Friday, May 31
Weeell, not too much to say. If I'm honest, there are
things to say, but it's getting late, and I want to read more of my new (and very exciting) book, Brother Nature
. And to think I only started reading his [Robert Llewellyn's] books because he was Kryten in Red Dwarf
And the reason it's quite late and I want to stop being online so that I can read before I have to sleep is this: I made my Dad a pop pop boat site. Nothing fancy. It involved ripping up pieces of paper and scanning them. So visit PopPopMan
if you dare! (That sounded awful. Bleugh.)
I'll be busy over the weekend. I'm going to help my Dad sell the aforementioned steam powered pop pop boats. And since it's the Queen's Golden Jubilee, I don't know when I'll be around to blog in any coherent way. It's the Airshow and there's a party in Gunner's Park... And I don't have to go to work
until Wednesday! Hooray!
Wednesday, May 29
Oh, had an e-mail from Bloomsbury:
JK Rowling is happily writing the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, and we will send you an email once the publication date has been announced; we will be posting it on bloomsburymagazine.com, too.
Just watched Alias
Anyway, next programme - David Blaine: Vertigo
. He stands on a pole for 35 hours. Now, even if they've cut those 35 hours down to 45 minutes, how entertaining can that be
?!?! Maybe it's all preparation and aftermath with only a tiny bit of pole standing. I don't know. And I'm not going to watch it to find out.
I had another £5 note this morning. I rubbed the serial number really really hard, but it didn't come off. Drat.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... .. . .
Tuesday, May 28
I feel exhausted. You know the sort of exhausted you feel when you're quite happy to just sit somewhere and stare into space? I feel that. So typing this is odd because my fingers keep getting confused. I have to delete most words and retype them to make actual existing words. I could leave it as messed up word jumbles, but I don't think that would be very easy to read. :-)
I saw my first new £5 note
yesterday - the one with Elizabeth Fry
on it. One side looks a bit like Monopoly money (though not to anywhere near such an extent as US dollars - do they have
any anti-counterfeiting measures?!) and the other side (with Elizabeth Fry's picture on it) looks... colourful. £5 notes are the dodgiest of all banknotes. Most of them seem really tatty. And I don't think that situation's going to improve for a while, since they've temporarily decided not to issue any more of them.
You see, the new £5 notes have a problem. Some people noticed that you can actually rub the serial numbers off
of them! Not all the notes, but enough for it to be a problem. They didn't say they were withdrawing the notes, just that they weren't going to issue any more until they'd sorted it out. What's even weirder is that one of the people who managed to do this said that he rubbed it once, and it smudged, so he rubbed it again and it disappeared. He didn't have any ink on his fingers. So what happened, exactly? Where'd the ink go? It's magic. Magic money. Fairy money. Reminds me of The Goblet of Fire
, except that the money would have to vanish completely for it to be like that money. But I digress.
My brother went to see Attack of the Clones
last night. He came leaping into my room, giving the film a double thumbs up, and grinning wildly. Then he started going, "How tall do you think Yoda is? This tall? This tall?" etc. Very odd. If he liked it there must be hope. He generally has quite good taste. :-)
You know, there were other things I meant to say, but I can't be bothered.
fault. There are supposed to be three of us and the manager around in the afternoon. One person's on holiday, one's had to take time off because of stuff, and the manager went home with a migraine. So in the afternoon it was just me and someone from downstairs manning the upstairs floor! Aaargh.
I can't take the pressure.
At least I get two days off next week.
God save the Queen!
Sunday, May 26
Finally, David Coulthard wins a race!
What a nice surprise.
It's not that I don't think he's capable. Sometimes it seems that way, because I tend to say he won't finish when he's doing well. But that's just because he has such terrible luck on a regular basis. Plus today his car was smoking for a while, which was worrying. If I decide he won't finish, then it's an even nicer surprise when he does
! I do have faith in him
. I really think he's got the makings of a Formula One World Champion. I always have done. Ever since 1994. And he's had his ups and downs. Now being a down, really. But still he can win races!
Monaco's often turned up some strange results, mind you. It doesn't matter so much if you have a slightly dodgy car. The fact that it's a pretty slow street circuit gives everyone a chance to show what they're made of. There's no margin of error - you hit the barriers and you're out. No run-off areas here! Oh no. It's a track that takes a lot of skill. Plus if you crash it's only a short walk home, seeing as most F1 drivers live in the principality. :-)
Having a race in Monte Carlo is a bit like the argument for legalising Cannabis. A strange statement, I know. Let me explain... People tend to say that Cannabis should be legalised because it's no more dangerous than smoking. But if people were talking about legalising smoking today, would it be legalised? And in the same way, if the Monaco Grand Prix didn't already exist, would anyone propose that it take place?
I know they tried street circuits in places like Phoenix, Arizona, but street circuits don't really have a place in modern F1. Racing cars that
fast round bends so
tight that even with the steering at full lock you only just get round - madness! I remember one year someone actually got caught out at the hairpin (which has changed its name again). They went slightly too far and there wasn't enough room to get round the corner. And they ended up in the wall. And they couldn't extract themselves. And other cars were coming round... Good job they have cranes everywhere...!
Anyway, good to see someone beat Michael Schumacher without strange twists of fate influencing the outcome. Especially good when it's David. Hooray for David!
Thursday, May 23
Actually watched a few adverts on telly tonight. I usually just click onto another channel and watch music videos or something. But I saw this really odd and quite amusing advert. For Lucozade. Gone a bit Lara.
Go there, view the trailer, and understand...
I went to a pub in Paglesham (deep in the Essex countryside) last night. I drove three of my work
colleagues. It kind of made sense for me to drive, since I don't drink. Anyway, it turned out to be sort of exciting. First off I haven't driven since... I don't know when. Months and months. To make matters more complicated, Dad's car has this stalling problem when you drop the revs. So you have to sort of brake and accelerate at the same time. Heh. But I discovered a new and interesting problem with the car.
When I switched the lights on, it made a buzzing sound. The buzzing sound (which seemed to be coming from inside the dashboard) only happened when the sidelights were on. Which I didn't want anyway. So I turned to main beam. And then I discovered that I couldn't have them really
bright, only dipped. Which was really handy, what with me having to drive through loads of twisty roads in the unlit countryside in order to get home. I fiddled with the lights occasionally, and the buzzing noise stopped. But the little blue headlight light on the dashboard gradually faded into non-existence. Weird...
Okay, so not very exciting, but I don't lead an exciting life. :-)
Another author came into work
the other day. Barbara Nadel. I didn't see her, since I was filling up the art stuff at the time. (And the lift was being seen to by the engineers, so I had to carry all the stuff down the stairs. Drat.) Anyway, she wanted to buy a copy of her new book to send to someone abroad. We didn't have it - I don't think it's come out. Or it has but no-one had copies yet. But I digress. They got her to sign some copies of Arabesk
And one last thing. We're supposed to smile at customers, right? So I smile at this guy, and he says, "Is there something wrong with my head?" And I say, "What?" Because I think I've misheard or something. Does not compute. And he says, "You looked at me and smiled. Is there something wrong with my head? I want to know before I go outside." I mean, you can't win, can you? Shall I just be the grumpiest shop assistant in the world?!
Tuesday, May 21
I feel so tired. And I don't know why.
I've just spent quite a long while trying out ideas for a website. It's for the new Friars Baptist Church
. My brain's beginning to melt. I thought it was time to stop because I couldn't figure out why something wasn't working. I had a space between two pictures that I'm sure
wasn't there to start with. So somewhere I must have missed out a chevron or speechmark and thrown it all out. I hate it when that happens... I could have said I wouldn't do it (it's not like I go to that church), but I'll probably be bombarded with e-mails from a certain someone unless I do it. :-)
I read something rather terrible in the business section of the Daily Express
this afternoon. Apparently the fifth Harry Potter book, The Order of the Phoenix
, probably won't be out until next year. It seems that the UK publisher, Bloomsbury
, haven't included sales of a fifth book in their yearly budget. I'm not sure when that goes up to. I think they said September. J K Rowling hasn't even given them a manuscript yet. I want to know what happens...
To begin with I was sceptical about the whole Harry Potter thing. I mean, how could it possibly be as good as everyone says? I even read the first book and decided I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. But for some reason, I decided to spend my Christmas money on the other three books. And wow, they get more and more exciting. And out of the four, the only one that has a cliffhanger type ending is The Goblet of Fire
. And it's taking her ages to write the next book! Aargh.
And any Christian organisations that say it's wrong, I would like to say two words to you. Philip Pullman. Another children's author that's had loads of people saying his stuff's great. And I don't get it. I read the Dark Materials
trilogy, but I didn't enjoy it much. The first book was the best, IMHO. Anyway, totally blasphemous. He's basically made God the bad guy. How can so many people say Harry Potter's bad (when it's clearly a good strong moral tale of good against evil) when there are bestselling authors like Philip Pullman? Honestly. I don't think most of the complainers have even read the books.
The amusing thing about this, if it's true that the book won't be coming out, is that Waterstones
arch enemy, has been trying to get people to preorder it. I expect it's worked, too, since so many people ask about the thing. But if it's not coming out until next year... ha! Ha ha ha.
Monday, May 20
Thought I'd better type something. Not that I have anything to say.
I'm really chuffed because I figured out the latest test on the MI5 Extranet
! It took a while. I could have started designing a website that someone wants me to do, but no, I thought I'd waste my time pretending to be a Spook
. Anyway, there's this evil guy called Nick Sever, you see. And he has a tattoo. In Kanji, which is a Japanese dialect. So I went through all the characters at the Kanji site
and figured out the tattoo means kazoku
. Family! Hooray.
I typed that into the registry and it brought up some stuff about an organisation called "The Tribe", so I asked the CIA if they had any information that could help. Just on the offchance. Heh. I feel most satisfied. :-)
I needed something to cheer me up after tonight's episode of Enterprise
. You wait all this time for the episode starring Dean Stockwell (Al in Quantum Leap
of course) and it's boring
Saturday, May 18
Every time I type a blog entry straight into Blogger the site goes down. Now is that my
fault - are my entries causing it? Or is it just coincidence..?
Anyway, it's not like I even said anything interesting. I'm sure I had something I wanted to say, but then I got caught up with talking about Max Payne
. Because he's wasted hours of my precious holiday time. It's all Max's fault! For crying out loud. I've splattered his blood across many buildings in New York. I don't mean to. I used to mean to kill Lara Croft. I used to make her jump off of waterfalls onto pointy rocks. I never did
get the hang of Tomb Raider
. Never felt much inclined to keep playing. Not like with Max. Drat.
I mean, I get to a point where I think it's impossible. I give up for a while, but I can't stay away. So I play it again, and I get past the bit I'm stuck on. Everything goes fine for a while, then I get stuck again. And Max gets riddled with bullets. Or blown into little bits. (Although he doesn't actually get blown into bits. Now that would
be messy.) Or burnt to a crisp. With much flailing about.
This wouldn't be so annoying if it weren't for the fact that there's no quick save on the PS2. So you have to play the entire segment you died on again. And invariably there's some horribly tedious stuff that you have to keep doing to get to the place where you die. Again. For the millionth time. Drat. At the moment I'm in the Aesir building. I have to jump over all the laser trip wires, shoot loads of guys, get into the lift, and get exploded by C4. Although I've only managed to get to the being exploded point once so far. And I have to work next week. Drat drat drat.
Still haven't written any of that fic. If anyone wants to demand that I write it, go ahead. Well, I wrote a little bit, but I think I'll change it. It comes out in my head like a graphic novel. (Max Payne's fault, probably. I think I'll blame everything on Max Payne. Most people won't know who he is. The "grown ups" anyway. Hmm.) Now it's interesting to try and write a graphic novel in words instead of using pictures. Sometimes I wonder whether my brain doesn't want me to write it down. I've been living with it for so long - what's going to take up the space in my brain once I've written it down?
I got hold of the sixth Fray
comic yesterday. It's only about 5 months late. Hooray! It's good. As it gets more exciting it takes longer to actually get to the shops. Drat, basically. Drat.
And the Business Card machine in Southend Victoria station ate £4 of my hard-earned cash. Curse you business card machine for making me poor this way!
Thursday, May 16
I've spent quite a while today doing something really
pointless. You see, there's a test on the MI5 Extranet
(the site which accompanies the new BBC Drama Spooks
). It's called THE TC 10: MANDATORY SURVEILLANCE SKILLS FOR ALL OFFICERS. And yes, I pasted that which is why it's in caps. Can't be bothered to retype it. Anyway, it's really hard, and I can't see that it tells you the answers anywhere. But I did
work out the answers. In a way not unlike the Mastermind game with the pegs. And I posted a message on the message board there to say what I'd done.
But I think I'll post the answers here. Because I worked them out. And they're sort of interesting. Not really
interesting, but hey.
1 - Which of these is NOT a surveillance method?
2 - When should a one-person surveillance be used?
To check reliability of informant information
When moving within a short radius
When using bicycle mobile surveillance
3 - If a one-person foot surveillance is required, where should the surveillant position themselves in relation to the subject?
4 - What piece of surveillance equipment permits the officer to legally view persons or things that would normally be impossible?
5 - What type of surveillance is used primarily for the protection of the undercover officer?
6 - If a subject enters a telephone booth, where should the surveillant position themselves?
In an adjacent booth *
Behind a parked vehicle
In a nearby shop
7 - In a vehicle surveillance, how many surveillants should be in each vehicle?
8 - Which of the following does NOT form a part of RF transmitter signal devices?
9 - How many surveillants form the team when using ABC method?
10 - What is another name for Progressive surveillance?
11 - What kind of moving surveillance with a vehicle can only be used if there is no arrest intent?
12 - Which of these is NOT an electronic eavesdropping device?
Mobile Phone *
13 - What piece of surveillance equipment can be located by electromagnetic sensors?
Low-level light viewing devices
RF transmitters *
14 - What offers the best security against detection when conducting foot surveillance?
Progressive method *
15 - What type of moving vehicle surveillance is best in city areas during daytime hours?
Two-car surveillance *
So there you go. I had something else I was going to say. (The starred answers are the correct ones, obviously.) I'm really not sure what we're supposed to be doing on that site. Fun though. Anyway, what was I saying?
Ah, that's it. I finally started writing some of the Stargate
fic that's been sitting in my brain for ages. Months. Years, even. A year, maybe. Um, so... I wrote two paragraphs. Maybe three. And then Word locked up. And it showed the words, "Your program caused a divide overflow error. If the problem persists, contact your program vendor." Not in an error box. Just at the top of the screen, black words on a white background. And weirder than that, the printer started printing! And it printed weird black rectangles and repeated those sentences twice. I didn't even know the printer was on. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it's a sign that I should never write that fic down. Probably best for everyone if I don't. Last thing people need's another Stargate
Wednesday, May 15
So I said I'd blog every day. Well I'm not doing anything interesting, so I can't be bothered. :-p
I spent ages today updating tedious parts of Jaffa Kree!
, my Christopher Judge website. I don't know why I've got the tedious parts on the site anyway, I'm not sure anyone looks at them. Like the merchandise list which has all the DVD's and videos you can buy. And the TV listings. Who cares? *sigh*
I liked the e-cards thing I did though. I'll have to check and see if anyone's used it. Probably not. How sad.
The most exciting thing I've done today is play hours of Max Payne
. Wow, that's a great game! I made John get the package that included it when he bought his PS2, but I hadn't actually played it. I'm fairly sure I actually own
the game. Anyway, it's fantastic! It's like you're in this incredibly violent graphic novel. The transitions between game segments are all done like a graphic novel, you see. At the beginning of the game Max's wife and child are killed by these drug addicts. So he transfers to the DEA and sets about getting rid of the drug. He kills many
people throughout the game. But he's in so deep that nothing matters any more. And you feel
the emotion. I have a strange attachment to Max, even though he's not real. That's what should happen with a good game.
It's all very well talking about game engines and how well everything's constructed, but good games should have good stories too. That's how I feel, anyway! Maybe sometimes when you shoot people their heads fall through the wall in a strangely unacceptable way. But it doesn't
matter! It doesn't have to be perfectly
constructed, just well
constructed. It has some cool features too - Bullet Time is a weird Matrixy slow motion thing that enables you to slow motion yourself into the perfect position during gun battles.
Maybe I'll never finish it, 'cos to be honest I rarely finish games (not because I can't, probably, I just lose interest), but I wanted to write down how extraordinarily pumped this game has made me feel. Heart workout time!
It's made up for the flashback episode of Alias
that was on tonight. That's for sure.
Monday, May 13
I'm going to make sure I post even though I'm not at work
and am therefore lazing around all day. Then I can look back on this week and think, "What on Earth did I do? I wasted an entire week!" Or maybe I'll have packed loads of stuff into it. I've certainly been busy all day. Haven't achieved much that'd impress anyone, mind.
What did I do? I slept in a bit. Did a bit of my update to the Fun Factory. Which I'm not going to advertise as such yet because I haven't uploaded it. That was my first website, and I'd kind of forgotten how much stuff was on it! So I'm not changing it much. I like the rainbows. The main change is in the index. I'm getting rid of the separate indices. And also I'm adding annotated panels, if I get inspiration. I won't explain it too much. You'll have to visit it when I've put it online. :-)
Secondly, I did a bit of a local books purchase chart for work. So we can keep track of what local books we're buying in. Not that you'd be interested in that sort of thing..!
Thirdly, I helped Mum put her new bed together. She's not very bendy, so lots of bolts and allen keys and stuff to mess about with. Looks good though. And it's nice and bouncy. She was testing it all afternoon. ;-) (Lounging, I hasten to add. Not jumping on it.)
Fourthly, I did quite a few screen captures from various Stargate
episodes. I've set up a Chris Judge e-card service
. I put some daft pictures in it, but I think that's how it should be. Some e-cards are pretty dire. I think these look pretty awful. But that's free services for you! Can't complain, eh?
That's about it. Don't like moving too far from the computer. Computer good. The only time I really moved far away from it was to watch Enterprise
(tonight starring Rene Auberjonois aka Odo, looking just like he did in Stargate
) and Spooks
. Not completely convinced about the latter, but it was only the first episode. And I'm enjoying the interactive aspect. You get sent internal MI5 e-mails if you sign up! Fun!
Sunday, May 12
Lots of things I could say, 'cos I probably should have updated yesterday. But this week should be slow. I'm not at work. Whether that'll make my blog entries more or less exciting, who can say?
First thing, I took part in the biggest ever National IQ Test yesterday. 95,000 people took the BBC Test the Nation IQ Test
online. And I was one of them. Apparently I have an IQ of 124, which is nice.
Secondly, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
came out on VHS and DVD yesterday, so no more trying to get people to preorder the stupid thing! Nothing against it, it was a fairly good film, but on Friday we were supposed to ask every single customer if they wanted it. Aaaargh! And for the last two days I'd been wearing a lovely T-Shirt to advertise it as well. I did offer, mind you. Maybe I can sell it on eBay. Heh.
We actually managed to get 1,000 people to preorder the film. When you preordered you got a mug, poster and a balloon. So there were benefits. The mug was pretty cool. There were things full
of the Harry Potter preorders all wrapped up in carrier bags. I wonder how busy it was Saturday? They set up a special Harry Potter till and everything. Madness. Woolworths
were actually opening at midnight. Were people really that bothered? I almost went just to see how many people turned up. If it was the next book then I'd understand, but... *sigh*
Thirdly, today was the Austrian Grand Prix
. Lots of incidents and an extremely
controversial ending! Olivier Panis's BAR locked up completely and left him stranded in the middle of the race track. Safety car came out (a far
rarer occurrence than in American racing!). The race had just restarted when Nick Heidfeld's car lurched uncontrollably off the race track, narrowly missing Montoya and collecting Sato's car on the way. The side impact was terrible. Sato seemed to be unhurt.
Rubens Barrichello drove a great race, leading all the way. But a couple of hundred metres from the line he dropped back and let Michael Schumacher through! Chaos! The crowd were booing and whistling. Team orders like that seem completely unnecessary when Michael Schumacher's running off with the championship as it is. In fact, Rubens needs the points more if they want a drivers one/two at the end of the year. Michael let Rubens have the top step of the podium and the trophy, but what an ending... Schuey reckoned that he wasn't happy with it, but surely he could have just not gone past Rubens. It's not like Ferrari would have fired him. Not the mighty Schuey. And Ross Brawn said they were never racing anyway. Ooooh, Ferrari make me so mad sometimes...! >:-/
Oh. It was Schuey, Rubens, Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Fisichella, Coulthard. (Sad days for McLaren, methinks...) A race that'll be remembered for all the wrong reasons... *sigh*
Friday, May 10
I wrote this yesterday (Thursday) but Blogger didn't like me. So here it is today...
wants to know who's been watching Alias
. Well, I've been watching it - haven't I gone on about it enough?! I can go on about it more. It's really
Yesterday's episode was just... great. And unlike many of the "cliffhanger" episodes (yeah, right, like she'll die
), it's actually got me wondering what could possibly happen next. You see, yesterday's episode was episode 16 - The Prophecy
. The whole premise of the show is amazing - who'd have thought that combining spy action with a Leonardo Da Vinci type inventor who can tell the future would have worked? I mean, doesn't that last sentence sound ridiculous? But it does
work. Really, really well.
I know it sometimes sounds like I watch too much TV, but I don't really watch all that much. There aren't many new
shows that hook me. Dark Angel
and Mutant X
all failed, for example. But Alias
had me hooked from the first episode. And what
a first episode...
If you've never seen it then this whole ramble probably won't mean much. But maybe by now you trust my opinion enough to watch the show. Although maybe you have to have watched it from the beginning to understand what's going on. I don't know. If that's the case then get hold of it somehow and watch it!
Oh, and it's had some hilarious guest actors. Like Quentin Tarantino, and Roger Moore. Hilarious may not be the right word. lol.
Ah, great stuff...
How are they ever going to write a second season...?!
Wednesday, May 8
Today was the "big day" - the day that Geoff Hurst was coming to work
to sign all the paperback copies of his autobiography 1966 and all that
. It was all a bit of a disappointment, really. I mean, I wasn't really all that bothered. Because it's not like I really care about football. If it was F1 then that'd be another matter. I think I've covered this ground already. :-p
Anyway, so, he came at about 3pm. And he left not long after. He never came upstairs, which was where I was working at the time (doing boring price changes). So I never saw him. Maybe I could have sneaked downstairs and seen him, but that seemed a bit silly seeing as I don't really care. It just seems weird to say that he came into the store and I didn't see him. If you know what I mean. *sigh*
Wow, we're selling the book cheaper in the shop than online! That makes a change. Only £4.99, £2 off, get it while it's still signed! Heh. I would tell you where I am, but you can work it out from other weblog entries if you're that bothered. I don't want people stalking me in real life. Heh.
From what I heard he wasn't very friendly. I suppose he must have become more and more fed up with fame, what with having people pestering him ever since 1966. And probably before that. That World Cup squad went down in history, after all. Funny really, 'cos when I went to a Terry Pratchett book signing he
was pretty grumpy too. And we were amongst the first in the queue. But he did
draw a little picture of a scythe in my copy of Hogfather
. Still don't think his books are as good as they used to be...
I promise to be cheerful or at least nice in a sort of melancholy way whenever I do signings. If I ever become famous, feel free to remind me that I said that.
Tuesday, May 7
Right, can't be bothered to write a proper blog today.
But I am smurfing around eBay
, so here are some of the best (*sarcastic voice*) things I'm finding on there.
Not as much weirdness as usual, really. Bound to happen once I started writing it down, wasn't it? *sigh*
Mind you, how can it not go downhill when you start with an item as great as a Michael T. Weiss pillow case. Aaargh!!!!
Monday, May 6
Tonight I watched the episode of Enterprise
. Now, there were two very obvious Star Trek actors in Ferengi disguise, and they both made the episode very entertaining! Possibly my favourite so far, in fact. :-)
Some might say I only liked the episode because it had Scott Bakula being beaten up and handcuffed to things. I totally refute any such accusations! Heh.
The truth is, I'm a Jeffrey Combs fan. I don't know why. It's just that he's been in so much Trek
now that he's, well, part of the furniture. And his voice has a great timbre. (I was trying to think of a word that described his voice and I came up empty. So timbre might not be quite
the right word, but you get what I mean. Hopefully.) That "timbre" means that you can always spot him, however much latex he's hiding under...
I would like to chart his Star Trek
career. And I will do so below.
I didn't know all that off of the top of my head. I used the Official Star Trek Site
and the IMDb
. Okay, so maybe I'd be really sad and know things like that where Stargate's
concerned, but not Trek
Anyway, the other Trek
actor who was pretty darn funny was Ethan Phillips. He doesn't seem to like being seen without severe makeup on, so maybe character acting in Star Trek
is the ideal way for him to make a living. I don't know. Heh.
- TNG (1990): Dr Farek in Menage A Troi.
- Voyager (1995): Neelix.
- First Contact (1996): (uncredited) .... Maitre d'.
- Enterprise (2002): Ulis in Acquisition.
So not so many Trek
appearances, but he started off by being a Ferengi and he's ended up by being one. Assuming that he doesn't go on to star in loads of other episodes as different things, like Jeffrey Combs..!
Now there was one other person that I recognised in the episode. (To think that I recognise people underneath all that Ferengi kit is scary.) Now, Clint Howard has been in loads of films, which is probably where I recognise him from. Anyway, he was born in 1959, and he seems to have started his career in 1961. But the really scary thing is that in 1966 he was in an episode of Star Trek
called The Corbomite Maneuver
is what he looked like then. Wow!
He was Grady in the DS9 episode Past Tense: Part 2
, as well.
But probably what I recognised him from was Qallupilluit
, an episode of The Pretender
He was Smitty, the comms officer in the arctic research centre, just in case you were wondering.
Jeffrey Combs, then. A great Trek
actor. Lovely eyes. Mwahahhaha. I have his autograph, you know. My friend Ivan worked at the Science Museum
when they were doing the Trek exhbition. He got me a free DS9 encyclopedia. I had the choice between Marina Sirtis (who has
been in Stargate
, obviously) and Jeffrey Combs. I chose Jeffrey. And I haven't regretted it. :-p
Sunday, May 5
Jean-Marie Le Pen (?sp) hasn't
become President of France. Now most people would agree that that's a good thing. He was clearly racist, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who agree with his sentiments. Admittedly the choice was made harder due to the opposition being Jacques Chirac, who would have had to go to prison if he hadn't stayed President! French politics, eh? Not that us Brits can talk, not really. Sleaze and all. :-)
There was a lot of anti British National Party
stuff in the papers last week - all because of the local goverment elections. I'm not completely sure what different voting in those elections actually makes. Okay, so if you know someone was a good councillor then by all means, vote for them again, but otherwise? We had two leaflets dropped through our door, and there wasn't much to choose between them. It's not like they get to make any exciting new policies. I don't think local government has much power, really. But the British National Party thing was worrying.
I just noticed that the BNP website I linked to is a rather biased anti BNP one. But amusing. I think the Hitler moustache might be a tad
over the top, but..! This is the real BNP website
. If anyone cares. :-)
Anyway, they're racist too, to put it bluntly. And they have the same main argument as Le Pen - immigration is bad. Now, for a country whose entire history is full of immigration, from cavemen crossing over from the continent to Saxons to Normans and so on, it seems odd to suddenly say immigration is bad. I can see why
they say that, but for the first time in history immigration is giving us a chance to help
people we hear about on the news. People fleeing from wars, for example. How to tell who really needs asylum and who's just trying to get a better way of life in the affluent west is the problem. And even then, denying people the chance to have what we take for granted seems mean.
To start with news coverage was on the side of those people. It showed us how terrible the plight of people from Eastern Europe was. People caught up in terrible wars that we were involved with - peacekeeping and the like. But over time people started to say that these people weren't really fleeing from warzones, rather they were just on the scrounge.
Can we afford to help these people? Can we afford not to?
It's a tough one...
Saturday, May 4
I'm listening to Resident Beat's
really odd (but good) techno type remixes of Resident Evil
music. Groaning zombies ahoy! And I have to admit my thing about Resident Evil
only really happened because of Spaced
. And I've only played Resident Evil: Nemesis
, but it's coooool.
Anyway, what I was really going to talk about was K-PAX
. Finally. Because I just finished reading the book, by Gene Brewer, who was Associate Producer (or something) on the film as well! And I've come to the conclusion that the book and the film are both very similar, using whole bits of dialogue, and also very different. Some of this I don't want to talk about in black because it'll spoil it if you haven't seen the film, but I want to talk about it, so there.
The whole premise of K-PAX
is that there's this guy called prot, who ends up in the Manhattan Institute. Is he mad - is prot some sort of delusion - or is prot really an alien from the planet K-PAX? Sounds silly, I know. You're sitting there thinking, "How can that possibly work?" But it does. Remarkably well. Moreso in the film than the book.
The thing I liked about the film was that it pulled off something that the book didn't quite manage. The prot in the book was universally liked, even loved, but you couldn't see why. Or I couldn't, anyway. He didn't seem
like a nice guy. But Kevin Spacey did a great job of making prot lovable in the film. And Jeff Bridges made an excellent Doctor. It was a pleasure watching them bounce off of one another. (Not literally.) I don't think it worked, entirely, if you didn't like prot.
The film missed out a few things that were probably unnecessary to the story. Like cats. And Russell, who thought he was Jesus. But it added some scenes which really added to the plot. Like the 4th of July scene. And the bit where he talks to all the astronomers. And the way they find out about Robert is completely different, too. I'm trying to be obtuse so that I don't spoil people. You may have noticed. :-)
So, what important aspects bring me to certain conclusions?
The book (highlight below for more info):
The book seems to indicate that prot was just a secondary personality of Robert Porter. He
hid behind prot whenever he was under stress, and the stress of what happened to his family (and his suicide attempt)
meant that he ended up hiding permanently. Or at least until he left for K-PAX. O
kay, so he still came up with a few observations that you couldn't really see how he knew them without having alien knowledge, but i
t wasn't emphasised as being really strange. At the end i
t's all wrapped up with an explanation of how each and every aspect of K-PAX is to do with something Robert Porter was unhappy about on Earth. All vaguely depressing
The film (highlight below for more info):
A lot of things about the film are different, although the basic plot is completely identical. It's just that the emphasis on certain things has been altered.
If you know what I mean. For instance, prot seems to be able to do a lot of weird stuff, and they make a big deal of it. Like his abnormal sensitivity to light, and his
different pulse rate, his astronomical demonstration, and being able to talk to dogs. When he left for Greenland in the book,
it was thought that he'd hidden in a room for a while. The end made me think that
prot led the Doc on so that he'd find out about Robert, and then prot could leave and the Doc would look after his friend. There's doesn't appear to be a logical explanation for prot'
s abilities other than he is from another planet!
And if you wait until after the credits, you see the Doc watching the stars. As if he believed prot, too.
What conclusions did I reach from the two things, then?
The book: he's quite, quite mad.
The film: he's an alien!
I understand there's apparently a lot of debate over whether or not he's an alien. Perhaps staying to watch the bit after
the credits (the bit no-one watches) gave me that extra bit of info I needed to come to a conclusion.
Whatever, it was a truly excellent
piece of cinematography. It made me think! I recommend it! Go and see it! Even if you don't like Sci-Fi! It's not really Sci-Fi! Honest! :-)
Aren't banana skins poisonous?
Wednesday, May 1
I just finished reading the new Douglas Adams
book, The Salmon of Doubt
. It had arrived in the post when I got home from work on Monday, free (I hope) from the Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Club
. I sent off a voucher that had almost certainly expired, but I'm not going to feel guilty because they kept trying to make me pay twice for things. When I say "kept", I mean they did it once. But it was £40 instead of £20, or something. And you can't even phone the people up. They have all these different phone numbers, and they all lead to the same automated phone system that is completely unhelpful! I had to send them loads of bits of paper to prove they'd messed things up. To be fair, they did sort it out. But now I want to leave, and they don't tell you how to do that. Why should they? They're making money out of me every month! *sigh*
I digress, though. The book has left me with a strange hollow feeling inside. You see, as much as I enjoyed it, I knew it had to end. And I knew that when it ended I'd be left with nothing else Douglas Adams related to read, ever again. There must be plenty of people out there who feel the same way.
The book is a sort of biographical collection of writings. It has all sorts of articles that he wrote for magazines and things, including his very first published work - a letter to the Eagle
comic. The articles are in the main about three things: technology, atheism and wildlife. Along with things like how to make proper
cups of tea. But the part that passed the most quickly was the last part - eleven chapters of the book he was working on when he died.
It's interesting that the book that'll be remembered as his "unfinished masterpiece" is a Dirk Gently novel. I always had a problem with the Dirk Gently novels in that, although I loved them, they were incredibly confusing! I was amused to read that even Douglas Adams thought it got a bit confusing. He said, "It's an enormously complicated plot... Part of the complexity is there to disguise the fact that the plot doesn't really work." I like that. :-)
The eleven chapters are even more peculiar because Douglas Adams never really decided what they were going to be. Although it seems on the surface to be a Dirk Gently novel, he wondered if parts were more suited to the more upbeat sixth Hitchhiker's book he was planning on writing. It's hard to take the chapters as being anything like a story, although the main plot is certainly in place. What the plot means
is unclear, but it's there.
The thing that makes me forgive an understandable lack of form is that you can take paragraphs out of context, or even sentences, and find them so clever, or hilarious, that they don't need
to be in a story to be enjoyed. It's been the same with all his books, even Last Chance to See
, his excellent book where he roamed the planet looking for endangered species. The one he called his best work.
I'll give you a couple of examples, but it'd be best if you just go and buy the book...
And James, if you're reading this, can you buy it and complete the novel for me? I would like to know how it ends. And after reading DNA's stories about his school life I'm particularly struck by your similar writing styles. (If you don't know Mr James Nicholls, and you can't see how this can possibly be true, read the Tales of the Geek Underclass
.) And now James has a lot to live up to! :-)
"The phone was ringing. Dirk answered it. He sighed. It was Thor, the ancient Norse God of Thunder. Dirk knew immediately it was him from long, portentous silence and the low grumblings of irritation followed by strange, distant bawling noises. Thor did not understand phones very well. He would usually stand ten feet away and shout godlike commands at them. This worked surprisingly well as far as making the connection was concerned, but made actual conversation well-nigh impossible."
"The thing is," explained Dirk, "in London you could certainly walk up to someone and steal their car, but you wouldn't be able to drive it away."
"Some kinda fancy device?"
"No, just traffic," said Dirk.
It seems to be the way of things that when we love someone's creations enough, their work in progress gets published after their death. Think Dickens. Think Tolkien. Because even though the unfinished piece is rough around the edges, and lacking in form, and you'll never find out how it ends, enough genius is in those tantalising fragments to make it worthwhile.
It's almost a year now since Douglas Adams died, unexpectedly of a heart attack. May 11th, 2001. I'll probably forget about it until after May 11th, because I always do things like that. But you'll know I thought about it. Because I wrote it here. I'd like to think there's a chance he's happily sitting in heaven, but he was an atheist. I'm not sure where he thought he'd end up. But there'll always be parts of him on millions of bookshelves all across the world. I suppose that's something...