Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sweets and Creeps

You may notice that I've added to my sidebar a picture of The Jackpot Golden Boys' new EP, Sweets and Creeps. If you're in the US, you can click on the picture to listen to sample tracks, download MP3s and/or buy the CD from a US distributor. If you're in the UK, you can do all this from the Jackpots' own website.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Worth Watching


Godzilla meets The Blair Witch Project. Good, but would be better if I didn't have to have my eyes closed through most of it for fear of puking. Go and see it, but take some travel sickness tablets first and take a sick-bag with you, just in case.


Very good. Nice to see a period drama that isn't (as much as I like it) Pride and Prejudice yet again. It was nice to see Philip Glenister putting in an appearance (we're very much looking forward to trying Ashes to Ashes when it starts).

Lead Balloon

This can best be described as a British Curb Your Enthusiasm. It lacks all the Hollywood stars, but is just as cringe-worthy and funny. This second series was every bit as good as the first.

Moving Wallpaper & Echo Beach

One programme in two halves. The first half, Moving Wallpaper, is about the production crew behind a soap opera called Echo Beach, which is filmed at Watergate Bay, Cornwall. The second half is the soap opera itself. Very original, quite funny and thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, the theme song for the soap opera is Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins.

Primeval (Wikipedia; YouTube)

I liked the first series and, so far, this series is much better. Thus far, Hannah Spearritt has managed to keep her clothes on.

Spooks (MI5 in the USA)

You know when they're going to get rid of someone (kill them off or have them go into hiding) because they give the actor some acting to do and allow the viewer to get to know them a bit better first. All except Adam, who seems to be untouchable. This was good, with a very harrowing ending, but I liked the old days when anyone was expendable.

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles

Includes yet another example (e.g. Hugh Laurie, Michelle Ryan) of a Brit (Lena Headey) putting on an American accent. So far this has been enjoyable, but makes the same mistake of many programmes (e.g. Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes) in that it seems to lack humour. The other problem with the aforementioned shows is that they can get so wrapped up in their own mythologies that it becomes easy to tire of them. However, it's nice to see Summer Glau from Firefly (which I was sad to see cancelled) as a goodie-terminator.


In the UK, they've now started broadcasting a family version before the watershed and an adult version after. It was a good start to the series and very nice to have James Marsters (an example of an American putting on a British accent). I'm not sure how much is cut from the family version because I haven't seen it yet. In the USA, the new series is being screened on BBCAmerica from the 26th of January.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Individual Communion -- An Oxymoron?

Celebration Cup
"Celebration Cup"
When I was a child, communion was served as little wafers and a sip of wine from a communal goblet. As I grew older, my family and I started to attend a church that instead used real bread and tiny, individual, stainless steel cups that were washed and reused each week. I have been to other churches that use tiny glass or clear plastic cups. These too tended to be washed and reused until they broke (although I suspect that some churches, with no environmental conscience, shamefully throw away the plastic ones after each communion service).

Today, however, I went to a church that practised the ultimate in throw-away communion. At communion time, they passed round baskets of little, individualized, vacuum sealed packs, each containing a single wafer and a small amount of communion wine (grape juice). The top of each pack is printed with "This is my body, which is broken for you. Take, eat. Do this in remembrance of me." One peels off the first layer and eats the wafer, then peels off the rest of the lid and drinks the grape juice. The plastic containers are then discarded.

For a moment I wasn't sure whether I was at church or in a cheap coffee shop.

With regard to the environmental concerns, I came across the idea for a liquid filled, wafer covered, edible communion cup. One eats the wafer, drinks the grape juice, then eats the cup too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Doctor Who Christmas Special

I just finished re-watching this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special, Voyage of the Damned with the family (the first viewing was on Christmas Day). We also watched the episode's Confidential and I have to say the Murray Gold has done it again. He seems to have a knack for writing songs that have the feeling of being old ones from yesteryear -- but one can't quite put one's finger on what they're called or who sang them originally. The first of his songs to have this effect on me was Song For Ten, then there was My Angel Put the Devil in Me and this time it was Stowaway.

And who can mention this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special without mentioning their managing to get Kylie. Here's a classic from a few years back (the Blue Monday mix of Can't Get You Out of My Head):

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dixville Notch

Over the past few evenings, Mark and I have been enjoying the highlights of the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary. It's an educational experience and a lot of googling for definitions of US political terms is involved. For example, most Brits have heard the term "Primary", even if it's just because Jack Bauer's first really bad day was the day of the California Presidential Primary, but one still needs to ask "What on earth is a Caucus?" and "What is the difference between a Caucus and a Primary?" Follow some of the links below if you're really interested.

We were also fascinated by the elections in a small town in New Hampshire called Dixville Notch. We watched the entire thing from beginning to end. The town is small and has a tradition of opening the polls at midnight and being the first to get a result, so they can televise the casting of votes, the counting and the subsequent announcement in real time. This year, only 17 people voted. It rather reminded us of Blackadder the Third: Dish and Dishonesty, wherein Baldrick stands against Pitt the Younger's younger brother as the candidate for the rotten borough of Dunny-on-the-Wold, which has only one voter -- Edmund Blackadder.

(As an aside, Blackadder is very well known in Britain and many of its cast are household names. If you're not familiar with Blackadder, you may be interested to know that it was part-written by Richard Curtis. You may also be interested in seeing Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent and Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder. In my opinion, Blackadder is a work of Genius.)


It seems that there is an episode of The West Wing wherein there is concern about a small town in New Hampshire called Hartsfield's Landing (fictional town, but based on Dixville Notch).


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Caucus-Race
The Difference Between Primaries and Caucuses
The Party Caucus: A Study in History and Etymology
The Grammarphobia Blog
Wikipedia -- Caucus
Wikipedia -- Primary
Wikipedia -- Presidential Primary
Wikipedia -- Super Tuesday

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Christmas 2007

As usual, we went to England this Christmas / New Year. Last year, the theme song was America, by Razorlight. This year it was About You Now, by the SugaBabes.

Since watching the Liverpool Nativity, I've also been rather prone to humming You Will You Won't, by The Zutons, which is a very catchy song.

This year, we visited Mark's parents, then spent Christmas with my family. It was great to bring in Christmas day with a traditional service at Peterborough Cathedral, singing "Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning" as the lights came on just after midnight. From there we returned to Mark's parents. We then attended a wedding in Salisbury Cathedral, with the reception in Salisbury's Guildhall, where our very own Q (close friend and frequent commenter) married M. Unfortunately, even though Salisbury is only a stone's throw from Stonehenge, we didn't have time to take a quick look. That'll have to wait until another time. We then popped up to Birmingham for a couple of nights, visiting friends before returning to my sister's house for her annual New Year party. Then it was back to Gatwick.

Wedding Photos

The Guard of Honour was provided by members of Q's regiment.
Outside the cathedralQ and friends at the reception
Emily and Lauren at the receptionFriends together
Cutting the cakeThe bride and groom leave
As always, if you see yourself on any of these pictures and would rather that your face were not plastered all over my blog, just let me know and I'll blur you out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The End of the World Cult

Warning: Some of the links lead to some really weird stuff that includes sexual content. If you are under-age or of an easily offended disposition, please don't click on them.

Mark and I recently watched the Channel 4 documentary "The End of the World Cult" that aired on the 12th December 2007. The documentary looks at a small cult in New Mexico, USA that are awaiting the end of the world. For some reason, the USA has more than its fair share of weird cults. Is this because the USA has more than its fair share of nutters, or is it just because the USA allows their nutters more space/freedom in which to thrive?

Normally speaking, apart from the odd documentary maker, everyone leaves these people to get on with it. However, one worrying thing about this documentary is that the resident nutter/con artist (you decide) admitted to the documentary makers that he has done things that I would have thought should warrant police/FBI investigation (for paedophilia). Googling around, I found that some blogs/discussions say that the FBI are indeed investigating the cult. I just hope that this is true.

Here's a few more links:
The Documentary Itself
The End of the World Cult
New Humanist
The Truth About Michael Travesser
Wayne's World
DigiGuide Forums

May 31, 2008

It seems that Mr Travesser was arrested towards the beginning of this month. Here's another good link: British documentary might have triggered New Mexico church’s battle with State. This event passed me by until now. I did, however, notice the Warren Jeffs story, which is a bit more high profile.