December 2008


So it comes that time when we all compile pointless lists of what we enjoyed throughout the year.  And I’m feeling it this time so make no exception.  So some top lists (in alphabetical order):

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No country for old men
  • Son of Rambow
  • Wall-E

A quiet year for movies on reflection.  If I had to choose only one it would be Wall-E.  As much as The Dark Knight is perfectly accomplished and astonishing in its brilliance and Iron Man is just brilliantly entertaining, Wall-E is just a wonderful combination of stunning visuals, gorgeous sound design and heartbreakingly staged story.  I love it.

Albums:

  • Crystal Castles
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Foals – Antidotes
  • Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
  • Los Campesinos! – Hold on now, youngster
  • Lykke Li – Youth Novel
  • Metronomy – Nights out
  • Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Did, Lazarus, Dig!
  • Remember Remember
  • Vampire Weekend

Picking a favourite from these is extremely difficult.  Or very easy, as since The Hawk is Howling was released I’ve listened to very little else.  It’s a truly stunning Mogwai album and feels fully formed, like it’s existed for years.  And I love it.  However, choosing Mogwai as my favourite of the year is kind of cheating as they’re my favourite band.  So before that was released it was Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing.  I’ve been listening to this all year and still love it.  Powerful and compelling.  Regardless, all  the above have been on constant repeat since release and are well worth listening to.  Interestingly, my favourite album of last year: Low – Drums and Guns is still on heavy rotation.

Songs:

  • Black Francis – The Seus
  • CSS – Rat is dead (Rage)
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange overtones
  • Elbow – One day like this; Weather to fly
  • Fleet Foxes – Blue ridge mountains
  • Fuck Buttons – Sweet love for Planet earth
  • Gotye – Hearts a mess
  • Ladyhawke – Paris is burning
  • Lambchop – Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Lykke Li – I’m good, I’m gone
  • Metronomy – Heartbreaker
  • Mogwai – Scotland’s Shame; Devil Rides
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – More news from nowhere
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 years
  • Pete and the Pirates – Mr Understanding
  • Remember Remember – Fountain Mountain
  • Santogold – You’ll find a way
  • Those Dancing Days – Hitten

Rather an indiepop-tastic selection this year (getting old?) but fuck it.  My favourite?  Hmmmm.  Fountain Mountain probably (the original version rather than the split version that appeared on the album).

Books:

I managed to get through an impressive 53 books this year (not including comics) and out of those my favourites were:

  • We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  • The Murder of Roger Akroyd – Agatha Christie
  • I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  • Regeneration – Pat Barker

My favourite was ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ – an incredibly powerful and compelling story.  Plus this was the year I discovered Agatha Christie and more importantly, Poirot.  The full list is at my Goodreads site on the right.

So, that’s it for the lists.  Not a bad year all in all.

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So our christmas day was very nice.  Lazy, well fed, relaxed.  We spent the day sleeping in and then delayed just long enough before making a grab for the presents.  K  liked the surfboard I got her, I got a lot of books and dvds I wanted along with a few other things and we both got lots of chocolate!  We even managed to sort out a combined vegie and carnivore christmas dinner.  Saying that we still haven’t found room for the christmas pudding yet.

Plus having 3 days off has been nice and knowing we’ve only got 3 more until another long weekend (even if I’m working the actual weekend).  We almost have plans for new years and I’m being remarkably social these days.  A change of scene does me good.

I saw a car crash yesterday on my way home from work.  It happened 20ft behind me.  Just crossed a road 2 blocks from our flat, heard a screech, turned and saw one car which had run the lights plow into another just crossing.  The first car then aimed straight at me and a woman who was about to cross.  When the woman (who was closer) realised it was heading straight for us she turned and ran in my direction as the car smashed into the yellow traffic light pole.  Which stopped it.  Which was good as that could have been nice.  Sighs of relief all round.

No-one got hurt but the cars both got trashed.  Exciting!

And tomorrow is Christmas, even though it doesn’t feel like it at all.  Actually the only thing that made it seem christmasy was when I put on my christmas music.  After about 30 mins I got over the cheese and actually felt festive.  Out tree (artificial) has been up a week and has an impressive number of presents under considering there’s only 2 of us.

Anyway, we’re both working tomorrow as it is (myself from 8am – 11pm) which is annoying.  Our christmas is delayed until boxing day.  Shall update more then probably.

Merry christmas to everyone.

Or at least I may be able to be soon.  I have one night on call left to go.  After that we’re off to Hanmer Springs for the weekend for some relaxation.  It’s not as if the nights have been tiring – in fact they’ve been strangely (insert that word that’s the same as ‘quite’ but with a different word order).  But a week is generally draining even if you sleep well during the day and fairly antisocial.

Anyway, I just got an email from Barry at Wilderness Medical Training after filling him in on my recent exploits on the Medex expedition and he’s linked to my blog and photo site from the WMT website.  Which is nice of him.

Wilderness Medical Training are the group who ran the Chamonix ‘Expedition Medicine and Field Skills for Diverse Environments’ course I went to this summer gone.  As you may remember from earlier posts the course was extremely well run, informative and damn good fun.  Plus you get to meet a whole host of people with a love for the outdoors and doing something a bit different with their training and lives.  They run courses throughout the year in a variety of locations for lay people as well as medics so there’s something for everyone.  Go check out the website for details.

My photos of the week can be found here, including us playing around on the glacier, ice climbing and building our tremendous ice cave.  As I said – great fun.

And speaking of photos – I’ve been using my downtime to sort out the recent Medex expedition shots so will be posting them to my site over this next week.  I’m also posting all the shots since we moved to New Zealand so if you’re really bored check them out (link is on the right).

It’s been a sparse month or so aside from Bond but there are a few things coming over the horizon that are getting me excited.

I wouldn’t class myself as a Trekkie; I’m a geek in many ways over many things but Star Trek has never been a huge one.  I mean I enjoyed Next Generation and I was quite partial to Voyager but only if they happened to be on when I sat down with nothing to do.  I’ve never really seen the orginal series aside from a few episodes (and I think nearly everyone has seen the Tribbles episode, fan or not).  But the new trailer that came out a week back for the new film looks stunning.  It’s made me really quite excited to see what they’re done and (much to K’s amusment) did make me spend more than a few hours on Wikipedia reading about Star Trek continuity.

And today the first proper trailer for the new Friday the 13th movie was released.  To me that is a very cool thing.  Regardless of their actual artistic value I love the Friday 13th movies.  I have them all (aside from Jason goes to Hell which I couldn’t find) and they sit side by side with my complete Nightmare on Elm Street collection and the orginal Hallowe’en (one of my old time top 10 movies and a classic of the genre).  F13th was all about schlock horror, amazing deaths and good old fun.  The new film is a reboot and is taking elements from the original 3 movies.  It looks awesome, visceral, fun and most of all scary.  Plus the trailer is a wonderful homage to the ‘death count’ trailers for the orginal movies.  

Also about to hit screens is the Day the Earth Stood Still remake which intially never really got me but has slowly got me interested.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looks like it’s going to be well worth seeing and despite my feelings about Sin City and the like, I’m still interested in seeing The Spirit.

Bring on the popcorn.

Ah nights.  Barely have I started before going back onto nights.  Still, I quite like the solitary, dark nature of a week of nights.  I was awake from 9 to 18.30 which was pretty stupid – I’m going to be suffering for that soon.  Plus, daytime sleeping’s going to be tough as it’s so damn hot.  May have to sleep downstairs on our sofa bed as I can turn the AC on.  And tonight there’s no coordinator meaning I can be bleeped by anyone, for anything.  Potentially bad.

Got my first pay cheque this week which was nice and necessary.  I now owe K a huge amount of money so will be her bitch for the next month or two until that’s paid off.  It probably would have just been simpler to transfer my English money here but then if I always did the simpler option I’d have nothing to keep me occupied.

So we also saw Four Holidays the other night.  Now before you say anything, K got free tickets from one of the local radio stations.  Someone rang her to say they had got them so she should ring, which she did, only to be told by the DJ you had to ring when a certain song was playing.  Then he just gave them to her anyway!  Film was mediocre at best.  Occasionally funny but a lot of the characters where genuinelly unpleasant.  Glad I didn’t pay for it.

I’m gradually getting through a huge number of photos from Nepal and New Zealand (the latter number are steadily increasing just by being here) so will post some here once organised.

As described:

How traditional!  Just like I remember as a kid.

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