Saturday, December 19, 2015

Private viewing

Went to the cinema today, for the first time in however many years - I'm not what you'd call a regular moviegoer. And no, not to see Star Wars, despite what I was saying just yesterday; I thought I'd check out Charlie Brown and Snoopy. I was going to go and see Star Wars afterwards - the Showcase in Derby was showing it every fifteen minutes on one of its many screens, while the Peanuts gang were only on once, at 10:30 in the morning - but Charlie Brown's adventures turned out to be such a feel-good movie I decided to just be satisfied with the warm glow it gave me, and check out what Middle-Aged Luke Skywalker is up to some other time.

I had Screen 3 at the Showcase entirely to myself - everybody else clearly had better things to do on the last Saturday morning before Christmas (Star Wars, probably) - so I got to see the whole thing in glorious 3D in comfort and quiet. I should go to the cinema more often! And what a great movie it is, too! The animation is wonderful - as per the current fashion they clearly spent ridiculous amounts of time and money on making Snoopy's fur look realistic, but the whole thing is brilliantly designed to reflect its roots as line drawings in the newspaper funnies; it goes with the 'drawings come to life' kind of approach rather than the 'look what we can do with computer animation nowadays', and it looks just perfect.

And the writing is spot on, too - perhaps a little more inspired by the cartoons than the comics, but nicely hitting the feel of them both, not really trying to be deliberately old-fashioned but coming across as perfectly timeless. Charlie Brown is the loveable loser he's always been and all the others have their little character moments which I think work as well for first-time viewers (if there is such a thing) as for people familiar with all the old stuff. It's not trying to do anything new, but it's certainly not just re-hashing old ideas and making them look pretty. I love it!

46 years ago the first Peanuts movie, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, was in the cinemas - that one ends with Charlie Brown losing the spelling bee ("And did you notice? The world didn't come to an end!") while this new movie gives him a happy ending, but if you think about it they both convey the same general moral; life goes on, don't worry about it. Charlie Brown will never kick the football, but he'll always be a truly great human being. Fantastic movie, I recommend it to everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Use the force

I'm hearing people say the new Star Wars is good, which surprises me. I was assuming everyone would automatically say it was rubbish. I've misjudged the human race, obviously. Or at least the part of it that goes and watches Star Wars the day it comes out. I really must go and see it myself.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Names and faces again

Watching an old episode of Blake's 7 this morning, I was wondering who that familiar-looking actor was. It took me a while to penetrate the clean-shaven young face, sideburns and late-seventies hairstyle, before his voice made me realise "Oh, it's Inspector Grim! David Haig!" And then immediately after that revelation I got an email from David Haigh, no relation, which just makes me think that things would be a lot simpler all round if everybody had the same name. So from now on, everybody has to be called David Haig(h), okay? You can choose whether or not to put an H on the end. I'm sure this will improve world understanding and harmony immeasurably.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hi there

Bumped into someone I used to know today - or at least I can only assume I used to know him, since he clearly knew me and chatted about what I'd been doing for the last couple of years. Could have been anyone, really. One of these days, I need to learn how to remember names and faces...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Light the lights

I'm still loving The Muppets. It's great when I have pretty high expectations of something and they get surpassed anyway! I was going to write at length on the subject, but I'm too tired, so at some point in the future I'll get round to it. Feel free to wave your arms like Kermit and cheer "Yaaaaaaaaay!"

Monday, December 14, 2015

Vis-a-vis the visa

Tomorrow's task - apply for a visa to visit China. I always get nervous about it, not so much because they might refuse to let me into the country, but because I might accidentally lose/destroy/eat my passport or something and not be able to arrange the visa in time. Never happened yet, but it still might...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's time to get extreme again!

Qualifying for the 2016 XMT starts in January! January 11th, to be precise, and one week for each discipline. Since I'm going to China on the 19th and coming back on the 29th, I might have to cram my images qualification into the day before, and names the weekend after I get back, but I'm sure I'll cope...

Right, let's get training, I'll need some impressive scores if I'm going to qualify!