Monday, November 21, 2005

Podcast Overload

There's just too god damn many of them. Aaaarrghhhhh!

Ok, let me explain. Listening to a show that only comes out once or twice a week isn't too much of a strain to keep up with. Especially when it's a podcast with all the "anywhere, anytime" benefits. If you don't end up having spare time to catch it on one day you've still got time before the next one comes out. But I simply don't have enough podcast-available time in the week (my commute, the odd evening if I'm in the mood and not busy), allowing time for not thinking of it sometimes or having other things I want to do (read, listen to music) to keep up with a daily podcast. At least one longer than 5 or 10 minutes anyway. There are two that I like enough to have tried it for a while (Dawn'n'Drew and Daily Source Code, (link on the sidebar->)), but ever since they've been sticking to the daily schedule it hasn't lasted. Blame it on Sirus (sp?) radio and Podshow.

A voice comment at the end of Dawn-and-Drew #190 pushed me on to post this. I decided to do a 'catch-up' on my podcast client (a self-customised version of bashpodder and a few scripts plus remembering to swap mobile phone MMC memory cards over overnight). So I skipped a fair few shows of the daily 'casts, and I don't care all that much. Maybe I'll read the rss feeds to check I haven't missed anything important. I suspect not though. But I'm happier keeping up with my once/twice-weekly or less-frequent 'casts. It's not a core leisure time interest, although I do really enjoy my favourites - especially the ones that combine humour really well with their subject, no matter how geeky or technical (eg. the Linux user's LUGRadio - prime example).


Wallace & Gromit - Case of the Were-Rabbit

We went to see Wallace and Gromit last Thursday (ooh! change from the normal Wednesday evening :-) and I certainly enjoyed it. It's pretty much up to Nick Park's usual Wallace-and-Gromit standard, perhaps not quite as good some of the earlier ones but very enjoyable none-the-less (although sometimes the jokes are quite bad puns, I still found myself laughing at them). It's better than the last big-screen outing, the chicken one (if I'm correct about that) which was a bit hit and miss for me - still fun but not quite enough there to come away fulfilled. W&G is definitely better. There's one joke that I half-saw coming but still almost made me cringe, one you couldn't have expected them not to make use of, considering the situation. You might guess which one I mean if you've seen it, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

He makes clever use of several other classic (but not necessarily good) monster movies and others throughout for extra laughs, except of course W&G's take on them is oh so surreal if compared out of context. Even more appropriate given that one of them has just suffered (well, we'll see when it comes out over here) a remake.

If you want to read up on it a bit more by all means check out the IMDB details and opinions or wherever you normally go.

Of course it's suitable for the whole family, he's always good at that and you may recognise a few famous voices if you're taking notice: Helena Bonham Carter (is she moving into the voice-over business full-time? this and the new Tim Burton one); Peter Kay; Ralph Fiennes as Victor. Experts may even recognise Baron Greenback of Dangermouse-series fame in there (although I didn't until I saw the imdb entry).

My flatmate Liz just got Descent on DVD recently, I've heard good things about it so I might have to review that when I get round to watching it. Oh, and Sin City too - saw that at the cinema but wouldn't mind seeing it again. For a start Jessica Alba's rather sexy, but I think also a very suitable movie for home DVD watching in bed late at night due to it's bold and film-noir-ish style. Liz didn't get into Sin City so much and I'm not that sure it's her kind of movie; I'm keen to see what Descent is like though.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

1 Year Old!

One Year Old

My blog is one year old! I'm surprised I'm still writing entries actually. I kind of thought this would be something I kept up for a few months then lost interest in. I started a diary (the old-fashioned pen and paper type) when I was about 13 and kept that going regularly til well into university and beyond, although to be honest in later years the entries got more and more sporadic and I was always trying to catch up from previous incomplete entries. I've looked back at them since and realised I was just trying to record events and happenings, whereas the really interesting stuff would have been the thoughts and feelings associated with them.

I dare say my authoring skills have improved since then. My grammar and spelling skills have always been pretty good anyway.

Here's to more years (as long as I can write interesting or worthy posts, anyway!)


Saturday, November 12, 2005

HSBC weekend cashiers

Or rather, the lack of.

Aaargh! Noone told me! I lost my card a little while ago and had to get a new one ordered. So I'm stuck with cashing cheques (I won't use my credit card cos they charge you for it). My local town's bank is shut Saturday afternoon so I make sure to get in there for the morning, and go in to find the clerk positions are all shut! What? I'm not too late, they're not just about to shut!

So I ring for attention, and a lady comes down to explain to me that they started not opening them up on Saturdays. Basts! Apparently it's been like that for a month or two, and I don't remember receiving any mail about it (although I could be wrong). Now, you can tell I don't need the local bank's cashiers often as I hadn't noticed, but there are things that, when you do want them, it matters! I can pay checks in to the machines, I can use the machines to check my account and print a mini-statement; but cashing a cheque via a person or paying something in and getting it stamped would require me be there daytime on a weekday.

So basically I can now never use my 'home' bank's cashiers what with working in London. Ok, I can easily use London branches during the day as long as I can get out at lunchtimes which I usually can enough times in the week; but the weekend loss really sucks. I had a big complaint to them over the phone about it today when I checked whether it was just Farnham or all HSBC branches. My debit card was supposed to arrive by yesterday, and it didn't. Or today. They reckon it might arrive Monday, but basically I'm f$%^ed for cash till it does.

I'm sure if I was desparate I could borrow some from a friend but... It sucks. It really sucks.

What is it with banks these days - reminds me of the er.. Nationwide is it? advert also having a gripe at the other banks shutting branches, moving everything to outsourced call-centers in India/somewhere else half the staff don't quite understand/speak English as clearly as you'd like. I'm so tempted to move my banking to someone else who cares about their customers a bit more. Is there a bank that does? (Nationwide? dunno..)

Ok, rant over.