Monday, February 08, 2010


Last night we went to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Causeway Bay. The closest most Chinese restaurants get to a vegetarian meal is pretending that chicken is a vegetable (well, it is close to the ground, I suppose) so you might have expected I'd get a delicious plate of nothing much at all.

Alright, I suppose I could have had pak choi and deep fried tofu. Instead, and what was much worse for me, the restaurant served up facsimiles of meat that were just that bit too realistic for me to cope with. I don't know why I'm so squeamish all of a sudden, but all the enoki wrapped in sham-beef made me want to upchuck. What a treat. My friends all make the sacrifice to go to a vegetarian restaurant, only to have me sit there looking incredibly nauseated by it all.

Serve them right, the bloody non-vegetarians.

Afterwards, we went to see Edge of Darkness. And I was surprised. There may be some spoilers coming up, so you can skip the white space ahead. Or if not, enjoy my subliminal messages.

My girlfriend was freaked out by it: I hadn't told her anything about it, other than it's a bit dark, and even I wasn't quite prepared for the shotgun that starts the whole thing off, even though I've watched the original. Somewhere along the line I'd picked up the misapprehension that the plot had been updated to be all about a biological warfare institute, but in fact the whole thing felt very faithful to the original, even if they did swap Jedburgh's nationality around to fit the new setting. The last half hour or so felt a bit rushed - it wasn't clear why they'd go to the bother of abducting Mel Gibson and hiding him in the nuke plant, and the final showdown was rushed, but given that they might have attempted a happy ending, or Saint Mel wisecracking through his little adventure, I felt it acquitted itself well.

It was very loud. Not Transformers-make-everything-as-bloody-loud-as-possible loud (like watching paint dry while being hit round the head with a saucepan, as the Guardian critic said of Mr Bay's meisterwerk), but loud nonetheless. I don't remember the original relying on so many loud shocks, but I suppose if you get a special effects budget, you use it. It certainly made my dear companion jump a few times.

And although my girlfriend thinks I'm talking through my hat when I say the original is more creepy because it's set in England, I stand by that. In the same way that I can happily watch Dawn of the Dead but then get freaked out by Shaun of the Dead, seeing bad things happen in a familiar environment negates the feeling of safety that distance provides. I suppose I assume that zombies/nuclear warfare/clockwork Nazis from hell only happen Over There, and not in the country I happened to grow up in. Although weren't we all meant to be terrified by Islamic fundamentalist training camps in the Lake District?

That seems vaguely ridiculous, if only because you can hear somebody (who probably reads the Daily Mail) saying that anyone who ate Kendal Mint Cake would not want to destroy the society that produced it. Which is, on reflection, a pretty strange thing to say if you've ever eaten Kendal Mint Cake unwillingly.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep after that film, so I woke up feeling rough this morning, only to discover that not only were the New Orleans Saints about to win the Superbowl (cheering my American chum Jenny back in London immensely) but that I'd had several visits to my other blog, 100 Reasons I'm Better Than You.  (Although should that really be '100 Reasons Why I'm Better Than You'?  Never mind...)

Although I wasn't that pleased, once I realised that some people reached it by searching for '100 reasons mens are better than women' which suggests a combined ignorance of both irony and the correct pluralisation of nouns. No pleasure is completely unalloyed.

Then again, I wrote the original Reason back in 2005, and I'm glad it's crept up to 4th best place on Google for a badly-typed search. That's some sort of achievement, after all. Perhaps if I mention it every day from now on, it will wobble up the search-rankings to the heady heights of ... 3rd best place on Google for that badly typed search.

Please, don't judge me harshly for this ambition. Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams.


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