rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

14-7-2003 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Summer Things”, which without subtitles is called “Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez”. Interestingly, the original novel, also called Summer Things, was intended to capture the English seaside holiday, and I have added it to my ludicrously large reading list on the strength of this delightful, very very French film.

There are several intertwining plotlines; couples going on holidays, mostly to the same place but with a side plot in Chicago. There are several ludicrously attractive, very French, women, of a wide variety of ages and styles. (One of them, Charlotte Rampling, is of course not technically French. Don't bother me with facts, dammit.) Lou Doillon is particularly gripping, throwing herself into the part of a young, voracious, amoral rich girl with complete conviction, first emerging on screen from under the desk of a man who has been attempting to hold a conversation with his boss, her father, while being fellated. Some of the dialogue is equally gorgeous; from the trailer, heavily shown at UGC (who part-funded the film), we have three women chatting on a beach: “I'd love to have a male orgasm, just once, to see what it's like.” “I'd love to have a female orgasm, just once, to see what it's like.”

This is not an important film, or a particularly thought-provoking one; rather, it's a fine example of the old-fashioned sex comedy, light, fluffy, and tremendously enjoyable. In other words, it's a two-for-one bargain; you get to see a subtitled, foreign film (thus impressing your friends) while still having a good time without needing to engage your brain. Irresistable.

16-7-2003 (archived)

The big geek news today is that AOL has cut Mozilla loose. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, a while back AOL bought Netscape, at a time when they were two of the least fashionable companies in the market: Netscape were still at version 4.x (the reason webmonkies everywhere still have fight-or-flight responses to their name) and AOL was, well, AOL.

Of course, in the early days, when the browser was still codenamed Mozilla, Netscape pretty much started this game, and was Really Cool. Nowadays, it's called Mozilla again, and it's back to being Really Cool, with the best features, the best development model, the best standards compliance, and the mindshare with the cool kids (for geek values of “cool”). Netscape may be dead as a browser, but Mozilla is still the future.

I was amused in the shower room after my workout today by an overheard conversation. If you'd have told me five years ago I'd be listening to two bodybuilders talking, without selfconsciousness, about how much they were enjoying a children's book (and you know which one), I wouldn't have believed you. Still, at least it's not Lord of the Rings.

Distracted, I went straight to coffee, and left my gym bag in the department common room all day. Or rather, until it was removed by security. Perhaps I've underestimated the urge of international terrorists to bomb maths departments.

17-7-2003 (archived)

This week's second film review is “Bruce Almighty”. There are several good reasons to watch it: Jennifer Aniston and (especially) the new-to-me Catherine Bell are gorgeous, Carrey and Steven Carell are first-class physical comedians, and Morgan Freeman is about as good a casting choice for God as anyone could be.

Sadly, the film is badly let down by a weak, pious, watery feel-good ending and primary-school-level preaching, and of course it doesn't ask any serious questions of its accessible God figure; but you're going to see this, if indeed you are, because this is Carrey in the centre-stage, rubber-faced, hyper-kinetic form he does better than anybody. He made me laugh hard, and the rest of the film isn't quite irritating enough to make the whole a bad bargain. Faint praise indeed, but it's a faint vehicle for Carrey; if he's what you want, that's what you'll get. If he's not what you want, stay as far away as you can.

21-7-2003 (archived)

It's an old, often-repeated story: a respected litfic novelist turns to SF and demonstrates complete ignorance of everything that's happened since 1950, while simultaneously assaulting written SF with criticisms that haven't applied since 1970. (Most of these things are still true of film SF and to a slightly lesser extent TV, but that's a different rant.) Many people have written about this sort of thing, and the arrogance, stupidity, condescension and sheer lack of homework that it implies. It's still worth linking to this review by the legendary SF critic John Clute of Margaret Atwood's novel “Oryx and Crake”, because he says it so beautifully.

Clute is a treasure for those of us who are interested in SF as a serious endeavour; even when I disagree with his reviews, his opinions give me new ways to think about things. That's what a critic is supposed to do, but very few can.

22-7-2003 (archived)

Not a million years after I signed on to the (void) list, I got email from muppet about my music, and mentioning his. We seem to have a lot in common - music, hacking, Linux, hair, having been employed at one time or another to write Matlab code (in my case, working on EIDORS), and of course (void). I finally got around to reading various pieces of writing on his site over the last few days, and enjoyed most of them rather a lot; so, in lieu of any new content from me, try some old content from him.

He's also responsible for one of the best quotes in my sigmonster - “i've been feeling my latitude and longitude to the half-inch through the earth's magnetic field for years now. i only get lost near really big speakers”. Beautiful.

24-7-2003 (archived)

It looks like I'm going to be following the academic job market, such as it is, to Ireland. The round of interviews, applications, and (mostly) rejections as my current, fixed-term, contract draws to a close have left me a twitching emotional wreck. You'd think, having been offered a post, I'd be feeling better; as of right now, I'm still a wreck.

I think it's time for a long, hot bath and a cup of tea, lest this become even more like a livejournal entry than it already is.

28-7-2003 (archived)

Today's link is a rather good article on how to get the “perfect mix”, starting from basic level setting and running all the way up to some ideas on mastering. Most of it's aimed pretty much at mixing on analogue, but it all transfers to those of us working within the computer.

29-7-2003 (archived)

Yay! Padraig is back, after a near-two-month absence. Not only is he back, he's writing with his customary brilliance about farting. I think I love him.

30-7-2003 (archived)

This week's first (of many) film review is “Double Whammy”, a sort of comedy Tarantino knockoff. The plot is a series of cliches, the script and editing are nothing special, but it hangs together, just about, because of the excellent cast - Denis Leary, Steve Buscemi, Luis Guzman, Chris Noth, and a surprisingly adequate performance from Liz Hurley. It's surprisingly watchable, and had us struggling to suppress giggles quite a lot of the time. File under “not art, but I like it.”

31-7-2003 (archived)

I recently (between films, in fact) found myself telling a friend about various things at ZUG, mostly things related to bodily functions (this will not surprise those who know me). Things such as a one-off marathon runner speculating on the deterrent effects of being ill during sport: “You'd think twice about tackling a wide receiver who was known to vomit beef stew on his opponents”. Things such as what happens when, for a week, you eat nothing but crisps containing the undigestible fat reputed to cause anal leakage.

Most of all, though, I told her of the old-time Usenet classic, reproduced on ZUG for the good of society, entitled “Bob the Anal Fissure”. Consider the required treatment, “violent anal dilation”, and offer thanks that you do not have a Bob of your own.