A Few (Good) Things

The evening is still (relatively) young, but already I’ve just sat listening to The Black Box of Jazz which, whilst I’ve owned it for at least 4 years, I haven’t yet listened through all 4 CD’s back-to-back like I did tonight.
Simply put, it’s brilliant, and there are some individual tracks on there that are simply outstanding. I’ve heard all the tracks off the box set at certain times before, but listening to it start to finish really highlights how good those tracks are.
Just figured I should share.

For the rest of my highly resourceful day, I’ve watched two films – Evan Almighty, and Blade Runner.
First up was Evan Almighty which, judging by the trailers I saw over summer, I thought could be a good laugh. Frankly, I was disappointed.
It was amusing at times, and probably in a group atmosphere there would be many laughs shared, but I just didn’t find it as funny as I guess I expected to. I was also struck by a strange thought – all the general impressions of what an Ark should look like strike me as fundamentally flawed: the thing has no apparent sails, and yet clearly doesn’t (shouldn’t) have an engine, which means the thing basically just floats. In a flood scenario, where there are potentially many hazards to hit, this strikes me as foolish to have effectively ZERO control over where it should be heading. Just a thought.

Second up, Blade Runner, a film I should have watched long ago but didn’t.
Again, to be honest, I found myself a little disappointed. Not too much, but enough to remember.
It has plenty of very good moments but overall it just seemed to fail to capture me in the way I thought it would. I can’t single out anything that’s particularly wrong with it, I guess I’d just leave it saying it didn’t do all I thought it could for me… 🙂
Still, I reckon it’s a film everyone should at least try, maybe it just caught me on an off-day, following so closely as it did to my viewing of Evan Almighty.

And that’s it really. I guess the subject line is a little off. It should probably read ‘One Good Thing and A Couple of Moderate-to-Pretty Good things.

Meh.

‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden

No, I haven’t seen the film and, to be honest, before reading the book, I wouldn’t have really wanted to. Now, however, I don’t think I’d mind giving it a try.

The novel is very well written, extremely descriptive, and very vivid, all of which combine to make something that I find fairly difficult to relate to (having never been to the ‘Far East’, let alone Japan before, and it being set a good 50 years before I was born) accessible and approachable. The descriptions used conjure up very clear images and really set the tone for the novel.

Whilst I can’t say how accurate his descriptions of the Geisha culture is, it strikes me that he knows his stuff and is very confident in the way he writes. There’s little bias. Every time you read something that would make me stop and think ‘wow, that’s a bit different’, Sayuri counteracts by adding a point that makes it seem not quite so horrific as it might seem to an outsider.

Written from the perspective of a young girl who is removed from her family and placed into what can only be described as the ‘Geisha Program’, Golden does a superb job of relating things from is character’s perspective and I have to admit that every few pages I was finding myself impressed with his work.

It’s not a book I imagined I was going to enjoy greatly, but I ended up really getting into it and, like I said, it provided the impulse that would make me happy to get a copy of the movie. Which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.

Cheap Laughs

Browsing the good old Scrapheap Challenge the other day and came across these little pearls within this Full-Of-Win Thread. Because everybody needs to laugh sometimes, and this first list had me literally crying with laughter. Crying I tells ya. I also couldn’t breathe. It was a rush. Anyway, here we go:

20 Ways To Annoy Your Public Bathroom Stallmate

1. Stick your open palm under the stall wall and ask your neighbor, ‘May I borrow a highlighter?’
2. Say, ‘Uh oh, I knew I shouldn’t have put my lips on that.’
3. Cheer and clap loudly every time somebody breaks the silence with a bodily function noise.
4. Say, ‘Damn, this water’s cold.’
5. Drop a marble and say, ‘Oh shit! My glass eye!’
6. Say, ‘Hmmm, I’ve never seen that color before.’
7. Grunt and strain real loud for 30 seconds and then drop a cantelope into the toilet bowl from a height of 6 feet. Sigh relaxingly.
8. Say, ‘Now how did that get there?’
9. Say, ‘Humus. Reminds me of humus.’
10. Fill up a large flask with Mountain Dew. Squirt it erratically under the stall walls of your neighbors while yelling, ‘Whoa! Easy boy!’
11. Say, ‘Interesting.. more floaters than sinkers.’
12. Using a small squeeze tube, spread peanut butter on a wad of toilet paper and drop the wad under the stall wall of your neighbor. Then say, ‘Whoops, could you kick that back over here please?’
13. Say, ‘C’mon Mr. Happy! Don’t fall asleep on me.’
14. Fill a balloon with creamed corn. Rush into the stall with your hand over your mouth and let out a lengthy vomit impression while you squeeze the balloon and splatter cream corn all about. Apologize profusely and blame it on the fettucine alfredo you had for breakfast.
15. Say, ‘Boy, that sure looks like a maggot.
16. Say, ‘Damn, I knew that drain hole was a little too small. Now what am I gonna do?’
17. Play a well known drum cadence over and over again on your butt cheeks.
18. Before you unroll toilet paper, conspicuously lay down your ‘Cross-Dressers Anonymous’ newsletter on the floor visible to the adjacent stall.
19. Lower a small mirror underneath the stall wall, adjust it so you can see your neighbor and say, ‘Peek-a-boo!’
20. Drop a D-cup bra on the floor under the stall wall and sing ‘Born Free’.

10 Things not to say in an Ann Summers Shop:-

10. Does this come in children’s sizes?
9. No Thanks. Just Sniffing.
8. I’ll be in the dressing room going blind.
7. Mom will love this.
6. Do you have this with a Aberdeen F.C badge on it?
5. No need to wrap it up, I’ll eat it here.
4. Will you model this for me???
3. Oh honey, you’ll never squeeze your fat ass into that!
2. 90 quid?? You’re just gonna end up NAKED anyway!!
1. The Miracle What??? This is better than world peace!! 

Pure win. Loved it.

In other news, looks like I’m missing out on the Power of 2 offer in Eve, because it won’t accept the fact that I’m from the UK when I’m accessing it through an Egyptian IP address. Feckers. Still, it saves me some money, till next year at least.

‘Moab is my Washpot’ by Stephen Fry

This could easily be described in just two words: good vocab.

A great read, with lots of amusing (to my – the passive reader’s – eyes) little tales and analogies of things that happened, and raises some excellent arguments based on his experiences whilst growing up.
Extremely interesting, light-hearted at times, thought provoking at others, everything you could want in an autobiography, even if it does only cover his first 20 years.
I will definitely seek out his other titles.

Thanks should go to Ed who left this with us a few weeks ago.

‘The Weeping Women Hotel’ by Alexei Sayle

Side-splittingly funny. I don’t think I’ve read a novel that made me literally laugh out loud quite as much as this since reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

Sayle’s descriptions and comparisons are hilarious due in part to their vividness, and partly due to their absurdity – yet at the same time they provide reason to stop and reflect upon the points being made.

Certainly a book I would recommend everybody should read if they get the chance, and I should thank Zog for leaving it out here with us – highly entertaining!

I look forward to getting hold of some of his other books at some point.