I’ve been looking over last year’s film releases while eBaying. Now you probably noticed that I didn’t put together a “best films of 2005” list because to me it seems like a largely pointless affair. How does one properly compare Match Point and King Kong? But having just rewatched it on DVD, I feel confident that last year’s Best Picture That Nobody Saw was certainly Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which I’ve raved about before. It’s a real pity given the classy Hollywood polish they achieved with just $15 million (which was actually $5 mil over budget). The WB had not been “confident in the premise” (based in part on the book Bodies Are Where You Find Them, which I’m now curious to read) but after seeing it screened they loved it and gave it a high profile release. In short, if you are one of the vast majority who haven’t seen this film, do so now.
The Gallery has been remoulded to fit the site once more. Due to some changes to the core code it’s not quite how I’d like it just yet, but it’s pretty close to the old version with which you are familiar. On the subject of photos, I dropped in at morgueFile after receiving an email about someone using one of my photographs to illustrate an anthology called Writing Through Cancer. Since I haven’t been there for a while I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my total downloads has now crossed the 2000 mark.
On to the Google Analytics-inspired geo locational visits competition (I think that’s a world first!). So far Milton Keynes is actually way out in the lead, but I don’t know who claims that traffic. Next up are Cambridge, Nottingham and Colchester, with Harrow-on-the-Hill and Kingston-upon-Hull close behind. Remember there are no prizes as yet and randomly refreshing pages makes no difference, we’re only counting visits. While we’re discussing stats, would anyone like to shed some light on who performed a search query consisting of luke church, Cambridge, and saint. I’m just curious.
Since I’ve been dealing with a largely empty house, very little of note has been happening here. Concordantly, in lieu of actual news, I have decided you will have to make do with a photo of my sister Romina with her face painted like a tiger instead. Imagine, if you will, that it is suitably profound.
Luke has uploaded a large selection of photos from The Master of the Thing. 161 of them, to be precise, although he has taken many more. I was hesitant to provide the address since the day he uploaded them his domain providers “forgot what DNS is” in Luke’s words. Fortunately he has provided an alternative address so a plethora of visual delights are available on command as intended.
Jet Photographic have also (finally) got their photos from Downing Ball online. Peruse them at your leisure. There’s a particular good one of Kirsten amongst the informals, of which the photographer was very proud. Some of my own will be available in the Gallery shortly.
As of the beginning of March, Sparkie’s Junkyard has featured a regularly updated blog, and has recently been colourfully prettified from it’s earlier Soviet-inspired palette of greys*. So if you know Sparkie, make sure you’re not missing out.
* Many people do not realise that Russia, much like the 1920’s, only exists in black and white.
One of the advantages of the last site overhaul was that by using the WordPress backend for posting updates, I can do so when away from my computer too. This post, for example, comes to you directly from the Law Faculty between lectures. I’ve been holding off for a little while, but will be making the transition to the new WordPress 2 shortly. Allegedly it will make posting and administration far easier, though you probably won’t see much difference at all (but I am getting bored of those dull smilies so keep your eyes peeled over the next few days). This may all result in some downtime and a few things breaking, particularly since the site’s visual appearance is fully customised. Please bear with me and hopefully it’ll all go smoothly.
My fireplace photo was a featured new addition over at morgueFile which was a nice surprised and attracted it more attention than usual. In fact I’ve just reached 1000 downloads in total. I really should upload photos there more regularly, especially since it uses someone else’s bandwidth.
Rumours have been flying about a March release date for the new Tool album, but the official site has dispelled such rumours. They’re still on schedule for a “Spring 2006” release, whatever that means, as stickers on the recent video singles proclaimed (UK release on 23rd January). I’d hazard a guess that we’ll be hearing a new masterpiece from Maynard & Co. some time in May. Shrouded in the band’s usual cloaks of secrecy, any actual information on the record cannot be obtained without reference to dark occult forces, the very mention of which may result in a Cthulian demonic entity rending the very soul from your core, leaving nought but an eviscerated corpse as evidence of your foolish curiosity. So security’s rather tight then.
Right, I’m off to Nadia’s for some millionaire shortbread before Contract…
It was suggested to me that perhaps lately the site has been lacking in juice, or at least the personal side of things at any rate. As a visual aid, you’ll now find a new USA 2005 photo album with pics from the holiday. On the subject of the new gallery, you’ll find that to conserve bandwidth many of the photos have been shrunk down to a lower resolution. If you’re after hi-res versions of anything, check out my morgueFile profile or ask me. I tend to keep artistic photos at 2592×1944 and other snaps at 1600×1200. I’ll probably need to invest in an external harddisk to store them soon though so I’d welcome any recommendations.
With term a few days away, there has been little in the way of the aforementioned juice, unless you count lugging several dozen bottles of assorted fruit drinks around Newnham after Kirsten and Ming ordered their start-of-term Tesco delivery. You only truly appreciate just how bad an idea a third floor room is after ascending with boxes filled to the brim with groceries.
As for gossip a little further afield, you may have come across this fiery incident in Portsmouth, severe enough to cause a partial collapse in the building. The rescued student in question was in fact our very own Dicko, who has now found himself homeless for the last five days and, by the sounds of it, rather bored. He is, fortunately, still very much alive.
Chatting to Luke the other day made me realise how much I’ve been neglecting the photography side of the site. It had been a slowly-updated yet reasonably successful section of P-2004, but with the site overhaul it just didn’t fit in quite so easily with the new WordPress system. I figured I had been putting it off long enough and decided to rectify the situation. Being something of a control freak, I wasn’t happy with any of the hosted services on offer and wanted everything to look cohesive. Naturally the alternative involved staying up ’til 5am for a second night (although unlike last time I didn’t run into Janine in the kitchen as I was going to bed and she was waking for rowing training). The end result is a fully integrated gallery in the Artist section. Its content will vary between general snaps and proper photography. When you enter you will notice that it removes the right hand menu system. This is intentional in order to give more space for the photos to be displayed. To continue browsing the rest of the Artist section, just click on the link in the top menu. The gallery is still under development and there may be some teething problems, so don’t be surprised if you see the odd broken image or the whole thing collapses and redirects you to Magical Trevor 3 instead. Do let me know what you think.
In other site related news, more film reviews are being added, both new and old. Jane will be pleased to hear this includes a 4-star review.
Portable Firefox v1.5 has finally been released, bringing with it all the new features added in the latest version of the Firefox browser. Portable Firefox allows you to install the program onto any transportable medium like a USB key or even an MP3 player! This means you can take your favourite browser (well okay, my favourite browser) with you wherever you go, complete with your chosen themes and extensions. Now you truly never need to use IE again, even on someone else’s machine. On a related note, for those of you who love mouse gestures for interacting with Firefox, Sparkie pointed me towards a neat little app called StrokeIt. Not usually something I’d be comfortable entering into Google, it turns out to be great way of adding mouse gestures to a variety of major programs including Windows Explorer.
Sophie sent me some photos from the other night, so you can look at those while I ramble. Because it’s going to be one of those sorts of days. You know the ones: filled with tying up three dozen loose ends before going away for a while, like going on holiday only with rather more work waiting for you at the other end. The bright glimmer amidst this rather pale grey hue the sky has taken is that Chyde should be popping over for a drink later on, before we head off to our respective unis for several months.
I noticed the new FAQ doesn’t have a photograph of me, so I need to pick one shortly. I have faith that most of your suggestions will be thoroughly unhelpful, but if you do have a preference I’d like to hear it. I’ll probably take a new one at Downing so at least you’ll have a pretty backdrop to look at.
Passing on a request from Neil Gaiman’s editor, if you’re in the UK go buy your copy of Anansi Boysnow. He’s dangerously close to the top ten, apparently. Meanwhile in the States he’s finally hit the coveted NYT #1 spot (for next week) so, despite being bitter that he’s visiting the other place and not Cambridge, it would be nice to show we have just as much taste here…
My most popular photo at morgueFile so far is the Gulf Shore Ship which I’d never have picked, but is why sharing is nice since it makes you look at your own work differently. Meanwhile another archive which shall remain nameless rejected my Fighting Fishbowl photo allegedly due to “poor lighting”, which I found amusing since it’s one of the most carefully lit photos I’ve done.
Having checked the schedule, Howl’s Moving Castle, A History of Violence and most importantly Night Watch are all showing at the Picture House shortly after we return so I suspect there will be several compulsory cinema trips.
Provided all this packing somehow gets done, next time I’ll be posting from my new room.
There have still been problems with the Ball site until it suddenly hit me that I’ve been approaching it all wrong. I’ve been trying to integrate the site with someone else’s designs that I wasn’t happy with, but being faithful to their ideas. I needed to be more destructive. So I took the images, redesigned them the way I’d have done them, and worked with those instead. The balance in the new “hybrid” graphics has created something quite beautiful and hopefully you’ll be seeing it very soon. I’m pretty sure this is the one.
I’ve gradually started updating the Globalist site too, and new editor profiles are now available, amongst other things. More will be appearing over the coming days, and after the launch the whole of issue 1 will be available for those unable to get hold of a copy of the magazine.
That orchid photo has been getting around more. Will from thinkBuddha.org emailed to let me know he’s used it in his blog. It’s an interesting site, discussing his recent thoughts and meditations upon the buddhist way of life, but from an individual’s perspective. He has a particularly nice entry on the postive nature of grief.
For those who’ve been ignoring my plaintive cry that Gmail is not the best service out there, despite the seeming “eliteness” of their invitation system, perhaps Yahoo!’s latest upgrade will make you think again. Aside from the fact that “just” 250MB is fine for me since I actually like deleting emails when I know I won’t need them again (less to back up and less to search through), the main failing of Gmail has been its interface. The signature minimalism that works so well in its search engine (to the point that I now use Pure Google which strips it down further to just a logo and search box) translates to a clunky experience when applied to your inbox. An action as simple as deleting an email should not be hidden inside a selection box. Yahoo! Mail’s powerful and fluid system has long been superior, but the gap is to widen further with the acquisition of Oddpost and their fantastic software that simulates a desktop email client within your browser window. The bottom line is that Google tell you how to use your email, while Yahoo! leaves the choice to you.
The Questions section has been rewritten, answering some of the questions you asked. Feel free to offer more suggestions as it expands into v1.0. Also check out the Artist section with a new project called Cambridge Knights, which is a new style I’m trying out. Please let me know what you think of the results and maybe there will be more to come…
When hunting for photos for our theme title page in The Globalist, Steph and Alvin pointed me to morgueFile, a repository of high resolution digital images that are made freely available by photographers for commercial or public use. Morbid as the name sounds, a “morgue file” is actually a traditional name used by publishers for keeping reference material after it has been used for its original purpose. It also has a nice community forum where people swap ideas and generally critique and inspire one another’s work. Since we’d used one of their images, I figured it was only fair that I shared some of my own and set about creating a profile for myself. In just a day I’ve settled in and already had 118 views and 16 downloads of my photos. It’s strange to be suddenly reaching so many people in this media form, with which I’ve only recently started to feel that I’ve been improving significantly. Mostly I just like the idea that some of these photos will be used for a practical purpose rather than simply sitting on my hard disk.
Meanwhile I came across what are by far the funniest gamer-orientated videos I have seen since Red vs Blue. I’m not quite sure how it passed under my radar for so long, but Pure Pwnage (pron. Pure Ownage) from ROFLMAO Productions is simply genius. It follows the trials and tribulations of pro-gamer Teh_Pwnerer (pron. The Ownerer), or Jeremy to his friends. Be warned, however, that if you’re entirely out of touch with gaming culture it’ll make about as much sense as a that big black obelisk in 2001. If you understand “RTS” but not “uber micro” then you’ll be able to pick it up as you go along. It takes a few episodes to really hit its stride, but there are some fantastic homages peaking with a brilliant keyboard-wielding duel and a Red vs Blue parody.
Yesterday Sku came to visit from up north and we spent the day together in London. Laughing in the face of death as we took the tube to Camden, we did the usual mix of sampling stallfoods, wandering the markets and occassionally even buying stuff. I finally dropped by Resurrection Records from where I used to mail order out-of-the-way CDs of a darker persuation and it was weird to see so much great alternative music in one place. It was a fun day out and we’ve promised not to leave it another year and a half before hooking up again.
Once more Sku encouraged me to sign up for an artist’s profile at Poison Arts, a new alternative talent agency, to push some of my photographs and digital artwork into wider circulation. How about settling for a plug while I make up my mind? A specialised talent agency, they deal with a wide range from models and performers to photographers, stylists and artists whose work displays a darker or alternative aesthetic. They aim to hook people up internally (such as models requiring a photographer to produce a portfolio) as well as attracting outside clients.
Meanwhile, plugging myself, the new websites I’m running have enabled me to put together a proper portfolio of official projects so I’ve created designedby.P to advertise my services now that I’m looking for paid web work. If you know of anyone who’s interested in hiring a web or graphic designer then please do send them along. The address is http://designedbyp.iceglow.com.
And as predicted, I did indeed hook my Xbox up to the Live service as soon as I got back from TomTom’s. So if you play Halo 2 online then add “PhoenixMDK” as a friend and we’ll go hunt down brattish American kids together.