Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sunday, 24 July 2011

I'm still alive! Transformers 3 review, Bioware TV and Comic Con!

Can't believe its been two weeks since I last posted! I've just been so busy that the time has gone too fast!

At least that means that Auto Assembly is now less than three weeks away! :-)

Speaking of Transformers, I went and saw Transformers: Dark Of The Moon last weekend, in 3D no less. I didn't get a headache from the 3D for once, although my brain did feel a bit weird when I took the glasses off after!

So... a quick review for those who haven't seen it... SPOILER ALERT - if you don't want to know any more about the movie STOP READING NOW!!

Ok so...

I'm going to divide this into good and bad points. I like to finish things on a positive note, so I'll start with the bad points first!

The BAD points:

The character of Shockwave, for all the billing he got, is hardly in the movie. He has a very brief appearance at the start and then reappears during the big battle towards the end. He looks similar to his G1 incarnation (well he has the single eye) but that's where the similarities end. He doesn't speak (well, nothing intelligible anyway), instead he just growls a lot. This is a disappointment as G1 Shockwave was a super-intelligent being of cold logic. Here, he's just a growling badass that commands a robotic snake thing and smashes stuff.

The character of Wheeljack: what the..? That was my initial reaction. G1 Wheeljack is cool - a scientist that creates awesome stuff. Dark Of The Moon Wheeljack looks like a guy doing Transformers cosplay... badly! While I think about it... what the hell is the deal with the fibre optic hair in this movie? I like most of the robot deisgns in DOTM but Wheeljack is just a fail!

The screaming: The first 40-odd minutes of the movie seems to have lots of people screaming. Sam's screaming, then some Japanese guy is screaming, scream, scream, scream! Luckily, this doesn't happen throughout the whoel movie (well, not in as irritating a manner as at the start).

Now... the GOOD points!

Story elements from the G1 cartoon: there's elements of Megatron's Master Plan and The Ultimate Doom in this movie! First, the bit with the Autobots leaving on a spaceship is very similar to their exile in the formerly mentioned episode. The bit with pulling Cybertron through the Space Bridge is straight from the latterly mentioned ep. It's cool to see these elements in live action!

Lazerbeak: my God - what a creepy bastard this character is! The scenes where he appears and people end up 'committing suicide' are actually quite disturbing and certainly take things in a darker direction.

Sentinel Prime: a very cool character! Ok, so his motivation for changing sides isn't entirely convincing but he's voiced by the great Leonard Nimoy (Galvatron from the G1 animated movie!) and he's a badass! His vehicle mode is cool (a fire truck) and there's a good reference to Spock in Star Trek II in one scene too.

Overall, this movie is in no danger of winning an Oscar - what you expect is pretty much what you get - giant robots smacking the crap out of eachother for a couple of hours. The humour doesn't invade the story quite so much as the previous instalments and it's entertaining enough. As TransFan myself, there's a few niggles but I enjoyed watching this and will be buying it on Blu Ray in November.

The 3D worked well and added to the enjoyment of the movie. Oh - the last thing I will just add is the cavalier way in which characters are killed in this movie. Poor Ironhide in particular!

I'm hoping that the next director for Transformers 4 will perhaps concentrate a little more on the characters and treat them a little bit better instead of just killing them off in such a throwaway manner!

So, Transformers 3 is a fun movie but don't expect anything too deep... I'm not sure why you would - but don't!

So, what am I doing now? Well, while I'm typing this, I'm watching Bioware TV. What's that? It's a live stream from Bioware at the San Diego Comic Con. Right now, there's a panel discussing Mass Effect and Dragon Age stuff. Sounding very cool!

I definitely want to go to San Diego Comic Con one day. For now though, I shall probably be going to the London Comic Con!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Remembering my Dad

Today has been a bit of a difficult day for me. It would have been my Dad's birthday so that's been playing on my mind all day. Something like that is always a bit difficult - I always find myself thinking about what things would have been like if he hadn't died, what he would be doing now and the like.

I'm not a particularly religious person but I'd like to think that he is out there somewhere celebrating today.

Wherever you are, Dad - happy birthday.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Apology accepted, naughty mod! ;-)

Just got an apology off of them. I should think so too! Still, at least they said sorry and you can't say fairer than that! Naughty mods, eh? ;-)

Apparently this is a dating site? Ummm... what?!

Just been banned from a forum because apparently this is a commercial site or a rival to a dating site...? Um... did they actually look at this site? I'm thinking no. Someone's made themselves look rather silly! And the moral of the story? Try looking at websites first before getting too excited and banning people.

I've since created a new account and straight off the bat received a 'first and only warning'. Um... aren't you supposed to give warnings BEFORE banning someone?

Let's see where this goes before I say any more... do the mods have the stones to apologise for their mistake? Let's do what they didn't and give them a chance and see...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Silverstone F1 GP

Just watched all the Silverstone F1 GP coverage on BBC (including the F1 Forum) a little while ago. It was a good race - no British drivers on the podium sadly but Mark Webber managed third (although you could argue that it could have been second had it not been for the infamous team orders) and at least Fernando Alonso was first and not Sebastian Vettel for a change!

It's a pity about what happened to Jenson Button - I think he could have done well had it not been for mistake during his pit stop. If you didn't see the race - the lollypop man (is that really his job title?) told Jenson he could go but his right front wheel hadn't been secured as the guy securing it was reaching for another gun to secure a bolt on there when Jenson got the go ahead. Needless to say, Jenson just got up a little way up the exit from the pits when the wheel started to come off so that was the end of his race!

I've no doubt someone is going to be in a lot of trouble for that!

Other than that today, I've changed my pic on my profile as the old one was a bit too dark and moody. Now you get a nice shot of smiling face instead!

Oh - and I've decided I shall definitely be going to Silverstone next year! :-)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

For the love of Gord!

Yes - it is a pretty crap pun, I know! It actually comes from a joke that started at a place I worked at a few years ago. Gord is obviously just a shortened version of my full name. There was a lady in the office who used to manage all the admin side of the IT Department (not IT admin - literally the forms, paperwork, holidays, etc.) and one of the things she had to do was let people know who was out of the office and when.

Well, I was taking a Friday off so a couple of days before, a standard email went out to everyone informing people of this fact, except it had a typo on my name instead of Gord, it said God. So we were all informed that God was out of the office on Friday.

Well, I was flattered she thought so highly of me! ;-)

Anyway, it sparked off a series of puns such as "for Gord's sake" and so on. And she never really did live that particular gaff down.

So now you know. Tell all your friends! :-P

I'm back!

I know I say this every week... but where the heck did that week go? Before I kenw it, it was Friday! I tried logging in last night and earlier today and couldn't... loks like there was some maintenance going on or something. Well, I've got lots to talk about so I'm sure I'll be posting some more stuff today!

Today has been a nice day - I've watched the qualifying for F1 at Silverstone... looks like it's going to be interesting! A well deserved pole start for Mark Webber and all three British drivers there are in the top 10! :-)

I know Mark Webber's Australian and, of course, I want to see Jenson, Lewis and Paul do the best but Mark always seems to have such bad luck and he tries so hard - it would be good to see him win!

Apart from that, I've been attacking my garden again. It's looking clearer but it's going to be a while before I can feel like it looks at least half tidy.

I've postponed my original plan to watch Star Trek Nemesis last night. Firstly, I couldn't get on here and wanted do my pre and post thoughts on the movie like I did for Insurrection.  Secondly, I just didn't have the time top watch it in the end. If I don't get to do it tonight, I'll try and do it next week.

I've also started watching season 6 of 24. Yes - I really am THAT far behind! I was watching that season when my Dad passed away so I never finished watching it and I lost interest in it for a while. Then, by chance, I happened to listen to the remix they did of the theme tune for the soundtrack of CD of 24. It made me remember how much I liked watching that show so now I'm catching up! I'm watching season 6 from the beginning again. I'm on episode 4 now.

Well, more from me later. I'm really hungry from all that hacking and slashing weeds so I must go and eat now!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Tonights movie: Star Trek Insurrection - Post movie analysis!

Ok - so this is a bit later than planned. I ended up watching a programme about asteroids afterwards! :-)

Well, memory is a funny thing. Sometimes you remember something as being better than it actually is, other times you remember something as being worse.

I was surprised by how much I'd forgotten about Insurrection. I actually quite enjoyed watching it and remembering various things as it went along. I was surprised at how much action there was in it - I remembered it as not having much at all!

So how much do I agree with what I wrote earlier?

Well, I stand by my remark about it feeling like an extended episode. The storyline feels very much like something that could have been done on the TV show. Don't get me wrong - I love the Trek TV shows so an extended episode feeling is no bad thing but at the same time you expect a Trek movie to perhaps do what wasn't achievable in the TV series. Going back to what I said in my last post, the extended episode accusation was made at Generations when it was released but I couldn't really have seen them pulling off the Enterprise saucer crash sequence in the TV series - certainly not as convincingly as they did in the movie. Also, I guess Captain Kirk could theoretically have appeared in the TV show and been killed off in that... but a meeting of two captains (and subsequent death of the great Captain Kirk himself) like that really needed a more epic canvas and a movie certainly provided that.

Anyway, enough about Generations - we're talking about Insurrection here!

There's little in this movie that couldn't have been achieved in the TV show. Yes, the movie budget allows for a lush location - and the scenery for the on-planet stuff is truly gorgeous, particularly in HD! The effects sequences are also above what would have been achievable on a weekly TV show budget (in the 90s at least), particularly in terms of scale.

The real area that the movie scores in is the character side of things. Everyone gets a decent amount of screentime. Often in Trek movies select characters get the bulk of the time and the others are reduced to minor roles. Insurrection seems to get the balance right here - perhaps a lot better than any of the other movies.

I'd forgotten about the humour in this movie too - just about everyone gets a laugh at some point! Worf's Gilbert and Sullivan remark still makes me laugh!

Which seems to sum up the tone of the movie nicely. I was right that the movie is definitely a lot lighter in tone than First Contact. I guess that one was always going to be difficult to top and I suspect that those in charge of the decision making on these things realised this and decided to go the opposite direction.

I certainly enjoyed watching this movie a lot more than I remembered enjoying it before. It's a fun Trek outing with a moral message about forcibly relocating a group of people - even if there is the best of intentions behind it.

I have to admit that I like just about everything Star Trek so I was never going to be come back and say anything overwhelmingly negative about this anyway, but re-watching this was a pleasant hour and forty odd minutes. It may not have the depth or darkness of some of the best Trek movies (First Contact and, of course, Wrath Of Khan) but it's still a fun Trek outing!

So... the next Trek movie is the final Next Gen one... it's also one which seems to bring out mixed reactions from a lot of Star Trek fans. I'll save my opinion on it until I plan to watch it, which I'm hoping to do next Friday. Yes, the next one I shall be watching will be Nemesis.

Tonight's movie: Star Trek Insurrection

Way back at Christmas (which actually doesn't feel as long ago as perhaps it should - this year just seems to be flying by!) I got the Star Trek movies on blu ray. I watched most of them up to Insurrection. I've been meaning to finish watching the last two Next Gen Trek movies but I have to admit that, of all the Trek movies, Insurrection is probably my least favourite followed by Nemesis.

I saw Insurrection back when it was released at the cinema and have watched it once again on VHS and then once again when I got it on DVD. It's not a terrible movie but I've always felt it wasn't as good as the other Trek movies.

So I'm posting my thoughts and opinions on it BEFORE I watch it. Let's see whether I feel any different afterwards!

I think part of the problem for me was that Insurrection came after one of my favourite (if not my favourite, full stop) Star Trek movies - First Contact.

First Contact is brilliant - it has everything, action, adventure, a great storyline in which the whole of Star Trek itself is under threat as The Borg travel back in time to stop first contact with extra terrestrials (I won't spoil it for you but if you know Star Trek then chances are you know who it is anyway).

The problem with Insurrection is that it tries to be different. That's not a bad thing but I remember it feeling a bit light after its more intense predecessor. The criticism 'extended episode of Next Gen' was levelled at Generations (which I like and felt was perhaps a little bit unfair) but I remember feeling that Insurrection felt a LOT like it could have been a two part Next Gen episode.

Don't get me wrong - I didn't hate it. I guess I was hoping for more of what First Contact gave us rather than the more gentle storyline that Insurrection had.

Anyway, let's see whether I agree with my past self after I watch the movie. Then I'll come back here and post my thoughts. Ack! Time travel and interacting with my past self - now my blog is getting a bit Brannon Braga! ;-)

See you in a couple of hours!

Another week over with!

Whew! Well that's another busy week over and done with! I spent most of today cable tidying - it's all done now and looks very good indeed, if I do say so myself! It was surprisingly hard work but it really did need to be done!

I also managed to leave WH Smith earlier without having bought a single magazine or anything at all! That has to be a first for me! lol

So, my plan for this weekend is a bit of boring stuff like tidying my garden (I want to be able to sit out there without getting annoyed at all the stuff that needs doing!) and also starting watching my Lord Of The Rings blu ray box set which arrived last weekend. Haven't watched those in a while so it'll be good to watch them again... and in HD no less!

In between that I plan to put the shopping away and also play some more Dragon Age II!

Looking forward to it already! :-)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Mid-week update

Yikes! What a busy week! I'll be glad for the weekend so I can have a rest!

I plan to play the latest Mass Effect 2 DLC this weekend too... I'm so behind with it, bought it weeks ago but Dragon Age II has consumed most of (admittedly not abundant) gaming time. I'm determined to finish it in time for the release of Skyrim... oh and Gears Of War 3... so many great games, just no flipping time! lol

Must admit I'm probably more of an RPG and racing game kind of guy (eek - just realised I have to add F1 2011 to that list!).

Mass Effect 2 is quite possibly my favoruite game of all time - it really was like playing a movie and I absolutely loved every moment of it. The DLC (that I've played) has all been great too! So yeah, drooling at the trailers for Mass Effect 3 and will quite possibly have to take a week off when it's released next year too.

Actually, I may have to for Skyrim in November too. Oblivion was my fave game until Mass Effect 2 came along... it's just so big (the game) and you could pick up just about everything! I never did finish all the quests - I actually started coming up with my own, such as rob every house and sell all the loot, explore just about everywhere I could... for me, it's the nearest I've come to actually finding myself playing something you really could get lost in for hours. It wasn't without it's flaws of course: the repetitive voices for different characters did reduce the illusion of being in another world but still.... great fun and one of the best RPGs I've played. I can't wait to see what they do with Skyrim... loved the trailers for that and really loved the more epic version of the theme!

I really better get on and finish Dragon Age II...!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

General Sunday ramblings...

Hmm. Today's F1 GP was a bit flat for me... still, all the other races so far have been pretty good and the Montreal one was one of the best I've ever seen, so I suppose that, although it wasn't boring, it did have a lot ot live up to!

I've been playing with my new toy this weekend... It's a camcorder, before anybody gets any funny ideas! ;-) Anyway, just been trying out zoom, focus, etc. and just recording stuff around the house. I'm thinking of posting some stuff up soon.

I also think the time has come for me to start meeting some new people. I'm sure I'll post about that later on.

Oh - Transformers 3 is out this week. I was going to go to a screening in the middle of the week but think I'll give it a few days. Anyway, anybody that knows me knows that there is no chance of me missing it. I'll probably go and see it in 3D just to see what the whole thing looks like but I must admit I'm not a huge fan of 3D at the moment. I find I always have eyeache for ages afterwards. It's an interesting idea but I think in it's current form its been over-hyped. The ultimate will be a 3D system where it's in the screen and you don't need glasses. Maybe something like the tech used in the 3DS (although reportedly a lot of people turn the 3D setting right down after a while! Hmm!). I'm pretty sure that'll happen. The need for glasses is what is holding this back a bit, for me at least.

If I invite someone round, I don't want to say they can't watch or play something in 3D because I don't have enough expensive 3D glasses. I want something everyone can enjoy. So, nice idea but not good enough to make me hand over my money yet.

It's a nice day outisde - 28 degrees you know! I'm going to go now and sit out in it for a bit! :-)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Uploaded my pic

I've uploaded a quick pic of me to my profile - so now you know what I look like (why does that scare me a bit? lol).

I'll probably upload some better ones at some point - this was just a quick snap of myself so that I have something on here.

I sometimes wear glasses too as I'm short-sighted (or near-sighted as they say in the US); however I don't need to wear them all the time. Usually when I need to see a reasonable distance away - i.e. when I'm out so I don't do something stupid like step out in front of a truck or similar.

I guess that's a consequence of a lifetime of reading or staring at screens of one kind or another!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Back To The 80s - Part 2: Wacaday! Look at everyone at home and say blairrrr!!

Ok, this just suddenly occurred to me. One of the best TV shows ever when I was a kid was Wacaday! I remember getting up early Saturday mornings - I used to get up stinkingly early - about 5am! I must have been insane!! I remember getting up so early that there would be literally nothing on the TV except that scary test card girl with the creepy clown doll.

Anyway, I remember sitting and watching all these odd shows in the mornings - Will Quackquack, Ludwig, Fred Bassett and all sorts of other weird and wonderful crap! But the one I really loved was the Wide Awake Club - shortened to WAC. It used to have Tommy Boyd and some other people on it whose names I can't remember now... although I can still see their faces in my mind's eye. It was cool (except the Mini Pops - why do adults think kids want to watch other kids trying to act cool on TV? I wonder how often those kids got beaten up by their peers?) and it introduced us to the one and only Timmy Mallett! I seem to recall he joined it later on.

Not sure whether I should admit this but Timmy Mallett was my hero when I was a kid! I wanted to be just like him - I remeber once going to a fancy dress party with the glasses, crazy shirt and a big home made mallet to hit people with!

When WAC spawned WAC-A-Day during the school holidays (see, it was on every day - see what they did there?) it became Timmy Mallett's own gig. He hosted sometimes by himself and sometimes with the lovely Michaela Strachan (yep - the one that does all the animal shows now). I used to get up and watch it religiously. I used to feel bad if I overslept and missed it (that happened a few times as I got older).

I used to stick plasters on myself in odd places. I used to do the W wave at the TV. I got a Pinky Punky one Christmas. Then, one day, Timmy Mallet came to my home town for a carnival. I remember my Dad telling me and I had to go! Well, there we were - hundreds of people lined up for the carnival. For some reason some of us were standing in the road when I saw Timmy Mallett apparoaching. I was far too shy to call out to my hero - I was going to be content with just watching from the sidelines. But my Dad had no fear! He called out "Mr. Mallett! Mr. Mallett!" just like Pinky Punky and over comes Timmy Mallett! Well, I'm in a bit of a daze - I wasn't expecting that. For some reason I'm momentarily fascinated with Mr. Mallett's shoes - well, they were quite funky - but I suddnely hear a voice ask "this one?" and the next thing I know he's got his arm around me and my Dad takes quite possibly the best pic an 8 or 9 year old can ever have taken! A quick "thankyou" and he was off on his way! I still remember that moment and I still ahve the pic somewhere too.

You no doubt think I'm very sad but cut me some slack - I was just a kid! I remember it for several reasons. 1. I met my childhood hero and have a momento to prove it. 2. It proved that my Dad was the best father ever - and that he had no problem in being silly to get the attention of his son's hero! 3. It was just a great moment - one of those ones you'll always remember.

Anyway, Wac-A-Day ended when TV-AM lost their franchise to the awful GMTV. Gone was Timmy Mallett with his funky dress sense, crazy sense of humour and just all round sense of fun. What did GMTV replace it with? Simon Parkinson. Making something crap out of cardboard (that's all I can remember). I'm sure Mr. Parkinson is a really nice guy but... come on! He was never going to live up to Lord Timmy of Mallett!

I think they tried some other shows with Timmy Mallett. A show called Utterly Brilliant and some game show thing on The Children's Channel... I also remember he was in a really cool show on CITV that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. He had to team up with other celebs like Neil Buchanan and some others and get from one place to another, doing challenges along the way. I think they went around in a bus... No idea what it was called but I loved it!

These days I believe Timmy Mallett does a lot of painting - he's a good artist from what I remember (careful now!) and he has his own website with Timmy memorabilia too.

And you know what? I still think he's cool!

I think Pinky Punky and Magic The Cockateil formed their own progressive rock band but it fell apart when Magic's crack habit and wild orgies took their toll. As Timmy used to say, that's a true story as I just made it up myself!

F***ing tennis!

Wow! Was it really Monday the last time I posted? That week went fast! I've managed to get a lot done at work this week. If you recall an earlier post (well, that's assuming you're reading all my ramblings! lol) I was having trouble fixing a particular problem at work and I only managed a partial fix... well, earlier this week I fixed that problem 100%. Then I fixed another big problem... I've fixed loads of things this week!

TV here in the UK is currently being hammered with Wimbledon stuff. I don't mind a bit of it but it's getting stupid now. Not only is BBC1 and 2 pretty much The Wimbledon Channel, they've also out it on every screen on the Sports red button service and flooded iPlayer with it too. Talk about overkill! They're not showing any of the F1 practice sessions or the favourite races picked by the drivers today... well, they apparently 'found' a slot of a couple of hours earlier while most people were at work. And that's your lot. Epic fail BBC!

I'm sure some people are enjoyign it... but is it really necessary to flood absolutely everything with it and cancel stuff to fit it in? Maybe it's time for a BBC Sports channel and all that stuff can be shoved onto that!

Anyway, rant over! ;-) lol

I'm looking forward to the weekend!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Geeky post!!

Well, I was back at work today. It wasn't too bad - things weren't too busy but, as usual, just about everything had been left for me to do so failed backups and other fun things were waiting for me to sort out.

Well, being the complete geek that I am - I will be at this year's Auto Assembly (just as I was last year and a few times before that too). If you don't know what that is - well, it's a Transformers convention.

Yep - I love giant robots and I suspect Transformers are in some way responsible for that (actually I know they are). Plus they remind me of my childhood. I'm sure I'll make a Back To The 80s post on them at some point.

Anyway, they've got some pretty cool guests lined up including David Kaye (the voice of Beast Wars Megatron and TF Animated Prime), Greg Berger (G1 Grimlock!) and David Wise (writer of a number of G1 episodes).

Last year's AA was excellent - unfortunately I had to leave early on Sunday but, to quote Shockwave (hey - it's a Transformers post so why not?): this time we shall be ready! In other words, this time I'm spending the whole damn weekend there! By the way, bonus points if you know what episode that quote came from!

Yep - I shall be geeking out completely, I already have two Transformers t-thirts I've bought especially for wearing there (and plan to get a third soon). Plus I've ordered myself a lovely HD camcorder to video what goes on there!

Last year was great - Garry Chalk and Scott McNeil were the main guests and they were great. Mr. Chalk performed a concert on Saturday night and he was very good! So much so that I plan to get a CD of his music, should one ever appear (I'm not the only one to be asking about this, btw). He is one of my favourite voice artists, by the way, and he's also appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows. He was that Russian General that popped up a few times in Stargate SG-1, for example. Yep - very cool!

If you haven't already guessed, I'm a big fan of anime, sci-fi and fantasy in general. If you hadn't already guessed that - do pay attention 007! ;-)

Earlier this year I got all the original series episodes of Star Trek on Blu Ray. Very cool and I've been watching those on and off for a while (I'm several episodes into season 2 now). It got me thinking about Star Trek conventions. The last one of those I went to was way back in 1994/5 for the Generations con at the Royal Albert Hall. I was still at school then and my mum and dad came along... I think they got a bit bored! lol

One time, I seem to remember, there were loads of these things but these days there doesn't seem to be that many, at least not here in the UK. I'm guessing it's because there's no new TV shows or anything. Pity though as I think a Trek con would be a lot of fun!

Anyway, that's today's geeky post. I'm sure there'll be many more to come!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Back to the 80s - Part 1: Dragonslayer

Well, if you're a child of the 80s like me, then chances are that occasionally you get nostlagic for that time when you were growing up and you like to listen to 80s music, or maybe watch 80s TV shows or movies.

Seeing as I seem to get like that more often these days - I've decided to post up whenever I take a trip back in time to then!

Yesterday, I watched my DVD of Dragonslayer. If you don't know, Dragonslayer is a fantasy movie made in 1981. The title pretty much sums up what the movie is all about - with a young wizard's apprentice having to slay a dragon that has been terrorising a village.

The movie flopped upon it's release - it cost $18 million to make but failed to make that back in box office. This, unfortunately, was the fate of many fantasy movies in the 80s. Star Wars had been such a massive hit that studios were willing to take a gamble on these things and most of them just didn't perform.

It's on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, etc. that a lot of these movies have gained cult followings and it has been realised that actually they were pretty good (or at the very least entertaining!). Dragonslayer is one such movie.

I first saw it on TV when I was a kid and I remember particulalry enjoying the scenes with the dragon (Vermithrax) in it. I then bought it on DVD a few years ago and remembered enjoyign it then. So I came to watch it again last night - having forgotten most of the story.

It certainly has an 80s fantasy movie feel to it (hard to explain but you'll probably know what I mean if you've seen a few of these things) and it tries to shun a lot of the cliches - there's no knights trying to slay the dragon or rescue the maiden, etc. in fact, when the hero tries to rescue the princess (who isn;t the romantic interest, by the way) she ends up dead. D'oh!

This doesn't mean that the movie isn't cliched in other ways though. The hero ends up with a special weapon that can slay the dragon (and a fire-proof shield) and the wizard played by Ralph Richardson deliberately allows himself to killed, only to return towards the end of the movie... so the Star Wars influence isn't exactly hidden.

Another criticism is things that simply aren't explained. Why does the blacksmith have a lance stashed in a waterfall, for example? There are a few moments like this which make me wonder if scenes were cut from the movie. Whilst I can't really find any info on this, a quick read of the Wikipedia entry for the movie reveals that the novelisation of the movie does try and explain a few points not really covered in the movie. Whether this was the author taking it upon theirself to try and plug the holes or if it was in the original script and then removed for some reason, isn't explained.

That aside, the movie is quite fun and there are some nice touches - the politics played by the King and his servants is a nice touch - particularly at the end of the movie. Of course, the real star of the movie is the dragon. Aside from the inevitable matte lines in places, the dragon looks great. The scenes in the dragon's lair when the dragon chases the hero look particularly good and the Go-Motion technique used for animating it certainly works very well indeed, giving the dragon a very smooth and realistic movement.

If you're looking for something with a deep and meaningful plot then this is not the movie for you but this is an entertaining movie and worth looking at if you've enjoyed other 80s fantasy stuff like Dark Crystal, etc.

There's no danger of it being my favourite movie but I enjoyed it nevertheless! :-)

Better! Nearly...

Well, nearly a week since my last post and I'm feeling mostly better now! I haven't been to work all week as I've been so ill - I did try to go towards the end of the week but felt so ill that I turned around and came straight back. A visit to the doctor confirmed what I suspected - I had the flu. Not any of the scary versions of it going around but it was bad enough thanks!

Today I'm feeling much better than I did - still a little under the weather but I shall be going back to work tomorrow.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Still ill... but what a race!

Ugh... will it ever end? I'm still feeling pretty awful right now... hoping I start to feel better tomorrow and that I can get back to work.

I didn't feel well enough yesterday to post again last night but what a race in Canada! After the big delay due to the rain, probably the best F1 race I've ever seen (in fact, probably the best race I've ever seen full stop).

Congratulations to Jenson Button on an absolutely mind-blowing drive - 6 pit stops and also ending up at the back in 21st at one stage, only to end up finishing 1st! Fantastic stuff!

Incidentally, a few people say I look like him although I can't see it myself!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ugh... ill!

Sorry its been a while since my last post - I've been very ill! Not sure what I've caught but I've felt particularly bad since Thursday (though wasn't feeling great before that). Luckily I already had Friday booked off from work so spent most of that and all of the weekend so far trying to get better. Yesterday was promising - I felt a lot better but could hardly speak.

Today... I can hardly speak and feel a lot worse. I can speak a fraction better than I could yesterday but I hope I feel better tomorrow. I don't really want to take any time off sick but if I feel like this I will probably have to!

Anyway, enough about my ailments for the moment!

I started watching Camelot last night (its just started screening on Channel 4 here in the UK) and I like it! :-) It's an interesting take on the whole King Arthur legend. I wasn't sure I'd like the whole teenage Arthur thing - thinking it would be a bit too similar to the BBC series Merlin (which is also quite enjoyable) but with added violence and boobs! It actually showed a lot of hints of being a lot better than that with much darker elements being set up and it seems to be a bit more faithful to the legend than Merlin (the whole premise for that series basically bins most of it anyway!). I've only seen the first couple of episodes so far but I'm looking forward to next week's already!

Ah! Smallville's final season is now screening too. I've already seen the season opener episode that was on last week but it was good to catch up again as we're a ways behind the US. I've enjoyed Smallville right from the start - so after 10 years it's going to be weird to have it finally finish. It's very different from the show it started off as - I always felt it was kind of Superman meets the X-Files at the beginning, with the villain always being a meteor freak with weird abilities but it has come a long way since, with lots of the Superman and DC universe being woven into the show in various ways. I'll be interested to see how the new Wonderwoman show compares once this has finished!

Oh - and Lex Luthor comes back at the end of the series as well, apparently. I mean, the proper Lex - not a clone or some unrecogniseable guy on a life support system or something. I wonder if they'll play the John Williams Superman theme at the very end? That would definitely end the show perfectly - Clark flying off in the Superman costume to that theme!

I'm keen to see how they'll explain the fact that Lex and everyone else will recognise that Clark is Superman. I hope they don't use some dodgy get-out like everyone's mind is erased or something! People in Smallville and Metropolis seem to forget so much they must have whole chunks of their lives they can't account for!

Obviously I've been to ill to play any games but I watched the replacement for Game Face and Ginx Files, called The Blurb from last night. If you didn't know, Game Face and Ginx Files are two computer game review shows that were showing on Bravo until our friends at Sky decided to can that channel for good.

Until this weekend, they were airing new episodes on Challenge (a channel that airs old gameshows... um... yeah!). The problem I had with it for the last couple of weeks is that they were continuously inserting old reviews into the new shows. What's the point? I'm guessing it was to concentrate on preparing The Blurb.

Well, The Blurb was ok. It still has Julia in it (good!) and it was entertaining enough although it seems to be more about game-related silliness rather than just all out game reviews. Plus, the reviews on last night's show were old ones recycled from old Gameface eps! Maybe they'll have new ones from next week. I hope so! I can only watch reviews of that flipping parrot party game thingy so many times before having a psychotic episode!!

Interestingly, actually have TV stations in other countries. Yep - computer game dedicated TV channels. Annoyingly, the one for the UK was announced in August last year and is still yet to materialise. The last I heard, it was launching 'in the first quarter of 2011' so that's another deadline missed as we're halfway through the year now!

I've no doubt this is due to technicalities but it does bring back bad memories of other efforts at a gaming channel. The aerliest I remember is .TV (dot TV) which was Sky''s attempt at a computer and technology channel. It looked like it was done for about 25 quid - all studio bound and each show was peopel chatting or some guy showing you how to use Photoshop. Ironically, when they announced it was to be axed, they just started sticking documentaries on about Bill Gates and hacking - and suddenly the channel was a lot more interesting than it had been!

Then there was the terrible Game Network. Nice idea and at least we saw some games being played, but the presenters mostly sucked. Obviously the idea was to have it as a european channel so sometimes the shows were in other languages - often with the same presenters. This meant that if you just felt like watching some gaming stuff, it was pot luck as to whether it was in English or not! Then there was the lighting! There was a continual issue with this - usually way too much. I could have done a better job and that's not me suggesting I'm an expert by any stretch! Unsurprisingly it eventually disappeared without trace.

Then we had This had a very promising start. It actually looked good. Some of the shows were quite entertaining and it was fun to see the leagues being played out on various games. It treated gaming as more of a sport so played on the competitive multi-player aspects. Plus it had Emily Booth on there!

But then it became apparent there was a problem. 24 hour channels are great but you need content and lots of it. Nobody wants to start seeing repeats just a couple of weeks later. I don't know the whole story here but there were clearly some financial issues - repeats became progressively more frequent until the schedule seemed to consist almost entirely of old stuff. Then, bizarrely, they added Chick Fight (a women's wrestling show) and some crud called Conventioneers where people did stupid things at conventions. I thought that maybe they were trying to become more like G4 in the states and have kind of geeky shows mixed in with the gaming and tech stuff. Fair enough - the shows they started with were a bit pants (well, I kind of liked Chick Fight as it was fun at least!) but then they added old movies in the afternoon... ok, well some of that stuff was ok... and then there was the promise of martial arts and even some anime. Not really looking like a gaming channel at all by then! The latter two never happened, as far as I know but I'd stopped watching anyway as the game shows were hideously out of date by then. Oddly, I think they added a +1 and a +1.5 channel by the end. I guess it was in case you were insane and actually wanted to catch the repeats rather than wait a couple of days to see them again! In any case, it was a good effort but ultimately died a slow and painful death.

So, back to This is promising. It already has a history of producing good shows and what it has produced looks very professional and polished. The kind of thing a serious gaming and/or tech channel needs to be.

There's clearly a market for this - just take a look at response to on the net. It just needs to be done right, well planned and with a decent budget.

That said, needs to sort out the UK launch soon. Otherwise, nearly a year on from the original announcement, people will just become cynical and not care. If the channel launches, they'll have forgotten and then we'll have yet another load of complaints of there not being a market for this kind of thing in the UK - which simply isn't true.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

It's the weekend!

Well, that week ended fast - which was no bad thing!

I kind of sorted the problem I talked about in my last post... it works, just not exactly how it should. But it works nevertheless - and that's good enough for me on a Friday afternoon!

I didn't post yesterday as I ended up going to bed a lot later than planned. I'm not even sure why that happened - I just looked at the time and it was nearly midnight! Of course, when I was younger I thought nothing of rolling into bed at 3am but I can't really afford to lay in until the afternoon any more.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of anime and just about anything Japanese. I watch the NHK World tv channel on satellite almost daily and have done since it launched in the UK a couple of years ago. Some of my favourite shows on there are Imagine-Nation (full of Japanese pop culture goodness), Tokyo Eye and Begin Japanology. There's some other good stuff on there too and they've recently started showing in HD - which looks really good, btw!

I say recently, it's actually been a while - I tuned into the test transmission of the HD version as soon as I heard about it so was watching it probably a month before it launched officially (like I've said before, I'm a geek!).

If you're reading this and wondering what I'm going on about - check the channel out if you can as there's some interesting stuff on there and it's one of my fave channels.

Have I ever been to Japan? No. Do I want to go there? Absolutely! It's one of my ambitions. I'll definitely have to visit Akihabara though! Robots? Anime? All sorts of other cool stuff? That place sounds like it is was made for me!

One of my favourite eps (well, actually two as it was  a two part ep) of Tokyo Eye was when they visited Akihabara. It even prompted me to buy a book as the chap who was their guest had written a book about Japanese pop culture. It's called The Otaku Encyclopedia, if you're interested. Very cool and well worth a read!

I also saw there's a Gundam shop out there... a multi-level shop...filled with Gundam stuff! It just proves to me, once again, that Japan is quite possibly the coolest place on the planet!

In other news - I got a free sausage roll on Thursday. One of my colleagues bought it but thought there was cheese and onion in it (which would have been wrong anyway!!) he didn't like it without them... odd fellow but hey, I landed a free pastry so who cares? lol

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Second post!

Well, it's nearly the weekend. Just one more day to go... thank God! The last few weeks have been really busy - I've been working literally non-stop, pausing only for lunch. I guess it makes the day go faster, which isn't a bad thing in itself but when you have to meet deadlines and things just aren't going fast enough or - as is usually the case - things unexpectedly go wrong, it's not such a good thing.

Today was an example. I had it all planned out - I was building a virtual environment (don't worry - I shan't go into details) and estimated it would be finished by 10:30 this morning. I've been building this thing for two weeks now - it was originally going to be one week but extra stuff got bolted on and it took longer. It was supposed to be finished yesterday but no worries, I've got most of it done. Just need to spend a bit of time finishing it off and then it's gone for good! But no... first I get a load of crap errors - when I shouldn't have. There really was no reason for it! Then, when I fixed it and finally got everything working beautifully... one of the guys I'm building it for comes back and tells me there's a problem with one of the virtual servers I've moved for this (I'm doing my best not to bog this down in techno babble but it's a bit hard toe xplain avoiding it entirely)... And that's the rest of the day blown away. I've been trying to figure out what the problem is with this stupid thing... page after page of 'advice' on Google and none of it works. The same error every time.

I'm sure I'll fix it tomorrow... God, I hope I do! I can't really waste another day on it!

Stuff like that is the reason why I feel so tired at the end of the week! I'll be glad to get shot of it now! Don't get me wrong - I like what I do... it pays well and is a lot more stimulating than a lot of jobs (I hate being bored) but I don't like things to drag on... and this is really starting to drag! I mean it's dragging more than a transvestite convention! That's how much it's dragging! lol

Ah well. Tomorrow's another day I guess. I often find that when I approach this stuff with a fresh set of eyes I fix it in a few minutes. Had a similar episode to that the other day. Spent the whole day stressing about fixing this problem and then came in the next day and fixed it in five minutes.

Hope that happens tomorrow! 


Well, here it is! My first post! :-)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read! Well, as you can tell from the title of this blog - my name is Gord (short for Gordon - nothing Swedish or anything like that). I'm 31 years old, work in IT for a well known global company and guess I'm a bit of a geek too. You'll probably see that from the posts I make.

Why have I decided to add another blog to all the millions that are out there? Well... I just felt like it to be honest! I also have a lot of interests which I hope to share on here and hopefully maybe meet some new people as a result.

I don't get to hang out with friends as much as when I was younger, mostly due to work and also the fact that most people I know have moved away.

I'm quite a friendly chap - open, honest and I have a good sense of humour (well, I like it anyway!). I'm quite a creative person, I like building things or drawing... not that I have much time for either these days but I can be quite inventive when I want to be. I like Sci-Fi, anime and all the kind of stuff that geeks should like. I won't list all of my interests as it'll take all day, I'm bound to miss something and you'll probably find out more about my interests from this blog anyway.

I'll post a pic of me at some point too.

Anyway, bye for now and I look forward to chatting more! :-)