A Rental Lament

I miss Blockbuster Video.

Time was, you wanted to watch a movie, you went down your local Blockbuster, headed for the New Releases section, and saw if there was anything you wanted to watch? Oh, and you could be fairly certain that, if a movie was out on DVD, it’d be available to rent. Alas, no more.

I just spent ages trawling around the internet trying to find a number of movies to rent, all to no avail. Oh you could buy them alright, no doubt about that, but as for renting, forget about it!

And we’re not talking all new movies either. “Wrath of the Titans”, “White House Down”, “Avengers Assemble”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”; all are available to buy on Amazon Instant Video or iTunes, but not to rent.

I just don’t get it? Why would the studios restrict access to their product like that? It makes no sense. Do they think in desperation that I’m going to buy it instead? Because I just have to watch it NOW!

The thing is, I’m not so into these movies that I want to see them more than once. I mean I’ll pay £3:50 to give them a go, but I’m certainly not going to pay £5-£15 to own them. That’s just not gonna happen. I do want to watch them, but not that much.

No wonder people are turning to file sharing and illegal downloading to see and hear things they can’t get elsewhere. You set the price too high and people will always find a way around it.

Not that I’m going to do that. I’m too lazy. I’ll probably just watch something I already own (y’know, the good movies that do stand up to more than one viewing), or I’ll just stick the TV on and see what’s on. It’s coming up to 9 o’clock, something decent must be about to start.

As for my hard earned cash, that’ll stay in my pocket. Congratulations Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount; you just lost out on some revenue.

“It’s The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer!”

Hello my non-yogic friends. How are you all?

It’s been literally months since I posted anything proper on here. All you’ve had from me are re-blogs of all this Yoga Bum stuff I’ve been doing. And while I’m sure you’ve enjoyed my current escapades, I’m sure some of you miss the old me, the one who trawled the internet for all kinds of dross to share with you here (I know I miss him).

Well, with the intermittent time/cost/availability of connections whilst traveling, there hasn’t been much chance to find and share stuff. But sometimes you have to make time. Nay, sometimes you are compelled.

I’ve had scenes from the movie Step Brothers going around in my head for days now. I dunno why. It’s not even one of my favourite movies. Maybe it’s a reaction to all this yogic/sattvic stuff I’ve been doing, but every now and then I have to stop, shake my head, and say “It’s the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer!” out loud for no good reason at all.

Now, assuming you don’t know what I’m on about, I’ve dredged up a few clips to share with you all. The first is a clip that has caused so many youTube parodies, but for you here we have the original Sweet Child Of Mine scene.

This next scene just makes me laugh so much. It’s just wrong on so many levels. I can’t say any more than that.

And of course, the final scene, the denouement, the Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer. All I can say is, stick with it, watch it all. All should become clear.

And there you go. Happy? I know I am. Ciao for now.

“How About A Nice Game Of Chess?”

First of all, I just watched WARGAMES for the first time in ages and I have to say, if you haven’t seen it recently, do! It’s still brilliant.

Beautifully written, good characters, simple storyline, great effects (for the 80s), and not an ounce of fat on it (production wise that is). Still a favourite of mine after all these years, and a quintessential lesson in how to write a screenplay.

(WARNING: only watch the clip below if you’ve seen the film or if you’re sure you’re not going to watch it again any time soon – it kind of gives the game away!)

I found the ‘what’s your next move’ motif very fitting when considering my life at the moment.

I’m somewhat stuck. I’ve made a few inroads towards where I want to be, but I’m now waiting for other people to get back to me, or simply for time to move forward, so there’s nothing I can do to advance my situation except wait.

The I-Ching tells us that a wise man knows when to move forward, when to retreat, and when to stand still; but knowing it and doing it are two different things, and right now I’m finding it a little frustrating.

It doesn’t help that some asshole side-swiped the back end of my car the other day whilst it was parked outside my house, denting the wing and smashing the tail light. It’s cost me £54 to get a new light (which won’t be here for 5 days because of the jubilee) and then there’s the wing to repair. God knows what that will cost me? I am not amused! So, as you can imagine, very keen to move out of London at the moment.

list - done!

Now that I know what I want to do, I’ve realised there’s two things I want to achieve before I go away; finish writing my book and build a vegan food blog (and I’ve got just 3 months to do them in). Now I did intend to do both at the same time, but I think concentrating on one (the book) is best until it’s done, then I can do the other.

After all, I can do the blog when I get back fairly easily, it’s just mechanics. But the book needs thought and creativity, and after several months abroad I might not have the focus it requires to get it done. Besides, I want to be able to re-write while I’m away, and I can’t do that unless I’ve written. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time off to write. it’s all work at the moment, be it housework or work work.

So that’s where I am at the moment, stuck in limbo (kind of) unable to move in any direction. But like all things, this too shall pass. Then you watch, pretty soon I’ll be complaining that it’s all going too fast, that I need to put on the brakes, slow things down, make some space so that I can get everything done, lol. Daft I know, but you know I’m right! 😉

As they say; be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. 😆

Stranger Than Fiction

“Little did he know…”

You don’t often get a movie that is truly original, yet at the same time very familiar. In many ways that’s the perfect balance that you strive for as a writer, to write something that no one has ever seen or thought of before, but that no one sits there watching scratching their head wondering what the hell is going on. So it is with Stranger Than Fiction.

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an average man. An auditor for the tax office, he leads a very dull, very organised life. His is an efficient world – one of numbers, time keeping, routine and unending loneliness – until one day one simple incident sets in motion a chain of events that will ultimately culminate in his death.

We know this, as does Harold Crick, because we and he can hear the writer narrating in his head.

I can’t really explain this film (nor would I if I could). Instead let me just mention one scene that really struck me when I first watched the movie. Harold is having dinner with a friend. He knows, thanks to the narrator, that he is going to die, but he doesn’t know how. He asks his friend, “If you knew you were going to die, what would you do?” His friend tells him, “Go to Space Camp.”

What struck me was, even though Harold is referring to his own imminent death, the question remains valid for each and every one of us. We are all going to die. Without exception. I guarantee it. So why don’t we act accordingly? Why don’t we chase our dreams every day with the same vigor as we would if we knew we only had six months to live? Why does it take a near death experience to shake us out of our apathy?

I watched this film tonight because the woman he becomes involved with in the movie – the gorgeous and incredibly sexy Maggie Gyllenhaal – is a baker, and the thought of jacking in the day job and opening up a bakery somewhere is very enticing to me at the moment. But so is becoming a writer, and teaching yoga. So which should I choose? Or do I have to choose?

Can I do it all? Maybe. Will I do it all? Maybe not. Will I kick myself up the arse enough to get out there and at least do some of it? God I hope so. I’m 37. In some lives, I’d be over half way by now. In others I would have died years ago. What’s the point of living if you don’t enjoy your life? And if you don’t change it now, then when?

This is a brilliant movie. Simple, clever, thought provoking, and very, very moving. I don’t mind admitting I cried a little at the end (and this is about the fourth time I’ve seen it too). It’s given me a great deal to think about before I go to bed tonight, and I think it will you too. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

The Social Network

Just finished watching The Social Network and, rather ironically, I had to blog something about it.

First off, if you haven’t seen it, check it out. The direction by David Fincher is excellent, the music by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) really works well, and the writing by Aaron Sorkin is very crisp and beautifully put together. And it’s the writing that has really got me thinking.

I just finished the second round of re-writes tonight on the script I finished just after Christmas. I know, 6 weeks, what can I say? I’m a lazy arse. Anyway, watching the film tonight I can’t help but wonder if what I’ve written is any good or not.

Now no one can say as no one has seen it yet, but you see I have this aversion to emotional trickery. You know, having characters say and do unrealistic things in order to get a rise out of the audience. The intellectual equivalent of going *BANG!* just to scare people. My script has none of that. But without it will an audience be able to relate?

My good guys think they’re doing the right thing, but so do my bad guys. Will people be able to understand that, or will they just not give a damn about either of them. And that’s what matters in the end, for me as an audience member anyway, whether there’s an emotional connection with the characters or not. That’s why films like Inception don’t work for me. ‘Clever’ though they are, I just don’t give a damn about any of the characters.

Really there’s only one way to find out. Once I’ve finished up this draft I’ll give it to someone to read. If at any point they say “I’m half way through,” I’ll know it’s boring enough to put down and I should just move on.

Actually, moving on is what I’m doing anyway. I’ve got another idea ready to go, as well as a book I want to continue with. Which I tackle next I guess I’ll find out in a little bit.

NB: One thing watching Social Network made me realise (actually two things) is (a) if you’re going to blog about stuff blog about real stuff that matters, to you at least; and (b) get on with it! No one ever won a race by thinking about going for a jog. Or as my yoga swami would say (yes, I have a yoga swami now) “Good intentions are not enough, you need to do some work.”

With that in mind, I have some work to do.

Imagine Me and You

“You’re a wanker number nine!”

Ever thought, “D’ya know what, I’m in the mood for a lesbian romance.” You have! Excellent. Then read on.

Imagine Me and You is a great wee film. I caught the end of it in work one day and was so intrigued I had to buy it to watch the rest, and I’m so glad I did. I won’t go into too much detail, as I don’t want to give too much away (plus, to be honest, I don’t have a lot of extra info to go into), but it opens with Rachel (Piper Perabo) and Heck (Matthew Goode) getting married. But as she’s going up the aisle Rachel spots Luce (Lena Headey) her florist through the congregation, and it’s pretty much love at first sight.

The rest of the film is a beautifully crafted blossoming romance, surrounded by the problems of being married and falling in love with someone else (who just happens to be a woman), with everyone involved trying to do ‘the right thing’ (often in opposition to what they really want to do), and all of them eventually coming to terms with what they have to do (be it go for the romance, quit and move on, or just stop being such an arse).

Writer/director Ol Parker managed to do a great deal with so many little moments like the one above, and he’s presented us with a lovely little film that I guarantee will warm your cockles. It’s a love story, pure and simple. The fact that’s it’s between two girls is you the spice that gives this familiar recipe it’s unique flavour.

Warning: This film will make you want to live in Primrose Hill, have charming posh friends and run a florists. 😉


Well known in certain circles, virtually unknown in others, Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are two of the most moving and mersmerising films ever made.

Shot in 1982 and 1988 respectively Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance, and Powaqqatsi: Life In Transformation, were ground breaking movies exploring the environment and man’s relationship to it. With a mixture of images from the natural world intercut with footage of man made environments, shot using a mixture of techniques, and accompanied by a beautifully haunting soundtrack by Philip Glass, both these movies weave a spell over you that it’s hard to ignore.

It’s hard to explain the draw of two films that have no plot to speak of, no definable structure, and are ultimately just a collection of sound an images, so I’m going to show you what it’s all about.

Believe me when I say these clips are just two small parts of an amazing collection of music and imagery, and you’ll benefit greatly from watching the whole thing in a non-compressed format. They’ll change the way you see the world, and our place in it, and ultimately you’ll come away with a greater appreciation of the beauty of life and how we should do everything we can to be in harmony with it.

For anyone wanting to know more there’s an Official Qatsi Website.

Zack and Miri make a Porno

“Hi, I’m a delivery man, and I have some cream for you!”

Kevin Smith has made some great films. He’s made some iffy ones too (Mallrats anyone?) but generally he can be relied upon to come up with the goods.

Sometimes the stories around his movies are as interesting as the movies themselves; the controversy around Dogma, including his protesting of his own movie; shooting his first film Clerks at night in the movie stores where he worked; but that’s by the by. His films stand out as almost a genre within themselves, with a returning compliment of actors and characters, recurring themes of interpersonal relationships and pop culture references, and sharp witty dialogue (yes, I said witty) that’ll have you in fits of laughter.

I have a soft spot for parts of all his films, but his ‘best’ and most accessible movie to date has to be Zack and Miri make a Porno, the tale of how the relationship between two friends changes after they have sex (on camera).

There’s not a duff moment in this movie. The story flows seamlessly so that we accept as perfectly reasonable the idea that they have to make a porno to make some cash. Everyone in it gives a solid and believable performance, including Katie Morgan, an actual porn star who I thought was a proper actress they’d hired because she looked ‘porny’. Seth Rogen manages to hold it down as Zack, the slovenly roommate of Miri, Elizabeth Banks, and even Superman, Brandon Routh, does a great job as Bobby Long, out but still slightly repressed boyfriend to Justin Long’s gay porn star, Brandon.

It really is a strange movie, but it’s worth the effort. Well written, well made, this is a warm and caring comedy that really shows us the cuddly side of the porn industry. Have a box of tissues handy, coz you’ll need ’em. 😉

Oh, and this has nothing to do with Zack and Miri, but you gotta watch this clip from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I wet myself laughing every time I see it.

Jason Mewes, Jay to Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob, is in Zack and Miri too. Really, that’s all the excuse you need to see it. Ever hear of a Dutch Rudder? You’re gonna have to see the movie to find out what it is.

International Kiki Day

A couple of years ago I decided there weren’t enough bank holidays in September, as in any, so I invented one. Welcome, to International Kiki Day.

Celebrated on the 14th of September participants (namely me) are to take the day off from work and spend the entire day doing something interesting yet completely unconstructive. Previous years have seen me at the Greenwich Planetarium seeing a show, and spending the day in the Victorian Turkish Baths in Carlisle, as well as enjoying various vegan meals about the place and seeing a movie or two, and this year is no exception.

battle plans

We started at the Loving Hut in Camden, a UK version of the one I went to in Hong Kong. I was, I have to say, ludicrously excited about going there. If the food was as good as it had been in Hong Kong we were in for a treat.

burger and wedges

They didn’t disappoint. I went for the eco ‘beef style’ burger, as you can see (Sarah had the golden ‘chicken style’ burger), and we split a portion of wedges. They were fantastic! Seriously. I haven’t had a burger that tasted that… burgery, since going vegan. And the wedges were pretty damn good too.

free cake

We got chatting to the guy who runs the place and he very kindly gave us a couple bits of cake on the house to enjoy. One was a kind of lemony tofu cheesecake, and the other a chocolatey orange sponge cake. Both were divine, though at a push I’d go for the cheesecake.

the loving hut

The only drawback for me was the TV they had on in the background. Loving Hut do have their own satellite TV station promoting veganism, animal rights, and eco-friendliness, which is fine, except the whole time we were there they were showing an expose programme on factory farming methods. Not really the sort of thing you want to see while you’re eating. I mean, I’m vegan already, so what do you hope to achieve by showing me that apart from making me ill. They should accentuate the positive things about being vegan, and leave the scare-mongering up to the government.

secret society of vegans

Then we were off to a shop run by the Secret Society of Vegans in Kings Cross, simply called “Vx”. I’ve been meaning to go there for ages, and this seemed like the perfect time.

sarah the secret vegan

We were going to have tea and cake in their cosy downstairs lounge, but since we were all sponged out from our freebie at the Loving Hut we just went for the tea instead. That, and a wee bit of shopping. Check out the stuff I got.

vegan booty

If you get a chance I recommend you pop along. The staff were lovely and they had a great selection of vegan goodies to covet. I’ll be going back there that’s for sure.

scott pilgrim vs the world

And the final part of the day saw me at the movies to watch Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I thought I’d check it out since I was having a vegan day and it has a bit in it to do with vegans (but that’s all I’m saying on the matter, so don’t worry about any spoilers).

scott pilgrim avatar

This movie is an epic piece of daftness. Expect silliness and you will not be disappointed. Brought to you by Edgar Wright, the guy who directed Hot Fuzz, Shawn of the Dead, and the brilliant Spaced!, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the story of a guy who has to battle his new girlfriend’s 7 evil ex’s video game style in order to go out with her.

The story doesn’t really matter, what you go for is the dialogue, the performances, and the epic battle scenes which were superbly done. Michael Cera is great as the lead, resisting the temptation to spend the whole film mumbling (which he has done in the past), but a lot of the really good stuff comes from Kieran Culkin as his gay roommate, and Ellen Wong as the ever so slightly imbalanced Knives Chau. In fact I think that’s what makes this film so good, the fact that all the characters are real, human, and eminently flawed, but all of them are likable in their own certain way (except the evil ones, who are just evil).

This film is a lot of fun, and I’ll be seeing it again, as I know there’s a lot I missed because I was looking the other way. Once again, another slice of fried gold from Mr Edgar Wright.

And there you have it, another successful International Kiki Day. It’s been a good one. Got the chance to do some stuff I’ve been wanting to do for a while, didn’t do a lick of proper work, yup today was a good day. Looking forward to next year already. 🙂