Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blogging for a decade

In January 2015, this blog will have been going for 10 years. That must deserve some kind of mention? I started the blog fairly innocuously with a few posts about things I'd seen on the net. It just carried on from there really, with me feeling the need to write and it being a vehicle. I have made a very small number of what I would loosely consider "friends" along the way but they have not endured, well one friend sadly passed away a year ago.
I've written a few times about blogging just in case anyone reading this who doesn't blog is wondering about starting. I think it is a good thing for people to blog or vlog. I don't have the patience to vlog, so would rather just continue to blog, but I do subscribe to some vlogs and enjoy their immediate impact and appeal. I don't know if anyone reads this regularly aside from myself. If you do, perhaps you might want to leave a comment about the blog and anything you'd like to read more or less about?

New Year's Eve

In a few hours time it will midnight and as it's the 31st December today this means that the midnight hour will see the transition of 2014 into 2015. I wonder what 2015 will bring us? The year just ending has been an eventful one. I expect that 2015 will see no let up in the pace of change. I feel as though I should write some kind of "year in review" post. I don't know though, it might just remind me of some of the things I'd rather forget about the year.
This New Year's Eve will be a quiet one for us. We haven't been invited anywhere and we haven't invited anyone else round. So it might come to pass that this year we don't even stay up until midnight. I don't know for definite but it could turn out that way.
The weather outside is cold but dry. It's below freezing but there is no snow on the ground. The nights still seem to get dark. I haven't even bothered to get dressed outside of my pyjamas and dressing gown today.
A couple of days ago I went for my first run. As a result, I have noticed that my back has started to stiffen. I still feel some stiffness so I have decided not to run today and rest for another day. I will try and go for a run tomorrow if my back has recovered some more. It's better today than it was yesterday.
I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!!

Jus-Rol Apple Danish Pastries

We bought some new products from Asda earlier in the week, they were Jus-Rol Danish pastries and Cinnamon Swirls. Today, this morning, I decided to give the apple Danish pastries a go. They were surprisingly easy to make and tasted delicious. I was slightly disappointed that the box didn't include a ready made method of icing the pastries but it was easy enough to make my own and pipe it across them when they came out of the oven. As you can see, the results look good and they were definitely tasty and eaten up by my family. We'll almost certainly buy these again.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Running shoes bargain

Well, I have told myself that 2015 is the year to start new healthier habits and one of those is to start running. I'm not yet sure when I'll fit my running in but I want to run three times a week. I hope it will help my mental and physical health. So I have a podcast that I can listen to called From couch to 5K, which is from the NHS Choices website, there are lots of running events around the local area and I might sign up to a 5K in Milton Keynes in March if I'm able to keep going. I was slightly worried about the cost of running shoes because my Nike training shoes aren't going to be any good - they give me blisters as you've seen via these pages in the past (see post on Race for Life event). However, I looked in on a local sports seconds shop and found a pair of Karrimor D30 Elie shoes. Whilst I was in the shop I tried on a few pairs of running shoes but these ones were the most comfortable and best fit for me as far as I could tell. So I bought them, they were £25 instead of their usual street price of £69. I'm always interested in a bargain and without being sure that running is for me, it's the right price point to give running a go.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas drinking

I had a few glasses of wine on Saturday, with friends, but apart from that I've stayed off the alcohol. On Christmas Day I expect I will have a few drinks to dull the senses and allow me to settle into a relaxed state of mind. I guess most of the alcohol shall be consumed after cooking the Christmas meal, we will have a house full of guests, with a couple of them staying overnight. I won't be able to drink too much however, as I'll be driving up to Birmingham the next day.
Drinking at Christmas is great up to a point. There is also a down side to it. Accident and Emergency departments know this only too well. My daughter is 14 and I have wondered whether or not I should introduce her to alcohol, so that she tastes it and experiences it in the safety of our home. However, I decided not too, she's still very young and although I'm worried about her trying alcohol I trust her not too. She also dislikes anything fizzy, which is quite a good thing. Not many days left until the big day, it's Christmas Eve tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I've had the film Elysium on DVD for a few weeks to watch. But now that I have broken up for Christmas I finally found time to watch it this morning. I enjoyed it.
It is the story of a future Earth full of a lower class who are diseased and exploited. The upper classes have moved off Earth and live on an enormous wheel-like space station that has its own atmosphere. The story centres on an ex-con on parole who is an exploited worker in a robot factory but has always wanted to get to Elysium. Entry to Elysium is computer controlled and it also has a stern chief of security played by Jodie Foster. The chief of security and manager of a robotics factory plot a coup. Things don't go too well for the ex-con factory worker and he ends up having an accident at work that seems him hit with a lethal dose of radiation. He visits the crime boss to seek a pass to get to Elysium but finds he has to agree to doing a final job before he gets his shuttle ride. This is the part of the film where he gets an exo-skeleton grafted on to his body by the dirtiest medics going. He gets more than he bargained for because the target he chooses is boss of the factory where he had his accident and the man who the chief of security on Elysium wanted to form a coup with. I won't spoil the story anymore but I did enjoy the film.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Outdoor reindeer lights

Walking through the Milton Keynes shopping centre on Saturday evening, my son and I came across the concrete cows in the centre of an outdoor circle. the cows have been joined by some reindeer, these ones are not real (very like the cows) but they actually light up (unlike the cows). So, without further ado here are the electric reindeer as I have christened them - or rather, here is one of them.

Christmas tree

Last year I posted a photograph of our Christmas tree. Last year we used coloured lights. My wife didn't like the coloured lights too much, she found them a bit garish. This year, she bought two ropes of white lights from Costco, they flash in lots of different ways but she likes them steady on. So this year's tree is more in keeping with how she wanted it. So here it is, our tree with the white lights.

Milton Keynes cinema

Here are a couple of photos I took yesterday of the two cinemas in Milton Keynes. I think The Point was the first multiplex cinema in the UK, it opened in 1985. The architecture and shape is quite dramatic. It is no longer a cinema.
Xscape is a huge building on the landscape and is reminiscent of a large aircraft hanger. There are lots of restaurants and entertainments in the building. Lots of rock climbing and other sports related shops.
The Point in Milton Keynes, the UK's first multiplex cinema in 1985

Xscape in Milton Keynes


I just made this word up but I thought I'd share a few photos I took this week with my new smartphone, the Motorola Moto E. The camera is a fixed focus 5 megapixel camera. I have used the editing software on the phone itself, which isn't too bad actually and can give you some creative options. The photos below were taken on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th December.

Birmingham Central Library with moon

Birmingham early morning, moon over Central Library

Early morning in Milton Keynes Central

December sunrise from the train

The Hobbit: battle of the five armies

Yesterday my son and I caught the train over to Milton Keynes to go to the Cineworld cinema and watch this film. I had seen the second film at the cinema with my son locally. I can't remember whether I went to the cinema to see the first film in the trilogy but as I don't remember, I probably didn't.
My expectations were probably higher for the final film than they were for the second. I felt the second film disappointed me. The latest and final film in the trilogy doesn't disappoint though. I was expecting a flashback to the ending of the second film but no, it was straight in to pick up from where the second film ended and I'm glad that it was the case. I didn't feel that the film was to long, unlike the second. I was glad that there was only a casual few moments for the Stephen Fry character, I didn't really like that character. The battle scenes were good and it was a treat to hear the voice of Billy Connolly as Thorin's cousin. I felt it was a great film, up to the same standard as the first film and probably helps to redeem the series as whole to worthy of watchable repeat viewings, much like the Lord of the Rings films. The ending was lovely but I won't spoil it. The hand drawn illustrations of the characters as the credits rolled were excellent and I thought they were very good, I would like to know who the artist was. The music was, as ever, excellent and atmospheric too. I loved how when Bilbo handled his ring that the familiar lilt and theme from the Lord of the Rings played, with subtle differences. The CGI effects were very good too, believable and not over-used. A great return to form.

Dark Matter, Redshift Press

Last weekend, I went down to my local comic shop because the proprietor Mark was hosting a book signing for a friend who has published a comic book. It is an anthology of nine stories, illustrated by seven different artists. Each of the stories are relatively dark and have the claim that there are no happy endings. It's true. The stories are interesting and complete in their own right. There is no relationship between the different stories. I enjoyed the book and enjoyed seeing the different artworks. I spoke to the writer and a few of the artists. They were a really nice bunch of people.

Christmas feeling?

Every year I hear people complaining about the shops getting their Christmas stock on the shelves earlier and earlier. This year, I personally didn't notice that. Infact, for me anyway, the build up to Christmas feels very late. I went into the loft and retrieved all of the decorations and our two trees on the last weekend of November. Usually, my wife has bought chocolate coins or a Lego advent calendar that we can use to populate our two big wooden calendars. But this year, maybe a sign our kids are growing up, we didn't put the calendars out until the last half of the first week in December - very tardy. We put our Christmas tree up last weekend. It's nice having a tree up in the house, we haven't got the second tree up in the dining room yet though. It all points to the fact that we just don't feel like it's Christmas yet. Maybe the feeling will come when we break up from work on Friday? We have friends coming round to dinner, so I hope that is the moment when it all starts to feel real.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


It's eventually got me. I've survived for so long without a cold this year but now I've succumbed to one. The night before last I was sweating in bed really heavily. Last night wasn't too bad but I had to sit up slightly in bed to help with breathing. I really want just to return to my bed but unfortunately I have to work. At least I don't have to travel today. I suppose the other thing is that at least I have caught it now and it's before Christmas, so hopefully by the holidays I will be free of it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Moving to Android

I've been an iPhone 4 user for a few years. It has probably been 3 years now. That's a fair length of time for a mobile these days. I was very happy with the iPhone when I got it as a gift back in 2011. However, the cost of the contract and the availability of cheaper alternatives has driven me away to an Android phone as my new cell phone. I've gone for an inexpensive Android phone, the Motorola Moto E. It's the cheaper end of the market than many phones I see people at work using. However, it seems responsive while browsing and playing videos on wifi. I can't tell what the performance as a phone is like yet because the number is in the process of transferring. I will have 14 days to either accept or reject this but at the moment I am not seeing a downside. Well, not strictly true, the ONLY downside I can see at the moment is that the camera is not as good as the iPhone camera. BUT my Panasonic camera is way better than my iPhone anyway so I would normally use that for shooting. So far so good with my new phone, the other advantage is that the whole family has the same phone. We have a family deal. I wonder what shape we'll be in after two more years of this contract? At least the monthly cost is cheaper than a single brand new iPhone model. I still don't understand why people spend that amount of money but maybe I never will.

I've transferred important information to the new phone but one app on iPhone I had and liked was a journal app called Day One. I wanted to keep it, so looked for an Android version but there wasn't one. I looked up some alternatives and have gone for an app called Diaro. The cool thing was that I was able to set up my iPhone to sync with my Dropbox account. I then signed in to the Diaro website and sync that also to my Dropbox account. I was then able to move my Day One Dropbox folder to my Diaro Dropbox folder. Then in the Diaro website I chose to import my Day One journal, selecting the replace all option (because I had no content in Diaro) and it worked. I had to close the app on my phone and start it again but then the content appeared. Great, the data I wanted to transfer was transferred. Now I can use my phone to continue my journal as before.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas is just around the corner

It's that time of year again when the shops are selling Christmas goods openly. The shopkeepers are hoping for a good turnout. I always think of shopping at night at Christmas time. I do like when the towns are all being lit up with Christmas lights. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping days. I don't like the crush of crowds very much but if I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere then it's okay. The best place to be at Christmas is either at home or at the pub I reckon. Nothing quite like being warm and drinking wine or beer in the company of friends and loved ones. It's better if you're safe in the knowledge that you have got your loved ones all of their presents. I don't like the stress of buying presents just for the sake of it. Despite all the talk of shopping, I love the food and the smells of Christmas. I even love the fact that the weather is usually terrible. It makes me happier to be indoors at home. At the end of the month we have some friends over and we'll go watch the turning on of the Christmas lights in town, they do a fireworks display as well that is quite good. Looking forward to it. I will also be seeing the Christmas market when I go to Manchester. That's usually very good as well. I love the fact that there are so many food and drink stalls.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bletchley Park

This afternoon my son and I visited the secret wartime code breaking location of Bletchley Park. I knew quite a bit of the story before going, as it is one I do find fascinating. But I picked up things even I had not known or had forgotten. The tireless way the people worked there and the production line like nature of the code breaking is only something you can appreciate by going. It's incredible to think what teams of linguists, mathematicians, scientists and engineers can do when they work together. It's a great place to visit, the funding they have had has really helped make it an attraction that's worth visiting.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tasty supper for a cold day

Last night I had a walk around and decided to eat at one of those places I like to go once in a while. It's a restaurant that specialises in pies called Pieminster (in Manchester). The food is great and arrives really fast to the table, the beer was great bottled beer too. Here's a photo of my supper, yummy! This particular dish is called Kate & Sidney and I had mine with minted mushy peas and cheese, a combo they call the Mothership. It also has a pouring of rich red wine gravy on the creamy mashed potato.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Bonfire Night 2014

It was our local fireworks display last night. My wife was in London at the theatre with a friend so I went with my children and a couple of other families. The fireworks were pretty good, they usually are. Here is the video that my son shot, he wanted this particular music for it - Carmen Overture.

We Remember Them

Very poignant Remembrance services were held today across the country. It is 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall too. I took the photo below of a section of the wall that is outside of the Imperial War Museum.
So many men and women have fallen in battle for the sake of our country and our freedoms. It is hard for subsequent generations to truly recognise the sacrifice they made. The war poetry and poignancy of the ceremonies helps us all to mourn and remember them. Even though we may not appreciate the ways that they all fell, the day to day gritty nature of life in wartime. Few can truly remember what it was like, our soldiers of today have perhaps the best chance at this. But even though it is hard, it is important to think and reflect on how awful life would be if our freedoms had not been fought so hard and so valiantly for.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Imperial War Museum

After our large lunch we went to the Imperial War Museum, which was incredibly interesting. Unfortunately, to get timed tickets to visit the First World War galleries you need to get there very early. So we didn't get to see those but I did go and look at another interesting gallery about the Holocaust. It was quite shocking. At the end of it there is a scale model of the Auschwitz Death Camp, all in white under bright white lights. Very stark and very chilling.
I took a photo of one of the exhibits, an eagle from the new Reich Chancellery. It is shocking to think what a hold that Nazis had over ordinary Germans to make them accept what Hitler wanted. Very disturbing to think that something like that could happen again because it has happened before.

Wagamama's Firecracker

On Friday when we were in London with the boys, we visited the Wagamama restaurant near to the Royal Festival Hall, it's close to the Thames river. For a change, I ordered a dish I haven't tried before. I believe it has only recently been added to their menu, it was called the Firecracker. It had a lovely sweet sauce with red chillis, green mange tout, spring onions, chicken, red pepper, green pepper and a lovely centrepiece of rice. The food was hot and spicy but not unpleasantly so. I could take it, I had a few ice cubes leftover from my ginger beer and I used those to cool my mouth down. It was a great meal and a great dish but I was a bit too full for all the walking I still had to do in the afternoon. I don't think my legs have yet got over the distance we walked.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Shard

Our visit to London yesterday gave me an opportunity to take a few more photos of The Shard. I had taken a few photos from London Bridge when I visited Comic Con the Saturday before. Here are the photos I took, adjusted slightly. I think The Shard is an amazing building, it is really striking. here you see it in black and white with the sun behind it, in another shot I got the reflected image of it and finally I shot it from the ground looking up.

Tower of London ceramic poppies

I had the day off yesterday and visited the Tower of London with my wife, my son and his friend. There were a lot of people visiting the display and it was an amazing sight. My photographs don't really do it justice. It was unlike anything I've seen before, considering the poppies are not the paper ones but are made of clay. They can be purchased but have all been sold in advance I think, they will make a lot of money out of them and deservedly so.

RIP Jack Bruce

Sad news to hear of the death of the amazing bass guitarist Jack Bruce this week. I also really thought he had a great voice to go with his bass playing. Cream is the band that a lot of people will recognise he played in. One if the first 7 inch vinyl singles I was given included Cream's Tales of Brave Ulysses and the B side was great too. I also enjoyed Bruce's work with Robin Trower. Amazing songs and playing on the B.L.T. album. He would be what I describe as a musician's musician, not interested in looks or ego but someone only making music for the sake of moving it forward, constantly stretching himself.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Encona Hot Pepper Sauce

I cooked a nice chilli con carne for our tea tonight. I cook quite a mild chilli because my wife and children don't like the spices too hot. So for mine I added some sliced green jalapeno chillies and then I added several drops of Encona hot pepper sauce. It's a sauce I haven't tried before but it was good stuff.

MCM London Comic Con October 2014

On Saturday morning my son and I got up early to go into London. We spent the day at the MCM London Comic Con at the Excel in the Royal Victoria Dock. This is a huge event that combines many different types of attraction including comics, videogames, autograph signing, cosplay, cinema, Japanese culture including Manga, food, and sweets. It's a great show to go to but boy it gets busy. I spent a lot of time looking at comics and speaking to the artists and writers, all enthusiastic about their work. The show seemed to be bigger than ever. My son was bowled over because there was a Pokémon stand there, showing off a video about the new Pokémon game coming out in November.

Here are a few photos I took of people in cosplay outfits, there were some great ones this time, good that the weather was good outside.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vitamix Goodies

I've continued to employ the Vitamix blender in our food preparation. On Friday we had some green Thai soup. Yesterday I used the chopping to slice onion and garlic up into small pieces for frying with chicken in a curry. This morning I cooked some lovely American style pancakes and used it to prepare a strawberry sauce and the pancake mixture. I must say that they turned out lovely. I enjoyed them too much to stop and think about taking a photograph. My son really enjoyed the strawberry sauce, I must say it was good. The photograph below isn't mine and I didn't have any strawberries left sliced up to put between the pancakes. I didn't put any cream on top either. I did have some maple syrup on mine though, I love maple syrup.

High Street Halloween

The supermarkets have got into the spirit of Halloween I see, not only can you find dressing up clothes, sweets and pumpkins, but you can also find cobwebs and gruesome arms and legs in amongst the vegetables. The graphic nature of severed hands, feet and arms and the ever more realistic paintwork and moulding is quite shocking. Bones sticking out, flesh ripped and sliced. It's all a bit too much I think. Is this a sign of me just getting too old and not keeping up with the times? I just worry the effect this has on the youngest members of society who must think this stuff is just normal. Sometimes I feel that life is leaving me behind. The picture below was taken to give an example of what I mean, I shot this as I came across it, there were other body parts in there as well.

I liked some of the window displays in town, I like to see shops making an effort to put things in their window that are seasonal.

Halloween is coming!!

I sort of like this time of year. At the moment, I feel like watching scary films. My imagination is running wild. It's the dark nights and dark mornings I think. The moon seems low and bright. I watched an episode of Grimm the other night, that's probably the darkest thing I've seen recently. That's not very good considering all of the horror on Netflix. I should make more use of Netflix, I seem to use it to catch up on TV series. Anyway, I'm moving off the point of this post, which was about frightening myself. When I was a young child I remember seeing a few scary things on TV. These were in order of seeing them:
  1. There was a series of TV plays broadcast in the 1970s. In one of these, I don't remember very much but I do remember that there was a spiral staircase and at the bottom it was a cluttered room but amongst the clutter, peaking out from underneath something, was a dead woman's hand, just the hand was visible. That scared me. It was probably the first experience I had of seeing something scary on TV.
  2. The second thing was I was watching an episode of TV crime series Starsky and Hutch, it was the combination of normal crime busting with the supernatural that surprised me. Anyway, the scary part was a section of the show where a woman was going back to her car at night and out of the shadows running at her was a vampire. She was trying to get the key into her car and this thing was running straight at her. That scared me, a still photo is below so you can see the part I mean.
  3. Lastly, the most terrifying in many ways was another David Soul show. This time, it was a boy in his bedroom awoken in the night by his dead friend outside. Salem's Lot was the show's name and it was a true TV classic. My daughter won't watch it, she's too scared at 14. I must have been younger than that when I first saw it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Music of John Williams, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, Friday 10 October 2014

On Friday I finished work a little earlier than usual and we caught the train in to London. We enjoyed a nice meal, though expensive, in an American diner and then caught the tube to Kensington High Street.
This was a fantastic evening at the wonderful Royal Albert Hall. We had box seats and enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere. The concert featured all the recognisable and wonderful greats including Star Wars, Superman, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, Home Alone, Harry Potter and the Witches of Eastwick. There were others I didn't know but enjoyed nonetheless, including War Horse, Fiddler On The Roof (Williams' arrangement), Hook and Schindler's List. The concert was conducted by Robert Ziegler and the violinist was Clio Gould. Clio Gould played beautifully and Schindler's List brought a tear to my eye it was so wonderfully played.

Garden smoothie

I used the new blender yesterday for the first time, my first creation with it was a garden smoothie. I managed to drink it although I'm not sure it was balanced well enough with all of the flavours. Among other things it had pineapple, apple, lime, ginger, curly kale and ice. It was a nice consistency of texture though, all the way through. The photo I took of it is below, not the best photo in the world, it's under a tungsten light bulb.
I cooked the family supper last night and it went down alright. It was a mild chicken curry and I cooked potatoes with it. The potatoes were very watery though and ended up being mashed as the only way they would work. It turned out okay though. It had a lot of fresh ingredients in it. I used the blender for chopping onions, garlic and carrots.
For our pudding my son took over the blender and we loaded it with banana, frozen fruit, cream and some syrup. It made us a lovely strawberry and banana ice cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blend it like Beckham

My wife and I visited Costco today and had one of those shopping moments when we were so impressed with a product demonstration that we decided to buy an expensive product on the spur of the moment. We bought a Vitamix blender, a Total Nutrition Center. It blends, chops, makes smoothies, makes hot soup, makes hot drinks, cold drinks  -  can do a good many things with it. It's a great product and I hope we use it as much as it deserves to be used. It was expensive but not when you count the cost of smoothies, ice-creams and soups. The benefit for us is that we can use fresh fruit and vegetables at home, and get the children to start using it as well.


My son was lucky to have family and friends who have given him money instead of gifts for his birthday and his Christening. He has considered carefully the options open to him for what to buy and I'm pleased he decided to buy something that will be longer lasting than some of his ideas. He's decided to spend the money on a tablet. He has been using mine fairly extensively and now he has one for himself. It's a bigger tablet than mine and I'm glad for him.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Hollywood Bowl Strike Party

On Friday night it was my son's birthday party at Hollywood Bowl. The bowling lanes looked really good and the party included food and there was a host. The kids who came all loved it and they enjoyed the gaming at the reception area where all sorts of arcade games are arranged into a small arcade. As a few parents stayed, we bought them a hot chocolate and we could watch what was going on. The host was really sweet and kind. All in all we had a great evening, I was very impressed!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Son!

My son has his twelfth birthday today. He is getting taller, sounding deeper of voice and in short, growing up! I look back at photos of him and can't quite believe he is 12 now. I don't really think of him in age terms, he's my son and I know him so well now. Tomorrow we are having a family gathering at the church and both my children are being christened.
[It seems Blogger has stopped working properly for IE 11! I wanted to upload a photo but the media upload seems to fail before I even select a photo. This has been working fine up to now.
Update: Windows File Explorer crashed everytime I opened the Pictures folder, it happened with Chrome as well, which was how I knew it wasn't just an IE11 issue. I have changed the folder type from Pictures to General and now I can browse the photos by name instead of thumbnail, must be a file in there that doesn't generate a thumbnail or something like that?]

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New game console

On Tuesday the week before last, so 9th September, I got my new game console delivered. The PS4 with the game Destiny bundled. It's a cracking system and the game Destiny is a good one. I'm very pleased with everything so far. The set up was quick and easy. The games are great and I've made the switch from Xbox 360 to PS4 very easily indeed. Microsoft may be listening more to the gamers now but the damage was done at the start for them, they didn't listen to what their user community wanted and built an entertainment system with Kinnect instead of a game system. I'm a gamer and want a gaming system, which is why I've chosen PS4. Infact I'm not really defecting from Xbox because my first console was a PS2 which Sony made, so in a way I'm returning to the Sony eco-system. Sony also has a mobile game console in the form of the PS Vita, a console I bought second hand about a week before I got my PS4. Both are great and I'm a very happy bunny.


This is a science fiction TV series that I've recently started watching and enjoying. It is about a group of terrorists and police officer from the future, known as a Protector, who gets inadvertently transported back in time with them. The terrorists aim is to destroy the beginnings of the future mega-corporations that run the future world but the Protector, Kiera, just wants to return to her family in her own time. She wears an amazing suit (pictured - the brown suit with the black belt and thigh straps) that is capable of so many things like being armour, changing colour, invisibility and being a taser - amongst other things. It's a really interesting show and the first few episodes are very good. I will be watching more.

Scottish people reject independence

It's been an interesting week in politics. Not many times have I taken the time to write that in this blog ever! For the first time in a few hundred years the United Kingdom might have been split had the Scottish people chosen independence. I detected an increasing sense of seriousness around the whole affair, with all of the main Westminster political parties showing an uncommon degree of unity (which has since been proven to be false). Now, I am not sure what my views on the subject really are. For the Scottish people, I can't say that the vote went the right way or not. I do like Scotland being part of the United Kingdom but I must confess I don't really know why I feel like that. I have never even visited Scotland! I may do next year, but that's another story. Anyway, I do hope that life can return to normal once more now that the vote has been done.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Apple Watch

I read about the launch of the Apple Watch this week. The press and industry commentators have not been over-awed by the design of this gadget item. It's Apple though, so I'm sure that this first new product line since the iPad will sell well. I'm just not sure that the concept is cool enough. I dig a bigger sized iPhone though, my iPhone 4 just feels far too small nowadays yet when I first got it, it was fine. I think liking my 7" Google Nexus tablet has made me realise how much easier it is to watch and type on a larger screen.
I would have liked to have seen something more way out there from Apple. Something like a fabric that you wear that becomes a screen or a projection screen, I don't know, just something more interesting than what they delivered. Two fundamental flaws I see in the design are the rectangular screen and charging requires you to slip it off your wrist. Both negatives for me.
I do like the idea of the "digital crown" winder that zooms in and out depending on how you turn it but this is hardly the big innovation and for left-handed folks it will be on the bottom not the top and potentially slightly more cumbersome to access because of that.
As if the price wouldn't put me off enough, these things also do it for me, not to mention that there is no inkling of how long the battery would last for. This is something the iPhone didn't get right.

Warhammer: painting work space

I thought I'd show you the cutting mat area that I use as my workspace for assembling and painting the Warhammer 40,000 models I've been making.

In the photo above you can see that I've got 3 Citadel paint pots. I bought these today. I stick the figures on to corks or a sweetener container for painting. I bought a spray can of white primer today. The  models you can see in the foreground are waiting for assembly. I have given them one spray with my white primer so far but will need to spray them again to cover them completely and I will spray the other side as well.

Warhammer: Space Marine painted

The Space Marine proved to be a bit easier to paint than the Tyranid Termagrant however there are still challenges such as the gold and silver parts. Again, not great image for detail but here is my painted Space Marine, I'm quite happy with how this one turned out.