SOA Tips 'n' Tricks Blog Launched

Chris Tomkins and I both work on the WebSphere ESB team, and have been blogging about it and related IBM SOA products for some months. We’ve now decided to join forces and launch a new blog called SOA Tips ‘n’ Tricks. This will contain technical tips on ESB and other products as well as wider issues - we don’t know exactly how it will evolve so please feel free to leave us some feedback on the things you read - what you like, and what you don’t. I plan to discontinue writing about ESB or SOA specifically here on my personal blog, although I’ll continue to discuss wider IBM issues.

Rated X

Rated X is a film about the (ahem) adult film industry, so sensitive eyes might want to stop reading this review now. It stacks up well against other films of the genre, such as Boogie Nights (although it’s not as funny), and The People vs. Larry Flynt (although it’s not as political). The film tells a frequently unfulfilled dream: two brothers (well played by real-life brothers Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen) want to make porn that isn’t just cheap and tacky, but tells a story.

The film initially portrays a glitzy and glamorous world, with one of the brothers snorting coke in virtually every other scene, and (surprise surprise) beautiful women at every turn. It isn’t constantly hilarious, but some scenes - such as their mother being shown their directorial efforts or them having to negotiate IP issues over their films with New York mobsters - nevertheless put a smile on the face.

The brothers fight often - such as over the directorship of the now-classic film Behind the Green Door - but the story doesn’t start to fall apart until the second part of the film, where market forces push them into the sleazier world of running a strip club, and their relationships start to strain. The film’s end sequence - a confrontation between the brothers - is a little self-indulgent on the part of Estevez (who also directed), but is moody and adds an interesting touch.

Rated X isn’t a film you’ll enjoy if you’re disapproving of the adult industry, but it is a real-life tale that reflects the lives of some trailblazers, and holds the attention fairly consistently.

Signs of Strife in LOVEFiLM Land

My recent posting regarding the Screenselect/LOVEFiLM merger elicited a lot of (mostly unfavourable) comments from strangers regarding LOVEFiLM’s poor service. So far I hadn’t seen any of that, but their website has just refused to downgrade my package (i.e allow me to reduce my spend with them). I’ve sent an email, but as others have pointed out, they have pre-prepared excuses ready about the high volumes of email they are getting (hint: this isn’t OK, LOVEFiLM, you should have expected it). We’ll see how fast this problem gets sorted: is this the start of a slippery slope which ends in me cancelling my account? Time will tell.

Broken Flowers

What Jack Nicholson’s As Good as It Gets is to Bill Murray’s Lost in Translation, Nicholson’s About Schmidt is to Murray’s Broken Flowers. The actors in question are both senior Hollywood players, distinguished and experienced. Both the former films, despite their differences in setting, are existential and witty. Both the latter are existential yet tedious. I had the same feeling watching Broken Flowers as I did watching About Schmidt - boredom. Although only 105 minutes long, it feels like an age, and most scenes simply drift along without holding the interest. It’s not a slow burner - the fire never gets lit. Broken Flowers was acclaimed at Cannes and I simply don’t know why. There’s little else to say - but I certainly wouldn’t recommend this as one of Murray’s best.

Maybe I'm Shallow

On a trip to London the other week, I was wearing a nice pinstripe suit. With my neatly ironed shirt, conservative tie, and smart cufflinks, I thought I looked very presentable. But as I’ve already admitted, I also bought some pomegranate juice. What was I thinking? Sure, it was OK, but what a yuppie.

So here’s a question: does how you’re dressed and what you’re doing affect what you buy? Do you feel compelled to buy more expensive stuff because you look like you should be able to afford it? Do you allow yourself to buy budget baked beans when you’re sloping down to the shops in a scruffy t-shirt on Sunday morning? Or are you unaffected by such self-imposed peer pressure?

(Spot the deliberate oxymoron).

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