December 17th, 2010

breaking bad

Words in Time

Books NGram Viewer from Google labs lets you track the number of incidents of a word in literature over a period of time.
When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the selected years.

The default corpus of books being:
The "Google Million". All are in English with dates ranging from 1500 to 2008. No more than about 6000 books were chosen from any one year, which means that all of the scanned books from early years are present, and books from later years are randomly sampled.

I tried it on a few things I knew (for instance the William Blake revival) and it accurately reflected them.

Here are some more I looked at. It's very quick to make the graphs. Note: it's case sensitive, and you need to set the year range.
Gawain (there's the discovery of the manuscript in the early 19th c)
some political parties (unfortunately Labour capitalised also means the abstract concept, and WWII Ministry so artificially high)
feminism (it's coming back ladies)
science fiction
breaking bad

Dirk Gently epsiode 1 and Misfits season 2 finale

I watched Dirk Gently on BBC4 followed by the season finale of Misfits on E4, and then immediately watched Misfits again on E4+1, so last night I watched 3 hours straight of TV written by a single person - Howard Overman. This is surprising because he was the writer behind the single worst show I saw all last year, the godalmighty-bad Vexed and he's done a few epsiodes of Merlin, which admittedly I haven't actually seen but reject on principle :-)

I am very interested in him as a writer, and the two shows back to back were a great showcase. Dirk Gently, played by Stephen Mangan, and Nathan played by Robert Sheehan are very similar loveably annoying and gobby characters, even with the same build and hairdo. However Dirk Gently seems more or less asexual, while Nathan is polymorphously perverse.

Dirk Gently was more of a freewheeling association of events arising from Douglas Adams' work than a cut-down version of any of his plots. I thought it made dramatic sense if you were constantly comparing it to the original - for instance when the monk didn't appear, they were on Monk's Road. Everything was different, but you were expected to kind of know what was missing. Also - he went to Barbados like me! hence proving that everything is connected.

I was wondering if anyone has watched last night's episode of Misfits in response to me blogging so enthusiastically about it? I think it was very good, but I am not sure it would have worked if viewed as a stand-alone episode. It is more like Gauda Prime - highly charged in context. I think if you do want to watch Misfits, it's really worth going back to Season 1. I am honestly telling you there are values in there, which are not expressed by the characters, but against which the characters express themselves. Also Simon is the hot.

Something thast struck me about this episode that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else - I have been reading toddalcott's scene-by scene review of The Shining. Much of the episode was set in an imaginary hotel, which was very similar to the Overlook Hotel. A lot of the action took place in what looked a lot like this bathroom (pic NSFW).

I will continue to blog about Misfits for a while longer I am afraid, as the Christmas Special is on Sunday. OMG. The teasers and the trailer are very tantalising. Simon is going to kill Jesus! He is frickin' unstoppable.
breaking bad


I am going to drive up to Manchester right now to get my daughter for Christmas, because I think the weather is about to get a lot worse. It's clear and cold at the moment, but I hear snow is on the way.