Thursday, December 29, 2005


Today I walked around my local PC World and had a look at their very poor selection of games. The PS2 section is particularly poor, first game I pulled out to price-check was Killzone and it was 4.99 I couldn't believe it. I tried a few others and they were still the same price as they were ages ago. What luck and a chance find.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Baggies Win

West Brom have tonight pulled off a great 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at the Hawthorns, Kano scoring both goals. It's great to win again after two losses in row, they've jumped a couple of Premiership table places and are now in 15th position, almost halfway up the table. Great stuff!

New Captain Scarlet

Here's an odd thing. I saw the merchandise for this before I saw or heard anything of the series. Apparently, it was broadcast on CITV but has been pulled. I've loaned the first series of 13 episodes from my local library (only 26 episodes exist in total as far as I know) to watch. The production quality is great- HDTV and Dolby 5.1 - there has clearly been a lot of money and effort expended in making the 22 minute episodes. A lot of drama is packed into each show. When the original series was shown on TV I was too young to appreciate it. But as a child of the 70s I loved anything that Gerry Anderson did. It seems a great shame that a new generation can't connect with the heroes of Spectrum fighting against the Mysterons. It has always been a great story and there are some subtle changes in the new series (Cloudbase Alpha is now just Skybase and Lieutenant Green is now female) but its just as dark as it always has been. Perhaps that is part of the problem: it was broadcast on CITV and really, I think it has more appeal for adults. Adults on the whole, however, don't tend to watch CGI TV series.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Well, at least Christmas Day is over. What a nightmare of noise, mess, petty arguments between the children and family politics. I didn't really enjoy the food either. Knowing that the rich food is going to give me heartburn and gastric discomfort doesn't really aid the stress levels. Now the task is to find room in our tiny house for the extra toys and games....Christmas just isn't the same once you have children yourself. I just have to accept this and move on.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mad Pre-Christmas Rush

It begins. Mile long queues everywhere, smiles wearing very thin. Pressure points are areas in shops around the Sale Items. The Game sale doesn't amount to much, no surprises there!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Any readers out there?

I've been writing this blog for almost a year now. It would just be interesting to know if there are any regular readers out there. Please leave me a comment, it might be the incentive I need to carry on.

No heating or hot water

Five days before Christmas and guess what? Our hot water and heating stops working. Just great. Of course, we can't get a plumber with everybody being busy getting bathrooms ready for Christmas. So, I'm waiting for an expensive boiler manufacturer technical engineer to visit and charge 200 quid for the privilege. An expense we can't afford but for something we can't afford to be without. We can't do washing, washing up, baths, handwashing or anything. The part itself may only be a few pounds. This kind of thing gets me angry. And we spent all that money on Santafuckingland. And they say 'tis the season to be jolly!!!

Santaland: Earls Court December 2005

We went as a family to this event on Monday with some trepidation. We'd heard very mixed reviews from friends and the forums were feeding back that it was a waste of money - we'd already bought our tickets. We even considered not going because of the travel costs getting there. The good thing about it was that we got a nice photo of our two kids with Santa. Apart from that it was shit. Here's a list of my gripes:
  1. Long walk to Earls Court 2 (right at the back of Earls Court)
  2. People were herded into the "Christmas market" to spend money there
  3. Carpets were dirty and were red and green - where's the feeling of snow?
  4. Coat attendants were grumpy and it would have cost two pounds for our buggy and coats (we didn't bother)
  5. We were herded into "channels" where families could see Santa simultaneously
  6. We had to watch a boring video outlining the story behind collecting Santa's magical ribbons
  7. We had to watch the video and watch a crap entertainer do his best to cheer up a silent audience of bored adults and kids
  8. The Santa we eventually saw dropped my daughter's Santa letter and picture on the floor as we were leaving him (and I don't think he even noticed)
  9. The main arena was just a few fairground rides randomly distributed (the kids were given 6 coins to exchange for six free rides - one of our kids lost their bag)
  10. There weren't enough ribbons being handed out

So, you can see, it was all a big rip-off. Oh well, been there, done that, won't do that ever again.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

My wife and I went to see this film last night. Very good indeed, I recommend it to anyone over the age of 10 (it has a 12A certificate in the UK). The ending is rather dramatic, as it should be, but the most amazing aspects of it for me are the small details. It really does create a wonderful feeling that magic and the magical world is something real.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Foo Fighters - Earls Court London 17 December 2005

Well, I was there and it was terrific. Two supporting acts (Eagles of Death Metal and Futureheads), which were cool - Dave Grohl came on and played drums for their final song. The Foos played "Hit after hit after hit" in the words of the man himself. A great night. The stage set was spectacular, a real surprise with wonderful green lasers. Dave said "You know you've made it when you your up here (the stage) and can close your eyes and see Black Sabbath laser patterns infront of your eyes". Not many songs from the new album, perhaps 2 or 3, but lots of songs the fans love. Well worth the ticket price.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fantastic Four

I recently saw the film adaptation of this classic Marvel comic. I liked it, it had a lot of humour and some great special effects. I thought it was all well done, even The Thing had a likeable heroic quality about him. Jessica Alba looks totally amazing in her suit. The ribbing between Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm is well done too. If you scratch deeper there are some plot flaws but if you look too deeply I think your missing the point. Rated PG, I wouldn't let my kids watch it until they were 7.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Oil Fire at Hemel Hempstead

I don't think we're all that far from this. My wife heard a rumbling at 6am today, not me farting honest! All I can say is that I'm glad it was that time on a Sunday and not during a busy rush hour - that would have been catastrophic.

FIFA Football 2003

No blog post for a while, I do apologize people. Busy at work and 3 blogs to take care of: incidentally, this is the first time I've realy neglected this blog and this has only been for a week. Nevertheless I must not forget again!
Well, I wanted to post this to say that I play FF2003 exclusively now since I first got it. I am strangely adicted to it. I don't really know why. Perhaps its because I was never very competitive in real life with football a a teenager at school? I don't know aht it is but I find the difficulty setting just right, good enough that I actually have real difficulty during some games and actually winning is such a good feeling. Like the real game infact. Anyhow, I'm only playing at Semi-Pro level, there is the Professional level next to master. Not that I've mastered Semi Pro level yet - I am getting better though. I am tending to draw instead of lose now. The automated popup that tells you whether you have mastered a level or are having difficulty and suggests a change in skill setting (up or down) hasn't popped up for a while. It is quite humiliating when it pops up to say that you're obviously finding it difficult.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Richard Burns RIP

Any mourning I'll be doing will not be spent on George Best this weekend but on the death of 34 year old 2001 World Rally Champion Richard Burns. He died last weekend of a brain tumour he'd been suffering from since 2003. Instead of flowers his family asks that donations be made to Cancer Research, people should respect this wish as his family want a private funeral.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm A Celebrity

I can't believe I haven't posted about this before. It's on now, so I won't say much. Just that I think it's been about the worst one yet. Everyone's so fucking nice to each other its sickening. Shame Dickinson and Goolden have left because there was tension building in that relationship. Ever since the Aussie soap actress did her shoulder in the Bushtucker Trials have been tame and lame. Lets see some action people!

FIFA Football

Not related to the death of George Best, I recently purchased the 2003 version of this game and I have to admit it is quite an addictive proposition. I didn't expect very much but was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. At the same time I picked up Pro Evolution Soccer 3 but the disk was scratched and so it had to go back. I have a better copy now and also found a cheap copy of FF2004 and it too seems good, although I think it has got more sophisticated with the Off The Ball control. I haven't really tried PES 3 but it "feels" good too. It might even get me interested in soccer again. The main feeling I get when playing the game is how much better it is than playing Subbuteo ever was. Maybe that's just because my brother was always shouting at me for kneeling on players? There was always a great blob of glue surrounding the West Brom players feet. FF2004 has West Brom in the First Division and Wolves in the Premiership - that can't be right can it? Perhaps when the game was finalised WBA looked as if they might be relegated but actually weren't?