Monthly Archives: November 2006

Coincidence? You decide!

I turn on my PC. The monitor sits happily on standby. Hmm. Try again, same result. Windows is booting, since the Sleep button does as it’s told. Third time lucky, but Windows has apparently mislaid my monitor drivers. Oh well, quick reinstall of those and all is well.

While this was going on, my door buzzes. It’s a Jehovah’s Witness (the first one I’ve encountered in years).

Coincidence? You decide!



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The last time I visited the Fitzwilliam Museum was the day after the Downing College May Ball in 1991. I believe I may have been a bit tired and hungover, having not gone to bed until about 8am. I don’t really remember what we saw; see previous sentence.

A few weeks ago Doron and/or Andrew suggested a visit. The three of us gathered at 11am yesterday for a few hours of kul-cha away from a damp and blowy morning and the fighting men and women of the second armoured Christmas Shopping battalion. Robert was invited but declined, since he’d spent six hours in the Louvre the previous Saturday and was all museumed out.

Barely a few steps inside the building and my backpack was confiscated for the duration. They were afraid that I’d get them some more publicity by turning round absent-mindedly and scattering precious things hither and yon.

We headed straight for Egypt, where we found the usual assortment of mummified kittens and crocodiles, huge ancient pots, impossibly delicate jewellery and hieroglyphs. Doron wondered what was written on one stela; I worked out – well, I guessed correctly – that one cartouche contained the name Rameses. Indiana Smith, me.

After Egypt, some paintings. We skipped through the tedious religious stuff, all very miserable. The many galleries of porcelain, like a nightmare world run by the Franklin Mint, we ran through looking neither to the left nor the right. We saw the newly repaired Qing vase the nasty man tripped into, a fantastic restoration job, and now safely behind glass.

Back in the real world we had lunch, wandered round town, and in Borders bumped into TV’s Jimmy Carr signing copies of his book and looking even more fed up than usual. I was tempted to take him a copy of Peter Kay‘s autobiography to sign.

After a quick pint with Andrew in the County Arms, I had fifteen minutes back home before popping out again for Mr Heckford’s birthday do. Sino Tap, Prezzo, Sino Tap. Or if you’re reading this in the 1990s: Town and Gown, Michel’s Brasserie, Town and Gown. I drank too much and regretted it today.

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Calling all entrepreneurs!

I think freezers should come with some kind of alarm that goes off if you accidentally leave the freezer door slightly ajar for more than, say, a couple of minutes. Or, you know, twelve hours.

That is all I have to say on the matter.

PS soggy chip, anyone?


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The pledge, the turn, the prestige, the wait

The Prestige stars Christian Bale as The Great Soprendo and Hugh Jackman as Paul Daniels. Scarlett Johansson plays the lovely Debbie McGee, Michael Caine is Ali Bongo, Gollum plays Andy Serkis and David Bowie is Nikola Tesla.

One of those is true.

The “prestige” refers to the third part of a magic trick, the reveal. The first two parts are the pledge (the set-up) and the turn (the doing of the trick). Roughly. The “wait” in the subject above refers to the restaurant we went to after the film. Anyway.

It’s a film about magic, if you hadn’t guessed. My brother used to do magic; his favourite trick involved a set of invisible playing cards, but he lost them. Fact!

The film’s plot concerns a rivalry between The Great Soprendo and Paul Daniels, two up-and-coming magicians who disrupt each other’s shows, try to steal tricks, cause death and destruction, that sort of thing. They haven’t yet realised that all anyone apparently wants to see on a Saturday night is one of the many Simon Cowell clones telling hapless amateurs/celebrities to get out of his manor before he releases the hounds, or whatever it is that happens on X-Factor these days.

Points to note:

  • Some concentration is required, since the film darts back and forth between three different time periods without any wibbly-wobbly transitions, black-and-whiteness or captions.
  • Some of the lady acting is rubbish.
  • This is Michael Caine’s 4,905th consecutive film in which he plays a supporting role while retaining his own accent.
  • I can do a better “drunk posh toff” accent than Hugh Jackman. This is not, please note, because I am a posh toff.
  • Despite this being a Hollywood film primarily set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century England, Dick Van Dyke makes no appearance.
  • Please won’t someone think of the little birdies!

I enjoyed this film a lot, especially since I figured out what was going on half-way through. Like Memento, one of director Christopher Nolan’s previous films, a second viewing would no doubt bring several more a-ha! moments.

Avaragado’s rating: two mangoes

This week’s post-film food hunt took us to the Rice Boat on Newnham Road. Indian Kerala food.

Reviews had warned us that the food was good, the service not so good. And so it proved. Two bottles of wine stood unopened and undrunk on our table for nearly ten minutes due to an absence of wine glasses. The culprit seemed to be the dish-washer, since when glasses finally arrived they were hot to the touch. Call me old-fashioned, but a simple solution to this problem would be to buy more wine glasses. It’s a popular restaurant, after all.

They were slow in other respects too, and forgot a starter. It was a three-hour meal that really didn’t need to be that long. Food was good though.

Avaragado’s rating: tomato ketchup (possibly Heinz)

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Never heard of them

Six of my many Cambridge photos were nominated, and (shock!) all six selected, for inclusion in the latest Cambridge edition of the Schmap “dynamic travel guide”.

It’s a downloadable Windows application including maps, reviews, and so on. To be honest I don’t see the value of the thing on a desktop PC, as Google gives better maps and helps you find more up-to-date reviews. This kind of thing would be much more useful on a PDA.

My cynical self initially wondered whether my photos were picked entirely at random, but I don’t think so. I would have picked a different six, I suspect, but I can see reasons for picking the six they picked. Having said that, one of the six has, at time of writing, been viewed precisely zero times—so they were picked by looking through a big list, without looking at the images themselves.

Still, it’s nice to be recognised. (Next: it’s about time I got into Flickr’s Explore view.)

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Tedious quiz update

Ha! Robert and I won the quiz again, despite having a shocker of a music round. I guess everyone else did too. (It was all that thumpa-thumpa music, nothing with a nice melody, and why do they always shout these days?)

£42 this time.

Amazingly we correctly named four out of five Bond films based on the name of a female villain, which is a lot harder than it seems (I was confident of only one). See if you can do it without cheating: Miranda Frost; May Day; Rosie Carver; Naomi; Elektra King. We also got four of the five most populous US cities whose names have two words.

No bingo wins this time. We didn’t want to appear too ostentatious.

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