We are gathered here today to get through this thing called "life"

When I was younger, I had such a major crush on Wendy Melvoin, Prince's guitarist in The Revolution. And depending on when you catch me, Purple Rain could be my favourite album and movie of all time, but never anything less than "incredible" to me. Watching the Brit awards, on comes Prince to perform some songs. Random snippets of our conversation here. "Do you think Prince should reinvent himself? He's been playing the same music for years." "He's probably had a ton of work done." "This song is okay. I could do without the Pan Pipes though." "Hey, isn't that his guitarist from Purple Rain?" Wendy and Lisa were back! Looking a little older, sure. Minus their bad-ass huge hairstyles, sure. But my crush kicked right back in immediately. Oh boy.

Oh, and after the Purple Rain medley: "No. Prince shouldn't change his music. He should just keep playing this forever."

ps - fuck the Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabien and Hard-Fi in their stupid fucking asses.

Nintendo DS Lite →

Okay, so I should be getting ready for Paris right now, but this is pretty big. After weeks of denying it, Nintendo finally announced that they will be launching a revamped version of the DS in late March. This new version will be two-thirds the size/80% of the weight of the original and the ability to set the LCD to four different levels of brightness (including the option to set it brighter than the original DS.)

As well as this, they've redesigned the case to match the design of the revolution controller!

My poor little Nintendo DS. We've been together a long time. You've seen me through some tough times, some God-awful transatlantic flights, and I've even grown to love your beauty-spot of a dead pixel. But I don't know how much longer you have left.

One Night in Paris →

Well, five nights, to be exact.

Continuing this jet-setting lifestyle that I'm becoming so accustomed to, herself indoors and I are heading off to Paris tomorrow for a few days. This is mainly a way of making up for the fact that I was 5,000 miles away for her birthday earlier in the month, but also as a way of recharging our collective batteries (and it means I'm finally, FINALLY going to Disneyland, having been itching to go since it first opened).

If all goes according to plan, I won't be anywhere near a computer until I come back. So things will be even quieter than usual around here. And it's a shame, because I had so much to talk about. Like my favourite ascerbic journalist, Charlie Brooker, describing Adrien Brody as "a cross between Ross from Friends and a disappointed sundial." Or the new trailer for the Silent Hill movie.

But all these will have to wait. I've got french people queueing up to be rude to me.

Netsource Speed Test →

Netsource Speed Test

Originally uploaded by THRILLHO.

For a little while now, I've noticed that my netsource connection only sucks during the evening, when people are home from work, during which time it's barely better than dialup. In the very late night and early in the morning, the connection is spectacular and actually comes close to approaching the "2MB DSL" it's advertised as.

So, to put my theory to the test, I set up a cron job to wget a 1MB file from ftp.heanet.ie twice every hour. I calculated the average of the two hourly downloads and used that for my result.

And, well, the graph speaks for itself. The connection is best at 7AM, and worst at 6PM. At least this gives me some demonstratable proof of what I'm saying when I speak to Netsource about my connection.

High Concept →

Right, so where was I?

A few months ago, I wrote about Snakes On A Plane, the high-concept thriller about uh... snakes. On a plane. The IMDB has recently updated its information about Sheldon Turner, the writer of SoaP. One of his upcoming projects is called The Breathtaker and its IMDB plot summary runs like this:

A small-town police chief pursues a serial killer who strikes only during tornadoes, brutally killing his victims in the eye of the storm.

Jesus. This guy is really working hard to redefine the term "High Concept", bringing us into "Huge Concept".

Also: I've started visiting Script Sales almost daily now. It always cheers me up to read about scripts whose log-lines describe them as "A monkey spy adventure in the vein of 'The Bourne Identity.'"

...?!

Vincent Schiavelli 1948 - 2005 →

Vincent Schiavelli, who died of cancer at his home in Sicily on December 26 aged 57, was a popular character actor noted for his roles in films such as Ghost and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Schiavelli's somewhat hangdog countenance appeared in more than 120 film and television shows; he excelled at parts which required an eccentric presentation, and in 1997 the magazine Vanity Fair declared him one of the best character actors in America.

-- telegraph.co.uk

Mel Gibson Has Officially Lost It. →

The trailer for Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" has emerged from the ether with Kottke and others are pointing out how awful-looking it is. And true, at this early stage it's like a heavy-handed mix of Terrence Malick and Baraka (but without any of the nice things such a mix would suggest).

He's got a bit of reputation as a 'prankster' director (on one of the making-of featurettes on the Braveheart DVD, you can see Gibson reading "Directing an Epic for Dummies"). But I'm going to say that this is just a ruse. Gibson has officially Lost It and is now certifiably batshit insane. As evidence for this, I present this image which you will find as a single frame cut into an intense part of the trailer. You'll have to go through the trailer frame-by-frame to find it yourself.

Southpark may have been closer to the truth than we know. Kaablaa!

JCB Song made it to Number 1 →

You know, it might be a bit hokey, but I'm so glad that the JCB song from Nizlopi is number one in the UK charts the weekend before Christmas. It really shows the power of viral marketing - so many people have sent me the link to the video over the past few months - and now it's finally made it to the top of the charts. I don't know if it was the well-deserved success, the amazingly touching song or the fact that I'm a complete pussy, or some combination of these, but I genuinely got teary when I saw them on Top of the Pops.

And it's keeping the Crazy Frog off the top, so that's another reason to celebrate.

Trailer for Sophia Coppolla's new movie 'Marie Antoinette' →

I have to say, I wasn't too impressed with The Virgin Suicides, but I really enjoyed Lost in Translation. So I'm willing to give Sophia Coppolla the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her new movie, Marie Antoinette, a biopic about the life of... well, Marie Antoinette. Right now, it looks like Kubrick's Barry Lyndon set to some 80s New Wave music.

And even if the trailer didn't attract me (and it does), the cast is eclectic enough to pique my interest, with Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan, Marianne Faithful and Kirsten Dunst all running around in period costumes. I'm looking forward to it.

The Ricky Gervais Show →

Ricky Gervais has started a series of podcasts for Guardian Online. And they're off to a tremendous start. The story of how they taught a monkey to fly a spacecraft had me crying with laughter. Some very, very funny looks from around the office. Those few minutes were laugh-out-loud funnier than the entire series of Extras.

(While we're on the subject - the uh.. extras.. on the Extras DVD were also funnier than the show)

In San Francisco →

I was in San Francisco less than 24 hours before a gun was pulled on me. I think that must be like some kind of record.

Yesterday, I took some time out from my aimless wandering to worship at the church of Apple. This place is scary-cool. It's easy to see why people are so devoted to the Apple brand when you see this much care and love in one place.

Fatal Inertia →

Fatal Inertia will be one of the Playstation 3's first titles. It's being touted as a "futuristic racing game", in which you whizz around canyons in super-fast aircraft blowing the other competitors out of the sky. So basically, a cross between WipeOut and the "pod racing" scene from Star Wars.

But what on earth were they thinking when they came up with that name? A while ago, myself and my friends came up with a "Random Shit Movie Generator" - take one ridiculous adjective, couple it with an absurd noun, throw on a couple of shit stars, and add a horrible tagline, and you've got the makings of a completely shit movie.

Example: **Outlawed Fortunes** _"Ready or not, here he comes"_ starring Rutger Hauer & Beverly D'Angelo

Is that what the Playstation 3 is going to be about? The gaming equivalent of a straight-to-video movie?

Technorati Tags: Games, Playstation

There's a special place in hell for bike thieves →

In the 18-odd hours between coming home from TechCamp and parking my bike in our building's underground parking area and stepping out again to cycle into town, someone had managed to break into the underground parking area and run off with approximately five bikes (I'm guessing five because there were five mangled locks left where our bikes had been.)

I'm still pretty furious about the whole thing. But I can't tell if I'm more furious at the guy (or girl!) who stole my bike, or our management company for recognising that there was a huge problem with theft and vandalism in our parking area and yet doing absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

Technorati Tags: Bike

Microsoft: Codename Max →

Microsoft released Microsoft: Codename Max, a photo-organisation application, just like not at all like iPhoto or Picasa.

I haven't had a chance to try this out properly just yet (still firmly entrenched in iPhoto territory), but my first impressions are: Wow, Microsoft are really going after the Apple dollar now. Right down to jacking their smooth gradient web style.

Although, I'll give them this much - the transparent box icon is very cute.

Technorati Tags: Microsoft, Max, Software

The Moxie Cinema is (finally) opening →

If you're anything like me, and you've been feeling like your list of accomplishments has started looking a little sparse, and maybe you've been wondering when you're going to finally get around to leaving your mark on the world (and if 'stains' count as marks), then your day is about to get worse - the Moxie Cinema is finally opening on September 21st.

For over a year, Dan and Nicole have been struggling to open an independent cinema in their hometown of Springfield, MO. They've overcome financial and legal setbacks and worked their fingers to the bone - all of which has been excruciatingly and entertainingly documented by Dan on the Moxie Blog. Now finally, they're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

What makes all this slightly painful for me is that Dan is actually a year younger than I am. I have a year's head start on him, but nothing to show for it.

Aw, just kidding. Best of luck to Dan and Nicole. If I'm ever near Springfield, I promise to drop by and show my support.

Technorati Tags: Movies, Moxie, Cinema

Review: Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D →

Regardless of how you try to justify it, Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D is a bad movie. Spy Kids 3D (the obvious comparison) was the weakest of that series and yet it still towers over Sharkboy in terms of plot and well... sense of fun. Even worse is that Sharkboy commits that cardinal sin of children's movies: actually talking down to its audience.

And yes, I know it's a kid's movie and all, and I shouldn't have high expectations but none of the kids in the cinema with me seemed particular engaged. In fact, most seemed bored by the story, although completely wowed by the 3D effect. The standout moment came for me when Lavagirl died (In children's movies, all heroes are contractually obliged to die or appear to die) and some kid behind me shouted out "Deadgirl".

Genuinely poor.

Technorati Tags: Movies, 3D, Reviews

TechCamp Ireland →

Irish bloggers have taken the question of "why can't we have more geek get-togethers like [Bar Camp] in Ireland?" and run with it. TechCamp was born almost overnight.

It's a really good idea, and it's really encouraging to see people taking a pro-active stance with regards the things they'd like to see being done. Until now, the closest thing Irish geeks have to this kind of thing is the occasional LinuxWorld, which staggers between inaccessible to all but the most hardcore geeks and irrelevant to all but IT managers with huge budgets.

But, as it stands, TechCamp is suffering from an extremely blog-heavy proposal of events. Things like "How to blog", "How to promote your blog" and "How to get others to blog" well... just aren't of much interest to me. I'd rather see a more diverse agenda, one covering not only aspects of geek life, but of geek life in Ireland specifically.

Technorati Tags: Ireland, TechCamp

Games are art →

Just wanted to throw a little Google-juice in the direction of GamesAreArt.com. Needlessly fussy site design and current lack of content aside, it's an important site. The games industry has just entered an extremely difficult time, with critics discounting video games as a medium of entertainment, never mind expression, and it's important that we, as games players and games enthusiasts, have some way of showing non-games players just how far the games industry has come.

Anyway, best of luck to GamesAreArt.com.