## Tuesday, October 31, 2006

### Oscar baiting

CK normally handles movie related posts here on the Dossing Times, however I feel compelled to write a quick note on Oscar baiting.

I recently went to cinema here in Sydney (shameless location plug, i know) to see the Departed and Children of Men, both highly recommended, especially the latter. However both trips were tarnished somewhat by having to sit through a trailer for Clint Eastwoods new movie "Saving Private Ryan Phillippe" or, as the studio is calling it, "Flags of Our Father". When the trailer finished my friend turned to me and commented that "Clint is trying very hard to win an oscar".

I am also of the opinion, for example, that Sean Penn will not take on a role unless it affords him a shot at an oscar. With Sean this means he'll gets to shout alot which is pretty much all he's good at. Clint also strikes me as an Oscar hunter.

I just get that odd feeling that trying to win awards was the directors, actors etc. biggest motivation more and more. Its hard to quantify, but its a similar feeling I get when watching that overly sentimental Home Make Over Tv show, where you just know the ultimate goal is to make the family cry (You know the show, its basically Pimp my House). Ok, they're doing a good thing, but the ulterior motive just sours it for me.

Of course trying to win an Oscar has been around for as long as the Oscars. However is it me or is it getting more shameless and more frequent? It just seems rather backwards to me.

They're putting the cart before the horse as my Grandfather would no doubt comment.

## Monday, October 30, 2006

### Dinner

Yesterday I was in a fishing village and bought myself a sea bass fish. Note to self ask the guy to fillet the fish for you.

Anyway with my murdered Fillets. I did the following. However with a few modifications. 1. I used a red wine instead of white. Why you ask. Well that is all I had. Also I added garlic pepper to the mushrooms.

Very yummy but expensive. Finished with so various cheeses with some wine. Cheshire and Wensleydale with Cranberries.

## Sunday, October 29, 2006

### Today's dinner

Smoked Haddock in a tomatoeish sauce with My flat's mates mums Rice.

For the rice.
Take some cinemon a small bit,
A clove of garlic.
Olive oil,
half a cup of water.
Mixed herbs
and 1/2 a chicken stock cube
salt and pepper

And all of the above to a pot and bring to the boil.
Next add rice and cook as normal.

Take the smoked Haddock, ¼ pint of milk, chives, some cinnamon salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Then let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Take some tomatoes from a tin of tin tomatoes. About 2 table spoons and a bit of oil. And heat it up for about 2 minutes.
And serve.

## Saturday, October 28, 2006

### This Week I have mostly been Eating

I have been lacking in inspiration for what to write. So I am going to write here what I am going to eat all this week for dinner. Anyway today .
I am eating a saddle of Lamb coated with stuff.
To make the stuff. I have blended in my blender
A nice bit of mint sorry for lack of measurement I would say a table spoon
Black pepper just a pinch
Red Wine
Crushed Clove Garlic
Sweet Chilli dipping sauce
and a wee bit of soy sauce.

And then I have spooned the stuff on to the lamb and spread it over the lamb.
Then put it in the oven at 230 degrees.
It is currently in the oven so I will tell you when it is done what it is like. I am serving it with mash. It was in the oven for about 40 minutes
Update: Just finished it. MMM dahm tasty I will have to make it again some time. Could have used spring onions in the mash but I had none.
Anyway I have Haddock in my fridge so I will come up with something to use that tommorrow.

## Friday, October 27, 2006

### Mobile masts

A democracy isn’t it great. It allows all types of people to run for election whether they are right or wrong. Take this for example. Last weeks Nenagh Guardian (Free reg regd) reports that

A group lobbying against the erection of mobile phone masts are considering running a candidate in North Tipperary in next year’s General Election.

The group, known as B.E.S.T. (Better Environmental & Safer Telecommunications), held a meeting in the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh on Saturday last to discuss running candidates in a number of constituencies.

Now firstly I would like to state all the scientific evidence that supports the belief of some people that mobile masts harm people.

As you can see from the above list there is massive amounts of data to support this claim. As you can see I have linked to no studies because well there is no studies, certainly none that I can find from good sources if anyone can point me to one please do. I could say that this is rise in Anti-mobile masts groups due poor science education in the country especially physics but however true that might be it is a cheap shot.

There has been numerous studies done that have not been able to prove any connection. And the basic reason is this.

$I = \frac{P}{A} = \frac{P}{4 \pi r^2}.$

$I = \frac{P}{A} = \frac{P}{4 \pi r^2}.$

I is the intensity P is the power and r is the distance from the mast. Basically the power decreases by r^2. So the further away from the mast you are the less the intensity. And this value decreases by a lot. The average mast would be lets say 10 meters high. That means the intensity at the bottom of the mast has dropped by a factor of 100. (Technically there would be no signal at the bottoom of the mast as the angle of output means a few meters around the mast get no power anyway) Now a mobile mast has maximum of 16 channels but seemingly 4 is typical. So lets take 16. Now each channel is going to be connected to a phone so that a mobile phone is going to broadcasting a signal equal to the power being sent to the mast. So basically the power that your mobile phone emits at is going to be at a maximum 1/16th of the power of the base station. So for you to get more microwave energy from the phone mast at full power that you are standing under then you phone, your phone would have to be about 6 meters from you.

How close is your phone from you right now? How many other phones are also within 6 meters of you? Are you right beside a mobile mast?

But I suppose that does not matter masts look dangerous, microwave radiation has the word radiation in it and people use words like cumlative dose which sounds technical so people believe it. And when do we let facts get in the way of a good scare story.

## Wednesday, October 25, 2006

### Hot Fuzz Teasers

The Teaser from the Hot Fuzz the new film by the Spaced Shawn of the Dead guys. Note the referance to the previous film.

### Vincent Browne Shut the feck up

Yet again Vincent Browne is going on about how the media is not doing enough about inequality
In the coming election campaign, not a single newspaper, radio station nor television station among the mainstream media will campaign for a radical restructuring of Irish society to achieve a far greater level of equality than exists
For feck sake Vincent you have your own magazine, your own radio show, a column in the newspaper of record and a column in the leading Business paper what more do you want? You are Ireland's leading commentor no one else has this level of exposure to write their views. Maybe you should be the one doing more.

The report stated: "Excluding social transfers [ such as unemployment benefits, child benefits and pensions], the risk of poverty rate would have been close to 40 per cent [ of the total population]". The report states that, without social transfers, nearly all old people (87 per cent) would be at risk of poverty.

The realisation that two in five people in this massively wealthy society are dependent on social welfare payments to keep them out of the "at-risk poverty" bracket, and that nearly all old people here would be at risk of poverty were it not for social welfare payments, is shocking

1. Why are you highlighting Excluding social transfers surely that is what you want more of?
2. How many times do I have to go on about "at-risk of poverty" and how it is a made up figure. See this is why we need more people doing science in this country. So people can look at statistics not the actuall scare headlines that go with them but the actually numbers and how they are calculated. And see that being "at-risk of poverty" does not mean you are poor or even in danger of being poor it means that statistical your income is 60% of the median. The median can be quiet high (and in Ireland it is) and in other countries quiet low (as Germany) thus the amount of money to put you at risk of poverty in Ireland in Germany means you are not at risk of poverty. Even someone with less money in their pocket in Germany (even taking into account cost of living) then someone in Ireland can be considered not poor but the person in Ireland could be "at-risk of poverty". How does that make any sense.

## Tuesday, October 24, 2006

### Fianna Fail Bloger on the Radio

Damian Blake of Fianna Fail shows how blogs get you noticed especially when you go against the Fianna Fail party line

### That will show them pesky Israelis

The Irish Times Letter's page is always a source of ammusement. Today is no different. Cathal Kerrigan suggests
I wish to propose - in all seriousness - that any boycott of Israel should include a ban on its participation in the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2007.

As Dana International was clearly a Mossad agent I think this will bring the nation to it knees.

## Monday, October 23, 2006

### Thinkhouse PR posts

Google Seems to have banned this post from Damian so here it is.

Hi everyone in Thinkhouse PR! As promised, here is my formal complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner for being repeatedly spammed by you on behalf of your clients. Just so you know I’ve also, as promised, contacted Three, Imagine and Ben and Jerry’s Ireland and asked them to investigate why I am getting spams about their products from you.

I’m writing to make a formal complaint against Thinkhouse PR for continually sending unsolicited emails to one of my email accounts despite being asked not to. The email account in question is info [at] irelandoffline.org a part-time non-commercial voluntary group.

Enclosed are 5 sets of documents. Thinkhouse contacted info@irelandoffline.org (which is shared with a colleague John Timmons) initially on behalf of their client Imagine who were releasing a new broadband product. We did not ask to be put on further email distributions for Imagine or for anyone else.

Despite this, on Fri August 4th Jane McDonald from Thinkhouse sent an email promoting an initiative from Ben and Jerry’s. (See document No. 2) Ben and Jerry’s are a client of Thinkhouse. My reply to this unsolicited email is at the end of the document.

Jane McDonald replied to this (see document No. 3) and gave the excuse that there was some kind of slip and my email address was put into a personal circular. I would not consider it was a personal mail. Jane seems to suggest that Thinkhouse are aware of spamming laws.

On August 18th Thinkhouse PR sent me another mail, a press release for the mobile phone operator “3”. (See document no. 4. This document is the back and forth communication between myself and Thinkhouse PR.) At the top of the document is a communication from Jane McDonald telling me once again I’m off everyone’s list after I again requested it. Jane also admits to using my email address without permission to add me to their mailing lists.

On August 22nd (see document No. 5) Andrea Horan from Thinkhouse PR again sent me a PR, this time for another of their clients. This one for Moviestar.ie.

I wish for the Data Protection Commissioner to investigate this and carry out a prosecution if needs be. I am willing to travel to Dublin, I am willing to make a written statement and I am willing to testify in Court if the need arises. Thinkhouse PR is contravening the Irish Spam Legislation and it is totally disregarding my repeated requests to stop being sent information. I have also asked for my contact details to be removed from their systems and this has been disregarded too.

## Friday, October 20, 2006

### And you thought Gitmo was bad.

Peter Andrea and Jordan sing A whole new World If you think you are hard enough.

## Thursday, October 19, 2006

### Oh Dear

What kind of person do you need to be to govern Russia? When you can come out with this shite.
After that, the press was ushered out, and the president apparently thought the microphones had been turned off. “Say hi to your president,” Putin said. “He turned out to be quite a powerful person! Raped ten women! We're all amazed. We all envy him!”

## Tuesday, October 17, 2006

### "Fixing" the News?

Those of you who frequent this blog will no doubt be aware of the high esteem we hold Jon Stewart and the Daily Show in. Those of you who didn't know this now do (have a cookie to celebrate!). In it's early days one of the shows slogans was, "When News breaks....we fix it"! Here's what they meant by it.

## Monday, October 16, 2006

### Terror at the Movies

On the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, United 93 and World Trade Centre have reached our screens but what purpose have these movies in telling these events?

Mild Spoilers

The context of each movie and the scale of the commentary each makes on the events of 9/11 are somewhat paradoxical. World Trade Centre is set amidst the heart of the disaster; it fleets to different spots on the globe as the events unfold, sees marines return to duty and sees the main protagonists entombed in what was to become Ground Zero where Bush was to make a pledge for vengeance days later. However in this movie, Stone proposes no theory behind events, does not accord blame, Bush is glimpsed fleetingly on a TV screen and terrorism barely earns a mention. You are dragged into the raw reality of the moments of crisis and claustrophobic waiting endured by the men and their families. Equally, United 93 tells an intimate story, the real life events have no footage or monumental destruction to commemorate their tragedy. It is a story of heroes so the movie has no time for who or why this blind fear and tragedy has struck the nation, it must simply be dealt with.

World Trade Centre is the far more melodramatic of the two but not unnecessarily so. It would be easy to disregard it as over sentimental theatrics. However, these are the moments in life when we are stretched and when the luggage we carry around unnecessarily with us every day has to be forgotten. This is when you get to talk in Hallmark abstracts about human nature because these are the times when it flourishes. Maybe at the offset you will flinch or grimace at the sight of an officer returning to the police department, a trail of tears running a river through his dusty face. But spend the rest of the movie gasping for air with the men and step back from all that has happened since. 9/11 has come to mean so much more than the events of a day. The attacks have been drowned out by the war on terror, WMD inspections, failed UN resolutions and airport security checks. If we are going to do justice to the victims or somehow try to portray what happened on the day then give it the respect it deserves. Bush-bashing and fervent reminders of the countless undocumented loss of life elsewhere has its place but it should not be used for mudslinging to undermine a reminder of what people went through.

United 93 strives for the same effect but is an entirely different creature. There is no glazed cinematography or stylistic director trademarks. There are no establishing shots revering New York offering any sort of numbing agent for what you know is to come. The camera keeps you level with the people aboard the plane, the air traffic controllers and officials dealing with the crisis from outside. I have talked before about movies serving as a means of escapism but this movie traps you right to the dieing moments of the last shot. You meet the hijackers, you almost get to know them better than the other passengers, sharing in their anxiety and watching them say goodbye to their families. There is no relief or let up, each scene progresses so that you feel more tense and uneasy. How many other films can instil such dread when we have known the ending for 5 years?

Both movies admirably shoulder the responsibility they are laden with. There was no option to base the film closely on the facts or play with the truth. Equally though in constructing the story they wanted to tell, these filmmakers have had to dip into a story half told, or really we don’t know what percentage we’ve seen. In choosing how to depict what we know, they have clung to the one definite in all of this- people are resilient and in all of our uncertainty, if we can't know for sure what matters what we always have is what we do. The people caught up in this ill-fated day did well. We shouldn’t need such a crisis to shock us into being decent whole people.

### Unique Idea

I just turned on my MP3 player and listened to the Stone Roses to I want to be adore and I was overcome by this compulsion to write to create to put down something unique that has never been committed to paper before. And so this is it my piece of originality that I am inflicting on the world. I know that this sentiment is in itself nothing original, the quest to create something original has been written about so many times. But never has it been put in these exact words. That is the uniqueness of it.

Now I do not have the writing talent, nor do I have the musical talent to create something like the Stone roses could, in fact my abilities are probably pretty average. But I still have that desire to create something original. I am currently doing a PhD in physics because simply put I love physics and it influences they way I think on pretty much everything. Not to sound totally ponce but it sometimes lets me see the beauty in things that in them selves pose no traditional beauty. One of these things is lights in a night club. I can just stare at them transfixed by them. Marvelling at all the physical processes that is needed to create them and allow me to see them. Just watching the simplicity of such an un-simplistic system. Thinking of all the great minds through out history that were needed for me to be able to stand there and know how it works. The way the light changes, the equations that govern this. The simplicity of its genius. I could wax lyrically about those lights for hours and after a few drinks possibly longer.

But physics lets me see in levels that many people cannot. Simply listening to my music (I am the resurrection Stone Roses now.) Just thinking of the physical process’s, my ear vibrating, the ear phone vibrating, the electrons moving in the circuits in seemingly random motion but governed and indeed the idea at on point in time a guy moved his arm up and down and struck a drum, which caused a sound wave to move through the air from the drum to a microphone where it was recorded for eternity. In my minds eye I can see the drum the cover of the drum changing morifing, due to the pressure excreted by the drum stick. The drum releasing some of the energy in the form of a sound wave. That same sound wave that now over 15 years later is causing my ear to vibrate.

Just seeing the world in all that complexity and also seeing it in its simplicity is awe inspiring. And I guess that is why I am doing a PhD in Physics. The idea that me little old me Simon from Tipp can place into the world one unique idea something that explains something or creates something new however trivial. That is the beauty of research, that is the beauty of an Unique idea.

## Sunday, October 15, 2006

### Suduko

Do you find Suduko hard? Maybe you should try the Limerick Leaders one. They give you a wee hint. ;)

## Friday, October 13, 2006

### Cider Renaissance

The UK branch of the Bulmers brand, Magners, is reporting substantial increases in the popularity of cider, so much so that the company cannot meet demand. The reversal of fortune and perception of the brand is due to what the British Independent reports is the marketing success of the decade.

## Thursday, October 12, 2006

Here are two fashion /Beauty blogs to check out. Beaut and Style Treaty.

I have talked about male beauty products before here. Marketsexuals.

### Deliever us from Evil

This is causing a stir on liveline

### Ban all donations

I think I once said that there is nothing wrong with corporate donations. My argument was that the corporate donation does not make a politician corrupt, the politician makes the donation corrupt. But with the revelations from Bertiegate and Tim O’Malley’s details of Labour and Fine Gael donations, I have changed my mind. Corporate donations should be stopped but not just corporate donations. All donations.

## Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Youtube, the phenomenally successful site for sharing videos, is to be bought by Google in surely what will serve to be a classic case study in asserting dominance in a market place.

Youtube, which has become a staple feature of browsing online is in fact less than a year old and will be bought for the princely figure of \$1.65 billion, It’s co-founder, Chad Hurley, contends Youtube will maintain its independence and identity to a significant degree.

## Monday, October 09, 2006

### Me in the Irish Times

Just realised I got a mention in the Irish Times on Saturday. Can read the part I am in here.

### North Korea has the Nuke

Great isn't it. I suppose it is America's fault because they have them. But in all seriousness maybe it is. Maybe if more attention was put on North Korea then Iraq this would not happen.

## Wednesday, October 04, 2006

### Air Blade Technology to the rescue

Find here the link to an article which is really not worth reading beyond the first paragraph. I'm sure its important to someone, but certainly not to me that, James Dyson of vacuuming fame, has applied his technological expertise to the world of hand dryers so as to help us overcome emerging from pub bathroom facilities with damp hands.

## Tuesday, October 03, 2006

From RTE.

Pitt hires Beckham to teach his son

## Monday, October 02, 2006

### Summer Movie Review

Each of the movies below were some of the most hyped and likely to be most successful movies of the year (in the case of Pirates it seems of all time!). When and where we saw them might serve as benchmarks for different events or stages of our summers. Perhaps our summers are never as life changing or the journeys of growth so often depicted in movies but for me the movies themselves are the best vehicle of escapism we allow ourselves. That and a six month trek to New Zealand of course! Highlights of the summer not included in my preview list from last May include the noir high school drama ’Brick’, Al Gores’s documentary ’An Inconvenient Truth’, ‘Dave Chapelle’s Block Party’ intermingling the music and organisation of Chapelle‘s free Brooklyn concert, ‘The Science of Sleep’ from the director of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, Tommy Lee Jones directorial debut ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’ and ‘Monster House’ the best and most original of the summers spate of animated movies. Below is a short review of each of the movies I listed as worth our viewing time this summer:
Mission Impossible III
Fans of Alias, J.J Abrams’ now retired spy drama series will know that Mission Impossible III was effectively a 2-hour episode of the show. From telling a section of the story in flashback, double crossing and triple-crossing within the organisation to characters being lifted directly from the show there is an over boding sense of familiarity. Cruise selected Abrams as director having watched the first 2 series of Alias, which contains some of the best hours of television I’ve ever seen, so I can’t help feel disappointed at the outcome of the movie, lacking the tension, tight structuring and complexity of Alias. There is spectacle, thrills and a bridge set kidnap attempt will surely be one of the action sequences of the year but these glimmers are strung together by slivers of character, over long exposition and a saccharine sweet ending. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent in his role but as with Kevin Spacey in Superman, discussed below, you can’t help but wish he was put to better use. Far superior to its predecessor and absolutely worth an evenings viewing on DVD, this movie is beleaguered by unfulfilled potential.
X3: The Last Stand
Many people have been disappointed by the third instalment in the X-Men series. More lumbering and fractured than Bryan Singers’ work, the movie did seem to loose some of its epic feel. The story of Dark Phoenix was one of the most dramatic and popular in the X-Men comic book series, here it effectively bookends the movie and feels under-developed. Nevertheless, the movie remains strong on story, numerous as they are and respectful of the core characters. Each of the stunt sequences and effects are necessary, glorious eye fodder and tied to the story with the build up to and confrontation between Wolverine and Phoenix on Alcatraz being a highlight of the year for me. Nacho Libre
‘Nacho Libre’ was a surprise gem. Produced by Nickelodeon your are unprepared for the strangely engrossing hybrid of Laurel and Hardy buddy slapstick, the look of chop socky martial arts movies and the feeling you are watching a period Mexican movie. The result is that what could have been an over familiar, seeming retread of the story line of ’The School of Rock’ is given a feel good, broad based humour and affirming story.

Superman Returns

I have already reviewed Superman Returns (here). I would also recommend reading Empire Magazines excellent online review. No movie this year has been made with such respect and care and we were presented with the most grown up comic book adaptation yet produced. Not since Sleepy Hollow have I been so drawn into a movie world by its look. The cast are pitch perfect, the nods to previous Superman incarnations wink knowingly at fans and I want to gush endlessly about the awe this movie from the opening trill of its score stirs up.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest
If the summer belonged to one film, it was Pirates of the Caribbean and not unjustifiably as Dead Man’s Chest is the most fun we have had at the cinema this year. Topping every chart and box office poll imaginable, these set of characters with Captain Jack Sparrow affirming his movie icon status and a sense of adventure not seen since Indiana Jones have developed a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. All the elements were in place to recreate the magic of ’The Curse of the Black Pearl’ and though this follow up is certainly not on a par with the first Pirates, it is not so much that is disappoints- it is still rip-roaring and sets the stage for a fascinating conclusion next summer.
Miami Vice
I don’t have a lot of respect for people who sit through and pin point mistakes and minutiae plot point failings in movies. Maybe it is some deep set need to affirm their intelligence and people are entitled to their opinions but for me it just seems to instil a pettiness that proliferates in the world I use movie watching to escape. Anyway I’m sure such people would have a field day with Miami Vice, which does suffer from a coherency of plot and a logical progression. However even to judge the movie as a whole with the gravitas a Michael Mann movie is usually partnered with, I was unable to feel the seriousness and intensity that was so desperately being churned out on screen. None of it is believable or gripping. Fox and Farrell play a well established team, Mann intentionally dipped into their story at a stage where they knew each other so well there was little need for dialogue between them or any form of exposition of their working relationship- it is never really made clear if they are even friends. The monotones of the LA backdrop seem to seep into the characters and atmosphere of the movie, not leaving you with any strong feelings towards the movie, just merely one of indifference. Even movies that are reviled leave a mark, Miami Vice however will not.

Timing and release dates have meant that I have not seen ‘The Sentinel’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ or ‘The Omen‘. If anyone reading has seen and would like to comment on these movies, please do. I have yet to see ‘World Trade Centre’ but I intend to.