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Dec. 15th, 2012 | 04:16 am

I miss LJ, but it's the community that I miss - which now doesn't exist for me. Very much like how I miss Second Life but whenever I go back, everyone has gone elsewhere.

Really, I'm just missing social structures that just don't exist any more. Nostalgia is so not helpful in these circumstances.

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Today's least accurate newspaper headline

Aug. 26th, 2011 | 08:44 pm

"Cheryl Cole Upskirt Pics Shock"

Is this a shock? Is it really a shock? If you have photographers either lying in the gutter already, or performing daring commando rolls, as a woman not known for bringing back the maxi skirt in the first place gets into a car after a night out, is it really a shock that there are then pictures of her pants available?

Now, if she'd sent upskirt pics of herself to the Prince of Wales, or said pics turned out to have been taken by alien cyber-moles, or somebody was planning to display upskirt pics of Cheryl Cole on the moon with a super-powerful pant laser, that would be at least slightly surprising. I don't think that any of these are the case here.

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A recipe for pizza

Aug. 4th, 2011 | 11:29 pm

1. Mix up some yeast with warm water and sugar, leave it for ten or fifteen minutes.

2. Sieve some white flour into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a little sugar, the yeast and water and mix for a while into a soft dough.

3. Knead the dough for a while in a small kitchen on a wooden board because there are no other good surfaces, increasingly bothered by the lack of space.

4. When the initial kneading has nearly been finished, knock the board off the counter and dump the dough on the floor.

5. Shout "FUCK".

6. Grab the dough and try to wash the crap from the flour off it, while shouting "FUCK". The crap from the floor will not come off - this is to be expected.

7. Gradually realise that this is a waste of time as the dough is just getting wetter and is just as dirty. Think briefly about physically removing the dirty parts of the dough before realising that that, too, would be a waste of time. You may wish to shout "FUCK" throughout this stage.

8. Throw dough in bin. Damage lid of bin. Kick bin, damaging it more. Shout "FUCK FUCK FUCKING KITCHEN FOR FUCK'S SAKE TOO FUCKING SMALL CAN'T I DO ANYTHING IN THIS FUCKING PLACE".

9. Pour a drink.

10. Pour another drink.

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Arrietty and fate

Aug. 1st, 2011 | 11:23 pm

One thing I found interesting about the new Studio Ghibli version of the Borrowers, Arrietty, was how the plot didn't involve wish fulfilment, plucky protagonists making everything right in a great adventure - it's very much about accepting things that you can't change and making the best of situations, and how being grown-up means doing this nobly and humanely.

This makes it very different from most children's films, where after whacky adventures and japes the parents get back together, or the school is saved from being demolished, or Facebook stops being evil. Not so in Arrietty.

spoilers reallyCollapse )

It's not often you see a modern children's film which is about how it's important to grow up, and that childishly failing to appreciate that (a) some things have to be dealt with (b) there are often reasons why people do things in certain ways, and (c) you just can't fight everything and expect to win, is bad and might mean you all die. These are not popular themes in films for adults either.
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The problem with people

Jul. 14th, 2011 | 09:06 pm

The problem with people is that you talk to them politely for a bit so that you can work out whether or not they are arses, and then they turn out to be arses, but because you've just spent a while talking to them they think you like them and they don't go away. Particularly if they're drunk. In fact they might tell you how they're going to be back tomorrow as well.

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quick film review: Midnight Meat Train (Ryûhei Kitamura, 2008)

Jun. 22nd, 2011 | 09:56 pm

I've been watching more horror films recently than I ever did when I was younger. I was quite a sensitive child - even reading the blurb on the back of a James Herbert book gave me nightmares, and when some older kids showed me the dog scene in The Thing, well. Nowadays... well, it's just blood and bits isn't it? Perhaps it was sharing with all those medical students, or maybe it's the internet, but nasty gory stuff just doesn't have much of a disturbing effect any more. Also, there are some quite inventive, fantastical horror films, and let's face it, decent fantasy films in general are quite hard to come by.

Anyway, I heard about Midnight Meat Train, which is based on a Clive Barker story, and had some praise posted for it, and also has Vinnie Jones as a central "character" (in many ways the ultimate typecast Vinnie Jones role - hugely violent and completely taciturn). However, I wasn't left all that satisfied.

Non-spoiler pros:

* Performances are decent; the characters aren't immensely deep but the actors do what they can. The protagonist reminded me a bit of Steve Gutenberg unfortunately but I got past that.
* It's well shot, moodily lit (possibly too moodily at times; see cons) and has some nice old New York scenery.
* It's not gory all the time but it does intersperse the main story with some pretty serious gore scenes with good effects, which are also well shot. (I don't think I'm giving much away by saying this. The title should have alerted you to the possibility. In fact, the three words do rather sum up a lot of the plot, though events actually take place just after 2am.)

Non-spoiler cons:

* Sometimes the lighting is just too moody. Watching it on an iPad, there was at least one scene where I had to rewind and pause several times to try to see what was meant to have happened to someone, and I _still_ couldn't work it out.
* There are some very half-arsed effects near the end.
* The ending just isn't satisfying. The deeper you go into the plot - and it's not a complex plot - the more you think "well that part is obviously going to be explained" and it just _isn't_. I think maybe I've become a lot pickier about plot holes from all this time watching modern serials, where it's _expected_ that loose ends will be tied up and details will have explanations, and when they don't, fandom complains. And also, some of the things that happen to the main character... well, yes, I can see the basic symmetry going on but really it could have been more convincing.

spooooilers, many of which won't make sense unless you've seen itCollapse )

What I think annoys me is that I can see ways that the inconsistencies could have been easily and quickly explained, without even lengthening the film. Just a few words added would have been enough... it all could have basically made sense. But they weren't there and it didn't. Perhaps they're there in the original story.

Oh well. Maybe nowadays I've swapped sensitivities from horrific ideas and gore to plot holes and poor explanations.

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Jun. 17th, 2011 | 09:14 pm

For the record, it is perfectly possible to make really rather nice pesto with coriander and cashew nuts.

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breadcrastionation (procrustination?)

May. 18th, 2011 | 09:06 am

I've been making bread at home recently. Bread is actually quite a good way of wasting time when you're working from home. The individual steps of the process are not hugely time-consuming, fifteen minutes or so each, and there are long gaps between them. This means that one can take a break to pound some dough or put things in the oven, and then get back to work.

Kneading dough also allows you to pretend that you are instead folding and squashing a particular person or software package that might have been irritating you. There's the additional bonus of ending up with bread, too. Have you seen the price of bread these days? Any decent loaf costs well over a quid, and you can be paying £1.30 for really rubbery Hovis granary stuff in corner shops. (I don't include sliced white in the "bread" category, it's confectionery.)

This is probably not an appropriate procrastination method if you don't work from home, unless you work in a bakery, where it probably isn't an effective procrastination method.

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I'm bored. Let me tell you what I'm cooking.

May. 13th, 2011 | 10:09 pm

* Three potatoes, chopped up into fine slices.
* A fat onion.
* Slightly over half a pack of smoked back bacon. About... 180g probably.
* There was this white cabbage in my fridge which has been sitting there forever. Cabbage just never goes off, it just needs slight shaving to remove the dried-out parts, but you know, it needs to be eaten eventually because if I don't, who will? Not micro-organisms apparently. So I cut bits off it and chopped them up reasonably finely until I was bored. Probably around the same volume as the onion.
* A chunk of butter.
* Some milk. 1/4 pint or so.
* Pepper
* Too much Old Bay

I chopped the potatoes and put them on to boil. If you're going to mash potatoes, and you have any ability to chop things at all, don't chop potatoes into chunks - cut fine, regular slices of a few millimetres each. They boil much quicker and you can leave the skin on. Anyway, I put the potatoes on to boil, and while they were boiling I chopped the onion and the cabbage. Then I went on the internet.

After remembering that I'd put the potatoes on to boil, I drained them and mashed them with the butter and the milk. Then I mixed the onion and cabbage into that. I realised that I'd meant to put bacon in this as well, but had forgotten, so I quickly chopped the bacon up with scissors and threw that in, mixing it about.

It all looked a bit dry so I poured a little hot water in from the kettle. At that point I also ground some pepper onto it, because otherwise it would be a bit boring. And then I thought "oh, I've got this box of Old Bay in the cupboard, that's got pepper in hasn't it? and it's more interesting than pepper" so I put too much in, then mixed everything about. Now it's simmering away and I'm on the internet again. Hello!

What else should I put in? I have quite a lot of herbs but not that many actual vegetables.

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(no subject)

Mar. 21st, 2011 | 01:04 pm

It isn't just me that is being spammed on a daily basis in Livejournal, is it? Anonymous comments, which get screened, but also spam accounts too.

For some reason most of mine seem to be for ebooks, rather than the more traditional pharmaceuticals and gambling.

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