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Wed, Nov. 28th, 2007, 01:19 pm
This is a customer announcement

I was treated to this excellent passenger announcement first-hand on the way home from a visit to Chester. This is as near to verbatim as I can remember it:

"I'd like to welcome new customers aboard the train. Also, I would like to reassure any customers who may have noticed the two-tone alarm a few minutes ago. This is the sound of the customer assistance alarm, activated by a button inside the customer toilets. The button is clearly labelled 'ALARM' in large, red letters. It does not operate the flush, or the door lock. I would like to advise customers to, in general, read the labels next to buttons before pressing them; not only on the train, but in your day-to-day lives as well. Otherwise, one day you may press the 'auto-destruct' button. Thank you."

Fri, Sep. 28th, 2007, 10:41 am
International communication

Dear Americans,

Please stop using your school "grade" system to describe people's ages, when you are communicating with the English-speaking world at large. We don't know what you mean. Our school systems are different to yours. Describing as some children as "ninth graders" is incomprehensible to us.

Certainly, I can look up the meaning if I really want to, but it's impolite to expect me to do that when you could just as easily use the universally understood "years old" system.

The various other English-speaking countries around the world do not expect foreigners to know the arbitrary naming schemes they apply to their school years, and neither should you.

Thanking you in advance,


Wed, Sep. 5th, 2007, 12:45 pm
queue rage

I needed to replace my Oyster card, which had developed a large crack and thus stopped working. I queued up for a while, and the chap behind the counter gave me a huge form to fill in, so I stepped aside to let people behind me get their tickets while I dealt with the form.

When I'd finished filling in the form, I waited until the customer currently at the counter had finished, and then stepped forward to hand the form over. The guy who was next in line looked a bit put-out, and said "There's a queue," indignantly.

"Yes," I said, "and I was ahead of you in the queue, but I had to fill in a form, so I stepped aside to do that, and now I've finished, so I've come back."

I said this perfectly civilly, thinking he must have simply not noticed what was going on ahead of him while he waited in the queue, but while I was still talking, he talked over me, saying "CALM DOWN," loudly and slowly, as if he was talking to some kind of deranged psychopath on the verge of a murderous rampage.

Really, I was perfectly calm until he said that, but being interrupted, and talked down to, and vaguely threatened, even, made me a lot less calm, and it took all of my self-control to not yell "I AM CALM!" at him, in a deliberately ironic but still quite shouty kind of a way. So I said nothing at all and just ignored him.

Patronising git.

Thu, Jun. 28th, 2007, 09:57 pm
4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer was pretty good, I thought. It's a PG-rated comic book movie, and behaves as such, but it's a good one.

Lots of bonus points for the Surfer himself being exactly how I remember him from my Dad's old comic books; origin, appearance, manner, all present and correct.

Mon, Jun. 25th, 2007, 03:38 pm

xXx: I got it for £2 from the supermarket bargain bucket, on the grounds that I've never seen it but I always meant to, and, you know, only two quid!

Having seen it I genuinely feel that it wasn't in fact worth anything like £2. It was just a series of things exploding, for two hours. Things exploding are fine, and indeed I was adequately entertained for the first hour, but after that, I really started to miss those things called "characters" and "plot" that I have come to expect from movies, and became extremely bored.

It's a shame, because it starts well, with a tuxedo-wearing Bond-style spy getting his arse handed to him by a load of tattooed thugs and the agency concluding that they need "a new type of agent," which would be a perfectly fine way to start a film if they'd gone on to follow it up with an actual film rather than the aforementioned series of explosions.

Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007, 01:22 pm
Radio fame

I was on BBC Radio London. It was a phone-in on the topic of the healing power of prayer.

Wed, May. 30th, 2007, 01:43 pm
Pirates 3

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End had approximately four good moments scattered throughout three hours of mostly uninteresting nonsense.

Too much wrong with it to go into really, but one particular complaint - Davy Jones, the terrifying villain of the second movie, is unceremoniously reduced to an utterly pathetic blustering drip. There's a bit where he knocks a cup of tea out of someone's hand. Oooooh, scary. That's like having Darth Vader give someone a Chinese burn.

Wed, May. 16th, 2007, 12:42 pm
My Dæmon!

So, on the one hand I got an Osprey, which is cool, but on the other hand, apparently I am "modest and humble", which, well, I don't know, does that sound like me?

Wed, May. 16th, 2007, 09:00 am
28 Weeks Later

Saw 28 Weeks Later last night. Still recovering.

I tend to be a little bit easily spooked when it comes to horror movies, and so, it turns out, I really shouldn't have gone to see 28 Weeks Later. It was much, much too horrible for me. I suspect there was probably a good movie in there if for some reason you like seeing prolonged gruesome violence, but, seriously, things happened that I really didn't need to see. Indeed, many of them I did not see, because I looked away.

No more horror movies for me.

Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007, 05:23 pm
Man of Mode

I saw Man of Mode last night at the National Theatre in London and it was excellent. Highly recommended to anyone who can get to it. The cheapest tickets are £10 which is an absolute steal; you do have to sit in the narrow seats with no arm rests, but they're right at the front, ten quid, what a bargain.

It's a Restoration comedy. For the first two or three minutes I felt like the olde worlde language might be a problem but then I tuned in. The play was hilarious. Not in a "oh how terribly clever" kind of way but in a "laughing all the way through" kind of way. Highly recommended (just in case that wasn't already clear).

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