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November 2nd 2014
You might be aware that I am a film fan, and that I boast the largest DVD collection of anyone you know (obviously this might not be true. Unless you are under 20, in which case you'll barely remember DVDs in any case. This is where I'd crowbar in a 'DVDs should be in a DVD case' joke, if I had the energy). You will probably also be aware that I am a geek. Not one of those recently-cool geek-chic type of geeks, who looks awesome in a Superman costume and has Catwoman on one arm and Wonder Woman on the other. No. One of those old-fashioned geek-type geeks who spends over two hours trying (unsuccessfully) to solve a geometry problem for fun with friends, and who takes a screenshot of every film he has on DVD and puts on it Facebook.
In fact, I take three screenshots of every film I own: one is a shot chosen judiciously to reflect the film, and that's the one that finds its way onto Facebook; one is the title card; the final one is a shot of someone using the phone. I struggle to explain why. But recently I have extended my film-related geekiness by creating a spreadsheet that lists every film I have on DVD, its year of release, its director, and its run-time. This was partly driven by the fact that I have frequently been known to complain about people listening to modern music without checking out the hits of yesteryear, and started wondering if I'm making exactly the same mistake when it comes to films. Am I buying up too many films released in the last decade or so, while neglecting classic from previous decades? Well, among other exciting results I can tell you that:
- the modal year of release is 2011 (26 films)
- the median year of release is 2000
- the mean year of release is 1995
- the earliest film is 1935 (The 39 Steps)
- the mean running time is 117 minutes
- the median running time is 113 minutes
- the most common running times are 98 minutes & 105 minutes (15 films each)
- the longest running time is 251 minutes (the extended version of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
- the shortest running time is 75 minutes (Erik the Viking)
- the directors I have most films by are Steven Spielberg & Martin Scorcese (13 films each)
- the next most featured director is Alfred Hitchcock (9 films)
- this wasn't part of my analysis, but I'm pretty sure the most featured actor is Tom Cruise (24 films)
Of course, I was then intrigued to discover if there was a correlation between the year of the film's release and its length, so I plotted an x-y scatter plot to find out. It appears not. While I was at it, I created line charts for the frequency of different running times and years of release. This latter does seem to lend some credence to my original hypothesis, that my DVD collection tends too much towards the present day, but not quite as much as I thought might be the case. Indeed, I have at least one film per year from 1952 onwards... which (even as I type) has led to me think about working out my favourite film per year since then... some other time, perhaps.
In other news, I remain single.

November 29th 2014
Hector & ColinIt's been a busy November. I turned 29 (in the words of Robbie Williams: "I'm still young; we're still young") and spent much of the day watching Simon graduate with a DPhil from Oxford, among other degrees, which he did with some snazzy robes and some of the best bowing in the room. As an aside, the general ability of Oxford graduates to stand in rows of four and bow when bowed to is, frankly, disturbingly poor. Anyhow, from there we went donkey-walking, a pastime that I had never encountered before but that was great fun and I would recommend to anyone. My donkey was called Hector (his companion was Paris; the owners had been watching the DVD of Troy, apparently) and he was generally a friendly kind of donkey, but had very fixed ideas about the right times to eat hedgerow that he wasn't about to have questioned by an upstart like me. I present you with a picture of him and me, chosen partly because it somehow makes me look like I still have a reasonably full head of hair. The camera lies, people.
After donkeys came the North Petherton carnival, a truly remarkable succession of floats that have been masterfully designed and built over the course of a year. Dad, having grown up in that neck of the woods, has long been a keen exponent of said carnival, but as a foreigner in those parts I can vouch for their excellence. You would not see better in any city in the country, which makes one wonder quite how that region of Somerset came to have such a taste for float mastery; the history is unclear (mainly because I have made absolutely no effort at all to unearth it) but I'm choosing to believe that it's the result of some kind of twinning with Rio de Janeiro.
Later in November, as I was adjusting to being a prime age for the first time in six years, my good friend Rob came to visit for the week, needing to studying and coming here to avoid distractions (don't worry, folks, it's not as insulting as it sounds: I was at work during the day. I'm sure I could have distracted him had I been here). It's always good to see Rob, and we managed to pack enough into the week that I think I've convinced him temporarily that I have a social life. Oh, and let the record show that I beat him at squash.
In other sporting news, Wolves have managed to lose 4-0 to Brentford today, following a 3-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest last week and a 5-0 defeat to Derby the week before that. In total, our five games for November have given us one point, one goal scored and 14 conceded... it's all feeling horribly reminiscent of recent relegation seasons. Ho hum. I think I'll look go and cheer myself up by seeing if I can find some more pictures of Hector.

what was I listening to?
Something's Goin' On - Cliff Richard
what was I reading?
Blair - Anthony Seldon
what was I watching?
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