Highly Recommended – How to kill time with no bloody money.

A new acquaintance commented last week that Hong Kong is a place you can get more out of if you’re not on too much of a budget. Oh how right she was. Except for those couple of nights where I was kindly taken out, I had all of 170 dollars to my name after the motel in Shanghai hilariously pretended to steal my card. Without the option of just wandering around central, hopping on and off the MTR and picking up lunch/dinner where ever I pleased I had to entertain myself for a while (get your minds out the gutter) and so decided the easiest way to not spend money would be to not leave the apartment. Genius! There’s a whole worldwide web at my fingertips, all the information people who are so inclined to make available is available. Time killing after all, is simple when I have something to do so I’ll be able to do it just as effectively when I’m actually trying. Stands to reason dunnit?

Well no not really. I discove
red quickly that the update rate for Google Reader and Facebook is not affected by how many times you open the window and press F5. What seemed to take half the day by accident at work was taking about three minutes now. This would need more thought. I went down the productive route, which lead me to attempt some fiction for the first time in years. Let’s just say there is a reason this entry isn’t the first chapter of the next great English language epic. My legendarily short attention span kicked in at about the second paragraph meaning the whole thing is about three pages long and has two sections that could potentially lead somewhere interesting in the hands of someone with more talent. Incidentally if you’re looking for inspiration for writing as I was you can do a lot worse than this article from the Guardian: Ten Rules for Writing Fiction – Part One; Part Two.

I turned to those that could write properly but the Will Self book I’m half way through, though excellent, is a dense, heavy piece of fiction and I found myself unable to read it for a decent length of time. But there are some pretty good screenplays out there so TV it was! Here’s what I’ve been watching rated on a system of Richard Pryors because who doesn’t love Richard Pryor?

 

TV – Community
I had no idea what this show was before seeing someone talking about it on a discussion board and I’m so glad I stumbled over that board now because this could be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen come out of America since Arrested Development. It’s a comedy centred on an amoral lawyer going to community college to get his law degree after the authorities discover the one he has is fake but really the college back drop is just an excuse to get the ensemble cast together because all the humour comes from the character interaction. Featuring Chevy Chase, Donald Glover (of Derrick Comedy ‘fame’ – hilarious comedy troupe by the by) and Trudy from Mad Men who I never realised was so attractive due to January Jones and Christina Hendricks’ mega-wattage beauty.

I won’t go into any more detail but the first season is still ongoing in America. At the time of writing, the twentieth episode has aired and there are twenty-five scheduled with a second season commissioned. Needless to say it is highly recommended and if you want to know more go have a look at its TVTropes page (WARNING: You will lose days of your life at TVTropes. I could have written this whole entry on things I’ve read on that bloody website).
Five Pryors!

TV – Dexter Season 4
After devouring the first three seasons of this show I had the last (so far) season backed-up and rationed myself out to one episode a day. A ration I disobeyed by the time I got to the last five or so. Impossibly creepy, amazingly well-written, believable characters you actually give a shit about, not to mention actual character development and blood, loads and loads of blood. It’s a funny old show being as it is, a show that makes you empathise with a serial killer but it’s completely addictive. The fourth season is quite a switch from the previous ones in that we, the audience, aren’t working out who the killer is along with the characters. We know who the bad guy is from the outset and the thrill comes from the game of cat and mouse he plays with Dexter as the Miami Metro Police Department scramble around trying to get to him. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you the bad guy for season four is played by John Lithgow. I don’t know about you but I wasn’t crazy about seeing Dick from Third Rock From the Sun get naked and kill a girl in a bath. There is a LOT of him getting naked by the way, just a quick heads up.

It’s an awesome show, a great season but not quite up to the high standard the first three set. Also Rita is annoying as all hell in this season. Occupying the position of morality pet, her job seems to be being perfect and lecturing. No character pissed me off in the other season so that’ll cost Dexter a Pryor I’m afraid.

Ugly Americans
A new cartoon from Comedy Central, it was brought to my attention because it was constantly and heavily advertised on the Comedy Central website every time I watched the Daily Show. This one is about the only sane man in a twisted version of New York where monsters and ghouls of all types roam the streets and Hell is just a giant retail park you can get the escalator down to. Our protagonist works for the department of integration, trying to help the monsters settle into life on Earth basically making them a parallel of our own immigrants. The humour is suitably twisted and dark and any show where a wizard drinks shots out of the Statue of Liberty’s cleavage before diving off muttering ‘ugliest French chick I ever saw’ is okay in my book.

It’s only had three episodes at the time of writing so I feel it’s only fair to award it a three Pryors but it is good, it’s very, very good.

Doctor Who
You saw it right? We needn’t go into it here right? Wasn’t it awesome? Isn’t it better now that Davies has pissed off and left the writing to the adults? Didn’t that bit near the end send shivers up your spine? You know the bit I’m talking about. Matt Smith, you and your weird face get the thumbs up from me. So do you Karen Gillen, rowr. Best series opener since the reboot.

I also saw the Hurt Locker but I can’t help but think I would never be able to do justice to it by typing out a bunch of poorly constructed sentences here. It’s an Oscar winner for god’s sake. It was brilliant, one of the most tense films I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Offers no easy answers either, only difficult questions on the nature of war and what it does to people. I’m sure you know more about it than me.

Back to the internet then and a couple of websites are worth you dropping in on during your travels in the blogotubes or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Texts From Last Night has become and integral part of my morning routine and I’m not going to explain it. Just click the link, you won’t be disappointed. The Onion continues to be a source of infinite amusement as does the aforementioned Daily Show who upload the show every day for free at that link, nice people. I’ve also been more than slightly sucked in by a site that everyone is having fun with right now, Shirt Mock-Up. Here are a few examples.

And if I ever get the chance to sell-out I’m making this one as soon as possible:

Go forth and feel free to send me your own examples, they’re always funny.

Two more days and I will on a long-ass flight back to the UK for a couple of weeks whereupon I’ll be able to absorb much for political news and thus get more easily riled up. Blog entry fodder, can’t wait. See you all soon.

Currently watching: See above.

Currently reading: Will Self – My Idea of Fun

Currently playing the shit out of: Laura Marling’s new album I Speak Because I Can. I like you speaking Laura but your accent seems to gone a little Irish in a few places here. What’s up with that?

DH.

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3 thoughts on “Highly Recommended – How to kill time with no bloody money.

  1. davidhetherington says:

    It has come to my attention that I am a moron. You can’t watch the Daily Show online at that website in the UK. Bums. You can see the Global Edition on More4 which is what you should do, certainly don’t watch it through a proxy or anything else illegal okay? Okay.

  2. Actually, you can watch all of The Daily Show on More4, Tuesday-Friday and it’s only a day behind America (making it even more recent than online?). Then the Global Edition is on Monday and is a roundup of “best bits” from the previous week.

    Sadly, they don’t show The Colbert Report, which I always watch alongside The Daily Show.

  3. ACTION HANK!!

    And I really wish I hadn’t decided to read this before I went to bed.
    John Lithgow nekkid is all I can see when I shut my eyes now.
    And you’re happily sleeping off that jetlag in the next room while I gip furiously at my laptop. Why I oughta…

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