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.


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.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Cruisin' We Will Go

My family and I are trying something different this half-term holiday. We're booked on a cruise to Amsterdam and Bruges. I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam and I've heard good things about Bruges as well. In terms of the cruise, I like the idea of a hotel that travels with you so you don't have to check in and check out of different places. I'm not entirely sure what there will be to do the rest of the time though. It will certainly be interesting and I will post a few photographs here when we get back. The cruise ships look like enormous floating tower blocks and effectively, I suppose that's what they are. Imagine this steaming up past the small houses of Venice!


There are a few superhero movies coming out this year including Batman v Robin, X-Men Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange. The first out is Deadpool,  Marvel's smart, funny and motor-mouthed hero who cannot be killed. I don't know anything about Deadpool really, which is why I'm interested in seeing the film. I have no plans at the moment but I'd like to see it before the month is out.


I have watched 2 or 3 episodes of this series on Netflix and I think its very good so far, I'm enjoying it a lot. There is so much good TV on to watch, never mind all the DVDs I have as well. Anyway, back to Daredevil. The series is a Netflix original and has run one season so far, with the new season due to start in March. I have to watch some more before then! If you don't know Daredevil from the comics, he is a blind superhero who is a lawyer by day defending the poorest people. By night he beats up bad guys and gets beat up himself pretty bad. Considering its Marvel it has quite a dark tone to the series, there was a film a few years ago that starred Ben Affleck in the role of Daredevil. I don't like that Ben Affleck plays Daredevil in the film but it isn't bad as a film in itself, I'm not really looking forward to Ben Affleck playing Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when that comes out this year.

Escape Velocity

I watched this film this week. It's a sci-fi film, which is why I watched it. The plot is not very good though. It begins with a ex soldier being sentenced to death for his crimes against humanity. Except he doesn't get the execution he deserves, he escapes with his few supporters. They soldier and his group leave Earth (I assume it's Earth in the future) and suspend themselves in animation until the ship is found heading for a dying star and is rescued. The ship that rescues the soldier has a skeleton crew of three, the commander and his female companion and her 18 year old daughter. They are on a civilian mission to observe a dying star. Well, they rescue the soldier but obviously didn't bank on him being a psychopath. He appears friendly at first but then he goes insane and gets his companions out of the hidden freezer. The violence is very tame. It's a piece of low quality crap really.