Anyone fancy two months free DVD rentals? No catch? With an entry into a £5K prize draw as well? Thought so.

Go here, type Q43MAKAPX into the box on the top left, and fill in the details--you can cancel the sub before they start charging, it's a nice little service that, for example, let us have the whole of series one of Heroes fairly efficiently, and every one of you that enters that code also gets me and SB an entry in the prize draw too.

So, y'know, 2 months free stuff and possibly win me some money. A plan with no drawbacks. Well, unless you don't have a DVD player. Or aren't in the UK. But apart from that...
One of the things that always bugs me online is different peoples reactions to plot 'spoilers' for media things—unpredictable and at times downright weird, as Nick Mamatas demonstrated last month. Now me, I tend to seek them out for shows I like—before the internet I had a subscription to SFX partially for the spoiler zone section, I loved reading about shows way in advance and knowing what would happen. But then I tend to rewatch stuff I like a lot anyway. So, inspired by this old poll at [ profile] nmg's, I thought I'd update it a bit.

Warning though, below the fold are some minor spoilers for recent films such as Iron Man, Harry Potter 5 and Spiderman, and also endings/character reveals for Hamlet, Sixth Sense, Citizen Kane, the Star Wars trilogy, Soylent Green and Fight Club. Nothing is revealed that isn't on this classic t-shirt but if you really are that averse, just scroll to the last question...

[Poll #1199471]

Obviously some things, like the end of a genuine mystery, are worth hiding if that's how it's written—knowing who did it never seemed to hurt my enjoyment of Columbo though, and a chunk of my reading is always history books where, y'know, I normally know the ending. It's not what happens that matters to me, it's how—I'm there for the ride, not the big splash at the bottom. You?
So I thought I'd post a poll on this auspicious date. Oh, and ask opinions on the new Indy film as I've sen mixed reviews from people that normally have similar opinions.
[Poll #1193737]
Also, am watching Sunshine on DVD. It's shit, unfortunately, I'd heard that people that liked Event Horizon liked it and others didn't, as I liked that film, I thought I'd give it a go. Ah well.

ETA: It's stripped out the link to John's Wedding speech from the anniversary bit, silly LJ.
It has come to my attention that a correction must be made to previous comments made about the above named film starring Simon Pegg and others. Comments made in the past such as I thought it was arse. All the good bits are in the trailers, Do not go to see Hot Fuzz and funny at times but not funny enough to make up for The Stupid, nor for the awful plot may have given the impression that this movie was a waste of celluloid unworthy of consideration. In fact, the only comments made that, on reflection, appears to be true, was some great set peice sequences and damn fine acting and a drunken night in front of the DVD might be worth it because that's what we did last night, and I loved it, laughed all the way through it. The first-person-shooter pastiche, the cop/buddy movie pisstakes and the overall quality of the cast really did make for a nice end to a great day.

So I must apologise to those of you who listened to my opinion and avoided the film—have a few drinks, and rent it to watch in good company. It's great fun. I must've been hungover or something.

Jennie and I got a free trial of LoveFilm through one of my agencies awhileback and are still using it, rather good service, happy to recommend it. You can register for a free trial with this link (I hope) and if you like it enough to sign up we get some free credit, which can't be bad, right?
Heh, another amusing "best ever" list that, for the most part, concentrates on the last few years only at Empire Magazine. Aint it Cool smugly observes: Britain’s Empire magazine has chosen the 50 best TV shows ever made. Turns out they think only 39 of them are American shows! which partially reflects the nature of Empire's readership and the point that until recently British TV didn't normally even try to make the sort of shows listed, let alone get given a decent budget. As Film Fodder points out, and as you'd expect from Empire, about 40% of the best TV *ever* was in our genre. with "our" meaning SF&F there, naturally. It's actually not a bad little list. So, y'know, couldn't resist...

  1. Bold the ones you've got some DVDs of
  2. italicise the ones you'd happily watch, rent or buy the DVDs for
  3. strikeout what you didn't like or actively avoided
  4. leave the ones you have no knowledge of blank.
  5. Bold and italic for not got everything but would like.

NB: I'm including SB's collection (I'm sat next to the combined shelves), but our likes/dislikes don't exactly coincide—she'd put multiple strikethroughs on #42 whereas I'm a bit meh having previously liked a fair bit.  Feel free to tell me how wrong headed I am for liking something and/or not having watched something already, The Wire is italicised despite never having seen it, purely on strength of recommendation from the last time I saw this sort of thing.
list of 50 shows )

Original story via, meme by me because, well, why not?

ETA: A bit of digging reveals this to be from a poll of Empire readers. I've bought the mag once or twice for a special feature, buying it regularly? Takes a very special type of person...
Went to Leeds today, Jennie's off for a hen night in York this evening so split the journey up. Plan had been to have lunch in the excellent Scarbrough Hotel opposite the station, but it was packed full of Leeds fans and all the seating was taken by a hen party, so we went on into town and ended up lucking out with seating at Whitelocks. Considering that it's the oldest pub in Leeds, it's damn impressive. Went there before[2] but not actually had a meal. Um, yeah. Menu made it look a bit pricy. Really, it's not. It's really not. I ordered veggie bangers and mash with a side of onion rings. Plate full. And really really good. Jennie had roast chicken. She got a roast chicken. Seriously. It even looked good to me, and I don't eat meat. If you're in Leeds and looking for good food or good beer, either is worth a try, and Whitelocks is just cool anyway.

We wandered a bit after that, I wanted to get hold of a book. Smiths didn't have it, but they did have a nice pile of DVDs on offer and, well, we couldn't resist, so more classic Who[1] and a few other things, including a boxed set of wooden board games[3]. Waterstone's didn't have it either, but they did have an import of Android's Dream so that's ok. We decided that out of Borders and Waterstone's, Waterstone's wins, could've spent all day there, easily. Instead we just spent money we don't really have. Ah well, books are never bad.

So, given she's off galivanting in York and I'm not in the mood to go back out, it's me, the dogs, a wide screen TV and a glass (or three) of whisky. After a nice long bath that is. What should I watch first then?

[Poll #1162622]
[1] And some 5th Doctor stuff, does that count as "classic"?
[2] our first proper 'date' as it happens
[3] Does anyone actually play backgammon properly? Never actually tried it.
So, last week while she was down, we had one of those "what DVDs to watch" discussions on our one (semi-planned) evening in. It turned out that [ profile] snapesbabe hadn't seen Firefly. At all. Now it appears that [ profile] tinuvielberen hasn't seen it either (but has now seen the light). This bothered me, y'see, when I first got an LJ, it seemed everyone was a fan, there were Firefly icons everywhere, being a fan seemed like something akin to a cultural norm. Now, of course, I know that's not true, but it sure seemed that way, and for two self-confessed SF fans to have not seen it? Weird. So, poll time:
[Poll #1030452]
Because, y'know, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, does a proper Sci-Fi series, and Murdoch's Fox network messes him around, but the DVD sales are so good that Universal spring for a mid-budget film anyway? Plus, it's funny. Oh, and one of the opening lines is We're not going to die, y'know why? Because we're so very pretty... Which, y'know, is mostly true. So, via Amazon (UK, don't have the US search installed) the series is £15, the film is only £5.

Oh, and after a bit of pestering, here be a link to my Wish List, which I've started updating again; I used to use it as a handy "to buy" list, but then, y'know, finances collapsed. I guess it makes sense to post it, I'll be 33 in less than five weeks. Ouch.
[ profile] makinglight has this years list of nominees, and there are some interesting choices (remember, nominations are a ballot of members).Some of the nominees, some observatios, Battlestar Galactica & Doctor Who are in, etc... )

Oh yeah, Jim Baen for best editor, naturally. While a lot of his books were pulp, they were great pulp, and his approach to e-books and the Baen free library were spot on, hope the industry catches up soon.  I have no Hugo vote, and there's no way I can get to WordCon in Tokyo, but always interesting to follow.
Been watching DVDs a bit (naturally), Media Player Classic is a great little bit of kit, got right around my weird 'driver not installed properly' issue since the last reformat. So I finally got around to watching Dark Angel Series II. So very very cool. And y'know what, I think it would still be cool even if I didn't have the massive thing for Jessica Alba. The weird thing though? Virtually every episode has an actor that goes on to be in Battlestar Galactica. Grace Park/Boomer has a simply exceptional lines:
FEMALE X5: Copulation was unsuccessful, ma’am.

RENFRO: Explain.

FEMALE X5: X5-698 failed to achieve minimum mission requirements, ma’am.
Gator is an anarchist troublemaker, the Cheif is a hotel desk clerk, Dee plays Joshua's blind girlfriend. I ended up playing 'spot the actor' in virtually every episode. Still, very cool, both to catch up with Dark Angel (the DVDs didn't work in my old player, it's a cheapo one) and see all the weird casting choices. The shows share three different casting directors, so perhaps not too surprising.  Naturally, afterwards, I had to watch BSG for a bit; currently dipping in and out of SII, Resurection Ship remains a top notch two-parter.  If you're not already into it, here's a few good reasons to be a Battlestar Galactica fan. But on a completely unrelated note; Squeeze remains the best X-Files episode ever. Just in case you weren't sure...
Part xvii, comment notifications that make me smile. Where? here:
This suggestion has been submitted to a team of staff members for implementation consideration.
From [ profile] coffeechica on my comment editing suggestion.

Red Dwarf series iii. Backwards & Bodyswap, two of my more favoured episodes, with Bodyswap having one of the best sample quotes to hit the charts ever (Carter USM sampled Rimmer's fat bastard speech).

Buffy VTS special Faith DVD. Because, y'know, Faith. Buffy still a whiny preaching moraliser, but Faith = cool.

Books. Specifically, have now also finished Bester's The Stars My Destination, which I'd never read before. Gaiman's right (the Gollancz classics edition has an intro from him), it's prot-cyberpunk and then some, complete with magic mcguffin. Definately deserves the description one of the great SF novels, and although it's got some elements that are incredibly dated (I just don't see jaunting leading to the repressive society with women effectively locked away as described), overall as a future dystopia novel it's not bad.

That puts me on 5 books read so far this year. Considering last year I could find about 20 total, maybe I'm back to my old ways?

I also bought a copy of John Rawls' Political Liberalism. I've read (and studied) A theory of Justice, but not the follow up work. Given I've read the great 17th, 18th and 19th Great Liberal Thinkers, I really ought to finish of Rawls, right? And then I'll add back a little Nozick just to make sure I'm not going nuts...
Sort of via [ profile] grrliz, film meme; American Film Institute has released it's 100 best ever US movies, so...

100 films in 100 years meme )

I've seen less of them than I should have, and some I really ought to have seen by now. But #1 I own on DVD as a specific purchase, so the list must be right, right?
Sleep pattern completely shot so I'm doing my annual (ish) all-nighter, watching Torchwood again. Done that so re-watching the Capt. Jack Dr Who episodes. Hadn't tied it in but the Torchwood lift comes out exactly where they parked the TARDIS. Cool. Combine that with Jack's most treasured possetion being Tennant's hand from Xmas Invasion and you have some very subtle crossovers. I approve.
Well, I'm back online properly, and a quick glance at friends page and feeds. A lot to catch up on. If I've missed anything of personal import let me know as I'll be scanning not reading for the most part.

Spent most of the week either at my parents, Rob's or in bed with a book or a DVD. Didn't buy any electric cards last weekend, so couldn't use much that required power until Anne upstairs came back, me silly fule. Got some book tokens from my sister (she's learning), some Dr Who DVDs from my parents, and chocolate plus some cash from both grandmothers. Went and bought myself Dr Who series II and Torchwood Pt I boxing day, natch. Also bought myself the [ profile] grrm paperback, which I'm halfway through, rather good so far. [ profile] autopope's second novel is, I think, better than his first, and definitely the sort of SF I want to be reading, made me think and entertained. This is good.

Torchwood? Will do a proper review style thing when I'm caught up, but initial reaction? OMG yes. More please. Flawed, at times the plotting is daft, and a bit too twee in a few ways, but overall impressive, and better than 90% of other stuff out there. Also, Gwen has a rather nice arse, shame they took her out of the uniform. And Tosh is cute as well. Sorry, I'll, um, go back to reading my feeds and friends list...
There's a meme going around. People ask you to comment and they promise to say something about you. I can't see the point of fishing for compliments, nor does gratuitous niceness appeal. I was thinking of doing a gratuitous insult post, or a random promise for off topic comments, but, well, I can't be arsed. So you'll have to make do with a "Mat says disdainful things about the most recent meme" post instead. Feel free to comment and tell me I'm wrong though, I even have an icon for the very purpose.

Meh. V for Vendetta is a cool movie. At some point, I really ought to get around to reading the damn comic (it's not a graphic novel FFS, it's a trade paperback collection of a previously published comic series, gah!), especially given that I like the writers other stuff, but, well, meh. I suspect the movie is nothing like the comic, but then, if it was written as an allegory for Thatcher's Britain, you'd have to change it. And a blatent satire on Blair's britain is much more relevent. I'm trying to make an icon using the V. Have I mentioned I suck at design stuff? I think I have.

Meh, I'm off to bed. What, me going to bed at midnight not 2am? Yup. I've got [ profile] autopope's first novel open on the bed, it's quite good so far, I'm on page 4. But before I log off, I just heard [ profile] mp_bradshaw_exe on the radio. Not only is he a hypocritical git who's broken the recycling laws he's responsible for enforcing, he's also minister for chewing gum. And to think I once voted for the smug git...
Well, hacking around and coding stuff is interesting. I've nearly learnt how to do it now. I've given up on LJ figuring out what was wrong with my layout and just used the override hacks they've given me, it works, although the middle column isn't quite in the right place. [ profile] matgb

I made me a banner/header background. I've got a curved edge version, but my FTP client has decided I don't have access to my own site. Probably a glitch their end. The Collegium logo underneath the names will go, that's there for the MySpace (if I ever go back and login again), I forgot to delete it. Anyway, to celebrate my new layout, a quiz...

[Poll #852514]

And yes, I am messing around with the poll options, I'd not seen drop down boxes before. In other news, I'm re-reading Hogfather, and I am so looking forward to seeing it. I'd forgotten how much of a part Albert has in it, and I can just hear David Jason's voice giving Death the hints, etc. Unfortunately, my sleep pattern is still all over the place after last week, and that's not been helped by idiot neighbours asking me to move the car at 8am two days in a row, but not actually sterting work until after I actually drove off to get to work after 10am. Because I really love being woken up an hour and a half before planned two days in a row when my insomnia is killing me anyway.

Still, watched Sin City and Serenity tonight when I came home early. Actually watched Serenity twice, I, um, didn't bother to stop it the second time and just dozed through it. [ profile] faeriecween? Can you bring my Firefly box set down if you are coming down Friday?
Oh my, I think I've found something I actually want for Xmas:
Each volume also contains memos written by JMS during production on Babylon 5. These never-seen-before memos cover every aspect involved in creating the Babylon 5 universe, from casting to sets, prosthetics, wardrobe, photography, the science behind the creative decisions and the history of the various races and species. These previously-classified memos provide a fascinating perspective on the show as it was being created
For those not aware of my ongoing tradition, Christmas remains cancelled unless you're giving me chocolate or money, and I neither want nor will give any cards out, cos, well, I just don't like them.

Oh yeah, insomnia still sucks.
Well, further to my prvious post, I watched a disk of Star Cops first, and a disk of Deadwood later. The latter had 4 disks total, the former 3. That I finished watching all the Deadwood episodes before watching the last Star cops disk shows with relative worth of each series.

Star Cops: Verdict? Not worth it )

Deadwood: Verdict? Go buy this cocksucking thing )

Next up, thanks to [ profile] lithium_doll ( I'll be watching Robin of Sherwood. Many many reasons why I'm looking forward to this one; first, I loved it as a kid, and they made multiple series so it wasn't crap (Star Cops got dumped despite sequel material clearly written in). Second, it effectively launched the careeer of Enya. While that in some people's opinions isn't necessarily a good thing, for a TV serios to get a career off the ground is impressive. Third, well, my (then) uncle is in it a few times.

Ah well. That's been my day pretty much.
OK, I'm in the office, unable to actually do any work as the phone is non-stop "you promised me you'd get back to me"-yes, I said I would by the end of the week, I can't get work done if oyu ring me every 5 minutes asking why I haven't done it.

People. Deosn't help that next week is a quiet week in the school, more leaving than arriving; it goes up againt he following week but, well, that doesn't help me.

Anyway, postman rang while I was shaving, my most recent DVDs have arrived.

So, if I finally get home, opinions.

Deadwood (starring Ian McShane and others, never watched an episode but it sounded good so I bought the series)


Star Cops (classic BBC cops in space, from the early 80s, I can remember being addicted as a kid but decided to buy it for nostalgias sake (should the be an apostrophe befor the 's' in nostalgias)).

Your opinions are sought...
Firstly, for those in London; glad you know you're all OK, the MD has told me to try and take next Friday afternoon off, so I might be up for the weekend again. I found this to be appropriate.

Well, we got through last Sunday (680 students in beds) and it looks like I'll get through this weekend as well (791 students in beds).

That would make it the first July in 5 years that the person doing my job has succesfully managed to house everyone. I've even managed to get today off.

Avarage 12 hour days, and mostly finished at 10pm until last night when ewe finished at 6.30pm and went to the pub. My team are stars, the rest of the office that helped out were a godsend, and the MD was acutally useful and helpful, and coordinated a lot of effort.

Odds of me getting credit for all the plans working? Small. But at least I can be pleased with myself.

Went shopping today; bought a book (only one, I restrained myself), H2G2 pts 4&5 on CD and, well, some underwear. Laundry tends to get sidelined when you've barely time to sleep...

I rule!
Well, another wasted weekend, unless you count serious relaxing and getting head back together as time well spent. It's mid June, so I've had one month of hell at work with another two to go. It's actually going OK, the bosses are listening to me (quote from MD; "what we've found from this meeting is that, essentially, the only numbers we can rely on are Mat's") and the staff are doing great.

Minor cogs; no matter how far ahead we are from previous years, no one believes me except my sister, whose specific job requires her to pressure me to work harder anyway. Ah well.

Went to see Sin City with colleagues Wednesday; I thought it was cool, but I'm in the minority, most weren't the type to even look at comics so the style was lost on them, and many had never seen Pulp Fiction, one was unable to sit through Reservoir Dogs (why she went to see Sin City if she couldn't watch Dogs is beyond me, but, well, People). If you like Tarantino-like stylised violence, comic book humour and messed up morality, go watch it. If the idea of watching people hit people disturbs you, then, well, don't. Really.

Oh, and yes, Jessica Alba was incredibly sexy throughout.

So, to subject. I cooked breakfast, and came online to eat; the idea was to drive to Exeter afterwards. Well, 4 hours later, I'm still sat at my desk trawling through webcomics ( and ) that I hadn't seen before. Not 100% compos mentis though; I just picked up my coffee mug, which was next to the glass of orange juice I've been refilling. The coffee looks a little funny as I go to drink it.

It's half coffee and half orange juice; I must've poured some into the wrong receptacle while looking at the screen. Y'know what?

It tastes damn nice. I've always liked Muddy Puddles when I'm driving in pubs (pint, 50/50 orange juice and coke), so perhaps it shouldn't surprise me too much. Then again, my lack of sense of smell means my taste buds do strange things at time.

Meh; I need to get to Exeter this week sometime, and hopefully I can confirm to [ profile] silentgreeneyes that I can drive the minibu for her, but that means taking Friday afternoon off work, which will be hard to justify, so I may need to put a lot of hours in the rest of the week. Not a good time of year to need me to do stuff.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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