Archive for March, 2009

Red Sunset. London

Posted in Photographs, Photography, Photos with tags , , , , on March 19, 2009 by noheroicsplease

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Westerly view, yesterday (18 March 2009) around 6pm. 

The sunset picture is a cliche, but I still like to take them whenever I get a chance (every sunny day in London is something special).

I love watching red sunsets like that from my balcony. Summer is coming. Hopefully, we’ll have a “proper” summer this year.

It

Posted in books, Hollywood, Horror, Writing with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by noheroicsplease

Is there a virus infecting Hollywood and forcing major studios to shoot remakes/reboots of all the good old movies we’ve come to love?

One of the books I’m currently enjoying is the above mentioned, scary as hell, gory and certainly not for kids, book about kids: “IT” by Stephen King. “It” was a best-selling book of 1986 and was adapted for TV as a mini-series in 1990. I was only quarter of the way into the eleven hundred page book when I learned that Warner Brothers are planning to remake the original 1990 movie which starred Tim Curry as the evil Pennywise.

I recently acquired the original version (the 3-hour mini-series), but vowed to hold off watching “It” until I finish the book. Hence, I can’t really comment on how good the televised version is, even though I have a feeling I may have seen the movie at a very inappropriate age. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on the upcoming remake.

When I read that Dave Kajganich had been hired to write the screenplay my first reaction was: “Who?” Apparently, it’s the guy who wrote the screenplay for “The Invasion” (2007) (yes, the one with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig). So, at least now I know whom to punch in the face for screwing up the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” saga (the theme that has been done and redone to death) if I see him on the street.

If you have ever read “It” you know that the novel revolves around two periods of time 27 years apart, 1958 and 1985. What you might not know is that the film-makers have decided the new version is to be set in the present day. I’m wondering if that is due to the fact that the book is so freaking long that they don’t know how to condense 1100 pages of very small font, written about multiple character stories, in two different time-lines into a two hour cinema release. Bear in mind that the original TV mini-series were just over 3 hours long and they had to cut out as well as “condense” a fair bit of the book, or so I have heard. But hey, a lot of people said that “Watchmen” couldn’t be done.

It seems that with “IT” they’re remaking the old movie rather than doing a new adaptation of the book, so…where’s the originality? The production companies are playing it safe by picking easier bets – cult, popular movies that need no introduction or big advertising campaigns; essentially, they’re just replaying the same old song to us over and over, and as the record spins, it wears out and the quality gets worse and worse.

But wait, that’s not all. Dave Kajganich is also set to write a script for the 2010 remake of the… “Pet Sematary”! *Sigh* All we see lately is remakes of “old” films (some aren’t even that old to be reintroduced yet). Of course, we all know they’re doing it for the money, but do they really think they can make it better because of today’s technology, the CGI and special effects? Or do they think their new writers/directors/actors are better?

However, there might be one good thing about remakes – sometimes they can spark up the publics’ interest to the so often forgotten original. I didn’t enjoy the recent “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, but it did make me want to see the 1951 movie.

“They float,” it growled, “they float, Georgie, and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too—”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though it might be scary to see Pennywise in his baggy suit with big orange-pompom buttons, the grinning red mouth on his white face and weird shiny silver eyes, I’m far more afraid of being disappointed by yet another shameless remake.

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Help yourself to a balloon.

Another Rare Book Find

Posted in book shops, books, London, Writing with tags , , , on March 10, 2009 by noheroicsplease

Last weekend I picked up another collectable item from the British Heart Foundation op shop – a detective novel, “Mr. Tolefree’s Reluctant Witnesses” by R. A. J. Walling. It is a first edition (and the only edition printed as far as I know) published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1936. The price tag, as you can see in one of the photos below, was £1.50, what a bargain!

Mr. Tolefree's Reluctant Witnesses by R. A. J. Walling (First Edition, 1936)

Mr. Tolefree's Reluctant Witnesses by R. A. J. Walling (First Edition, 1936)

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On a side note, I spent a whole day trying to organise my books – most of them are spread over two shelving units, 2 books deep – but in the end my room looked just as cluttered as before. I need more bookcases or a really big one, but my apartment has no room for either. I need a bigger apartment!

No Heroics In The Hospital, Please

Posted in Family, Health, London, My life, Personal, Writing with tags , , , on March 7, 2009 by noheroicsplease

When I started this blog I planned to post something new on a weekly basis. But recently, I found myself stranded in a place where blogging doesn’t exist – a place where time goes weird on you. Where for some people, their whole life flashes before their eyes and then does it once more, and then again and again… A place that most of us (including myself) usually don’t think we will be visiting any time soon and… God punishes us for what we can’t imagine, or so says Wireman, a character in one of the recent Stephen King novels “Duma Key”. Laying for seven days on a hospital gurney gives you plenty of time to look at your life, reflect and see everything that was wrong with it. All the things you had missed out on, though you had never really been in a rush to do in the first place, suddenly become so important. For me the biggest regret was not spending enough quality time with my family, after all it’s all about family, isn’t it?

A week in one of London’s most average NHS hospitals was enough for me. I had seen some amazing things and interesting people, but I had also seen so many disturbing things that the original name for this post was going to be London’s Hidden Horror Houses! I was appalled by the poor standards of care that were provided to the in-patients. The negligence and rudeness of the nursing staff (many of which could hardly speak English) were beyond belief, and though I realise the issue of equal opportunities for foreigners (having been one myself) and that hospitals may experience lack of staff at the moment, I am convinced there should still be a certain standard of practice, a level of care and a level to which you should know the language in order to work as a nurse in a British hospital. When you are ill who wants to have a lazy, rude nurse looking after them that doesn’t listen to you, doesn’t understand you (nor wants to) and whom you can’t understand? I was lucky enough to be “self-caring”, but I saw some people restricted to their beds who soiled themselves because the nurses were too “busy” chatting and then had to wait up to half an hour to be attended and cleaned and so on.

I think the biggest problem I saw was communication misconduct – nurses paging wrong numbers or just forgetting to page the doctor, medicines running out and nurses thinking that someone on the next shift will replace it, doctors forgetting to come and see you or book you in for tests, medicines given at wrong times, in wrong quantities and sometimes the completely wrong medicines. One lady (a patient in the room next to mine) was supposed to have blood transfusion but her nurse paged the wrong number, so the “blood guys” hadn’t come. One care assistant told me that I was the one to have the transfusion and that my religion may be an issue…she had got the wrong room and wrong person! It surprises me even now how much time they will let pass by before they even begin to wonder if something is not right, and then think some more about what they should do and whether to do anything or just continue waiting. For what? Some divine intervention? Miraculous healing? Or for things just to figure themselves out? That’s how it looked to us patients. Patients, because you have to be patient and wait at the mercy of the nurses for God only knows what! I understand that nurses have a hard job, but why make the healing process harder. A person is not going to get better if they are treated poorly or rudely, in most cases it will exacerbate the condition and make the patient feel worse. One of the men in the first ward I was in and who needed to desperately to have more blood tests for his condition discharged himself after being treated so badly by a nurse. He was so upset that he couldn’t stay and would rather be ill at home and try to come in for tests the next day.

I tried to read a book I had with me but couldn’t concentrate much and my own writing wasn’t going well, especially since I was being pumped with two dozen various pills every day with numerous unpleasant side effects and going through a barrage of tests. The only form of entertainment I had was the small TV screen mounted to a wall on an adjustable metal-plastic arm hanging above my bed. For 5 quid a day it didn’t have very many channels but it was enough to keep my brain occupied and distracted from thinking too much about the bad things and how horrible and dreadful the place was. Most of the shows I watched were light, comedies like Friends, Scrubs etc to make me feel better and relax. Of course we all know that “life” in a hospital is nowhere near to what they show in the comical Scrubs, but you don’t realise just how far away from the actual truth they are until you’re in hospital as an in-patient.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. Over the week I saw some really great nurses who took their jobs very seriously and followed a certain code of practice with strict professionalism, but they were a small minority, perhaps, 15-20%. They made my stay so much better and I will be eternally grateful for their care and support.

Apart from A&E, I was unlucky to stay in two different wards in the hospital. I wish I had more good things to say about all this, but unfortunately my experience left me shell-shocked, traumatised to the core and sad for the people who are stuck in those houses of horror and have to endure so many things I don’t dare to put on “paper” at the moment or even think about. I hope that I’ll never have to go through that again (my wife and I are planning to get private health cover, but this is problematic as she has a pre-existing condition and of course hospital treatments for these aren’t covered in new plans, a catch 22 really).

Take good care of yourself and be well.

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