Friday, March 28, 2008

Garage a complete dud

We've enjoyed Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny in their parts as anarchic comedy duo, D'Unbelievables. We've enjoyed Shortt's multi-tasking in the television comedy, Killinaskully. We've enjoyed the bitter-sweet Adam & Paul, from director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Mark O’Halloran. So putting Shortt, Abrahamson and O'Halloran together on a project should have resulted in high entertainment. Certainly, given the accolades so prominently reproduced on the DVD box of Garage one expected a great couple of hours viewing.
The movie is set in a rural backwater town where Josie (Pat Shortt) runs a ramshackle petrol station for an unsympathetic local businessman. Josie is obviously a sandwich short (no pun intended) of a picnic. He is variously ridiculed, exploited, even dispised by other characters in this unremittingly bleak drama. Where Adam & Paul pulled few punches in that movie's portrayal of drug addiction, it was at least relieved by some tragic comedy. Garage has no obvious relief in it whatsoever. An interesting comparison to Garage is Sweety Barrett (1998), where the similar underdog character played by Brendan Gleeson ultimately triumphs against adversity. There is no redemption in Garage.
Garage won IFTA awards in 2008 in the Best Film, Best Director, Best Script, and Best Actor categories as well as a prize at Cannes 2007.
I don't get it. It is the most boring, depressing, black movie I have sat through in a very long time. I hope never to look at it again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Weekend in Second Life

Si Lytton, my alter ego in Second LifeYes, St Patrick's Weekend was celebrated in Second Life, not least in the various themed parties and meet ups in the clubs and bars there. Discover Ireland also arranged for a number of parades along the streets of "Dublin" as part of an effort to publicise the Real Life (RL) city. The theory behind this is that people might like SL Dublin and come searching for some RL kicks.

I find SL Dublin to be strange in the extreme. Walking (or flying) along College Green, one sees traffic-free streets and some familiar sights like Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland. Enter a doorway, however, and one finds oneself inside a typical SL boutique selling avatar clothing or jewellry. It's like being in a dream where the familiar is ever so distorted. In O'Connell Street, the widest thoroughfare in Europe, one finds the GPO a stone's throw from the river (I flew into the Liffey by accident and walked along the bottom -- a real first -- I've not done that in RL... yet....) and then the Northside stops abruptly before Henry Street. No Clearys, either, but there is a Millenium Spire. There are quite a few avatars hanging out in SL Dublin's bars and clubs and it is definitely worth a longer exploration some time.
On Sunday I joined the onlookers for the first parade in SL Dublin. It was fun for a number of unexpected reasons, primarily the technical problems of too many visitors filling up a Sim in one go and the comments from those whose avatars were experiencing difficulties. People were materialising without any hair, or couldn't see anything, or couldn't figure out if they were sitting in an unoccupied seat. Luckily, although there were some lags in the action, I didn't experience too many glitches. The arrival of SL floats whose construction was sponsored by various RL and SL interests was announced by a commere whose American origins meant some interesting pronunciations of the pre-prepared script: "Dally-mount Park" and "Chapel-eye-zod" for instance. "The Christchurch" was another small blooper.

I have to say I didn't stay to see the whole parade, but of those I saw the floats mostly appeared uniformly cubic in shape with various uninspiring (some downright mysterious) attachments forming their bodies. They zig-zagged in a kind of controlled chaos down the streets (and sometimes on the pavements) to the applause of the crowd. After a while, I let my camera wander over the spectators, who seemed much more interesting, if only because they come in far more varities of sizes, shapes and styles.
Of course, I eventually ended up in Toby's Juke Joint Blues club in Garden City, which is my favourite hang-out in SL so far. The party must have been good because my avatar was missing a boot next day. Bit like RL, I suppose.

But I think the parade showed great promise and I hope it continues to grow. Perhaps with a longer lead-in time next year the floats might show more of that Second Life magic. Ironically, I've seen creatures and costumes in the real Dublin parade that rival any fantasy creations roaming in the wider Second Life world. I hope someone finds a way to integrate that kind of creation into the 2009 SL parade. Good work, people! Looking forward to next year already.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Invasion of the Kibble Snatchers

This gad-about-town has decided he lives with us.

I say "he", at a guess, because the Ginger Puss (see, we've named him already...!) is a bit thick and this is a male trait among pussy cats.

When he appeared on the scene aboutMarch 2007, he caused a ruckus with our two outdoor moggies, especially as he wished to go into their rather luxurious shed / cat house, eat their foot, drink their water, shit in their litter tray and sleep on their window ledge.

Our black cat, a neutred tom, did his best in terms of bluster, singing voice, and puffing himself up like a bottle brush. Ginger Puss was unimpressed.

I did my best, puffing myself up like a bottle brush and rushing out into the garden at odd hours armed with mugs of ice-cold water. Ginger Puss was wetted, run off, but, it seems, not discouraged. He would clamber up slowly onto the wall, or a shed roof, and meow most pitifully at the sheer cruelty of a world where a perfectly adorable, handsome pussy cat like he would be attacked without reason.

Then he decided that being chased, splashed, swiped at by a black cat, and generally set-upon was simply what happened at our house. He turned up every day.

I was tiling in the front porch one morning with the front door opened when he sidled past. He meowed a greeting as if to say:

"There's that purple monkey that keeps spilling his drink in the garden. Better say hello, I suppose."

One dark evening, I spied him on top of a wheel bin and as I had just put the cats to bed and was coming back down the path with a flashlight, I dazzled him long enough to get within swiping distance. He heard me at the very last moment and only took a half-hearted skelp from the back of my hand before sliding down the bin and up the fence, already chorusing mournfully how innocent he was in the cruel, cruel world.

The other evening, Herself called our evening mantra: "Come on, cats!" and there was the usual procession down the path towards the shed. Part way there she realised there were three cats instead of two. She shooed Ginger Puss off but he ended up nose to the shed door, waiting to be let in and fed like the others. He had an expression on his face of "Well, you called for cats. I'm a cat. Open the bloody door then!"

What are we going to do?

Pub Opening Hours on St Patrick's Day

Intoxicating Liquor Act, 2000

3.—Section 2 (as substituted by section 25 of the Act of 1988 and amended by section 2 of the Act of 1995) of the Act of 1927 is amended by the substitution of the following subsections for subsection (1):"(1) Save as otherwise provided by this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor, or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor, or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises—(a) at any time on Christmas Day or Good Friday;(b) on any other day, as specified hereunder, outside the times so specified in respect of it—(i) Saint Patrick's Day: between 12.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day;(ii) the 23rd December: if it falls on a Sunday, between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.;(iii) Christmas Eve and the eve of Good Friday: between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.;(iv) the eve of any public holiday (other than Christmas Eve):(I) if the eve falls on a weekday, between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day, or(II) if it falls on a Sunday, between 12.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day;(v) any other Sunday (except a Saint Patrick's Day which falls on a Sunday): between 12.30 p.m. and 11.00 p.m.;(vi) any other Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday: between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.; and(vii) any other Thursday, Friday or Saturday: between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day.(1A) The hours specified in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) in respect of any day specified in that paragraph are in addition to the period between midnight and 12.30 a.m. on that day where that period is included in the hours so specified in respect of the eve of that day.

Got it?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Falling Slowly - Hansard and Irglova

An unofficial music video. Let's see how long it can stay up before the corporate boys start blocking.