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bar_theshouting

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Hill o'beans [Oct. 28th, 2007|09:43 pm]
bar_theshouting
I call some movies "hill o'beans movies". It's not that they're bad, it just that they don't amount to a hill o'beans. The Dying Gaul is one of these movies. I had high hopes for it, being written and directed by Craig Lucas, who wrote the classic, Longtime Companion. It also stars Patricia Clarkson, Campbell Scott and Peter Saarsgard. They all give great performances, and Saarsgard looks almost edible, but while the first part of the film is intriguing, the whole movie falls to bits and the end and I was left shrugging my shoulders and thinking 'so what?'.

At the other extreme, went to see Ratatouille with Martin at the weekend. As usual with Pixar, the animation was great and film itself was just plain fun.
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eBooks & Hi-def video - content is king [Oct. 24th, 2007|09:22 pm]
bar_theshouting
Way back in January 2006, I raved about the Sony Reader PRS-500, an eInk device for reading downloaded books and documents. It turned out that the DRM implementation was nowhere near as draconian as for its predecessor, the Sony Librie, and a number of third-party apps came out to get content other than that bought at Sony's e-store onto the device. Only the fact that the device was never launched anywhere outside the US stopped me from taking the plunge. Sony customer service hasn't been so good lately, if the experiences of a couple of Vaio-owning friends are anything to go by, so I'd be loathe to buy anything from them they had an in-built excuse not to support.

Rumour has it that the new version, the PRS-505, will be launched officially in the UK sometime in April 2008. Also on the horizon are Cybook's Bookeen device and the Amazon Kindle. However, they all use various differing formats and therefore can't use the same ebook files. There'll have to be a Sony version, a Kindle version, and a Bookeen version of the same content. I can understand that publishers want some kind of DRM to protect their content, but couldn't everyone just have sat down and come up with a standard that all reading devices could follow, in much the same way mp3 is a common standard, so you buy the device you like best, and load the content you want. This is what would really make ebooks take off, I think. Perhaps it will be the Amazon-Kindle device that starts the revolution given the clout of Amazon in the book market.

The same argument applies almost exactly to the high-definition video market; with HD DVD and Blu-Ray competing, and some content coming out only on one format, is it any wonder take-up is slow outside the AV enthusiast market where buying two shiny toys instead of one is a blessing, not a curse. I'm not buying an HDTV until either one format has triumphed comprehensively over the other, or dual-format players are available at a reasonable price.
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Well, that helped. [Oct. 22nd, 2007|06:37 pm]
bar_theshouting
[mood |contentcontent]

Pleased to report that the trip to see Black Sheep was a huge success. Admittedly, a film about genetically-modified killer sheep isn't a subtle concept (and quite why they trailed Atonement before it is anyone's guess) but it's a very funny one, lampooning greedy farmers, deranged scientists and doolally environmentalists while serving up big laughs and big helpings of gore. Go check it out.

Work OK today - generally was left alone to get on with things, which was nice.
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Hmm, things not so good [Oct. 21st, 2007|01:41 pm]
bar_theshouting
[mood |crankycranky]
[music |Lee Ann Womack - Blame It On Me]

Feeling pretty down today (blogging for the first time in aeons is the giveaway). Went to bed last night with a pretty bad sore throat, and that's better this morning, but now have a feeling of general malaise. It's been happening more and more lately. I've either got a cold, or a headache or a sore throat. And of course it's occurred to me what might be causing it. I'd be very surprised if I were +ve, but it's a possibility. It's also a possibility I don't want to entertain at the moment.

Of course, we're now in October, so it's the anniversary of James going into hospital for the last 8 weeks of his life so I guess I should be expecting my mood to dip. I've also now lived in this flat for 5 years, 2.5 of them with James and 2.5 without. To be honest, that seems really freaky - how have I managed to live without James for so long?

Work is crappy - I am a victim of the ever-expanding job description. People don't seem to understand that I have my own work to do, and that doesn't include doing their jobs for them. Of course, this isn't helped when management blithely tell project managers I *do* handle all HR admin for the company. It's time to go - funny how a job that used to be so much fun (and was a lifeline in terms of getting me back on my feet) is now bloody awful.

Going to meet Kenny later to see Black Sheep which I'm hoping will be fun. Think I might take a walk now to clear my head.
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Yet more progress [May. 29th, 2006|12:31 pm]
bar_theshouting
Was having breakfast with the lovely Martin this morning at Smith's of Smithfield (pretty mediocre TBH) and I happened to remark "I'm happier now than I ever thought I would be again". Isn't that a wonderful thought for a sunny Bank Holiday Monday in May:-)
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Should I stay or should I go? [Apr. 18th, 2006|08:46 am]
bar_theshouting
[mood |hopefulhopeful]

Was at a party last Saturday and I happened to mention that I have two options as I see it at the moment. Either I can decide to stay in this flat or I can move. If I stay in the flat, then I’m going to start making it my flat as opposed to James’s and my flat. What I want to do is redo the kitchen. I love kitchens – to me they’re the most important room in the house. At first I was planning to get something pretty reasonably and basic but now I’ve decided that if I’m going to do it, I’m really going to do it. So yes to Corian worktops, for example. And I’m rather pleased with myself about the fact I’m prepared to take some of the equity in this place to do it. The only thing that worries me is doing it and then getting the urge to move from here. At the party when I mentioned there was a slim chance that I’d move someone actually said to me that James would turn in his grave and I was really offended. As if for the rest of my life because I loved James I have to imagine what he’d want me to do and do it. I’m afraid I was rather blunt; I said that James didn’t want anything because he was dead. I suppose the benefit of moving would be a completely fresh start, but I’m not sure I need to do that. As I’ve said before, all the bad memories of James’s illness and death stuck to the job which I’ve now left, and so there isn’t that urgent need to leave this place. All of the memories in this house are happy ones. I’m pretty sure I’d move out of here if I got involved seriously enough with someone else that I wanted to live with them, so it would be a new place for both of us, but for now I’m pretty sure I want to stay put. I think part of what’s brought this on is general ennui with the kitchen project; much as I love kitchens, I seem to have done nothing but visit kitchen showrooms and look online at about 1000 different types of taps for the past couple of weeks. To be honest, starting the new job can’t come soon enough. I need some more structure in my life.
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You wait ages for a fireman and then four turn up at once! [Apr. 11th, 2006|12:49 am]
bar_theshouting
Well, after a gentle day of buying shoes, Starbucks and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, the real excitement was saved until midnight. Hearing a funny noise, I broke of from my chat session and went outside to find some pillock (isn't that a glorious word) had set light to a load of old furniture left outside our bin store. Everyone is out in their nightwear except me and the fire brigade turn up and sort it all out. (It's too late for jokes about long hoses) Needless to say, people shouldn't dump stuff outside the bin store when there is a room reserved for old furniture and stuff, and people who set light to furniture for kicks need...oh, I'll stop there before I get all Daily Mail.
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Can't sleep, can blog II [Mar. 23rd, 2006|03:41 am]
bar_theshouting
NIce day today - got up at a reasonable hour and pottered off into Soho, had a coffee at Flat White on Berwick Street, which was nice but nothing special, and probably not likely to tempt me away from Nero as my local. Then down to Peter Jones to get a tin to make cheesecake in, and to see if there were any offers I could I could get as a present for Mother's Day. No such luck, so flowers it was.

Then went out for a Wags with Attractive Martin and then we came back to mine and watched The Apprentice and The Armstrongs. Martin works in advertising so it was very interesting to get his take as they tried to come up with their campaigns. He was saying that his job, as a planner, is to make sure they don't go off on the wrong track, which is what the losing team did, despite having a slicker end product than the winning team. And I was so pleased that Mani got kicked off. He's always banging on about how he's "world-class" but his results don't seem to back up that assertion. And I thought it was pretty unfair that Mad Jo was in the firing line again - from what I could see she was blameless this time.

The antics at U-fit were cringeworthy as always. After saying how proud they were of the newly-promoted sales manager, they then ignored his suggestions for improvements, even when he said their brochure was full of typos. (He made the valid point that how could their customers be expected to believe they could build conservatories, if they couldn't spell that word correctly in their brochure?) Then finally they demoted him again because he wasn't updating the database. The phrase "my way or the highway" was used. Sheesh. She's pregnant; it's going to be one fucked-up kid, I reckon.
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Can't sleep, can blog [Mar. 20th, 2006|01:59 am]
bar_theshouting
Well, was lying wide-awake in bed so decided to get up and update this thing for the first time since I can't remember.

Went out with Kenny and his friend Paul for dinner at Wags and then cheesecake and coffee at Starbucks. We had to go to four Starbucks before we found one that still had some cheesecake. Then Kenny and Paul headed off to the King's Arms and I came home to make ice cream for my nieces tomorrow.

Funny thing is, Paul (Kenny's friend) is the spitting image of Paul (my ex-boyf from Bristol), apart from Bristol Paul being much shorter, like a scaled-down version. Well, so what. But then this evening I spoke to my mum and she said another of my boyfs from Bristol, whom I was with in 1995-1996, just called her to get my address because he had "news". So, years after leaving, suddenly two Bristol flashbacks in one day. What can it all mean. And if the Kennyism that things go in threes is true, what Bristol-related mayhem is yet to come. Egads, you don't expect me to move back there, do you?

Oh and since you asked nicely, the day's ice cream flavour was vanilla; strawberry and balsamic vinegar* tomorrow.

*Don't knock it till you've tried it:-)
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Crappy day [Mar. 6th, 2006|09:22 pm]
bar_theshouting
Difficult day today. Managed to oversleep and miss my session with my personal trainer. Oops! So dragged myself to the supermarket, signed up with another job agency specialising in not-for-profit organisations and then spent the rest of the day really upset, really missing James. And so I was angry with myself for oversleeping and angry that I was having a bad day. Yeah, which really helped, not. So made risotto, as carbs are always good and watched TV. For once, Desperate Housewives managed an episode which was quite touching. For the first time this season, the characters were written more like real people and less like caricatures. But poor Alfre doesn't have enough to do. Her's hoping she starts getting some more screen time.
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