Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dear Diary (on Nostalgia)...

This blog has turned into more of a 'What Ian watched on DVD this week' than I'd originally intended so here's a 'We interrupt this service' posting to just wibble about a few little bits and pieces that aren't about the DVDs I've watched. Or to put it another way here's a quick post of Ian procrastinating rather than getting on with work he needs to do to ensure next week isn't as hellish as the last week has been!

The theme for this entry has to be nostalgia I think, as it's something that appears to be particulary prevalent this week, even on the DVD front (I got around to finally watching the Special Edition of Cleopatra last weekend, and Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who: Inferno during the week - blog entries to follow if/when I make progress on today's TODO list on the work front). I don't know if it's because I'm harking back to happier times because of the situation on the work front or whether that's just the natural order of things as you pass the 40-year milestone and realise the 50-year one is directly ahead of you.

Aaron Spelling is dead! Now there's a name most of us are familiar with, even if we're really not sure why. And today apparently he's no longer with us. I always confuse him with Irwin Allen for some reason. Go figure!

Top of the Pops has gone! There were times, even as late in life as my late 30's, when this was a 'must see' show, and they're killing it. The shifting around the schedules and channels was deliberately designed as the excuse to kill it I think, and I take the 'you've got MTV and other channels now' excuse with a large grain of salt. Is it me or has the BBC become a greedy corporation taking huge wads of money from its captive audience so it can waste seeming millions of it on endless web site self-promotion (or Jonathan Ross' salary) that has no relevance to its direct charter. At work somebody showed me a really impressive 3D camera-from-any-angle BBC web site that replays world cup goals. It's a VERY impressive piece of software that will have cost someone an absolute fortune to produce - and there are countless examples of it all over the BBC. All being paid for by us Brits to increase the corporation's world standing with non-Brits who don't contribute a penny towards the license fee that pays for all this 'waste'. In the meantime the Beeb fob us off with endless, cheap reality shows on the TV whilst trying to increase the license fee even further. For what? To encourage more such vanity projects that make them a household name in other nations? Since I have no choice (even though I rarely watch TV) I'd rather see the money spent on keeping 'Top of the Pops' going (and not over teatime on Sundays on BBC2, thank you very much!), but given that the show is sold all over the world I think there's some reason other than viewing figures behind its demise. Grrrr! Oh well, maybe it will get a Doctor Who -like makeover and reappear in 20 years time (in which case we've got a year of a pretty good, albeit expensive, revamp to look forward to, followed by a mockery of a viewing experience as the show gets completely trashed because the concept and the quality of the original version gets lost in the second year). Grrr and Grrr again, I say!

I was going to have a rant about cyclists at some point in this blog life, but now there's no need as my friend David Weeks has posted a blog entry about the subject, covering it in much better fashion than I could. Speaking as a pedestrian rather than a driver, I want to punch some of these people on an almost daily basis. Not good for the stress levels and blood pressure!

In other news I've been saved from the studying somewhat with the cancellation of my exam on June 30th (the last possible date to take advantage of a 'free second attempt later if you fail' offer) - just as well really as I was nowhere near ready and it would have meant a day's lost pay on top of the exhorbitant £100+ exam fee. At the last minute the exam centre have said the builders are in and I need to reschedule, which in my case means I have to cancel, wait for a credit card refund and then book a new exam. It seems that for the £100+ fee the exam centre takes it responds to queries asking them to reschedule by telling you that they can't and that you need to go through the whole process yourself online, even though they've left it to the last minute to tell you they've screwed up. So much for customer service. In the meantime the training kit for the newer Microsoft MCTS exams have arrived and are much more interesting so I'm procrastinating (again!) on whether to bother with finishing off the old MCSD certification at all. Two exams to go (I've taken three) for THAT certification, but in subjects that don't really interest me, vs effectively starting from scratch on the newer stuff immediately. Tough decisions!

Exams aside, I have a dinner date tomorrow night with Pete Hoggett in Fulham. I bought a 1990's copy of Film Review, the annual movie review book from Pete and then discovered he had the complete set from the first year of publication (1944!) available and succumbed to buying pretty much the whole set. It's always good to talk movies with a fellow fan and I met Pete and his partner Gurnos a few weeks ago when I went to pick up some of the volumes (and found some other movie book gems available for sale too). We've emailed several times since but it's scary how I put the email world in one part of my brain and the real world in another. When he rang to invite me to dinner and said his name followed by 'You don't remember me do you?', to my embarrassment I had to say 'Errm. No'. It's funny how those computer-friendly email names don't translate to real names in the brain. Around the world I've met people who've had trouble equating 'Ian Smith' with the 'Eeraskian' they know from web sites and emails so I guess I'm not alone. Just for the record the pronounciation of 'Irascian' is the same as the words it derives from ('irascible' and 'ian'), although I'm kind of inured to the incorrect pronounciation after so many cold-calls from salesman wanting to speak to 'the managing director of Eeraskian'.

Enough pontification - there's studying to be done :( (with Heath Ledger's 'Casanova' waiting on DVD as a 'reward' if I can make good progress). Must resist urge to pretend I've made progress before I actually have!

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