Daily Archives: February 19, 2007

Revish – a new site for readers

If you are a reader and like to talk about the books you read with others, you might be interested in a brand new kid on the block called Revish. I’ve been one of a handful of folks helping Dan Champion, the founder of Revish, test the site for the past week. Since Dan is a web standards Guru, this site is sure to be accessible and usable.

Revish is kind of like your local book club combined with the book section of the newspaper. As a member you get to write reviews, list the books you are reading or have read. You can also comment on reviews written by others. What makes this place different, among other things, is the quality of the reviews. If you write a review you are asked to follow a set of fair, but definate guidelines as to the length and depth of the review. No “I liked this book, it was good” for Revish.

If you’re interested, head on over to www.revish.com and sign up for the beta. They are going to invite more people to help test the site, so if you’re interested, don’t delay.

Hi, I’m Jane Doe and I’m a Betaholic

There, I’ve said it. I love betas. I join beta groups because I want to be the first to know. My email address must be out there in hundreds of beta databases, even ones I’ve long forgotten about. Especially in ones I’ve long forgotten about.

Sometimes I realize I’m not a good candidate for the beta group – either as soon as I sign up or when it moves out of beta. Very occcasionally I find a perfect niche, a place I feel as if I really belong.

What is best about betas is this – especially if you are among a small group of testers – you get to be part of the in-crowd for a while, especially just when the beta goes out of beta. You already know the ropes and perhaps you had a say in some of the features. It’s like high school and you are one of the popular kids!

The best way to find out about betas is the website of

Review: Notes on a Scandal

I don’t get out much – with friends at least, so when Janet called to see if I wanted to see Because I Said So, I replied that I’d love to go. I had not heard anything about the movie, but figured that if Diane Keaton was in it, it couldn’t suck too bad.

Janet called back and said that she was rethinking the film we’d see. She’d looked at films playing at Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema and named a few. She recalled that the last time we’d seen a movie together (The Queen) we thought that the trailer for Notes on a Scandal looked good. I did a quick check on Rotten Tomatoes and saw that it received a tomato meter rating of 86%. Since Because I Said So only received a tomato meter rating of 6% we decided to see Notes on a Scandal. While I’m glad we went to Notes instead of Because, both Janet and Alison would have preferred the comedy.

Notes on a Scandal which stars Dame Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy is no comedy, although there are occasional amusing moments. It is disturbing on many levels and I know of several people who would be seriously offended by the subject matter. Luckily for me, I’m not one of them.

Dench plays Barbara, a lonely aging teacher in a school in a poor area of London. Her attitude as well as the voice over while she writes in her diary relays a disdain of the students she teaches as well as for her fellow teachers. In fact, Barbara doesn’t seem to like anyone. She lives alone with her similarly aging cat.

Blanchett plays Sheba (short for Bathsheba?), the new art teacher at Barbara’s school. Barbara’s voice over describes Sheba as wispy and fey. Sheba has difficulty managing the students in her class, and Barbara swoops to the rescue. Sheba invites Barbara to lunch where Barbara meets Sheba’s husband, played by Bill Nighy, and her two teenagers, one of whom has Down Syndrome.

Before long we discover that Sheba has entered into an affair with one of her students, a 15 year old boy. Barbara also discovers this and the film focuses on what she does with that knowledge.

The acting in the film is superb. Dench is excellent in this unflattering role as a sick, lonely older woman. Blanchett’s acting makes you believe she could do nothing about the affair “it just happened”. Nighy’s role as the caring, albeit somewhat absent minded, father is more or less the role he plays in other films, but it serves him well here. Young handsome Andrew Simpson, as Steven, the 15-year-old boy, plays the part of a randy teen aged boy quite well.

Janet said she liked The Queen better, Alison didn’t really say. I liked this film better – the acting was far better and the story was more interesting to me.

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