How’d it go? – January 2021

A new year rolled around and wouldn’t you know it, in the grand scheme of things not a lot changed. In some ways this pandemic seems to be improving, and in others it feels like any real change is at the very least months away. Nationally, things are grim. For the past four years, no matter how bad things have gotten, we here in the UK have at least been able to mutter under our breath “At least we’re not in America…” but now if the world is looking for a country to look down on, the UK has to be pretty high on that list, what with the double whammy of incompetent leaders and the calamitous Brexit ripples flowing into full on waves of destruction. Wow this post started out negatively! Sorry about that. Let’s abandon the socio-political bollocks and get down to how my year is going on a more personal scale, shall we?

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2020: What Kind of Year Has It Been? Plus Plans for 2021

2020 was some kind of year, right? Many people have been describing it as the worst year in their lifetimes, and quite rightly so. On a global scale the past twelve months have been devastating, so I’m not going to go there. Instead I’ll just go through what I got up to, in relation to the resolutions I made this time last year.

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Mid-2020 Update

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 isn’t exactly going to plan. It’s not been a stellar year for anyone, and listing off the many and numerous trials that either have been or are still testing the world at large isn’t going to do anyone any good. Suffice to say I’ve found myself home a lot recently, not that the activity on Life vs Film would have led you to such a conclusion. It turns out that being stuck inside for almost three months with nothing but a bunch of streaming services and a decent sized DVD collection still isn’t enough to actually make me watch and review more films. In fact, compared to this time last year I’ve only reviewed a third as many! How is that even possible? So what have I been doing? Good question, and to answer it let’s run through my 2020 goals at this roughly half-way point through the year: Continue reading

Life Vs Film in 2020

Happy New Year! It’s a new year (it’s not a new decade, don’t get me started), so let’s take a look at everything that happened to me in the past twelve months. Those of you who just follow my exploits on the blog will be forgiven for assuming that I’ve been in a coma. I haven’t, it’s just that, like pretty much every year, I started out on a fairly average trajectory and rapidly spiralled into doing nothing, but that’s only here, what about everywhere else? Well, I think the best way to look at this will be to run through my resolutions from 2019: Continue reading

February 2019 Wrap-Up

This is a little late, but if you’ve been following the site since back when I posted “weekly” updates then you’ll be all too familiar with my lack of regular scheduling, and seeing as you’re still here tardiness clearly does something for you. Towards the end of February – and indeed, at the start and in the middle as well – I became incredible busy. I received a promotion at work (or rather, a colleague left, I inherited their workload, and therefore suggested that a title modification and pay rise might potentially be in order), took on an apprentice to train, and at home we really got stuck into the kitchen, ripping it out in preparation for someone more competent than myself to fit it professionally. Also we had a holiday to Iceland booked for the 2nd of March and the Oscars happened. All of these things cut into my regular life, and as such very little happened on this site, and this wrap-up post is over 3 weeks late. Sorry about that. Let’s take a look back at four weeks of my life, which occurred seven and a bit weeks ago:
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January 2019 Wrap-Up

I miss doing my weekly wrap-ups, but due to time constraints it’s unlikely I’ll always be able to do them to a decent schedule, so instead I’m going to try monthly ones. Let’s see how we get on. These will serve as updates for my resolutions, diaries of films I’ve watched with some short reviews where necessary, and links to what I’ve been getting up to. Here we go! Continue reading

What Kind Of Year Has It Been? 2016 Edition

Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has begun, the year that shall not be named has passed, so it’s time to take stock of how well the last twelve months went, and what the next ones have in store for me and my little corner of the internet. As so much has been made of how generally awful last year was, I’ll only be looking at the positives, which is also something of a resolution for me. So, here’s some great stuff that happened to me last year: Continue reading

November 2016 Update

I have been trying to write this post for over a week! And it’s such a simple one to do, just ramble a little about what I got up to in the past month, put some links to the posts I’ve written, bemoan my lack of productivity and how much I’ve still got to do, and move on! And given how unproductive I was in November, this should have taken no time at all. I think I’ve been putting it off because this is the month where I finally admit defeat. Even if I’d got this post out as planned on the 1st of December, I still wouldn’t have had a chance, as I’m over 40 films away from my target, and that’s more days then there are in December. Now, one week later, I’ve written little new and watched even less, so consider my towel well and truly thrown in. “Wait!” I hear you cry, “what about the week after Christmas, when you’re job is closed down until after New Year? Surely you could watch and review lots of films then?” My response would be a firm and resolute “Maybe” were it not for the numerous family-based activities occurring during that week, which will severely hinder my film-watching and film-reviewing abilities. So don’t expect a repeat performance of last December, wherein the final week was spent valiantly catching up on the goals I’d fallen behind on. This year I’m taking the much easier, more sensible and less stressful option of just plain giving up. Not entirely, I might add. I’ve got no hope of achieving my 100 films from the 1001 List goal, but there are others. I only need to watch-and-review one Blind Spot pick and I hit that target, so A Matter of Life and Death is in my imminent future, which is more than OK with me. Similarly, I’m three “Bad” movies away from that goal, and I’ve already watched one and started the review, so that should be relatively straight forward. The Film-Makers challenge is trickier, given I’m 9 away from completing that. Granted I’ve already watched at least two eligible films, but it’d be difficult to see that one through. If I achieve it though, and somehow make all the Film-Makers movies to also be from the 1001 List, then along with the Blind Spot and “Bad” movies, and maybe even a few pending review, I could perhaps get my 1001 goal up to 70. That’s my target, let’s see how I do.
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October 2016 Update

So October was my least productive month in possible my site’s history, amassing a total of just four posts, two of which were weekly updates. Needless to say, I didn’t hit my targets. Wedding preparation stepped up a gear, as did day-job commitments dealing with the fall-out from last month’s China trip, plus my TV viewing is far exceeding my movies, with season 2 of The Wire, season 7 of The Walking Dead and season 1 of The Night Of all being part of October’s obsessions.

Out in the real world, October saw me at least partially embracing an annual event I normally shy away from, Halloween. It’s a significantly lesser holiday here in the UK than elsewhere in the world, but a friend of mine holds an annual party regardless and, despite living pretty damn close I’d never gone before, with this being at least his 8th year hosting one. I’ve always been busy or exhausted or away, but this year I had nothing going on, plus he’s moving soon so it’ll be his last party, so the plan was made and I sorted out a Dr. Alan Grant costume that absolutely no-one recognised until I produced the paper mache velociraptor claw, and even then I’d say less than six people got it. Philistines. Anyway the party turned into a late on, or rather an exceedingly early one, as I drank rather too much alcohol (I had almost an entire litre of amaretto to myself, plus numerous whiskies and rums) so my decision to walk two hours home at 4am without a jacket was probably not my best, and might explain the stinking cold I have now. Still, I had a good time, regardless of how much of a waste the following Sunday was (I’d set aside the morning to get some writing done, this did not happen).

So as mentioned, brace yourselves for a truly meagre list of October’s blogging accomplishments:

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September 2016 Update

September was a very busy month for me, but also not so. I’ll explain. Aisha had to work late a lot, so I had to cover more of the Murphy- and house-based duties than usual, which is fine although it explains why the early weeks of the month were a bit light review-wise, because I didn’t really watch a great deal. Then we went to visit my grandparents on the Isle of Wight for a long weekend, again where not a lot got watched but mainly due to spending time with them and enjoying the island. Plus my Grandad insisted that his in-car MP3 player was reading his song files and displaying the titles and artists incorrectly, so I had to reformat close to a thousand songs during the stay, amending the titles, track numbers, artists and albums, almost entirely manually, whilst attempting to explain to him what I was doing, how it would work, and essentially every aspect of how computers work. I used to work data entry over the summers between university years, and let’s just say there’s a reason I don’t do that any more, and it might be the same reason I didn’t want to do it on my holiday, but family is family.

The point where the month became busy then not busy was the last two weeks which, if you’ve checked my weekly updates, you’ll have seen I spent back in China. The company I work for needed some parts from China fairly quickly, but we also had some adjustments to make on the tooling, so I went out and liaised with the factory several times, checking samples and suggesting changes, without having to wait for the normal 5 days of shipping for the parts to reach us. The means of the company contacting me whilst in China was the phone in my hotel room (I gave them my mobile number, which worked, but they refused to use it), and I had to be on-call to see them or talk to my bosses back home at a moment’s notice, so a great deal of the past fortnight was essentially spent inside a hotel room. I spent some of it working, other parts longing for social media to not be blocked in China (especially because I plan the Lambcast and do all of my LAMB admin stuff through Gmail, which is also blocked), and the rest of it watching movies and TV. I binged the entirety of Police Squad! and the first season of The Wire, and watched an additional twelve films from the confines of my room. It would have been more, but I did have to actually visit the factory, talk to the supplier, and leave the hotel room for the purposes of my sanity. Hence 12 films were watched, but only four of them were actually from any of my lists, as others were watched whilst doing other things, so this time last month when I said September could be really productive, or not, that is what I was talking about, and comparatively to the rest of the year, it kind of fell in the middle.

So what about China? Well, when I visited back in January it was a very structured visit along with my boss and his wife – this time I was on my own – so we met with suppliers every day and they took us out every day, and there wasn’t a great deal of culture experienced. This time I got to immerse myself a little more (I still ate at the hotel most days, but that’s more because they had a decent buffet and, being on my own, that way I didn’t have to sit around doing nothing waiting for the food to arrive, I could just enter the restaurant, gather my food, eat it then head straight back to my room or out for a walk). My main mass generalisation is that the Chinese people I ran into the most live very impatient lives, particularly around food and travelling. In traffic, no-one ever lets anyone out of a junction or into a lane. You merge at your own damn risk, and if you’re a pedestrian crossing the road (or indeed walking along the pavement) then if you’re not fearing for your life and moving with your head on a swivel as though enemy snipers could take you out at any second, then you will not survive to the end of the block. And perhaps even more dangerously at the breakfast buffet one morning I placed two slices of bread into the communal toaster (the kind with the timer that you set and come back to when it pings) and walked away to get a drink, only to see the man who had been stood immediately behind me, watching me insert the bread into the toaster, remove one of my slices and walk off with it. There are many things that puzzle me about this. Did he think I had put the bread in there for him? Was this some kind of silent fat-shaming for me daring to have two slices of toast? And, most troubling, why was he satisfied to take a slice of entirely untoasted bread out of the toaster, where it had not been situated enough time to even begin to warm up let alone toast, when there was almost an entire loaf of non-toasted bread RIGHT NEXT TO THE FUCKING TOASTER?!?!? I didn’t say anything, mainly because he probably spoken English as well as I speak Chinese, which is to say not at all, and also because I couldn’t really foresee an outcome where I didn’t come off as some kind of toast-obsessed raving mad man. Also I’m British, and making a scene is just not done, even over toast.

As for evening meals, I was taken out on a number of occasions by the supplier I was visiting, and the most memorable (and second-most delicious, my first ever Korean BBQ being one of the best things I’ve ever eaten) was to a lobster house (actually crayfish, but they call them lobster). I’d not had lobster (or crayfish) before, and it was quite delicious, even if the crustaceans had to be broken apart with my teeth and hands clad only in thin plastic gloves. Whilst the meat is nice, I find it not really worthy of the effort taken to find it amidst the mess of shell, claw and innards. Also, for the entirety of the meal there was a TV on the restaurant wall showing a loop of footage of live crayfish frolicking in the rivers and having a merry old time, before being caught, killed and cooked for my dinner. There’s not much that’ll put me off eating something, but seeing that very thing in a live state whilst I’m expected to rip off its claws, ;gouge out the head and skin it with my fingers is gonna be close. I thought that’d be the worst of it, right up until the last day when we went to a chicken restaurant with the exact same concept, but this time with video footage of rows upon rows of battery hens supposedly making me oh so anxious to chow down on their brethren. What made this even worse was that the chicken there wasn’t even all that good.

Other adventures were had, but I’ve rambled on long enough and haven’t edited the photos yet, so if I think of something interesting I’ll add it to the next weekly post. For now though, let’s see how my goals stacked up for September:

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