Shopping For Books, Music and Movies

I generally tend to ask people for book or cd tokens for my birthdays and Christmas. It’s easier sometimes than trying to suggest a specific item that I would like. At time like that I seem to only be able to think of terribly expensive or obscure things that I want. So, having got some tokens for my birthday last week, and having some left over from Christmas, I finally got round to going shopping today. And what a lot I got! 🙂

I had £95 worth of tokens to spend. Some were for Borders, some were for HMV and some were for Waterstones. Having looked around for the last couple of weeks at some of the things I might buy, I finally got round all three shops this morning and spent all but £2 worth of tokens. Here are the things I bought:

Three Brian Jaques Redwall books: Triss, Loamhedge, and Rakkety Tam. I’d got behind with the Redwall series. These will bring me up to date. Three Terry Goodkind books from the The Sword of Truth series which I only started last year: Blood of the Fold , Temple of the Winds, and Soul of the Fire. Two Neal Stephenson books: Quicksilver and The Confusion. These are the first two of the Baroque cycle which I have been waiting to read. The third, The System of the World, is still only available in hardback so I’ll wait to get that one.

The last two books I got were Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins: I love his music, but I’ve not read him before; and O’Reilly’s Extreme Programming Pocket Guide (I had to get one computer book didn’t I!)

I also bought some music CDs: Michael Nyman – The Piano, the Beginners Guide to Bollywood which is a 3CD set for a budget price, and Serge Gainsbourgs’s Initials Sg which is a great compilation of his work through the decades. Quite a mixed bunch that lot. I’m currently listening to the first of the Bollywood CD’s real vintage stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t understand a word if it, but it’s great!

Finally, I bought a couple of DVDs (I set out to get more, but I can get three books for the price of a DVD!)Akira – The Ultimate Collection. Jan had already bought me the second Akira graphic novel for my birthday. I also got Siouxsie and the Banshees Best of: Deluxe Sound and Vision which has a double audio CD with a DVD. I realised the other week that I no longer owned any Banshees stuff so I’m glad to get this even though it’s only a best of.

So, I’ve got a lot to entertain me for the next few weeks. I’ll try to review them as I get through them. I’ve missed doing reviews for the last 18 months.

This And That

It’s been a while…

I see that Amazon UK have started their DVD Rental scheme (like Netflix et al) [Link in top left corner of the page]. I also received an offer from WH Smith with a similar scheme. The WHSmith’s offer seems a little better if you watch a lot of movies. £13.99 per month for unlimited quantity, three at a time. Whereas Amazon’s offer is £9.99 per month but a maximum of 6 per month, three at a time. Other deals are Amazon £7.99 per month, four per month, two at a time, and WHSmith £9.99 unlimited, one at a time. Both offer free postage both ways; WHSmith says first class both ways, Amazon doesn’t specify. For my viewing pattterns, neither of them represent good value! I seem to watch less than one movie a month. But then if I has something as convenient as this, I would probably watch more. I’m sure Jan and Jamie would.

I’m pleased to report that Kitten’s Spaminator is handling about 90% of my comment spam (up to 300 a day). A rename of wp-comment-post.php has eliminated a couple of brain dead script kiddies. WordPress’ own spam blocking comment moderation currently catches 99% of the rest, but I have to manually moderate those. I just need to eliminate the rest of those. I’ll investigate some more of the WordPress Plugins to stop the spammers.

I’m this close to implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I’m thoroughly convinced, I just need to get over the hump of that initial process. Actually I have started and managed to throw away two bin bags full of old paperwork and magazines.

Gmail continues to impress me. I use it everyday and it is currently my main email system. Though now that Thunderbird has reached 1.0, I’ve installed that and I’m testing it too. I need to be careful though: I have (almost) all my email either redirected or copied to my Gmail account. But I can still pickup up some of it via POP3 with Thunderbird. I don’t think I want to then have Thunderbird also retrieve some of the same mail from Gmail via POP3 (now that is supported). I guess I really want an IMAP interface to GMail (I think it will come eventually) with Thunderbird as another way to access that and acting as a local backup by making an offline copy.

Audrey Hepburn

For no particular reason, I’ve watched two Audrey Hepburn movies today. Funny Face with Fred Astaire which I watched with Jamie and then Paris – When it Sizzles with William Holden, which we all watched. Surprisingly, I’d not seen either film before. I say ‘surprisingly’ as we have had the Audrey Hepburn Collection DVD Box Set for quite a while.
Anyway we thoroughly enjoyed both movies. Jamie particularly enjoyed the dance routines from ‘Funny Face’ and the comedy in ‘Paris’.

Matrix Revolutions

I went to see Matrix Revolutions tonight. I can without doubt say I loved it!
After the frankly mediocre Reloaded, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought this was a great film, they got the mix of jaw dropping special effects and almost bewildering plot revelations just right. I won’t spoil the plot for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, but I will say that the final events and explanations around Neo, Mr Smith, The Oracle, et al were quite satisfactory.
There were some issues which stretched the credulity of even a hardened Sci Fi fan like me, but that’s no surprise given the foundations of the Matrix world.
All in all recommended.

Star Trek Next Generation

You would have to be a major fan with money to burn to pick up a copy of Star Trek The Next Generation: Seasons 1-7 Borg Mega Cube at the amazing price of £338.23! That’s with 25% off! I know that

The “Borg Mega Cube” contains all 7 seasons of Star Trek Next Generation (48 discs in total), a limited edition collectors card including unique numbering and an exclusive free ST Next Generation clock.

but it’s still over £300

Disney Animates Dali’s Flick

I would really like to see this short film. I am a great fan of Dali’s works.

“In 1946, Walt Disney and Salvador Dali, in one of cinema’s oddest collaborations, teamed up on a short film called Destino. But Disney’s studio ran into financial trouble and put the unfinished film on the shelf.
Now, 57 years later, a team of Disney animators has finished what Dali started.”