Life/Work Balance

Last Wednesday I went to the cinema. Twice.

By which I mean I saw two films, technically I only went to the cinema once.

The films in question were First Man, conveniently timed to end just before A Star Is Born (film two) began. Both are two hours plus, so I spent almost as long at the cinema as I did in the office that day, and that is the way I like it.

I won’t lie, almost five hours with barely a break is a little hard on the knees (it’s a tall person thing) and double the usual intake of Minstrels is not calorifically ideal, but these are the sacrifices you make when you commit to a life of film buffery.

Spoilers below.

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It snowed at the weekend, like it does at this time every year.  For once though it wasn’t on a day when I had to work, so i got a chance to take some photos.

I went to London the day before, to catch up with some friends and talk some things over.  It helped more than I realised, in a cathartic way, but I still feel empty.  The snow was settling over West London when I set off home, but for once the trains were up to the challenge, and this was what I saw on the way back.


By the morning the snow had stopped falling, but it was everywhere, so after tracking down and panic charging my camera batteries I went for a wander.

This is what I found.

Samsung HT-C555

Everybody with a blog is writing about Gabriel Giffords, and what Sarah Palin’s website may or may not have inspired, but I have something far more important to document.

I recently got the above Home Cinema system and naturally wanted to hack it immediately to play multi-region DVDs as I have a fair few. Turns out there are a lot of hacks/codes out there, but I couldn’t find one for my system.

It took me two days to track it down, and it works like a dream. So far.

If you have the C555 and are in the same situation, here’s what to do:

Turn on the DVD player.
Press ‘Enter’ on the remote.
Type ‘8-4-2-6-9’.
Press Enter.

The player will turn itself off and should now play any region. I tested it on 1 and 4 (it was region 2 to begin with) and it worked fine.

One caveat: I’ve seen reports that some players have re-locked themselves after a month or so, so be wary. If it happens to me, I’ll be sure to mention it.

Oxford Comma

I saw The Social Network the other day. Mark Zuckerberg (the fictional one) made blogging look so effortless and natural that I felt I should do more. Mind you, he did the same for coding and I haven’t got a clue what that’s about.

More than anything, he made me nostalgic for LiveJournal, a medium that I have let pass me by, although I know it is still popular, and the community that I knew there.

So I’m back, after a fashion, and although I’ve said it before, I want to make this effort stick. I’ve always been too fixated on dates, too OCD about regular, consistent, posting and I think it needs to be more organic. Time and again I have attempted 365 Projects, photo blogs, and diaries with too much rigidity and focus on form.

Twitter changed that. Short, relevant, pointless, topical, photos, links, comment, whatever you want, when you want it. That doesn’t just have to be for Twitter, why not LiveJournal, or WordPress, or Tumblr? So here I go.

I’m writing this on my phone, although I have a laptop and a netbook not two feet away. I’m spoiled for choice on the tech front, but for some reason I’ve chosen the most inconvenient option.

I wrote a post a few days ago and saved it to Local Drafts
on the iPhone. Damned if I can find it now. Or remember what I
wrote. WordPress fail.

I got one of these the other day.


I’m writing on it right now, and I thought it would help me to stay up to date with this blog, and Twitter, tagging photos on Flickr, or maybe even going back to Livejournal.


As it turns out, I’ve mostly used it for playing Mafia Wars on Facebook.  But that changes now.  I hope.


I’ve been fairly busy with a few things, including cons in Belfast and Heathrow, with a couple more lined up in June, but surely it can’t be that hard to find the time to write a few lines here and there?


We’ll see.

In search of style

I need a style.  Not in the fashion sense, I doubt I’ll ever really pull that off, but blog-style.  There are many out there, but how do you choose one?

  • Do I comment on current affairs?
  • Do I write about the minutiae of my life?
  • Should I post regular photos?
  • Should I talk about friends or family?
  • Should I post reviews?

Firstly, don’t worry, I won’t be doing the second one, it would bore the crap out of me too.

I don’t really keep up with current affairs so that one’s out as well.  I do take a lot of photos, but too many to really blog about.  My parents don’t really get the concept of blogging (macro- or micro-) so talking about them a lot probably wouldn’t go down well and the same may go for some friends.

I’d love to properly review books and films, in proper essay style, but I never have the patience to sit down and do it.  I need to exercise my brain more in that respect.  I haven’t written an academic essay in six years and that last one wasn’t great.

Where does that leave me?  A bit of everything?  I need to allot time to everything just to try and fit it all in.  I have #abcdvd, downloads, books, TiVo and who knows what else to squeeze into a day (and for the next four weeks I’m supposed to be making a Sabretooth costume from scratch)

Actually, the costume is something I can blog.  If the rest of the material turns up.


I managed 9 days of 365 photos before forgetting.  Actually, I did remember, but then I forgot again.  Same with the picture a day of myself, although I haven’t managed a flattering one yet.  Sometimes I’m just a little too OCD about the neatness of these things.  So what if it doesn’t start on January 1st?

Happy New Year

A 3am finish this morning meant a bit of a lie in, which turned into a vegetation session followed by a visit from the niece and nephew and inspired the less than well received decision to not bother getting dressed.

The new year brings resolutions, which I don’t normally do, but this time around, I want to write more, to which end I have bought a new Moleskine notebook and re-awakened my account here at WordPress.

I also intend to catch up on reading all the books that I have bough over the last ten years, and, why not, actually listen to some of the 50,000 MP3s that I’ve accumulated instead of just tidying up their ID tags all the time.

IMG_8754This is a selection (and probably the majority) of the unread books that I’ve built up.  Just new ones, the second-hand ones are a whole other pile.





Just to add variety to the mix, I will also be attempting a 365 picture record of my year (the books are number one) and taking photo a day of myself in the style of Noah here.

Let’s see how that all works out.

Why are we here?

I’ve just read some blog posts by a friend of mine on a different but similar site to this, and it made me realise that although I have so many accounts with different social networking sites, I’m not sure that I ever really say anything.  I tweet, and I update daily, but what can you really convey in such a short space, with so few words?  I guess it depends on how you use them.

I used to Livejournal, but now I spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV on the computer, accomplishing nothing and dreaming of the way that I would like things to be without taking steps to make it happen.

Maybe this time it will be different.  Maybe if I write regularly I’ll take action.  Maybe if I speak about it, I’ll tell her how I feel or maybe I’ll move on.  Something has to happen because if it doesn’t I feel like I may implode.

Emotional retardation aside, it may just inspire me to be more creative or more open in the real world.


Once more the UK has been hit with snow.  It’s cold, wet, pretty, and IIMG_8570 love it.  Ideally it would enable me to take a day off work and play in it, but you can’t always get what you want (as well I know).  An initial heavy snow was topped off the following day with a lighter coating, and despite my plans to stay home,  I made it into work as the main roads were clear, and the only really hazardous spot was on St John’s Road.  The weekend was cold and the snow stayed.  It was starting to thaw out by today, but then it snowed again on the way home from work and was cold enough to be settling on the road and the car as I drove.  Tomorrow may well be an adventure.

Slumdog Millionaire

True to form, my local cinema is re-releasing films that have done well to cash in on their success bring them to a wider audience, so I duly went along to see this year’s Oscar winner last night as part of my now almost-regular Tuesday night is movie night.

I’ll say one thing for it, it certainly hasn’t inspired me to actually visit India*, but it has moved me one step closer to watching a Bollywood movie. The film was good, although I didn’t feel a great deal of sympathy for the main characters and found the direction a little too dynamic, but very good in spots. And the adult Latika was gorgeous 🙂

It also had a very catchy soundtrack, which I heartily recommend downloading.

Without a doubt, the film I’ve enjoyed most in the four or five weeks I’ve been revisiting the cinema is Watchmen. Benjamin Button was a little too long, but fun and ultimately moving. Valkyrie was a surprise (particularly Eddie Izzard as a Nazi) and if there was a fifth, I can’t remember it right now.

EDIT – It was Gran Torino. I was confused, because I went to a different cinema to see it.

*With the exception of the Taj Mahal.