Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday matinee: The talk of the town

After the Sinister Affair of the Ethiopian Chicken and the Kitchen Explosion (see previous entry) mum and I felt it was time to settle down for the Sunday matinee. This week it was The talk of the town, a 1942 Frank Capra film with Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman. I'm having a bit of a Jean Arthur festival at the moment - she's becoming my favourite screwball actress. A spunky, no nonsense working girl with a raspy voice and great legs - who was also notoriously publicity shy, suffered from stage fright and lacked confidence in her abilities.
Film reviewer Charles Champlin wrote the following (+ I pinched it from the wikipedia Jean Arthur entry):

To at least one teenager in a small town (though I’m sure we were a multitude), Jean Arthur suggested strongly that the ideal woman could be — ought to be — judged by her spirit as well as her beauty…. The notion of the woman as a friend and confidante, as well as someone you courted and were nuts about, someone whose true beauty was internal rather than external, became a full-blown possibility as we watched Jean Arthur.

Love the lady.

Gunpowder, treason + plot (task 7)

Guy Fawkes Day - the 5th of November and the perfect day for paranoia.

Take this weekend.
I live in a 1930s batchelorette flat. The kitchen is the size of a peanut. My mum and I were in there testing each other’s personal space and trying out a new recipe for the Sunday roast: chicken with Ethiopian herbs and spices. All of a sudden – a tremendous bang and WHAT WAS THAT????

We must have been cooking up a storm because the stove lighter had exploded and ricocheted across the room. Apart from any potential gas fire nastiness – where was the recipe?!!! Down from the ceiling floated the shredded remains but – and here comes the sinister part – guess what was missing? Yes, the part of the recipe that listed those 10 secret Ethiopian herbs and spices. Blown to smithereens. We would never cook this recipe again.

So while a little mystery in the kitchen adds a certain zing to your meal, online it can make even the sturdiest soul think there’s treacherous work afoot.
There are the sinister forces that slow down access to sites, prevent me from downloading applications and build a firewall fortress so high I can’t even see out. I begin to suspect a plot.

And to get anything done I need to tell a billion people who I am and where I live and what I do for a living. Gmail, work email, hotmail, yahoo, bloglines, blogger, flickr and facebook - I need logins for them all But how many logins do I need? Or more to the point – how many can I remember?

Sick of signing in, signing up, forgetting my lines. People, this is not seamless!

Funnily enough giving out personal details online are not the sort of things that make me paranoid (I’m more of a people whispering-in-the-bushes type). But if you look at my blog profile you’ll see I’m pretending to be an accountant from Afghanistan.

Havey cavey business indeed.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What the hell is he doing up there? Using Task 8 to keep up to date

I have been asked for an update on my dancing neighbour. He doesn't come with an rss feed so I'll have to fill you in. (I've gone a bit youtubey for this so please remember to give the clips time to buffer)

So, the neighbour upstairs, not only a dancing man, but one given to belting out a tune now and again. This is generally rather good as he is quite partial to musicals. The problem is that he's a bit of a Lion King and I'm Marian the librarian. And sometimes, when he's properly practicing, I get to hear songs in great detail. Sometimes I have the opportunity to hear the one line from a song five times in a row. And then five times more. And then - but anyway, the song we are currently working on is a real ripper.

If you want to see some of the things I'm into that do come with rss feeds take a looksee at my links to the Chocolate & Zucchini foodblog and the Classic movies site or swing on over to my Bloglines page: http://www.bloglines.com/blog/mysecretrobotarmy

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Picture break


This is Venna Archer & Gil Fernandez doing the Balboa swing in 1939


Flickr vs the secret robot army (or, Task 5 + 6 )

I wouldn't want you to think that the real title of this blog is Where have all the good men gone? Or that I'm using work resources to write a frivolous blog about dancing, movie stars and mood swings. Oh no. There is a Grand Plan.

It's just that I seem to have come across a power greater even than the secret robot army (curses!) The mighty forces of the web are against me. Every time I hunker down in the Secret Lab, ready to explore the latest online technology, everything starts to work v e r r y s l o w l y . . . .

Picture the scene: Paranoia in the lab, committed to taking a tour of the photo sharing website Flickr.

Flickr montager kicked me out.

The mosaic business was decidedly unthrilling. Like Montager it lets you make mosaics of photos. Yay.

Flickr graph that mapped social relationships sounds like it could have been a useful tool for knowledge management. But I will never know.

Mappr sounds like the goods but I couldn't get onto the site. It lets you map photos with geographic tags. I thought this could be good for local historyish projects. Or is you wanted to map the scenes from Godzilla movies.

The only thing I did get to see properly were the librarian trading cards. And they were just a bit, well, librarianish. Trading card maker is a tool that lets you upload images to make your own trading card or even a whole deck of playing cards. I think the librarians should have made a set of ninja trading cards. All 52 would look identical: a black shadow. A hilarious scheme!

Ah the dilemma for the library world. We want to be doing fancy things with new technologies. We want to take advantage of these exciting opportunities to offer services in new ways. But we have to be old school, new school and future school all at once. Many of us are sitting at the internet waiting waiting waiting for a page that is never going to load. Ever.

Grrr.

Godzilla thinks so too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mysterious disapperance of The Triangle Man

I'd meant to do a tribute to Deborah Kerr (rhymes with star!). But while I like An affair to remember (despite her noble suffering routine towards the end) I've never been too sure about her seaside romp with Burt in From here to eternity. All that grit...so uncomfortable.

What really makes me cranky about her is The king and I. Her character's a starchy, uptight, interfering miss! The songs are loathsomely twee (How can we forgive her for singing Give a little whistle?) And then seeing dear Yul Brynner play the King of Siam as a noble savage - it just makes steam come out my ears.

So after jumping up and down like Yosemite Sam my thoughts turned from Deborah to the men in these films. What we used to call Triangle Men. All those 50s film stars with shoulders an acre wide and narrow little hips. Burt was a good example. Joel McCrea. Victor Mature. What someone once described as 'the heroic triangle of military style'. (I know. I'm in a library. I should track this down. I haven't and I'm not going to.) I guess you got someone to hide behind and someone who you could dance with too.

I don't think dear Orson makes this list.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

5 tips for upstairs tapdancers


There's a Fred Astaire movie in which young Fred, dapper as always, disturbs a negligee clad Ginger Rogers who is trying to get a good night's sleep downstairs. This is what our hero does:

  • elegantly scatters some sand on the floor
  • executes delightful soft shoe shuffle
  • sings sweet lullaby
  • draws forth cute smile from Ginger as she drifts off to sleep
  • buys entire contents of florist shop for Ginger the next day

I believe he then goes on to propose to Ginger. My neighbour may forgo this step. (Otherwise, my favourite flowers are chrysanthemums)

DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON!!!

The young man who lives upstairs, lovely fellow, but inclined to tapdance. Sometimes in the middle of the night. He really is very sweet. But I tend not to be so sweet at 3am with someone rattling away on my ceiling. This is when I get ready to unleash my Secret Robot Army. Ready to stomp on tapdancers. Without mercy. But he really is lovely.

Monday, October 1, 2007

If Orson Welles was my boyfriend...

  • I wouldn't feel like such a pig ordering a second round of dumplings in Chinatown - I wouldn't feel like a pig ordering a second round of anything
  • I wouldn't believe anything I heard on the radio
  • Maybe I would be as slinky as Rita Hayworth