Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hunter Valley, 1981 (or possibly 1982)

hello again

well, my Dad's discovery and scanning of pictures has no end in sight! actually, i set him the challenge of getting this one, and i believe i owe him a coconut for it......

here we are at the magnificent Hunter Valley, a place we all only went to once (i think), but i remember fondly. you went on a boat ride around all the vineyards, and i recall spending what felt like hours playing on a climbing frame that was on one of the docks. it was ace, you could pretend to be Spiderman, Batman or any other superhero, climbing up the frame and jumping into the water to rescue someone or something.

from the left is Gillian, wearing a smart Salt Lake City t-shirt Dad brought her back from a trip to America. i recally Dad bringing me back an excellent Lego set - i believe Richard got one too, although i stand to correction!

next to Gillian is our dear friend from the time, Donna Robinson, daughter of the enigmatic Albert "Albie" Robinson. wonderful people, although i am sorry that i do not recall her mother's name. who knows, if any of them by chance are googling their own name, maybe they will find this site and get in touch!!

then there is your humble narrator, with no t-shirt on. this will be no surprise; i used to get terrible sunburn. go figure! the mind boggles as to the pose i am pulling, but it does look better than the fist one from a post or two ago!

and finally there's Richard on the end. unless i am very much mistaken, he is wearing an ace New York Jets t-shirt, i think it had some sort of "rocket man" flying away on it. i quite dig the action pose he has going!!!

more pics as and when they land on my PC! i suppose i should try and find older pictures in my collection too, but i suspect they are boxed up in a storage area of our house. ho hum.

right, how much can a coconut cost anyway!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Oscars - an alternate interpretation

It is the biggest, most glamorous night of the year. It is the night when millionaires give each other awards for dressing up and pretending to be someone else.

The night belonged to the Coen Brothers, Bert and Arthur, who shared the award for Best Person at Showing Other People How to Dress Up.

They were also named as Best People At Writing Instructions for How to Dress Up, as well as the night's big prize of Best Pretend Thing.

Daniel Day Lewis, who won the award for Best Man at Dressing Up, said: "I feel privileged, humbled and unworthy to be in the company of some of the best men who have ever dressed up and pretended to be someone else."

He added: "This means so much to me because every time I dress up and pretend to be someone else, I try to do it really well."
Other British victories included Best Costumes for Dressing Up In, as well as a special award for Tilda Swinton, Europe's tallest woman.

It was a good night for international millionaires, with the award for Best Woman at Dressing Up going to a French person who won critical acclaim for pretending to be another French person.

Meanwhile a Spaniard won an award for having a psychotic haircut.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cousins at Scotta House Farm, 1983

blimey Dad, how many more quality pictures will you be getting out and sending??? here we are back in 1983 with our then only cousins (Andrew and Christopher arrived a decade and a bit later!) at what could safely be described as the "family home", Gran and Gramps' farm in the delightful village of Great Ayton. this must be around the time we moved back there from Australia. my Dad thinks it is 1981, before Aus, but not the case - we are bigger here than in the school pic from the last post, and i never had a Nike jacket before or during time in Australia.

if we assume that you have clocked that i am the tall one at the back, apparently waving a fist for some reason, that's Robert getting a piggy back off Richard, and then Elizabeth is stood to the right of Gillian, looking towards the piggy back incident and away from Gillian's pink dress!

all five of us are now married (not to each other, thank you) and have wonderful children too. and this picture will have been taken a mere handful of months before a certain band called Frankie Goes To Hollywood entered my life and pretty much changed everything for me, but that's going a bit Brideshead Revisited. sort of.

i look forward to the next pictures arriving!!! in the mean time, i am scratching my head a bit about the business of the fist waving. perhaps i am just pretending to be holding a pint?

be excellent to each other, or, if you will, in the spirit of Ayton, 'ow do...........

School Days. Down Under!

it seems that the family on this side are having something of a nostalgia session at the moment! many thanks to Gillian for sending this picture on! this looks like it was from the days of Slacks Creek - their colours were yellow as i recall, and that is what Gillian has on.

the pic shows, from left, me (check the shorts out!), Richard and Gillian. and a fourth child that i have been requested to put a name to. for some reason, and you have to remember that this is now 25, maybe 26 years ago, the name Matthew Barnes immediately comes to mind, although i could be mistaken. i have nothing but fond memories of the place at least! if you are the fourth child and you recognize yourself, by all means pass comment!

well, it looks like the nostalgia will keep rolling, as i have just had another interesting picture from my Dad!!! i am supposed to be going to bed around now, but will see what i can do. for some reason my family refuse to trust conventional scanning equipment and software - let me see if i can get the other pics out of their PDF format...............

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or, if you will, g'day mate.

The Life Aquatic

hey everyone

following the magnificent pictures of Grant enjoying the waters of New Zealand, my Dad decided to dig out some pics of the family enjoying the pleasures of rubber boat action.

whilst i very much appreciate the pictures, i was rather taken aback by the inbox-breaking 6MB picture file my Dad sent through. i will teach him that you can scan one picture at a time one of these days!

anyway, on with the pictures. the first ones, i believe, are of a most splendid camping holiday in Cornwall / Devon, in the UK summer of 1983....

this would be me, Richard, Gillian and Dad on the boat together. sorry, no idea who the captain of the Sea King 2 boat is, but he looks rather excited about being in the picture!!

i can recall the holiday with vivid detail - we went to a class Radio 1 Roadshow, i made audio tapes of some of our favourite kids shows to listen to in the tent, and Come Dancing by The Kinks reigned in the charts - a day was incomplete without hearing it being played at least once on Radio 1's MW station!

a life before all these gadgets, dvd's, mp3's mobile phones and whatever else that seems to have come along and taken over what we do for fun and leisure. maybe i am getting old, but one does really miss those simpler, easier times!!

the above pic looks like me pulling the boat in, with Richard and Gillian sat in it, although i could be mistaken and perhaps it is Richard doing the taxi duties. it looks more like me, mind!

and above is Dad blowing up, or rather inflating, the boat for us all to use. i do not know what happened to this foot pump, but it looks rather smart. i dare say Grant uses something hi-tech and sophisticated to inflate his with!

and finally, what a picture of what my best guess is of being me and my Dad in the boat whilst on holiday in Malta, although there is an outside chance that it is Portugal. i dare say i will receive confirmation or correction soon!!

i do recall Malta very well too - a wonderful place. who knows, perhaps one day we shall be lucky enough to take James to see the place.

many thanks for the great pictures and memories, Dad!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rambo, John Rambo or Rambo IV (take your pick!)

OK, this post could very well contain comments that would be seen as plot revelations, so consider this sentence a *** SPOILER WARNING ***, thanks.

after the rather brilliant revisionist return Stallone made to one of his characters in the magnificent Rocky Balboa, there were as many groans and sighs as there were sounds of people calling for him to "bring it on, dude!" when he announced a fourth Rambo film. the title seems to change country to country, so call it what you want - it's the one set in Burma, if that helps.

so who is in the right, those that feared the worst or those who are looking forward to this? oddly, both have grounds to say "i told you so", if they are of a mind to behave like that.

the plot, as such, covers ground that we saw in First Blood Part II and Rambo III. John is living a quiet, simplistic life, but gets a call to take some rather innocent people up the river into Burma to deliver aid. when the inevitable happens, he is called upon to help try and rescue them with a bunch of mercenaries. nothing new here, and this is pretty much where we get the moaners and groaners being able to say "i told you so" in a negative way.

what is "new" as such is an attempt to give the character some three dimensional definition, to try and define the character as something beyond a well trained, mechanized killing machine of a soldier. it's not all that new, it is easy to forget what an astonishing film First Blood actually was - a brilliant drama-thriller with some intense action scenes and, most importantly, a well crafted, well acted lead from Stallone. everything that you really needed to know of the character John Rambo was well laid out and defined in that first film, but it is great to see the who he is being returned to, rather than the what he is that was on display in parts two and three. nothing all that new is added as such, but the glimpses of how he lives with himself, how he justifies what he has become and is destined to remain are intriguing to say the least. the latter is debatable in regards of the ending, but more on that later.

one comment you should be aware of, though. i have seen many, many films in my life, and this is easily the most violent film i have ever seen. at some points disturbing, but mostly just, well, violent. no punches, shots, stabbings, slashings or decapitations are pulled when the inevitable battle with large parts of the Burmese army kicks in. the point is to show the brutality of battle and in this it well and truly succeeds. you have been warned - Stallone was not shy in the graphic side of this.

the ending is interesting. at a face value level it works, but i prefer to take a more symbolic reading of what's going on in it. i will leave you to watch it and draw your own conclusions.

so, do you go and see it or not? well, if you appreciated the first and found the next two somewhat lacking, then yes indeed, it gets somewhere close to returning to what the character was supposed to be. if you want to watch an entertaining and violent bloodbath, oh yes, go and see as soon as possible. if you do not wish to see any of that and a whole bunch of disturbing images, then avoid this one.

this is no masterpiece of cinema, but it achieves what Stallone set out to make - a slice of entertainment in cinema with a message, if you care to listen to it.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

more from New Zealand

this will be quite tricky, but i am determined to do a piece on New Zealand that does not feature any (or at least not too many) defamatory or inflammatory statements about my brother-in-law Grant. sadly this might mean my dear sister Gillian gets some stick instead, but never mind.

firstly, here are the delightful Daniel & Katie sitting together rather nicely, clearly abandoning the idea of using the conventional chairs which surround them. i have included this one because, in her email, Gillian was particularly proud of the fact that Daniel was now sitting up by himself. the mind boggles, then, as to exactly what it is that Grant does when he sits down that this is celebrated in the high manner in which it is!

aaah, here we have Gillian's class approach to parenting. i have no doubt that she considers bunging them both down a slide and seeing what happens as some sort of "character building" adventure for the two of them. Katie has that "are you sure Mama?" look about her in all of this business, and Daniel is not all that far behind her.

it's no good wearing sunglasses as you do this sort of thing Gillian, we can all see that it is you. and why, exactly, does one need a steering wheel on a slide?

and finally, a brilliant image of Daniel in his walker, with Katie "helping" it along. i am not inserting any comments about women drivers here, i am a hopeless driver and have no grounds to make such comments on!

thank you Gillian, Grant, Katie and Daniel for the great pics! as excellent as they are, i am sure my regular readers are all rather looking forward to more images of Grant, sheep, rubber boats and sailors in the near future. preferably all together, but as many of them as you can manage in one picture will do.....

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike In China - The Search For The King

wow, what a fantastic update!!

my good friend Mike, with whom i have personally travelled into Europe with and attempted to cover the mouth of a cardboard cut out of, oddly, what appeared to be a Swiss sailor, has sent some important photographic evidence of Elvis, The King, in China!!

Mike, especially in comparison to me, is the career professional, so no doubt he is in China on some verk related matter or other. but this has not stopped him from seeking out The King whilst he had some time there!!

pictured here is what i think is an exclusive behind the scenes image of the KFC in Shanghai. you will note the presence of snakes and Budweiser. i did not know that these things were available in KFC China, but i do know that The King has a soft spot for both - what more evidence is required that he is there?

pictured here is Mike's lunch, a Twister meal. Mike advises that his was covered in a honey soy sauce number. as Mike, alas, went at lunch time, he would obviously not have seen The King, as he would go there for breakfast. i am prepared to state that had Mike gone in and said "excuse me please i wish to have a breakfast of The King", he would have been presented with a bucket of pieces covered in peanut butter.

and here is Mike himself, enjoying what looks like a fine Shanghai Twister. as Mike did not mention any sort of private booth marked as being for The King, Mike could be sat eating this in the very same seat that The King had sat in a few hours before, eating a bucket of peanut butter covered KFC and calling various Cadillac dealerships!!

finally, an image of how KFC Tomato Sauce looks in Shanghai. it is class that they get an image of The Colonel on the sachet still, all we get is "KFC Tomato Sauce" written on it. what is interesting here is that Mike states that the quality of the tomato sauce is not as good as it could be. there is a very good chance that The King was handed this very sachet and then threw it back, partially because of the low quality but mostly because it was neither peanut butter nor a Cadillac.

my sincerest thanks to Mike for his efforts with this. his credentials for trust and authenticity are impeccable, so this really does, in my opinion, really make great strides towards validating my theory. not that it needs validating.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuppity Tup Tup, Ahoy Sailors!!!

many thanks to Gillian and Grant for the recent deluge of pictures! of all of them, i have of course decided to first show off the ones of one man and his boat.

Grant somehow managed to convince his Dad to bring this rather splendid boat over for him. well, a useful thing really, for as other posts have illustrated, there is indeed water in and around New Zealand.

just a word of warning, Grant - as and when we get around to coming over for a visit, i would suggest that you do not ask us to bring anything of this size and weight for you, as you are most likely just going to be upset and quite possibly offended by the answer. we shall bring you some sharks socks or something!

it looks like an awful lot of effort being made by Grant to get across a magnificent body of water. one can only assume that there are some extra special sheep on the other side.................

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tortoise Fighting....

many (ahem) thanks to my Dad for sending these pictures on. i am not quite sure what my reaction would be if i saw tortoise fighting going on in my garden, but i would presume that grabbing the camera and taking pictures would not feature all that high on such a list of reactions. what would James think??

i see that Marmite is in there, acting as some kind of ref!!

i trust that all interested parties have enjoyed this update!!!

James and the Uniform

hey everyone

James's creche / school has had a wonderful idea in regards of some excellent "matching outfits", otherwise called uniforms, for all the kids. they are quite ace, as you can see!!!

don't read too much into James not being of a mind to smile in these pics - it was late in the day, and he was rather keen to take the hat off. it cost me one Batman lucky packet as it is just to get him to pose for these pictures!!!

oh well, i suppose his Daddy has something of a reputation for not smiling as often as he could too!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

all things DVD

hey everyone

well, James is developing rather well in regards of the technical world of DVD. i would not like to say he is developing at any sort of pace, fast slow or normal, quite frankly - children should develop as they wish; we are here just to help it along a bit.

James is rather happy watching any of his Disney favourites or Batman episodes for an hour or so every day. i took the decision, since he is rather curious about how it all works, to let him start loading the discs into the portable player and letting him press play himself!!

a rather brave decision i suppose, but i figured that the worst that can happen is that he breaks it and, well, he has learnt how one can break a portable player.

well, no breaking so far, although no disc stays on for much longer than 30 seconds thus far. i think he sees a great deal of novelty in being allowed to pick and change discs up to now. yesterday, for instance, i got to hear the theme for The Gummi Bears about 20 times.....

...and today saw an experiment conducted by James, involving the play surface of my beloved Fraggle Rock DVD and the sticky bits of some dinosaur sweeties that he had to clean of his fingers somewhere. the DVD player was having none of it, but at least very kindly didn't break, and just flashed up "unknown disc" as the laser tried to battle away against sticky finger prints!!

i have little or no doubt that the lifespan of my portable DVD player will diminish with every experiment or bit of playing that James chooses to impose on it. oh well, one of those things i guess!!!! he is having fun with it, and all my discs are locked away anyway, so there you go!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who are you calling fish face? The baby ray causing ripples in the marine world with its alien-like smile

With its odd smile and translucent body this creature could be mistaken for a young cousin of one of Doctor Who's adversaries.

In fact it is the underside of a young Thornback ray, pushing itself up the inside of an aquarium.

What appear to be eyes are gill slits, part of the animal's mechanism for breathing. Its real eyes are on top of its body.

Children visiting the Blue Reef Aquarium at Southsea, Hampshire, have remarked on the 5in fish's resemblance to The Last Human, the Doctor Who creature (inset) given voice by Zoe Wanamaker.

The month-old ray is one of 12 hatched from eggs known as "mermaid's purses" as part of a breeding programme.

"Their faces are very distinctive, especially the apparent smile," said a Blue Reef spokesman.

Thornbacks are the most common ray in British waters and can grow up to 4ft in length. Their backs are covered with spines.

The baby rays were all born as part of a captive breeding programme at the aquarium.
They are currently being looked after in a special nursery tank - but once large enough, will join adult Thornbacks and a variety of sharks in a huge, open-top pool.

A Blue Reef spokesman said the babies were proving very popular with visitors.

He said: "Their faces are very distinctive, especially the apparent smile.
"Some people have likened them to an alien or even the 'The Last Human' featured in Doctor Who.

"UK waters are home to up to nine different species including the electric ray and the giant skate which can reach lengths of up to three metres.
"Thornbacks are the most common ray in British waters and can grow up to 1.2 metres in length.

"They are called Thornbacks because their upper body is covered with coarse prickles."

'The Last Human' featured in two episodes of Doctor Who, starring opposite both Christopher Eccleston and current Time Lord David Tennant.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Morrissey - That's How People Grow Up

nice one, my Morrissey 2 x 7", 1 x CD set of That's How People Grow Up arrived yesterday! sorry to anyone who Googled the name of the track here and came looking for a download, i suggest you rather go and purchase it from, they ship pretty much everywhere in the world!

the song itself is, um, standard Morrissey, i guess - not his best work as such, but not his worst either. you may well have heard it already if you live in a land where they play decent new music on the radio (this does not happen in SA), or if you have by chance stumbled upon a site on the interwebnet that has indeed granted you a download.....

the appeal of the singles, however, is the live tracks on the flip side, and track two of the cd single. they are great, in particular the 7" with The Boy With The Thorn In His Side on it. what am i saying? stop reading this, go and buy them, now!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The King - of Batman episodes.....

when not celebrating his new found love of The King, James is always keen to have a gander at one of the classy 1960's TV episodes of Batman.

he has some distinct favourites in this regard - Batman & Robin running, any version of Mr Freeze, The Joker, Bat-Girl ("Bat Man Girl" as James calls her), the Batmobile ("Bat Man Car"), the Batcopter ("Batman elicopta") and the Batladder ("Bat Man adder") being his top list. it is rather handy, then, that one episode covers a number of these; the action crammed 20 minutes that is The Joker's Flying Saucer....

plot? tricky, really. i suspect i will give the whole episode away here, so you have been warned. The Joker has enlisted some sort of mad scientist and some dude who is painted and wearing a great deal of green. the plan would be to scare the world into thinking that earth is under attack by flying around in a flying saucer (devised and fixed up by the mad scientist) and having an actual martian running around, mostly pulling books off the shelves at a library to scare people (the dude painted green).

Batman of course does not believe any of this, but also does not notice the green chap planting a bomb (green, of course) in the Batmobile, causing it and bits of the Batcave to blow up.

Best is the presence of Batgirl. She and Alfred are, for reasons never quite explained, messing about in some sort of Wayne Industries bio-chemical, thermo-nuclear centre, where The Joker goes to steal some oddly named chemicals.

skipping over exactly how they are, Batgirl and Alfred are captured and taken back to The Joker's hangout, get this, a disused rocket launch pad factory. rather than just killing them, The Joker decides to take Alfred into space, and send Batgirl off into the heavens, strapped to a rocket. Alas, foiled again Joker! The massive rocket that Batgirl is tied to needs to be set off by a lit fuse, and Batgirl's anti-fuse device on her bat-girl-belt puts it out at the last second. rather than just taking the bat-girl-belt off, or just shooting her or something, that wise man The Joker decides to take Batgirl on to the flying saucer with them as well. as you would.

Batman and Robin, meanwhile, recover from the wreck in the Batcave 8 hours after the (green) bomb went off, with Batman rather impressively picking up massive boulders to clear the Batmobile of debris to drive off to save the day. the fact that they speed off in the Batmobile is very interesting indeed, as they appear to arrive at the Batcopter upon the Batbike and Batsidecar.

Batman & Robin's efforts are somewhat in vain, however, as it appears the world is saved from whatever the hell it was that The Joker was going to do with the flying saucer by Alfred. how does Alfred save the day? an odd mixture of talking into his handkerchief and a tracking or homing device that he assures all he placed somewhere on the flying saucer.

OK, i have pretty much given the whole episode here, but if you get the chance, you just have to watch this one. it was one of the ones towards the end of the tv series, and boy does it show!!

James, however, loves it to bits. i mean really loves it. i hope he gets bored of it soon....

as for now, until the same bat time, on the same bat interwebnet channel page,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

uppy birthday da dada

wow, i hit 35 today!! quite a few people appeared to have forgotten this little nugget of information, but never mind, those that did recall made it a rather special day indeed!

highlight of the day was easily when i got home. it had been a particularly lousy day at verk followed by an hour or so in traffic, so it was with great delight that i saw Michele in the doorway holding a plate with three cup cakes with candles in them, and James stood, quasi-choir boy like, singing "uppy birthday da dada" with all his heart.

that, quite frankly, was gift enough, but Michele had selected some awesome presents, and James did an equally awesome job of opening them all up for me!! what did i get??

the deluxe, "uber" special edition of This Is Elvis was a very pleasant surprise. not only is it an almost perfect film about The King (they for some reason seem to suggest he is dead in it?), but it was perfect when James opened it up for me and started singing and dancing, shouting "Yaaaaaay! Elvis!". at last, it seems, James has truly accepted the magnificence of The King!!

i am not sure when i will get the time to sit down and watch the whole of the double disc set, in particular as i still have the Elvis - That's The Way It is "uber" set to watch, but with James' new found love of The King, i am optimistic about a screening of a least some of it at the weekend!!

now for me, Angel Heart is an astonishing masterpiece. very few seem to agree. i recall watching a retrospective on the director, Alan Parker, some 6 - 7 years after it was made, and the film didn't even get a mention in passing. i think it was that poncy tripe The South Bank Show, but that is no excuse.

if you have not seen this masterpiece, you should consider seeing it as soon as possible. but be warned, it is rather dark and pretty much without rival to this day in regards of graphic content. it's rather difficult to give much of a reason for watching it without giving the plot, and to give the plot could well spoil the experience. the best i can offer is that it is probably the closest anything in the 80's came to being like The Usual Suspects, although considerably darker and more disturbing.

De Niro still appeared to care about "acting" in this one, and it is easily the best work Mickey Rourke has done. and, for the tabloid loving scandal types, i seem to recall that this was the film that got Lisa Bonet sacked from the rather family orientated Cosby Show!!

Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan does that same trick that The Empire Strikes Back did - a second film in a sci-fi series that easily surpassed the standard and quality of the first, and then in no way did the series ever get this good again.

Star Trek II is an actual, proper film - strange as it is a "sequel" to one of the TV series episodes, but it somehow pulls it off, even if you have never seen an episode from the 60's. it's loaded with drama, suspense, actions, thrills and yes, effects - they still look good today. dear me, if memory serves correct, William Shatner, that's William Shatner, is rather impressive here in the role that made him who he is. as indicated, the remainder of the Star Trek films had to live under the shadow of this masterpiece - there was no way they could compete, and it was not long until they stopped even trying to. which is why i look forward to watching this one again!!

i have no idea when exactly i will find the time to sit and watch these, or the whole of Seinfeld which i now own (nice one Michele, thanks xxx). i shall, as it were, find the time somewhere. it's not like i need to sleep at weekends, i guess!!

thank you to all of you who sent on birthday wishes!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aliens v Predator : Requiem

for some reason a rather large number of fanboys and various other interwebnet types could not bring themselves to enjoy Alien vs Predator for what it was. i am not exactly sure what all expected, but for me it was an enjoyable enough action romp, with a halfway decent cast and enough Alien & Predator action to keep me amused for 90 or so minutes.

those who complained and moaned about it were perhaps in a minority; it apparently did enough business to warrant a sequel in the form of Aliens vs Predator : Requiem. we got to watch it last night, and in short it is more of the same, only slightly more violent.

the comments below the poster could well contain *** SPOILERS ***, so you have been warned!

the first thing you note is that this one starts pretty much where A v P left off, which is a splendid thing - all too often sequels in this genre ignore that which has been before it. the first thing of consequence you note, however, is the fact that the cast is comprised of a bunch of people you have never heard of. gone, specifically obviously and in general calibre-wise, are the likes of Lance Henriksen and Ewen Bremner, here are several unknowns. alas, the acting talents of these unknows is, shall we say, limited. how limited? around the half way mark of the film i was kind of hoping that Gary Busey's character out of Predator 2 might get reincarnated and appear here. yep, that bad.

plot? tricky. the Predator ship from the first one manages to crash land back on earth, thanks in no small part to the arrival onboard of this much celebrated "Predalien" creature, a rather nasty looking hybrid of the two species.

the aliens on earth go on a breeding frenzy, taking out people in what i think is some sort of small town in Colorado, USA.

another Predator, i believe called "Wolf", is monitoring all of this pack on the Planet of the Predators. he appears to take umbridge with this development, and thus belts off to earth to go and sort the whole thing out. needless to say the people of this town in Colorado (or wherever it is) get to bear the brunt of the Alien and Predator activities.

by no means is Aliens vs Predator : Requiem a bad film. the poor acting is assisted by the fact that the makers have decided to get rid of most of the "human drama" element in favour of things, aliens, predators and people being sliced, diced and otherwise blown up.

the ending is a bit of an oddity, and i stress the *** SPOILER WARNING *** again. if they nuked the whole town, why would they trouble themselves to save, rather than shoot, the handful of survivors? also, they leave the door open for a curious sequel, although i suppose they did do that with the first one too. the way the first one was left, however, is not as confusing as how this one ends! i believe this will be it for revelations, so *** SPOILER WARNING END*** !!!!!

so how does it slot in with all the other films? it goes without saying that it is not as good as Alien, Aliens or Predator. it is, however, a far more enjoyable experience that Alien 3, and it can feel no shame in a head to head battle with Predator 2.

if all you want to do is moan and complain that it is "not the film you wanted to see", then don't go and see it. if, however, you are an action sci-fi fan with 90 minutes spare, you could do a lot worse than check this film out!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Air Cute & Dada's Shirt

hey everyone

Friday was the day of verk's annual shavathon, as it were, where we all either shave our heads or get them coloured in an exotic manner to raise funds for the Cancer Association of SA. as you can see from this, i got the full shave treatment; just look at this compared to the pics from Valentine's Day the day before!

further, i am delighted to report that James and i are pictured here dancing away to Elvis - Alloah From Hawaii. yes!! at last, James has started to show a love for the music and the performances of The King!!!

my good friend Mervin, alas, has said that he was upset, disappointed and a little hurt that i did not consult him before this image change, no matter what good a cause it was all for. he has thus declared the magic between us over. oh well. James likes it, as you can see here!!

it is rather pleasant to hear James speak of my haircut; he just says "Dada got new air cute", which gets added to the lengthy list of wonderful things he has said to us since he started talking!

it's not just the air cute that he likes either - he took rather a shine to my t-shirt, and was insistent on giving it a try!

he's a bit small to be taking Daddy's shirts at the moment, but it is flattering that in his eyes i seem to have good taste!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


well, i am not sure what you did with your cousin or cousins on Valentine's Day, and i do not really wish to know. however, i am delighted to report that James and cousin Lyla spent Valentine's Day morning happily brushing teeth!!

James gets very excited about brushing his teeth - nice one, i trust that he takes better dental care than his Mummy & Daddy do! you will note that he appears to have two toothbrushes on the go here - go figure! Lyla seems to be rather taking a shine to brushing teeth too. perhaps if as adults we all used class Barney or other sorts of Disney toothbrushes, we would take better care of our pearly (used to be) whites?

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Indy IV Trailer Online

hey everyone

well, most people will have already discovered the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull trailer online by now i suppose, but for those of you who have not, here it is!!

Indy IV Trailer (160MB)

is it any good? well, at just under two minutes, half of it seems to be dedicated to a recap of the first three Indiana Jones films. then again, the glimpses of the new film in the second half of the trailer suggest that this will indeed be well worth seeing!


Friday, February 15, 2008

tell it like it is!!


IF Britain wants to pay more than £15 for a DVD player then it may as well just go ahead and boycott the Beijing Olympics, the prime minister said last night.

Mr Brown stressed that although the Chinese had failed to exert their influence in a bid to halt the violence in Darfur, they had produced a slimline DVD player with a really impressive range of features, for what could only be described as 'silly money'.
The prime minister added: "It's multi-region, it's got progressive scan - whatever that is - and it's got a 'zoom' function. For fifteen quid!
"But if you want to go back to the dark days of paying £25 or even £30 for some piece of stone-age Taiwanese crap, then be my guest."

Meanwhile China's 25 million prisoners of conscience have confirmed they will not be attending the summer games, mainly because they are all in jail for not loving communism.

Li Fung-Choo, serving 18 years for whistling a Perry Como song, said: "While the world focuses on China's failure to intervene in Darfur, I have to admit I'm slightly more focused on their failure to let me go to the toilet."

His cell-mate Zhen Lao-Jing, sentenced to life for watching The Color Purple, added: "The Darfur situation is vexing. I would write a letter, but unfortunately someone has just attached a car battery to my privates.

"But by all means do bring your foreign currency to Beijing and watch some steroid addicts chase each other round a football pitch."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Message To Love

hey everyone

well, whatever you did on this Day of Valentine, i certainly hope you enjoyed it! at verk we had a rather splendid breakfast thingie, with crossaints, orange juice and everything. there were some prizes and what not too, all in good fun.

arguably the highlight of the day for me (at verk) was receiving a Valentine's Day card from my good friend and respected colleague, Mr Mervin Fraser. he offered to give me considerably more than a card too, believe me. mindful of the fact that he had just watched Let's Go To Prison this week, i declined as politely as one can with Mervin. all is not lost, however, and i invite you to enjoy this wonderful picture.

and, for those of you who prefer a more conventional image for Valentine's Day, i was persuaded to pose for this picture. and yes, when i say "i was persuaded", i did manage to persuade these fine ladies to stand with me. i did allow (encourage) them to touch me, mind!

any pics of Michele and i on Valentine's Day? well, i have not taken any yet, and if i did, i would imagine they will not be of a nature fit to put here, thank you!!

i did almost get James to say "happy Valentine's Day" to Michele and to Grandma - 'valentine' came out sounding something like "bulentide", which in itself is a rather pleasant sounding word i guess!!!

be most excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There's No One Quite Like Grandma! (And Grandad!) (And Marmite!) (And Chocolate!)

hey everyone

a touch late, for which you have my apologies, but here are some pictures of James and Lyla helping Grandma celebrate her return from New Zealand, and indeed her birthday!!

here's Lyla and James making a grand old mess with Grandad with some of Woolies' finest chocolate dip thingies!

and here they are all trying to pose at once! where there is chocolate, usually there is always Marmite too, and Grandad usually is very very helpful in "just giving a try" to some of it!!

Lyla has not quite made a mess of herself with the chocolate here like she did with that most excellent chocolate birthday cake here, but as you can see she is well on her way to getting there!

and here's one of the young man happily chewing away on one of the dipping biscuits. James has himself, Batman, chocolate and Grandma all in this one picture, it should be one of his all time favourites!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!