Sunday, January 25, 2004


Yes. I know this is now more sporadic than a particularly sporadic thing which doesn't happen very often any more (and frequently makes no real sense either). Look, we now have cats, which ought to be sufficient explanation.

So - I'm going to worry about The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (let's keep that hyphen in there, shall we?). Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast is a sound choice, and anyone other than Stephen Moore as Marvin just wouldn't have been right, but I'm worried about Arthur. Martin Freeman was responsible for one of the best TV moments of last year as The Office reached a near-perfect ending, and I know he can hit the right note of bafflement, but - well, Arthur's middle aged; he has to be. To my mind, one of the reasons that all the versions work so well is the first half-hour, where Arthur is a real person in an ordinary life who keeps having extraordinary things happen to him. There's a grounding there, and part of it is because Arthur's known Ford for so long. OK, I'm not going to obsess about this - I remember the shock of seeing Simon Jones in the TV version - it was the right voice, but he didn't look like Arthur - that worked out all right in the end, and I do fervently hope that this will as well. I just need to keep reminding myself that every version is different; the book is not the radio series (there's some good stuff in the radio series that never got reused); the radio series was not the record; the record was not the TV - you get the idea. This will be diiferent, and I think it will probably be OK. Just wish that Douglas Adams was still around to oversee things. Mind you, it'd never get finished.

Mars. Some of those pictures from Mars are just stunning. This one in particular is truly inspiring. I hear people asking "Why should we go to Mars?" Well, why shouldn't we? Yes, there are other priorities. Imagine if 10% of the world's defence budgets went into space exploration instead. Imagine if ...

Tell you what, instead of me imagining it, try reading Kim Stanley Robinson. Then you'll want to go to Mars.

I went for a walk today, tramping through the Bedfordshire countryside. I saw elephants. Yes, I did.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Watty goes all wistful...

I use Google every day. Often in an idle moment, I find myself typing in a long lost memory, just to see what there is on the net about it - I suspect I'm not alone. I mostly use it to find work-related stuff, of course, or to answer obscure questions (this morning's: "Who was in the Arsenal front line in that game against Lens at Wembley in whatever year that was?" Answer obtained in approximately 15 seconds or so). And sometimes, I wish I had Google to hand while walking along the street or driving to work, because that's when I remember things I want to look up. Things I can never bring to mind again when I'm sat in front of the screen.

Things like the Trigan Empire. Now I must think of the Trigan Empire 5 or 6 times a year, but never when I'm in a position to do anything about it. Until today. Today, I read an obituary for Don Lawrence, who did most of the artwork for the Trigans, and I hastened over here to look and see if any of it is online. And, unsurprisingly, I suppose, it is.

Sorry. I've lost you, haven't I? I don't consider myself an aficionado of the comic book, or the graphic novel. or whatever, but if I was, it would all be because of Don Lawrence and the Trigan Empire. Yes, I'm getting to the linky bit. The Trigan Empire was a comic strip in the late, lamented (by me, at any rate) "Look and Learn" magazine in the late 60s and early 70s. It was a neat amalgam of Romans, time travel and monsters, and it all took place on a planet with two suns and two moons. I just devoured this stuff as a child, and it is one of the reasons why I got interested in that whole SF / fantasy thing. Of course, I had my head turned by whizzy spaceships, and turned into more of a space-opera kind of boy, but there is still a germ of the fantasy reader in me, and it's only now that I realise why I enjoyed reading that Guy Gavriel Kay book so much last year. That was kind of Trigan-like.

Anyway. This post has supplanted the planned one where I worry about the film of Hitch-hikers. That will have to wait.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Watty's been reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves:

Number one in a depressingly frequent series, I fear. I have recently received these two letters, both presumably designed to make me want to do business with their senders. The first one is simply incomprehensible, the second, which I received yesterday, is incomprehensible and spectacularly randomly punctuated. Names have been changed to protect the guilty, for some reason. See if you can make anything of them:

I joined [Company name excluded] on 22nd September 2003 as Senior Business Development Manager. During my first 8 weeks at [Company name excluded], I have been focusing on some clients who we have had a strong relationship in the past.

As a company [Company name excluded] are moving towards a much more professional IT service provider and as to which the skill set of employees in all departments have now changed which is the reason I have come onboard.

My [Company name excluded] role is very clear. Any IT plans you would have, I act as the facilitator for both parties, to monitor, advise and ensure any projects where [Company name excluded] is an integral part of the overall goal; is carried out in a manner that ensures Service, confidence and reassurance are always met. Our teamwork on projects every day, to market concepts for new streams of revenue to business's like yours.

[sic, all of it, I promise.] Don't you just love that semicolon?

retires, shaking head sadly