April 2nd, 2011

breaking bad

April = cruellest month

I was caught out by one April Fool prank yesterday. I was driving to my Mum and Dad's house, and I put on Radio 2. I honestly thought that the DJ, Ken Bruce, was having some sort of mental breakdown, or possibly a stroke. During one record I was thinking to myself 'they'll play two or three records back to back, and when we come back they'll say he's had to go'. But no, he just continued to ramble and embarrass himself.... I wouldn't like to say how far I had driven down the M40 before I realised it was someone doing a Ken Bruce impersonation. It turned out to be Rob Bryden. It was really good voice control. matildabj and I saw him perform in 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue' and I think he has fantastic voice control. He doesn't do a wide range of impersonations, but the ones he does are very impressive. Anyway, you got me Rob, fair and square.

I have been struggling with low mood for about three weeks now in this transitional time. I am not totally out of the woods yet, but I am getting there. I had some good news a couple of days ago - the Jamaican govt have bought a lot of copies of my book (the one I wrote in 2009) - I mean, quite a lot more than 10,000 copies. This was a piece of good news I needed. I am hoping this encourages the publishers to put more writing work my way.

Continuing to ramble on, I know there are all kinds of social media options out there, but I am going to stick to blogging on livejournal. I am hoping that, although it will never be the case again that most of what I want to read online is coming through this interface, that people will continue to come here and interact with me, and also that my lj friends will continue to use it.

ETA - oh, I should say on the last point that I don't emotionally distinguish livejournal and dreamwidth in my mental map, and I mean either or both of them. I am really happy to read friends in both, of course.
breaking bad

Atlas trumped

Alan Greenspan is a highly influential right-wing economist and follower of Ayn Rand ('Sharing is evil'). Many people have argued that as the most powerful champion of free market deregulation he bears significant responsibility for the current crisis in Capitalism.

This Crooked Timber thread has a lot of fun with a statement he made in a recent article in the Financial Times.
Today’s competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (2008, for example), the global “invisible hand” has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates.
With notably rare exceptions, the free market is working just fine!

There are currently 350 comments in that thread, such as:
With notably rare exceptions, Germany remained at peace with its neighbors during the 20th century

With notably rare exceptions, drunk drivers arrive home safely.

With notably rare exceptions, locking all exits to the workplace is a harmless way to improve your employees’ productivity.

With notably rare exceptions, petroleum extraction has minimal environmental impact.

With notably rare exceptions the maiden voyage of the Titanic was uneventful.

With notably rare exceptions, it's a great idea to start a land war in Asia

You've gotta laugh. With notably rare exceptions.
breaking bad

Source Code

The trailer for the new SF film Source Code made it look awful. Then Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian gave it five stars, yesterday which is pretty far out, so I went to see it.

In reality it is a reasonably good film. I just had a quiet couple of hours at home today and I watched Galaxy Quest on BBC1. Now that's a five star SF film. I was crying real tears like almost non-stop. Peter Bradshaw is an excellent film critic, and I think he wants to appreciate genre cinema, but he doesn't really have the gut feel for it. But, you know, it's not the fault of this film that he slightly over-sold it. It's still pretty good.

Source Code is basically Quantum Leap, but our chrononaut goes back into the same body over and over again, reliving the same eight minutes, trying to put right what once went wrong. This is in the trailer so I think it's OK to say it.

It's pretty well done. It's got the obligatory dumbo Hollywood 'estranged father and son' stuff. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, who is OK, and Vera Farmiga who was the psychiatrist in The Departed, and I really appreciate the chance to see more of her.

I think there was an extra plot twist which has been excised, by which the people who are sending him back to relive eight minutes are themselves trapped within a recycling eight minutes, sent back from a further future that we never see. Without this extra twist the plot as it is doesn't make any sense, because they have knowledge they couldn't have.

I dunno, films never seem to be able to portray nested contingent realities right - I mean Sucker Punch sounds unredeemable shite, Matrix blew it, Inception pissed me off. OK, perhaps it's me. Anyway, within this context, this film is pretty good, and I enjoyed it.