Sunday, November 28, 2004

'Incredibles'-ey good!

Ok, bad newspaper-headline subject, but I couldn't think of anything better. Please excuse me.

The Incredibles - great movie, go see it. It's a more grown-up animation by the Pixar team (who brought us "Toy Story", "Monsters, Inc", "Finding Nemo"). It's all about the Incredibles, a group of superheros who used to save the world regularly but have had to hang up their capes and skintight suits to become 'normal' people after lawsuits filed against them become prohibitive. Maybe a comment on the USA of today?

Being 'normal' people, two of them (Bob and xxxxxxxxxx to use their alter-ego names) have got married, settled down and are living the family life with three kids, a home, and nothing to mark them out to joe public. But of course they miss the old days and superheros can't stay tucked away forever. Besides which it'd be a boring film if their powers never came out to play.

There's a few famous voices: Samuel Jackson as Bob (Mr Incredible)'s friend hero Frozone, and Holly Hunter as his wife Elastigirl (only noticed in the credits, I'm not familiar enough with her voice). You might not instantly recognise some others but you may know of them - Bob is voiced by Craig Nelson, who plays Chief Jack Mannion in "The Precinct" (cop drama show); the bad guy - an old friend, is voiced by someone you may recognise from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back". And for the first time since Jessica Rabbit I found one of the female characters sexy - the arch enemy's henchgirl (oh dear...)

Lots of fun. Might well be buying the DVD when it comes out. Pixar prove themselves yet again and certainly have a candidate for best film let alone best animated feature. You don't need to have kids to have an excuse to go see it, trust me.

You even get treated before and after the main feature too: before it there's another of Pixar's shorts: "Boundin'". Short, nothing spectacular, but watchable poetic fun with a sheep and a moral-message; and the credits music is proper band stuff, like a superhero film should be.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bon East chinese restaurant, Farnham

Went out with a couple of friends tonight and tried out the new chinese restaurant down the bottom of the hill, Bon East. I've walked past the door loads of times while it was being converted from the pub it used to be - the Bricklayer's Arms (and not much of a pub in my opinion, certainly not one I miss). It happens to be on my walk home from work if I take that route, so I've peeked through the windows.

The outside looks quite posh and maybe a little pretentious, and the inside is done out nicely but also a little like it's trying. The sign isn't quite right in my opinion, it needs toning down a bit. Compared to the housing and the area around it, it's not really in character. But that's a good thing in some ways. Once you walk inside through the (not quite fitting, needs some alignment) heavy front doors and through the doors into the restaurant itself, you are whisked away into a classy interior. They've certainly tried to do something with it and the tropical fish tank was an eye-catcher as well as some of the lighting. Nice seasonal touches too for Christmas.

It was mainly filled by business types, with some more casually dressed people so I felt a little underdressed wearing just a casual top and smart-ish black jeans but not unduly so. I'll wear a shirt next time.

It's got a well equipped menu and polite waiters/waitresses. The food was nice, a little pricey but not extortionate. It's not the kind of restaurant you'd expect cheap meals in anyway. A good desert menu too, I had to try the "funky pie".

I'd be happy to take someone there in future, even a date. There's a certain sense of discovery with it being so new and being one of the first to visit. Not a lot of people will have heard of it I guess - I've not heard anyone else chatting about it, especially with the pub there before not being one you'd go very far out of your way to visit (for me). Hopefully it won't get too busy.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Mobile upgrade

I finally upgraded my Nokia 6310i which I've had for 3yrs on contract, to a Nokia 6230. My mate also chose the same for his upgrade, so again we have the same phone. Actually I've written most of what I want to say on his blog so go read that and my comments...

Nice phone. Some thoughts so far after a day's fairly heavy use (ran down the battery playing mp3s over bluetooth, setting it up how I like it, and transferring contacts :-):

  • The keypad isn't quite as good as the 6310i in my opinion - no slack space between the keys, you can't be quite so carefree when pressing them as on the 6310 if you have ordinary size fingers and don't want to hit a wrong key.
  • The new directional-joypad thing isn't as good as a joystick for accuracy but is smoother when going from one direction to another and probably less thumb wear & tear. Overall, the keypad is decent enough, properly switched keys rather than a mebrane type thing they put on cheap phones.
  • Good bluetooth functionality - hurrah!
  • Same nice Nokia address-book and easy to use menus as all their phones.
  • It's not as customisable as Sony Ericcson phones, but I don't care about it looking pretty. Would be nice to have a few of their features though - e.g. the automatic switch to a set profile when a meeting/other calendar alarm goes off, and pin-protected keylock. At least it's got time-delay auto-keylock for those times you might forget. I've wasted too many contract minutes before with it trying to call strange numbers or send empty texts to people who's names begin with A, when it's been in my pocket unlocked.

Spanish part 2

After my initial attempt to find some decent material to learn l'espaniol from, I was doing ok but not that great with the BBC's audio/book beginner's Suenos collection. Upon a revisit to the library I found a different series by Pimsleur - "The Short Course" (UK version) which has a far better technique for teaching you, i.e. they've done some thinking/research into how we learn and structured the word-intake/repetition to fit. It's a CD-only course and not quite as intense as another online one I tried that did very well by using strange/funny associations to help you remember the word. It teaches you grammar at the same time as a bit of vocabulary and I might be tempted to buy one of the later courses if I get through this one well.