Sunday, December 18, 2005

Venus observed!

I've just realised my long-term ambition to see Venus in daylight. I spotted it in full afternoon sunlight, only 37 degrees from the Sun. I did have to use binoculars to locate it first, but it was easily visible with the naked eye after that.

Shallow says: Take extreme care using binoculars for daytime astronomy. Ideally you should make sure that the Sun is hidden from you by a wall or building.

Incidentally this observation was made through a double glazed window.

Time 1440 UTC
Alt/Azimuth 17/184 deg
Elongation 37 deg
Magnitude -3.9
Limiting magnitude calculation (elev 20m, temp 39 F, RH 69%) -3.2

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Not content with spamming the BBC with thousands of duplicate Jerry Springer complaints, religious fanatics 'Christian Voice' have leant on Woolworths and Sainsburys to take the Jerry Springer DVD off their shelves.

, it's over between us. I shall go to Wilkinsons for my tinsel and Christmas cards in future. You're especially damned for fobbing off counter-protestors with the broken record technique.

Sainsburys, I'm downgrading you to Evil Supermarket status along with Tesco and Asda. I'm more disappointed than angry.

Join with Shallow!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Shallow Fact File

This week: Lavinia Murray

Fave Bob Dylan album: Fetching It All Back Home
Fave George Bush quote: 'Fetch it on!'
Fave Queen song: Fetch Back That Leroy Brown

Shallow's Special Question:
Lavinia, which of the belts of debris surrounding the planet Saturn do you like best?
Well Shallow. I would pick the A-ring but it's such an obvious choice. I'm taking my pick from the other side of the Cassini Division - it has to be the F-etch.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hey Joan. He didn't call you a racist. It was you who brought the word up...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lynn - idea for a programme:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Buff Ether Van Pyres Layer
Somewhere in ethereal interdimensional space, Buffy rules a very flat pocket universe consisting solely of burnt-out vans.
Each week a very fit Buffs burns to death a van driver who has recently annoyed her, by cremating him in his vehicle.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The word on the street

Lots of today's young women want to be mothers, not Lesbians

And that's Lesbians 20s-style, not your rubbish generic lesbians of today.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Peaches for Shallow

Millions of peaches - a million peaches would make a cube 5 yards on a side. The size of a large shed.
Billions of peaches - a (US) billion peaches make a cube 500 yards on a side. Twice the height of Canary Wharf.
Trillions of peaches - a trillion peaches form a cube 30 miles on a side.
Quadrillions of peaches - a quadrillion peaches form a cube 3,000 miles on a side, larger than the Moon.
Quintillions of peaches - a quintillion peaches make a cube 300,000 miles on a side, more than big enough to stretch from the Earth to the Moon.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

1601 by Mark Twain. George Orwell regretted not being able to find a copy of this, which, it appears, was copied secretly by printers in an analogous process to the way copies of documents get onto the internet.

Basically it's 'Who farted?'

Friday, August 12, 2005

Donnie shallow

Dreamt I was being menaced by the knife-wielding youth from Donnie Darko. But it was OK, I managed to strangle him.

Friday, July 22, 2005


On Shallow's current chillout tape:

Side A
At the River - Groove Armada
Polaris - Zero 7
Home Videos - Blu Mar Ten
Tune for Jack - Lemon Jelly
Sunset Door - Mike Oldfield
Space Walk - Lemon Jelly
Ce Matin La - Air
The Staunton Lick - Lemon Jelly

Side B
Ramblin' Man - Lemon Jelly
In Time - Zero 7
King Raam - Lemon Jelly
The Shark - Bonobo
Maya Gold - Mike Oldfield
Nice Weather For Ducks - Lemon Jelly
Optigan 1 - Blur
Neon Lights - O M D
Island - The Edge (on The Captive soundtrack)

It's a careful interleaving of ultra-chilled songs with slightly warmer material. They're all what I call 'bright chill', that is to say they have a bit of authority compared to 'dim chill' which, while it might calm you down, won't cover up your neighbour's drum and bass session.

Island is a great track to finish off any compilation. But it's the best one on The Captive soundtrack. Don't bother getting the album in hopes of finding a better song.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Shallow and the half good book

Definitely a case of To Be Continued... - a lot of setup for the final book. Too much stuff we're told about but not shown. And mealy-mouthed use of the word 'bathroom' to mean 'toilet'. That's particularly annoying given that JKR was quite happy to call a toilet a toilet during the many lavatory-based Moaning Myrtle scenes in Chamber of Secrets.

Only an 'Acceptable' grade for this one, I'm afraid.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Shallow didn't do it

In The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show Bart's made to berate the Comic Book Guy for criticising the 'worst episode ever'. He claims that CBG has no right to criticise the producers because 'They're giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free'. The Simpsons is not free. When it was on BBC2 I had to pay for it through the licence fee. If I still watched it on Channel 4, I'd have to pay for it when I bought products featured in the 200 advert breaks they cram into each episode.

And while I'm on, in Brother Where Art Thou, Herb is quite wrong to punch Homer after his concept car causes Herb's business to collapse. Herb explicitly told the employees who he set to assist Homer not to question Homer's decisions. The fault therefore lies with Herb in allowing someone with Homer's lack of experience to take important decisions. Homer should have punched him right back.

And another thing. Homer shouldn't have allowed Apu to call Marge a bitch in Marge In Chains. The least he should have done is withhold his custom from the Kwik-E-Mart in future.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Reincarnation warning

If reincarnation happens, and you can be randomly reincarnated anywhere on earth, these are your likely future nationalities:

NationalityChance (per cent)
others < 1% each45

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I wish I could say I was surprised last night when Dr Who - The Next Generation ripped off Primeval, with Rose emerging glowing-eyed and imbued with power from the TARDIS, and doing the weapon retraction thing on that Dalek.

I'd been primed by the Initiative similarities in Dalek, and the revelation, in Bad Wolf, of the army of ubervamps Daleks Get It Done-style.

It's odd that RTD's feeble homages to Buffy are more upsetting than his interpretation of Doctor Who (which makes the JNT era seem like one of inflexible devotion to quality and continuity).

I suppose it's because it's a long time since I enjoyed contemporary DW - around the time of Enlightenment 22 years ago - but the greatness of Buffy circa 2001 is still fresh in my mind. So I wasn't about to watch RTD destroying my memories of my favourite Buffy era. I turned it off and put Pyramids of Mars on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Shallow lacks punch

Disturbing story about Russell T Davies claiming to have threatened someone in a supermarket

I dislike that a lot more than I dislike some of the things he's introduced to Dr Who. I like my violence safely behind the fourth wall, not at Tescos.

Link to Google archive of post now restored

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Shallow on Target

My childhood reading has left me with an unjustified, automatic distrust of people who use the following surnames:

Masters (x2)

and an equally unjustified warmth towards people who go by the names of:


Sunday, March 06, 2005


Budleigh Salterton
Two m's, two g's
I'll have to ask
It all got a bit complicated
Da da-da da-da delish!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Shallow - two l's, one o

A happy ending to the current (third) series of Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off, with Arabella accepting his proposal of marriage.

Giles isn't merely a cuddly, likeable posho in the mould of Tim Nice-But-Dim. In episode 2.6 'New Zealand' his conversation with Arabella's mother, Mrs Wells, showed us that he shared her prejudices about Josh. Up to that point I assumed that Giles disliked Josh merely because he was crass, was engaged to Giles' ex-girlfriend Arabella and was trying to ensure that Giles had a nasty accident. But this exchange demonstrated that at that stage Giles found it difficult to stand outside his class identity.

Three years of Canadian Studies seems to have broadened Giles' outlook, because in series 3 he's a bit mellower. He gets on well enough with Darren Smith (the Geordie ballet dancer) in 'Vienna' and very well indeed with Danielle (who nearly had a baby once, but she never) in 'Haiti'.

'Haiti' did have an unpleasant bit. Giles went out there with charity Crisis Help Action Volunteers, and he's made to remark at the end that it's been good to get the chance of working with CHAVS. Has Danielle been weighed and found socially wanting after all?

It is good though to see Giles becoming a little more assertive in series 3. He talks back to Sergei in 'Vienna', and nearly pokes his overbearing godfather in the eye when he moves in on Arabella in 'Ireland'.

And we do see another side to Belly-bells in 'Ireland'. It's been established that she's 'pretty and strong - mostly strong', and she's quite fierce, 'with a punch like a truck', but she's now revealed as endearingly insecure, worried that Keira Knightley will steal her Wemblers away from her.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Shallow's data-crammed mind

In Code Blue - Emergency Prilicla has to persuade Khone - the pregnant Gogleskan with extreme personal space issues - to allow one of the crew of Rhabwar to examine it.

Only Danalta and the accident-prone Sommaradvan Cha Thrat, it transpires, are remotely acceptable to Khone. Prilicla is pleased, explaining to it that Danalta is a polymorph who can take any physical shape required for the operation - only to find that Khone also has a terrible fear of shape-changers.

Luckily, the Sommaradvan shape bears a comforting resemblance to clay dolls made by Gogleskan children - and so Mary Sue Thrat finds herself centre stage despite a distinct lack of other-species surgical experience.

I think Prilicla should have instructed Danalta to take the shape of Cha Thrat. Khone would have been none the wiser.

Still to come - why Mind Changer would be even better if, instead of being made to retire, O'Mara was ignominiously sacked from the hospital for all the abuse and bullying he's been responsible for over the years.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Shallow and the form letter

I submitted a comment to the BBC website, expressing support for the decision to show Jerry Springer the Opera. I got a reply today which assumed that I'd sent them a boilerplate religious extremist's complaint about the programme. Why did I bother?

Watching it on tape yesterday, I thought Act 1 was great. Act 2 was rather dull once I'd worked out where it was going. There was a very characteristic bit of Stewart Lee phrasing in one of the captions - 'This act contains mock-heroic language...'.

The whole show made me think about how Buffy the Opera would work. Unlike Once More, with Feeling it'd be set in the Buffy meta-universe, so you'd have Joss Whedon as God, Marti Noxon as the Devil and a Greek chorus of representative fans.

Update January 29th: I find that at least one other person had the same experience. With the BBC, not the Buffy opera idea..

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mellow Shallow

New chillout music is essential for someone with as many resentments as myself. Recently I tapped a fantastic new lode in Air's Moon Safari and Talkie Walkie. I have only one complaint. Alpha Beta Gaga on the latter album reminds me irresistibly of the theme music to the 80s arcade classic Dig Dug.