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Tumbling Along

I came to Livejournal from Blogger - I liked the whole "community" aspects of LJ, and the way you could follow other people's feeds.  Then I discovered Google Reader, which follows blogs and more besides, and Twitter, which is all the web community I can handle without giving up my job and just living online.  And so Livejournal became just another place to post stuff, which was happening all the more infrequently.

It was time to shake things up.

So I'm switching to Tumblr.

I'll now be blogging at http://trivia-lad.tumblr.com - I'm already liking the ease of posting links and pictures, which has always been kind of a chore on LJ.  Plus it seems more conducive to shorter blasts of text - I don't always have a full essay in me, and Livejournal's big empty box makes me feel like I'm letting myself down if I don't fill it up.

Rest assured, if I'm following you through Livejournal, I'm also following you on my Google Reader, so I won't be missing out on any news.  I'll no longer be cross-posting to Facebook, but Tumblr updates to Twitter which updates to Facebook, so there'll be links a-plenty floatin' around (man, the future is complicated).

Anyways, sort of a technical, taking care of business final post here.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my witterings, and you'll follow me to pastures new and slightly more Web 2.0 friendly.


Are We Really Calling It The Noughties?

So, here we all are, staring down the end of the decade* and with best-of and end-of-year lists issuing forth from every newspaper, magazine, blog, TV channel and passer-by.  If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re one of the lucky/unlucky few to whom I send out my Quarterly Selections of Musical Awesome; the latest one had a distinctly “end of the decade” feel to it, and I felt there was some commentary to be made out of it.  I hope the following is at least mildly diverting, and in any case, it feels only right to add my own drop into the ocean of critical discussion and justification of taste out there. 

I noted on the back of the CD that these aren’t necessarily the best songs of the past decade, nor are they necessarily my own top 20 (although many would certainly feature) but I set myself the limit of 2 songs per year, and certain allowances had to be made.  Not just that, but I wanted to create a sort of musical portrait of the past decade as I saw it.  Hopefully there isn’t anything particularly distasteful about my character to be inferred from my selections…

* Of course, it’s not actually the end of the decade until 2011, just as it wasn’t the end of the last millennium until 2001, but try telling that to everyone.  In some ways, the universe runs on consensus, and celebrating these arbitrary milestones incorrectly is the smallest reflection of that.

The Songs...Collapse )

Quarterly Selection Of Musical Awesome

About three months ago, I made a CD for a bunch of people I know, and now I'm making another one.  Not music I've made myself, mind.  I have about as much musical talent as a baked potato.  But I think of myself as a pretty good judge of music, and not to shabby when it comes to constructing a kind of narrative through musical selection.  And thanks to Spotify and listening to my iPod at work, I'm getting through a lot of music, and finding new acts I think people will like, or rediscovering old favourites.  So, while many of the more talented people I know are posting music or artwork on their blogs, facebooks, twitters, etc, I shall be stressing over track listings and whether the best song on an album is necessarily the right one to include (answer: not always). 

As to the legality of the whole thing, I'll simply say this:  I've never illegally downloaded a song, and by sharing music with people in this way, I hope it inspires them to go out and buy the albums of the artists they like.

I won't reveal the track list her, because I imagine some of you who read this might be receiving one, so instead I'll simply leave you with some stats, and if you're interested in a copy, let me know.  Who knows - you might already be on my list.


31% of tracks from this year
Oldest track's release date: 1997
12.5% of tracks are remixes
50% of artists/groups are from the UK
19% are Canadian
12.5% are Swedish
69% feature female vocalists
12.5% of the tracks are by "super-groups"
Longest track: 5.21
Tracks not included in these statistics for reasons that will become clear: 1

In Which I Am Excited About Films

It's been an odd summer for film so far. Star Trek was good, if undemanding; a rollercoaster ride that looked pretty and thundered along at a tremendous pace, but had to so you couldn't stare at the plot holes for too long. Harry Potter 6 was disappointing, a mediocre film based on a decent book, but one not particularly suited to adaptation perhaps, and lacking in the action sequence punch of the last. Moon was excellent, and hung around for far too short a time - I would have liked to have seen it again, and will definitely be buying the DVD. Inglourious Basterds was my kind of mess, a little self indulgent, maybe, but filled with great performances, some crackling direction and dialogue so sharp you could use it to as a Hattori Hanzo blade.

And of course Transformers 2 was the Abomination, the End of Days, the Prince of Lies, That Which Walks and Crawls and Flies, the Unmaker, the Unholy, the Anti-God. Not to fall victim to hyperbole at all :)

That said, there are some very interesting films on the horizon (my horizon stretching as far as next year, of course). Some are out in America already, many garnering rave reviews, or at least decent ones. Others won't be with us or anyone else for some time yet, but I'm still excited about them. And as I'm only sticking in ones with trailers, this list doesn't even include Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, which will be The Bomb, or even The Bob-Omb.

WHIP IT - First of many "perfect storm" movies on the list. Drew Barrymore has managed to make a career out of balancing out Hollywood with some more alternative fare, and her first shot at directing looks firmly lodged in the left-field. Roller Derby is one of those things I regret not attending while in the States, and when I go back, it's high on the list of stuff to do. Compared to the "young man finds his place in the world" sub-genre, there are remarkably few coming of age films for women, and it's encouraging to see a film that fulfills The Bechdel Test in the trailer, let along the whole movie. Plus, Ellen Page is certifiable adorable, Kristen Wiig is hilarious, as is Alia Shawkat (and both of them deserve bigger careers) and it has the mysterious third Wilson brother in it. Sign me up!

THE HURT LOCKER - Out very soon, this has been getting all kinds of critical love over in the States, where it's being called the first great Iraq War film. Jeremy Renner's performance is meant to be pretty extraordinary, and look at that beautiful slo-mo hi-def cinematography. Plus, I have a feeling this movie might be pretty good at ratcheting up the tension...

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE - Ok, I'll admit it. When I first saw this trailer, I misted up a little bit. I have a feeling the film is going to make me cry like an infant in the cinema (but in a very manly way). Based on the classic kids book, directed by Spike Jonze, written by Dave Eggers, with a great cast and amazing looking visuals, this is going to be a treat in every sense of the word.

YOUTH IN REVOLT - I like Michael Cera. I liked him in Arrested Development. I like him in Superbad and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and I'm pretty certain I'm going to like him in Scott Pilgrim Versus The World. That said, so far, he has played to his strengths. I by played to his strengths, I mean pretty much played the same character over and over again. It's good to see him busting out of that mold, and this film looks set to do that, with him playing both Standard Michael Cera Character, and an amoral criminal sex-god. Which is about as far from George Michael as you can get.

INCEPTION - Oh, Inception, let me count the ways I am excited.
1) You are the new Christopher "Memento/Batman Begins/The Prestige/The Dark Knight" Nolan movie.
2) Leonardo DiCaprio is swiftly proving himself the most talented actor of his generation.
3) The rest of the cast: Joseph-Gordon Levitt (hot on DiCaprio's tail for that title), Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and several others of equally fantastic quality.
4) The premise: a thriller set in the architecture of the mind. As intriguing as it is confusing.
5) This teaser trailer, which just dropped today. Wowzer.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Taking Woodstock, District 9, Fantastic Mr Fox, Jennifer's Body, Funny People, Extract, Big Fan, Tron Legacy, The Box, and An Education.

Papa Maytom's Mystic Chilli

I've been slowly refining my chilli recipe.  I finished eating the latest attempt about an hour ago (although half of it's left to be re-heated tomorrow) and decided to keep a photo record as a I cooked this time.  I'm pretty sure I've found the mix I'm gonna stick with now, although all my measurements are done by eye/taste, so each one will be slightly different.

Here's what I was cooking with.  Note the two beers - one for cooking, one for drinking (although in the end, I drank the rest of the cooking beer and saved the forty for tomorrow).

Mince and pancetta nicely browned off, in goes the onion, pepper, mushrooms, carrots and tomatoes.  Wine's already been added in.

In goes the Hobgoblin.  Yum.

Delicious and smooth.

Can't remember ever actually having Hobgoblin before - I'm not a huge ale drinker, but this was rich and fruity without being too heavy on the stomach.

I stood in the beer aisle of Sainsbury's for a good 5 minutes picking out the right one - it was tim

In goes the chopped toms, the spices and the sauces.  Now it's just a matter of waiting and refining.

Chef's perks.

Don't you judge me.

The all important testing spoon. 

Kidney beans are in now - it's only a matter of time!

The final ingredient.  FYI - grating chocolate gets your hands very sticky.

The finished product.  Delicious and delicious.

The lime Doritos have a nice edge to them, and the chilli ended up pleasantly spicy without scorching the roof off my mouth

In other, non-stomach related news, I love Spotify, I'm Twittering much too often, I'm enjoying The Warriors, which I'm watching right now (and kind of wish I had the original Assault On Precinct 13 for a synth-tastic 80s double bill), Harry Potter 6 was disappointing, Moon was fantastic, I'm hoping Cinema City shows The Hurt Locker come the end of the month, my friend Bret's broken his leg after getting crashed into by an old lady (get well soon Bret!), I've just finished World War Z which I recommend to all (thanks Sam!) and that's all I can think of for now.


The Bruise

As promised, here's a little slice of fiction I've written.  As I explained, it's based around the role-playing game I run and it's the first bit of writing I've done in a long while, so it's neither very accessible or very polished.  That said, you gotta keep doing these things until you get better, and the best way to do that is to put it in the public domain, where the thought of other people reading your inelegant prose and clunky metaphors can drive you to better work.  Hopefully the people who play the game will enjoy this little Easter Egg, and anyone else who can be bothered to read it won't be too confused.  Anyway, here it is (or at least, here it is below the cut).

THE BRUISECollapse )

Awash With Guilt

I haven't been reading enough.  I haven't been posting enough.  And I certainly haven't been writing enough.  All that shall change.

For starters, tomorrow, I'm going back to the beginning of Gentlemen of the Road, the Michael Chabon adventure book I've been slowly picking though.  I'm over half way through, but I've been reading it so piecemeal I feel like I'm not really appreciating the beautiful language (and it is beautiful, and funny, and thrilling), so tomorrow, I'm waking early and reading the whole book in one day.  I may break in the middle to go see Coraline with my dad, but hopefully I'll be done before that.

After Gentlemen of the Road is done with, I'm picking up Carter Beats The Devil, with Tom so graciously lent me and even more graciously, hasn't hassled me for even though I've had it for positively ages.  No more iPod on the bus - that means for at least an hour and a half each weekday I get some good solid reading done.  It might even inspire me to read during my lunchbreak.

As for the posting and the writing, the two will be related, but also not.

For the not - on the upcoming bank holiday weekend (for which I also have the Tuesday off - huzzah for 4 day weekends!) I'm gonna have another epic session of finalising the script for the secret project Cat and I are working on.  She showed me some preliminary artwork for it the other day and it's looking awesome.  I'm happy with the shape of the script but I feel like the dialogue can still be punched up a couple of levels.

Also on that weekend, I'm going to write something to submit for Enthusiasm, the intimidatingly cool 'zine produced by Susie, Tim and all those at The Deep Freeze.  Enthusiasm covers everything from Byron to bicycles, coffee to comics, and if you're at all an interesting person, you should track down a copy and get yourself good and entertained.  I'm not sure what I'll be writing about yet, but I'm a pretty enthusiastic fellow, so I'm sure inspiration will strike soon.  If it doesn't, I'll track it down and make jokes about Inspiration's momma until it does strike me.

And for the writing/posting connection - Inspired by friends Frankie and Debs, who have both begun excellent blogs, I'm going to start posting some fiction on here.  I run a role-playing game with some friends, a sort of dark twist on superheroes that's going pretty well so far, and as I have a ton of background in my head for it, most of which will never see the light of day in the game, I'm going to write it up and stick it on here.  Hoepfully, after I get back into the swing of writing regularly, I'll branch out a bit more, but for now, it'll be plotting supervillains and nefarious enemies from other dimensions.  I'll stick it all behind a cut, so I don't know what that'll do on Facebook - it may be that if you want to read it, you'll have to track it down to the source on Livejournal.

And, after talking about all my friends' creative endeavours, it's only fair I plug their blogs.

- Susie's blog, where interesting things are regularly posted (putting me to shame) and you can hassle her for a copy of Enthusiasm.  Be a mensch and send her a stamped addressed envelope though.

http://thetrickistokeepblogging.blogspot.com/ - Deb's blog about making yourself write.  If we all make enough noise, she'll eventually post some of her actual fiction (hint hint!).

http://caseoflostpossibilities.blogspot.com/ - Frankie's ongoing mystery fiction blog - it's only three entries in, so hop on now and catch up easily!

London, With Detours

So, if you're reading this in the original format, rather than Facebook (which is Dave to Livejournal's BBC2) you'll see we have a new colour scheme and a new sub-title.  It's now The Year of The Gyroscope.  So there you go.

A couple of weekends ago I went down to London for the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing (which from now on I'll call The Thing, for the whole brevity thing).  I actually had to wake up earlier than I do for work in order to get a train, because they we're all screwed up, because it's the weekend and that's what happens.  I got there in pretty good time, managed to Tube across London and arrived around 12 at The Thing.

It was pretty crowded, and had hot nerd smell, but it was still awesome.  I got to meet Marc Ellerby (http://www.ellerbisms.com/), Adam Cadwell (http://theeveryday.adamcadwell.com/), Lizz Lunney (http://lizzlizz.com/), Meredith Gran (http://www.octopuspie.com/), R Stevens (http://www.dieselsweeties.com/) and Kate Beaton (http://harkavagrant.com/), as well as a bunch of other cool people.  I picked up a horrendous amount of swag, and was generally very impressed by the high standard of stuff people were putting out.

After spending a couple of hours there, I headed back into the centre of London, to Tottenham Court Road.  I chilled in Soho Square, picked up some comics at Gosh, grabbed a burger at a funny little joint called Cagney's (all the burgers were named after James Cagney films - I had a Yankee Doodle Dandy aka burger with bacon) and then went to The British Museum.

I love the British Museum.  It's free to everyone (although anyone worth a damn leaves at least £4 donation) and frankly, if heaven exists, it looks like the inside of that place.  Great design, peoples of every nation, relaxing atmosphere and cool, interesting stuff everywhere you look.  I checked out the African and Korean halls and then had a wander through a hall full of exhibits on the afterlife and mysticism.  It was most tranquil and cultured.

Post-Museum, I met up with Toby.  We started off in a pub near Spitalfields, but the England game was on, so we moved to a quieter bar.  It was most cool to see Toby again - he's a top chap, and we had a good chat.

After pub, Toby stuck me on the bus to King's Cross Station, but because of traffic, and leaving it a little too late to set out, I ended up at the station 3 minutes late.  The train I was aiming for was headed to Peterborough, and as I ran into the station, there was a Peterborough train in 3 minutes time.  Great, I thought, it's running late, and on I ran.  Except that the train I was meant to get to Peterborough took 45 minutes to get there, and the one I had just run onto took 1 hour 30.  So I missed my connection, and by the time I got to Peterborough, there were no trains to Norwich.  There was a train to Stanstead, which stopped at Ely and Cambridge.  That, I figured, was my best hope for getting home.  So on I hopped.  Except there was no connecting train at Ely, and I was stuck there.

Ely is a lovely town.  But not at midnight, when you're meant to be in Norwich, and there's no room at the PremierInn and so you have to stay at the swanky hotel in the town centre, which isn't quite swanky enough to have digital TV or a decent looking shower.  Sigh.

So I awoke in Ely pretty early, wandered down to the train station, and it turns out the first train to Norwich isn't until 11.  Cue sitting in Tesco for an hour nursing a coffee, and then finally pulling into Norwich at about midday.

Long day out.  But all in all, good.

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Post it to FB with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in. (you can untag yourself if you don't want this photo up)

Ioannis Theodoropoulos' first solo album, For Young Men To Utter Maxims.  Looks like the Greek answer to James Blunt to me...


25 Things You May Not Know About Me

This seems to be cropping up all over the place on Facebook, but I'll post it here first then tag it over on Facebook.

1) I can lick my elbow, which you're not meant to be able to do.

2) On a good day, I can name all the Presidents of the United States.

3) On a really good day, I can get them in order.

4) I have performed on stage with the National Ballet Theatre.

5) My signature dish is bacon and tomato risotto.

6) Cockroaches freak me out more than any other creature.

7) I'm extremely good at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon...

8) And I once spent most of New Year's Eve with people giving me increasingly ridiculous things to link up.

9) I have shallow kneecaps.

10) I've never learnt how to ride a bike.

11) My first memory is of the saloon-style doors leading to the outside pool where we on holiday in...Majorca, I think.  I don't know how old I was though.

12) My favourite character on Tekken is Hwoarang.

13) I find the theory of memetics fascinating.

14) I just fixed our toilet, sort of.

15) I'm finding it really hard to make time to read or write at the moment, which depresses me quite a bit.

16) I make really good mix-tapes, or whatever the CD equivalent is called.

17) My favourite poems are The Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and A Step Away From Them by Frank O'Hara.

18) In the week after I finished university, I became slightly obsessed with DIY and fixed a bunch of stuff around the house.

19) One of the things I miss most about San Francisco is The Isotope, and I don't care if that makes me a massive nerd.

20) My favourite word to say is "coagulate".

21) I find ironing quite Zen.  Washing up too, to a lesser degree.

22) The TV series Spaced has informed an awful lot of my life.

23) My cheeks go red when I'm cold, or hot, or pretty much whenever they can.

24) I once Space Hoppered round Norwich.

25) Every Wednesday is Physics Wednesday.