Woo Stardust

I finally went to see the film version of Stardust Monday evening, I found it really enjoyable and I'm happy to say that it was nearly everything I expected it to be.

All of the characters were very well cast and they nearlyall portrayed the novel descriptions very closely.   I agree with comments others have made about Robert De Niro, who I thought was damn brilliant as Captain Shakespeare. I was pleased that Ricky “I can only play one type of role” Gervais couldn't even spoil this film for me.

There are alot of known British faces in this film, albeit in cameo roles but it was very nice to see them pop up occasionally. 

Considering that the film has been out for a while now it's still sitting the top ten UK films, which should make Mr. Gaiman happy. If you get chance it’s well worth going to catch this film at the cinema before disappers to the small screen.

Gone Phishing

I receive a number of spam emails per day (around 7 – 10), thankfully SpamAssasin flags nearly all (96%) of these messages, so I rarely have to see them. As I was expecting an email this morning I took a quick look at my Junk folder in Thunderbird, just to ensure that the email hadn't been marked as spam. There was no sign of it.

I quickly scanned the messages sitting in that isolated folder to see what type of crap was being filtered on a daily basis. Any Phishing attempts that I receive, I tend to attach to an email to the Anti-Phishing working group. But today I'm honoured I find the worst crafted Phishing email that I have seen in a long time.
It read as follows:

[blockquote]Subject: HSBC – WARNING
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 13:20:35 -0400
From: HSBC

Dear valued Halifax® member: Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the Halifax
account we have issued this warning message.

It has come to our attention that your Halifax® account information needs to be
updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to
reduce the instance of fraud on our website.

If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

However, failure to update your records will result in account suspension.
Please update your records on or before janvier 16, 2007.

Once you have updated your account records your Halifax account service will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.
To update your Halifax® records click on the following link:
Thank You. Halifax® UPDATE TEAM[/blockquote]

First point, as any person of moderate intelligence can see, is the use of 1 company in the title and a different company in body of the message.

Secondly is the 'Dear valued Halifax member', firstly it would be customer and secondly since I'm a great 'member' how have they managed to forget my name? No attempt to butcher my email address for a name to use, very poor.

The hyperlink to update you records wasn't hidden or manipulated to appear like a correct address, nope, it just pointed at some page over at www.swindon-speedway.co.uk.

And in last place is the French word for January that's been so wonderfully added into the template.

Out and about with books

nw_graphic.jpg Tuesday morning we went out with my parents to Abergavenny. After walking around the market we went to what used to be Ottakars, but since the company was bought the shop was no Waterstones.

I managed to get the graphic novel of Neverwhere and V for Vendetta, both of which I've wanted to read, but for entirely different reasons.

After reading any book you build up mental images of the characters portrayed within them, I wanted to see how the characters from the Neverwhere graphical novel, compared to my vision of them. Richard was very near the mark and his expressions denoted the emotions that he was obviously experiencing. Mr Croup & Vandemar were very well done, although I wasn't sure on the colour of Vandemars' clothes.

With V for Vendetta I wanted to read how Alan Moore wanted it to be rather than the Hollywood cinematic version. I've only read 1 of the 4 books so far and it is easy to see how much it was altered, no wonder he asked for his name to be removed from the film.

skirrid-inn.jpgOn leaving Abergavenny my parents took us for lunch at the oldest pub in Wales, the Skirrid Mountain Inn. After navigating the cobbled road outside to come to a large wooden door that dates back to the 14th century. Inside there is a fire burning away in the hearth and we get drinks from the very welcoming barman/owner.

After claiming seats we set about deciding on our meals, there was alot to choose from on the main menu, plus there were additional items on a chalk board.

Afterwards Rach, my mum and I took the landlord up on his offer and went to have a look around upstairs. As you climb up the stairs the is the old cell room, Now stacked with glasses and the like and used for storage.
Further up the stairs are the guest rooms, converted from what was believed to be the courtrooms. Both the rooms we looked at had wonderful 4 poster beds in them.


I am rather excited with the fact that on Saturday I'll be going with Rach, Dok and my sister to see Mr. Gaiman talk about stuff.

Mmm that sounds rather boring but it should be a great evening.
Some of you may know him from his Sandman graphic novels or the book Neverwhere, others may have read Good Omens that was writen by him and Terry Pratchett.

I'm currently in the middle of reading American Gods with Anansi Boys waiting to be read straight afterwards. I also picked up a copy of the illustrated version of Stardust while i was in York on sunday.

What with Stardust due to be released next month, looks like it going to be a very bizzare and interresting month, all from the mind of Neil. Yay

Birthday Things

meep I have Columbo and Mission Impossible ( series 1 of each) on DVD, which have been keeping me amused for the past week. In addtion to watching those I have been playing CIV4 which i got as part of Sid Meier's Civilization Chronicles.

I've also been reading Stardust and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, both of which are highly enjoyable if you are looking for a good book at the moment.

There is a great interview with Neil on the BBC website that details coverage of the Hay on Wye festival, where Mr Gaiman was previewing the film Stardust, the interview can be found here