rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

14-1-2004 (archived)

Curious as to the cause of a recent traffic spike, I looked back over the search terms that got people here for the last day. There were, of course, the usual suspects, like latex exam class and ricky was a young boy, and some people searching for various of my geek toys.

And then there were the other ones, the ones who scrolled through pages of results to get to me. I can only suppose that they are looking for something very, very specific, and they are almost certainly not finding it here:

Overall, though, the market has spoken: since I wrote about her in November, by far the most popular search has been for Zora Suleman, which just goes to show how far people will go in the hope of finding naked, nude pictures.

Yes, that was a transparent attempt to boost my numbers. What were you expecting?

16-1-2004 (archived)

In my youth, I knew a market gardener. Tom was an epic piss artist who could frequently be found unconscious on the soil, sweating beer into the marrows. Is that what you want to know when you're making salad? Tom had a thing about crows. He'd leave big saucers of whiskey out for them. They'd drink it and pass out. He'd put the unconscious crows in a big brown sack and disappear off for parts unknown. Are these the stories you want to accompany your dinner? Would this soothe you? The provider of your lettuce would drug the local wildlife and scuttle off into the woods under cover of darkness to use them as condoms in his continuing efforts to locate the mystery big cats that stalk the Essex countryside and fuck them to death. Split crows littering the country pathways, reeking of Watney's Pale Ale.

Warren Ellis speaks clever.

19-1-2004 (archived)

On Friday I and many, many others went to see Dream Theater at the Apollo. Lots of detail from Penfold here, but suffice it to say that they were, as ever, pretty remarkable musically. There were great video screens with multiple, changing camera angles of the action, which was good for flying-finger closeups, they played the whole new album and a good mix of older stuff (one of which, Solitary Shell, is a new favourite of mine), and many things were good. Not good:

On the upside:

In summary: great gig, but I liked them better last time, probably. As an extra bonus, between Petrucci decked out in shades and Rudess with his head shaved, they seem on the verge of melding to become another Satriani.

21-1-2004 (archived)

This week's film review is “Paycheck”, a vehicle for Ben Affleck to exercise his undoubtable easy charm.

This is definitely a Woo film, both as director's name and sound effect; lots of bangs and slow-motion, a trademark motorcycle sequence, and endless cascades of broken glass. Like many of the recent batch of “sci fi” films, it's based on a Phil Dick story, and like most of his work it's (to my mind) a shallow look at a deep issue. Since this is deeply shallow, stylistically, the “plot” fits it perfectly.

This is crap. Shiny, entertaining, cheese-filled crap. If you see it not expecting anything but slickly passed time, fun can be had.

23-1-2004 (archived)

Lots of people I know have recently started or returned to this blog/journal craze the the cool kids are all, well, railing against, so it's list time. In no particular order:

Liz is probably the only person I still see regularly whom I knew as an undergraduate and who isn't a member of my family. This speaks volumes for her taste, and also patience. Classification: Gothbint.

James Screaton plays keyboards and guitar in Wide Open. Classification: Rock Star.

Ian Myatt is a good friend, chatroom intimate, musician, and humourist, and the only man ever to be invited to guest on a song with Wide Open. Classification: Rock Star (novice division).

Neil McD I met for the first time prior to Friday's Dream Theater gig (nutshell: musicianship what you'd expect, material choice not quite to my taste, a better show than last time but not to my taste quite such a good gig; still excellent). I've known him for a couple of years online. Category: Reverend Metal.

Krash I have yet to meet, though I hope to soon, and I know him well online. Category: Pot-smoking Martial Arts Monkey.

Paul Simpson has returned, and seems to be making up for lost time with multiple posts per day. Category: Uncategorisable.

Padraig is back into harness, and freshly redesigned in the last few days. One of the few people I know who can move me, make me think, make me laugh hard, all without apparent effort. Category: Writer.

26-1-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Scary Movie 3”, a movie for which I felt quite justified in not watching the earlier installments before reviewing.

This is a long string of parodies laid back to back, and sadly most of the best bits are in the trailer. It's wildly hit and miss, but the good parts are genuinely funny (particularly if you've seen the films it's lampooning), and all in all it's possibly worth watching if you're at a loose end.

On the up side, it's very short. On the down side, it contains no nudity. Your call.

28-1-2004 (archived)

This week's second film review is “The Human Stain”, an adaptation of a well-regarded Philip Roth novel which I will probably now read.

There are good things about this movie, and bad things too. Anthony Hopkins is both: undeniably charismatic, his acting is restricted to talking quietly or shouting, lacking any depth. By contrast, the offensively handsome Wentworth Miller, playing the young incarnation of the character, is really rather good, and Nicole Kidman is remarkable.

I don't intend to summarise the film; the trailers don't tell you anything important, the many themes running through are probably best examined as they arise, and the very surprising twist (which comes quite early on) would be a shame to preempt. I do intend to recommend it; while nobody's film of the year, this is very serious, very watchable, very good.

30-1-2004 (archived)

Reluctant though I am to link to something I saw on b3ta, I thought these proposals for a 28-hour day were well worth looking at. The idea is simple: we now live largely by artificial light anyway, so why stick to a 24/7 week? 28/6 is the same number of hours, and would have all kinds of advantages.

I can testify that this is very effective, because, when writing up my thesis, I lived on very much that schedule for months (though with longer work periods, longer sleeps, and less free waking time); I tend to settle down to a 26 to 28 hour day unless I'm fitting in with 24-hour traditionalists. Sadly I mostly am.

(I'm not sure if they're serious about a six-day week, but I certainly am. It works.)

2-2-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Big Fish”, which could only have been made by Tim Burton. Stunning to look at, full of flights of fantastical whimsy, and capable of jerking tears without making us feel used, this is a beautiful film. While it doesn't have the darkness of Burton's best work (Edward Scissorhands, the Batman movies) it's in every other way what you'd expect from this distinctive genius. See it.

4-2-2004 (archived)

This week's second film review is “Sylvia”, an account of the marriage of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Both Gwyneth Paltrow's Plath and (particularly) Daniel Craig's Hughes are well played, and the film is visually effective, but it never connects on any emotional level. Perhaps, as Liz suggested, this is a deliberate following of the affect of Plath's own poetry. I never really felt satisfied by her work, and the film left me similarly untouched. It may simply not be a great film.

It's still a worthwhile evening, particularly if you're interested in the subject matter, and is wonderfully stolen by a line or two from Gambon's puzzled, delightfully English downstairs neighbour. The soundtrack, sadly, is almost funny; over-the-top, bombastic attempts to underline the emotional storms that we see the characters weathering without being rained on ourselves. Interesting, actorly, but ultimately a failure.