Friday, July 28, 2006

James at 32 Weeks

hey everyone

some pics from last night, showing James hitting the 32 week old mark. as usual, he was asleep when we wanted to take the pictures!!

the teeth are coming through thick and fast, but he's doing OK!!!

be excellent to each other!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

more James and the Ball Farm

hello again

well, access is s-l-o-w, but here are a couple more pictures of James playing in his most class ball farm.

note the teeth!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!

James and the Ball Farm

hey everyone

well, here are some pics of James very much wide awake and having immense fun in something called the "Old McDonald Ball Farm". i must confess, it is a most excellent device, and certainly seems to be helping Young Napoleon with his eye-hand co-ordination.

he has almost learned how to throw the balls in the general direction of the cats...........

well done to Mrs R for inflating the device!!!

be excellent to each other!

James at 31 weeks

hey everyone

James at 31 weeks for you all. erm, they do not look too different from the 30 week ones, do they! for some reason he has taken to being asleep at our usual weekly time to snap pictures. ho hum, will make sure that there are more!

otherwise, managed to see Superman Returns at the weekend, and was pleasantly surprised by it. my greatest concern was true - Kevin Spacey did an OK job, but he is no Gene Hackman. wisely, it seems, Spacey's screentime was somewhat limited.

be excellent to each other!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Katie and James

good morning

here are Katie and James happily playing along earlier this week!! nice to see the two of them getting along so well!! with some luck, this afternoon i will be putting together something called a "McDonald Ball Farm" for James. i shall let your mind boggle for now and load some pics soon-ish.

thanks to the arrival of Virgin Mobile here in SA, i now have an internet connection at home again. sort of - i can receive email but not send (well, not without some messing about), and it is not ideal to download large files with. however, i can browse away, so no grumbling from me!

be excellent to each other!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

20 years old already??? no way.....

In Lynch's 'Velvet,' the real is unreal

When "Blue Velvet" was first released 20 years ago, the reviews were split and heated. Sides were taken over the question of authorial intent. Did David Lynch mean for audiences to laugh at his square-jawed, perky teenagers Jeffrey and Sandy, played by Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern? Or were the scales supposed to fall from our eyes along with theirs as they unearthed the unspeakable horrors lurking beneath the surface of their placid, all-American town? Considering that its horrors were so utterly horrifying, why should the Arcadian innocence of Lumberton seem so corny and funny and out of touch? And what did it mean that Dennis Hopper's sadistic, drug-addled Frank was funny too? Did Lynch have a point, or was he just trying to pass off a fancy visual style as substance?

Alighting on screens somewhere between "Back to the Future" and "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Blue Velvet" reflected — or, rather, refracted — the cloying, claustrophobic nostalgia for the 1950s that had overtaken the popular culture at the time, a nostalgia that would seem to stand for an impossible desire to go home again. But since his beginnings as a painter, Lynch has fixated on the idea of home as a dangerously fraught and vulnerable place. "The home," he has said, "is a place where things can go wrong." Thanks to the release of a 35-millimeter print that will be shown at Landmark's Nuart Theater for one week beginning today, we can take another good look at how, exactly.

In hindsight, since "Blue Velvet," Lynch has consistently returned to the same theme: In the postmodern era, reality and normality and truth have been supplanted by the pastiche of pop images and ideas that have come to stand for them. No wonder the kitschy picket fences, the technicolor lawns, the eugenically perfect roses, the impossibly corny fireman waving to the impossibly corny kids that kick off "Blue Velvet" ring so disturbingly false. They're anachronistic idealizations (the movie is set in the '80s, after all, despite its allusions to movie representations of the '50s). But the same thing goes for the flip side. The gleefully sadistic (and psychologically mysterious) gangsters and corrupt cops that swarm Lumberton's underbelly are no easier to peg than the benevolent aunts and mechanical robins that populate the town's surface. They do, however, raise a good question: The movies have entertained us with violence and degradation since their inception. Are we supposed to keep pretending that we only watch for the moral lessons?

A modest commercial hit, "Blue Velvet" nevertheless broke one of the basic conventions of Hollywood narrative: It pitted innocence against nightmarish corruption and refrained from telling us how to feel about it. (Jeffrey never sounds more laughably naive than when he tells the possibly corrupt detective, "Frank Booth is a sick and dangerous man," even though he's right.) And Lynch himself was no help. When, in an interview with Cineaste, he was asked if "everything in art has to have a meaning, a reason for being," the director replied, "I don't know what a lot of things mean." There are a lot of "things" in "Blue Velvet," and it's not easy to glean the meaning of all these memes when they're jumbled together. But two decades, five films, a seminal TV series and many Internet shorts later, it seems clear — or clearer, anyway — that Lynch's response was slightly less evasive than it sounds. The only reality that interests Lynch is subjective reality, and our tenuous grasp of it. Whether something is good, happy and pure, or dark, rotten and bad, depends entirely on who's doing the looking; how willing one is to cross illusory protective boundaries.

The fact is, Jeffrey's reality is too fake to be grounding and too fragile to be safe. (The perfect lawn is roiling with gruesome insects.) Nor is there a lesson to be extracted from his eventual walk on the wild side, since what happens there mirrors his basest, scariest desires. A dualistic battle of the B-genres, "Blue Velvet" pits the aggressive Cold War optimism of teeny-bopper fantasies against the postwar pessimism of film noir, challenging the ever-popular notion that things were good once, until they went to pot.

What's interesting about watching "Blue Velvet" 20 years after it was made is not that it finds us wallowing in the swampy nihilism of Frank Booth-land but that it finds us clinging to the fantasies of home, hearth and wholesomeness. We may be soaking in another reversion to idealistic conservatism, Hollywood-inspired political posturing and empty mass-culture referentiality, but it's hard not to notice how postmodern, how pliable and un-curious, our inner Jeffrey has become. Two decades ago, Lynch upended the meaning of the emerald lawn and the white picket fence and made them seem scary. Today, the same imagery Lynch used to trigger existential freakouts has hardened, elsewhere, into a weary and wearying cliché — a cue to go ahead and feel smug about whatever. (Is it ironic that the same network that dared run — and then Aristotelically destroyed — "Twin Peaks" is now home to "Desperate Housewives"?) Pastiche and genre parody are big business, and therefore ubiquitous. What's not so easy to find these days is a weird kid in the closet as our stand-in, peering through the slats like "a detective or a pervert," and concluding, with lantern-jawed, non-relativistic certainty, that "it's a strange world."

Friday, July 14, 2006

another poster for The Descent

hey everyone

OK, don't be fooled by the reference to Hostel and do note the reference to the first Saw film. The Descent is one of the greatest horror / suspense films of all time, and i urge you to see it if you are a fan of the genre.

once concern, actually more of a curiosity - apparently the version released in the USA and the rest of the world (here in SA in August, i believe) has a different ending. i will be having a gander to see!

be excellent to each other!!

My Super-Ex Girlfriend For My First Class Wife

hello again

Mrs R seems very excited about this upcoming release, some scene involving a shark or something appears to have piqued her interest.

knock yourselves out!!

the Katie Louise update

hello again this fine morning

i am sure Gillian & Grant will not object to this - here are some recent pics of young Katie for you, so that you can all see she is growing on a par with her younger cousin, James!!

note how she is practising eating by usage of the bunny!! there's also a quick snap of her here in the aforementioned "Walking Ring Of Doom", sat with the ever-proud Grandad!!

nice to see that she is also healthy and happy!

be excellent to each other!!

Fear. Terror. James And The Walking Ring

hello again!!

here are some images of James in his other walking ring, which awaits him (and indeed young Katie) when he goes to visit Gran & Grandad R a couple of times each weeks.

if you value your shins, you will steer well clear of young Napoleon when he is in this device. it is also wise to ensure that everything and anything of value, that is to say things which you do not want to be eaten, are kept out of reach as he goes about procuring everything within an ever increasing arm reach.

you will also note that there is a pic showing James knowing what he wants, and what he wants is food. copious amounts!!

be excellent to each other!!

James at 30 weeks

hello there

in an unusually fast update, here are the pics from last night, showing James sleeping away as he celebrates 30 weeks with us. nice one!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

for the more intellectual of you........

Los Angeles - An opening sentence containing a burrito, an angel and a shovel was judged appalling enough to win the annual Bulwer-Lytton literary parody prize on Tuesday.

Retired mechanical designer Jim Guigli of California was proclaimed winner of the contest, which challenges entrants to submit their worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel.

Guigli's winning entry read: "Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

Guigli's powers of invention and his determination to succeed - he submitted 60 different entries - also won him a "dishonourable mention" in the historical fiction category.

"My motivation for entering the contest was to find a constructive outlet for my dementia," Guigli quipped.

The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest was started in 1982 by the English Department at San Jose State University to honour the Victorian novelist who opened his 1830 novel Paul Clifford with what were to become the immortal words, "It was a dark and stormy night."

It began as a quiet campus affair and now attracts thousands of entries from around the world. But the grand prize winner receives only a pittance and other winners "must content themselves with becoming household names", organisers say.

The 2006 runner-up, Stuart Vasepuru from Scotland, played with one of the most famous pieces of dialogue from the Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry.

"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' - well do you, punk?"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

this speaks for itself......


a rather amusing article about the very worst of 2005 - 2006. hope you all enjoy it as much as i did!!


good morning/afternoon/evening

James now has an armed and fully operational walking ring at his disposal, as pictured here.

James is most enamoured with what one would conventionally define as reverse gear, as well as an interesting "wobble move" left and right. going forward, alas, does not hold much interest for the lad, but i am sure that one day he will see the benefits of it. nonetheless, he always looks rather stylish when in his walking ring - just check the most smart "beanie" hat thingie!!

otherwise, no sign of a phone line yet at home, but we have been promised "soon". i look forward to reporting success in that area, then. sorry for all those who wanted to get emails from me but have not!

be excellent to each other!

S A 2 0 1 0

hey everyone

here's the logo for one of the biggest events to hit my adopted homeland. it looks smart, and it will be a smart time!!

i have no idea if i am supposed to freely post this, but i intend to make no profit from it, so i cannot see what harm will befall the distribution.

the countdown begins!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Viva Zizou, Thank You

nice one sinbad, thank you for this explination as to why one of the greatest and most gifted players of all time bowed out, as it were, in such an interesting and somewhat unusual way!!

adept at grabbing toes, almost eating them...

hello again

not long after his experimentations with the bath ring, James did his usual class Obi-Wan impressions in his hooded towel, and then gave us an excellent display of his skills in grabbing his toes. alas, no shots of him attempting to eat his toes, but i am sure that these will illustrate his skill and prowess for you.

sorry that there are not too many "smiling" images. James tends to wait until the camera is put away before he starts posing and smiling. is he shy? not really, not really, not really no. he just likes annoying Daddy and his class camera.

be excellent to each other!!

James takes a bath himself (almost)

hi there

one of the "investments" we made over the weekend was a bath ring type of thing, which should allow James to have a good deal more freedom in the bath. that it certainly does, and as you can see he tends to use this new freedom to attempt to eat his toy ducks!

James at 29 Weeks (the big 3-0 around the corner)

hey everyone

well, at last here are the 29 week pics of James. erm, they were taken a little bit later in the evening than usual as we kind of got "involved" with V For Vendetta, as per the earlier posting. hence him being asleep :)

otherwise, James had a busy weekend. we went off shopping and had an as usual excellent breakfast at Wimpy, where James sat in a high chair and was given a balloon on a stick to smack around. nice one!!

i even managed to find a pair of Size 13 shoes that fit me, which Mrs R kindly bought for me!!

OK, i have more pics to upload, and the usual Monday verk things to do, so will sign off by advising all to be excellent to each other......

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sinbad's Avatar

hey everyone

just a reposting of Sinbad's avatar for his Metallica thingie.

a cinematic masterpiece

hey there

well, after many good reviews, one in particular from my good chum Blondie, we finally sat down to watch V for Vendetta last night. what a good decision it turned out to be!!

rare is it that i have seen such a scathing, socio-political statement made in such an entertaining, bold manner. i urge you to see it as soon as possible, unless of course it is the case that Michele and i are the last people on the planet to have gotten around to watching it.

there are the usual weekly pics of James, but they are at home! i will bring them in and upload them next week!

be excellent to each other!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

i'm truly sorry but it sounds like a wonderful thing.....

good morning

well, with the impetus being the rather excellent BBC production of Blackpool, featuring an unusual and somewhat inspired use of The Boy With The Thorn In His Side on the soundtrack, i have uploaded the now Twenty (!!) year old epic album The Queen Is Dead into the Car Shuttle. is it the masterpiece by The Smiths? tough call - a lot of people see Strangeways Here We Come as having that honour, so to be on the safe side i have put that in too.

if you have a copy of either or both kicking around, why not treat yourself by loading it or them into your iPod, walkman, car CD, car tape, car shuttle, discman, 8 track or whatever device you listen to vibes on. if you have it on vinyl, you are a god and should play it loud.

be excellent to each other, and remember - some girls are bigger than others.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Snakes + Plane = Snakes On A Plane

OK, i know full well that this film has been doing the rounds dans le internet for some time now, but most people would appear to include a rather crass, oedipal-like reference in the title, and so i thought i would put a cleaner version up for the more casual and careful browser.

as far as i know, this film features Samuel L "Mace Jules" Jackson, an aeroplane, and some snakes.

it will probably have more artistic merit than the film version of Miami Vice.

no, no, no, no, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong

hello there

last night i watched the trailer for this film version of Miami Vice. i kind of clung to a hope that, as Michael Mann was involved, it would be OK, and not a blasphemy against the original TV series. i seem to be wrong, very wrong.

i could almost be persuaded that one could kind of survive the concept of seeing Colin Farrel play Crocket. almost - if one had some sort of brain melt and forgot how excellent Don Johnson was in the role, then Farrel would not seem to be too bad. but unforgivable is Jamie Foxx as Tubbs. he just looks so wrong and so far out of his depth it is not funny.

the greatest obscenity of all, however, is reserved for the soundtrack. there was no hint whatsoever of the music of Jan Hammer audiable at all. for many people the music was Miami Vice. instead they have opted for some horrendous, sampled hip hop nonsense on the trailer. oh dear, so much for substance and style being at the core of the concept.

will i watch the film? probably, but i will complain all throughout it and complain a great deal afterwards. and they say Jeffrey Barnard is unwell......

be excellent to each other, ie reccomend the original Miami Vice to people who you suspect will blindly watch this pale imitation.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns....and finds a class new format

well, "at last", the new Superman film, Superman Returns, has been released, after years of speculation, assumptions and so forth. going on numerous reports and screenshots on the internet (you know where to find them if you are so inclined), it would appear that the world is awash with pirate copies already. no mean feat, that, since as far as i was aware they had a huge security shroud wrapped around this one. oh well.

in regards of the above, i cannot for the life of me figure out why they do not just release the things on DVD at the same time as they do at the theatres. i mean, money earned is money earned, however people chose to pay to see it. no?

i have no doubts that i will bear witness to this film eventually, but i am in no rush. some "making of" thing on TV recently suggested that this lad playing the caped flying machine looks like a reasonable mimic of Christopher Reeve, but the problem could well be Lex Luthor. Kevin Spacey is a fine actor, if one pretends that the over-hyped, over-achieving and general disaster area that is American Beauty just never happened, but Gene Hackman was so outlandishly OTT and class in the originals that i cannot see how the more "restrained" interpretation of the part will hold up. ho hum, will be worth a look to see exactly what footage of Marlon Brando they have inserted and how.

be most excellent to each other, and if you want to see Superman return, please try to do so via legal, conventional means.

James and the class toy ball

hello again

here are some pics of James with his very noisy and very throwable toy plastic ball. oh, the simplicity and innocence of the youthful one - he can spend many a happy moment battering the hell out of it, and then throwing it on the floor so it makes a nice, loud "thud" sound as he watches it roll away.

thus far he has not lamped any of the cats with it, but it is only a matter of time before he clocks that his would be a good thing to try. he did come extremely close to lamping me with it, but then again that was kind of my fault for leaning over to pick something up in his usual chosen trajectory line for the thing.

i will post reports and updates as and when he breaks something with it, or the ball itself.

be excellent to each other!!!