Million Dollar Baby

We’re trying to catch up with our Oscar watching before February’s results are in. Million Dollar Baby is the 3rd of the 5 nominees that we’ve seen (along with the Aviator and Finding Neverland, both of which I’ll try and get back to blogging later).

I have mixed feelings about this movie, although overall I think it’s good. The performances were strong. Hilary Swank, particularly, is totally believable and the lank-hair-look suits her. Clint Eastwood starts out as…Clint, but really does soften up into something unexpected. Morgan Freeman is a little disappointing of only that he does what he does so solidly, bit repetitively. A little too “Shawshank” in this.

The story’s slow but believable, and just when you think it might get too predictable at the end, it gets much more challenging to watch. 8/10



Shannon and I went cycling along the towpath at the weekend, and stopped at Pentoon Hook Lock. She took this shot of a latch embedded in a tree near the riverside.
We have no idea what it’s for, but from the way the bark has congealed around it it’s been there for a while. It reminds me of a tree in my Grandfather’s old house in Lincoln that had grown around a small toy car, nearly smothering it.

London Theatre

It was weird this week to see two musicals on consecutive nights. Shannon and I went to Blood Brothers on Monday with Matt, then Mary Poppins on Tuesday.

Blood Brothers is pretty universally lauded, but it felt like it was coming to the end of its life on our visit. The theatre was half empty and the show felt dated, musically. The performances felt tired, and generally lacked energy. Only saving grace was the role of Mrs Johnstone. Whoever was playing that role (Siobhan McCarthy?) really held the whole thing together with a tough set of songs and a part that really dominated. The rest was not great. 5/10

Mary Poppins was in a different league. Without a doubt the best musical I’ve ever seen. I can’t really fault it. The set was amazing. A full sized, articulated dolls house that morphed into a park and rooftops for songs with Bert.

The choreography was imaginative and VERY well rehearsed. The lead rolls were really well cast and drew you effortlessly into their world. The kids, particularly, were great. The whole thing had an energy which probably reflects how recently it opened. A show that, unlike Blood Brothers, is at the beginning of its life. 9.5/10

Honda Zoomer

I’ve made the mistake of buying scooters before. I don’t really make the time to ride them, and the roads around here don’t feel that scooter friendly.
I’d sort of be willing to make the same unfortunate error if my scooter looked like this.
Honda Zoomer

The London Eye – Lomo(ish) version

The London Eye - Lomo(ish) version

Starting out with these instructions I’ve been messing around with Photoshop to make this shot look like it was taken with a Lomo camera.
Basically, my variation is to:
– Open the photo.
– Using the Brightness/Contrast dialog set the contrast to +20.
– Using the Hue/Saturation dialog set the saturation to +20.
– Create a new layer.
– Set it to an Opacity of 80%.
– Set it to a layer blend of Soft Light.
– Set the foreground color to black. (hit D).
– Pick the Gradient tool, set it to radial, then pick the Foreground to Transparent fill. Hit the Reverse checkbox (so it switches to a Transparent to Foreground).
– Fill the layer from the middle out.

Here’s the before shot:
The London Eye