Daily Archives: Monday, 11th Oct 2004

Sometimes it pays to be indecisive

Now it’s not often that I see an item of clothing that I really like. But a few weeks back, I wandered into the MetroCentre branch of The Gap and saw a rather lovely soft leather jacket. The colour was light tan, the leather was beautifully soft, and it even had pockets[1]. The only trouble was the price tag: £198. Now, I can spend that much (and more) on what might loosely be described as “toys” (phones, heart rate monitors, audio equipment, etc), but somehow spending it on a jacket seemed a bit much. So, I dithered. Should I, shouldn’t I? I left the shop empty handed on that occasion. And the next when I went for another look. Yes, and the next, too.

But, I eventually talked myself into it. So, after seeing Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow I was in a good enough mood to go to The Gap and at least try the thing on. And would you believe it? It was reduced in the sale to £119.99! Tried on a couple to get the right size, and happily bought the jacket.

New jacket

So there we have it. A new saying has to be coined:

He who hesitates saves eighty quid

[1] A lot of otherwise fine jackets fail for me on grounds of not having enough pockets. It’s a geek thing….

Starting again

Well, after a few weeks of not doing a lot on the exercise front, I’ve finally managed to make a bit more effort. I haven’t got back into the full workout, but instead did two 10km sessions on the exercise bike. Using one of the programmes makes this a bit more challenging, as the resistance gradually increases to the maximum then drops to the minimum and begins to build again. For this distance at my speed, this means that the last half kilometre is really hard work.

To make things a bit more interesting, I’m using my new Polar S625X heart rate monitor, a mind-bogglingly sophisticated watch/computer which will (as time goes on) enable me to analyse my progress in getting fitter. And if I can get it together to start running (which I am seriously considering), the supplied shoe pod will allow it to record distance and speed as well as my heart rate. Like most of the cleverer heart rate monitors, this little beastie can upload its data to a PC for analysis (and can have various settings transferred from the PC to the watch). All very nice and very clever. Where this particular model stands out is its ability to also transfer data to my Nokia 5140 mobile phone. This is quite nifty, as it lets me see a graph of my heart rate for an exercise session – this will come in useful when I get back into the full routine.,

This is a sign of severe geekiness, of course. :grin

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain[1] is one of those movies I had to go and see because of the way it was made, regardless of actual content. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, all the action was filmed in front of blue (and possibly green) screens, with all the sets and backgrounds being computer generated.

This would be interesting in itself, but I was even more intrigued by the stated aim of the movie to recreate the atmosphere and style of 1930s/40s film noir, with a fair dash of the feel of the old Flash Gordon serials.

My first impression was that the filmakers had overdosed on the Fritz Lang classic Metropolis. That’s a Good Thing, by the way. The first thing we see is a huge Zeppelin mooring on the tower of the Empire State Building. In boring old reality, this never happened for reasons to do with updrafts and stability, but it looks great in the CGI world of Sky Captain.

Soon enough, the action starts. The city is attacked by enormous flying killer death robots[2]. In the fine tradition of this kind of movie, reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), determined to get her story (and the all-important pictures) gets a little too close, and it’s only the arrival of the hero of the piece, Joe ‘Sky Captain’ Sullivan (the increasingly ubiquitous Jude Law) that saves her from Certain Death[3].

There’s a mystery to solve, a Mad Scientist with an even madder Plan. There’s more of the giant robots. There’s a flying aircraft carrier that looks like a 1940s propellor driven take on Captain Scarlet‘s Cloudbase[4]. There’s the traditional hero’s sidekick. There’s heroism, drama and more than a little romantic tension between the two leads. It’s a lot of fun.

The look is stunning. Parts of the movie are in black and white, there are washes of that classic Technicolor look (this really helps create the atmosphere), and parts are in more normal full colour.

Definitely worth seeing. The DVD should be interesting when it appears – I’d like to see the development process for this one.

Regardless of the techniques used to make it, this is an entertaining movie with at least a couple of those “wooooo” moments.

[1] Excuse the abbreviated title, please…
[2] Yay!! :eek:
[3] You get a lot of Certain Death in this kind of thing…
[4] That might just be me, but hey…