Monday, August 31, 2015

Predator Dark Ages

hello there

i do appreciate that i might, look you see, be a little late to this party. the (presumably) official you tube thingie for the fan financed and made film Predator Dark Ages, which you can see the trailer for here,  has had slightly north of 930,000 views. that means, however that near 6.9 billion people have not yet watched it, so there's every chance that many more shall, like i, stumble upon this by accidents.

what is it and a quick, spoiler free review? surely. it's a fan-made, fan financed film based on the celebrated Predator creation and stories. don't be fooled by the "fan" element there - despite some flaws (most of which are circumstantially unavoidable, but flaws all the same), this is a fine, polished 27 minute film which has been professionally made and is well worth the time of any Predator fan.

you can watch the full film by clicking here, or if you like you can read on after the next image and see if it is of interest to you to do so first. be warned, though, for a *** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING *** warning thing is in place from here on out.......



plot? it is the era of the Crusades.  Thomas, a battle and world weary member of the Knights Templar, is ready to leave the order. he has, however, one final task to complete, apparently at the behest of Brother Joseph (i think, he doesn't get a picture credit at the end), played by an actor who could do a very convincing elderly Peter Cook.

the mission, which Thomas apparently has no choice but to accept, is to hunt down and kill a "devil beast" that's wiping out soldier after soldier, knight after knight.



the trick, however, is that Thomas and his band of knights (a perfectly acceptable collection of the typical stereotypes of an action movie - the lady, the big huge muscleman, the wildcard and the older, wiser source of wisdom) must take with them someone who was at the time a sworn enemy - a Muslim, or rather a Saracen as he is correctly, historically, referred to by the team.

the Saracen, Sied, is the only person known to have seen the "devil beast" and survived to tell the tale. we are told that he saw it in action in Jerusalem. Thomas and the Templars (cool name for a band) are understandably reluctant to take the sworn enemy with them, but as Sied points out, whoever or whatever is killing soldiers could not care less for religion, belief or anything other than killing....



lets' get to the actual review then. Sied is introduced to us in a tent, set up near where the Predator is apparently set up and attacking. this is cool, but the premise presented in the Kickstarter page was an even better one. i believe that this film was made for just south of £15,000, so some cost based changes were inevitable, but man it would have been awesome if they could have started the film off as intended.

shall we start with the bad? some of the acting. it's 50-50, really. Adrian Bouchet is brilliant as Thomas. Ahmed Hashimi as Sied and Sabine Crossen as Freya are, however, below average. at some points awful. not to the point of distraction - Sied gets better as the film goes on, for a start - but noticeable all the same.

i don't want to sound like an apologist, but the "less than great" acting performances that make it into the film are understandable on the basis of the low budget and, you would think, seriously limited time they had to film in. Kubrick once famously said, when he indulged a question, that he did so many takes of scenes because "it would be stupid not to" as it was "the cheapest part" of making a film. that's true if you happen to be the greatest director of all time and have Warner Bros indulging absolutely everything you want. a film made as a labour of love does not, alas, have such benefits. i would suspect all involved with Predator Dark Ages would look at some of the performances and say "yeah, it would have been lovely to go back and redo that". perhaps one day they shall get the chance.

onto the good, then, and there is plenty of it. first, and most important to any Predator film would be the Predator himself, for there seems to be a lack of lady Predators (they do, presumably, have girl ones somewhere, unless they have a really weird reproduction system).

for what is fundamentally a fan made project, even allowing for the clearly high end professional skills on show, the Predator was the easiest way for this to all fall apart. the Predator needed to be convincing for this film to work. i am delighted to say that, by my word, the Predator in this film is awesome.



let me make something clear. i love the idea of Predator. i love all of the films - even the Alien vs Predator film that fanboys whine and moan about. and yes, even Predator 2, despite the overt Busey content. my favourite ever South Park is Imaginationland, mostly because of the awesome Predator that Butters encounters in it. so if they had delivered a poor, average or silly looking Predator in this film, trust me, i would have gone all "fanboy" on it and whined.

another key ingredient is, of course, action. there are more action sequences than you might think in a low budget, 27 minute film, and they are all impressive - well staged, crafted, lensed and what have you. and yes, you get to see all of the Predator's tricks, bar the smart self-destruct nuclear thing it has.



but how is the story? it's a brilliant concept. as was used as the premise of the aforementioned Alien vs Predator film, why wouldn't you have it that the Predators have been visiting our planet for the thrill of the hunt over the centuries? the broad concept of the Predator films is that the Predators are drawn to battles across the universe, so that they may test themselves against those who consider themselves to be the greatest warriors in the galaxy.

the reason i and many others love the Predator is because it is the sort of mentalist, gung-ho up for a fight character we all like to picture the vikings as being. think, to refer to  the show again, that episode of South Park where Russell Crowe cruised around the world just to have fights with people. the concept is awesome.

so how did they "get away" with making a Predator film and distributing it? because, presumably, whilst they are not as fan friendly as Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox (the ostensible "owners" of all things Predator) are not as bad as, for example, Sony or Apple.



whilst they might be a trifle miffed at someone using their "intellectual property", the broad picture for them was, presumably, this was all market research that was not costing them a penny and not making anyone else any money either. the studio has not done anything with the Predator concept since the (rather good) Predators film from a few years ago, although i believe that Shane Black (as in Mr He Who Can Do No Wrong after the excellence of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) is having a go at a new film. why not let a bunch of fans, at their own cost, make a Predator movie, sit back and gather all of the marketing and fan feedback information that goes with it?

that feedback is, hopefully, that fans want more smart Predator films. they don't even have to be massive budget things. we would be happy with "the adventures in space and time of a Predator" sort of thing, so long as the effects and the presence of the Predator are as convincing as they are here in Predator Dark Ages.

to the cast and crew, i can only say thank you very much indeed for this very entertaining and hugely enjoyable slice of entertainment. i can only hope that it has helped showcase your clear talents to those that have money to throw at making movies, and it helps you catch a break. a big thanks, too, to all those dedicated fans that threw money at this, with the only return wanted or expected being to see a class Predator film. i trust you got what you wanted.

on that note, no i did not know about it at all, and only stumbled on this film over the weekend. would i be prepared to throw money at a project? in all honesty, before i saw this the answer would have been no. now that i have seen just what is possible by dedicated (and talented) fans, that would be a likely maybe on me doing so.

off you go, then - if you haven't already, head off to enjoy Predator Dark Ages, or go watch it again!





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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

in the news

hello there

it's rare, look you see, that i consult the news too much these days. quite frankly it feels like i have had a lifetime of news to go through already, i don't particularly have the energy to go through yet more. this is not to say i remain entirely ignorant, dear reader - perhaps it's better to say that i just have a cursory glance at stories these days rather than read much in detail. except of course when something is of immediate relevance or interest to me. so i do and yet do not consult the news, i guess.

get to the point, you ask, and i say yes. here we go with two stories from the last week that caught my eye and were ones that posed questions that apparently had answers beyond the scope of the information in the newspaper articles themselves.

first off, then, on to the Sunday Sport, which has an interesting way of approaching this "obesity crisis" which both the UK and the rest of the world appear to be perpetually facing.



the immediate question i had about this story was one of why was it that, no matter how many of them she ate, the lady at the heart of the article had to eat the onion rings naked. i mean, i appreciate that it is displays of skin which is the main selling point for the Sport, but does this mean that every story requires more skin than cloth to be on display?

beyond that i understand the cultural reference point used, even if i am not 100% sure of what the cultural reference point actually is. my knowledge of Cheryl Cole is that i think she is one of them Geordies, i am pretty sure her surname was off of an ill-fated marriage to one of them footballers, and i believe that she was also some sort of singer.

what i don't understand, however, is if the lady in question set out to eat (naked) the body weight equivalent of Cheryl Cole in onion rings each month, of if the amount she eats happens to be the same as whatever it is Cheryl Cole weighs, and that's why the reference is there.

in regards of the increasing obesity rates around the world - a matter that the Sport did not directly mention in the article but i think it's fair to say there was tacit reference - it's not as bad as is made out. obesity is still calculated on the basis of a BMI, or if you like body mass index, from the early part of the 20th century. it does not allow for the fact that average heights and lifespans have increased substantially. it is still, no doubt, a problem, but perhaps not to the epic, spiralling out of control no matter what anyone does (except review BMI calculations) extent that gets reported.

possibly slightly more serious ground here, and the tragic, indeed senseless shooting of two people live on TV  in America. no, i didn't buy The Sun, this is off the copy that my Uncle had (not that one or that one, the other one) and i had reason to see the front of.

what i don't really understand is why this incident - and ones like it - in America is considered something to be the dominant news story in both the UK and around the world.

it is not a trivial story, and i do not mean to suggest it is. the story, however, has absolutely no relevance around the world at all. there is a difference, believe it or not, between "freedom to know and access all news" and "is this news relevant and noteworthy to the audience". i would suggest in respect of the latter that it isn't.

indeed it does seem, to my untrained eyes, that The Sun have elected to "doctor" that picture some, to make it all the more dramatic. i am not sure if The Sun has a track record for doctoring or altering information that it reports on to suit sales figures and the editorial line they want in place, you would have to ask someone else about that.

the day that this sorry event happened saw it become, as mentioned, the primary focus of all news outlets here  in England. why? i mean, why were English people phoning an English radio station to express their views and opinions on gun control in America? it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with us - they don't ask us for a view, and whatever we think of what they do with firearms is not going to have any bearing on what they do at all.

i suppose it could have been put forward as the lead story for political reasons. a distraction, if you like. if everyone across the UK is presented with this, then there's no need to allow focus on more closer to home stories in the news. the hidden agenda, perhaps, is along the lines of "oh, look how much better life in England is; you can't even be a TV presenter in America without being shot".

one suspects, however, that the reason for this irrelevant to the UK story was given such prominence was due to somewhat less intelligent thinking. it seems that news agendas, be they television or newspapers, are driven by what is "trending" on "social media".  just as everyone - globally -  is expected to conform, to toe the line and express how everything is the worst and most tragic thing ever and then forget all about it the next day on things like that twerker and the snapbook one, so news editors feel they must report it as it is "what the world is talking about". the wood for the trees, then; perhaps maybe they should consider why the world is talking about it before rushing to deliver copy. hey ho.

anyway, time for some chicken, methinks.



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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

metrocentre

hi there

of all the places we stopped off on our travels to and, thankfully look you see, from Newcastle, one of the two is almost certainly worth a further exploration here. consider this, if you like (i mean, if you have absolutely nothing better to do) a companion piece to the previous blog post what i did, earlier on today.

i suppose the only thing surprising about us visiting the Metrocentre is that it did not happen at some point sooner in our time here back in England. once upon a time i was a frequent visitor to the place, thanks to a dear friend that i have not heard from for a while. in more recent times, i believe that my only visit to the place was in 2001 or 2002, courtesy of Mr Norman B@stard on the way back from that fancy airport they have there in Newcastle.

a look at the outside of the Metrocentre, specifically from the "red" parking zone, in Commodore 64 mode? well, i can think of no good reason why not.



it may please or displease you to learn that, dear reader, the above is the only Commodore 64 mode picture in this post. i am prepared to admit that this blog has gotten rather top heavy with Commodore 64 mode images of late; ever since Spiros gave me one of them iPhone things and i was able to easily take and mail them to myself.

what is, you may ask, the Metrocentre? well, i don't know if this is true now, but once it was declared to be the largest shopping centre not only in the UK, but across Europe too. there has probably always been bigger ones around the world, and no doubt there are bigger ones to be found in Europe too. it's not like people in Sweden have all that much else different to do, so they might as well make massive shopping centres i suppose.

it's also, now as it was then, a place for the youth of today, as it was for them of their day, to hang around and loiter, with our without intent, if you shall excuse the deference to Bono there. a perfect place, then to take the boys so that they may stand by a wall.



it has changed a bit since i was last there. well, no it hasn't, it's still a massive shopping centre. i believe, however, that the boss rollercoaster it had inside the centre has gone. there was a rather smart train ride you could now take, but a train is not a rollercoaster. well, it isn't unless it is a train on rollercoaster tracks i suppose, but you get my point.

there was, all the same, plenty of amusement and entertainment to be had there. we shall get to that, but i am almost certain that you are quite excited to learn want commerce related activities i, or if you like we, engaged in whilst there. 

if that to you looks like an 8GB USB stick in the shape of Boba Fett, that's because it is, stood next to one of my class Boba Fett toys and before some sort of Nightmare Before Christmas goblet that my (considerably) better half was rather enthusiastic about owning. i have not seen the film, so i don't know.

where did we obtain this latest Boba Fett merchandising from? the Disney store, but of course. for a fee of £14.99, which is rather steep for an 8GB USB stick, but also pretty reasonable for a Disney based Star Wars item of merchandise which has an actual practical use.

how does it perform as a USB stick? i have absolutely no idea as it's not been out of the box yet. i would imagine that it's going to be a pretty conventional USB B connector, and is based on USB 2.0 technology inside it. i mean, absolute boss, or if you like Bossk, if it's USB 3.1 inside, for that will mean a far faster transfer rate to it. it is, however, sold as an item of Star Wars merchandise, i think, rather than as something claiming to be the latest and greatest in USB technology. for faster and better, more reliable USB connectivity, you are probably far better off going to Lindy rather than the Star Wars section of the Disney shop.

as a bit of Star Wars merchandise, well, it's Boba Fett, isn't it, so i think that it is quite smart and i like it very much indeed. i have no idea what i will use it for, but i would like it to be that i use it for something which would be no good to me dead.

on to fun stuff, then, and on to some video of dodgem cars. you will be very pleased to know that if you can make anyone out in these videos (for there are two), they are the 75% of my family that you actually all like, as i was busy filming them. 


video

dodgem cars are rather smart, and usually i like them. however, at £3 a go and with the boys finding many things to spend my coins of money on at the 'Namco Entertainment Centre', i was happy to give it a miss.

a picture of the dodgem car festival to go along with the video? sure.




but a picture of dodgem cars doesn't really cover the excitement, the wonder and the adventure of them, so here you go with another video.


video

was the dodgem ride decent enough value for money? it was most decidedly so. the three of them had a brilliant time on them, and although i wasn't keeping track it seemed like they had a pretty lengthy go on them for my coins of money.

there was indeed 10 pin bowling there, but no one but me really wanted to go and do it. perhaps next time, then. well, at least i hope so.

there are, oddly, just as many walls inside the Metrocentre for the boys to stand against as there were outside. a plus was that one of the walls on the inside had a chart of the Bash Street Kids out of the Beano comic, against which they were able to compare their relative heights. yeah, sorry that the numbers are not too clear so you can't see their actual height.



on the whole, from what i saw at the least, the Metrocentre remains a most splendid and excellent place to go and have a gander, a bit of a shop, something to eat and have fun in.

anyway, that will do this post for now. many thanks as ever for reading.



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

the road to newcastle and back

hello there

not really all that much of excitement here, look you see, unless you are particularly excited about the idea of random images (in Commodore 64 mode, obs) taken whilst taking a drive to the lost city of Newcastle and back. should you be particularly, or even mildly, interested in this, well then nice one.

there isn't a great deal of expansion i can add to that as a means of introduction, so here we go with the first image taken on the road. well, in the car that was on the road.




it's interesting, is it not, what the magic of the Commodore 64 mode lens does to the skyline as one heads away from a recognized decent, proper and respectable area of England and towards Newcastle. the sky, for the record, didn't really look like it does above, it was mostly blue.

another image, closer to Newcastle? sure.



i would like to point out at this stage that i did warn you that there would be little or nothing of particular interest to the more casual reader here.

why were we on our way to Newcastle? they, with they being the medical authorities of the land, had in their infinite wisdom decided to establish a dental hospital in the city. it's not for me to question why they would do this, and let us be honest, the medical authorities of this country have an absolutely sterling record of success and efficiency and all around brilliance.
 
a particular highlight of the dental hospital, leaving their complex and misleading elevator controls aside, was the sensational, higher than standard pricing for colder than standard tea, coffee and hot chocolate. indeed, this image is of young William showcasing the latter.

the strategy in place at the dental hospital seems to be one of allowing the people who attend it to get an experience of what goes on in that section of airports which is after passport control and before you get on the plane. that no man's land of an area is characterised and well known for being a bastion of overpriced, less than satisfactory foods and drinks stuffs.

not since i was in Heathrow last, which is some 12 or 13 years ago now, have i experienced such a poor, pathetic cup of coffee. there was a scant, limited suggestion of flavour to it, and the merest inkling of a hint to allow one to think that yes, at some point, the water used to make it with was indeed at the correct temperature to do so, but not any more. water from the hot tap would have been warmer than the water which was alleged to have been heated to make this coffee with.

the most troubling element of this was, as we left, we found ourselves being compelled to make an agreement to return to the dental hospital, and quite soon too. i may well consider investing in some sort of flask before then, so that i may not been required to bankrupt myself on lesser coffee when we get there.

and then, after all of that, we drove back.



our drive back allowed us to experience and get an enhanced understanding of why so many trucks, lorries, HGV things and so forth are "innocently" involved in so many accidents. although i have no doubt that there are several expert drivers in England at the moment, it has become clear to us that there are some bad ones too.

like, for instance, the driver of a truck - i am not sure but i am almost certain his name as a$shole - who, in bumper to bumper traffic flashed at us in front of him to get out of the way. when we failed to oblige with this, what with driving on hedges being generally frowned upon even in Newcastle, he attempted to overtake us and witnessed that which he could see from behind us, which is a lack of ability of anyone to go anywhere.



what's one of the best parts of going to and from Newcastle? that one is able to drive through, and thus technically visit, Sunderland twice. i do appreciate that people from my part of the world, by birth, are supposed to hold Sunderland in as much disdain and contempt as we are Newcastle, but not so for me. i once saw a Tom Cruise film at a cinema they have there, and i know several people from this city. enough, for me at least, to say that Sunderland is more than OK in my books, and good luck to them. one can only hope that they are as kind in their thoughts of us too.

an image of me in the car with my (considerably) better half, to go along with the one of her driving above? certainly, this can be done for you with ease.



if i were charged or otherwise commissioned to build a dental hospital, i suppose i would have indeed built it in Sunderland rather than Newcastle. nothing has ever really screamed "dental hospital" in anything that Newcastle has done, whereas Sunderland has in the past shown, when called on, an eager sense of happy to oblige when the world has turned to them. i mean, yeah, ok, Newcastle gave Peter Beardsley to the world, but i would like to think there's more to the world than that.

another look at the sign for the City of Sunderland? sure why not.



sorry that i have none of the signs for Hartlepool. my (considerably) better half has, look you see, a rather odd and possibly unhealthy obsession with Hartlepool, and i found myself having to stop her from driving in the direction of the place rather than being able to concentrate on taking an image of the signs indicating where it is.

anyway, i have some other forms of writing to do. there are more images - video too, oddly - of our travels, so i will do another update soon. hopefully one which proves to be more interesting and worthwhile, at the least. thanks for going ahead with reading all of this, anyway.



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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

lynx cool metal under review

hello there

well, three posts today, and no sight at all of a vulcan or a clingon or anything else out of Star Wars like in the other two, look you see. instead it's time for me to share my thoughts, musings, experiences and general observations on yet another of the lynx range of deodorants. or, if you like, body sprays i suppose.

if for some reason you have an interest in what i think of these products, amongst other posts you can check out my reviews of lynx black and lynx fever by clicking away with gay abandon on the different coloured text you saw there.

although it would appear that i have become something of the self-style leading voice in the world of passing judgement on the qualities of lynx products, or indeed lack thereof, i have not as such as yet been appointed by whoever makes lynx in any sort of ambassadorial capacity. to that end, some frames of reference and qualifications.

i do, dear reader, appreciate that i am not the target demographic or market for the lynx products. i will go one further than that - had i fathered a child some 21 years ago, at a time when Oasis were barely a thing and an "internet" was probably considered a fancy way of describing an inter-city rail network, that child today would be too old to be part of the lynx demographic. i understand that lynx is aimed, outside of the aristocracy, squarely at peasant feral teenage boys so that they may attract girls of a similar social standing in order to engage in rampant breeding exploits.

the problem, and the reason that i return to the lynx brand, is that virtually every other form of deodorant that i have experienced in England has the scent of that lemon infused bug killer stuff. i have no idea why all the other makers do that, but it is awful. not, let it be said, that lynx always gets it right. and when i say "all other makers", i really do mean all. just what is it with this business of shoving lemon into every single product they can thing of? i have no idea at all where they got the idea that it would make anything better, or improve or enhance stuff. i am not at all convinced that it does, but then again i am not a successful manufacturer or seller of any particular product.

video


so, anyway, is cool metal any good? well, yes, no, maybe. i mean, it's not the single worst experience i have had with lynx products, but it isn't particularly the best either. it kind of does the job.

my expectations of it were to evoke the sense of anything that one might define "cool" metal as. first prize, of course, would be that it made one smell of David Lee Roth. failing that, creating a sense of how a naked Austrian robot must smell as it travels through time, or how a space smuggler would smell when frozen and kept in some sort of very cold metal box would have been most smart. lynx cool metal, alas, does not really make one consider or imagine any of these.

a quick break from the world of lynx cool metal, then, and google still keep inviting me to review products. google has, thus far, not clocked the benefits of that "verified purchase" system for reviews. this means that i am extended the opportunity to present reviews on items that i am pretty much unfamiliar with.




i have absolutely no reason at all to think anything other than my review is fair, honest, accurate and of the greatest possible level of benefit and assistance to people considering throwing 99p at whatever this is.

if you have read the other two reviews, you will be aware that it is a bit of a "thing" that i include a video of the lynx product in action. this is the case here, however, i have not filmed it with my blueberry phone thing. that means the super secret thing, where a blueberry phone records smells as well as images and sound, has not happened. sorry for that.

video

also, lynx are the only manufacturers of deodorants that seem prepared to put a proper spray mechanism on to their tins. all other makers seem to think that some sort of wildcat fire extinguisher style of spraying does the trick. it doesn't, for it just jettisons half a can at once over as wide an area as possible.

would i, overall, recommend or suggest that a chap have a go with some cool metal? yes, certainly, if they were able to but it for either £1.50 ot £1.99 per tin. it is one of them prices that i paid for it, and indeed that was the main motivating factor behind the purchase of it which i made.

the performance of lynx cool metal? not bad, really, not bad at all. i cannot speak for its effect on feral teenagers, but ladies closer to my age certainly reacted in a positive way.

the ladies of HMV, for instance, were presumably somewhat inspired by my scent, as they spoke with some passion and enthusiasm about Gary Oldman. ok, that might be because i was buying the Child 44 dvd, but then how come Tom Hardy didn't feature in the chat? also, down at Cooplands and Greggs, there was an unmistakable extra hormonal charge when the ladies addressed me, as is usual, as either "sweetheart", "darling" or "love". i did not pursue conversations any further than buying whatever it was i wanted for lunch, but all the same i had the distinct sense that the ladies could smell something, they liked what it was that they could smell and what they could smell was me.

anyway, if you decide to experience or experiment with lynx cool metal, best of luck, and i really hope that it works out smart for you.




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

oh smart, the new space wars jedi

hello there

i had no intention, look you see, of doing two Star Trek or whatever posts in a row, but some oddly rather interesting news has come out about the new film.

we can but only hope that Star Wars Episode VII : Mission To Moscow is decent, but just know there's a bunch of people sat just waiting to moan and groan about how it's "not as good as the idea they had, Disney should have just called me, i would have given them the perfect film for free or maybe for five minutes looking at a real girl naked", and so on.

up to now we've had constant looks at the ostensible baddie, Kilo Rusk or something i think he's called.



he is apparently a "bad jedi" but "not a sith". maybe he is one of them Klingons or Romulans or even Cylons then. boss, actually, if the latter.

anyway, we've not had a good look at who he is getting ready to twat with that longsword laser things he has on the go there. not until now, at least. and now you can.

your three options, if interested, to see are :

(a) click on this Inergramsnapbooktwerk thing link to see it properly

(b) watch this off screen video i made on my blueberry, a clip that i am proud of the pirate quality of


video

(c) simply scroll down and look at this classy still image what i have made for you.



so it's this one called Finn that's the "good" jedi, is it. well, as good as a jedi can be, i suppose, considering their pretty right wing values and ways of doing things.

the positive about this is that maybe he is the child of Lando and Princess Leia, and this is all evidence that we will get to see Billy Dee Williams back where he belongs, which is in movies of quality. should Star Wars Episode VII : Mission To Moscow in fact be a movie of quality.

 anyhow, hope some if not all of this has been of use to some of you.



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

lego star wars comic thing

hello there

well, this blog post pretty much does what it says in the title, look you see. to that end, for those of you looking for an at a glance, sorry i am in a rush sort of mind, i have purchased what i think is edition two of Disney's latest effort to claw back the money they spent on that poor man's version of Police Academy, namely Star Wars. here is the constructed, armed and fully operational (kind of) Slave One lego toy that came with it; yes the sole motivator for purchase.



the 50p coin is indeed, as those of you most astute will have clocked, there purely for scale and is not either an item you get with it or a suggestion of some form of cost vs value ratio.

if you are still reading, you are probably not in so much of a rush, so let's bid farewell to those that had a glance and left and press on with some more details.

this is, as i am pretty sure i mentioned above, edition two as far as i know. issue 2 if you like, i guess. i was aware of the first one, but i didn't buy it. that had a lego x-wing with it. the x-wing, as we know, is intrinsically, if not closely, linked to that nancy boy Luke Skywalker, and i want nothing to do with him or his fancy new beard, thanks.

Luke Skywalker, you see, appeals to an entirely different demographic than what i fall into. Luke is designed to appeal - and does so very successfully - to those who mope around, having not so much friends as they do acquaintances that stick about so that they may look momentarily cooler by comparison, relying entirely on computerised machines for conversation and once got very close to having sex by some accidental fluke involving a botched rescue, some snow and a relative.

it can be said, then, that Luke exists to give people of a similar lifestyle something to aspire to. Luke is onscreen so that these people may look at him and say "hey, maybe i am also the chosen one like Luke, and my father is also really an intergalactic warlord that will one day find me despite not looking up my surname or having a check out of his old home planet on the off chance that i might be here waiting for him". a prototype of Neo out of Matrix, i suppose.

Slave 1, confusingly called Slave One on the packet that came with the magazine, is of course very different. here we are talking about a spaceship that was once owned by Jango Fett, who was cool, and was then owned by Boba Fett, who was or is even cooler.



is this lego model of Slave 1 any good, then? well, it depends entirely on what you are expecting for something in a bank bag sized packet stuck on a magazine which is sold for £3.99. in context, it is pretty good value, but it's not exactly a spectacular lego creation. but let's have a look at the context.

lego, as any parent or rabid fanboy will testify, is not cheap. the most basic of construction kits of it, featuring a simple car or similar, are usually around £5. the "lego minifigures", in which you buy a single lego character with one or two accessories, are usually £2.50. to get a branded, licensed official lego Star Wars product and magazine for just a penny below £4 is then good. and, in fairness, so far Disney have been pretty good with Star Wars pricing - flood and be proliferate across the market seems to be their approach.

a look at the bits inside the packet, so you may weigh up the value? certainly. there's a dozen or so parts; one of them was "missing" when i took this image as it was stick to the seal on the packet and i had not noticed until we got to that stage of building.



it's no-nonsense, legit and proper lego pieces, as in this is not some random bits off the floor of the massive lego factory in Denmark (or wherever), and if they sold this without the comic the pricing would probably be on or around what i paid anyway.

the comic itself? looks decent enough. it features, as you would expect, adverts for other Disney related concerns, in particular all of that Avengers business, which was their biggest cash cow until coins of money were exchanged for Star Wars. and may both be a success for them, which in regards of Avengers has certainly been the case so far.

as well as adverts, the comic features a story or two, some puzzles and a "fact file" for some recently made up Star Wars character rather than one of the traditional, well established made up ones. there's also some boss postcards to cut out and send on the back cover. here they are in Commodore 64 mode.



the stories actually look like they are fun, which isn't really a surprise. the lego Star Wars films have so far been wildly funny and very entertaining, and no i do not care that they "play with the (groan) canon history of the films". there's also a competition in the comic, one which sees you needing to draw a Stormtrooper so that you may win either a lego imperial shuttle or lego naboo starfighter. it might well let the boys draw it for me, or i may well do it myself - let us be honest, i am not going to be the only 42 year old entering. 

back to the lego set - and let us not forget that Slave 1 was the selling point for me and will be for many other purchasers.

is it fairly easy to build? partially. i mean, as you can see here (sorry, Disney, if i was not supposed to put the whole page up), it's built in "four easy steps". this is, of course, classic lego logic, though, and it is four easy steps if you combine several stages of construction into one. what exactly the problem is with lego and odd numbers i do not know; perhaps it is a Danish thing.

did i build it all by myself, unsupervised and trusted not to either eat any of the parts of stick then in a suitable or unsuitable orifice in my body? of course not. to give it a full test i handed it all over to our resident lego and construction lover William.

he is, as those who know me or read here regularly enough, aged 5. he could handle following the instructions and assembling Slave 1 with the greatest of ease, as you can see in the picture which commenced this blog post, and in just a little while from now in the image that will bring closure to this post.

there's even some functionality to the Slave 1 lego model, in so much as it is not stagnant. as you can see between the pictures, the wing flap thingies are able to rotate, just like on the (ahem) "real" Slave 1. that they look absolutely nothing like the wing flap thingies on the actual Slave 1 is neither here nor there, and to highlight it is just nitpicking.

the finished Slave 1 again, then, with the 50p coin once more being present to give you some sort of scale idea. if, of course, you have any sort of idea how big a 50p coin of money is.



will i be purchasing the third issue? William is keen, but i am not too sure. the lego that comes with it is something called an "imperial shooter", and it looks rather dull.

anyway, i can but hope that this blog post has helped you know what goes on in this new lego Star Wars comic, and indeed has reaffirmed what you knew already of Luke and his fans.




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

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spiros guest post

hi there

these bits in italics, look you see, are just me. Spiros has very kindly done a sort of a "guest post" for me to put up here. the bits not in italics are all him, except some very minor language censoring that i did. 

it would seem that Spiros has been watching an awful lot of prison movies of late, so you are very welcome to consider this a warning about what sort of thing you will be reading. i have done my best to beautify his text with some appropriate images of bunnies off of one of them "free to use images" sites sort of things.

over to Spiros, then, except of course to say,


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






Spiros here,
My best mate Lee suggested I write a write-up of my favourite prison films and what moved me the most.  
Some of you might be incorrectly assuming that I supply Lee with cigarettes outside of the ‘big house’ because I have a deep seated need to be a ‘b!tch’.  Not so.  He makes me laugh.  I might as well keep that up while he reforms off of the tobacco.  We’re speaking of reform anyway.
I tried to restrict this review to obvious comedies.  The discipline scene in American History X (where one Nazi taught another another a lesson) was cheated out of every major award is obviously disqualified for a mostly lack of focus on the topic at hand.  
Deliverance, another chuckle-along, can’t pass as it isn’t set in a prison.  
Why am I qualified to pass judgement?  I’ve never been incarcerated.  At least not yet.  I like to call myself a ‘lawyer’ so I suppose it will happen at some point.  


My second karate instructor was a prison guard at the former Pretoria Central.  That’s where Oscar is now.  Sensei filled me in on fascinating stories of how cells were overcrowded by up to 200%, had a section called ‘die blomtein’ (flower garden) - where new inmates were kept for inspection by members of one of the ‘numbers gangs’ - who specialised in rape.  You can Google them.  If you can stand the youtube videos. Well done.
My instructor wasn’t one unused to beating up inmates.  He claims they used to give prison-rapists a good kicking but eventually gave up.  The shoe leather just wasn’t worth it.  The last guy who got a hiding was caught in action with another guy in the showers with a centrefold taped across the back of his victim’s head with toothpaste.  Justice delayed is justice denied.  There was no delaying in this instance.  
Who paid for Friday after-work drinks was settled by who could punch their chosen inmate the  furthest across a concrete patch.  Do we need to elaborate on the race of the guards and inmates? Thought not.
Lee, as an interesting afterthought, and I had a mate (one of mine too, years back), who told a story of friends of his, who went behind bars involuntarily at the court’s pleasure,  and made the mistake of accepting a gift of cigarette from a new friend dressed in in orange.  The recipients quickly became ‘the sodomites’ when described inside and outside of captivity.


I digress.
Here we go:
6. The Animal Factory - if you saw Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs, prepare for something else.
5. Get Hard: Okay - as a warning of what might be waiting for white bread in the penitentiary.  The plot is much a rip-off of Trading Places, Big Stan, Let’s go to Prison, etc.  The best line, or something close to it is, “they be a f****n’ in San Quentin”.
4.  An@l Offenders - I reluctantly lent my VHS tape to my brother Cameron who never returned it.  I remember many cool scenes of much cool action.  That black chick with the ginger freckles in particular. I know those ladies have probably haemorrhaged by now. I would still like to meet any of them.  I would be very upset if this is one of the movies his mate Stevie inadvertently taped over.  Cool theme tune too!  That made this film a slightly better afternoon’s entertainment than P!ss!ng Movie II.


 3. The Concrete Jungle -  Lesbians behind bars? In 1972? And horny? Sign me up!  This was not a p0rno in case you were wondering.  These chicks loved rug before before my dad!
2.  Big Stan - where to begin… prison raping to keep up with the neighbours? Hanging a door mat off of your ass saying, “you’re welcome?” Very funny, but not something I hope to live through.  Very cool cameo from that guy who looks dead from Kill Bill.  Since he is dead right now, I guess he doesn’t mind.
1. Let’s go to Prison - ‘wooing’, toilet wine and Eskimo kisses.  I’m surprised more people aren’t breaking the law.

Monday, August 24, 2015

travels of a greek postcard

hello there

well, this is rare. i am, dear reader, quite taken with the title i have given this blog post, look you see. so taken, in fact, that at some stage i intend to write a novel - probably some sort of middle class affair that gets longlisted for a prize or something - with that as the title. for now. though, it shall serve the purpose of being the title of this blog post; a post destined to be as childish and bereft of proper humour as oh so many of my works are.

my good friend Spiros, in a move which rather pre-empted the slight, somewhat negligible stockmarket crash of earlier today, recently went to Greece. whilst there he got me some smart Marlboro, a very provocative calendar of Greek lovers and this postcard you can see here. or rather can't see much of, due to Commodore 64 mode being used and some censorship - in the form of a Greek warning about cigarettes - being carefully placed.

this postcard, in all of its pure, uncensored form, is a thing of sheer beauty. so beautiful, in fact, that i could not possibly keep admiration of it all to myself. as Spiros only have the foresight and vision to send me one, i decided that the only thing i could do was to scan it and send it to a few people.

i know, it's strange. i, not for one single minute, believe that this thing i just invented  - that of sending a naked image of someone to people via email or other electronic means such as the internet - will ever take off. it was, however, the only way that i could get the image to New Zealand and South Africa with any relative speed, for i for some reason thought that some of my relatives would like to see it. my beloved mother-in-law and sister, to that end, were most enthusiastic about it. my Mum has yet to comment on it as such, but i will trust that her view was positive.

a more traditional and far more acceptable way of sending images of naked Greek gents to people is, of course, through the post. as i have a fair quantity of photo paper off of the Pound shop, i set about printing it out, sending it off to people both at random and on request.




so far i have only sent it to people within the Realm of the United Kingdom, with those rather accidentally priapic pink blotches indicating more or less the postcode of where they were sent to. except the one which is theoretically london, for that is of course from where Spiros sent the card to me in the first instance.

the headlines "three suicides linked to Ashley Madison leak" are an interesting comment on the sense of entitlement and considerable lack of a sense of perspective of these modern times, are they not? methinks that "three suicides possibly linked to people having their extra-marital or extra-relationship affairs being found out" might be a more accurate way of looking at it, but the closer you get to the truth, the less newspapers you sell and the less internet clicks you get.

responses to the arrival of the image have been, if one ignores certain comments, overwhelmingly positive. i mean, so far i have not heard from the North West, but i never do anyway, no matter what i send that so and so of a bass player. i would really like to send it to someone in Wales, and indeed the Republic of Ireland, too, but alas thus far no one has given me their address. i did think of sending one to Bono in regards of the Republic, but i am still a trifle sore about him not saying thanks for the watch batteries.

another look at the postcard in its modesty protecting form, only featuring the other Commodore 64 mode filter? sure, here it is.

you know, if they can afford grapes like the ones this fellow is eating, and can have fancy yachts on the coast, i don't think that the Greek economy is as knacked as they make out. granted, it could be the case that they can no longer afford clothes there, but i have every reason to believe, if not suspect, that the chap in the postcard is not wearing clothes as a lifestyle choice rather than it being any sort of question of affordability.

are you sat there right now saying "yes, actually, i would really rather like to get a print out of the scan of that postcard sent to me"? well, why not say so.

i am sat here with stamps, envelopes, photo paper (of a quality which is the finest that Pound Land sells) and the most happiest of inclination to send a print out off to whoever would like one. international mail is also entirely possible, but may have to wait until i can get the right stamps off of the Post Office.

if you really would wish for one of these to be sent on, then, you can get in touch with me via them "private message" things off of facebook or google+. it can be arranged. of if you want a sort of regular letter, with no photograph of Greek dudes in it, i suppose.

should this post have made your monday a happy one, well, so much the better, and ride on.



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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

happy days

hi there

nothing too intelligent or worth endorsing, look you see. i just thought that those of you who have endured reading of my distress at Winston Red apparently vanishing from the market might garner some satisfaction, if not interest, from the fact that i have been able to locate some. and some not forwarded to me by Spiros, although he reckons he shall be sending some on. nice one man.

as per my good working relationship with the Japanese revealed, i got a letter off of Japan Tobacco in which they told me the stockists in my area. two of them, alas, were ones where i used to be able to buy them from, but sell them no more. on the list, however, was another Sainsbury's that was not too far out of my way, so i went to go and have a look. you see, here they are.

oh good, apple and blogger are still fighting with format and won't let me upload pictures with the rotation i want in place. note to blogger and apple - not every picture taken is a selfie; sometimes "landscape" orientation is chosen for a reason.

as usual, a disclaimer - i choose to smoke, but under no circumstances would i recommend or suggest that anyone else does, for it is silly. do what you like, but don't blame your lifestyle choices on me.

those are indeed the remnants of the Greek and South African Marlboro what Spiros kindly arranged for me, by the way. oh yes, he wholeheartedly encourages me to smoke, just like i encourage him to quaff the ale.

so, Sainsbury's sell the cigarettes that i prefer, do they? granted, they do so at an escalated price, for the £7 flat coins of money they charge for a packet is slightly north of the fee that Morrisons and Tesco used to charge me. but, the facts of life being what they are, Sainsbury's seem to be the only game in town for this particular make and model, so they call the tune and in this regard i guess i must sing it, or find a different beat somewhere else.

so, Sainsbury's are quite keen to have my coins of money, are they? i don't think it is out of the question for me to engage in correspondence with Mr Tesco and Mr Morrisons in this respect, asking them whether or not they are absolutely sure that they no longer wish to have my coins of money. if, after all, i am at Sainsbury's to get the Winston Red, i might as well get milk, bread and whatever else there too, no?

wow, this has been a lot of posts and updates for a sunday. enough, then.




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

49 / 99

hello there

i remain baffled, dear reader, by the rush with which many (not all, look you see) seem to be in favour of consigning the optical disc, in any variation, to the section of history in which VHS and Beta presently happily reside. it is true that they are more convenient options available these days, but they have serious pitfalls.

still, the baffled view i have does not lead me to make too many loud appeals against it, for it sees me be able to use what is effectively pocket money on building up a collection of rather fine films, thanks. here, behold eight films that i purchased on DVD for 49p each, which i think you will find comes to a total of £3.92 in coins of money in real and actual terms.

oh great, blogger and apple are fighting with each other about picture rotation again. cheers for that, guys, it really helps with formatting.

for those of you who can't work out those titles, they are the Mona Lisa (featuring boss performances for Caine and Hoskins), Passenger 57 (with Snipes before he was crap), Fargo (need i say more?), Angel Heart (a masterpiece of cinema featuring Rourke at his finest).

up to the start of the other line with Taxi Driver (one of my all time favourites), Apocalypse Now (sadly the Redux version but still), Battlestar Galactica The Movie (the proper version from the 70s) and Serpico (either this or Dog Day Afternoon is the one that should have bagged Pacino an Oscar, not the one where he wore sunglasses and said hoo haa).

needless to say i am very happy with my haul, and can scarcely believe that it cost an amount that would give you change from an honest and humble fiver. although yes i did spend slightly more, but i thought i'd just highlight these 8.

i can, and always did, understand or understood the rush to jettison VHS in favour of DVD. this was no vinyl vs CD debate; DVD was clearly the vastly superior way to watch a movie. you got a clean, crisp (hello, Faye) image every time without tracking, and perfect sound as it was intended to be heard.

jettisoning DVD in favour of "streaming" or "online demand" alternatives makes not quite so much sense. true, in most cases the sound and image are of DVD quality - assuming that you have an ultra-reliable broadband internet connection, and an uncapped one at that. watching a disc relies purely on you having a player and a tele, having no need or requirement for internet connectivity or extra hardware.

there's also the matter of choice. i recently heard Amazon Prime and Net Flix (or "Nit Flux" if you have a Kiwi accent) described as "a massive fridge full of food, but featuring nothing you want to eat". that's spot on. if i have the disc, i can watch what i want, when i want, as and when i ever get the time to do so. subscribe to streaming services and you are entirely at the mercy of the marketing division of a company. and don't think that anyone hired in an entertainment job must surely know their stuff; it's possible in charge is a dick that thinks only the non-Guttenberg Police Academy movies are worthwhile.

but surely, you say, DVD was made partially redundant by the arrival of Blu Ray? kind of, and to that end it is just as well that some blu-ray, or bluray, or however you write it, discs were available for 99p each.

again with the rotation - what we have here is Sleeping Beauty (dwarf action and i think the first film my Dad saw at a cinema), Despicable Me (boss), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (brilliant, even if the recent Dawn sequel was a waste of Gary Oldman and a general waste of time).

up on the other side, then, and we have Falling Down (D-Fens! the reason i have the style of glasses frames i do), Total Recall (the Arnie version, featuring my beloved Harry from verk line) and the Jim Carrey interpretation of A Christmas Carol (i have not seen it bit how bad can it be?).

is blu-ray really better than DVD? yeah, but it's not the massive leap that was experienced with going from VHS to DVD. a recent DVD played through a blu-ray player, via an HDMI cable and on one of them fancy 1080p or i tele sets, looks impressive enough, but the blu-ray disc looks and sounds slightly better. the selling point these days, for the most part, is that the blu-ray disc tends to feature extras and the uncut version of movies (see my many posts on Mad Max 2), whereas the DVD usually only has on it whatever the technician could be bothered to add on down at the mastering plant. which is, mostly, limited to Greek subtitles, really.

an even better way, i hear you say, of getting and watching movies when you want is to simply download them, either legally or otherwise. true, mostly. except that most tend to stockpile such collections on hard drives, be they 1TB ones, 2TB ones or larger. this is fine, but have you ever had a massive hard drive crammed with data crash? you basically lose everything. with the discs it's a case of if one gets damaged, you only have to replace the one.

perhaps, though, being able to watch what you want, when you want, is not so much of an issue to the current generation. it's strange really, and quite the paradox of these "millenials" that web articles keep insisting you need to "engage" with (you don't, really). this generation has a broad definition of being one that has an overwhelming and absurd sense of entitlement, expecting to get everything they want instantly, and for free of course, and expect to have their voices heard above all others. and yet they are perhaps the most prone to instantly disposable generation ever to have existed, as is all too sadly reflected in the poor state of music these days.

anyway, i am thrilled that so many have turned their backs on optical discs that i am in a position to sit on these films and watch them as and when i get a chance. i paid, i own the discs, i can watch them as and when i want, regardless of licensing, connection, or read errors on a drive. nice one.




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

a PFO from Royal Mail....

hello there

what job would i love most in the world, dear reader? that of a postman, look you see. mail, and the delivery of it, is important to me, and something of a bane of my existence, thanks to several years of experiencing the very worst abuses possible by the authorities of a post office in South Africa. i also like that idea of wandering outdoors and quite alone, just getting the job done.

chances of me ever getting gainful or meaningful employment with Royal Mail, however, took something of a nosedive this week. not, i hasten to add, that i am actively looking for verk, for i am exceedingly happy where i am, thanks. i got a PFO from them this week.

let's be honest, we've all both had a PFO, and we have, i promise you, all issued them at least once in our life. there's no avoiding the requirement of them from time to time. what, you ask, is a PFO? initials or shorthand for when you want to tell someone, politely and diplomatically, never to trouble you again. to this end, then, PFO = Please F*** Off.

i see that blogger and apple are fighting each other once more. sorry for that, you will have to look at this image of my Royal Mail PFO sideways, then. unless you have a fancy device that can rotate the image for you.

i had written to Royal Mail to ask them of their bizarre pricing. i'm not going to bother linking to the post, but you can search for it if you wish. basically, if you order 6 1st class stamps off them, which comes at a face value cost of £3.72, they wish to charge you some £1.49 or thereabouts to deliver them. this despite the fact that they control the system that posts them, and they have the budget to post me catalogue after catalogue every second week.

as you can kind of make out in this letter, they have taken that question and have somehow interpreted it as me accusing them of being dishonest or hiding the cost of postage. that is, quite frankly, a deliberately ignorant misinterpretation that i would be very proud of, but alas it does not answer my question or address the point i raised with them. my point was that if they would like me to buy my stamps online, then maybe they should not put an exorbitant fee on delivering those stamps to me.

will i be writing back? possibly. it's tempting to engage them in a debate on this one. why is it, after all, that a £1.49 surcharge is placed on online orders, yet when i buy the same number of stamps at a Post Office or even a supermarket the no such fee is imposed. it is worth me doing that if for no other reason to see how, should they reply, they elect to misinterpret that.

anyway, forwards not backwards and all of that.


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