Attack of the Clones. Ahem, Dust Mites.

In other news, if you’ve seen my tweets you may have noticed I’ve been moaning quite consistently about my allergies. I’d hate to be labeled a hypochondriac, (a title my mother unfairly gave me some years ago), but I’ve been seriously suffering from some snotty symptoms. Sibilance excluded. They call it hay fever, they call it a cold, they even call it the flu – who’s they, the wizards? – I call it: Dust Mites.

For those of you that don’t know about these greedy little bastards. Watch this video. I swear to God, they are clamouring in my nostrils, plaguing me, rowing my nasal canal. It’s not acceptable. I’ve literally sneezed ’til I’ve bled this week. Several times. If there are any doctors out there…confirm or deny…please!


Search Before You Perch

So I was making up a handy saying – I say making it up, it sort of sprung in to my mind from nowhere – about the fact that before it is safe to sit on the loo, it’s a good idea to look around your immediate vicinity for spiders and other unwanted foreign bodies, especially if you’re as ridden with phobias as I am!

To be fair though, I imagine it’s a method of good practice that will surely become more worthwhile when I travel to Morocco in August, and is already employed by travellers the world over who don’t want to get bum bitten by bugs.

(Horrifyingly though, did you know that they don’t generally use loos in Morocco, but simply use squat toilets! They also wipe their arses with their actual hand and wash afterwards. And to think I’ve been relying on toilet roll all these years…)

So anyway, the saying is:

Search before you perch.

I thought it was quite good, a little catchy, and then I started to think of a whole tonne of others that I didn’t come up with. The something before you something template seems pretty well used.

Look before you leap.
Walk before you run.
Think before you speak.
Don’t fall before you’re pushed.
Don’t put the cart before the horse.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Business before pleasure.
Bros before hoes (and all variants of).

Can you think of any more?

No point, but compelled to anyway.

The value of ‘going out’ is the brag factor.

Yeah, sure, there are a tonne of other reasons. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy getting battered as much as the next guy. But why are people drawn to it, and why do they talk about it so much the next day? Let’s be honest, stories of the night before are all variations on the same theme, usually involving copious alcohol and/ or drugs, the occasional flit with violence and/ or sex, followed by nausea and/ or vomiting etc. etc. I’ll concede, occasionally they branch out, but I’m talking about the general trend.

As far as I can tell, the reason is pretty simple. Tragically so:

People go out to have something to say the next day.

We strive to create the illusion of an occupied, exciting lifestyle. After going out people want to be able to boast of the adventures they had the prior night, even if, at the time, they weren’t particularly enjoying them. It’s a sort of competition we all have with our friends. The conversation goes something like this:

THEM: What did you do last night?

ME: [well I can’t say nothing – that just doesn’t cut it] I went out.

THEM: [Yes! Something to discuss – even better – something we’ve got in common!!] Where did you go?

ME: A load of places…can’t really remember [that’s the important bit.] Got wasted, drank tonnes – [I may even list the drinks] – how about you? [I offer up the challenge…] Good night?

THEM: Oh man…don’t get me started… [He proceeds to tell a story more or less the same as mine, subbing in and out different but equally uninteresting specific events]

Ok. So I’m a tad cynical. But really, why do people share gruesome stories of the night before? I don’t know the answer, but I think it’s the same reason people watch big brother, or read gossip magazines. They fear estrangement. They don’t want to feel they are missing out.

The irony is…they always are.

So what’s the point of my little tale? Just that when I consider that these same people are the public we rely on to elect a great and just government, why am I surprised when it never happens?

If you don’t do anything else today, Vote!

So it’s reached that all important day that Facebooker’s have dubbed National Not Voting Conservative Day. That’s a sentiment I’ll happily espouse.

I started off the day up early, cast my vote for Roger Williams MP, and pounced on the news websites. Read a particularly interesting article by Johann Hari entitled What We’ll Lose If We Reject Labour.

It’s too late to be campaigning for which party to vote for, but above all, vote for someone!!

Young Brits are proving digital dunces??

This is a response I wrote to an article by Arvind Ethan David in Screen International, a little while ago (Sept. 09). He argued that:

“UK undergraduates aspiring to film industry jobs lag dramatically behind their international peers in their understanding of the online world and of technology in general…Film, English and drama students who comprise the vast majority of entry-level applicants to UK film companies are total laggards – downright tech-dunces. Muggles, basically. Moreover, many of these youths take some strange, rueful pride in their lack of tech skills and experience – a mutated version of the “chatrooms and computer games are for geeks, we read poetry, drink wine and wear polo-necks while trying to sleep with each other” attitude that I remember from my own university days, a dozen years ago.”

I obviously disagreed…

Hi Arvind,

I just read your article in the last edition of Screen and I have mixed feelings.

As a 20-something myself, and someone who has every intention of one day managing to infiltrate the film industry, I disagree that “youths take some strange, rueful pride in their lack of tech skills and experience”. Perhaps I’m not the best example – I blog, play MMORPGS, use my iphone for almost as much as it is capable of and spend much of my day using a computer in one way or another. However, any lack of experience in using programs such as google docs, wikis, and “everday software packages” such as Excel, Powerpoint and Project is derived simply from a lack of necessity to use them! Unless you are already in the industry (or in any office industry) the circumstances just don’t arise. Perhaps you are right and that these skills need to be taught earlier in school and college and I wouldn’t debate that, but since we’re not really in control of our educational curriculum would it not be unfair to hold it against us?

In addition, I can’t speak for my peers, but my attitude is more along the lines of: Is learning each new technology and keeping up with the technology race really the best spent use of my time and energies? Should I not instead be watching the movies I aspire to one day be making, writing the screenplays that I hope to get read and produced, or even totally unrelated – learning an instrument, a language…?

I initially wrote my feelings were mixed, which they are. For instance, I agree with the link between artistry and technology and the examples you gave, and I also liked your referencing Whitney Houston, when the sentiment expressed is so true, “Teach them well…let them lead the way”. But do you really consider that you are backing that ideology, helping teach and helping lead, when your next line is: “we’ll continue to recruit our interns from the US”?

Thanks for a thought provoking article either way. I’ll look forward to more!


You can read Arvind Ethan David‘s blog at and the full Screen International article can be read HERE

All In The Clear

Good News!

So it turns out reinstalling Snow Leopard from the install dvd does have a hidden ‘archive and install’ and it goes one better, literally returning your mac to the exact working condition it was in prior to the reinstall. This is of course a massive relief and worth mentioning for anyone else having the same problem. Therefore, my answer to anyone suffering a seemingly incurable Kernel Panic is:

Boot from the install DVD (hold ‘alt’ as the computer starts up and select the disc drive to boot from) For the record, I was actually using the upgrade Snow Leopard disc – the £25 version.

Follow through all steps without changing settings on the ‘customisation’ tab.

Wait about an hour while it installs etc.

Restart and it should automatically boot from the hard drive now. With a bit of luck your computer will be restored to it’s working state. This was my solution, I hope it works for you if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a similar experience. If it doesn’t and you lose everything – I can’t take any responsibility! Have fun with your macs.

Head against the wall

It might sound like the title to Tori Black’s next movie, but it’s actually named after something much less hands on and considerably less enjoyable.

Driven crazy this evening by my Macbook’s wonderful attempt at updating itself using Mac’s own “software update”. It informed me it needed a restart, I assented, a short while later and a message pops up stating the ‘updates couldn’t be installed’.

Hmmm…curious. Still, the only option was to restart so I did. Except it didn’t.

Instead, my Macbook thought it could inflict maximum stress anger and annoyance upon me by freezing on the grey boot up screen. This is apparently called a Kernel Panic. And it’s extremely extremely frustrating.

After trawling a thousand forums in search of the truth, or at least a solution to my little problem, I decided I would be forced to reinstall Snow Leopard. What a pain.

But it get’s worse. In their genius (they’re so clever they even go to Genius Bars), the people at Apple (I’m assuming they’re people) decided to forego the previous option of what they call “Archive and Installing” – a method that formats your drive without deleting your documents – assuring the user that it’s still happening “behind the scenes”.

When you’re doing something as dramatic as formatting your Hard Drive you don’t want anything going on ‘behind the scenes’ – I’ve used that excuse myself in college and it never is true.

Fingers crossed when I restart my Macbook in a few minutes there is some means of recovering data. Fingers crossed too that my Macbook does actually start after this format. Finally, fingers and toes crossed that Apple kindly remove their head from whatever dark orifice it’s residing in and sort out the glaring flaws in their software that have been steadily growing in number with each new release. Gone are the days of perfection?

Little boys throwing stones

Listening to the track, Leaders of the Free World, by Elbow on my iPhone today I was struck by how politically relevant it is during this push and shove election campaign. It’s a wicked tune so worth checking out anyway, but note the insightful lyrics:

The leaders of the free world are just little boys throwing stones
And it’s easy to ignore till they’re knocking on the door of you homes.

One only needs to think back to the election debates to see the echoes of truth…

Largely because I just want the whole damn system reformed, it is my intent to vote Lib Dem. Let’s have some drastic change. Kick out the arrogant, complacent parties of the past. Vote Nick Clegg.

Anyway, politics aside – enjoy listening to Elbow!


Where you going, darling?

Question: At what age do women begin using terms of endearment to totally unfamiliar strangers?

I’m 22. I don’t know of any girls in my age group who add “my love/ lovey/ my dear” or similar, to the end of a sentence except those on an acting course, and they’re drama students, it would be weird if they didn’t.

I’m not complaining. In a way I like it. It’s a friendly mannerism in a world that usually treats strangers stand-offishly. I’m just wondering at what point it all starts…

It’s definitely a female thing. There are few men that aren’t perverts or, to poach a Peter Kay phrase, uncle nobheads that would do something similar. It could be that men simply aren’t that nice, or it could be that they lack confidence. It could even be that they just don’t want to be labelled perverts or uncle nobheads. Or just nobheads.

Maybe your perception changes as you grow older. Perhaps I’ll reach an age one day when I’ll wake up and see young people differently. Somehow they will all appear charming and sweet and I’ll be inclined to stop at the side of the road to pick up a girl hitchhiker and I’ll wind down the window, remove my shades and say: Where you going, darling?

No. That would still be weird.

What makes a good writer? The 150 word challenge.

A good writer is someone for whom the pen is mightier than the sword (because let’s face it, the only thing the sword will get you is a swift criminal record and a spot of community service – prisons are too overcrowded for a proper sentence. Excuse the pun).

A good writer is someone who can manipulate language to affect the reader, whether that be challenging convention, swaying opinion or simply selling them the new fragrance from Chanel – not as easy as one might think.

A good writer can turn a boring passage in to a humourous story or encourage thought to evolve in to action. With words they can speak for presidents or appeal for change from passers by. The latter is unfortunately more likely as it’s a competitive industry!

All a writer needs is his pen and his heart. Although of course, hi-tech computing facilities never go amiss.