Top Five New Celebrity Squeezes

Emma Barton (EastEnders)
Eve Myles (Torchwood)
Sophia Myles (Art School Confidential)

Molly Parker (Deadwood)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)

There are indeed only five ladies in this list - unlike last time. Though none of last year's crushes have offended me in the intervening months and none have been "struck off" so I suppose I'm actually crushing on a total of fifteen people now. Dag!

Eve and Sophia Myles aren't related but it's still a nice thought.


U.P.P? Yeah You Know Me

In days of old when knights were bold and Poles still lived in Poland, I'd get my arthouse flick fix at the Duke Of York's Picture House in Brighton. These days it's the Watershed Cinema in Bristol and the modestly-named Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford.

The first film I saw at the U.P.P. was Hidden, with Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche. At first we thought the cinema was closed until the manager ran over from the cafe where he was watching the World Cup and opened up just for us. There was nobody else in the auditorium so we commented on the action just like we were at home.

Our next visit was equally entertaining. While waiting outside, Alice and I became the target of an old drunk's abuse. I think we disturbed his sleep! Alice got some racist nonsense and I got the fighting talk. (Most people leave well alone when they see how tall I am, but every now and again someone takes it as a challenge.) I was riled enough to steal the old boy's walking stick to teach him a lesson. Of course, I didn't do it. I'm a nice boy who was brought up not dragged up.

Inside and two rows in front, a white-haired man was muttering to himself and twitching. He looked a lot like God. Once the film started he behaved quite normally - proof, if proof be needed, that escapism is good for your state of mind. The film was Brick. It was suspenseful and noir-ish.

Since then I've seen the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine and little else "in theatres". I'm tempted by the new James Bond though my instinct tells me it's just another turd with gold paint on.


Radio Radio

I bought a Belkin wireless-G router in Oxford two weeks ago. I mean, I happened to be in Oxford and I went shopping... they don't have a better class of peripheral up there or anything. It took more than the advertised three minutes to set up but I think they were being optimistic. My personal laptop and its professional counterpart are both online at the same time now and I can move from room to room without losing the connection. (I have two rooms.) Mission accomplished!

The upgrade was intended to allow me to a) work from home and b) simultaneously and constantly run peer-to-peer software: the company V.P.N. is on one machine and eMule is on the other. Unfortunately, adding the router created T.C.P./U.D.P. port issues that eMule didn't like. The help file was in German. I didn't know what D.C.H.P. was. I'm not entirely sure how I fixed it but it was a combination of advice from Adrian (what lives with Alice) and four hours' "trial and error", plugging numbers and settings into various boxes until it stopped complaining. The breakthrough may have been telling the router to forward a range of ports instead of the precise address the program needed, but don't quote me on that or why it makes a difference.

While eMule was down I made the discovery that you can watch whole episodes of Battlestar Galactica in eight-minute parts on YouTube! In this clip from S03E04, Adama finds an ingenious way to get fighter ships past the orbital defences of New Caprica to rescue his people on the ground. (Battlestars can jump from point to point in space using "Faster Than Light" technology but they can't fly in an atmosphere themselves.) I'm usually down on these epic C.G.I. sequences because too often they come at the expense of original story ideas but the Top Gun fan in me came screaming out of the closet when he saw that. And I HATE Top Gun.

For my next trick, I was going to network my two machines together. But the wizard didn't work. Does anyone have any pointers for me?

People bitch about Microsoft but I'm using XP features that I've never used before and, unlike Windows 98, they work. When I damaged an external hard drive I thought I was going to lose 40GB of personal files but my tech friend, Ed, fixed it using Remote Assistance. I was in Gloucestershire, he was in Yorkshire and neither of us needed to get up off of the sofa.



It's National Novel Writing Month. The project was designed to overcome the idea that a 50,000-word novel is an insurmountable task that no amateur author could ever hope to complete in his or her lifetime. But over a month it's just 1650 words a day - the length of a college essay, if memory serves (and plenty of those took less than a day).

Shig invited to me to pair up with him so we could spur each other on but, sadly, I was compelled to decline. I feel like I'm struggling to stay on top of life right now, so now is no time to take on a new commitment. Ten-out-of-ten for sensible decision making but minus several million for fun.

Shig's been quiet online of late so I assume he's deep into it. Good luck! And don't worry if you end up writing a lot of stream-of-consciousness crap because March is NaNoEdMo.


That Mitchell & Webb Clip

Three little complaints about the quality of daytime television from That Mitchell & Webb Look, edited together for your convenience.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb also starred in That Mitchell & Webb Sound on radio and That Mitchell & Webb Situation on cable.


Top Five Flaws In Torchwood

In early interviews, series creator Russell T. Davies described Torchwood as The X-Files meets This Life - though he now shies away from the comment, presumably to let the new brand stand apart from its influences.

So... what's gone wrong so far?

5. The most interesting "regular" died in the first episode.
4. Fun-loving Jack Harkness from Doctor Who is traumatised here.
3. Despite the sex and swearing, it still feels like children's television.
2. Torchwood has neat corporate branding for a secret organisation!
1. Jack's car has go-faster lights in the front windscreen.

Torchwood is perfectly fine filler while we wait for the next instalment of real Who but I do hope Mr. Davies isn't spending too much time on ideas for Series Two. At this rate, it'll be time wasted.


Danny Boy

I'm having time management issues. Once the working day is done, and the commute, and dinner, I just want to sleep. I keep my eyes open long enough to play a game or watch The Daily Show but I'm brain-dead already and in no mood for long catch-up phone conversations. I know I'm neglecting good friends but I don't know what to do about it except bitch about the problem here.

I made an unwanted friend when I first moved "downtown". I always talk to people in the street because I don't want to live in a world where people don't talk to each other in the street. Shig says it will be my undoing. Coming back from the corner shop one day, I chatted with someone walking alongside me. He told me his life story: heroin addiction, fights with his girlfriend, and the person he manslaughter-ed once. (The judge showed leniency because he stayed with the victim while he died.) He followed me to my door. I did not invite him in.

I saw him around the neighbourhood from time to time after that. I kept the conversations short, wanting to neither encourage nor antagonize him.

One Tuesday in September, he rang my door buzzer. I couldn't tell what he was talking about but there was trouble and money was involved. Shig was visiting at the time so I made my excuses and hung up. Next my neighbour, Lisa, came over to talk about my friend, Danny. I said I didn't have any friends called Danny.

While I'd been at work, "Danny" had given Lisa a sob story about his girlfriend being attacked at knife-point. She'd loaned him £10 for a taxi so he could get to Frenchay hospital to see her. I felt no sympathy because I was still reeling from the invasion of privacy. I offered to pay Lisa back in case she thought I was part of the scam, but she wouldn't hear of it.

The following week a policeman called to see if we'd been robbed. (We hadn't.) A local man had gone up in front of the magistrate that morning and his girlfriend blabbed about a burglary on the way in. I wondered if my mother was the one passing sentence at court that day.

I saw "Danny" in the street once more after that. He vowed to pay Lisa back as soon as he could but he vowed so much that it didn't ring true. I hope he considers £10 a good result and has moved on to new prey. We consider a tenner a bargain to be rid of a nuisance like him. Security Dave, who guards the construction site on my street, says he last saw "Danny" in the back of an ambulance. He said it looked like an overdose. Nobody I know has seen him since.