Posted in Quizzes and Memes

Pieces of Eight

Pieces of Eight meme (edited) pinched from Blue Moon Girl:

8 Things I Am Passionate About

1. For humanity to chill out more
2. Passion? What’s that?

8 Things I Say Often

1. Blut
2. Bleep!
3. Drattles
4. Hello, wotchoo bin doing? (to Sharky)
5. D’yoo want some food? (to Sharky)
6. Don’t DO that!
7. What I was going to say was…
8. Nooooooooooooooo! (first thing in the morning)

8 Books I’ve Read Recently

1. George Mackay Brown: The Life by Maggie Fergusson
2. Stars of the New Curfew by Ben Okri
3. Starship Voyager: Caretaker by L.A. Graf
4. The Tales of Olga da Polga by Michael Bond
5. The Saint of Dragons by Jason Hightman
6. Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth by Ted Hughes
7. The Blue Lion by Robert Lynd
8. Joys of Single Blessedness by George Ade

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over

1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight / Wimoweh (any version) — ANIMATED CLIP
2. Kingston Town by UB40
3. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club
4. Souvenir by OMD — CLIP
5. Enola Gay by OMD — CLIP
6. Dream a Lie by UB40 — CLIP
7. Mr Bassman (especially as performed by the Muppets) — MUPPETS CLIP
8. Going Home by Runrig (wot – no clip??)

Comments for this entry (during its previous life on Blogigo):

1. Pacian wrote at Nov 25, 2007 at 14:48: May steal this… or not. Can’t decide. :-/

2. Diddums wrote at Nov 25, 2007 at 23:52: Go with it. :-).

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Hearing Loss, TV and Films

Them Nasty Hobbitses

I was online today, looking at some Lord of the Rings boxed sets (DVDs) to see if they had subtitles for the hard of hearing, and drew a blank. Not because the site said they weren’t subtitled, but because nothing was said about it at all – so you don’t really know if they have no subtitles or if the information was somehow omitted that they do. Or perhaps, because they’re boxed sets, some of the DVDs are subtitled, and some aren’t. I don’t know.

In particular, I was looking at the extended DVDs, and strongly suspect that if there’s any subtitling, only half the DVDs are subtitled – the ‘film’ half. That means half my money would be wasted.

Until I find out for sure (and perhaps other sites on the internet have the relevant information) I will not be buying.

The Lord of the Rings videos weren’t subtitled! I clearly remember the day I found out. I was having a bad day already, but was looking forward to seeing the film when it came out on video. I was standing in a Tesco queue with Mum. Mum spotted the video on a rack, looked at it, put it back, turned to me and said: “it’s not subtitled.”

I was stunned – this is the Lord of the Rings they’re talking about! The all-time fantasy classic! We’ve all been waiting for a film like this for years! How can it not be subtitled???

I pulled other New Line Cinema videos from the racks to see if they had subtitles – at that time, none of the ones I checked did. I don’t know what their reasons were; maybe they had a very good reason – that’s just how it was. It still didn’t seem right – not for something this big.

I think (but am not sure) that the extended versions had subtitles, but I couldn’t afford the shop price – I hoped they might turn up in the second-hand CD store or a charity shop, but so far all I’ve seen are the unsubtitled versions. Those were the regular ones that most people bought. I confess to a few moments of annoyance when thinking about this – “everyone should boycott the unsubtitled videos!” but I can’t expect that. A bit dog-in-the-mangerish. Everybody-focus-on-MY-problemsish. Ridiculous. “But they should still have been subtitled…” says a voice in my head, disbelieving. “Them nasty hobbitses forgot the captionses.”

Gollum, gollum.

So it was another while yet before I got to see the Lord of the Rings on TV. Other people were talking about it, raving about how marvellous it was, and how they had seen it three times already… and I hadn’t even seen it once. I fervently hoped I didn’t accidentally die before I ever got to see it. Wouldn’t that be annoying?

I remember I was storing up videos to watch and we were going on holiday, and I got to thinking “what if we all die in a motorway pile-up and I never ever see any of these videos because I was ‘saving’ them?” So I sat down before the holiday to watch some, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Since then I’ve snagged plenty more videos, so there’s always something new. I’m a firm believer in having something to look forward to, no matter how small.

Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this entry when it was hosted on Blogigo:

1. Pacian wrote at Nov 23, 2006 at 23:33:
I worry about this too. Subtitles can even be poorly done on films that aren’t in English, which is the main reason I try to always find out beforehand.

Quick googling turns up:
Is this the one?

For non-English films, DVD Times usually mentions if the subtitles are incomplete or correspond to a dub rather than the original language track.

2. Diddums wrote at Nov 24, 2006 at 00:29:
Thanks for the URLs! The boxed set you mention is partly subtitled, according to that site. Some of the ‘extras’ are not subtitled, but the films are. And what they have are ‘English subtitles, but not for the hard of hearing’ – presumably that means it doesn’t say “bell dongs” or “Balrog roars incomprehensibly” and things like that… doesn’t bother me all that much, though sometimes it’s important to know.

3. KatieK wrote at Nov 24, 2006 at 05:57:
Nasty Hobitses indeed! This is…incomprehensible. Spend 400 billion whatsits on film production and then leave out the subtitles. I am very disappointed in them and now I will think about this every time I watch my DVD version of the films. Bad Corporation, bad corporation!

4. Bunnyman wrote at Nov 24, 2006 at 19:36:
Hello Diddums. I’m a bit of a slow reader, but that’s me caught up now. You know, you really do have a lovely blog and it’s a real treat to read.

I’m very chuffed that I got a mention on one of your posts and even a place on your links list. An honour indeed, thank you!

On the subject of subtitles, I have the first two films as separate extended DVD editions for the UK (think that’s region 2 but I can’t remember), although they must both be over a year old. Both have subtitles for the film part. Not yet sure about the extras because I can’t get my DVD player to work properly right now – dratted thing’s being very badly behaved. If I do get it working, I’ll let you know 🙂

5. Bunnyman wrote at Nov 24, 2006 at 20:19:
Got it to work now on an old Windows laptop. Unfortunately, there is no setup menu on my Extras CD so it does indeed look like subtitling for the film part only. Seems to be just the voice bits too, no other sounds or hints. During that section where Saruman snitches to Sauron via the Palantir, it’s not that clear who’s saying what.

Don’t know whether any of this has improved in recent versions.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is brilliant – all that running across roofs and up walls. I tried it once but scraped my fingers then fell on my bum – quite painful it was too. Might need to take some lessons.

6. Diddums wrote at Nov 25, 2006 at 13:59:

Hi Bunnyman, thanks very much for the information on the DVD – that does sound right; sometimes I get confused about who said what. Then they suddenly start placing the text right over the characters’ faces, as though they think it will help. Then stop and go back to normal again – no idea what that’s all about. It’s as though different people are working on it, with different ideas of ideal text placement.

Does it say anywhere on Croughing Tiger, Hidden Dragon ‘don’t try this at home?’ Heh.

7. Bunnyman wrote at Nov 25, 2006 at 14:24:
Well at least on my copies, the titles aren’t over the faces. Mind you, they would be if anyone had to bend to tie their shoelace; they do seem to be quite large, in the lower part of the screen. Perhaps they’ll obscure some critical piece of hitherto unnoticed plot such as Boromir passing Frodo a secret note saying “I love you really, it’s the script, it made me do it!”

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, TV and Films

In Good Fellowship

I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring last night – not for the first time. I enjoyed it more than last time, somehow – it felt more as though I was reading the book and ‘seeing’ what was happening, and I wanted to repeat all the sonorous phrases that came rolling off their tongues. I was acting a bit silly for some reason, and when Gandalf paused, sniffed around suspiciously, and frowned, I said “it’s the Balrog!” and waited with bated breath… “blah blah blah blah the Balrog,” he said, and I cheered…

Proof that people over 40 aren’t any less giddy than kids of 14.

Fusspot the Siamese was watching when Gollum turned up. Gollum peered through a gap with his great golden eyes glowing in the night, and Fusspot sat up and stared. He didn’t relax till things started moving again.

I found myself thinking that if we fell through a wormhole in the middle of the night and woke up as characters in The Lord of the Rings, I would probably be Boromir. Nobody wants to be Boromir, though there are a lot of Sean Bean fans about (like me!) I didn’t realize it until, dying on a tree root, he uttered the following words:

“The world of men is failing. All things will turn to darkness.”

Aragorn tells him no – there is hope for us yet. Trouble is, I think many imagine that we live largely in a world of light, perhaps with war beating at the door, but I think there are a lot of orcs right in here with us, along with wizards like Saruman. The Shire is the achievable ideal, and we’re moving further away from that all the time.

It’s not a world of light yet. Nowhere near.

Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:

Iain wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 00:26:
re if LOTR had been written by someone else, here’s an enormous thread you might find entertaining – it’s patchy, but some bits are very good.

Diddums wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 20:11:
Boy, they really went to town. I was only able to read 3 or 4 pages before my brain seized up, but one of my favourites was the Mary Poppins version.

Posted in My Cats, TV and Films

The Football Just Flashed Past

At the end of the World Cup the host turned and looked out of the TV at me. Eyeball to eyeball, he said “thank you very much for your company over the last few weeks.”

Ach (blushing bashfully). Don’t mention it. It was only a few minutes, actually, while hoping Poirot might come on, but it does feel like it’s been weeks, you’re right.

Fusspot the Siamese has a message for the presenters. He would like them to know that the very rapid series of highlight shots that they put on at the end of the World Cup (just before starting the ads) was terrible. He kept looking round at it, making a disgusted moue, and looking away again. A cat can’t sleep with that going on, he says, even with the sound turned off.

So now it’s 22:20. Do we get Poirot? (Breathless hush). Oh look, here he is! Bless his whiskery face.

Posted in Current Affairs, Life and Family, Pet-Minding, TV and Films

Dribs and Drabs

I met a gigantic worm a few days ago, thumping determinedly across the path in the hot sunshine. This creature was the General Woundwort of worms, as big as a small snake, and it wriggled so fast I believed it would make it into the grass at the other side of the path in minutes. It seemed to know where it was going. But people and dogs are even faster, and the next person round the corner (or a crow from the tree) might be less friendly to invertebrates than I am.

Therefore I moved it into the grass. How it fought! It lashed and squirmed angrily. Once in the grass, it lay coiled and raised its sharp snout, weaving warily, as though tasting our presence in the air. Thundercloud was so amazed she strained towards it, her ears pricked and paws scrabbling. I didn’t let her near it, but what a fighter that worm was – amongst its fellows it must have a name like Leafbane or Rootcleaver.

Battlestar Galactica is enjoyable so far, though it suffers from deliberate camera wobble – very annoying. It distracted me from something Apollo said at a key moment – it zoomed in on his face in three short, sharp bursts, and then he said…? I couldn’t remember.

One of those moments I hate: when I’m putting the top back on a screw-top jar or bottle, and it spins out of my hand and clatters onto the floor – inner side down.

Contradictions? When I was a child I thought (as children do) that everything was good or bad, black or white, and I didn’t realize people could change their minds and thrash about in grey areas. It seemed to me my mother was very contradictory and it confused me. Now of course, I’m just the same. Anyway, the other day I picked out a pair of minty green summer slacks, and she said “yes, that’s nice.” Then she said “no wait – they’re too short for you.”

A little surprised, as I tend not to worry much about the length of these things, I put them back and kept browsing. Mum approached with another minty green garment from the same range, except that this was a three-quarter length pair – summer crop.
“There – THESE will look nice on you,” she said.
I laughed at her – “you tell me the last ones are too short, then bring me a pair that’s even shorter!”
“Yes, I know, but I prefer these to full-length trousers which aren’t long enough.”

Just now I was watching something about water shortage (on Tonight with Trevor McDonald). When the grim thing was over, I got up and went into the kitchen and suddenly noticed… rain on the window! I rushed over and opened the door, and it had been coming down in sheets for a wee while, judging by the level of dampness. The smell of the wet earth rose up around me, and cool drops splashed on my face.

Posted in Rants, TV and Films

Mingle Mangle

Coming up: a quick TV rant! It’s about the habit many programmes have of telling several stories at once. (Grumpy Old Men – British TV series – is equally guilty, though they have been known to grumble about TV-viewing difficulties and irritations). For instance, you might get something like the following:

Mr Brown: I stood very still and the lion moved towards me…
Mrs Smith: It was very quiet, and all around me was just… water.
Mr Brown: It turned aside and disappeared into the undergrowth. I listened, and looked, but couldn’t see it at all.
Mrs Smith: My husband was sitting beside me in the tree, trying to get hold of his boss on the phone.
Mr Brown: Then he roared right in my ear!

Maybe I’m stupider than other viewers but I’m easily confused – I cannot switch my brain from story to story that quickly. When I’m engaged in one story, I hate being interrupted, even by another story that’s just as enthralling.

Is it just me?

It’s fast-moving television which will always be a little harder to follow when you need to read the captions as well as look at the footage. In particularly bad cases I miss a shot completely because I’m still reading the subtitles – and I’m a fast reader. In my view, that’s inconsiderate film editing.

The Disney Hercules video was difficult to follow because it moves so rapidly. I thought “well, maybe it’s because it’s an animated film… they’re bound to want to be economical with it.” Then I put on a video of Disney’s Cinderella (digitally remastered and captioned). I had no trouble following that at all. It was leisurely and smooth, and I loved the piece about the evil cat Lucifer.

I made the mistake of buying Hercules because I read somewhere that it was one of Disney’s funniest films – unfortunately it left me cold. There’s something about it that’s just too predictable. Cinderella, on the other hand, despite being as old and ‘out of date’, had me chuckling. Trust a cat to spice things up, though he wasn’t the only wonderful thing in it.

Old films are the best, after all!