The Universe and Me

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere

Quotes from Series 5 of Red Dwarf:

  • I thought it was the worst pile of blubbery schoolgirl mush I’ve ever been compelled to endure.
  • I realize technically speaking that’s only one flaw, but I thought it was such a big one, it was worth mentioning twice.
  • They’ve taken Mr Rimmer – Let’s get out of here before they bring him back.
  • We have in our midst a complete smeg pot.
  • To him we are the intellectual equivalent of domestic science teachers.
  • Over the years I’ve come to regard you as people I met.
  • We won’t be apart, we just won’t be together.
  • I have as much interest in saving my own life as a chronically depressed lemming.
  • All in all, today’s been a bit of a bummer, hasn’t it?
  • Sawing me in two will invalidate my guarantee.
  • That walking vomit stain the world calls Arnold Rimmer.
  • Boys from the Dwarf!
  • Two hours it’s taken me to panel beat my head back into shape.
  • You think I can’t extract my own head from the waste disposal unit.
  • The King of the Potato People won’t let me.
  • That kind of thing can really put a crimp in your day.
  • Mr Flibble’s very cross.
  • Abandon shop! This is not a daffodil!
  • Who left the lights on?
  • I don’t wanna be Duane Dibley!
  • Jake Bullet, cybernautic detective.
  • You probably have to be a mechanoid to fully appreciate that one.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

You'll never walk alone

Documentary: March of the Penguins. While excellently filmed, I found a lot of this heartbreaking. The anthropomorphic style of ascribing human feelings to these birds may have been too emotionally manipulative for me. I felt horrible for the eggs that froze and the parents and chicks that, for one reason or another, didn’t make it. And it bothered me that a film crew was watching all this, but did nothing to help them. Now that the entire world knows what hardships the penguins go through, will anyone help them? Survival of the fittest. Natural selection. We wouldn’t want to upset the balance of nature, would we? Well, I would. I can’t help wishing FEMA would build them a shelter or airlift in some krill for the poor starving things. Seems too cruel to sit back and watch. And, continental drift aside, it doesn’t say a lot for whoever’s responsible for creating penguins, to make them suffer such hardships. What could penguins possibly have done to anyone that they deserve this treatment? Sure, life may be unfair, but should it be? The film overall: an injustice to a species that’s most likely acting on instinct alone but with gorgeous cinematography.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Lost: Collision

Lost: 2.8. So Ana Lucia was a gun happy hothead even before she boarded the plane. Super. Maybe she learned something this episode, particularly when Sayid tried to explain to her that revenge has no point when life has lost meaning. With all the theories floating around that the Lostaways are already dead, it’s interesting that both characters mentioned they feel dead. I don’t buy this theory, though. From Ana’s backstory, we have no idea why she was in Australia, but we learned she was indeed a cop, as was her mother who looked like she must have given birth to Ana quite young. Ana had a husband or boyfriend named Danny who left when she couldn’t cope with a shooting (also caused by an error of her judgement) that took the life of her unborn child. The police force sent her to some sort of psychologist, but one obviously specializing in ineptitude. Thanks for the help, NOT. Ana’s continued questions to the Lostaways and Others she meets as to whether they have children, and her concern for the kids from the plane crash, make more sense now.

We were very proud of Michael for standing up to Ana, and then later Bernard and the rest of the group for leaving her to find the Lostaway camp. And for Eko’s taking Sawyer to the doomsday hatch, which he said he did for his own sake, not Sawyer’s. I didn’t understand that statement, unless it just meant he was no longer accepting Ana’s leadership or felt it necessary to obey what seems to be an altruistic nature. Let’s hope Ana can learn from her experiences on the island thus far, gain some closure, and become a better person, possibly with Jack’s help, before anyone else has to suffer her quick trigger. One thing’s for sure, the Lostaways aren’t going to take any more barked orders and enforced leadership from her.

Guess we’ll see if Locke’s filling in clue 42 as Gilgamesh in the crossword puzzle turns prophetic. Locke’s meeting of Eko and their reticent exchange of “Hi” was wonderfully funny. I didn’t as much enjoy the intended comic relief of Jack challenging Kate to a golf game because I don’t care for his ego, although it was nice to see her wallop him. Do we think Kate is not the golf novice she claims to be or is “the woman on bloody steroids” as Charlie thinks? I didn’t understand why Sayid didn’t tell Michael that he and Shannon had seen Walt, or a version thereof. Even though it’s only been around 49 days there, it’s been far past a year here that Rose and Bernard have been separated. Their reunion was a joy to witness. And nice to see Jin hug Sun. Nice to see Jin, anytime! Best line: “Ignore him, he’s an idiot.” Next up: what really happened to Kate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Don't drink the water

Movie: War of the Worlds. The aliens are back and they’re mad. And they’ve decided to exterminate us for some reason. Perhaps because if our behaviour in this movie is anything to judge by, humanity deserves it. The reviews weren’t very kind, but I found this spectacular CGI fest entertaining, despite its many glaring flaws. It isn’t until the movie’s way too abrupt ending that one’s brain is freed from the visual candy and starts asking questions. Like, how did the son miraculously return home when we last saw him in a huge fireball battle? And if the aliens had any intelligence, wouldn’t they be aware of earth’s bacteria and know how to deal with it? And was Wells suggesting that the millions of humans who have succumbed to earth’s bacteria over the centuries deserved death as much as hostile aliens because they were unable to adapt? Clearly no one consulted logic. Oh well. Pass some of that peach schnapps this way. Best exchange: “This came from someplace else.” “Like Europe?” Let’s hope pretty boy Tom Cruise is a better father in real life than his character here. But what are the odds, really?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ragga, Egill, Jakob Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hverjir eru bestir

This past year’s film Í Takt Við Tímann by rock band Stuðmenn has been selected as Iceland’s contender for nomination at the next Academy Awards in the Foreign Language category. The title is usually translated as “in tune with the times” or “ahead of the times.” I would be ecstatic if it won an Oscar but I’d also be mega surprised because it’s not only a musical comedy (and the Academy favours more serious, dramatic films), it’s also a sequel to a movie the band made over twenty years ago, called Med Allt á Hreinu. That movie (still Iceland’s most popular film of all time) concerned two bands, a male band called Stuðmenn (pronounced closer to Stewmen than what it looks like) and a female band named Grýlurnar, that compete in the Icelandic music market and eventually decide to join forces. A couple decades later, the lead singers of both bands, played by Egill Ólafsson and Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, are living separate lives. Their former band is working in Spanish bars and no one is happy. Egill rejoins the band which enters a competition against a band with Ragga’s son. And the fun begins. Back are the outlandish costumes Stuðmenn always perform in, each more ridiculous than the last, and an album of zippy new songs I’ve enjoyed tremendously this year. I would dearly love to see both these movies on DVD, but neither is available in these parts.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Lost : The Other 48 Days

Lost: 2.7. Those were a lot of days to cram in one hour with commercials. We learned that Mr Eko talked freely until he was nearly kidnapped and, in defense, killed a couple Others. Some interview said to pay attention to Eko’s stick. The music got very dramatic the first time it was shown. And then Eko started carving something in it. Beyond that, its importance is a mystery, like everything else. Libby spent a year in med school but dropped out. Wasn’t Desmond a med school drop out too? And Jack attended med school. Who wants to bet Libby knows at least one of them? Her setting the broken leg had an even greater Ewww Factor than Eko’s clearing the dead bodies. So Goodwin says he’s from the Peace Corps and is surprised Ana knows what that organization is. Am I old or was that confusing? Don’t younger people know about the Peace Corps? When Nathan doesn’t want to go to the bathroom in pairs, he becomes suspect. Saying he’s from Canada doesn’t help his case, since Ethan also was from Canada. Ana digs that Interrogation Pit all by herself and tosses him in. But she’s not a savage. At least not today. Goodwin, on the other hand, breaks Nathan’s neck much the same as he did the chicken’s.

Moving on, the Tailaways stumble upon their own private hatch which has quarantine written on the inside of the door. Libby can’t understand why there’s a glass eye in there. Me either. They can use the conveniently placed radio, though, providing they move to higher ground. Ana offers to go with Goodwin and bravely allows him to borrow the old US Army pocket knife she found on the Other girl she killed. Goodwin seems to think the Others aren’t necessarily attacking, so much as just dragging off into the jungle and there’s no real harm done. When Ana wonders if Bernard saw him so he had to pretend to be one of the Tailaways, Goodwin explains those taken were good people. The kids are “fine” and “better off.” During a struggle, he stumbles down the hill and falls on Ana’s spear. She brings the radio back to the gang and they pick up Boone’s transmission but Ana thinks it’s the Others trying to draw them out. Cindy spies Jin washed up on the beach and the rest is history.

For having spent 48 days on this freaky island, the Tailaways, unlike the Lostaways, did not experience the strange whispers, the monster, the “security system,” the insane French chick, etc. I also still find it strange that Ana would be so quick to fire the gun. In next week’s previews, she admits to killing Shannon, but she also fires the gun again, seemingly into the air. It has been stated several times that the gun only had one bullet. Unless there’s a munitions store nearby, someone can’t count. It’s still ambiguous whether Nathan was an Other or not. And if there are several groups of Others. And the extent of their involvement in all this. To infiltrate the group within ten minutes of the crash, The Others must have known about, if not caused it. Next up: I dunno. I’m completely lost.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Oh, just shoot me

Love is most important in your life.

A high love concentration indicates that you want love in your life. It is very important to you and something that you strive to attain.

Life Piechart -
What is Most Important in Your Life?

Romance is most important in a boyfriend/girlfriend. You need romance in your life. You love the extra dimension that romance brings to a relationship and you tend to fall in love very quickly.

Perfect BF/GF Piechart -
What's your Perfect Guy Composed of?

Sunday, November 13, 2005


The character of Sawyer on Lost is continually giving new and funny nicknames to the rest of the cast. One of the Lost forums has been keeping track of them, so I'll copy the majority here. The other Lostaways do this too. For a complete list, checkout the Lost Hatch.
Boone: Metro, Son
Hurley: Lardo, Pork Pie, Stay Puff
Jack: Hero, Doctor/Doc, JackO, St. Jack, Chico, Cowboy, Dr. Quinn, Dr. DoRight, Sherriff, Brother, Hoss
Kate: Freckles, Sweetheart, Belle of the Ball, Sherriff, Baby, Sassafras, Boar Expert, the Mighty Huntress, The Lady, Sweet Cheeks, Puddin'
Sayid: Abdul, Al Jazeera, Omar, Captain Falafel, Muhammed, Ali, Arab, Abu, Genius, Sheik, Buddy, "the terrorist", Chief, Gen-u-ine I-raqi
Shannon: Sticks, Sweetcheeks
Charlie: Sport, Amigo, Rock God, VH1 has-been, Limey runt, Chucky
Walt: Tattoo, Short Round, Kid, Kazoo
Jin: Mr. Miyagi, Bruce, Chief, Cato, Sulu, Boy, Chewie
Sun: Betty
Michael: Daddy, Pilot, Chief, Mikey, Han, Hoss
Claire: Mamacita, Missy Claire
Ana Lucia: Sweetcheeks, Sister, Cupcake, Rambina, Hot Lips, Ponce de Leon
Mr. Eko: Shaft, Mr. Ed
Aaron: Baby Huey
Ethan: Jungle Boy

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lost : Abandoned

Lost: 2.6. It's back and my life has meaning again! Without Eko, Ana (aka Ponce de Leon) is as lost as the rest of us. It isn’t until he and Mike and “Chewie” return to the group that they’re able to find their bearings. The guys mention seeing The Others and, before Ana can silence her, Libby asks if they saw the kids. We learn Libby is a clinical psychologist, not a shrink. But to get to the Lostaways, Eko says they have to travel inland, through the jungle which apparently belongs to The Others. Ana’s comment “I liked you better when you weren’t talking,” must be a clue. It’s possible Eko had some physical problem similar to Locke’s and was miraculously cured by the island. This would explain why his senses of hearing and sight seem to be heightened. Ana tells the Rafters that The Others came the first night and took three of the Tailaways. Two weeks later they took nine. She’s convinced they’re smart and they’re animals. What’s more, they have the ability to be anywhere, anytime and one bullet isn’t going to stop them. Sawyer collapses and Mike has the nerve or stupidity to ask, “You okay?” Um, I think not. The man’s suffering from septic shock. The group is clever enough to build a makeshift stretcher. As they’re dragging the stretcher and themselves up a cliff, Cindy the flight attendant hands Libby a stick and then disappears. Ooh spooky. Then the spookier whispers start and Ana, gun at the ready, thinks they best run.

On the Lostaway beach, Shannon has a vision of Walt talking backwards again which is creepy enough to make anyone scream. Let’s not forget his stepfather couldn’t deal with Walt’s creepiness & passed him over to Michael. Shannon’s sure Walt’s in trouble and Vincent, a Labrador not a bloodhound, can track him down. Despite the fact that I’m talking to my television, telling her she might want to think twice before heading into the jungle which contains at least one murderous monster, she takes off. During her search, she remembers being called to the hospital and told her father died in an accident. And look, which she didn’t, there’s Jack rushing past her and Sabrina, her wicked stepmother. Boone returns for the funeral but can’t help with stepmother who’s seen to it she doesn’t receive a cent. Back on the beach, Ruth doesn’t like the hatch. Charlie’s a little testy with Claire who realizes she doesn’t know him very well. She mentions the Mary statue to Locke, how ‘bout that, so when Charlie says Claire has a lot to learn about responsibility, Locke’s not afraid to call those strong words for an addict. Or a recovering addict. Sayid chases after Shannon and after professing his love for her also sees Walt who’s telling them to be quiet. Shannon tries to run to Walt and a shot rings out.

Now, this is even stranger than Cindy’s disappearance. Shannon’s been shot in the stomach but she’s facing the jungle. She turns around when Sayid finds her. His back is to Ana who’s holding her gun up as if she shot Shannon. But if she had, wouldn’t Shannon’s wound be in her back, not stomach? I watched this twice and was confused both times. Unless the force of the shot caused Shannon to turn in the first place. And why would Ana shoot at all when she said before that one bullet wasn’t going to stop The Others. Well, whatever. Shannon goes the way of Boone and Sayid is heartbroken and dang mad, I’d say. Best line came from Boone: “Death sucks, doesn’t it?” Yes, and so does your hairstyle, man! Next up: What happened when the Tailaways crashed.
Saturday update: I stand - or sit - corrected. I watched the final scene again last night and Sayid doesn't turn around. The camera does. So Ana Lucia could very well have fired the fatal shot. But will we ever find out for sure?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Funny as a crutch

I mentioned in a previous post how, in the internet personals, men claim they’re looking for someone fun and that pretty much left me out as it’s been a few decades since anyone described me as fun. Funny, yes. The consensus seems to be that although I haven’t much else left, at least I haven’t lost my sense of humour. A recent study at McMaster University (oh those wacky Canadians!) suggests I shouldn’t take this as a compliment. According to this study, men are looking for a partner who laughs at and appreciates their jokes, not one who makes the jokes. I’ve always gravitated towards comedy. If given a choice between watching a sitcom or a drama, I’ll choose the sitcom. But I’m also very philosophical and retrospective, which means I don’t lol much. Like at all. I might chuckle once or twice a week. That’s about it. So unless you’re Victor Meldrew and have just mistaken the neighbour’s dachshund for a cordless phone, I’m not going to laugh at you.
Here are the main points of the study:

  • Women want a man who is a humour generator, while men seek a humour appreciator.
  • To a woman, “sense of humour” means someone who makes her laugh. To a man, a sense of humour means someone who appreciates his jokes.
  • Women choose men who produce humour 62% of the time. Men choose women who appreciate their humour 65% of the time.
  • Men use humour to compete. Women use humour to bond.
  • A man thinks a woman is interested in him if she laughs at his jokes.
  • The more a girl giggles at a man, the more he wants to date her.
  • If a man laughs at a woman, it’s unrelated to whether he’s interested in her or not.
  • Men feel threatened by funny women.
  • Men who appreciate their partner's humour are usually more secure, mature and educated than the average guy.
  • When it comes to friendships, men like to be around women who produce humour. When it comes to relationships, they only like women who laugh at their jokes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Neil says hi, by the way

I’m currently reading Mark Haddon’s much acclaimed The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Night-Time and some philosophy in the form of Schopenhauer. Talk about diametrically opposed. A couple weekends ago I finished Neil Gaiman's latest novel, Anansi Boys and found it wonderfully clever. I’ve seen other places around the net quote this one passage that stood out, so I will too:

It is a small world. You do not have to live in it particularly long to learn that for yourself. There is a theory that, in the whole world, there are only five hundred real people (the cast, as it were; all the rest of the people in the world, they theory suggests, are extras) and what is more, they all know each other. And it’s true, or true as far as it goes. In reality the world is made of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely tea shop in Vancouver…

Sunday, November 06, 2005

So it's an obsession

Movie: Dirty Filthy Love. Offbeat British romantic comedy. Not as racy as the title would suggest, not at all. Instead it concerned a man named Mark (not Jack!) who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At first these conditions seemed to be triggered by the stress of his failing marriage which led to him losing his job. I kept wondering if the condition developed because he was subconsciously trying to push his wife away and Tourette’s gave him the chance to say what he was really thinking about her, and about some other people in his life. Turns out that wasn’t the case and he’d had a lesser version of these problems as a child. So he meets Charlotte, played by Shirley Henderson whose distinctive voice Harry Potter fans will recognize as Moaning Myrtle, who has some OCD problems of her own, not the least of which concerns numbers. Oh, nobody introduce her to Lost! She’d completely freak out. She does her best to help Mark and, being a movie, falls in love with him while doing so. Something she said, from a psychological point of view, was very astute: OCD people are unable to filter out all the white noise in their brains which is forcing them into this behaviour so what they need to do is ignore the white noise. She also had the funniest line: “I refuse to go to my grave holding a packet of wet wipes.” The exchange with a friend, “You’re still there for me, aren’t you?” “Actually, I’ve got to go now” was equally inspired. As was the scene where Charlotte has the self help group stick their hands in farmyard muck and mud for a five full minutes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ampop live

Iceland's national radio has streamed a live performance of Ampop's song "My Delusions." That's one enthusiastic drummer, there! Also, the band has posted the lyrics on their webpage so we can sing along:

My Delusions

How long does it take to land this plane?
This flight is making me afraid
I’m not sure whether I can face the pain
I am alone with my delusions
I might be wrong but I feel I’ve much to prove...
My mind is playing tricks on me
I feel like I am losing it
How long does it take to land this plane?
I might be wrong but I feel I’ve much to prove...
My mind is playing tricks on me
My mind is playing

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good morning starshine...the earth says hello!

Movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If there was a flaw, I missed it. Everyone had said it was so different from the Willy Wonka film that I expected totally different scenes and plots, but I found it very true to the original. (Unless it’s been so long since I’ve seen the first one that I don’t remember it well enough.) The main difference is Wonka’s portrayal and here I think Johnny Depp made the right decision. Rather than trying to copy Gene Wilder’s version, which would have proved impossible, he made Wonka his own. The little cultural references from the past few decades, some of them so quick or just a second on the screen, were marvelously funny. Was that The Vicar of Dibley’s Letitia as a grandmother to Charlie Bucket (not pronounced Bouquet and probably not related to Hyacinth, at least not during daylight hours)? Line I inexplicably liked most: “I can’t have a blueberry as a daughter!”

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Roll on down the highway

The Icelandic band Lights on the Highway have posted their new CD on their webpage. Just click on Music and the 12 tracks will play from beginning to end.