Monday, June 30, 2014

exciting situations

hi there

well, as promised, i shall do all that i can to update you on the adventure my pod of i that is in perfect hibernation is going to embark on. i would say we are now at phase 1, but that depends entirely on where one starts, i suppose.

was phase 1 getting the iPod off of my Dad when he got another? was it when it packed up? or was it when i decided to ship it regardless of it not working, tempting the Somali pirates with it, it being all shiny and all? perhaps phase 1 proper, then, was when i pulled it out of storage, so it can embark on its great, fantastic journey of possible use in England.

this is the best picture i could get of the place where it has commenced phase whatever to be repaired. it might look like that it is called Trade Nation, but it is not. sorry, people were doing that English thing of looking at me with comtempt and disdain. well, they do that anyway, but it increases somewhat when i try and take random pictures. 

it was all very exciting, really, handing it in. the dude who helped me was in fact not a dude, but a lady. she sort of looked at the pod of i and expressed the view that she had not seen such a model as the one i had before, and was unsure if it could even be mended or have a bit of a fiddle done to it. she consulted some books, and the answer was in fact that it could. it seems, however, that it is sat on the threshold of models that can currently be mended, so this is very much it for the device. the estimate for repairs, at this stage, is £35. 

a perspective on that price? sure. you can get a second hand model the same as mine that is off for repairs for around £40 or so. you can also get a shiny small Nano, with a touch screen and that, for around £45, assuming you are fine with whatever "grade c quality" is. also, i have no use at all for this iPod, except maybe to put it in the dock, then use the touch one as i wander around. maybe even get one of them armband things for it, you know - go the whole distance and look like a full on twat with it.

pointless, perhaps, it is to get this fixed, look you see. but it is not. my Dad gave it to me, after all. also it must be 9 or 10 years old, which is some 3 times longer than Apple like their equipment to work for, encouraging you to buy more. so i like prolonging the life of their product.

they reckon repairs take a week or so, so do bear with me on the update front. when you know it will be, look you see, because i know and have remembered to write something here.

another exciting situation for you, since i went all plural in the title. it's not particularly exciting to me, but some readers based in New Zealand may like it.

yes, indeed, this picture was taken within the pizzazz and glamour of the bus station. the focus you have should very much indeed be all on, as far as you wish, the bus that is sort of central.

yes. it features an advert for the film of Mrs Brown's Boys, or if you like, and the advertisers certainly do, Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie. it is not something that particularly interests or excites me, although James saw an advert for it on television and said that it looks really rather funny. i suspect, then, that he might have developed, or be developing, a sense of humour not a million miles away from his Grandad.

it is, of course, his Grandad that will find the idea of this film exciting. he will, no doubt, think the idea of a massive image of Mrs Brown on the side of a double decker bus brilliant. to that end, then, here's the best edit and enlarge that i can do.

i suspect that the film, like the Alan Partridge one, will not get much in the way of an international release, or otherwise be released internationally if that is how you prefer the way your words to fall. i would imagine the DVD will be out towards the end of the year, so yes Dad, i will get it and send it as soon as i can.

these situations may well not have been situations, and i suspect they were not, whatever they are, all that exciting. ah, erm, oops.

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

the 49p DVD

hi there

as regular readers shall be aware - their regularity presumably driven by some futile hope that i may, even by accident, write something that meets the criteria of consequence or interest - i quite like this one shop where they sell DVDs off ever so cheap every now and then. a load of boxes of them, they have, look you see. by cheap i mean, as the title here says, 49p. why so cheap? because they just come in them plastic envelope things, the boxes somehow or other missing.

for all the classic films i find there - and i speak of The Lost Boys, as well as the whole series (season, dear American readers) of South Park what has ManBearPig in it, i do find some gems of rubbish. it is, and this shall be no surprise, the rubbish that i tend to watch rather than the classics.

 which is how i came to watch Berserker The Nordic Curse.

the disc, as you can see, promises much. yes, that is the hint of an 18 certificate there, which should promise violence and nudity. that's a bear, right there, growling at a lady in distress. this film should be awesome.

i should probably do one of them scrolling "spoiler warning" things here, but the film is just not worth the effort. consider, if you must, anything after this spoiler-ish. as for a short review, i refer you to the learned gentry of IMDB, where the collective wisdom of viewers give it a 3.9 out of 10 rating. that is about 0.6 higher than the average Steven Seagal or Wesley Snipes straight-to-bargain-bin-DVD film gets, and is just about right.

i am not desecrating my PC by putting this DVD in it to get screen grabs; you can all just made do with pictures what i have taken as i watched it.

it starts off sort of interesting, with what i think was supposed to be a viking ship landing in the land that came to be known as America. in the 10th century, no less, according to the credits. it was probably around then that they said what the curse was, but i wasn't paying attention.

anyway, skips ahead to modern day, blah blah blah, some kids go camping at a lake thing, which is apparently what all American kids do all the time, going on the films.

yes, i agree, the above scene was perfect for some potential nudie dudie rudie stuff, but none happened. a major disappointment that. this scene being as dull as it seems - except watching it gives you the pleasure of some nonedescript 80s hair metal band doing some music - had me suspecting that the 18 certificate was highly misleading.

i decided to push ahead with the film, and the film pushed right ahead with being dull. a scene that could have been tense and erupted in violence came along, but instead the camp manager and the copper just sat and had a beer and played chess.

it was around this point in the film that i noticed a 128MB memory stick was shoved in a computer. i remember when these memory sticks came along and how awesome it was to have a 128MB one. that was like 100 stiffy discs, man.

do they even make memory sticks with such a low down memory space anymore? for all i know this one is quite the collectors item, should there be some sort of market for old memory sticks.

the film was about to get switched off, but then it all got interesting. from the camp site - they were all staying in one of them wooden cabin things - one girl went missing. a rather amorous (sp), saucy couple decided to go and have a bit of a look around for her.

they found her, and decided to celebrate by entering a state of sexual congress.

no, not showing the saucy bits here. the director used this sequence to do some of that clever, "artsy" stuff, where he spliced scenes of sex with the one woman getting knacked off the bear thing that seems to be killing people in this movie.

as for the nudie dudie rudie stuff, most pleasant. one brief full on nudity scene, a stack of topless stuff. in respect of the violence, dire - some sort of fake blood sauce is smeared on people by the bear thing killing people. tame and dull.

anyway, away from this dreadful film for a moment. nice things, sort of.

i had reason to go past the one (and thus far only) shop that i discovered sells the Winston Red-White brand of cigarettes that i really rather like. so i bought some.

yes, that's the most recent of John Connolly novels there, The Wolf Of Winter. i do not think i would enjoy one of them Charlie Parker novels on the bus, so the ebook version did just fine. a brilliant novel, assuming one has read the eleven previous Charlie Parker novels. if not, don't get this, far too many references to other novels in it.

but anyway, back to Berserker.

no further nudity, a little more of blood being smeared on the people by the bear thing, and then the "twist". there is a bear roaming around, but there is also some man-bear thing, presumably a victim of all that whole nordic curse thing the title was so keen on.

they have a fight, and it is crap.

who wins? don't care really. that copper turns up in a massive wagon and rescues what kids have not had fake blood smeared on them up to the point of death, and then he shoots either the bear or the man-bear. i think the man-bear turned out to be someone or other that was in the film. perhaps he was a 1000 year old viking or something.

this film probably would have been brilliant and amazing, right, some 25 years ago, and watched on one of these.

the odd dynamics of the world. we now have so much stuff on tap, accessed via the internets or with all them channels on tv, that we have a skewered vision of what is and what is not value in respect of entertainment. this as a 49p DVD was a waste of time; in 1987 or so the £1 or £2 overnight rental fee would have seemed well worth it, compared to what the four (!) TV channels had on, and this film would have been discussed at length at school, college or whatever. 

anyhow, Kasabian are on my TV at the moment, and Serge looks wired. off to watch and listen, so bye.

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

perfect hibernation

hi there

yes, as the title pretty much says, mostly a Boba Fett related post. for, like, you know, a change.

i felt, as i had not done so for a bit and because the chance and certain elements permitted it, obliged to pop into our storage, or if you like the rage of store, yesterday. i needed not to collect anything, although it would have been a most splendid thing if i had worked out which box some of my printer in was in. this i did not, alas, do, which may well mean i have to throw some coins of money to a nice chap located where that band Kasabian come from (or thereabouts) to get some more.

i did, however, find my class Boba Fett blaster. or electronic blaster, if you like. yet another item, then, of high value that the Somali pirates did not intercept and steal.

i did, alas, sadly perhaps, leave it safe in storage. it was somewhat tempting to bring it out, bring it home and play with it, but it would probably end up broken or something. rather stay in hibernation, dear Boba Fett related items, where you are safe from all the harm and the ills the world could deliver to you.

are there some more class Boba Fett things coming up in this post? why yes, there indeed is, but just hold on for a while, please.

in storage, and indeed in a state of perfect hibernation, i found this iPod thingie. it was in a state of perfect hibernation before it was ever packed up, look you see, for the battery thing seemed to have given up the ghost.

i am taking it to one of them iPod menders people and, to be honest, i am excited by the idea of finding out what happens in terms of a cost being thrown at me for replacing the battery, or if you like the iBattery. age is something that Apple, after all, show nothing but disdain and contempt for, and this item has something of an age to it. i think this model, all 30GB of it and was one of the first iPods, or Pods of i if you like, to have a colour screen and video about it. the origin of this pod of i was my Dad, who bought it as a demo model, and then got another one not so long after. i think this is some ten years old, which by Apple standards is ancient.

to show how old it is, this one even allows you to switch it off. yes, an Apple product with a power button. once there was such a thing.

as Apple only really like their products to last two years, encouraging further sales, i will be interested to see at what cost Mr Menders put on this. as most mender places also sell trade in models, usually from around £45 or so for them "nano" variations, this may not be cost effective. we shall see. and indeed we, as i will be sure to provide updates.

back to Boba, then, and on my shopping today i saw - but did not purchase - this.

yes, Boba Fett's ship, the magnificent Slave 1 or Slave I, if that is how you are supposed to say it. a very nippy, nifty piece of technology it is, too. and yes it does indeed cost £20, as the price tag says. 

it was not the high cost that saw me not buy it. no, it was the fact that you still cannot buy a Boba Fett to put in it. nope, as is standard, no action figures are included with the ship itself. what makes this all more annoying is, of course, for display purposes there is a toy Boba Fett shown on the box, down at the bottom corner. 

i still don't get the thinking of those that deal in selling Star Wars stuff. why is it that they flat refuse to sell any Boba Fett figures? if they put one out for sale at the £20 they are asking for his ship, no problem, i would hand it over to get it/him. 

i don't see the point of getting the Slave I ship just to shove Jar Jar Binks or Luke into it, sadly. 

speaking of annoying the fans, it is of course Glastonbury this weekend, and last night the magic of Metallica played. the idea of this upset a few people.

much as Star Wars attracts annoying fans who demand films be made "how they think they should be made", so Glastonbury is a magnet for pious, self-absorbed dicks. a lot of people say that Metallica "shouldn't be at my Glastonbury". well, then they should go buy their own farm and host their own festival, then. this is on the basis that it is too much effort for them to either simply not go to that field if at the festival, or simply not watch the broadcast of this band on the TV. Glastonbury is, so far as i am aware, a music festival, and with several millions in sales i think it is the case that Metallica are, for a lot of people, music.

they were ace, by the way. if you were unable to see it, i am pretty sure you can find it online somewhere.

anyway, a rainy road for you.

right, that is all i have to show you in the world of Boba Fett at the moment. it is entirely possible that i think about it and return to buy the ship without a Boba Fett to shove in it, we shall see.

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

six months in a leaky boat

hi there

for some reason the term of phrase, or if you like measurement, six months came to mind, so i thought it would be an idea to post Six Months In A Leaky Boat here. 

it's a song by Split Enz, a band somewhat unfairly underappreciated across the world entire, but still all the same embraced in their homes of Australia and New Zealand. an allegation often thrown at Split Enz was that the brothers Finn, being Neil and Tim, rarely did much than "cheeky" reworks of other songs. maybe, but then again that has not done the likes of U2 or Oasis any harm at all. also, the lyrics for the Split Enz ones, no matter where they borrowed the music off of, were rarely short of spectacular.

smart that song is, if you played it, thank you for not using an Apple device with Safari to read my blog, since that does not allow one to play videos. also, hope you enjoyed it. this video is a one off performance for a TV show in Aus, might well have been for the king himself, Hoges, before he went off and did all of that crocodile thing.

no, i don't claim any copyright or any of the things that people like to put on videos they post, but i can offer you this link which lets you go and buy all their class music.

other than being a super catchy song, Six Months In A Leaky Boat has perhaps more history (never repeats) to it than any other song off of Split Enz or any other Finn related tune.

despite not being a major hit in the UK (it barely made the top 100), a request went out to radio stations in the country not to play the song during that whole England vs Argentina thing in the Falklands. certain elements of the British press took this ban and, for reasons best known to themselves, interpreted it as being a clear sign that the song then must have been about the conflict, and further more - as the band were Australian or summink, innit - must be anti-British in nature. thus, the idea that Split Enz were anti-British spread a bit, and any chance the band had of success over here, which was slim anyway, went away. robbing "the kids" of some quality tunes.

the idea that Six Months In A Leaky Boat had anything to do with the Falklands is, of course, tosh. although if you listen to and interpret the song as anti-war, it's really rather genius. alas, no. it was written and recorded months before the conflict, and has nothing to do with it. references in the song, such as, for instance, Aotearoa, kind of give a clue what it's about, but that got overlooked in favour of a story that could allow for some good, no-nonsense, old fashioned Aussie bashing. well, we did, after all, field Botham against them in those days.

is it the best ever Split Enz song? it must be close to it, although my personal choice shall always be I Got You, a stunning opus of pop music.

anyway, give the song a play, enjoy, and i shall carry on recalling six months.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the magic of Micro

hi there

it has become something of a custom of late for me to review books in groupings, or if you like sets, of three. every once in a while, however, a book strikes me as needing almost a post only to itself. such is, was, as, is the case with the book that i completed reading today; some half way through my journey home this afternoon. yes, on the bus.

the book in question would be Micro, ostensibly by Michael Crichton but completed in work, as such, by a chap called Richard Preston. Mr Crichton, alas, passed away before delivering a final draft of this novel. if i remember right, it could be that there is also one other novel he left unfinished, which may or may not be worked on by someone and may or may not be published. we shall see.

quick, spoiler free review? ok. hell yes is the answer, Michael Crichton fans. i too was, as you will be, hesitant about reading an "unfinished work". this is, i assure you, classic, absurd, wonderful and entertaining Crichton. i don't know what bits Mr Preston wrote or edited, but he did a sterling job.

so there's the spoiler free verdict, then. it is, however, worth going into much, much more detail, hence the reason for this being in a seperate post. so.



yes, you have not had all that much in the way of scrolling text of late, so there you go, i trust you enjoyed the way that i did the spoiler warning there.

where to begin?

after reading what i had assumed, perhaps accepted, as being Crichton's final novel, the magnificent Pirate Latitudes, it was and it was not a surprise to see that he was returning to the comfort zone of "future technology going bonkers" after a dip into the world of history for bonkers adventures.

a short read of the synopsis said "this will do", really - "new technology discovered....blah blah.....recruits students to work on it in secret...blah blah....government agents....blah blah....something goes wrong....blah blah". yep, all pretty standard stuff. there is about as much element of surprise in a Crichton techno-thriller as there is a chance of Dan Brown doing a book where an ancient mystery isn't solved within a couple of days by a dorky professor who can interpret symbols and codes in a way no one else on earth has ever been able to. not much, really, none, then. overall, this sounded rather like a mix of two other Crichton novels, Prey and Timeline. which, indeed, it very much, in a real sense, is.

but also it very much, in a real sense, isn't. there were some hints early in the book, but i thought no, he won't do anything that stupid. he did, though, actually go right ahead and do something that stupid. i smiled as i read, dear reader, as i had this incredible sense of Mr Crichton dying with happy feelings of humour that he was working on his most ridiculous novel to date. which is indeed saying something.

yes. what the back of the book sort of hints at but wisely does not reveal is, and you all saw the spoiler warnings, that the secret super technology in this novel is.....a shrinking ray. and not just any shrinking ray. no, not at all. this beauty shrinks equipment - and people - in a way that they still function and work perfectly fine.

let that sink in? good. i am guessing, hoping even, that what happened is that Mr Crichton sat down with a bong, a box set of all them Honey, I Shrunk The Kids films and said "hey, i can out-spaz this, no problem. it will be my homage to Rick Moranis, who was class in Ghostbusters and all them other films he did". i can live with that in a way, say, that i could not live with the idea of him saying "i think this is possible and will happen. let me tell it how it will be, except i will put an absolute maniac in charge of this technology and have lots of people running about and getting killed and that, to make it authentic".

how does this class shrinking ray thing work? magnets. that's pretty much it, really. there's some token mention to a special kind of magic magnets, creating tensor fields or some other such rubbish, but basically it is all done with magnets. nice one.

as hinted at above, the classical hallmarks of a Crichton novel are all in place. stereotypes used with gay abandon. and imaginative character names at the fore. what does this dude do? make and die in fire? i shall call him....Stokes. what about this dude? a hunter? i shall call him.....Hutter to throw people off a bit. how about this lady? she does karate and kung fu? i shall call her.....Karen. so yes, from the list of characters at the front of the book (not pictured here), you can pretty much work out which character shall do what.

what i hope has come through here is, of course, that i thoroughly enjoyed this novel. it is amazingly stupid and probably, indeed hopefully, highly preposterous, but just amazing fun, man. a particular "technical" highlight was how being subjected to class, magical magnetic shrinking affects the human body. it seems he just lifed what happens to suba divers out of a text book and decided that this will do for his purposes.

an amazing plot highlight was, and there's no way of dressing this up, just how much, in the mind of Michael Crichton (unless Mr Preston added these bits), wasps like making a sex with humans. yes, he transplants human thinking methods and narrative onto the mind of a f*****g wasp to describe how much the wasp enjoys doing rudey dudey nudies with mini-humans. twice. warned, you have been.

i seem to have hit a rather rich vein of humans having sex with non-humans of late. that's three books which has featured this, and not one single one of them selected for reading with any knowledge that this would happen in them. must be some intrinsic calling i felt, or a subconscious thing. i am hoping that the next few books i read do not feature any sort of cross-breeding stuff, but you never know.

i suspect this book i picked up today (it was in a pound shop thing for, oddly enough, a pound. and it was shiny and attracted my eye) will not feature human / non-human nookie, but i will not be reading it just yet.

it is on the pile to read, and i will get to it. this is one of them follow on / sequel things, however, so i may well try and find the first volume, The Shakespeare Secret i believe, first. i have had a look on amazon and, alas, that one is not as cheap as this one was. so i might skip it, i don't know really, it is not like i have a shortage of books at the moment.

what shall i do with Micro now that i have read it? i am not certain it is the kind of thing either my Aunt or my (considerably) better half would wish to read, but it is available to them if they so wish. i think it might well just end up donated to one of the places in the village that sell them to raise funds; helping them somewhat and allowing a fellow fan to read it on, as it were, the cheap.

yes, indeed that is that Vikingdom on that pile there, and no i have not watched it. i shall do eventually, one day, i hope, presume and suppose. i should perhaps have watched that earlier in the week instead of the rubbish i did, Beserker (The Nordic Curse) or something. awful, it was. which makes it very strange that a friend has insisted, no demanded, that i post it to them.

anyway, that will do. thank you for reading, as ever, but of higher importance, thank you, Mr Michael Crichton, for the amazing fun your reading always provided.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

bus stop, books and billy

hi there

nothing much at all, really. just a checking in sort of thing, i suppose.

i took a picture a bus shelter earlier today. this was done mostly so i could have a gander at the poster on it at my own leisure, so if i hoy it here then i can look at it as and when i remember i have put it up here.

yes, i probably shall be writing about the thing on the poster, but i need to consider and formulate the letter i shall send. i would rather wish to make valid and considered points if possible, rather than just indulging in the waffle i do here. also, i need to purchase further stamps to enter into correspondence in respect of the above, this is not something one trusts to electronic mail. no, a good, decent postal system comes to the fore here.

as, indeed, it did at verk of late. yeah, i know, my verk does not get mentioned as much now as it did when i was back in other verk, but things are all different here. a good bunch, but not a gang of people that you would think would be all that interested in posing with a mug.

i was, for reasons that i care not to go into right now, recently approached by a company called Trip Advisor, who i think do a web page of the same name. they host reviews and that of places that people can go to. or something, i don't know, and legally i am sticking to the statement that i don't know, thanks. anyhow, for some reason they wished to forward me a magnet. as magnets are amongst the most awesome things ever in history, i agreed to their approach and gave them details.

the magnet arrived, but so did the smart sticker you can see in the above picture. it goes quite nicely there on the neck, the stem or the stand of my verk PC monitor; almost as if it were designed to be put there.

do i frequently get (partially) unsolicited offers of magnets as part of my verk as a standard? not really, i would have to say. i am not against the idea of this happening on a frequent basis, but at this stage i would have to consider it unlikely more offers shall follow any time soon.

i am pretty sure most newspaper outlets and tobacconists sell books of stamps. i shall make some polite, perhaps diplomatic, enquiries tomorrow and see what i can do about a letter.

regular readers, for there is such a thing of this blog, will recall that i partially enjoyed a relationship with a novel called The Tenth Justice, the review i sort of did of which can be read by clicking here i think. by chance, and in the most unexpected of places, i found two other novels by the chap that did that one, Brad something. on impulse i bought them.

the unusual circumstances were of a kind that i was in a shop purchasing some coolant formula liquid, for Bessie is doing her leaky-leaky-leak-leak thing again. yes, she shall be off onwards to the mender once more to get mended, or a right good kicking.

yeah, i know i was not all that thrilled with the story/plot of The Tenth Justice, but i really rather enjoyed the writing style, and it compelled me to keep reading. i do have a mountain of literature to get through here, but i figured, well, OK, let me get these now that i have seen them and read them on the bus as and when i am of a mind to do so.

i suspect the bus will feature rather heavily in my letter in respect of the above. or letters, even. the village cannot sustain 113 new cars, and the same council that wishes to let these houses be built are the same that have allowed the bus service to deteriorate to a shocking level, as well as the trains being of no practical use at all for commerce or work.

here is a picture of Billy Dee Williams in a film where he is normal, not a vulcan or whatever in all them Wars Of The Stars things. class hair.

i got, now that i think, another unsolicited, mostly anonymous item in the post today. it was off Spiros, as it happens, but still, anonymous. it was a magazine, or other such periodical, cutting that i suspect i shall not be able to take the entire and full advantage of Spiros may have hoped, but i shall act in accordance with the tacit wishes he has expressed in sending the cutting on an anonymous basis.

Billy Dee Williams would be probably epic in a film on the life and times of that Obama bloke, if this reporting is to be believed. it is in the National Enquirer, so i am assuming it is legit and to be accepted as respectable, as it has the word "national" in its title.

the way, right, that Billy as Lando in that Star Trek film totally f****d over Apollo or Starbuck because of what he did with an X-Wing or something speaks, mostly, of treason, and it seems that treason is the key to what a film about this Obama bloke would be about. i don't, alas, follow American politics as well as i do films, so i am not sure in what sense he did a treason, but if someone took the time and trouble to publish that he did, well then that's enough for me.

i appreciate that most of you stopped reading around about the point of the Billy Dee Williams picture, or even maybe as early as the Brad Thingie books, so i shall just leave it here.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

the carlton dynamic

hi there

well, not much to share with you all, but a few things to just keep it all ticking over and what have you, or have what you will. mostly, though, i suspect this is all going to be one of them "irresponsible" ones that makes reference to habits, or a habit at least, not recognized or accepted as being all that good for you.

prior to my most awesome and excellent package from Spiros, which we shall have another look at later, i was in need of testing, look you see. indeed, my formidable efforts to quit / cut down considerably on that whole smoking thing are going ever so well, but i believe that this effort must be put to test by having cigarettes available from time to time.

i do indeed understand that at one point, presumably in the future as i am unaware of it happening thus far, i shall be in a state that is, in common terms, be declared as deceased. whatever actually brings about my demise would, one may well think, be of little consequence to anyone building an image of this merry blog; my valiant efforts to quit / cut down considerably on all things related to cigarettes shall no doubt be singled out instead.

anyway, the brand that i seem to have mostly adopted at present, Winston, are not as widely available as i might quite like. this is to say that yes indeed, neither Winston Red-Red or Winston Red-White were stocked at any shop within walking range. a lady in the shop suggested that i try Carlton instead, then, as they were of a moderate price. moderate, as it happens, by English standards, for here £5.99 is indeed considered a more moderate price for a single packet. 

it was with some wariness that i ventured towards an unknown brand again, mindful of course of the experimentation in testing with Players, and all them posts where i made reference to miserable, bitter salty sea dogs. i tried them, however, for the seemingly allegorical qualities the word carlton has in my life. there was, of course, the Carlton Blues, an Australian Rules side of some repute in the 80s that was popular with someone called "Hoges" on The Paul Hogan Show, before he did all that crocodile thing. there is also, of course, the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg. destiny points carlton, then. 

here is the label thing off a shirt that i bought. 

Rydale was the name of the school in that Grease thing, was it not? might have been, i suppose. Richmond is also quite a familiar sounding place, but i cannot quite put my finger on the familiarity of it.

we have not done warning labels for a bit. here's the one off of the back of the packet of carlton i got. as you can see, it is doing the hypodermic needle thing again, which implies that it is medicinal if not healthy.

also i get baffled by the idea of putting a message that says "don't start" on the back of a packet of cigarettes. the chap or lady has purchased the pack by the stage you see this, no? what's the idea? "oh, i was going to start, but now that i have seen this on the back i shall not"?

on that note, i am considering purchasing this item, for somewhat obvious reasons but also reasons of my good self being dared to purchase it. there are a number of barriers to purchase, but still, it looks awesome.

what are the barriers? well, for a start, one review suggests that it is "perfect" for someone of a height of 5'11". as i am somewhat taller than that, i would need a hacksaw and a bottle of gin to get this sort of perfection off of it. there is also, let us be honest, the idea of the chest size above being somewhat more restrictive than i would usually wear. it would, or it will, be rather a snug fit.

under those circumstances, £18.99 strikes me as being somewhat excessive for a "laugh" and a dare. there's also the fact that the reviews say one cannot see through the visor, and also it seems one does not get a class combo missile & jet pack set with it. well, we shall see.

how did the carlton, of the cigarette nature, perform? or if you prefer, how did i fair in the world of being tested in respect of resolve by them? very, very well indeed, as it happens. surprisingly well.

sorry about the funny thing that happens with my face and glasses in this picture, but as some of you might wished to have seen me i thought i would post this image anyway.

these carlton fags, so to speak, are ace. at £5.99 they are of some exceptional quality, far better than certain "cheap" ones i have tried that cost more than this. the taste is neither rancid, bitter nor soft - it's just got that "spot on" mix, or if you like blend, of how it should be all down perfectly. what a splendid and happy accident, then, that my resolve should have come to be tested by this brand in the face of all that quitting / cutting down considerably business. as and when i require further testing to be put in front of me, this is most certainly a brand i will give the most humble consideration to purchasing once more. 

that said, my testing requirements are pretty much well looked after for a week or so, with the greatest of thanks to Spiros. i appreciate that i showed this picture yesterday, but it is well worth another look, so here you go.

a magnificent and indeed formidable set of testing packets that is, indeed, look you see. can i rise to the challenge offered by them? i would expect so. nice one Spiros, cheers mate - i shall be posting a gift your way in the near future to express the same kind of thanks one would associate with a new liver, or similar.

speaking of which, i stumbed upon this Italian poster for Bad Santa recently. i really rather like their variant on the name, much more apt.

for me, Bad Santa lives in a world where it is next door to things like Anchorman, where the idea and the memory of the movie are perhaps considerably better than the film actually was in any sort of real sense. it was quite smart, both films mentioned there were. but they tend to work better in the mind than via repeat viewing, as it were.

anyway, enough for now. rest, i must. after, of course, facing the test of the carlton once more.

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

everything is better when you throw minimal money at President Ray-Gun

hi there

well, sh!t, it has gone ahead and happened. we live in a world where quality cannot, and will not, be repressed or quashed, and so that President Ray-Gun EP launch went right ahead and "happened" today; apparently out of the sheer whim and curiosity of their bass player in respect of what would happen if it was released.

obviously this move echoes, if not indeed channels, the approach Bowie took with his surprise release last year, and this record is not at all to be compared with that whole thing as a consequence. for a start, if requested, President Ray-Gun probably would in fact attend award ceremonies.

in the interests of sound, quality advertising that avoids any tricky questions of "why would i do that", you probably want to know where you, like me, can buy this much anticipated release. well, the answer to that is over at the special super President Ray-Gun "bandcamp" site, where you can pay as much for it as you like, and get a right headache from looking at the format options.

i have bought it, and did so for a price suggested by their extraordinary bass player. that price was less than £5 but also more than £2, although i expect my actual cost to double somewhat as this is all done, as is i am assured very common for Manchester bands, via some American service, so i will no doubt be taxed rather hard for all that exchange rate control nonsense. it is not like, however, you can put a price on having President Ray-Gun beautify your download folder and ever be in a complete, if not entire, state of satisfaction. here, just look at how awesome it appears as i see it. and, indeed, how you can and will see it when you go right ahead, following the yellow ink, and purchase it.

yeah, you could have something looking that awesome on your PC if you buy it. you can have a look for an illegal download, i suppose, but that is naughty and you should not do it.

according to President Ray-Gun, it is the case that "Their live shows have been met with praise for being loud, entertaining and unpredictable.". i have not seen them live as such, but i am, i believe, scheduled to see them later in the year. i may very well take my computer along for them to sign it, since a digital download does not, so to speak, have a cover or box to sign. 

is this EP any good? well, i like no track any less than any other on the set. oh look, here are some Marlboro that my mate Spiros sent me. 

nice one Spiros, many thanks indeed, mate. they are excellent.

anyway, let me not keep you. remember, you have just taken the decision to buy the President Ray-Gun EP, and you are leaving this page now to go and make a purchase.

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

Thursday, June 19, 2014

on a thursday

hello there

well, what can i say. when the people are not taking selfies, usually they ae taking pictures of what they are eating, or are about to eat. there is something of a point to me doing this on this rather fine evening, so do not only just bear with me, but also do not stop bearing with me.

here's that dinner in full then. well, not actually in full, but here.

for what reason am i presenting that which i am to eat? or was going to eat earlier, and did, as point of fact eat? yes, indeed, ate, as it were, and enjoyed. well, because it was quite a confusing thing to cook, as it happens. which is odd, as i always thought that the point, if not purpose, of microwave food meal things was that they were easy.

behold, the instructions.

yeah, that's a touch blurry that is, sorry.

anyway, basically what it says is that you leave that "film" on and pierce it several times before microwaving. no problem, did that with a fork, and further did so in the most elegant and sophisticated way i could.

the trick is, right, that whilst it makes it explicit in its clarity that the film is to remain on, it says you microwave it for two minutes, stir it, then microwave again for another two minutes. how the hell are you supposed to stir it with the plastic film thing on? how big did they think the holes i made were?

here's Harry Nilsson in the, so far as i am aware, unreleased film Son Of Dracula.

yeah, i think he is sort of doing one of them trance things.

how did i handle the complexities of the cooking? well, i did a sort of "shake" thing with it, since i was unable, with any comfort, to stir it. that shake rather than stir has done all right for that James Bond fellow, for he seldom ever gets shot much, so i figured it would work for me. it, by jove, did.

here is a most elegant, if somewhat larger than i had perhaps anticipated, purse of red, or if you like red purse, which has the purpose of storing coins of money in it.

truly, it is magnificent. and i dare say impractical, really. if i shoved this in my pocket i suspect it may well cause quite a bulge, of sorts, that may prove to be a distraction amongst the staff of establishments that i offer to be a patron of.

there's a strong case here to suggest that this luxury item may well serve the task of offering a focal point for coins of money to rest in at home. it is a case i feel obliged to find in favour of.

as most aware of me, in passing if they are fortunate, will appreciate, i tend to wander through things in a sort of isolar way, being extraced and indeed excluded from many things; a movement of wisdom if i may pass comment myself. however, once in a while someone does reconsider me, and sends on information or imagery which they will appreciate that i will very much appreciate.

like, for instance, my brother giving it some with a chainsaw.

smart bit of blade, that is. i am usually not keen on the electric ones, as they are very difficult to effectively operate in a car as and when traffic disputes arise (a cigarette lighter connection can only, after all, be expected to do so much in the RPM stakes so vital to chainsawing), but this one is boss, this is.

Richard no doubt, as i and many others did, sat down to watch a game of football this evening, or if you like a game of ball to foot. i know for a fact one company in particular did, and had no hesitation at all in using the scoreline as a means, a conduit if you like, for advertising, even if their target market - we are not, after all, South American - were unlikely to be appreciative of this so soon.

yes, i left the time on the mail there. it was within five minutes of the match drawing to a conclusion that they sent this mail out. astonishing dedication, that is.

no, i will not be using the promo code or anything, thanks.

anyway, i am tired. rest, i must.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

back to books

hello there

well, that be another three books read as i travel by means of the bus. as this has seem to become the standard number for reviews - except that one time when i did two, and probably some other times when i did a different number - here you go.

for those who want the jist of it, the three books on the whole pleased me, except for one that partially, perhaps mostly, displeased me. i would have thought, though, that you may want to know which books, so please do read on if you have got this far.

to entice, perhaps excite, you, here is a quick look at one of them saucy bookmarks (see some previous post of mine, don't recall which) in action.

quite class it is, both in appearance and functionality. although the "flexible metallic" ways of it are somewhat flimsy feeling. i suspect it may tear after a bit of use, which is probably excuse and reason enough for me to go right ahead and pick up a few more of the cheeky things.

anyhow, books, rather than book mark, reviews are what i have promised you, so let's go right ahead with the first of three i have read in recent times, Sepulchre by James Herbert.

short version - i really, really enjoyed this one, and would say it's certainly a book anyone who likes the stranger kind of strange thriller should have a go at, never mind just horror fans.

i have come, i appreciate, quite late to the James Herbert party. it is only within the last year or so that i have started to read his stuff, with my (considerably) better half pushing me the way of The Magic Cottage. on the basis of the three or so i have now read (The Survivor was the other), i shall be reading them all.

his style is (was, sadly) amazing, and i deeply regret not having enjoyed these books of his a good deal sooner. but hey ho, now is the time i am in, and i am doing stuffs about missing out. his style is just so enjoyable that even when you can see "plot twists" coming from some considerable distance, as was the case in Sepulchre more than the other two i read, you really do not mind as it is most splendid fun to get to them.

oh yes, before you scratch your head and wonder a bit, or a lot, you are right, i have not mentioned anything at all of the story, plot or that sort of thing. well, if you look at the picture of the back of the paperback here, you will note that i did not know anything of the plot or story prior to reading it. a strange approach to paperback marketing, this, but no bad thing - sometimes the write-up on the back of a novel can give in excess of 50% of the book away.

fear not, for i appreciate this is not a paperback. although some of you might be reading this on one of them e-book things.

the story centres around a specialist firm, Achillies or something, that provide "K&R" services, with that being Kidnap and Ransom or Kidnap and Rescue, i forget which. anyhow, they are employed to protect a secrective, non-employee but all the same rather important chap at the behest of some sort of minerals and resource company, a company bearing the imaginative name of Magma. then all sorts of things of interest happen, which is how i think it best to describe it and not give spoilers as such.

a classy, no-nonsense, balls out thiller full of boy's own stuff, Sepulchre is at heart, with all that mystical, supernatural horror stuff you would expect thrown in. and thrown in very well indeed.

a break from books for you, then, and an update on how all that quitting / cutting down considerably thing in respect of smoking is going.

in the absence of cheap Marlboro, and the fact that apparently there are only so many times that Spiros can go to Senegal, or wherever, to get them cheap ones, i have turned to Winston. they are cheap, and taste fine. i am on the Winston Red, which should be straightforward enough, except things have got confusing. there is now such a thing as Winston Red-Red, and Winston Red-White. observe.

the nicotine, tar, asbestos and rocket fuel contents are identical, yet they are different. i have been happy with Red-Red thus far, but when i got served Red-White it turned out i was to be delighted. the Red-White are 20p cheaper for a start, and you get 20 in a pack, instead of 19. they also taste rather nice, as in slightly coarser (not to salty sea dog levels) than the Red-Red. the down side is they are those cheap sensation ones which appear to burn up a lot, lot quicker.

why the difference, and why some stock one and not the other, i know not. i will just go ahead and carry on with whatever style they have, dreaming of Spiros making happy happy in Senegal.

on to another book, then, and indeed it is the one that displeased me. behold, if you will, How It Ended by Jay McInerney.

i spotted it for sale for all of £1 in a shop i happen to like. i could not resist, even though i knew that, on the basis of my previous experiences with the McInerney of Jay, there was every chance that it was going to displease me. as with cigarettes, however, i seem for some reason unable to resist his ways, even though i know that this will not end well for me. 

it looked like a rather flimsy, slender volume when i picked it up, at the least, and so i thought or perhaps even indeed assumed this would be quick and easy reading, less painful than it could be. it was.

oh, fancy, surprise surprise, it turns out that it is 200 pages, in largeesque, big print, of short stories. all seemingly, sort of linked by a theme. what theme? that it is called How It Ended should give you, perhaps a chance. the impressive thing here is that Jay McInerney managed to produce this a mere 5 or 6 years after Bret Easton Ellis did The Informers, which was a series of seemingly sort of linked by a theme short stories.

it is because of Mr Ellis that i give Mr McInerney a chance. i read an article, i think in Esquire, back in the late 80s that featured both Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerny. this was all pre-American Psycho, if that matters. i have felt the need, as and when i see his works, to read McInerny, then, on some bizarre assumption that he is a peer or of the nature of Ellis. this overlooks the fact, of course, that Ellis has not been Ellis for a while. he did three ace novels, The Informers, and then has produced drivel. sparse, Kurbick-like-with-release-distance drivel, made no better at all for it. the sensible thing to do would be to give up on both Ellis and McInerny, but alas i know that this will not happen as and when i see something by either. it does not even have to look interesting.

if for some reason that you did not work this one out, How It Ended is 10 short stories that deal with "the end" of something, be it a relationship or whatever. the whatever is a carefully chosen description. frankly, for the most part, McInerny does not care at all for what he has written here, so neither should you.

for the most part, alas, the characters exist in the same space that characters from all his other books do, and indeed where the characters in the world of Mr Ellis live. yes, that's right, unrealistic, somewhat elitist, LA (Man) or NY (muthfukka) over-wealthy, doing nothing, meaningless, empty, shallow, hollow types that are of no consequence of relevance to the overwhelming majority of the world at its largest. whereas Ellis - at least early on in his works - still made these characters interesting and engaging, even if only in some sort of pious, mocking from a dubious position of superior morality way. McInerny seems unable to do this. or, as i am now thinking, just flat refuses. a couple of the characters in these stories actually seem relevant and interesting. i am suspecting he wrote these stories quite by accident, or for a joke or a bet or something. of the ten, Con Doctor and Smoke made the book worth the value i paid for them. the remainder are average to dull, in truth.

for fanatical fans of Jay who for some reason have not read this, then get your hands on it. there's one story, The Queen & I, in which he is basically saying "hey! i read Last Exit To Brooklyn! look, i can do that!". which is true, except that he cannot. whoops.

earlier today, to once more depart from books, i found a wide range of DVDs being sold uber cheap, as in at a rate of 49p per disc, simply as they were sold without boxes. fine by me, the sleeves do the job just as well.

yep, that's the post modernist classic Dude, Where's My Car there, along with a series of South Park. which series of South Park? i had no idea when i bought it, but it turns out that it is series ten, which of course features Al Gore Chasing ManBearPig. so that's a win. nice result, now just for the time and the opportunity to be able to watch them, i suppose.

the third and final book for this round of updates for you now, then, and it would be this one, The Alchemist's Secret, by a chap called Scott Mariani. it sounded jolly good off the back cover, so gave it a try. and really hoped it was good as, due to some insane offers on the go down at WH Smith, i purchased a further two novels by the same writer, featuring the same character or, if you like, protagonist.

as it turns out, it was very good indeed. although also familiar. i may well have read this one some years ago, under a different name. they do like swapping and changing the names of novels, they do, if they think they can - as was the case here - lure people in with the idea that a book is "a bit like The Da Vinci Code, only better".

plot, story sort of thing? Ben Hope is a former military dude who now spends his days helping rescue kidnapped children. in this novel, he takes on a job which he believes relates to helping a child, but not one that has been kidnapped. it involves him, and you would be forgiven for not working this out from the title, working out the secret of a famous alchemist.

yes, yes, oh, indeed, yes. this follows that tried and tested Da Vinci Code theme of a preposterous mystery that has existed "for thousands of years" being solved in a couple of days, mostly and quite by accident, by someone not really prepared nor interested in doing it. this does not, as it happens, stop The Alchemist's Secret from being enjoyable or entertaining. far from it, really - smart fun it was, and i thus look forward, very much so, to the other two i have bought by the same, featuring the same.

go on then, here's the saucy bookmark in a more direct and obvious form of action for you to enjoy.

so, that's that for books. three read, two very good, one did the job to a minimal level. a fair result, that is, as far as i am concerned. i have a fair few to choose from over the next few weeks, but more on that in a moment or two, or so.

as i mentioned and showed cigarettes earlier, i suppose it is only fair that, to give a balanced view of everything, i show you the graphic warning images both feature. these are intended to ensure that you do not smoke, or that you quit. please pay attention.

the Red-White ones i had are now finished, alas, so now i am on the softer tasting Red-Red ones. well, when i say they are softer tasting, they are not quite all poofy poofy nancy boy gaylord things as such, really. they just seem and feel a bit lighter, even when according to the chemical review on the packet technically they are not.

if i find some of them Red-White ones again soon, well then so much the better, really. also, though, i should probably find the means to just simply quit all together. maybe.

a preview, then, to finish. this is what i shall be reading next - a very kind Father's Day present, this novel is. one of three that i was fortunate to get, with all three looking like superb reads.

i am somewhat nervous about reading this. i loved all of the novels the late Michael Crichton published and was left rather sad when he passed on. i understand the sense in allowing someone else to come in and finish off the novel (or maybe novels, i don't know) he was working on at his time of leaving, but part of me also thinks maybe they should have just let it be, leave it unseen and remain as an unpublished work. one could, after all, simply just go and read any one of his other novels again, if they were all that bothered.

right then, that's all i can think of presently. as usual, if any of these comments or reviews have been of any use to anyone, well then so much the better!

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