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It seems that I do. A picture of the UK from the NASA Terra satellite on Thursday showed this scene:

Click for bigness

On Thursday I was in London and it my experience of travelling through the countryside certainly matched that of the satellite picture. There wasn't a snatch of land that wasn't covered in snow.

Some people might say "aw, pretty!" and I guess it kind of is. That doesn't stop it being dangerous and really fucking annoying. This country totally isn't geared up to deal with this sort of weather. The roads aren't properly gritted. I'm having to park my car a five minute walk away because our back lane is dangerous. We are expected, understandably, to get to work, but in my case the business park where I work has no ice on any of the roads or pavements. As a result, I fell over twice yesterday. Today I feel a bit like I've been in a car accident. My right arm from my wrist up into my armpit and all around my shoulder hurts a lot, my lower back aches and I am walking with a limp from my legs sliding out from under me and making me collapse ungracefully in a heap, twisting my ankle under my body and sitting on it at full downward force.

I'm caught in a complex relationship with the weather. I hate the cold, but the countryside looks so beautiful. The fact the nation is completely unable to cope with the coldness and keep running drives hell into me. But more than anything else, I am sick to the back teeth of ZOMG!SNOWNEWS on the TV. BBC News 24 currently goes a bit like this:

Newsreader: The headlines - it's really cold out. It's a nightmare. Now the weather...
Weather presenter:
It's really cold out, and will be like it again tomorrow. Back to you...
Thanks to the weather centre. Now your pictures and messages. It seems like it's cold out...
*beats head repeatedly against desk*

If we can just put it into context, there was a staged coup in the Labour party this week. Senior members of the governing party of the UK, one a former Chief Whip, one a former Secretary of State for Health, proposed that there should be a secret ballot to oust the Prime Minister and find an alternative. Six cabinet members were rumoured to have supported them in this move. However, this potential political crisis came second in the news pecking order next to the fact that there was snow in the South East. They even made a whole 30 minute news special on the snow that they showed on prime-time BBC1 on Wednesday!

So what I'm trying to say is Enough Already. I hurt and I'm bored and I want it to stop.
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Recently, pop star Stephen Gately died on holiday with his partner in Mallorca. The post-mortem found the cause of death was pulmonary oedema, and the coroner ruled he died of natural causes. He was 33 years of age.

If you don't know who Stephen Gately was and are still reading he was a member of Boyzone, a 1990's Irish boyband who were popular around the same time as The Spice Girls and Take That. In 1999, after hearing that someone was due to sell a story to the tabloid press about his sexuality, Gately decided to pre-empt the press and come out, albeit reluctantly. He didn't think it was anyone else's business who he chose to sleep with, and I am inclined to agree. Boyzone went their separate ways and though some members went on to have solo success, Gately mainly stayed out of the spotlight. He entered into a civil partnership with his long-term boyfriend in 2006 and kept himself to himself.

Although the news of his death at such a young age was pretty shocking, the press reaction has for the most part pretty measured. The ghoulish glee at exposing a celebrity's tawdry private life as is often the case in celebrity deaths such as those of Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger was predominantly absent from the coverage, not least because it seemed there was nothing over which to gloat.

That was, until today.

The British newspaper The Daily Mail is a dispicable rag of hate-filled half-truths at the best of times, but today they surpassed themselves. Somehow one of their journalists, one Jan Moir, has managed to take the sad death of this young man in relatively rare but not unheard-of circumstances and turn it into something sordid. If you wish to read the unexpurgated version of her strange musings and illogical conclusions, you can see the full article here. However, here are a few gems from the content of her article.

After the jump, witness someone leaping so far to conclusions, I'm extremely surprised she didn't fall down the gorge and smash her face in )

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After my experience of someone calling me a bitch on my Facebook status update a couple of weeks ago, Mr G yesterday received a tirade of abuse from someone he worked with about three years ago as a PM on self same site. This guy had tried to strike up a Facebook chat with Mr G on a couple of occasions, during which time Mr G had either been away from the computer and left FB open, had it running in a different tab and didn't realise he was being chatted at or on the one occasion he was trying to talk back to the guy was trying to upload photos at the same time and couldn't get the chat applet to work and told him as much.

Apparently this was sufficient provocation for Mr G to receive a message on Facebook last night that kept him up until 7am fretting. Apparently "refusing" to engage in a chat with someone he's not spoken to in nearly three years and only ever worked with briefly makes Mr G an "aloof, arrogant twat". Really?

Trouble is, Mr G is feeling particularly down on himself at the moment because of having to take more time off work, and also because of some of the hurtful things A said in our protracted friendship breakdown earlier this year and he's been sat up all night, upset that everyone thinks he's an cold, arrogant bully and what that means about how he really is.

I want to hunt this person down and tell him a few things about the consequences of sounding off via the internet with your ill-formed views and nastiness.

This year I've read quite a bit about how the relative anonymity of the internet giving people licence to let rip both barrels and say hurtful and even sometimes defamatory things without fear of redress. David Mitchell wrote an article in the Guardian newspaper about his own experiences and I wholeheartedly agree with everything he says.

It's left me wondering how difficult it is to do a mental check before you hit "send" as to whether you would say what you've just typed out loud and to someone's face? It only goes to show you can't be too careful.
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If you've already seen this repeatedly on your f-list today, you can probably move along. There's nothing to see here. Apart, that is, from me saying that I have a dark sense of humour at the best of times and there was scarcely a bit of this I didn't laugh at like a drain. I don't understand the bitching. Zach Quinto is not suggesting that violence against women is okay or in some way funny. It's a black comedy. I understand that's not everyone's cup of chai, but it doesn't mean that he's being in any way disrespectful. And those who believe people who think it's funny have been sucking down too much Kool Aid and blinded by the fact that ZOMG IT'S ZACHARY QUINTO!!!1!!1!11! need to chill the hell out, or realise that there's a wide range of people in the world and the self-righteous are just one group.

Of which I can probably now count myself as one...

And also, folks squicked by watching Zach kiss women require a check-up from the neck-up. Who cares if he's straight or gay? He's playing a part. If he is gay, about which there is no conclusive public evidence and no need for us as the viewing public to know about his personal life, then he is not somehow betraying his sexuality by taking a straight role, m'kay?


Moving on to the good stuff:

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[ profile] terraswrath just sent me a link to this interview with RTD about the outcry over Ianto's death in Torchwood.

Can I just say upfront that the following article and my own thoughts might contain views that are marginal and controversial in this fandom? KTHX. However it seems that I'm backed up by the big man in this instance. And he is big. Believe me. I've sat next to him ;)

Cut for unpopular opinions, lengthy extrapolation and spoilers for whatever people are left who might be interested in Torchwood and haven't either already watched CoE or been thoroughly spoilered )
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[ profile] alba17 just tweeted this link from James Moran's blog. For those who don't know him, James Moran is one of the scriptwriters for Torchwood and was involved with the writing of Children of Earth.

I've read the blog post, and I'm disgusted. I can't believe that people are so incapable of differentiating between real life and fantasy. Would any of these people find it acceptable to go up to Mr Moran in a bank queue or a coffee shop and berrate him for doing his job? I doubt it. And yet the internet gives these deluded cowards the protection they need to vent their disproportionate bile and threaten people who are trying their best to write exciting, provocative drama to entertain us. I also swung by his Twitter and it's also covered in 140 word snippets of bile, accusing him of all sorts.

It makes me sick.

A few months ago, David Mitchell wrote this article in The Observer about the false bravado the anonymity of the internet confers on people to make threats and scream blue murder at people in ways utterly disproportionate to the cause of the upset. If you don't like the way a show is going, then it's your prerogative to stop watching it. At the end of the day, if it's not entertaining you any more then don't watch it. The kind of harrassment that the writers have seen in the wake of Children of Earth has left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that if asked I will no longer say I'm part of this fandom. I don't want to be associated with the truckload of crazy that's come out as a result of this television series not pandering to the fandom fantasies of some of the more vociferously vitriolic. I'm ashamed to say I was part of this fandom now. I don't want to be tarred with this particularly distateful brush.

I'll be fulfilling any commitments already made, but nothing is worth feeling frightened to speak out in a fandom for fear of directing a jet of blistering crazy in my direction for disagreeing with the views of the wounded animal that is the TW fandom right now. There will be no more talk of Torchwood here, lest I get lumped in with the rest of the fandom. Particularly since I don't agree with most of the predominating opinion in the slightest.

As David Mitchell would say, just goes to show you can't be too careful.
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For reasons best known to my brain, I managed to get myself into a stew about the bullying nature of celebrity gossip after reading that Perez Hilton allegedly got twatted over the head by someone in the Black Eyed Peas' entourage. Instead of calling the cops, he tweeted about it, asking someone else to call the cops for him, and at the same time hyping up his own publicity. The man makes my blood boil. He's an archetypal bully. Some people in the public eye invite the attention of celebrity gossip columnists like him, but others don't. And the simple fact that those others would prefer to keep themselves to themselves outside of work [because yes, no matter how public being a singer or an actor is, it's still a job] and only deal with the press in the course of their job seems to infuriate people like Hilton. I would say that gossip columnists and bloggers cross the line, but for them there seems to be no line. And given these relatively private people with a public job do not give anything away about their private lives, these gossips instead speculate and on occasion out-and-out make shit up, taunting like pre-pubescent girls trying to make the quiet girl in class cry.

The one thing that pisses me off most about Perez's coverage is the way that he tries to bully people that he thinks should be gay [I choose my words carefully as it seems he mostly, from what I can tell, bases his speculation on who he would like to fuck rather than any forensic process of deduction] into coming out. And that's a really difficult thing to defend yourself against, for want of a better word. I mean, it shouldn't be a bad thing to be gay, but if you're not you might not want people speculating as such. But if you speak out and say you're not then you run the risk of a). either getting the "methinks girlfrien' doth protest too much" reaction or b). getting branded as a homophobe.

At the end of the day, what the hell does it matter which gender someone is attracted to sexually? Particularly someone who has never tried to do anything other than their job and doesn't court the paparazzi and the celebrity commentators. Am I being really stupidly naive here? Does someone being gay, straight or something in between have a material effect on their ability to sing, act or whatever else they choose to do for a living? Not really. So why is it necessary to try to insinuate anything about the private life of someone who doesn't seek your attention, be it saying they're gay, dating someone they may have had dinner with once or something else equally fanciful. Because if you don't know, why say you do?

I'm going to stop now, because whilst I have it really clear in my head why this makes me mad beyond reason, it also apparently makes me angry beyond sense and I get the feeling I'm not making myself clear. So instead, on to happier things.

Some publicity shots are out of for the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. If I could take my ideal holiday, it would be inside this man's mind. I mean seriously, how amazing and fantastical are these?

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There just seems to be no escape from the epic fail that is the movie remake of State of Play. If I could just quietly ignore it and go about my day, then I might feel less seethingly angry than I do right now when I've just been offered FREE FUCKING TICKETS to go see it and say how amazingly wonderful it is. I kid you not.

The sales patter for the movie included in the email I received trying to coerce me to volunteer over two hours of my life I will never get back, read as follows:

OscarĀ® winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in a blistering thriller about a rising congressman and an investigative journalist embroiled in an case of seemingly unrelated, brutal murders. Crowe plays D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey, whose street smarts lead him to untangle a mystery of murder and collusion among some of the nation's most promising political and corporate figures in State of Play, from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland).

Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party's contender for the upcoming presidential race. Until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out.

McCaffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and a ruthless editor, Cameron (OscarĀ® winner Helen Mirren), who has assigned him to investigate. As he and partner Della (Rachel McAdams) try to uncover the killer's identity, McCaffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structures. And in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one's integrity, love or life is ever safe.

Can anyone please tell me if they recognise anything apart from the names as bearing any resemblance to the plot of a show that I love so much? Or am I going completely insane?


Apr. 6th, 2009 11:12 am
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Why did I even click the link?! Why?! I knew I was only going to get angry! And get angry I did...

Click here to see Russell Crowe whine about journalists and present a bastardised image of Cal McCaffrey to Andrew Marr on the BBC.

Ooh, this makes me mad. Seriously. Crowe reckons that in the beginning, Cal was only interested in creating a smokescreen for his friend and not at all bothered about truthful journalism. Really?! Is that how badly the original script has been butchered to fit it into a feature-length timeslot? Because the Cal I remember was only interested in presenting the truth, albeit sometimes for his own ends, and never tried to back away from the truth of the story that he was uncovering.

I was bewildered as to why they'd chosen to remake this in the first place, and even more so when I discovered they'd cast Crowe as McCaffery. But now, having listened to his self-righteous drone about how journalists are scum who deserve everything they have coming to them, how on earth could he be expected to sympathetically play a character that apparently embodies everything he despises?

I think I was just a little bit sick in my mouth.
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I've tried and failed to concentrate at work today, which was doomed to failure from the start due to migraine hangover and general impenetrable fug that comes along with that, so instead I've decided to get something off my chest that's been festering since Sunday when I saw this poster outside my local multiplex when attending to see "Watchmen".

I can't begin to describe how annoyed this makes me. I actually stamped my foot and pouted like a four year old outside the cinema. The BBC's mini-series was epic, and I mean that in all senses of the word. Not only was the storyline intricately woven and carefully constructed, it was also six hours long. Six hours. There is no way that anyone could do justice to the complexities of the tale in a feature-length movie. The relationships were so tangled, most of all the history between Stephen Collins and Cal McCaffery. That history dribbled out in drips and drops during the course of the series adding richness to the unfolding tale, and I don't see how they can do that justice in a movie. Then that raises the next question: how on earth are they going to put the hurt, angst and conflict that Cal feels at the end of the story, faced with the truth of the extent of Stephen's involvement with the death of Sonia Baker, into any kind of context if all the audience is told is "yeah, Stephen Collins and Cal McCaffery used to know each other once". I just can't see it.

I've seen a snippet of Helen Mirren's portrayal of Cameron (yes, that's right. Cameron is now a woman) and she looks pretty good. However, they seem to have written Dan Foster out of the story. They've changed a whole bunch of names and genders of the characters, though, so his character might still be in there somewhere, just hidden under an alias. But the thing that is the biggest fail for me is the casting of the lead. Russell Crowe as Cal McCaffery? Do. Not. Want. The character is supposed to be as complex as the story - driven; selfish; caring; cutting; and ultimately hurt and betrayed. I just can't see it from Crowe. And as for his physical appearance? I have to say I agree with [ profile] terraswrath in that they seem to be going for hobo rather than tabloid hack. I just don't see how they are going to generate any of the chemistry and spark between Crowe and Ben Affleck that John Simm and David Morrissey shared in the TV show.

I am horribly torn. I don't know whether I want to watch it and hope to be proved wrong with a demonstration that it can bring this fantastic story to a mass audience, or if I just want to torture myself more if [as I predict] it all turns to shit.

I just wish that Hollywood would lay the hell off our classic telly :/

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