Friday, February 29, 2008

The Wii

I don't think I mentioned in this blog that we bought our kids a Wii at Christmas. We were lucky to get one I know. Having lived with it for a couple of months and having played it regularly but not fanatically (at least once a week) I thought I'd give you a few of my impressions as a game enthusiast but also as a father. One of the first things we did was play Wii Sports, this package actually comes with the Wii when you buy it and it's a lot of fun - especially the bowling game for young children. My 7 year old likes to play tennis with me and I've enjoyed the golf game a bit on my own. We don't play the boxing game very much though, that is the least liked one. The Mii creation aspect of the Wii is what my kids love - you create these living kind of avatars called Miis. Once your done you can save them and see them walking about on their own in the Mii Plaza where you can also pick them up and organise them according to your needs. There is a channel called the Mii Contest Channel where you can judge Miis that people have created according to a theme and you can make and submit your own Miis for others to judge. You then get to see where your creation ranked and how well it fit the theme. It's a very simple but elegant type of play. Take a look at the video at the kinds of variety you can discover in Miis.


My recommendation for expanding your Wii game library would be Super Mario Galaxy, here's a clip of the exciting gameplay: its one of those games that my kids enjoy watching as much as playing (which is very fortunate Mwhaha!)

Take the Work out of you work-day

Have a good Friday and be glad the weekend is almost here.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Night of the Living Dead


I don't think I've sat through all of this film before. It's always called a horror classic. I've seen lots of "zombie" films and they all unnerve me in some ways. However, with so many references to zombies in TV adverts, music videos, videogames and the like, my emotions are a bit dulled. However, I can still partially see through my preconceptions enough to understand that this film didn't explain the flesh eating living dead as zombies and at the time the film was made the idea was probably new and groundbreaking. A failed satellite probe from Venus has spread a new and powerful type of radiation that causes the recently deceased to get up and start craving for living flesh. There is no more real explanation in the film but the TV and radio footage shown is believable because even the authorities are unable to explain the phenomenon. Even when you hope events are over at the end of the film there is a shock, a bleak end to what is even now in today's world a bleak film. I don't care to analyse the film anymore and I'm sure others have put many interpretations on it. But the timing is perfect, the pace is wonderful and the acting is superb. How much better it would have been if it were shot in colour I can't say, maybe the black and white even adds to the films power. It's a horror classic and deserves a place high on the all time best list.

Run Fat Boy Run


I rented this DVD last week and enjoyed it. David Schwimmer directed it and did a good job at keeping the pacing right - it never feels laboured or slow and there are a good number of laughs evenly spaced throughout. Simon Pegg is his usual lovely self as the anti-romantic romantic lead and the whole cast was brilliantly recruited - each adding a little something of their own special quality to their parts. The story might not appeal if you were to read a synopsis and as a story you could read many levels of interpretation into it but the light-hearted interpretation the cast and director want you to understand shines through pulling this film up into the good category. Worthy of a watch if you feel like a light film that will make you chuckle.

Monday Grumps

I took the selfish and greedy decision to take Friday off last week and was even more selfish and hateful because I haven't looked at my work email for three days. Yet last night I was thinking so much about work that I couldn't get to sleep until after 2am. Now I'm tired and the only good thing so far is that it is sunny and bright this morning. It's horrible feeling guilty just because I had a day off.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Downstairs Analysis

During my ablutions this morning (I usually think a lot during my ablutions), I considered how nice it must be for those celebrities who can afford for a professional to individually advise them on their exercise/dietary/lifestyle plan. Imagine even going to the lengths of having a team of scientists evaluate the log I dropped this morning (sorry to be vulgar for just a sec there) and analyse it for weight, colour and dietary fibre. I've known about colonic irrigation for a few years ever since seeing a programme with various celebrities trying it out, Ian Wright (ex-footballer) I think was one of them. I don't know if this is true but apparently its possible to detect traces of beef that were eaten as a child - this hasn't put me off eating beef however I do eat a lot lot less beef these days. Anyway back to the point, how nice it must be as a celebrity to be able to pay someone to take an interest in ones rear and it's output.


While on the subject of downstairs, yesterday I went to the Marks and Spencer emporium to buy some new underwear. There was myself and two old men circling the underwear racks and I felt that I needed a change. So my hand was guided by an unseen force into a choice I wouldn't normally have made. I ended up buying what could be considered as a pack of male thongs or jockstraps - well sort of a pouch at the front supported by a belt of thick elastic but rather than just straps at the back there is a proper back to them - so really they are a combination of jockstrap and brief I suppose. I usually buy close fitting boxers so I'm not sure how I'll get on with these but a change is as good as a rest as they say (as long as there is no chaffing involved!). They were buy one pack, get one half price but I wasn't confident enough in my choice to get a second box. We'll see if I live to regret that choice. I might be a convert: underwear is a very personal and individual thing, only one thing is certain: it's important enough not to ignore it, so throw out underwear that's too old and any that might have holes through wearing out. Consider the style element of underwear but don't go overboard. I think I just had a Trinny and Susannah moment!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Brits 2008


I watched The Brits 2008 with increasing disappointment on Wednesday night this week. I had been looking forward to settling down infront of the tele to watch it all day (for some reason - in previous years I've generally done my best to avoid it). There is usually a bit of excitement as to what's going to be the moment to remember at these such awards. This year for me it was Sharon Osbourne slagging off of Vic Reeves (a TV personality known for being a bit surreal and some hilarious moments in a TV quiz show called Shooting Stars: there is a blog post on why I like Vic Reeves somewhere in my head yet to be written) for being drunk. Only Vic knows if he was drunk or not (he denied it, saying it was the auto-cue going wrong) but Sharon was not very well behaved towards him - it seemed like she took it as a personal affront and how dare he turn up tipsy. The whole Osbourne family were presenting the awards and they did a reasonable job apart from that particular slip. Amy Winehouse sang well, but she can sing. Paul McCartney's set was disappointing for his lifetime achievement award and just generally I felt the whole evening was a bit of a let down. Certainly not something to look forward to next year.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Nanny (1965)

I watched another of the films in my Hammer Horror films box collection on Saturday night. It was a film from 1965 called The Nanny. There is something terrifying about stern old ladies. I don't know quite what it is. Perhaps its that I expect old ladies to be kind hearted and good spirited. And at first in this film you start to associate the stern facade of Bette Davis' nanny with a strict and proper authoritarian. During the film you come to think of the family she lives with as completely dysfunctional but towards the end a different thread emerges. I think its riveting stuff. The film has a few twists without any great surprises. The acting between Bette Davis and William Dix (who plays 10 year old Joey) is a large part of what makes this film so great. The film leaves you feeling disturbed rather than terrified. That's just about right for the period in which this film was made. The black and white also adds something to the film, not that you can tell by this image I found.

The Nanny starring Bette Davis

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Simple Food Restaurant

Sometimes when I'm in the kitchen and have gone in there to make a quick tasty snack I think to myself how easy it would be to open a cafe that only had simple food on the menu. Lets take baked beans on toast as an example: there must be loads of slightly different ways of preparing this, one of my favourites is to take some nice thick sliced (white) bread, toast one half and turn it over, lay a thin layer of sliced ham on the untoasted side followed by a layer of Heinz baked beans in tomato sauce and on top grate some cheese and pop under the grill. Lovely. You can do the same with Heinz spaghetti. Very quick, dirt cheap and simple. Great with coffee or tea. Actually as I write this post I'm reminded of the time I shared a house as a student and how invaluable a Breville sandwich toaster was. I used to love toasted sandwiches, cheese and tomato, ham and cheese, baked beans, chilli con carne, toasted sandwiches are so versatile! The only downside was that the toaster was a pain in the arse to clean, in the end we didn't bother and I think I threw it away when the course ended rather than clean the bloody thing. I did love my toasties though, I miss having a toasted sandwich occasionally.