Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Kingdom

Having won free tickets to see an advance, sneak preview of "The Kingdom," I went to see it, today. Although I had two tickets, I couldn't find anyone willing to go with me, so I went alone. One problem was that the cinema I needed to attend was a bit off the beaten path. Out of the two people I know who live near the cinema involved, one had to work and the other had a sick daughter. Never mind.
"The Kingdom" stars Jamie Foxx and Jenifer Garner. It's the latest film by director, Michael Mann ("Collateral," "Miami Vice," "Heat") Jamie Foxx leads a team of FBI forensic investigators who travel to Saudi Arabia, to track down the terrorists who attacked a compound of American, ex-pat workers. Working with a local, Saudi cop, who starts out as minder and ends up an ally, the FBI agents face a severe culture clash. This provides the meat of the drama, outside of the action scenes, culminating in a gun battle that has become a Mann trademark. I was instantly reminded of the big gun battle towards the end of "Heat." The only drawback to the film is that the subjects it raises are covered very superficially. I thought "Collateral," which also stars Jamie Foxx, along side Tom Cruise, had much better character development. So, I wouldn't say this is the best film by Mann, but it's competently done, escapist fare.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

On Your Bike

A Department for Transport survey, here in Britain, has produced some surprising results. The survey on people's bicycling habits found that the richer a person is, the more likely he is to cycle. Poor people are the least likely to cycle, even though they are more likely not to have access to a car. Ironically, since I blew the engine in my car, I have considered getting a bike. My good friend, Tom, an avid cyclist, got very excited when I discussed the possibility with him. He thinks I should get a bike. What do you think?

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Pennies From Heaven?

This morning, I was taking a shower, when I heard something fall into the tub. We have one of those showers that is part of the bath tub. Looking down, I spotted a bronze colored object, which had fallen from my body. The water had washed it off me. It looked blurry, because I don't wear my glasses in the shower. I had to bend over to pick it up. I hate bending over. Because of this, I get annoyed when I drop something. This may have resulted in me developing quick reflexes. Many times, I have caught something before it hit the floor, which saves me from bending over. Doing so gives me such pleasure. Perhaps that's the good result of me hating bending over. It gives me the opportunity for such pleasure, when I catch something that's falling.
When I bent over, in the shower, I discovered that the object which had fallen from me was a penny. At first, this was very puzzling, because I was not wearing any clothes. I have this habit of not wearing clothes in the shower, odd as that may seem. So, where did the penny come from? Then it dawns on me. The penny had been sticking to my skin. How did it get there? Well, I usually sleep naked. The night before, I had been talking on the phone. I often lay on my bed, when I am talking on the phone. I have this tendency to roll around, when I am laying on the bed and talking on the phone at the same time. When I was talking on the phone, the night before, a penny must have fallen out of my pocket. It remained on the bed, unseen. When I got undressed and went to sleep, I must have lay on top of said penny. After hours of sleeping on the penny, it stuck to my skin, only to be washed off in the shower. In the end, the penny I found in the shower was just one of my own pennies, from my pocket. I was no better off, financially, and the penny didn't constitute any evidence for the existence of heaven.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Start Date Confirmed

It's official! The start date for my radio show has been confirmed. My first broadcast will be Saturday night, 6 October, from midnight until 7AM, Sunday morning, on Seaside Radio. If you happen to be in the Holderness area, East of Hull, England, you can pick us up on 105.3 FM. Anywhere else and you will need to listen over the internet, at: . My show, called Night Waves, will include a combination of talk, music, and listener phone calls. Don't miss my long awaited return to radio, after 27 years and 9 months. The times given are UK time. If you live in another time zone, you will need to adjust the time accordingly. The time on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States is 5 hours earlier than here.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Phone Banking Moan

29-year-old British man, Graham O'Brien, has been refused access to his account, five times, by his bank, when he tried using telephone banking. Staff at the Halifax Bank declined to provide Mr. O'Brien access because he has a high pitched voice. The problem is his bank details are in the name of a man, but his voice is so high, bank staff think it's a woman calling. Mr O'Brien has said he felt humiliated, but I just find the whole thing funny. The Halifax have subsequently apologized.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Failing the Grade

Last week, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, in the UK, announced that new guidelines will be issued, under which pupils will grade each other's homework and will decide what will be asked on exams. Government ministers are studying the plan. Hopefully, they will have sense enough to give the scheme an F grade, for failure. This is the same group of dunces who announced, two months ago, that Winston Churchill would no longer be covered in history classes. Imagine that! In Britain, Winston Churchill would no longer be studied in history classes. The mind boggles. The government schools, in this country, are becoming a bad joke. Anyone who can afford to should send his or her children to private schools. I am sitting here, in front of my computer, holding my head in my hands. Never have the futures of so many been ruined by so few.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Death Proof

This past Saturday night, I went to see Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof." Originally released in the USA as half of a double feature, entitled, "Grindhouse" (the other half coming from Robert Rodriguez), disappointing ticket sales for "Grindhouse" in the states prompted Tarantino to agree to the studio's suggestion that they be released separately. Thus, here in Europe, we have "Death Proof," on its own. This film is a tribute to 70's slasher and muscle car films. Having read a couple of reviews which alternated between mixed, half-hearted praise and downright panning, I think the European reviewers have it wrong. That's probably because they aren't as familiar with the style of films Tarantino is trying to emulate, possibly because they are too young. Also, being from Europe, they just might not be getting the "American" feel of this film. Those reviewers who had anything good to say about "Death Proof," seemed to focus on the car chase sequences. While those are good, I think the other parts of the film are also entertaining, just in a different way.
The film shows a character, known as Stuntman Mike, stalk two groups of sexy, young women. He uses a stunt car to kill and is brilliantly played by Kurt Russell. The majority of the film is spent getting to know the women, as we listen in to their conversations about sex and dating. I find it interesting that the protagonists in the last three films that Tarantino has done, are women. First, there was "Jackie Brown," then "Kill Bill (volumes I and II...Tarantino speaks of them as one film), and now "Death Proof." That's over half his filmography. Perhaps he finds women as fascinating as I do. Not only are the women in "Death Proof" all visually good looking, Tarantino equips them with stereotypical, Tarantino dialog. While one might be tempted, at first, to dismiss the dialog as the unrealistic fantasy of a male screenwriter, given the enormous difficulty in writing dialog for characters of the opposite gender to the writer's, my experience of listening to the podcasts of my good friend, Anjelika Jinxs ( ), leads me to conclude that some young women do actually talk this way. All through the film, I kept being reminded of Anjelika talking with her friend and co-presenter, Wanda. If you haven't checked out Anjelika's "Naive London Girl" podcast, do so. They are very "adult" in content, but also very funny. Back to "Death Proof," one reviewer actually complained that the women are all sexy and dressed in revealing outfits. Duh! I'm thinking he must be gay. Far from being a negative, I'd say that's a plus, especially for male viewers. None of the women in the film are size zero waifs. They are curvy, real women. One even has a little bit of a belly going on.
The crowning glory for "Death Proof," as far as I'm concerned, is an aspect that, so far as I've read, has been totally lost on the reviewers. The second half of the film follows Stuntman Mike's second group of potential victims. These girls are working on shooting a movie, but the plot line centers around stuntwoman turned actress, Zoe Bell, playing herself. Zoe has a compulsion to drive a 1970, white, Dodge Challenger and perform a stunt called, "ship's mast" with it. Why is that significant? Well, if you have to ask, then you, like the reviewers, is missing out on one of the best aspects of "Death Proof." A 1970, white, Dodge Challenger is the car from the film "Vanishing Point" (1971). The fact that Tarantino has Zoe, and another of the girls, being fans of that film was great. The girls even refer to "Vanishing Point" as one of the greatest movies ever made, in the dialog. I'd qualify that by saying, "the greatest car film ever made," but it is in my top five. I love that Tarantino is also into "Vanishing Point." For most of my life, I thought it was just me. If you see "Vanishing Point," it takes "Death Proof" to another level. Zoe Bell ends up on the hood (bonnet) of the speeding Challenger, during a car chase sequence with Stuntman Mike in another 70s era muscle car, a Dodge Charger. The action, here, is truly breathtaking and Tarantino is quick to point out that no CGI or sped up film techniques were used to make the sequence. The cars are real and are really being driven as fast as they seem. This beats the hell out of the fake looking stuff you get in "The Fast and the Furious" franchise.
"Death Proof" has a simple plot, as is typical of the types of films it's emulating. It's not Shakespeare, but great escapist entertainment. It was able to hearken me back to my youth, when I spent many an afternoon in a darkened cinema, enjoying thrilling car chases. Tarantino manages to wed that to my adult interest in women and bring the whole package into the noughties. I found a common bond with the film maker. Perhaps we are both products of the same era.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Major Media Announcement

Today, I returned from a weekend in Yorkshire. I went up there to meet with the Station Manager of a radio station. As a result of a successful meeting, I am going to have my own, weekly, radio show, starting next month. I will be doing overnight between Saturday night and Sunday mornings, on Seaside Radio, 105.3 FM, in Withensea, England. Those of you not in the local catchment area for the station will be able to listen over the internet. I am calling my show, "Night Waves" and it will consist of some talk and some music, with caller participation, as well. The talk will be somewhat humorous, very similar to my blog. Because of my trip, this weekend, there won't be a new Artist of the Week, this week. I hope to catch up by next Sunday. More details will be forthcoming when the start date of my show is confirmed.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bluetooth Bite

For some reason, 23-year-old, Frankie Hulme, decided that it would be a good idea to run across a £170,000 Lamborghini, Murcielago, he found parked along a curb. Watched by some of his friends, one of them cleverly decided to film the drunken prank on his mobile phone. Frankie's stunt put three dents in the roof of the Italian supercar. The genius friend decided to share the clip of the stunt with friends at a pub, four days later. Unfortunately, when he sent the clip using bluetooth, everyone in the pub who had bluetooth received it. One of the people who received the clip happened to be an employee of the owner of the Lamborghini. Like a good employee, he forwarded it to his boss. The car's owner showed the clip to the police.
As a result of all this, Frankie ended up convicted of criminal damage, in Norwich Crown Court. In addition to being sentenced to 100 hours of community service, Frankie has been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the car's owner. Now, the bit I don't understand is why was he only ordered to pay £1,000 compensation, when he caused £20,000 in damages? In case you're feeling sorry for unemployed Frankie Hulme, the judge is letting him pay the compensation in installments of only £25 per month. I feel sorry for the beautiful car.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

My Mother is Alive!

Last night, I tried calling my mother, again. This time, she answered. Well, the phone stopped ringing and I could hear someone pick up the receiver, at the other end. I said, "hello?" The person at the other end said nothing. I repeated, "hello, hello, hello?" several times. No reply. My mother was playing her silly phone games, again. Finally, I said, "Joanne?" That's her name.
She responded. "Who is this?"
"It's Joseph," I said.
"Why didn't you say my name right away?" she asked.
"I thought you'd recognize my voice." Gee, my own mother doesn't recognize my voice?
"I've been receiving a lot of harassing phone calls, lately," she explained. "Someone even called, asking for you. So, how are things with you?"
"Pretty good, but I've been going out of my mind. I thought you might be sick, or dead. I sent you a letter almost two months ago, asking you to send my helmet, but, when there was no response, I started worrying." I hoped my explanation would justify my disregarding my mother's request that I not call her anymore. Over a year ago, my mother asked me not to call her, because she claimed it caused her stress. I have pretty much complied with that request, writing letters and sending cards, instead. Sending a letter to her, via old fashioned "snail mail," is a royal pain in the ass. As it's international, I end up needing to visit the post office. That means a trip into town. It would be so much easier if she'd get used to using the internet. If she had an email address, I'd send her email all the time. Thankfully, she didn't seem annoyed that I had called. She seemed in quite a good mood. "When you didn't send the helmet, I started worrying," I continued explaining, more in relief than a serious thought that she didn't get the picture.
"I've gotten a box for it," she said, "but I've been wondering whether I should put bubble wrap around it, or just wrap it with newspapers. Does it cost a lot to send a package to England?"
"Ma, I don't know. It shouldn't cost much." Always worrying about money, my mother. It had been a little over a year since I have talked with her the last time, so I was prepared to indulge her in whatever conversational topics she wanted. I began telling he about all that has happened to me, lately. She spent a lot of time talking about diet and health. She was excited that she'd lost weight and lowered her cholesterol. Now, she wants to send me and Nando some drink mix that's supposed to help you lose weight and lower cholesterol. It's the drink that has helped her get results. She ends up keeping me on the phone for about two hours. As she lives alone and doesn't have many friends, she doesn't get to talk to people, much. I think she's missed having conversations, as she talked to me for ages. No arguing, no stress...a lot of crap about this drink mix, though. In the end, she never mentioned the fact that I have broken her ban on calling. Maybe even she realises, now, that it's not worth it. Having broken the ban, I will start calling regularly, again. Now, if only I can get her to answer the phone, without playing hide and seek games.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Model of Teen Unemployment

This week has been London Fashion Week, again. That's why there have been so many news items about the fashion industry, floating around. The latest is that the British Fashion Council has decided to ban people under 16 from appearing on catwalks. Recently, a 12-year-old model, Maddison Gabriel, caused a stir in Australia, during their Gold Coast Fashion Week. Australian Prime Minister, felt the need to open his gob and complain that "girls" under 16 shouldn't be appearing on catwalks. He described having a girl as young as 12 modeling as "outrageous." At least the models are doing honest work, Mr. Howard, unlike "government officials." It's hard to find work when you're a teen, so those who can should take advantage of the opportunity.
I had my first job, a paper route (or round, as the Brits say). I was 11 when I started. It never did me any harm. I wasn't earning as much as a model would. I think Naomi Campbell sided with those who favor a ban. That's hypocritical, given that she started at 15. I bet the real reason she favours a ban is that she doesn't want the competition from younger models. Let's face it, Campbell isn't getting any younger. When teens don't find work, people criticise them. You can't have it both ways. Someone needs to stand up for these models. I guess it falls to me.

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Out of Whole Cloth

Last Friday, a report entitled, "Let's Clean Up Fashion," was published, criticizing the high pay that chief executives of some fashion firms receive. The report contrasts these sums with the low wages paid to overseas workers, in poor countries. Two advocacy groups, War on Want and Labour Behind the Label, claim that most well-known clothing companies are not doing enough to make sure that factory workers overseas are lifted out of poverty. They also claim that overseas workers who make the clothes sold in the leading British fashion retailers are not paid a "living wage."
There's one big problem with these claims. The living wage being used as a yardstick is the British living wage. These workers don't live in Britain. The UK is one of the most expensive nations in the world in which to live. Low level wages in the UK are about double what they are in America, for example. However, since just about everything here is twice as expensive as in the States, low level workers, here, aren't any better off.
Then these idiots compare the £3 million fee paid to model Kate Moss for coming out with her own fashion line, for Topshop, with the earnings of the workers in Mauritius who make the clothes. The factory workers, there, take home £64 per month. They also compare the earnings of the CEOs for the largest supermarket chain in Britain, Tesco, and department store chain, Marks and Spencer, with garment workers in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Are these advocates idiots, or do they think we are? If you compare the wages of the petrol station attendant, in London, with the CEO of any major oil company, the Company director will, of course, be earning much more.
The workers in these third world countries are happy to get the wages they are getting. If these jobs didn't pay more than the alternatives open to them there, they wouldn't take them. Demanding that companies pay these folks the same as workers in Britain earn will just result in more expensive clothes for the poor in Britain and/or the jobs being eliminated all together. I wonder which is better, £64 per month in Mauritius, or £0 per month? In a free market, real wages rise to the marginal level of productivity. If these meddling twits really want to help the poor abroad, they'd campaign to eliminate barriers to migration and trade. Freeing up the markets will, in time, raise the standards of living for people in poorer countries. Until they wise up, I wish the advocates would "put a sock in it."

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Spiders, Man

This morning, I killed another spider in my bath tub. This is the third, big spider I have killed in the tub, over the past ten days, and the second in the past 24 hours. Nando reported killing one in the bathroom, as well. Where are they all coming from? There's a popular saying, in this part of England, that spiders come in the house in September. I just thought it was some nonsense that people say, like an old wives' tale, or something. I have definitely done battle with more spiders this month, than the entire summer, combined.
I don't like spiders. Neither does Nando. I am not afraid of them to the degree that Nando is afraid of moths. For example, there's this moderately sized one who's taken up residence in the upper left corner of my room, above the computer. So long as he stays out of my way, I've been content to let him stay there, over the past week, since I noticed him. There's another, long legged, delicate one, who's been hanging around in the upper left corner of the bathroom, above the tub. We eye each other up every morning, when I take a shower. I have one of those shower/bath combinations, where the shower sprays down into the tub. This one has survived and I can stand in the shower, naked, while he moves around, so long as he stays out of the way.
When I was a kid, I was very afraid of spiders. Even more so, worms. It seems like a lot of humans dislike wiggly, creepy, crawly things. Nando particularly hates spiders when they walk across the floor. There's something about the way they move that seems wrong, somehow. The three I have killed, recently, have been big and have been in my tub. I don't want to step into the tub to take a shower and have that big hairy mother start crawling over my feet. Some people try to catch and release spiders. The heck with that! There seems to be plenty around, so it's not like they are an endangered species, or something. My policy is, if I see one outside, I usually leave them be, but if they come into my house, uninvited, they are subject to death. And yet, Spiderman is one of my favorite superheros. Strange, huh?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Dream of Onions

I woke up this morning and remembered dreaming. They say that we each dream every night, but only remember dreaming occasionally. If we don't remember dreaming, what good is it? Anyway, this time I do remember. In my dream, I was walking along what is known as a "dual carriageway," here in Britain. In America, we'd call it a "divided highway." The point is, there's a "central reservation" (UK), or "median strip." (US) In the dream, I am walking in this center part, on the grass. All of the sudden, as I am walking along, looking down...
There's a tendency to look down, when your life is crap. It's as if you keep your head down, then no harm will come to you. Kind of/sort of a "see no evil" strategy. Or, the mindset of an ostrich. If you don't see it, it can't see you. It's not so much being scared, as it is feeling tired. Don't make eye contact with anyone and maybe they won't try to speak to you. Anyone who speaks to you must want something. Sometimes you can feel tired of being confronted with everyone else's wants.
Another reason to look down when you're walking is that you might find money. That does happen, sometimes. Still, I think the main reason is tiredness. Being tired of the constant grind life seems to have you under. "Leave me alone. I just want to get home and have a rest."
All of a sudden, as I am walking along, looking down... I see onions. A whole field of them. The grass seems to be full of them, still growing. I start picking them up, as many as I can carry. I am thrilled to be getting these free onions and carry my bounty home. What's it all mean?

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Nando Feeds Me

The other day, Nando came home from work and started cooking. I was in the lounge, watching TV. Nando told me he was making homemade lasagna and asked if I wanted some. Free, homemade lasagna? Sure! I didn't have to lift a finger. I just sat back and continued watching television. In due course, dinner was ready. What a treat. Freshly made lasagna. What with Nando being Italian and all, I would expect his lasagna to really be good. It tasted good to me, but then I don't think I have that discerning a palate. So what's with Nando, lately? First he gives me two T-shirts, now he makes me dinner. Actually, I suspect it had more to do with him making more than he could eat himself. He even gave me seconds.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Artist of the Week: Dido

This week, my Artist of the Week is singer/songwriter Dido. Although she hasn't released any new material for about four years, she is reportedly working on a new album. I liked both her albums, so far. Her single, "White Flag," from her second album, "Life For Rent," became a personal anthem for me, in 2003, when it was released months after my divorce was final. The lyrics summed up my feelings about my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, quite accurately. I don't know how popular she has been in America, since her big commercial break came after I moved to the UK. Obviously, Eminem heard her, because he sampled one of her songs for his single, "Stan," and she also appeared in the video.
I was fascinated to learn that her full name is actually Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong. No wonder she goes by "Dido," professionally. She's a four time BRIT award winner and has been nominated for a Grammy, as well as for a couple of MTV awards. If you aren't familiar with her music, it's about time you tried it. You can check her out at her official Myspace page: . I am eagerly awaiting the release of her third album, due out early next year.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Since When Do Men Wear Tops?

I managed to get myself going early, today, so I caught the bus into town. I needed to pick up clothes from the cleaners and buy some groceries. It was just a quick trip, as I wanted to get back in time to watch football, on TV. As I was walking back to the bus station, I encountered three young men, walking the opposite direction. One of the three was very tall, while the other two were short. The tall one was talking and I couldn't help but overhear. He was saying, "let's go and get those tops we saw the other day." That was all of the conversation I got to hear, as we passed each other. In a flash, they were out of earshot again.
As I continued walking to the bus station, the little snippet of conversation stirred my brain. There was something not quite right about it. I mulled it over for a few moments, while continuing to scan the walkway for beautiful women. Suddenly, it occurred to me...that young man said, "tops!" Since when do men buy tops? Men buy shirts. Women buy tops. What gives? Is this a sign of the further demasculinization of the British male? Come to think of it, that tall, young man looked a bit effeminate. Why were these boys going clothes shopping in the first place? That's a girly pass time. Why aren't they heading to the pub, or home, like me, to watch football? Now that's a manly pursuit. Sitting in front of your satellite TV, remote at your fingertips, cold beer in hand, watching the footie. If boys, these days, don't get to practice such manly activities, what will become of society?
Perhaps they were raised by single mothers. No man around to teach them the many arts of football watching, remote control fondling, and wearing shirts. What's worse, these lot probably put the toilet seat down, after they pee. Or, horror of horrors, they call it "weeing," instead of "peeing." The next thing you know, they'll be using moisturizers and tons of hair care products. No wonder Britain lost the Empire.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Those Damn Tories

The Tory Party, under David Cameron, are considering a set of green policy positions. These include raising taxes on short-haul flights, raising taxes on cars, and banning the standby feature on electronic appliances. They are supposed to be conservatives, but they seem to be trying to outdo the other parties at anti-market, centralized economic planning attacks on liberty. Thus they offer no alternative to the socialist Labour Party, currently in power. Unfortunately, the Liberal-Democrats aren't much better either. If the British people want to emit less CO2, they are already free, in the marketplace, to do so. They do not need government terrocrats using force to make them do so. Most of the Tory proposals being considered would not reduce CO2 emissions, but merely line the coffers of the Treasury with more stolen money.
I pay for the electricity I use. If I want to use it powering standby modes, that's up to me. People should throw their remote controls at Cameron's head until he gets it. The airlines, car companies, power companies, oil companies, and electronics companies need to wake up and realize that these green proposals will be a threat to their businesses. Call me a sceptic, but reduced fuel consumption will reduce the takings by the government gang in fuel taxes. These new, so called "green" taxes might just be a sneaky attempt to replace expected lost revenue. Sadly, there seems to be no pro liberty alternative in the British political arena. At least in America, they have Ron Paul. We could do with a Ron Paul for the UK.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wearing the Real Costume

Yesterday, I worked on the feature film for which I attended the costume fitting last week. I had a 6:30AM call time at Pinewood Studios. Getting there via public transportation would prove tricky. After much research, I decided to take the first bus from Bracknell, towards London, but get off at Langley. The production company was providing a free shuttle bus service from Langley train station to Pinewood. They were expecting people from London to arrive at Langley on the 6:11 from Paddington Station. The bus from Bracknell was due to arrive in Langley at 6:06. The only problem was that the bus stop isn't at the train station. Could I walk to the train station in five minutes?
The answer turned out to be, "no." It wasn't helped by the fact that my bus was a bit late. The train station proved to be quite far. After walking a while, I caught a bus that was going my way. I asked the driver if he stopped at the train station, but he said no. He did get me closer, faster than I could have walked the distance. By the time I arrived at Langley Station, it was 6:25. When I walked to the front of the station, I figured the shuttle to Pinewood would have left already. Maybe I could catch a cab from the station. As the front of the station came into view, I was pleasantly surprised. There were a bunch of men waiting there. The shuttle hadn't come yet.
The mini buses didn't start arriving to pick us up till just past 6:30. Technically, we were late, but as we were all in the same boat, I figured I couldn't get into trouble over it. We had been told to arrive at 6AM, if we wanted breakfast. I was concerned about missing breakfast, as I hadn't brought anything to eat with me. Upon arrival at Pinewood, I was in for my second pleasant surprise of the day. They were still serving breakfast. There were so many background artistes in line for their costumes, that there was plenty of time for me to grab something to eat first.
The only downside to this shoot was that all of the actors for the scene were men. There must have been a couple of hundred of us, but not a single female. The only women around were a couple of production runners, a couple of costume people, and all the makeup department. The makeup ladies were quite old and matronly looking, but the female runners were on the cute side. Oh, one of the assistant directors was female as well, but she wasn't so good looking. Mostly, she kept repeating, "quiet please," so often that towards the end of the day, I felt like pushing her head through a wall. Strangely, I ended up resisting the urge.
Although my agent had originally told me the job was for two days filming, I found out that the production company was going to try to cram it all into the one day. That's why we started so bloody early. Because I had been told it was for two days, I had booked two days off work at the restaurant. If they succeeded in getting all the filming done in one day, I would end up with a day off for nothing. The day was long. They didn't wrap us till just past 7PM. It was then that they finally told us for certain that we would not be needed the next day. By them, there was no one left at the restaurant for me to call and cancel my day off for the next day. Oh well, I resigned myself to spending the next day at home, relaxing. Poor me.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sexy Science

Even though the subjects of scientific research into what humans find attractive in a mate claim that they look for partners similar to themselves, the research doesn't back that up. Scientists are saying that a study of speed dating results shows that men are attracted to beautiful women. Women, on the other hand, are attracted to blokes with money. Go figure! It's interesting that what people do seems to differ from what they say. This supports a contention I have made for years, that if you want to understand people, watch what they do, rather than going by what they say. Now that these astounding results have been published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," I guess I shall continue my pursuit of wealth. I thought women liked men who make them laugh? I suppose the best strategy is to become a rich comedian.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mothman Fears

One night last week, my racist, Italian housemate, Nando, and I were watching TV together in the lounge. It being a warm night, Nando had opened the back window at my request. All of a sudden, a moth flew in the window and began that erratic flying pattern they do, spiraling towards the light in the corner. Then Nando jerked up from his reclining position, saying, "I hate those bloody things." I watched all this with casual amusement.
"Nando," I said, "you're not afraid of moths, are you?"
"I can't stand them," he replied, all the while ducking and diving in time to the little winged creature's movements. I started laughing out loud at this. "I can handle spiders and snakes, but I can't take these things flying at you. Hurry up and kill it!" he stated.
As if it understood Nando's violent intentions, the moth disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. "Nando, I could understand being afraid of snakes, or spiders, because they could be poisonous, and could kill you," I explained, "but a moth can't do you any harm. It's a tiny, little thing and very delicate."
"I can't stand the way they fly around" he replied.
"Are you afraid of butterflies, too?" I asked.
"Butterflies don't bother me," Nando said. There doesn't seem to be that much difference between moths and butterflies, to me. Nando explained that butterflies don't fly at you and fly slower. I rolled my eyes at such petty differences. If someone wanted to torture Nando, all the torturer would have to do is lock Nando in a room with a dozen moths and an electric light. Nando looks like he's not afraid of anything. He's normally quite calm and not easily upset. Who'd have thought that something as small and insubstantial as a moth would terrify him?
I went up to bed, leaving Nando sitting anxiously in the lounge, looking this way and that, least the moth return. He said he'd have to kill it before he went to bed. As I left, Nando asked me to kill the flying creature, if I should run into it on my journey upstairs. I couldn't be bothered to even notice if I passed the moth, or not. The next day, Nando reported to me that said moth had indeed met his demise, at Nando's hands. He'd tracked it down before gong to bed, himself. Nando won that victory and it remains until the next little moth creature finds its way into the house. It might be fun to see what Nando would do if there were two months in the room, at the same time.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

I Wish Someone Had Told Me

This past Saturday, I went into London to film an interview for a TV show. I can't tell you the name of the show yet, because of the confidentiality agreements that were part of my release. It should air sometime in December, so I'll let you know when I know, exactly. I was able to travel in style, by train, because the production company paid for my transportation. No bus for me, for a change. Also uncharacteristically, I arrived quite early. I wandered around the block, looking for a pub to kill some time, but there were none in the area. There was an Indian restaurant, closed for refurbishment, though. Turning around, I just decided to go in early. It turned out to be a good thing I did.
When I entered the building, there were already several people waiting. If I had waited to arrive on time, I wouldn't have gotten a seat. The production crew were running late with an earlier group they were filming. After waiting a while, they informed us that our group wouldn't start filming until after lunch. It was suggested that we could go out and come back later, if we wanted to. What, and lose my seat? No way! Besides, we were fed and watered with delicious, free food and drink. Packages of crisps (potato chips) and fizzy drinks were on offer, as well as coffee and tea. I enjoyed a can of Sprite and a package of crisps.
The group of waiting people was almost evenly split between males and females. Every woman there, except one, was good looking. The majority were actresses and models. While the refreshments may not have exactly comprised a feast, there was certainly a feast for the eyes. Sitting around me were a Brazilian psychologist, a woman from Switzerland, and a Malaysian model. Across the room were two beautiful dark skinned women. As seats ran out, there was a gal with a very full head of gingerish hair, quite styled. Later, I spotted a blond, glamour model type, standing near the door. She seemed to be adjusting her breasts, or how they sat in the dress out of which they were practically spilling.
Malay started making eye contact and smiling at me. I wondered if I had some funny bit of fluff in my hair, or something. Eventually, she made some comment or other. I took the opportunity to talk with her. Soon, Swiss Miss and Brazil Psycho gal had joined in. Sadly, a British, bald actor did too and he talked and talked, and talked some more. He talked so much, it was minimizing the opportunity for me to get a word in. I may have a great personality, but I need talk time to display that. Overhearing Malay mentioning a daughter, I wrote her off as probably attached. Then filming restarted. Malay and Brazil Psych rushed towards the entrance of the studio, hoping to get in early. Bald actor dude went with them. I considered joining them, but it would mean standing and there was no guarantee how soon we would be filmed. Although a bunch of people started lining up behind them, I surmised that the producer had her own idea about what order she wanted to interview people, so standing in line wouldn't make much of a difference. I elected to remain in my seat.
Swiss Miss stayed sitting, next to me. This wasn't the good result it may sound like, at first. She was one of the plainest there, in the looks department. She had short hair and hard features which bordered on the butchy lesbianic. I talked with her some more, but noticed she wore a ring on her left hand. Probably taken, I figured. As seats became empty, I shuffled towards the front. Relocating to a chair right across from the two dark skinned girls, I began listening to their conversation. Although they weren't there together, they had fallen into conversation, as often happens when waiting for stuff like this. People willing to be on TV tend to be a bit more out-going and friendly. The prettiest of the two, who was also the shorter and the darker, was speaking quietly enough that I was having a hard time hearing everything. Short and Dark mentioned something about experiencing racism when she was on holiday in Wales, with her "white" boyfriend. My attention wandered from her toward Taller and Lighter. Still quite brown, Taller and Lighter had on a skin tight, mustard colored, mini dress. This dress showed off every curve, including her ample, bootiliscious posterior. Her height was accentuated by a pair of black, stiletto heeled, lace up boots. Heavily made up, she gave off the impression, visually, that she was trying too hard. One of the staff came by with more treats. I snagged a Mars bar, while she tucked into a chocolate muffin. She bemoaned the effect her sweet tooth has on her figure, vowing to hit the gym to try to undo it. I told her not to worry about it and just enjoy the chocolate, while following my own advice. That Mars bar sure tasted good.
The numbers of us waiting gradually diminished, as, one after another, people filmed their interviews. Even though she'd moved to the front of the line, Malay was still there. As I had suspected, all that standing hadn't made any difference. As they were running behind, the production staff said they didn't have time to finish everyone that day. They offered volunteers a chance to film a different segment, instead. I was willing, but then it was announced that they preferred younger people for that. At 26, Taller and Lighter took the opportunity. She removed her boots and put on comfortable, flat flip-flops. Somehow, this spoiled her whole look. She flip-flopped out the door. Some interesting information came to light at this time. The production assistant informed us that everyone there, that day, had been single. Couples were being filmed another day. What? Now they tell me! I had spent the day surrounded by loads of hot, single women, without knowing they were available.
Soon I was in the "green room," with a couple of the other men left and Malay. She was the last female there. She'd made eye contact with me earlier in the day, so I tried to engage her in conversation. After I enquired about her daughter, she showed me a picture of the girl. Cute kid. The hours of waiting seemed to have taken their toll. There just didn't seem to be any magic between us, anymore. Malay seemed only focusing on getting out of there and home to her daughter. Then she was gone. When my turn finally came, I went on and did my interview. The interviewer was sitting off camera, while I sat on a couch shaped like a pair of red lips. The short series of questions finished, the director yelled cut. He smiled broadly and said my segment had gone really well. Too bad none of the single women had been there to hear it. I walked out the door and into a warm London, with the sun about to set. I had a free pass to use any public transport within Zones 1 and 2. The night was young and I had nothing to do. Pulling out my mobile, I dialed Mucky Sarah's number. Perhaps she'd be up for doing something. Walking along towards Marylebone station, chatting on my mobile phone, I managed to feel good. There are fish in them waters.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Artist of the Week: K.T. Tunstall

This week, my Artist of the Week is K.T. Tunstall. Her second album, "Drastic Fantastic," is due out on general UK release, tomorrow. It should be out in the US by the 18th of September. Recently, the Scottish singer-songwriter caught my ear with her latest single, "Hold On." I noticed it on the music video TV channels, a couple of weeks ago and I liked it immediately. She has also caught my eye, as I have seen billboards around London and the southeast of England, promoting her new album. On these billboards, she strikes a sexy pose with a short, white dress and holding a guitar.
I was interested to learn that K. T.'s birth mother was half Chinese. So was my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen. Could they have been one and the same? Hopefully not. Anyway, K.T. was adopted and still has grown up to have a successful music career. She's an example that being adopted is no excuse not to get on in life. You can check K.T. out on her Myspace, at: . I wonder what else she has in store for us, on her new album?


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nando's Given Me a Gift

A few days ago, Nando came home from work late in the evening. I think it had been a couple of days since we'd seen each other. I usually leave the house before he does, in the mornings, and usually return after him. Sometimes, I come home so late, he's already gone upstairs to bed. Nando usually occupies one of four locations in the house. The toilet, his bed, eating at the kitchen table, or laying on the sofa watching TV. If an assassin wanted to kill Nando, all he'd have to do is stake out one of those locations and Nando would turn up, sooner or later. Out of the four, by far the most common one is on the sofa. Nando could be the poster boy for couch potatoes.
On this occasion, Nando says he has something for me, then rushes upstairs. That alone is quite unusual. I tend to be a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. Thus, I expect things to go wrong in the immediate future, but work out in the long run. This leads me to experience apprehension, while Nando is upstairs. What's he got for me? Has someone dropped off court papers, suing me, and he's answered the door? Could it be another evil box? When he returns downstairs, it turns out to be two T-shirts. He found some publicity shirts at work, promoting some brands of beer, and brought two home for me. Nando's also brought a couple for himself, as he's not completely selfless, thank goodness.
Free stuff! Anyone who knows me knows I love free stuff. Now I don't have to go out and buy two T-shirts. I can't remember Nando ever giving me a gift before that wasn't food or drink. He said he found a couple of boxes of these T-shirts at work. One was for Fosters and the other Carlsburg. He's kept two of one brand for himself and gave me two of the other brand. Why didn't he mix it up and give us each one from each brand? Come to think of it, why did he only bring me two? I wish he'd brought me some sports socks. Most of mine have holes in them. Or a car. Why hasn't he brought me a car? Am I getting carried away with this?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Banning Cars

Recently, this dork from the Liberal-Democrats, in Britain, called for the banning of petrol cars in the UK, by 2040. Chris Huhne, the "Environment spokesman" for the party, came out with this crap in order to "tackle climate change." I am so sick of people asking for this and that to be "banned." If consumers want vehicles that don't emit CO2, then the market will provide them. In fact, as I have previously said, the market is poised to do just that, with the pending introduction of hydrogen burning vehicles. Politicians can't solve problems, they can only create them. All that they can do, in government, is apply force. Hopefully, Huhne will eliminate his "carbon footprint," by shooting himself. For the moment, at least, we have the satisfaction that Huhne's party is not "in power."

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Real Costume

Yesterday was a really busy day for me. A long one, as well. First, I went to my day job, at the restaurant, arriving at 7:45AM. After working till 11:15, without my usual break at 10:00, I left and rushed over to Pinewood Studios. Traffic was moderate and the drive took 35 minutes. I made my costume fitting, scheduled for Noon, with a few minutes to spare. Walking from the gate to a temporary structure behind the 007 sound stage, a fellow supporting artiste asked me to show him the way. I am usually slightly less enthusiastic about helping guys, as opposed to pretty women, but what the hell. As I was leading the way, my new, talkative companion let slip that his father is a producer. Hello! Major networking opportunity.
Upon arrival at the marquee, we were given payment paperwork and confidentiality agreements to sign. Because of the latter, I can't say which major motion picture it is I will be working on next. The film industry can be so secretive sometimes. Usually, when I have attended a costume fitting for supporting artiste work, the costume ends up being primarily my own clothes. They look over what I have brought, add this, or takeaway that, but I end up wearing my own clothes. What fun is there in that? This time was different. I was given a complete costume, shirts, trousers, even shoes. Finally! This feels more like acting. I will enjoy playing my small part much more, knowing that I am wearing a real costume, not just my own clothes. The only items of my own that I will be wearing will be socks and underpants. Producer's son was going a bit slower and I needed to get back to work. I bade him farewell and scampered off towards the parking lot. Hopefully, I would talk to him more during filming, next week.
Rushing back to work in my rented, Italian car, I got there by 1:05PM, just five minutes later than I had hoped. I was in a great mood, having listened to my favorite Black Eyed Peas song, "Hey Mama," on the radio, in the car, while speeding down the motorway. That was the first song I ever liked by B.E.P. and every time I hear it, I can picture Fergie in the video, shaking her...ass-ets. Back at work, I struggled to catch up on my work, which had piled up while I was gone. There was no time to relax. I needed to get finished as quickly as possible, so I could head to my next project for the day.
I finished at the restaurant by 4:50PM. After a quick break in the lavatory, I raced off to return my rented car. The rental firm dropped me off at Hatton Cross Tube station. As I rushed down the stairs, to the platform, I heard a train pulling out. I reached the platform just in time to see it was an eastbound Piccadilly line train. Just the one I needed. Trains on the Heathrow spur of the Piccadilly line run a bit infrequently, so I sat down to wait for the next one. I was racing to meet my good friend, Mucky Sarah. She was producing some project of her own and needed a male for voiceover work. When she offered it to me, I jumped at the chance.
Catching the next train, I figured out I could change to the District line at Acton Town. The District line would take me to Ravenscourt Park, the nearest station to my destination. From there, I could walk to the studio where we would be recording. Unfortunately, the London Underground system was recovering from a strike, which had just ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Even though it was now Wednesday evening, full service had not yet been restored. The District line was running again, but only on a limited service. I ended up with a long wait at Acton Park. Sarah called me on my mobile. She'd beaten me to Ravenscourt Park. I told her to go ahead and I would meet her at the studio. Trying to be helpful, she offered me directions from Ravenscourt Park Tube station, to the studio. Even though I had a map, I took note of Sarah's directions. After all, she'd been there before and was traveling the route at that very moment. I had never been to that part of town before. Surely, her tips would save me valuable time fumbling with my map, printed from the internet.
By this time I had been going for over twelve hours. I guess was tired, or something. That could explain why I totally forgot that Sarah is navigationally challenged, even more so than most women. When driving her car, she's almost completely dependent on her GPS. When her GPS wasn't working for a while, this summer, even with computer generated directions from the internet, she still managed to get lost, twice, while driving us somewhere in northwest London. None of this was in the forefront of my mind when I left Ravenscourt Tube station. I blindly followed Sarah's directions and lived to regret it. Subsequently, it began to dawn on me that I was going the wrong way. Consulting my map and struggling to find a street sign, I eventually figured out that I was on the wrong side of Ravenscourt Park. One of the quirky things about Britain is that many intersections lack street signs. This makes navigating much more of a challenge than it is in the States. I made a right turn and cut through the park, trying to get myself back on course.
I must have gotten slightly disoriented in the park, because I ended up on the east side of it, rather than on the north side. However, I wouldn't figure that out until later. I tried comparing the streets I was seeing to the few that were named on my map. Instead of relying on this crappy Mapquest printout, I should have consulted my trusty, old, London A -Z, but as I said, I was tired. I pressed on in what seemed like the right direction. Sarah called to find out where I was. "I don't know," I said. "Your directions were shit," I informed her. A brief discussion ensued and she admitted that she had given me a wrong turn, sending me left out of the station, when it should have been right. Oopsie! Sarah started making unhelpful suggestions, based on her own habits. This included suggesting that I go back the way I came and start over. That's a well known tactic of hers. I had been walking for half an hour, by then. No way was I going to redo that, then still have the walk to the studio to do. Next, she suggested asking someone. Asking is a stereotypical female, navigational tactic, but I am a man and real men don't ask! Did Christopher Columbus ask? Hell no! She started debating with me, which wasn't helping. In fact, it was distracting. I pretended that I was getting a bad signal on my mobile and couldn't hear her. Then I hung up, saying I would call her back. When I didn't, she called back, a few minutes later. I just let my phone ring and didn't answer.
Having finally found a main road that was on my map, I tried to figure where I was along it. Lack of street signs again caused me to walk along it in the wrong direction. Those street signs I did find didn't correlate with the ones on my map. Reaching a bus stop, I consulted the local map displayed there. Finally, I knew where I was. By reversing direction and walking a bit, I was able to get to the street the studio was on. I finally arrived there, an hour late. I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would sing. No asking strangers for directions! Male honor was satisfied.
In the studio, I offered Sarah and the sound engineer croissants, but they declined. How cool...I was able to appear generous, but without any of the negative side effects. She gave me a copy of the script I would be reading. We were recording a segment of her book, which is based on her blog. Sarah writes a sex blog, "Naive London Girl." The book is based on her blog and real life sex exploits. The publishing company she is negotiating with want to put it out as a podcast book, as well as traditional print, and wanted a sample. Sarah writes under the pen name, Anjelika Jinxs. You can check out her sex blog at: . That site also has her podcasts, including a couple with me on them.
Looking over the script, I noticed that the male parts I was doing involved some very sleazy sex talk. This script required me saying all sorts of pathetic, sleazy things that I just wouldn't normally say to a woman. Noticing my distaste, Sarah said, "it's called acting." Sarah and I sat in a studio, together. We did a couple of practice run-throughs of the script. It's funny how Sarah can be so inhibited about so many things in day to day life, like driving without a GPS, or eating vegetables, but the filth that calmly spews forth from that girl's mouth is enough to make a sailor blush. Once we started recording, Sarah did a few bits on her own, then we did some together. Listening to the criticism of the sound engineer, we did a couple of takes of some parts, trying to get it right. Finally, we came to my last part. It was a single line, but it involved me pretending to be having an orgasm. Faking orgasms is what women do. I have no experience with that. It was my turn to feel inhibited. I did it over and over again, but Sarah wasn't satisfied. She kept urging more out of me. The problem is the character is saying things I would never say during an orgasm. Finally, the engineer said to try ad libbing it and saying whatever I was comfortable with. Once I did that a couple of times, he said he was satisfied that he had enough. He will edit parts together to produce what he and Sarah want. Sarah teased me that I don't make noisy enough orgasms. I teased her back that her scriptwriting was crap. My parts finished, I was free to leave.
We had finished a little earlier than I expected. Not wanting to repeat the disaster of my journey there, I caught a bus to Hammersmith Underground station. From there, I walked to the bus stop for the coach to Bracknell. I was happy to get the 9:50PM Coach from Hammersmith. Originally, I had been expecting to end up on the 10:50. Arriving in Bracknell after 11:30PM, I walked home from the town centre, as the local buses had stopped running by then. A Taxi would cost the equivalent of an hour's wages at the restaurant. It only took me half an hour to walk. That's the like doubling my wages. It was after midnight by the time I waked through my doorway. I felt hot and sweaty. I had just endured an 18 hour day. Uncharacteristically, I had a shower and went to bed. Blogging could wait for another day.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An Italian Car

Last night, I went to Heathrow Airport and picked up a rented car. I had decided that because I needed to go to Pinewood studios during the day today, then back to work at the restaurant, it would be too inefficient to do that on public transportation. I shopped around for the best deal, then settled on Budget, through Ebookers. Their price was about 25% cheaper than the quotes I had been getting directly from the car hire firms.
When I arrived at Budget for my 9PM reservation, they put me in an Italian car. It was the latest edition of the Fiat Punto, an economy car. Although I was after cheap transportation, I was pleasantly surprised with the Fiat. The styling was massively improved over older Puntos. The car felt solidly put together and had all the bells and whistles one might want. Equipped with a CD stereo, power windows, power door locks, electrically remote control side mirrors, power steering, and air conditioning, this economy car provided a pleasing degree of luxury.
Okay, it wasn't as fast as my old BMW, but it didn't feel like a stone, either. I managed to coax it up to almost 100 mph, but it seemed more comfortable between 80 and 90. Acceleration was slow, but that's not surprising for an economy model. I was just pleased to be driving again, even if it was only for one day. Racing home to see the 10PM re-broadcast of "Eastenders," the car felt light and nimble, but with a solid steering feel. After parking in front of the house, I looked forward to being able to enjoy an extra hour of sleep in the morning. Driving is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life. There is a special bond between a man, or a woman, and a car.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


For the second weekend in a row, I was let down by an America friend backing out of going out. Last Saturday, I decided to go out on my own and went to see "Transformers." I wasn't a fan of the original cartoon, TV series. It was a bit after my time, as I was grown up by the time it came out. I did have a small encounter with the cartoon TV series, though. During the 1984-85 school year, I worked as a school bus driver, while training to be a flight instructor. One of the kids on the bus, Tommy, had a bad reputation as being a lot of trouble. Previous drivers had repeatedly "written up" the boy for causing disturbances amongst the other children. I was warned not to hesitate to "write up" Tommy, if he caused any trouble.
I have never been a fan of authoritarian solutions. Instead, I talked to Tommy. I told him that the seat right behind me was a special seat, which only the most privileged child could have the honor of sitting in. Of course, he wanted that honor. This kept him close to me, so I could monitor him, and away from the majority of the other children, who hung out towards the back of the bus. Next, I talked to him and asked him what he liked to do. This led him to tell me about the TV shows he enjoyed. One of the ones he named was "The Transformers." I decided to watch the shows he named, a few times, so I could speak about them with him, thus keeping him "entertained" while he was riding the bus. That was how I ended up watching a few episodes of "The Transformers" cartoon TV series.
It worked. Tommy got into the habit of quietly sitting in the special seat and discussing cartoons with me. Meanwhile, I learned about the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (the good guys), versus the Decepticons, led by Megatron (the bad guys). Transformers are robots which are able to "transform" into cars, trucks, and other innocent looking machines. After one school year, I quit that job. It was only meant to be temporary. I also quit watching "The Transformers." I was in my mid-twenties and it didn't have any nostalgic appeal for me.
Fast forward twenty-two years later. Someone has decided to make a feature length, live-action film of the Transformers. From trailers for it I had seen in the cinema, I was impressed with the Computer Generated Images (CGI) technology which bring the Transformers to "life," on the screen. With my original plans for Saturday postponed, I decided to go see the film. As it has already been out for about two months, there was only one showing on Saturday, at the local cinema, in Bracknell, at 5:10PM. Oddly, when I arrived at the box office, the line for the multiplex was so long, I ended up missing the first few minutes of the film. From where I picked it up, I only need one word to describe the film: fantastic!
Director, Michael Bay, has done a great job turning a line of toys into a film, while keeping it relatively faithful to the earlier cartoon versions. The special effects are amazing but the film doesn't solely ride on CGI. There's a human story as well. Shia LaBeouf plays Sam Witwicky, a somewhat nerdy high school student, who gets his first car. Megan Fox plays Mikaela Banes, Sam's love interest in the film. The first thing I can say about the aptly named Fox is that she's hot! What's icing on the cake is that her character is an expert mechanic and that's hot too. I can't think of much that's more exciting than a beautiful babe who can turn a wrench. Fellas, if you like your female eye candy a bit more on the academic side, there's also the lovely Rachael Taylor, playing brainiac computer whiz, Maggie Madsen. All the women in this film are clever and I'm one of those guys who's not intimidated by clever women, so I was loving it. There's a message in there for the women of the world. Nice guys like women with brains. Don't worry ladies, there are some hunky guys in it too, as U.S. soldiers. I'm sure many young women will also find LaBeouf cute as well (I've herd he's dating Rihanna). Anyway, that's one of the great things about this film. There's something for everyone.
Of course, Sam Witwicky's first car turns out to be an Autobot named, "Bumblebee." The car/robot's loyalty to Sam is heart warming, as well as building on every man's fantasy that his car is loyal to him. The film also has some funny comic elements and I found myself laughing out loud several times, starting with Bernie Mac as the used car dealer, and continuing with Sam's parents. Special effects as good as those in the film are best enjoyed on the big screen. If you haven't already seen it, try to catch the film before it leaves the cinemas for good. Watching it as a DVD, at home, just won't compare. This film is enjoyable, escapist fare. I liked it much more than "Spiderman 3." It's not as sophisticated as "Bourne Ultimatum," but on a simpler level, it's more fun. Some newspaper critics have complained that it's too long, but I didn't think so. Although two hours and twenty-four minutes long, it doesn't drag and I was sorry to see it end. I wanted more. This is a fun film which the whole family can enjoy. Kids will love it, while there is enough in it to keep adults entertained, as well. "Transformers..." more than meets the eye.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

A Holiday of Sorts

In America, today is Labor Day. It's the last three day weekend of the summer, there and the symbolic end of summer. Here in the UK, we had our end of summer, long weekend, a week ago. Even though summer officially ends around the 22 of September, or something like that, the last long weekend is the psychological end. This week, kids go back to school. Over the weekend, I noticed that it's getting dark noticeably earlier. It's starting to feel autumnish.
Whew I was a kid, going back to school seemed like the end of summer. In the newspapers, it was reported that meteorologists are predicting warmer temperatures, later this week. The newspapers lamented that this warm spell is a cruel twist of fate for the returning students. That's one area where being older has it's advantages. The opening of the new school term has no affect on me. Being that I work, nothing changes.
I did end up starting a holiday of sorts, today. Nando informed me that Hitler's Nephew is away for a whole month. Apparently, the old git has gone back to Austria, for a month off. A whole month! No I do feel like celebrating.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Nando Has a Second Date

After my racist, Italian housemate, Nando's blind date, on Tuesday, I asked him what the woman was like. He showed me a picture of her. I think she looks nice and very sweet. He and I talked about her and I got the impression he wasn't thrilled with her. He doesn't think she's good looking enough. Although they had agreed to a second date, I'm not holding out a lot of hope that they will last as a couple. I feel sorry for her, as Nando is a very closed person and somewhat of an emotional desert.
Their second date was Saturday evening. Nando didn't get home until almost midnight. I was still up when he came in, so I asked him how it went. He said she looked much better, this time. Okay, that's a positive step. They went out to dinner and to a pub. During dinner, she was telling Nando about the other men she has been introduced to, by the dating agency. Apparently, one of them was "black." She said something like, "I'm not a racist, but I don't know why they are introducing me to a black man. I stated in my profile that I am looking for white." A smiling Nando told her it's alright to be racist. Is it just me, or does it sound like he's not exactly going to bring out the best in this woman?

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Artist of the Week: Robyn

This week, my Artist of the Week is Robyn. Robyn, who's full name is Robin Miriam Carlsson, is a Swedish singer and songwriter. She's not a newcomer to the music scene. Not only is she well known in her home country, she actually had some commercial success in the United States, making it into the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, in the late 1990s. As the new millennium began, Robyn continued having some European success, but the evolution of her sound caused a reconsideration by the US arm of her record company. 2004 brought a further evolution, to an electro-pop sound. Record company executives reacted badly to the new Robyn sound, so they parted company.
In early 2005, Robyn created her own record label, Konichiwa Records. She released her forth album, which achieved commercial success in Sweden. This year, Robyn has secured her international comeback. Her latest single, "With Every Heartbeat" has reached number one in the UK singles chart. I happen to like the song a lot, as well. You can check her out on her Myspace, at: . In particular, American readers pay attention to her latest song, as I don't know if it's getting play in the States.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Big Brother 8: the Result

Somehow, at the last minute, last night, things turned around and Brian ended up winning "Big Brother," series 8, in the UK. The lovely twins came in second. This result ended up saving the bookies millions. This leaves me wondering if the bookies could have voted enough to change the outcome? At least my bet on Italian football club, A. C. Milan, was successful, so I ended up even for the night. At the end of "Big Brother," it was announced that auditions for series 9 would be held a couple of months early. It will be my third time auditioning. Will the producers do the right thing this time and put me on the show?

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