Blogathon 04/19: Getting 16 hands between my legs

(Prem is actually 16.2″ hands high in his stockinged feet*. With shoes on he’s probably bordering 16.3hh)

It’s about time I did a fulsome Prem update.

Two weeks ago he moved to a new home. He settled very quickly, made eyes at the little blonde girl (grey mare) in the next stable (she made eyes back and now they’re close friends).

His new home is quiet, has much more grazing/turnout, and has a significantly nicer arena. The hacking is pretty good, but we don’t actually do any hacking yet.

Prem saw the dentist last week, and had a few rough edges taken care of.

He’s in great shape; he’s getting exercised 7 days a week. His workout routine consists of about 40 minutes a day 60/40 split between walking and trotting, working in tight circles, large circle, and straight lines to encourage flexibility and an even muscle development.

There’s no rush; there’s no hurry.

After successfully rehabilitating Prem as a physically damaged racehorse, I now need to rehabilitate Prem from being a racehorse into being a riding horse.

If this all pans out we might do some low-level competitions.

Or we might just turn into a hacking couple.

I’m just glad to have the opportunity to own a smashing chap who has a lovely attitude, and who will help me stay fit.

However there’s a downside.

One of his turnout companions is ripping Prem’s rugs. Two have gone im the last fortnight; and that’s getting expensive.

He came in with a swollen face on Saturday, which implies one of his turnout companions bit Prem in the face.

If we can’t sort these problems out I might have to fallback to moving him to another home.

This would be a real shame.

*Prem doesn’t actually wear stockings

Blogathon 03/19: So Wrong It’s Right

I have been an off-on follower of the BBC Radio 4 comedy game I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for a decade or several.

Humphrey Littleton
Barry Cryer
Tim Brooke-Taylor
Graeme Garden
Willie Rushton
Colin Sell
Sven
Samantha

They have all entertained, amused, and made me giggle.

As the cast has changed, over the years, guests have dropped in (and out).

The dynamic changed with every rotation. So did the comedy skills.

Some people are just funnier than others.

And some of the funnier people work moments of comedy magic.

Here’s one such moment of comedy magic from the very recently late Jeremy Hardy.

Although he was famous for his diabolical inability to sing, this ‘One Song To The Tune Of Another’ is…

Magic

Blogathon 02/19: It’s Groundhog Day. Again

I could write a detailed academic essay on the film Groundhog Day, but I will make every effort to avoid that level of analysis here.

I have a copy of Danny Rubin’s original shooting script (which I treasure, both as an example of how to write and format a film script, and how to write impassioned phrases in to ordinary scenes, and thus how to make a moment on celluloid in to a magical place).

The script tells a slightly different story to the tale the Groundhog Day film shows us.

The character Stephanie Decastro doesn’t exist in the film, yet in the script Stephanie is a pivotal character. She places a curse on Phil, which is the spell that makes him live his recurring day.

How long is Phil trapped in the Punxsatawney bubble before he breaks the spell?

There are several scripted clues to Phil’s passage of time, and there is a direct answer to the question on page 89.

Neither of the clues, nor the direct answer make it in to the film.

The clues?

There’s a reference on page 56 of the script to Phil having already lived his Punxsatawney Groundhog Day 211 times.

On page 89 Phil says to Rita: ‘After I got over the shock, it was kind of fun for the first year or two. I had anything I wanted. Except you, of course’.

And the answer? Well, that’s considerably greater than a year or two. You’ll have to read it. It’s in a paragraph below.

It was the excess of every lifetime that Phil chose to live in his recurring day, the highly concentrated, back-to-back excesses, that eventually brought him to realise that before he arrived in Punxsatawney, Phil had been living a life of selfishness.

And yet, in amongst the acted scenes of selfish excess and levity, there are words of magical poetry:

Phil recounting what he’s learned from previous cycles, with Rita:
‘You like boats but not the ocean. There’s a lake you go to in the summer with your family, up in the mountains, with an old wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing in the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone, and at night you’d look up and see the stars. You’re a sucker for Rocky Road, Marlon Brando and French poetry. You’re wonderfully generous; you’re kind to strangers, and children; and when you stand in the snow, you look like an angel’.

And later, Phil to camera for what will be his final Groundhog Day report:
‘When Chekhov saw the long winter, it was a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope; and yet, we know winter is only one more step in the cycle. And standing among the people of Punxsutawney, basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn’t imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter’.

At that point of the film, the viewers may begin to wonder how long Phil has been in Punxsatawney?

Long enough to live his selfish lives of excess?

Long enough to dive deep in to a dark place of madness?

Long enough to climb out again?

The answer to all of these is ‘yes’.

And on page 115 of the script, Phil gives us the final answer when he says to Rita:
‘I’ve been waiting for you every day for ten thousand years. I dream of you every night of my life. You’ve been my constant weapon against total despair, and just knowing that you exist has kept me alive’.

Now that, my friend, is classy writing.

The final departure between script and film is that the script has Phil making a final VO as he and Rita walk through Punxsatawney, and the camera pans to a high-level shot of them:

‘And so began my final lifetime, and ended the longest winter on record. I would find myself no longer able to affect the chain of events in this town, but I did learn something about time. You can waste time, you can kill time, you can do time, but if you use it wisely, there’s never enough of it. So you’d better make the most of the time you’ve got’.

Let’s make the most of the time we’ve got, eh?

Blogathon 01/19: Tradition

I like a good tradition. It speaks of culture, and of heritage, and of the ways of the elders and gives examples of how they lived their lives. For the elders had many lives in those far-off days.

Not a bad tradition, though. Bad traditions such as burning witches at the steak stake, and forcing children up chimneys (though some might say that former tradition has its merits even in C21st England – but only in England, because the gentle folk of Wales, Scotland and Nor-nIre are too cultured, obv).

But good traditions, yes, they have a place in our past and our present.

I once attend Obby Oss in Padstow. That was a nice tradition.

No witches were harmed, no Morrisses were actually danced on, and no children were shoved up the nearest chimney.

A safe, gentle English tradition.

Like cucumber sandwiches on a sunny Sunday afternoon, as the sound of Willow hitting Heather leather accompanies a polite ripple of applause from the pavilion.

Like the brass band in the park, perhaps on the same Sunday afternoon, oompahing its way through Cliff Richard’s Greatest Hit.

Yes, these are traditions to cherish, to nurture, and to be forever proud. Of. Except we don’t end sentences with a preposition, do we?

No we don’t.

Take two:

Yes, these are traditions to cherish, to nurture, and of which we should be forever proud.

And there is another gentle pursuit, in the Great British Box of Traditions, that deserves our love and respect.

It is, of course, Young Masher’s Annual February Blogathon.

Yay, I hear you cry. Or perhaps I just hear you cry?

Anyway, pull yourself together.

It is February the Firstest, and that means it is time to put childish games aside (games like Whose Brexit Is It Anyway? and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Brexit), and embrace YMAFB.

As I shall (put childish games away). For it is an actual tradition.

Innit.

Word

*wanders away wondering if Young Masher will be fashionably late to his own tradition this year*

New year, new tries

(that’s a rugby pun on the ‘New Year, New Goals’ meme. I suppose I could have taken a cricket line and put ‘New Year, New Runs’, but that could so easily have been misunderstood, from a diarrhetic point of view)

As one incontinent year steps aside, a screaming, squawling (and equally incontinent) year is given birth on the doorstep.

And what a year the last 12 months have been.

Left a terrible job. Went freelance. Got offered (accepted) a fantastic job. Almost but not quite bought a narrowboat. Rediscovered Redit (which amuses and amazes in equal measures). Had an unusual (and expensive) ‘off’ from the Ninja. Had a fabulous holiday. Got the writing bug again; I’m now well in to the second novel. And above (and below) all these things, we stayed connected as a family.

Changes beckon from the fledgling New Year – changes we know about. And likely there will be some changes we don’t know of yet.

But I’m looking forward to 2019. I hope you are too. I hope that 2019 brings you much goodness, prosperity, and no hard times.

Though the desperately talentless fuckwits we have elected to Parliament will do their very best to make sure the last sentiment doesn’t occur.

In your ears

We have jumped to the digital/streaming music app world.

After extensive research (critically viewing three very well-respected tech websites), we decided on Spotify.

And then Sam forwarded me a special offer: Three months’ individual subscription to Spotify for 0.99p.

That’s not too shabby.

At the end of the three-month special offer (if we still like Spotify) I will convert what we have into a family account, then we won’t pollute each other’s musical choices.

There’s a downside: my Synology NAS has no API with any online/streaming service. I’m sure it’ll come in time, and it will probably come to Spotify first (Spotify being the most tech-agnostic streaming service).

I suppose the upside is that we suddenly have a path of audio hardware to inspect and procure.

Oh well. Into every life…

A day-ish of geek

Today I upgraded the .php of every single website I host to v7.2.12.

Then I redesigned the podcast website (the old design relies on some tech that has been superseded).

If I had another few hours, I would have unpacked the studio equipment and put out a podcast. Because it’s only been three years since the last show.

I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip out on the Ninja.

That was fun too.

Music

I’ve finished importing every piece of (non-vinyl) music into my iTunes library.

Though ‘iTunes’ may soon become a thing of the past, as the trusty iPod Classic is so despised by Apple they stopped making them several years ago.

Fortunately the market is awash with excellent quality portable music players, and the new devices are not tied to the same small-scale digital formats that Applie tied us to; can quite happily cope with the better quality .flac format.

I’ve kept the source audio files, so I can upgrade from .mp3 to .flac whenever I want (when my iPod Classic inevitably dies, probably).

I don’t buy music from iTunes; haven’t done so for many years – around the time Apple introduced the ridiculous, and short-lived DRM, on behalf of a stupidly short-sighted music industry demand.

Anyway.

After today’s efforts my non-vinyl music library now stands at 9,451 songs which, according to the iTunes GUI, will take me 26d 9h 58m and 45s to listen to…

If I could stay awake for 26 24-hour days.

Or 52 12-hour days.

But that’s nearly two months?

Blimey.

On a bed of roses

Not the chocolates, obv.

We have a new bed. Have I mentioned that we have a new bed?

No?

Well we do. It’s a bed. And it’s new.

What started out as a conversation (and indeed a decision) to replace the mattress very quickly turned into a ‘throw the bed away and get a new one’.

And then the conversation rapidly became ‘what size shall we go for?’

And then fond memories of the beds we have slept in, in several hotels, played with our heartstrings and suddenly we found that we had bought a Superking-sized bed.

Which, from a standard double, is a heck of a jump.

Actually it’s a heck of a jump up into the new bed, frankly.

We went for a firm mattress with a topper (not a hat) and as a direct result of new bed, new mattress, new topper, new bed-linen, new pillows (yes, we went all the way), but as a direct result of all these things, the quality of my sleep has dramatically improved.

Seven hours a night is common, where once three or four hours was the norm.

Eight hours is regularly achieved.

And this weekend I noticed up my first nine hour doze. If a doze can actually be nine hours of Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Which I think it can.

BTW, did I mention that we’ve got a new bed?

Films, TV. Stuff to watch (or not)

I want to watch ‘Lucy’ again but it’s 18.30 on Sunday and there will be an influx of small children soon. And ‘Lucy’ isn’t a family film.

So instead, we’re watching ‘Oblivion’. Again.

It’s a good film.

Tom Cruise does what Tom Cruise does, and Andrea Riseborough shows talent by the yard (just watch her in ‘Welcome to the Punch’).

Anyway, back to ‘Lucy’.

It’s about time Luc Beson wrote and produced something else that good.

I hope ‘Lucy 2’ (currently in writing production) will be that thing.

Anyway, to the reason for this meander…

I was mucking out Prem this evening when a snippet of a song popped into my head. Just a refrain, not even a full melodic phrase.

A half-remembered portion of a tune, but it was hypnotic. Three bars of hypnotism. And no idea of the name.

I knew I knew it. But I couldn’t recall it. And not the title.

Gah! So frustrating.

Back home from the world of smelly pony and hay and straw and rugs and grooming and picking out wet hooves, I set myself a-googling.

I don’t remember what the successful search terms were, I only remember that Google didn’t give me the result, YouTube did.

It was a French track from the closing credits of ‘Lucy’.

Anyway (again).

We watched Ep1 of S1 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina earlier.

It’s a kind of approximate reimagining of the whole Sabrina The Teenage Witch, except it isn’t. But it is. Sortov.

It’s awful. I mean it’s really really really bad.

The writing is shocking, the acting is dubious, the cinematography is horrible, and the incidental music is irritating beyond description.

I can’t think of a single good thing to say about it.

Except that one of the cast is Jasper Carrot’s daughter.

It really is awful.