January 16, 2011

General musings for the week January 16th 2011

First musings of the new year and I hope your festive/holiday season was as much fun as mine was.

I spent time at the parents with the nephews and niece and- although I love the kids - they certainly are hard work. The interesting thing with them is the short attention span. Come Christmas morning they all trundled downstairs to open their presents. Each of them received a pillowcase stuffed with gifts. The process went something like this:

Michael - unwraps his first gift. "Look Mummy, I got a Match Attax Cards"
Harry - unwraps his first gift. "Look Mummy I got a video game"
Michael - sees Harry's video game "Can I have a go, Harry?"
Mother: " Michael open your own presents first!"
Michael - unwraps next present :"It's a Toothbrush" - throws the toothbrush on the ground without opening
Harry - unwraps next present: "I got a toothbrush too". Leaves it on the ground
Michael - unwraps next present : "Look Mummy I got an Arsenal Football"
Harry: "I wanted an Arsenal Football!"
Mother: "Harry open your own presents!"
Michael - unwraps next present. "I got a paper airplane calendar!", drops it to the ground and goes for next present..

And so it continued. Each gift was merely a stepping stone to the next. Some were just unwrapped and left on the floor. Some were unwrapped and played with momentarily. Any gift received by the other brother which was perceived to be 'better' was immediately fought over. Their sister, Chloe, on the other hand, sat in the corner and opened all of her presents without comment (other than an occasional little squeal), played with them all and never showed any sign of jealousy about what the boys had been given.

The boys also received a table football set. It came in component form and their father spent the best part of 40 minutes assembling it. They both played the game together for 7 minutes before walking away and leaving it so they could play their hand-held video games.

I'm sure my sister and I were the same as kids. But somehow I think the fact that there are two brothers causes more friction than just a brother and sister would.

Kids, eh?

In other news "The Kings' Speech" came out this week. After getting excellent reviews from all and sundry  I took time over the weekend to watch it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am in the film in several shots - those of you following my Facebook will know where I am in the film and what I look like. For the rest of you this is what you're looking out for. My one criticism of the film has to be some of the framing and colour grading decisions. Conventional film theory states that if two characters are sitting talking to each other, the character on the left will be framed on the left of the frame looking right and the character on the right will be framed on the right of the frame looking left when in a close shot. However Tom Hopper, the director insisted instead in many shots in having the characters on the left framed to the  right of the screen looking right. This left  a wide expanse of screen on the left with nothing happening. The whole film was also colour-graded to be quite dull and flat. The fact that it was filmed in the snow and mist of January and February last year didn't help, but pumping up the saturation and vibrancy on the screen might have done something to alleviate this. Still, these are directors artistic decisions and I'm not going to second-guess him.

I came across this interesting article this week. It's called 'The Math of Beauty" and it's from a dating site which has done mathematical analysis on the correlation between a woman's perceived attractiveness and the number of messages she receives. Surprisingly enough the correlation isn't as linear as you would expect. Apparently those perceived to be 'less attractive' actually get more messages. The article is well worth reading even though it does, by its own admission, objectify women.

Nice to see my friend Kay again this week. It's been almost 4 years since we've seen each other but we finally got in touch again after all this time,  had a great lunch and catch up. She has just recently left the company we both worked for for many years, and is sitting with her redundancy package living the life of Riley for a few months until she works out what she wants to do. Good luck to you.

Props to Shaun, who has just undergone an eye operation and is now proudly sporting a fetching  eyepatch while he recovers. I think I've persuaded him to draw different designs on it as the days progress and post pictures about that.

Late last year I linked to a clip of Ronnies Barker and Corbett performing the excellent "Four Candles". For those who don't know, this is a piece of television which - alongside the 'Mastermind' sketch defined the Two Ronnies and their brand of Sketch show comedy. Since Ronnie Barker died a number of years ago his colleague Ronnie Corbett has been wondering a little aimlessly around Television Centre in London looking for things to do. He finally found something in the form of a Christmas special called "The One Ronnie". Written by the cream of the crop of current TV comedy writers it was - unfortunately - not a patch on the original shows (most of which were written by the late Ronnie Barker). However there was one sketch which stood out and I link to it here. "My Blackberry's not working". I love the punchline on this one. Absolute genius.

Also last year I linked to a video of two cats having a half-hearted fight with each other that looks to actually be a patty-cake game. Some enterprising young person has added cat voices to this and made it a quantum leap funnier. Watch it here.

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