Friday, April 22, 2016

A wet end to the week

Friday evening is here and the weekend begins. I am extremely tired though. So I probably won't be enjoying my evening very much. Also, it is raining so I can't even go out in the garden to enjoy that. Makes me wish we had a conservatory.
In other news, the death of the pop/rock artist Prince has upset my wife who is a big fan of his. She has seen him in concert twice. I like a few of his songs but have never been a big fan really. 1999 was probably the song I enjoyed the most of his. It takes me back to my school years that song.
I see that the Star Wars film The Force Awakens is out on DVD, I'd like to buy that.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brie cheese

I bought this yesterday and tried it today. It is lovely, I like the creamy texture of it. I had a simple lunch of several pieces of French toast, sliced Pink Lady apple, 5 red grapes, two pickled onions and some of this brie.



Under Siege

I picked up a DVD copy of this film several weeks ago. It's such a clich├ęd movie but there is something about it that I still like. It might be the awful bad guy characters Tommy Lee Jones or Gary Busey or possibly the brief appearance of the wonderfully perfect breasts of Erika Eleniak. It is worth a watch if you have never seen but if you have seen Die Hard, imagine something similar on a US Navy warship and you are there.


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Garden time

Last weekend I celebrated my 17th anniversary with my wife. As an anniversary present we were bought a bistro table and chairs set by my mother in-law, a thoughtful gift as I have mentioned that one would be good in the past. It was ordered through a shop I've not been to before called The Original Factory Shop and it was delivered as promised. All very easy. Looks good, even better in real life than in the brochure (below), it has a light in it so will be good for the summer nights.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bargain keyrings

I looked in the shop called Game while in York and although I was predominantly looking at the games, I also spied a few sale items in the accessory department. I always like to get game franchise related merchandise at bargain prices, this time it was Watchdogs and Call of Duty Ghosts. See what I picked up below and I think you'll agree, they were bargains.



New trainers

My feet got very wet whilst we were in York. I wore a pair of brown leather shoes with me, they have some suede on the top but in the past have been fine in the rain. However, this week they finally gave up and my foot got very wet. It's not nice to trudge around in a wet shoe with a wet sock. So I found the nearest sports shop, which was JD Sports, and took a look at the trainers in there. There was a wall of trainers but the ones I ended up buying were on the rack near the door, the reduced rail - planted at the opening of the shop to entice people in. The trainers I bought are made by Fila, a brand I haven't bought before, the good thing was they were less than half price. A bargain! Here they are, they are known as Fila Energized.


Holiday in York

After the Easter period we travelled up to the North to have a couple of days in York, staying overnight in a hotel. York is an interesting place geographically and historically. The streets are narrow and cobbled and the city castle walls make you feel like time has stood still. Obviously, the shops are modern and trading in goods that are born of the 21st century. However it is the buildings themselves that are original, The Shambles area is very much like Diagon Alley from out of the Harry Potter books. We had a great time in York and we visited a couple of antique shops we hadn't been to before. Here are some photographs I took of the place.






Sunday, March 27, 2016

Divergent

I bought this DVD a few weeks ago from a charity shop and watched it last night. The premise is that in the future the world has all but destroyed itself through war and the remnants of society have formed into 5 factions to retain order and keep everlasting peace. The idea being if everyone knows their place, everyone will be happy. These five factions are specialisations by broad human personality type. Each person has to choose a type and are supposed to be assisted by taking a test but free choice still exists, the test is to supposed to help the person choose by revealing some unconscious information. The story centres around a girl coming of age who is called Beatrice (played by Shailene Woodley). Her test reveals that she has infact equal propensity across several factions, a very rare test results and one that means she is what is known as Divergent. Needless to say that Divergent person are a threat to the order of society that the factions have been set up to deliver.
The 5 factions

I haven't read the Young Adult books by Veronica Roth on which the film is based but I think I'd like to based on the film. The premise is good but the film probably dumbs down the story a bit. However, the casting of the film is good but I don't think Kate Winslett makes the best baddie. For me she didn't convey the threat she needed to.
Shailene Woodley plays her character well and she looks amazing throughout the film, particularly as she transforms into the Dauntless faction under the oppressive tutelage of the trainers. There are some unexplained things in the story I would like to understand better. However, the books are probably the way to get those things.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Misty morning light

One thing I have noticed in the last couple of weeks has been the mornings are getting lighter. Particularly noticeable for me on Wednesday mornings as I have to get up at 5:40am. I feed the cats at this time. Back in February it was pitch dark outside at this time but lately the light has been increasingly brighter. We have also had a lot of mist in the mornings and even at night, which I find I like. We have been sleeping with the window slightly open, as apparently it helps with my snoring. It is nice to wake up snuggly and warm in a cool room.

Easter Holiday Coming Up

Well, at the end of the month the Easter holidays are going to come up and this is surprisingly only a week away. Next Friday is Good Friday believe it or not, I can't really believe it. I have a week off after Easter Sunday, taking advantage of needing to use up some annual leave and spending some time with my family. I have booked us a night's stay in a hotel but I shall tell you more about that in another post! For now, I'm just looking forwards to a break in the regular pattern of work, sleep, eat.

The New F1 Season has Started this Weekend

Yes, the Australian GP was held during the small hours. I know the result, Nico Rosberg has won his first race. I hope it is not just going to be Mercedes winning all of the races again this year. I see the yellow Renault cars are here again. There has been some criticism of the qualifying changes but I am not really aware of what the new rules are yet. I will hope to watch the highlights later, the TV presentation has switched to Channel Four for the next 3 years. I'm really pleased that the team includes Lee McKenzie, who I think is really good at interviewing the divers. We rarely see her infront of the camera but she deserves to be.



Other DVDs to watch

As well as the classics I've mentioned, I've also bought a few things on DVD that I'm working my way through, these are:
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - this one is the original TV series broadcast in 1981. It was for me something that has stuck in my mind my whole life and as such is one thing worth remembering and revisiting. I bought this from HMV because I doubt I'll see it in a charity shop
  • Taxi the French film by Luc Besson, there is a story attached to purchasing this that I'll save for the blog post on it
  • Divergent - I know this film is based on a Young Adult sci-fi series of books but I haven't read them so don't know if they're any good. Incidentally, I am currently reading the second book in the Hunger games trilogy.
  • Battlestar Galactica Razor - a TV movie made for purest fans of the series as far as I can tell from Wikipedia. I bought this a while ago but haven't posted about it before
  • Kick Ass 2 - I have two copies of the first film Kick Ass because when I saw it in a charity shop I couldn't remember whether I already had Kick Ass or Kick Ass 2. I bought the original from HMV I think. I have seen both films on loan before buying, I do like the sheer violent craziness of these movies.
  • Cowboy Bepop - this is a Japanese Manga cartoon film but I have seen it before and enjoyed it. It has the same kind of setting of the TV series Serenity, bringing a Wild West kind of vibe to the film.
  • Macross Plus - a Japanese Manga cartoon film, the box I have bought also includes some of the first episodes of TV series I think. It will be interesting to see if or how the styles differ between the TV and the film. I've started watching the film but haven't finished it yet

As you can see, I have been active but just haven't watched much. The story behind the Taxi film is the reason why, but more on that after I have finally watched the film!





Classic Films purchased

Although I haven't sat down to watch something deliberately recently, I have been active in charity shops looking for films. I have picked up a few classics to enjoy at some point. These have been:
  • John Carpenter's The Fog
  • Under Siege
  • Total Recall (the Arnold Schwarzenegger one)
  • The Terminator
  • Terminator 2: Rise of the Machine
  • The Matrix Trilogy (even though only the first film is any good)
Rather than post the photos of the boxes now, I think I'll do that when I've watched each one of them.

Nothing to Speak Of...

I seem to have fallen behind in my blog posting lately, I'm not really sure why that is. I have been doing stuff I guess. I do maintain a number of writing channels and over the years I have become selective about where I post stuff. Music related activity is posted to my music channels (SoundCloud and WordPress), writing and reading related material (including comics) is posted to those channels (GoodReads and WordPress) and personal thoughts I keep for a journal app on my phone called Diaro. I have a video games channel in WordPress where I post stuff about that. Outside of these I post here about what I am watching in terms of film and TV, I also post about other things happening in my life in general. I haven't really been watching a lot of films or TV over the last few weeks though.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Relaxation update

I said I would provide an update to my previous post on the Shiatsu massage chair.

The chair is good, it is actually a cover that fits on top of a chair. A kitchen table chair is probably the best type to use it with. It feels a bit like ball bearings circling around and going up and down your back. Where the bone is close to the surface (shoulders, for example) it can be a bit painful, even through light clothes like a T shirt, but where there is a bit more fat like the lower back it feels very good. I tend to use the foot massager and the back massager at the same time. You get the double whammy that way and the sensation is very unique. I'd say it was a good purchase. The ability to get heat through it is good but the heat isn't as hot as I thought it might be, it is only a mild heat so if you are expecting something that is actually hot then you would be disappointed.

Belgian Beer

During our recent holiday, we visited Bruges in Belgium. While there I took the opportunity to sample some Belgian beer: also to buy some and bring it home with me. While in Bruges I went into a small bar and bought myself a half pint of a Pilsner beer I had never tried before called Primus. It was very good. Here's a photo I took of it:


As we walked around Bruges there were lots of tourist shops and plenty of places to buy beer from but it was all quite expensive for single bottles. I was also very unsure of what to buy. What would Belgian's be drinking? So, I spotted a Carrefour and went in there to get myself a six pack of beer that looked pretty good - it was a good choice. I've enjoyed a couple of these "Abbey beers" so far. I have some more photographs to present from Bruges but the beer is what I was mostly interested in from a personal viewpoint. I couldn't spend my whole time in the pub though as had friends and family with me who were not as interested as me in the beer.



Hero

This week I watched the film Hero. It originally came out in 2002 and was a Chinese box office smash. Very well scored by the critics. I however could enjoy the cinematography but the story did not engage me enough. I was a little bit untouched by the story when I should have been. There were lots of fantastical acrobatics and wobbly swords. I guess there is an aesthetic for these kinds of films that it fits into. I just didn't appreciate this when I watched it. I found it a bit too romantic and would have preferred more realistic action. It is a film telling a very old story though from 220 BC and who knows what the world was really like them. I suspect it was a very different place from that depicted here but who really knows.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

It's been years since I have watched the original BBC TV adaptation of the radio series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. My son mentioned something about it yesterday and it got me to thinking about whether they released it on DVD, I assumed they must have. It has past me by if they did. However, while out shopping yesterday I decided to try and find out and in HMV I found a copy. I decided to buy it and last night watched the first two episodes with my son.

I really enjoyed the series when it was first broadcast 35 years ago (ouch!), when I was 13: the same age as my son is now. The special effects are not up to today's standards and the idea of an electronic book was not something that was readily available in those days. So, culturally there are quite big differences. However, I think the excerpts from Encyclopaedia Galactica and the Hitchhiker's Guide are very well done and stand up well even today. The acting is slightly wooden but still amusing nonetheless.


Donald Trump

I have seen the TV news coverage we get in the UK of the US presidential campaigns. I can't confess to understanding the process by which the US elections are contested. It seems to take a very long time and seems to be a very bruising experience with a lot of dirty tricks to discredit opponents. That might also be an impression given by the various US political TV drama series I've also watched however!
What is clear to me however is my dislike of Donald Trump. His language and views are unstatesmanlike and seem a million miles away from the views of the current president. I was also reading a piece by UK journalist Selina Scott who gives some incite into the man as a misogynist and a bully.
I try to keep politics out of this blog but in this case, I shall express my view that Trump as US president would be a very bad thing.



Cruise on the Ventura

I've been back at work this week, back to the grinding mill. The cruise of last week is fading into a memory. I haven't yet processed the images from it. I want to turn my photos into a video, so I shall be doing that this week. I also want to post some photos here though. These photos are some of the ship I took as I walked around. I didn't take any interior photos, not without people in them. So these are from our first walk - finding our bearings around the ship because it is so large. I shall post more photos in the days and weeks to come.