I think. I haven’t done any typing of more than 140 characters outside of work for 8 months. Twitter and FB have reduced my gobshite-y ways to almost nothing. This could be tough.
This isn’t, as you might be thinking, a new year resolution. I’ve found that trying to elaborate in Twitter recently has led to some confusion, nonsense and serious damage to the english language. So I thought I’d give this old place a bit of a clean to see what happens.
So let’s see, shall we?
In biblical times, do you think that during a bit of down time Jesus got his apostles together, and started counting? To check just how many followers he had? No. And let’s face it, Jesus was all about spreading the word, right? So more followers equals more word, er, spreadage.
If Jesus were around today he would, of course, use the medium of Twitter to spread his word. Twitter would do the hard work for him; follower counting, RTs from Simon Peter and potentially Peter Simon, and rapid follows and unfollows from doubting Thomas.
What you wouldn’t expect from Jesus is this: “I see ur not following back”.
Because Twitter is a social networking site, and not a popularity contest. The key words there are ‘social’, which infers a respect of your fellow tweeter, and ‘networking’ which implies seeking out like minded people. Not being hassled night and day because you had the audacity to unfollow somebody who tweets the tag #teamfollowback 458 times a day. And nothing else. Like these twats.
I did once ask for follows to reach the magic 100 mark, but this was done with a certain irony and a knowing, cheeky wink. I certainly wouldn’t tweet somebody at 8.30am on a Sunday morning and ask them where their reciprocal follow was, despite knowing from their timeline they are suffering a monstrous hangover.
I also used the follow back thingy to great effect in one of my favourite jokes ever. This is the only time it is acceptable.
So please, fellow twitterers, if you agree please do not ‘follow back’, but follow who you want instead, after all we are subject to free will. And follow backers, you can get fucked. Jesus says.
I watched Inception last night. Eventually. I tried to watch it using Virgin Media’s much trumpeted Movies-on-Demand service, and after charging me a fiver it took 7 tries to finally get the film to play, citing ‘high demand’ and ‘quote this number’. If it’s charged me 7 lots of five pounds there will be riots, let me tell you.
Anyway. Inception was hyped as a ground breaking film due to it’s setting, plot, and whizz bang special effects. For me though, it played out as a ‘best of’ compilation of numerous films and games from the last 25 years. My brother once had a brilliant idea that somebody should take the Oasis route for film making; take the best bits of several films, tie them loosely together and release, much as Oasis did with the best bits of British pop music in the late 90’s.
Some things Inception brought to mind; Bladerunner, Metal Gear Solid, Ronin, Call of Duty/Modern Warfare, The Day After Tomorrow, 2001, The Matrix, Mission Impossible, Empire Strikes Back, Grand Theft Auto, The Living Daylights, etc etc. I started to wonder if this was a conscious decision; when you dream, you use memories as reference, as described by the characters early in the film. Are these little flashes of existing works suppose to suggest that it is you, the viewer, experiencing the dream? Although that may be me over-analysing.
It kind of works though. It’s a lovely film, but you can imagine that in the wrong hands it may have burnt itself out quite quickly. Some of the action is a bit unnecessary (the length of the snow fight), and more of an insight into the creation of the dream worlds and the fine line between realism and dreaming would have been nice. For such an open ended film with so many potential interpretations it hangs together really well, and can be watched as a linear, face-value action film or something more profound.
It finishes on an (slight spoilers) ambiguous note, much as the Bladerunner ‘versions’ do. It allows you to make your own mind up, rather than setting the finale in stone when so much before could have gone either way - again, I wonder if this is a nod toward that uneasy feeling experienced when waking from a vivid dream, and trying to seperate fact from imagination. Overall, a clever film, but never too clever for it’s audience. Like the best entertainment, it has a little something for everybody.
In July, I removed the wonky, shonky OS from my Acer Aspire and installed the sexy new Chrome based Jolicloud instead. I said then that it was ‘awesome’, but that was my 2 hour old first impression. It soon became apparent that a lot of things didn’t quite work as they should; flash playing was jerky, video was clunky, connections were hit-and-miss.
Luckily though, Jolicloud are still beavering away with updates to most of these issues, and despite a short time of flash simply not working at all, most of the above issues have been resolved.
4 months ago my Aspire was ready for the bin, I never used it, the installed OS was dire. Having replaced with Jolicloud I was halfway there, but these updates have sealed the deal. I can now watch movies on the screen from USB (a simple terminal fix has allowed me to use 4GB sticks) and I can watch football through it on the big TV as Sopcast works (kind of, you have to stream the, er, stream through VLC as Sopcast shows no picture) now.
As I type this, I have BBC Iplayer streaming Radio 1 into my ears, and have A USB stick full of films to watch should the mood take me. It’s brilliant.
I seriously recommend this OS for the Acer, anyone that has’t tried it yet really should. As I said 4 months ago, it’s not the usual tech-nerd-fest that OS installs can often be, and the improvement is dramatic.
Hopefully, one or two of the remaining things can be sorted out, but these could be due to running Windows software on this OS (Spotify is a bit up and down, and a memory hog) but it still does the vast majority of the things you really need.
Still on a Daft Punk front, here’s their return to live perfomance with a suprise appearance alongside Phoenix. Despite the shoddy quality, this is awesome stuff.
I was informed today by my brother that there was supposedly a selection of leaked Daft Punk tunes rejected from the Tron soundtrack floating about on Youtube. And there was, under the name Third Twin. Who were these mysterious masked men? As soon as I got home from work I fired up the laptop, and reviewed these potential masterpieces.
After a bit of research (and I mean a bit, as there seems to be virtually nothing about Third Twin on the internet) I decided that this was either a shoddy hoax, or just some chancers tagging along on Daft Punk’s coat-tails.
Upon further listening though, I found that you can actually hear bits of Daft Punk’s work if you listen hard enough. Here’s ‘Technolers’ for example, and listen at the 1:12 mark for a slightly wonky rendition of Aerodynamic.
And here’s ‘Empty Fire’, with the stop start pulse of Harder Better… at the 0:54 mark.
And finally, here’s ‘Evil Minds’ starting with Veridis Quo and moving swiftly back into Harder Better… again.
I really can’t see that this is Daft Punk, rejected or not. The layering is wrong, the samples are diabolical, the imagination isn’t there and these efforts sound nothing like the official first song from the TRON soundtrack, Derezzed. Add to that the references to existing material, and I personally think it’s just some shady geezers trying to jump on the bandwagon. Anyway, when Daft Punk mix up their old stuff, it’s awesome, right?
I’ve just stopped playing Assassin’s Creed 2. Not because I finished it, not because I was stuck, but because I was thrown out of the deep, believable, immersive game environment like a drunk teenager being chucked out of the Madison.
AC2 began slowly. The tutorial missions went on, and on, and on, despite the fact that the controls were intuitive and often displayed on the screen anyway. The plot ambled along, revealing secrets and exposition at a glacial pace. However, this was made tolerable by the beautiful graphics, the convincing renaissance setting and the surprisingly good voice acting.
Once the training is over (maybe 2 hours later), you put your new found skills to good use, killing a high ranking politician in cold revenge, and then skipping to your uncle Mario’s house (“It’s a me! Mario!” Yeah, he really does say that. It’s brilliant.) eventually leading to adventures in new towns reached on horseback.
It’s then back to Florence, where the game began. Now a fully trained and notorious assassin, pickpocket and free-runner, you continue to seek revenge on those that murdered your father. To assist, you are told to enlist the services of the legendary ‘Fox’, or Volpe as his mam calls him. You speak, at length, with The Fox, who agrees to help but only for financial gain on his behalf.
And then the game spits you back into your bedroom.
“If you want me to help, you must beat me in a race.” he says, in his Dolmio advert Italian. What, really? A race? I’m offering you money, but you’ll only accept the money to do the job if I can spring across some rooftops quicker than you?
“Yes, and you have one minute exactly. Starting now!”
This ruined it for me. Was the business system of selling services really preceded by rooftop sprints in renaissance times? How did anybody get rich?
It completely spoiled the game for me. It’s sad that the designer’s couldn’t see this, and just remove the mission entirely. It makes an already long game 2 minutes longer. The mission immediately following it is an acrobatic sneak through some catacombs, but this horrible hat-tilt to GTA has ruined it.
I had high hopes, and was enjoying this against all expectation, but that’s it. No more Assassin’s Creed for me.
An astonishing goal, simply because he absolutely, definitely meant it, and because it’s easily the hardest thing in the game. Anybody who has ever kicked a ball in anger, be it 5-a-side or pro level, knows that hitting a dropping ball, not least a curving, spinning dropping ball from corner is tricky, to say the very least.
To hit it so true and with such ferocity needs literally perfect technique - an excessively tightened muscle, the slightest variation in angle from the striking foot, a sudden lack of commitment - but Scholes, as usual, has the lot. And no; it’s not a fluke.
If Scholes was born in Sao Paulo and not Salford, he would have been voted the world’s best player over and over again. Zinedine Zidane considers Scholes to be “the greatest midfielder of his generation”. He would know.
I watched Sherlock this evening. It was very good, maybe excellent. Fast paced, funny, clever, dramatic, everything a good drama should be. It has some clever modern touches, such as the floating text messages (pioneered by Hollyoaks), and the use of computers and mobiles to drive the plot along.
I’ve got one or two reservations though. As a detective drama, it may feel completely different to ‘Colombo’, ‘Murder She Wrote’, or indeed ‘Poirot’, but the structure is exactly the same; a murder or crime is committed, and the protagonist uses their cunning skill to reveal the killer/criminal. However, in those shows we are usually given the clues at the same time as the detective.
This allows us to play along at home, often leading to the old “I knew it was him!” routine that comes with the payoff. This doesn’t happen with Sherlock, and in the opening episode this happened for two reasons. Firstly, Holmes’ method of detection is through incredibly close observation of people, either dead or alive. We are denied this, and can only experience it through one of Holmes’ expository rants: we see it as he does, with the floating text, but we can’t really make sense of it until Holmes’ tells us why we can make sense of it. This pushes you further from the conclusion, and into the hands of the storytellers.
It will be interesting to see for how long they can avoid the deus ex machina of something like “But Watson, did you not notice the amount of earwax in the corpse’s ears? He could not possibly have heard the intruder!”, somewhere late in an episode to pull themselves out of a hole (like the sonic screwdriver in Dr Who, Sherlock’s closest current TV cousin).
Secondly, the show is ripe for parody, and already (after one episode) feels formulaic. It would be sad to see the programme, week after week, set up as:
It’ll prove interesting to see how they keep the ideas fresh and original. This maybe explains the short 3 show season it has, maybe they couldn’t push the limits far enough to warrant 6 episodes, or maybe Holmes goes south on a waterfall at the end of episode 3. I suppose having a structure set in cast iron didn’t stop the aforementioned Colombo having several TV series and umpteen films.
But - it’s a damn sight better than almost everything on telly at the moment, something that feels and looks British, rather than watered down versions of US cop shows trying to be the Wire. I like it, and I hope it goes far.
It’s a beautiful goal, in every way, but has been forgotten in the madness that followed. It should have been the winner, Milan should have shut up shop after this and passed Liverpool to death. But, as we all know, it didn’t work that way and an ageing Milan team let Dietmar Hamann roll them over.
Inspired by this, I had another look at the goal. I’d forgotten the astonishing pass that leads to it, just, just out of the defender’s reach, but in the only place where it gives the attacker advantage over the keeper. Crespo knows it’s a killer ball and delivers a beautiful, Romario-esque dig over Dudek. He could have took it round but then it makes it look rushed and scruffy; luckily the scorer knew how to keep the beauty in the goal.