Monthly Archives: March 2006

Wherein money is exchanged for consumer electronics

32 inches, HD-ready, LCD. Marantz.

Currently perched on a chair in front of my old CRT TV, until I can dispose of that humanely.

It’s very good. It shows up the low bandwidth of digital terrestrial TV magnificently. Haven’t tried out the HD yet – I’ll need to plug the Mac in for that.

However, its built-in digital tuner UI is pretty awful (ranting available on request). My old Nokia 221T set-top box is much better, even if channel-changing is slower, so I’ve plugged that in.

I’m currently watching 1000 Dame Edna Everages dancing in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Quite what some commonwealth countries are making of this I’m not sure.


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C for Contradictory

V for Vendetta. One of those films that veers between cheese, predictability, utter implausibility and scary prescience. Reviews I’ve seen so far have been Marmite-like in their binarity (yes, that is a word): they love it or hate it.

The flaws include Natalie Portman’s grand tour of all accents, and that ever-present mask obscuring Hugo Weaving’s performance. The mask matches the original graphic novel, so top marks for authenticity, but it all gets a bit Marcel Marceau as poor Hugo desperately tries to emote avec hands and sans face.

On the plus side, the film contains the best cinematic use of the Benny Hill music so far this year.

Oh, and Chef! Going to the cinema! With other people present! Unheard of.

Avaragado’s rating: one tin of tomato soup

Post-film we ventured to the Shanghai Family Restaurant on Burleigh Street. Never been there before; it apparently has a reputation as the best Chinese restaurant in Cambridge.

An interesting experience. I think we must have been the first people ever to order wine there; the waitress seemed to think she had to empty the bottle rather than leave it on the table, so there were some very full glasses (no complaints). This trick failed on the third bottle though – she was almost apologetic as she left the bottle with us. Strange.

Nice food, large portions, but I wouldn’t call it the best in Cambridge.

Avaragado’s rating: half a packet of digestive biscuits.

This being the 21st century we then nipped across the road to CB2 for two more bottles of wine and our own interpretations of dessert. Melanie and Louise had malteser sundaes, or something like that. I had some spicy chips.

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Brrrm crack

Drove down to deepest Heathrow today for business. Had meetings. Drove home.

On the way back, a gen-yoo-ine M25 stone took a chip out of my windscreen. Well, it woke me up I guess.

Wonder whether I can expense it?

In related news, today I discovered that ten minutes at 40mph in roadworks on the M11 under the beady eyes of number-plate-reading, average-speed-checking cameras is actually more tedious than ten minutes at 0mph.

On the plus side I was home by 5:30, which hasn’t happened in a while.


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Syriana is a thinky film. Don’t go expecting to switch off your brain and relax in senseless, random violence for an hour or two, or to be spoonfed expository dialogue every fifteen seconds.

In fact, don’t go expecting to understand a word of it. It feels like they took a four-hour film and cut out all the explanation.

Well, obviously the general plot threads are easy to spot. But they stay resolutely apart: one subplot, showing how easily disaffected youths can be turned to terrorism, barely touches the rest of the film.

I suspect this is a slow burner, like The Shawshank Redemption.

Avaragado’s rating: six dates

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