Thursday, December 02, 2010

Frozen bilge

It's the best kind because it's easier to avoid. Although it can be slippery.

Right, the cold hard facts: it's been the coldest most widest spreadest snowiest start to the UK winter in approx 17-33 years, depending on your penchant for stats. What this means is that it started snowing all over the shop last week and hasn't really let up, although it might soon. So the north is once again buggered and so is the southeast and Wales. That leaves Cornwall, which has mostly been spared. Bath copped a fair bit too.

On the days that it hasn't snowed it's been really chilly. A couple of mornings where it's been -5 in Bath, colder once you leave the confines of the city. And up in Scotland it's already been as low as -21, and could easily get colder. The record is -27 so I'm keeping an eye on that.

I managed to get out for a few rides after the snow started but this week I've been indoors on the rollers, and am better for it. It's quite nice not to have to wash 4 tonnes of cycling kit after every ride. Shorts and jersey is fine for a 1hr session in the work basement. It is cold down there but after 10mins with no wind blowing over me, I quickly warm up. The main reason is that I'm putting out about 1kW of heat (250W of which goes into the pedals). The body's fuel conversion inefficiency can come in handy sometimes.

Back home, I am rather glad that we got the heating fixed in time. The pipes are quite narrow so it doesn't exactly chuck it out, but we've got a back up fan heater in the living room which is useful. The fact that it looks like a coal oven and even glows, well we'll ignore that.

So even though it's been raining lots in Oz, I'm still looking forward to it in a few weeks.

Onto more important things, we saw two movies recently. Harry Potter 7, Part I, Deathly Hallows. Pretty good all round, some small diversions from the book including a slightly racy Harry/Hermione scene, and a few bits were cut or severely shortened (a good thing).

Liz and I reckon that of the three main stars, Rupert Grint (Ron) has got the brightest future ahead of him. He can do expressions. Daniel Radcliffe hasn't mastered it yet (acting, that is), and Emma Watsername is a little better, although at least she can do a nice sideline flogging Chanel No. 3.

Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory out of Harry Potter IV) has done well though. He's now a useful vampire method actor.

Beowulf was the other movie wot we saw, on telly not on the big screen. It's a bit of an oddity, as they used a motion capture technique to make it semi-animated (real actors turned into 3D animations). Why? To save money I guess.

The outcome is rather disappointing, as by going 3D you lose all the expression that a human being could bring to the role, unless that human being is called Keanu Reeves. So while it gives you more scope to do krazee stunts, it's essentially a waste. OK Angelina Jolie's in it but still...

The storyline is changed somewhat from the original. Yes Beowulf still defeats Grendel with his bare hands, but then it veers wildly off tack by having him being seduced by a beautiful Grendel's mum, instead of slaying her. That's just a gratuitous use of Ms Jolie's talents if you ask me. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Then she ends up siring a dragon, wot kills and is killed by Beowulf at the end.

So yeah it's a nice way of tying it all together but I think it's taking poetic licence a bit far. In actual 8th century fact, Grendel's mum was not easy on the eye (I know, I drew her for a historical piece in 5th class) and the dragon was no relation.

On the other hand, the poem is a bit disjointed. A bit like this blog.

After reading it, I can see how Tolkein was influenced by it*, especially in the Silmarillion.

Finally, I see that arsenic based lifeforms have been discovered outside of parliament (that was a bit of political satire there). There is hope then, although not necessarily for us.

*Beowulf that is, not this blog.

No comments: