Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’ve just been to see this little ditty at the local cinema (well, 20 seats in front of something a little bigger than a plasma screen that’s a story unto itself).

So, to the film… The visual style is very slick and Burton-esq, the cast are well chosen and the details fantastic (an old style car with remote central locking and a tape-reel audio system….) but ultimately let down a little by the script.

The narration did not enrich the story telling process instead it broke the flow and stole valuable screen time while the actual story, such as it was, felt a little predictable with a couple of repetitive elements but more importantly a major plot element that started to get unraveled disappears into the ether without resolution.

Still, it had it’s moments and for the most part was enjoyable but you can’t help wondering with such style and talent if it couldn’t have been something much better.


Reflections, Christmas 2004

Christmas came and went and now once again the end of year looms menacingly just a day away.

My Amazon wish-list saved me from the tedious “What do you want?” “I don’t know” exchanges that seem to plague this time of year. I had a similar experience with a rather gorgeous Swiss woman before eventually surprising her with a lovely piece of original artwork depicting a sailing yacht. She also became the first person I’ve subjected to my Christmas family dinner which actually turned out rather well.

I decided to purchase my mother a new PC this year too, the previous AMD system having died from a combination of abuses. They were dying to get back on-line so I brought them a Shuttle SB65G2 from the good folks at Aria who shipped it quickly to Guernsey (VAT free). Loaded up with XP2, Firefox and Thunderbird it will hopefully last a little longer. The main problem with building PC’s of course is explaining to people why Word and Excel aren’t installed and that short of paying £300 they won’t be getting them.. or they could plump for just Word at £72 as part of the Works bundle or try OpenOffice for free.

And back onto Amazon… why is it that after rating some 228 DVDs, books and CDs it still suggests crap like Van Helsing, Garfield and The Haunted Mansion. Either a) There are no more DVDs I’d like left to buy b) People can’t be predicted with an algorithm or c) Amazon likes to put rubbish in with real statistical data in an attempt to shift it.

Have a great new year,


Open University M360 results for Christmas

As some of my friends know I’m currently studying with the Open University for my computing degree.

This year my exam results, along with a number of fellow students were delayed… Until 3 days before Christmas where they promptly announced with lots of students wondering exactly what happened. It appears many of us got distinction grade (85%+) coursework… and grade 3 quality exam results (60%+). Some people with very good coursework grades have failed entirely.

Either the course material was too easy and did not give us a good indication of progress or the exam was too harshly marked. Almost everyone seems to have suffered a major drop in grades between 19% and 37%. A fellow student has commented the average is normally 20%.

I’m rather at odds with the situation. I’m supposed to be learning. How are you to learn from an exam that is both essential to your result and entirely devoid of feedback? Where’s the lesson apart from don’t bother. Oh, and it’s Open as in available to many people, not open as in how it work.

I would advise anyone considering M360 – Developing Internet Applications to only take it if your grade won’t affect your diploma. It is otherwise quite an enjoyable course.



The day after last night

So the ball went very well indeed. We are lots of food, met lots of people and drank my own body-weight in alcohol. At some point my friend Wazzy acquired the world’s fattest cigar while I attempted to redo my bow-tie without a mirror or fine motor skills.

Tonight was the party for the place I’m currently contracting and although the food was fine I ended up feeling very hot and dizzy in some pubs afterwards and had to head home rather abruptly to the annoyance of friends. I should really be in bed but I still feel icky.