Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve and the Flu Arrives!

Typical that as the year end arrives I've come down with flu and I'm not able to celebrate in the way I would like to. I'm glad that I have no social plans this evening. My wife took the Christmas tree down already earlier today so the sitting room is already looking sparser than it was. I wish I felt better, that my headache was gone and that my nose wasn't dripping. Ah well, that's at least just a small inconvenience compared to what others have to go through everyday, I'm grateful for small mercies.

H A P P Y    N E W    Y E A R !!!

Instant Capuccino

My last post of 2015 is about coffee. This time, it's about instant cappuccino. I have tried Nescafe's instant cappuccino coffee sachets but they are very frothy, not too bad though just a bit too frothy for me. The top just blows up like a head of froth on a pint of beer. I like a bit of froth but there is such a thing as too much.
I was in the 99p Store the other day and saw that they had a box of 12 cappuccino sachets by a brand I didn't recognise so as I had no Nescafe sachets left I tried the 99p Store ones. The sachets are just in plain foil wrappers, no branding on them just plain and simple. The coffee is decent though and there is froth but not too much. Overall I can recommend these.
Have a very happy New Year this evening, take it easy and go careful whatever you are doing.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas lunch

Well, the house here smells wonderful with the Christmas lunch cooking. We have got a great lunch lined up for everybody coming. We have my mother in-law and my step-sister and her partner coming to join the four of us. That's three people less than last year so the table won't be as crowded but hopefully it will be a little bit more intimate because of that.
I have prepared sprouts this morning, after opening my presents that largely consisted of PS4 games but there was a Manga book from my son, which was a surprise.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jessica Jones

I watched the first episode of this series today. It was a good start to a series I hope to watch more of. The character is one from the Marvel universe although I have to confess my ignorance from that point on, I have no idea who she is or what her back story is.

Imitation Game

Last night I watched The Imitation Game with my family and we all thought it was a good film. I had bought the film earlier in the day from a charity shop, it just cost me 99p which I thought was a bargain for a film that is only about a year old. The film is set during and after the second world war and is a sad film in many ways, the story is based on Alan Turing and the code-breaking work he did with other code-breakers there. It is a remarkable story and one that is told very well by the film, although how accurate it all is who really knows. Shame that Alan Turing's life was so hard, if he had lived I wonder what he would have achieved in his lifetime. He was certainly a brilliant mathematician.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Captain America: the original avenger

I watched this film today. Or rather I had the misfortune of having to sit through it. It was quite awful and a bit of a disaster. The script was bad, the direction was bad and I'm finding it hard to say what might redeem it but I'm afraid I can't. The special effects were truly laughable. There was no sense of threat or danger, a very flat affair without making me want to side with Captain America. I even fell asleep during a section of it -- that's how much I felt engaged.


This week I watched the film Lucy by the director Luc Beson. I watched a film by the same director recently, Nikita. This Lucy film was really interesting, it starred Scarlet Johansson. She is known to me through the Avengers films and her role as Black Widow, which she plays very well. In this film she starts out very ditzy as the girlfriend of a creep. Suddenly she comes into contact with a brutal Japanese criminal gang who want to smuggle drugs to Europe. They do this by surgically implanting kidnapped human mules, which she becomes due to her boyfriend getting her involved. The film takes a few crazy turns and then turns into something very strange.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I took my son out last night to go and see the new Star Wars motion picture The Force Awakens. I was hoping for a decent film after some of the disappointment that I experienced during the first three episodes. I was pleasantly surprised that this time the film was good. It had a few turns and twists in the plot that were good. It was good to Han Solo and Chewbacca. I liked the new characters, There was a little bit of humour in there as well, which were good. Overall, I'd recommend this film.

Japanese Sweets

I bought a bag of Japanese sweets from the Birmingham MCM ComicCon and there were several packets like these. They contain three balls that pack quite a lot of flavour into them. The balls are actually bubble gum but when you first start chewing them they don't have the texture of gum. They are quite strange in that the flavour bursts out of them overpowering your senses until after a couple of minutes of chewing when the bubblegum texture starts to appear. You'd almost be forgiven for swallowing them within the first two minutes, as they don't feel like bubblegum and if you haven't come across them before you wouldn't know.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Frenzy (1972)

Last night I watched a Hitchcock film I hadn't seen before. It was on TV and I wasn't intending to watch it but it got me hooked. It's a classic Hitchcock film. We have a character who has a lot of circumstantial evidence against him and a true monster villain who is a wolf in sheeps clothing. The style of the evil monster (Rusk) character is reminiscent of Jimmy Saville to me in a strange way, with very blonde hair and a tie pin. There is a good story and plenty of suspense and great acting. Some clever cinematography too.


I've been slowly making my way through the TV Sci-Fi series Continuum this year. I finally got to the end of the first series last night. What a decent series it has been as well. My expectations were quite low but they have been surpassed quite healthily. It tells the story of a group of terrorists from 2077 who time jump back in time to the present day but inadvertently bring a policewoman with them. It's about her trying to bring them to justice in the present day whilst also trying to return back home to the future where she has a husband and a son. I look forward to watching season 2. I believe there are four seasons in total.

New headphones

I was in B&M Homestore a couple of weekends ago and I was looking for a new pair of headphones. I bought a pair earlier in the year that were very good but my wife has them now (since the cat bit through the wire of her last pair). I saw this pair of Akai headphones and thought they looked quite good. The sound is pretty good for the price, they were only £10. Nice packaging too, although it has to be destroyed to actually get in there.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Horus Heresy novels: False Gods

Okay, so I haven't started reading these novels yet but I did pick up the second in the series yesterday from a charity shop. Haven't got much to say on this book or series yet however!!


I picked this film up from a charity shop recently and I'm glad I did. There are not many films in the superhero category that delve into the psyche of a superhero character. This film does it very well and stays very faithful to the graphic novel as far as I can tell. I love the relationship between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre and how Nite Owl has to be in superhero character to become sexually virile.
It's a good cast as well. The Comedian turns in a good performance, showing the unfortunate side of a superhero. Probably my favourite performance is that of vigilante Rorschach played by Jackie Earle Haley and especially in prison where he has a famous line about him not being in prison with them but them being locked up with him. A cracker of a film, but don't expect it to be the all-out action film that other superhero films have become. This one is a film set in that world but is not about the action.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Birmingham ComicCon Saturday 21st November 2015

Last weekend I went with my son and some friends to the Birmingham ComicCon at the NEC. It felt a little bit smaller than the London equivalent and there were some good cosplay costumes but not quite the same extent as the London event. The shops were pretty similar, Tokyo Toys were there (my son's favourite) as well as CEX. I spent a bit of time in the Comic Village. I bought a few things but didn't go mad. I didn't take many photographs and I didn't take any photos of the cosplay costumes, which I sort of regret and sort of feel that it might have been uncomfortable to have asked anyway.
Despite not taking many photos, here are the ones I did manage to take from the Steampunk zone.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terminator Salvation (2009)

I watched this film this week and have to confess to enjoying it more than I thought I would. Don't misunderstand, it is nothing like as good or watchable as the first Terminator. However, it was quite alright as an action film. It was a bit daft and unbelievable but then that's what science fiction can be like and is in many ways part of the charm. So, I'd recommend a watch of this film for Terminator fans. I haven't seen Terminator Genysis so not sure how it compares to that film.

Paris attacks on Friday 13th


What an awful end to the evening. Those cold, calculating bastards who attacked innocent civilians on a night out in Paris deserve to be hunted, captured and put in prison for the rest of their lives. It was a shocking display of cowardice and evil - firing a weapon at unarmed people who can't fight back. What a bunch of cowards. One of the less shocking images below. It's just wrong to see bodies on the pavement outside restaurants and bars.
I was watching TV with my wife in bed when reports started coming in. We stayed up watching the news until after 2am. The death count kept creeping up.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


I watched this film last night and really enjoyed it. I like Luc Besson films. Leon was another great film of his that I enjoyed. Nikita is a wild woman who is a drug addict that kills a cop but is given a second chance to work for the French government as some sort of assassin. A bit of an unbelievable plot however, the acting is great and direction even better, The story is fast paced and the style has been imitated but not bettered.
I haven't seen any of the TV series but I don't expect it to be as good as the original film.

RIP Philthy Animal Taylor

I was shocked to hear of the death of the ex-Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor. He was only 61. The first album I ever bought was Bomber on which he drummed. A great musician. Sad day.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Godzilla (2014)

I watched this with my son recently, last weekend. It told the story from a new perspective. An American family (with one child, a boy) living in Japan are split apart by an apparent accident at a nuclear plant. The parents both work at the plant but when what seems to be an Earthquake ruptures the reactor, the mother is locked in the exhaust tunnels and doomed to a radioactive death.
Years later the boy is a bomb disposal expert returning from a war zone. He is living in the US but is called to return to Japan to get his father out of jail. The nuclear plant is a restricted no-go area but the father keeps trying to get back in to find out what really happened. He has information about the wave form at the time.
It turns out that the wave form is electrical pulsing and a monster appears. Godzilla is a good guy and fights this new monster in the US. It's a good story and there is more to it than I can do justice here. It is a good film and I'd recommend it to fans of the monster movie genre.
There was a Godzilla film made in 1998. That one was poor compared to this one. The monster in the 2014 movie is a return to the original model of the Godzilla monster. The 1998 version made Godzilla look much too much like a T-Rex.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Charity shop purchases

Visiting the shops yesterday my wife and I picked up a few DVDs to watch. We bought a couple of Father Ted DVDs, a hilarious series. We love watching Father Ted, always something to cheer you up in Father Ted.
I also picked up a copy of the new Godzilla film and Luc Besson's Nikita, a film I don't think I have ever seen but one that spawned a lot of copycat films with a female assassin as the lead character. I liked Leon by Luc Besson and I think Nikita was made before Leon.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer

This week a report by WHO's IARC hit the headlines because it appraised the evidence it collected over a number of years and classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. It was slightly less cure about red meat in general, with red meat it is only likely to be carcinogenic. Apparently there is no detail in the report about the level of risk for different types of processed meat, although it doesn't include processed poultry meat according to one source I read. Thing is, a lot of processed meat is in people's diets. Knowing that it causes cancer is not enough. We need to know how much does a person have to eat before their risk is significantly increased. We need to know what types of processed meat are worse than others. In relative terms, how does having a hotdog compare to eating a chocolate bar or smoking a cigarette or crossing a busy road? Lots of unanswered questions really. So, most people have heard this all before. Why is it news now? I think it is good to eat less processed meat but it won't stop me enjoying the occasional hotdog or pepperoni pizza or whatever it happens to be.

Friday, October 30, 2015

F1 2015 World Champion: Lewis Hamilton

Last weekend there was the USA Grand Prix and the race winner was Lewis Hamilton, perhaps down to a mistake by previous race leader Nico Rosberg. One race doesn't make a world champion though, so he deserves the title. I don't think I'd like him though, his personality isn't his greatest asset.


I went to see this film today. It stars Daniel Craig as James Bond. I thought Skyfall was a very good film. I enjoyed Spectre but not as much as Skyfall. I think it was more of a return to the other Daniel Craig films in the series. It alluded to characters in other films Daniel has been the star. There was a lot of locations and a lot of action. Classic Bond really.

Halloween (almost)

I have been saving this bottle of beer for a couple of weeks but I'm afraid I just couldn't quite wait until Halloween. I feel quite like it's Halloween tonight. So I opened the beer tonight and it was a good beer. I remember a Hobgoblin ale pub opening in Aylesbury a good few years ago. That was before you could buy their beer in the supermarkets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I'm trying to get through the film Solaris that stars George Clooney. I have seen the original Russian version of the film with subtitles and to be honest, it was more interesting. George plays the shrink in a way that I find quite dull. He doesn't come across as the type of person who would be a shrink. Once I finish the film I might be more inclined to like it. I didn't feel it held my attention well enough, so last week I turned it off and fell asleep. Sleep seemed much more attractive. That might say it all, really.

Chip butty

Here it is. The good old chip butty. I do enjoy one now and again. Especially with tomato sauce. In this case I bought some Daddies Sauce. I thought it would be okay because I've had Daddies sauce in my life before and it was half the price of Heinz Ketchup. However, Heinz Ketchup is still the best in my opinion. I might have to try another variety of ketchup, perhaps from Aldi and see how that compares in price and flavour.
The best thing with a chip butty is a good hot cup of tea. I make sure it is Yorkshire Tea.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New PC

This morning I have ordered a new family PC for us. I don't know what prompted to do it this weekend. We have wanted a new PC for a while now. Our old PC, a HP Pavilion Elite HPE-150UK is having a few issues but is still a good PC. It just doesn't cope with watching films and working on other things at the same time anymore. I don't know if it is a RAM issue or a heat issue. It also just shuts itself down unexpectedly. Sometimes the screen doesn't work either. So in the bundle I selected we also buy a new screen, slightly larger at 23" than our current one (19"). It has been 5 years or thereabouts when we bought our last computer. So hopefully this will last another 5. I hope so anyway.


I watched the 2004 film Taxi this week. I bought it from a charity shop a few weeks ago and didn't look too closely at it before buying it, which was a big mistake. I had heard good things about a film called Taxi but it was the French version I had heard about. This US remake is not good. It has some good actors in it but they are just not used well. The script is pretty dire. It is about a male policeman who is a terrible driver and a female who knows the city (New York I think) inside and out - due to previously being a postal delivery worker. The stunts are good but it is so obvious that the actors don't perform them. I mean, Queen Latifa is a beautiful woman don't get me wrong, but there is no way she is as athletic as some of the stunts require. No, this is not a film you should waste time watching. If you feel like watching a silly movie and simple pleasures are your thing then maybe it is for you. It would be fine to watch it with children.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Martian

I went to see the new Matt Damon film called The Martian on Wednesday evening this week. It's the story of a Mars exploration team who set up a habitat base on Mars. Unfortunately a severe storm forces them to leave abruptly but Matt Damon's character gets injured in the storm while they are departing and his crew believe him to be dead because the electronics in his suit tell them he is. The storm reduces visibility so much that they cannot even find his body to take with them. They leave Mars and set off on their journey back to Earth. Matt Damon's character survives the storm however. A lot of the film is him talking to a Go Pro camera (product placement!) explaining the science of how he survives. He rescues an old probe and reboots it to set up communications with Earth. It starts out with hexadecimal code and a camera but eventually they work out together the way to use the communications equipment in the rover vehicle to email each other.
I won't spoil the plot by going further. I enjoyed this film, the director was Ridley Scott and it's the first film of his I've seen since Prometheus I believe. It's a good film. It reminded me a lot of Apollo 13, when the engineers on Earth have to work out a way to make the Oxygen and power last. A combination of that and Gravity where Sandra Bulloch is left alone to survive. All 3 great films.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Tripods

A few weeks ago I purchased a box set of an old BBC TV series called The Tripods. I didn't watch it when it was originally broadcast in the 1980s. It was adapted for television but was originally a series of books.
The series features robotic tripods and non-humanoid aliens. It seems to be set in a state that is kept artificially primitive. The people are subjugated and when they reach 15 are given a "cap" by the Tripods, which is a triangular "chip" burned into their head. This inhibits their creativity and curiosity and keeps them under control.
It is worth watching as a TV series but it doesn't really compare to todays science fiction series.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


I have posted before about headphones but this deserves a new post because I have found one of the great buys of the year. I was in B and M Homestores a few months ago and they were selling various different headphones. Now I was only doing this because my wife had been using my Sennheiser PX200s but these had broken somehow. I decided to purchase a pair that looked okay, a pair of JVC HA-S360-Bs as a replacement for the Sennheisers because they folded up well, a criteria for me because I travel a lot and need something I can pack easily into my rucksack. I like my Sennheiser HD201s but they are more for home than taking on the road. Now I paid £9.99 for my JVCs so I wasn't expecting great sound quality. I have a pair of Skull Candy headphones I bought for my wife for her to use at the gym and she doesn't go anymore but they are white and not a pair I would wear out of the house (they don't fold either). So, I was expecting similar sound quality to those. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the JVCs. They were better than my PX200s! I have read a review on Amazon that says they are even better than the Beats £130 pair. I can believe this because I tried on a pair of Bose headphones in Costco (cost about £80) but the JVC were comparable in terms of sound quality. If you are looking for a pair of headphones I would definitely recommend taking a punt and trying these JVCs.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Phone down the loo

My son had an accident with his phone a couple of weeks ago. He dropped it down the loo, not sure how it happened. I bought a rescue bag to try and dry it out. Then I bought a new screen because I thought it was the screen that wasn't working. I tried replacing it this evening but no. It didn't work. So it looks like I will have to replace it with a different phone. When I took it apart I could see a lot of damage on the PCB including rust and what looked like corrosion. If you own a Motorola Moto E, I do not recommend submerging it in water,

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn has arrived

It is officially autumn now, yesterday was the autumnal equinox that sees night overtake day. The days will now get progressively shorter and that means dark mornings and dark evenings. I don't like either to be fair. I like the autumn as a season that can still have very warm days with glorious sunshine but with a morning chill that is quite pleasant.


I watched this film last night. It wasn't my wisest choice in films to watch. There are some nice looking cars in the film and some fast women - or should that be the other way around? It tries to be something that it is not. The acting is not terrible but the story and script leave a lot to be desired. If you like car movies there are better ones, if you like thrillers there are better ones, so this film doesn't offer enough action and neither does it have enough of the beautiful women in it. It's a film that doesn't know what it wants to be and ends up failing to please anyone. This is a film that can be avoided unless you are a total fan of Nadia Bjorklin, who is extremely beautiful.

The babadook

I'd heard that this movie was genuinely scary before I watched it. I ended up seeing it at the end of last week. I enjoyed the film, although I wouldn't describe it as scary as such - although maybe if I had seen it on my own or when in a different frame of mind that might have made a difference.
It's the story of a widow and her overactive son and her resulting chronic lack of sleep. Her failure to address her young son's behavioral issues finally leaves her at her wits end with his behavior becoming more pronounced. He believes he will be killed by monsters and invents weapons to kill them. At the start of the story his mum reads to him in bed. The next night she does the same but the chosen book is not one she recognizes, it is the Babadook. She suggests not reading anymore but her son begs and she gives in. The book unfortunately on serves to fuel her sons belief in monsters. Eventually, she decides to seek medical help. After this point, the film gets very dark. I was left not knowing whether events that followed really happened or whether it was all in the mother's mind.
The Babadook is a film I feel comfortable recommending to horror fans and thriller fans alike. However, I would suggest it's not for everyone. If you don't enjoy horror, don't watch.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

V for Vendetta

I've attempted to watch this film several times, pretty much seen most of it now but I have to say it is slightly more of a struggle than I would have liked. The pace it is quite slow and I've had some alcohol on the two occasions I tried to watch it. However, I have seen it now. The two big stars in it are Natalie Portman and John Hurt. It is a tale of the battle of love and truth over oppression and fascism. It is a very socialist tale really. The solidarity of humanity against brutality. The Guy Fawkes character in the mask is called V and he is the activist who seeks vengeance for the war crimes committed against humanity by a corrupt Chancellor. Fingermen are above the law but who they are is not very clear and remains largely unexplained, they are like the Gestapo I guess. Stephen Rea plays a police inspector attempting to piece together the clues to who V is. Natalie Portman plays a character called Evey, whose life is entangled with V's as he falls in love with her. I have bought the graphic novel to read and will hopefully learn more from reading that than I got from the film - perhaps I will get a different take on it altogether?

Friday, September 11, 2015


I watched Haywire this week. Gina Carano is excellent in this female Bourne-style spy thriller. There are really excellent fight sequences. She did all of her own stunts and, boy, can she move! The character she plays is tough but feminine. A difficult balance to get right but Carano pulls it off with style and ease. I guess as an MMA fighter she has developed a sense of the theatrical mixed with having to get down to business pretty sharpish.
The story of Haywire is told by a series of flashbacks and real time sequences. The violence erupts in these in surprise attacks. Nearly everyone is out to get Mallory (played by Carano) except her father. She is betrayed by her handler (played by Ewan McGregor in a very understated part). Carano is put centre stage and there are lots of sequences of her running or evading capture. I thought it was a very good film. Far exceeding my expectation.


I first came into contact with this film when I was in my teens. My father had a new home VCR and rented pretty horrendous, violent films from the video rental store. These included Straw Dogs and Scanners.
Scanners introduced me to David Cronenberg and I believe it is one of his best. There are some great memorable moments in the film. The film starts in a great way. Patrick McGoohan plays a great part and was one of my favourite actors at the time because I was watching re-runs of The Prisoner. It is the ideas and the concept of the film that gets me though. Such a great imagination and a great visual treat.
If you don't know the plot, the film follows the path of a young man who is a social outcast on account of his ability to read minds of other people. This ability, as it turns out, is not unique. He is what is referred to as a Scanner and there are more of them. However, the world is a mixed up place and there is a rogue scanner who thinks that scanners are superior to non-scanners. The social outcast is found by a doctor, played by McGoohan. It turns out that he has incredible scanning power but that he was unaware of it. He is given a drug called Ephemerol by the doctor and it dulls his scanning ability to allow him to control it gradually. The doctor wants to recruit the outcast and help him defeat the rogue scanner.
The end of the film is a great confrontation between good and evil. In the spirit of the best Cronenberg films, the ending is ambiguous as to whether it is good or bad but it is a surprise. I was very unsettled by this film when I first saw it. Even today I find it chilling, A great film.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Red Planet

I watched this film tonight and it exceeded my expectations enormously. They weren't high to begin with. Carrie Ann Moss and Val Kilmer were the big stars, although Terrence Stamp is in it briefly as well. It was a much more adult film than I thought it would be. Some good plot choices were made. The details were just about right in various ways, characters died with a burst spleen due to a bad landing. A computer battery had died. A survivor's air supply was limited so that he needed resuscitation.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bank Holiday Monday

Bank Holiday Monday on the 31st August this year has been a bit of a wash out. It's been colder and wetter than the rest of the weekend. We had some rain yesterday but nothing like the rain today. What an unfortunate way to end the summer but I suppose in one sense at least it does mark the end of summer. Part of me looks forward to the change in the seasons from summer to Autumn.


This was a film I didn't know anything about until a friend mentioned it. Funny because I had bought it before my friend mentioned it, I bought it because I needed another film for a 2 for £5 deal and it looked interesting. It is a great film in my opinion. It is set in Seattle and is about 2 cousins and a friend who venture away from a school prom party to discover a cave containing a strange crystal growth. It gives them nose bleeds but they soon discover it has also given them mind powers. They start with moving small objects but then start to develop stronger powers. It then treads more familiar territory but it doesn't lose the plot, it's tight and on point the whole time. Things deteriorate and it ends up the worse for them.

Resident Evil Extinction

I watched this film last week and I have to confess to enjoying it more than I thought I would. It is a sequel to RE Apocalypse, so is set before Afterlife, which is confusing for me because I haven't watched the films in the right order but nevermind. I thought that the direction on this film by Russell Mulcahy was a cut above the other films. The eye for great visuals was better. Several of the characters from Apocalypse return for this. The action is very good and the zombies move faster making them a scarier thing.