Wednesday, January 28, 2009

belated birthday pictures

hey everyone

well, i did think it was rather strange that we didn't get any pictures of James' birthday party at school back in December! with all sorts going on i never queried it, but as chance would have it they found some on the computer today and sent them on!!!

it's rather odd looking at "new" pics of him with his long-ish hair, even though it's less than a month since he had his "air cute" as he calls it!

he was rather taken with his Superman cake, i would be rather surprised if he didn't put up something of a fight about letting anyone else have some of it!!!!

anyway, a very nice blast from the past! of course, if you are wondering, in the world of James Superman is now old fashioned and "just so last year". the current love, i am delighted to report, is a little known series of films which all bear the title Star Wars..................

may the force be with you!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

on the throne

hello again

well, i wasn't too sure on these pictures appearing here really, but Michele seemed to find them as funny as i do, so here we go!

James has more or less got the hang of this "going to the bathroom" business; i dare say he has less "accidents" than most of us adults, really. in his wisdom, he more or less decided to skip trying out a potty first, instead opting to use the same loo as Mummy and Daddy, but with a "trainer seat".

the training seat didn't last long at all, and so one gets to see a rather interesting balancing act / disappearing trick every time James feels a call of nature!

wisely, it has to be said, James has discovered that the bathroom is an ideal place to catch up on some reading. it is remarkable that he somehow keeps his balance and holds and reads his beloved Batman book!

well done son, i imagine it won't be long before when you are at Grandma and Grandad's you will be taking Grandad's racing page off with you to the loo!!

and, of course, at home whenever i am missing one of my books or magazines, i guess i will know where to look!

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

an afternoon nap

hey everyone

well, i am trying my best to teach James the simple and important pleasures of life. one of those would most certainly be an afternoon nap on a nippy Saturday afternoon, in particular after a hectic shopping trip to spend our pocket money on a 'Green Latern' statue and book.

as James and Daddy had taken occupation of our two couches, Mummy was allowed to roam free for an hour or so, and decided to spend some of the time capturing the moment with the camera.

now, sensitive souls might want to proceed with caution before looking at the picture of me asleep!

i note that i didn't get any warm milk to drink to go with my nap!!

pleasant dreams, and be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lego Batman

hey everyone

well, one of the most ace presents i got for Christmas was the magnificent Lego Batman game for my rarely used PlayStation 2 from Mum and Dad. James, however, has decided that Grandma and Grandad in fact got him this game for his new-ish, rarely used PlayStation 2!

every day, if he's been a (by his standards) reasonably good boy, James gets to mess around with Batman, Robin, Bat Girl and all his other favourites for about half an hour or so before bath and bed time.

i could spin you some sort of tale about how it improves eye-hand co-ordination, gets him used to working with computers and all that stuff, i suppose. i imagine it does do some good like that, but the important thing is that James has enormous fun with it!

well, it looks like enormous fun at least. we rarely get to have a go at it ourselves, unless he gets really stuck with something. normally it's best to just leave him to get on with it, but every now and then it doesn't hurt to try and pinch the controller off him.......

....but you rarely get away with it!

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

Friday, January 16, 2009

Patrick McGoohan

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

there's not a great deal to prove by suggesting anything else - Patrick McGoohan, sadly deceased this week, will always be remembered as the iconic Number Six in the fantastic series The Prisoner. it's not like Mr McGoohan would have had all that much of an issue with this anyway, he knew that he had created something special and dazzling with the show, and was rightly proud of it.

he was of course never short of great in anything he did. outside of The Prisoner, i shall remember him fondly as the warden in the great Escape From Alcatraz, in which he went toe to toe with Clint Eastwood and pulled it off where so many others had failed. and, for what it's worth, Patrick McGoohan was the one redeeming feature of the otherwise awful, wildly inaccurate Mel Gibson offering Braveheart. watching him in that makes you just wish he would have played King Lear somewhere along the line.

there's not much more i can add, so i will leave it to the fine tribute from the BBC

Emmy-winning actor Patrick McGoohan, best known for starring in cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80.

He died in Los Angeles after a short illness, his film producer son-in-law Cleve Landsberg told Associated Press.

McGoohan played the character Six in the surreal 1960s show, filmed in the north Wales village of Portmeirion.

He won two Emmy awards for his work on TV detective series Columbo, playing different characters.
The first came for an episode of the series in 1974, with another 16 years later.

The screen star also won a Bafta award for best television actor in 1959 for his role in The Greatest Man In The World, a one-off drama in ITV's Armchair Theatre series.

In more recent years, McGoohan played King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film Braveheart

The actor, who was born in New York and raised in England and Ireland, came to screen prominence in TV series Danger Man, in which he played a secret service agent. The programme later aired as Secret Agent in the US.

He was later considered for the role of James Bond for the movie Dr No.
But McGoohan was chiefly associated with cult ITV drama The Prisoner, writing some of the episodes himself under a different name.

His character spent the entire time attempting to escape from The Village and finding out the identity of his captor, the elusive Number One.

He repeatedly declared: "I am not a number - I am a free man!"
In 2000, McGoohan reprised his most famous role in an episode of The Simpsons.

be seeing you................

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Avatar - are you ready to yawn?

hey everyone

of the films on the way in 2009, the one which is the most desperate to attract any sort of attention is Avatar, a film which marks the return of James Cameron. the return of James Cameron to making films is something which they want you to get all excited about. in fairness we should be, but as it turns out not all that many are.

film lovers should be excited about a new James Cameron project, but he tends to make it difficult for one to do this. Cameron is responsible for two of the greatest films of the 80's, the masterpiece that was The Terminator and the brilliant Aliens. after those two films, however, it seems to have all gone somewhat pearshaped.

Terminator 2, whilst boasting some of the greatest special effects in the history of cinema, illustrated that Cameron had no realisation or appreciation for the mythology he unleashed in the first Terminator film. it was quite something for us to buy The Terminator as a reprogrammed "good guy", but the notion of a Terminator not killing / "terminating" people, a pledge to that effect and other lame lines like "hasta la vista" was all a bit too much to swallow.

after that we got The Abyss, a none too bad sci-fi romp, but one that should have been visually stunning. it wasn't, with Cameron's camera perpetually focused on his fancy effects, and no breathtaking, vast illustration of the actual abyss of the film. if Ridley Scott had made this one, no doubt it would have been a masterpiece.

True Lies was mildly amusing and enjoyable when it wasn't busy telling you that they were doing all the things that had never been done in a James Bond film. and then we get to Titanic. whatever merits and faults the film has, everyone who saw it more or less regretted doing so after the Oscars, when Cameron gave his embarrassing "king of the world" acceptance speech, only to go into his demeaning, patronizing moment of silence for the "victims of the Titanic". he wisely climbed into a hole and out of public sight after that debacle.

and now James Cameron is back. he hasn't been away all that long - in the last ten years he did host a rather good documentary on 2001 and, if i recall, babbled something or other about finding "the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth", although the documentary he promised about it has yet to surface.

the plot and what have you of Avatar is all rather sketchy; something about a band of humans fighting aliens. what Cameron has spoken of about the project, however, is enough to dampen any excitement. yet again he speaks enthusiastically about the technology - the effects in the film, the 3D filming - and barely a word on the actors, script or plot. oh dear.

to make things worse, just have a look at one of the first images released of the film :

yes, that's right, it is a bed. a bed. a futuristic, vision of the future bed perhaps, but a bed all the same. doesn't this just remind you of how the makers of the greatly anticipated Matrix sequel, Matrix Reloaded, got all enthusastic about the fact that they had built their own stretch of highway for the film? i am not sure how excited we were all supposed to get about 8 or so miles of concrete, but i do know that the film was a major disappointment. the few bits we know of Avatar suggest that we are heading the same way with this one.

if i'm wrong and Avatar turns out to be a masterpiece (i would settle for watchable at this stage), i'll confess as much here. as Ridley Scott seems to have moved away from sci-fi and Spielberg has become hit-and-miss (Minority Report a hit, War Of The Worlds a dodgy miss) the world could really do with James Cameron coming along and lifting the genre. methinks, however, that by the time Avatar hits the cinema, we shall all have been so dazzled by Star Trek and, tellingly, Terminator Salvation that this one will just go down as an obscure footnote in cinema.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tales Of An Ancient Empire

well, so what if this film is coming out some 27 or 28 years after it was promised at the end of the magnificent film The Sword And The Sorcerer? the rumours were around last year that Tales Of An Ancient Empire was finally going to get made, and the purpose of this post is to show off the pictures that mean it is getting made! nice one!

there's no sign yet of any of the original cast, but the stories are that Lee Horsely will reprise the role of Talon in this highly anticipated follow up. clearly he won't be the central character anymore, but it will be ace if he's there!

even if Talon doesn't feature, well, as long as it is rip-roaring good fun like the first film, who's really going to grumble about it? the pictures all suggest that there's going to be the same mix of swordplay and magic on the go, as well as the apparent addition of vampires.

there's not been a picture of the three bladed Sword of Talon released as of yet, but you can understand them not showing off everything at once. if they wish for the film to be well supported, and they don't wish my brother Richard to come and pay them a visit to "discuss" the matter, then they had better have it in the film!

no picture either of Christopher Lambert, who is supposed to be appearing in it. this is according to rumours that have stemmed from the writer/director at least. it would be class if he turned up in it.

the bad news for me, my brother Richard and all over lovers of The Sword And The Sorcerer would be that the promised 2009 release date is looking increasingly likely to be moved to 2010. we all want to see this as soon as possible (we've only waited since 1983 or 1984 for it), but i suppose we're lucky to be getting it at all, a few months won't make that much difference.

well, there you have it. it looks as cheap yet not tacky as the original film did, which is no bad thing. as long as they go with onscreen effects rather than computer stuff i think us fans will be delighted with it, or at the least go and see it with an open mind.

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

Thursday, January 08, 2009

for all your shopping requirements

hey everyone

well, if you browse the official site of The King, you will find that the store section sells just about every item you could ever think of, and then a few more.

i do believe that the item below is getting bought for James!

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

birthday wishes

hey everyone

well, today is a fantastic day of celebration in the world of quality music, is it not?

first up, today is the birthday of The King

there are many, many celebrations around the world to mark the event, but the centrepiece of these celebrations would be the party being held at Graceland. if you visit the official site of The King you can watch a video feed thingie of the celebrations as they get underway. i believe the party is scheduled to last for 3 days, which is a most fitting tribute to The King.

by a quirk of fate, The King is not the only fine singer celebrating today

happy birthday, Mr David "Derek" Bowie. if you felt the need to make some new music to celebrate, well, i dare say us fans would not object.

James is very excited about these birthdays, mostly because it means we have some cake tonight!!!

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

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Handy Mani

hey everyone

well, when James started getting all excited about wanting to see someone called Mani, those of you who know me will know exactly how much pride and joy i sensed. initially, i had no idea where or when he had heard of the great Gary "Mani" Mounfield, the king of the bass players, the groove of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream. nonetheless, i was rather looking forward to playing either The Stone Roses or Vanishing Point on the stereo, with James and i getting down to the sounds.

there was a certain amount of disappointment, then, when it turned out that the Mani which James was so enthusastic about was in fact Manny, or rather Handy Manny, some show that he had caught by chance on the Disney channel.

Handy Manny doesn't quite feature as much bass excellence as i would have hoped, but nonetheless it's not too abad show. Manny seems to spend his days going around town with a magical talking, walking set of tools, fixing various things for little or no payment. nice work if you can get it.

nice one James - after we have got him all that we can of Batman, Superman, Charlie & Lola, Numberjacks and Winnie The Pooh it's great to know that you will strive to keep us on our toes and find further favourites to watch!

let's hope that someone somewhere clocks that a show called Handy Mani would be a winner. i think it would be a quality, class and highly educational show, featuring Mani wandering around the world and assisting bands and the like with any bass related issues or emergencies. now, i am not sure how many bass incidents there could be for Mani to come in and solve, but i dare say someone could come up with a series' worth of adventures. for a start it would seem that The Rolling Stones and The Who do not have a full time bass player as such, so there's two quality adventures for him!

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

Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

well, here's a great start to 2009 on the vibes side of things - the magnificent online store record store has the new Moz single, I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris, available in a 2 CD Single, 1 7" Single deal for a mere five pounds (plus another five pounds sterling to have it shipped anywhere in the world).

Mr Morrissey has done his usual trick, in so much as this lead single isn't perhaps the best song from the forthcoming Years Of Refusal album. still, it's a quality Moz tune, and the extras on the discs are second to none. one of the b-sides is a duet with Ms Hynde out of The Pretenders, and there's a live recording of the classic Smiths song Death Of A Disco Dancer.

if you choose to enrich and improve your life buy purchasing the latest offering from Morrissey, nice one!

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

Monday, January 05, 2009

Elevator company launches new lift which arrives quicker the more you press the button

The Otis Elevator Company have announced the introduction of radical new technology in their latest range of lifts which actually increases the response time of the lift the more you press the call button. Following extensive consumer research, the company identified a niche in the market as elevators across the world were reported to be completely ignoring repetitive hole pressing.

The new technology, called Pronto, uses a patented ‘impatience accelerator engine’ to increase the speed of the lift depending on how hard and how often the call button is pushed. It also has a built in voice recognition facility which responds to the phrases ‘Come on, come on!’ and ‘For God’s sake!’

The new smart lifts can also recognize the fingerprint of people who are not welcome at the building, and will repeatedly offer them lifts going in the opposite direction to the one requested, or will sometimes just close the lift doors and then open them again on the same floor.

‘We want to take lift technology to the next level’ said the inventor of the Pronto software. ‘We are bored with just installing security cameras and then watching footage of people squeezing their blackheads in the lift mirrors.’

The technology is also being adapted for Pedestrian Light-Controlled Crossings, where a camera will monitor approaching cars, and will only turn the lights red if the pedestrians have already crossed during a gap in the traffic.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

the new Superman?

hey everyone

well, regular readers of my musings will be all too aware that James currently is rather taken with the wonders of Superman. the music, films and cartoons are all currently the best thing in the world ever for James, with the exception of the odd break for something called Handy Manny on the Disney channel.

so, when James was kindly sent some pocket money for Christmas by his great Grandma and Gramps, there wasn't really much else that James wanted other than his very own Superman outfit!

now, i don't recall any of the films featuring Superman just lazing about on the couch, but that seems to be the ideal thing for James in his outfit!

ho hum, rather this than him trying to fly! on that note, i think James has clocked that it's only Superman that can actually fly. it could have been an incident like that Jerry Seinfeld routine of course. you know, the one where Jerry is impressed with the warning on the Superman outfit box that one cannot fly whilst wearing it; "as if there is a kid that thinks the outfit would make him be able to fly, but takes the time to check that on the warnings on the box".

sorry again for the less than perfect quality of the pictures - James was having none of posing for pictures, so i had to snap away quickly. the "bleach" look is probably caused by the bright sun outside not going down too well with me leaving the flash on!!

so far all efforts we have made to get James to change out of his class Superman outfit have failed. oh well, he's happy for the moment, so fingers crossed that we can get him to slip on something less Krypton heavy after he's had a bath!!

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

Who is the new Dr Who?

hey everyone

well, the rejuvenated Dr Who has managed to recreate the excitement of what happens as and when the actor playing the lead role decides to depart. who will be the new Dr Who has long been a popular question amongst TV fans, one perhaps on a par with the most famous of all, "who shot JR?".

Christopher Ecclestone was amazing as the first of the "new" Doctor Who series, and he looked a tough act to follow. thankfully, the magnificent David Tennant, known and loved by those of us who were taken with him in the brilliant series Blackpool, was a revelation in the part. taking a "now or never" approach, this fine actor has opted out of the role, leaving a big void to fill.

and who have they got to replace him? well, somewhat wisely seeing the massive expectations that would go along with a big, established star taking the part, the BBC have gone with he who you assume must have given the best audition and account of themselves - step forward the relatively unknown Matt Smith.

i had never heard of this lad, i must confess. he has a pretty impressive stage repertoire thus far (see below), and he certainly looks like he could do a fine job in the role - i mean, have a good look, he appears as some sort of intellectual cross between Denis Leary and Malcolm McDowell. that would be perfect for the role in my books!

casting the right lead role is half the battle - let's just hope that they give him as many decent episodes as the two actors before him. anyway, here's a bit from the BBC's biog of the lad, published to coincide with his announcement of the role.

Who on earth is Matt Smith?

Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take on the role of TV's most famous time traveller.
He may be the youngest actor to play the Doctor, but Smith has already built up an impressive CV on stage and the small screen.

His biggest television role has been in BBC Two's political drama Party Animals (2007) in which he played parliamentary researcher Danny Foster.

He has also acted opposite Doctor Who star Billie Piper three times.
Smith's TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, which starred Piper as Sally Lockhart.

He later reprised his role as Jim Taylor - the dogsbody at the Lockhart and Selby shipping firm - in The Shadow in the North (2007).
The actor's stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as London's Royal Court and National Theatre.

He is now following in the footsteps of one of the most popular actors ever to play the Doctor.

David Tennant has said Smith's "life is about to change in so many ways".
One of these will be getting used to the intense media and fan interest that comes with such a role.

Friday, January 02, 2009

stereo installation in 10 minutes. give or take an hour

hi there

well, as alluded to in an earlier post, my beloved CD shuttle finally packed in after some 10 years and two cars worth of mostly excellent service. fortunately, i am blessed with many technical, "know how" friends at verk, and the young lad Jayson (the one with the least hair in the pics below) took me off to purchase a new Mr Vibes device, as well as offering to install it in "no more than ten minutes".

ahem, owing to the rather peculiar way the last one had appeared to have been installed, it took slightly longer than ten minutes to put in. actually, it didn't - it was less than five minutes to put the new one in, but it took the lads 30 or so to get the old one out!

here's Nassie and Jayson proudly hacking away at the dashboard thingie in the car in an attempt to get the old one out.

it might have gone slightly quicker had Jayson not stopped every minute or so to tackle my stash of sweets, as well as ask if he could keep random items that he had "discovered" in the glove compartment. why exactly he was looking in the glove compartment as part of installing the stereo remains something of a mystery, but nonetheless he was thrilled with the cigarette lighter he found and kept.

Nassie, meanwhile, was delighted to be using just about every tool he had in his most impressive toolbox as he slaved away to get the old one out and the new one in, as it were.

thank you, lads, the car looks more or less as it was at the start, and the stereo works fine. in regards of the former observation, the car perhaps looks better than when the venture started, as Jayson made me throw all the rubbish out before he was prepared to get into it!

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

surprise visitors

hey everyone

my good friend Jason Van Der Vorst, or "Betrand" to those in the know, is an interesting man with many strings to his bow. it is not everyone, for instance, who whilst on Christmas holiday would visit not only verk, but a verk building that they no longer work in.

how fortunate that he did, though, as it meant we were all able to see the delightful young Erin as she approaches her 1st birthday!

nice one Jason! i am sure you are at the top of the lengthy list of folk who are delighted that she has her mothers' looks. and intelligence.....

this, by the way, marks the first time i have use the phone thingie built into my phone. well, it's the first intentional use, i have discovered that i have taken several snaps of my fingers and the floor by accident!

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

Terminator Salvation - looking better and better

hey everyone

it's hard to believe that there are still people out there who do not think that Terminator Salvation looks awesome. as far as i am concerned it looks like being the best of 2009, or at least the most anticipated.

the two trailers (offering less than 3 minutes of footage between them) and the astonishing animated poster (google it!) all suggest that they are on the right track to make a classic Terminator film, and the images they release all scream "cool". like these two new ones!

Christian Bale is living a charmed life, is he not? i mean, he's a great actor and everything, but how did he get so lucky as to play Patrick Bateman, Bruce Wayne / Batman and John Connor? the only things missing from his filmography at this stage are the parts of a Jedi and perhaps Bond, the latter of which you wouldn't be at all surprised to see him in within the next ten or so years.

the odd Terminator "purists" (ie picky types who just won't let themselves enjoy it) are still bemoaning the lack of Arnold in it. no one knows for certain that he isn't in it, mind - there's many reports of him being on the set, so we shall see.

never mind the moans and groans of sad cases, i hope you, like me, can't wait for this one to hit the cinema!

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

precious moments

hey everyone

i took James through to Grandma and Grandad this morning. to mark the dawn of the new year, and my new car stereo (the beloved shuttle finally gave up), i made a new disc of all of James' favourites, including the theme from Superman.

it was rather special, driving the rather empty streets of Johannesburg at seven in the morning, both of us humming "da-dadahadada, dum dum dum, da-dadahdada da da da".

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

back to the future

well, it looks like everyone else has just about given up on any significant amount of decent new music being created since we have the return of the original Now That's What I Call Music, this time on a shiny CD!

i seem to recall that we got this for Dad on vinyl (the format on which it should be heard) for Christmas 1983! does it hold up today? well, have a look at the tracklisting :

disc 1
1. You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins
2. Is There Something I Should Know - Duran Duran
3. Red Red Wine [edit] - UB40
4. Only For Love - Limahl
5. Temptation [edit] - Heaven 17
6. Give It Up - KC & The Sunshine Band
7. Double Dutch - Malcolm McLaren
8. Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
9. Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
10. Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
11. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
12. Moon Light Shadow - Mike Oldfield
13. Down Under [radio edit] - Men At Work
14. Hey You The Rocksteady Crew [1983 recording] - Rocksteady Crew
15. Baby Jane - Rod Stewart
16. Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) - Paul Young

disc 2
1. Candy Girl - New Edition
2. Big Apple - Kajagoogoo
3. Let's Stay Together [edit] - Tina Turner
4. Keep Feeling Fascination - Human League (The)
5. New Song - Howard Jones
6. Please Don't Make Me Cry - UB40
7. Tonight I Celebrate My Love - Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack
8. They Don't Know - Tracey Ullman
9. Kissing With Confidence - Will Powers
10. That's All [edit] - Genesis
11. Love Cats - Cure (The)
12. Waterfront - Simple Minds
13. Sun And The Rain - Madness
14. Victims - Culture Club

there's only a handful of tracks which wouldn't be considered classics today featured. as you lament the lack of originality, creativity and just plain old fun in most of the music being churned out today, why not pick this one up and remember a time when music meant something!!

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