way but even googlemaps picked the same odd way.
But we got there in the end. We met up with friends and wandered around for a bit taking pics of geese and swans. There was one swan that seemed to be bullying a goose, but bless the goose it kept on trying its luck. The swan was guarding another swan, I’m guessing this was Mrs Swan. So the goose would go into the pond and the swan would come and chase it out onto the grass. Then it would turn round and head back to the Mrs. The goose would then re-enter the pond and the whole thing just kept on repeating. I watched for about 5 minutes and other bods there said it had been ongoing since well before I arrived. Never did see how it ended.
Conkers is quite a nice place. There’s an assault course (well worth tackling if you’re that way inclined), kids stuff to do, trees and lakes and that. There were falls and tears and laughing and chasing and tickling and more. Twas rather a good day.
Later in the day they had games! We’d arrived on “BST day”. So they put on some games for the young folk. Me and John (father of E and r) joined up for the 3 legged race. As the only all-adult team we had to run twice as far as the others. And we damn near won.
After the games the rest of the party got onto the “Conkachoo” (train) to go to the other bit of Conkers but J’s buggy wouldn’t fit on the train. So I zoomed off on the walk round. Once in the main building (to get to the exit) who did I bump into but P&C&d. Quite a coincidence. They joined us for a play down at the other bit and it was rather fun.
And that was it. Conkers is definitely worth a trip. Lots of stuff to do, loads outdoors and a good wodge of indoor things as well.
12 Mar 2011
…I’m starting back at the nice clinic in Derbyshire again next week.
07 Mar 2011
When I was young I read a Roald Dahl book called “Danny, Champion of the World”.
It now seems as if this book has magically gained another article and become “Danny the Champion of the World”!
It sounds wrong. Did I just mis-remember? Or have they changed it?
OK that’s 2 people so far in the comments, plus me, plus D the other day who are mis-remembering this. Are we all sure that there wasn’t a version put out without the “the”?
I was recommended to do a course at work last week. It was called “Resourceful Secrets for Change” and was based on NLP. I’m not a fan of what I’ve seen of NLP – it seems pretty much made-up and the bits that seem sensible appear to be summarisable as “be nice to people” and “treat them as they wish to be treated”. Well worth a long series of expensive training courses then.
The rest of NLP seems based on the premise that copying behaviours that happen when things work well leads to things going well. EG. When you meet someone and get on well then things like mirroring happen – ie when they take a drink, so do you… Well apparently if you consciously adopt these mirroring techniques then rapport will follow. Not sure about that.
So anyway the course kicks off with the 2 presenters (very slick and practiced) letting us know what we’re in for. My open-mindedness lasted as long as it took one of them to utter the immortal words “Me and Vicky are the best people here”. How odd.
Apparently we live in 2 worlds. The first, the external world is governed, would you believe, by Newtonian physics. Not sure that many physicists would be happy with that definition. I thought we’d got past that in the 1920′s, you know what with Einstein and everything.
Things improved a little with the “second world, the internal world”. This apparently is governed by “Quantum physics”. I believe I failed to stifle what can only be described as a “guffaw”. The first of my obvious skeptic moments of the day.
Then we talked about “energy”. Yes this energy was vague and unidentified. You know this energy, the kind that people can pass on or suck out of you. Yes that energy. They did present a demonstration of this to allow us to figure it out. They had a doll, we had a circle of us and wouldn’t you know it the doll played music when we completed the circle (with 2 people holding one hand of the doll each).
This demo was completed by the presenters telling us to break the circle, and wouldn’t you know it the music stopped. Wow! A palpable “ooh” came from some of the course-goers. I couldn’t help thinking “isn’t this simple electrical conduction?” Breaking the circle breaks the circuit, completing it, well, completes it. Derr! Ah well maybe it wasn’t conduction but some sort of personal energy circle we managed to create.
Then there was the classic power band demo. Have a look at this link for details. Instead of the band they had you doing the test while lying and when telling the truth. Apparently you are weaker when you lie. As if. They mentioned studies but there was no documentary evidence shown. Pfft.
And on it went, nonsense “thoughts are holographic pictures”, argument from authority “we’ve worked with Paul McKenna”, laughable simplification “good and bad brain juice” and finished with bad meditation as relaxation. It felt like being at a cult indoctrination.
I tried to inject some explicit skepticism at one point. We had to look at someone and talk about a subject without moving eyes (ie not to gaze into the distance to figure stuff out, the way we all do when conversing naturally). As you may expect the conversation was more monotonous. Their reasoning was that this happens because your eyes and their movement somehow links to thoughts and losing that means you can’t summon up thoughts as easily. I argued that surely the act of forcing your eyes to stay still adds a layer of complexity rather than takes something away. IE The need to consciously act in an unnatural manner, hence thoughts become harder as you’re now multi-tasking. They totally brushed over their answer to my point. Grr.
So a wasted day? Not completely, I did see 3 patients as well that day. I can’t believe that in a time of belt-tightening the local trust is spending money on this nonsense. There were 35 people there that day, and this was one of 3 days worth of courses. So let’s say 100 people doing the course. I could have seen more than a dozen patients that day instead of listening to people spouting bullshit and probably getting paid far more for it than I do.
We just got back from Scotland. Yes that’s right Scotland in February. Perfect place for a bit of winter sun.
When I was a little person my folks used to use one particular company to book a week or two’s holiday. I booked this week with that very same company. Cheap half term deal n’all. The site we picked was really cheap and had 2 indoor heated swimming pools and free gym and etc etc etc…
It is a caravan park but the accom was surprisingly good quality. An occasional niggle (bedroom door needed shaving to avoid sticking on the carpet, one bit of bust sofa) aside it was grand.
Yet again the food in Scotland left something to be desired (only had great food in Scotland on 1 trip, to Edinburgh a couple of years ago). Over our week there we had some spectacular meals. The faux Italian place we ate at was passable for me. R was far from impressed though. I did have the most-overfilled Calzone in history. I could hardly waddle out of the building. However no meals were quite as spectacular as the deep-fried battered pizza with chips, salt, vinegar AND gravy that some lad got from a a chippy we used. And that was the “children’s special”! Good work up there for a cardiac surgeon I’m sure.
Away from the site the area is a gorgeous place for walking. The local forestry dept has implemented a stack of different walks of a decent length for both adults and children. Over the week we walked about 10 miles (which I’m allowed to double as I was carrying J for pretty much all of that). One walk didn’t live up to much but the rest were excellent. Highlights were the waterfall walk at Glenbranter (starting at the most unfriendly forestry commission office ever), and the High Gorge Walk at Puck’s Glen (very Lord of the Rings).
Considering it was February in Scotland the weather wasn’t too bad. It snowed on our first day and there was snow on the hills. The mist was a pain though and blocked some of the nicer views for most of the week. On our last day we parked up at the site’s reception to have an unbroken view across the firth topped with a complete rainbow. Very nice.
Away from the site we made it across to the mainland once to go to see the Science Centre in Glasgow, not incidentally meeting up with Az and teh Biskups too.
The way home was broken up by a lovely visit to an old friend of mine in Dumfries. I last met up with her a couple of years ago. At that time neither of us had children but at this visit we both seemed to have acquired 6 year olds. Quite unexpected.
And yet again I go somewhere nice and am left wondering just why I live in quite such an unattractive bit of the country. Itchy feet time.