Sunday, October 30, 2005

a meme

Apologies to Bearettefor stealing this off her website. Does allow me to answer some questions I've not answered before.


Name someone with the same birthday as you.
Shakira, Christie Brinkley, Farrah Fawcet & James Joyce amongst others.

Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
Nope. The property would have never done anything to me so why retaliate?

Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
I've lip synched at a school performance of Yo Twist by Chubby Checker and the Fat Boys (I was Fat Boy #2) and I've done a Karaoke performance of Blur's "Song 2" and Beastie Boys "Fight for your Right to Party" but that was to around 30 people.

What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex?
Their hair and how they carry themselves.

What is your biggest mistake?
Being consistently complacent.

Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose?
Yes, but it was a long time ago.

Say something totally random about yourself.
I seem to have worked too many overnights this week and my body clock is a mess.

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Yeah, Boy George without his makeup but having seen the recent pictures of him I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows?
Absolutely, I'm still a big kid.

Did you have braces?
I did, but only the kind that keep your trousers up; not the dental type.

Are you comfortable with your height?
Yeah I am, but I'm fascinated by tall people.

Do you speak any other languages?
I've studied French, German and Spanish at school and I've self taught myself Japanese. It's all in my head somewhere but filed at the back because I don't immerse myself enough in the countries to develop my skills.

Have you ever been to a tanning salon?
No, I wouldn't suit a tan methinks.

What magazines do you read?
FHM is the only one I buy religiously. I did use to get Bizarre but it got a bit boring.

Have you ever ridden in a limo?
I can't recall any occasion where I have.

Has anyone you were really close to passed away?
Not yet.

Do you watch MTV?
No, as I don't have Sky. I do tend to leave music channels on in the background even with their heavy rotation.

What's something that really annoys you?
Politics.

What's something you really like?
Easy; movies, movies and movies.

Can you dance?
Oh yes, I do a mean "pour-a-cup-of-tea" robot and I can bounce up and down raver style if I have to.

What's the latest you have ever stayed up?
I've done 48 hours before. An overnight with work followed by a heavy game playing session when I got home.

Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
Not critical enough to be rushed straight through but yes.

Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time

Very funny article that rips the piss out of Black Metal. Click
Here

Lots (read "LOTS") of coloured bouncy balls

Clever idea for an advert and it's not CGI.

Sony BRAVIA - The Advert.

Renaissance vs Movies



Some really impressive photoshop trickery on display here.
Renaissance vs Movies Photoshop Contest

The night shift....again

This week has been quite hellish and the team have been working flat out.
We've had 5 overnight implementations this week, which is a record.
I'm currently doing the final one; as part of the time change from BST to GMT I have to stop our systems when that happens.

I have a TV hooked up, which is showing Halloween H2O. If I remember it correctly it was pretty rubbish. I was going to phone in for a pizza but I've gone for the healthy option of bowls of fruit instead. The obligatory cans of red bull are also on hand to ensure I remain awake during the small hours.

This has completely killed any chance of doing anything this weekend, so I've managed to arrange Monday and Tuesday off work. I just need to find something to do on those days. It'll probably be the cinema again. How predictable huh?

I will probably throw up some links to other sites whilst I'm working. I have spent the last couple of hours adding pictures to some of the old posts. The things I have to do to keep myself awake. I should really have brought in my PS2 and played "Tony Hawk's" all night.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saw 2


As a big fan of the first film I was looking forward to this one even though I knew nothing about it until a few weeks back when I saw a poster of 2 dismembered fingers on a bus. With it being Halloween weekend it made sense to go and see it. Surprisingly it's the only horror film out this weekend which is a little disappointing. We clearly don't celebrate this event anymore.

For those that didn't see the first film, a cancer racked, serial killer called "Jigsaw" kidnaps people and puts them into a series of games which they must escape or they die. It was cleverly written in that the serial killer was picking bad people and making them appreciate their lives more and for this reason you could sympathise with him putting the people through the games. It also had a clever twist and didn't follow the Hollywood cliche of having the baddy die at the end.

The sequel sees more of the same and this time we have 8 people trapped in a house from which they must escape or they'll succumb to a nerve agent that is being pumped into the building. Elsewhere Donnie "New Kid on the Block" Wahlberg plays a cop who finds Jigsaw but can't take him into custody when he discovers his son is one of the people trapped in the house.

There are some ingeniously designed games around the house that offer an escape from the nerve agent in the form of syringes of serum. The games include looking for a key in a pit full of syringes (ouch!) or having to climb into a cremator. If they only offered these games in Big Brother, that show would be a lot more entertaining.

Some clever interplay between the cop and the killer leads us to a conclusion that offers similar surprises to that of the first film. There are also some nice references to the first film, which would be lost on people who haven't seen the first. Although I did manage to guess one of the twists I was still caught out, and in hindsight it is quite obvious what is going on. As with the first film the clues are there if you pay attention.

The acting is a little better this time around but with so many characters in the house it is difficult to sympathise with the majority of them, partly because there isn't enough time to fill the characters out but more importantly because the strongest character in the film is Jigsaw who is elsewhere. Wahlberg does alright as the cop, and for those of you who remember him in Sixth Sense you'll be pleased to hear he has been eaten a few pies since then and is looking normal again. (Speaking of eating pies, Val Kilmer seems to have eaten quite a lot in prep for his new film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). The first film made a lot of a clown mannequin which really added to the Jigsaw character. It isn't used as much this time round and this is a shame, as it does add a creepy look to the film.

I hear there is a part 3 already in the making. I'm really enjoying the franchise and can't wait to see where it goes.

Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit


I can't say I've been a big fan of Wallace and Gromit, not because I don't like cheese (unless it's on a pizza), but just because the humour didn't really make me laugh all that much. I have seen the film with the penguin and thought that was alright.

I decided to go and see the new film because it had received good reviews, so I thought it worth giving Aardman another go in case I had been harsh initially.

The film stars 2 piles of clay as a bampot inventor and his dog partner, although the relationship between them is purely platonic (or should that be plasticeneonic). A local vegetable growing competition is looming and the two provide a security service, protecting the veg from marauding rabbits.

However, after a failed experiment, a were-rabbit is produced that escapes into the neighbourhood which leaves Wallace and Gromit with the unwanted task of catching the rabbit or facing the wrath of the town.

I wasn't blown away by the film and it left much the same impression on me as the last film. You can't fault the animation but I'm much more a fan of CGI than modelling clay; I guess that's because I was always better at IT than art when at school, a trait that continues to this day.

The one thing I do like though is the emotion, or lack of it, that can be put into the models, especially around the eyes. Hutch, the bad rabbit in particular looks decidedly sinister. There are some nice nods to other TV shows such as Thunderbirds too, although the Six-Million Dollar Man sound effect used in the movie's trailer didn't find it's way to the final cut. I guess they never got clearance on the du-du-du-du-du-du sound.

Apparently it takes a day to film four 4 seconds of footage. Do I feel a bit bad for putting together a bad review in 5 minutes? No.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A pleasant surprise at work today.

Well 5 years ago the Sainsbury's board decided they didn't want their IT staff anymore and outsourced us to Accenture for 10 years and a lot of money. At the time they admitted they did retail not IT.

Today they decide to announce that they wish to terminate the contract and bring us back in house because they're ready to run the IT again.

It's going to be an interesting few months ahead....Why do I feel like a pawn on a chessboard?

J Sainsbury plc and Accenture announce change in IT resourcing

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Gameboy is alive!

Checked the gameboy again this morning which has been sitting on the windowsill for a couple of weeks and I'm surprised to say it has made a full and lengthy recovery and is as good as new. There is now no water mark behind the screen.

Saves me having to buy a new one when they're released next month. Superb!

Nice one Nintendo.

Revenge of the Sith DVD Easter Egg

Yoda and some stormtroopers get down to some hip hop here.

Prodigy vs Pendulum - Voodoo People Remix

I'm loving Pendulum and have always been a big fan of the Prodigy. Here the former remix the latter and the video is very strange. I didn't recognise Keith straight away, he looks a bit odd. Link to vid is here

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Serenity



Now I'd never seen the Firefly TV series so had no idea what this thing was about. I was hooked on the poster which featured a chick with blades. I've never sat through an episode of Buffy (although the film was alright) or Angel so had no idea what the writer was famous for.

The plot tells the tale of a psychic girl who is a little messed up and a smuggler crew who take her and her brother under their wing. She escapes from a government facility and they send an agent to bring her back. There is also a race of bad humans called the Reavers who are at war with everyone else and who get in the way. There I've summed up the film in three sentences.

The film isn't too bad, it's by no means great. There are some obvious things wrong that I'll go into here.

Firstly the character names are all wrong. The macho, testosterone muscly guy is given the name Jane. The captain of the ship is called Malcolm and the super secret planet is given the name Miranda. I mean "Malcolm"? What a ridiculous name ;)

Secondly the plot is very cliched; the crew of the ship return to their home planet just in time for the old wise man to give his final words before he dies.

When the crew are later holding a final stand against the reavers, they stop shouting when the doctor decides to give his "I love you" speech to the naive girl, and once he's finished they then start up again.

There's also this stupid woman who's sole purpose seems to be to wear skimpy outfits and when it comes to the big stand off her weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

There is some nice dialogue and I did laugh in a few places but I came away thinking it should have stayed on TV. The CGI is good and the sets are nice even if the buildings were all too angular. It would have been a great, but stupid idea if the bad guys were called Ravers and were all pill popping, lightstick carrying clubbers.

The film also suffers from a bit of wobbly sets, watch the control panels in the bridge. The blond pilot moves a bit of it at one point.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gameboy Follow Up

Further to my earlier post where I mourned the death of my Gameboy it actually turns out that it survived the wash after all, albeit with a water stain just behind the glass. It's still playable but not ideal, I'm likely to still go ahead and buy a new one when they're officially released here.

I'm still scared to plug it into a power point though.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lord of War


Nicholas Cage plays a Russian with a Nicholas-Cage-a-like American accent. He deals arms (guns not limbs) and gets very rich from doing so. Every now and then he sends his ADHD-afflicted brother (who was a junkie in Requiem for a Dream) to rehab to get him off drugs; at no point does he ask for his money back because they keep failing, he's that rich! He marries a nice looking model who is happy to not ask him what he does for a job as long as he continues to buy her nice things.

Nikolai Cage then starts to become very rich and powerful when Gorbachev calls an end to the cold war and he is able to sell his uncle's tanks (mobile weaponry not things to keep fish in). This upsets Bilbo Baggins who wanted the tanks for his own means. Ethan Hawke plays an FBI agent who keeps popping every half hour and tells Nikolai he won't get away with his scams this time, even though he keeps continuing to do so.

In the end he does get caught out when Ethan follows the model who follows Nik to his hidden secret place where he keeps all the evidence needed to incriminate himself. Does he get sent to prison? Well I'm not going to spoil it for you.

The best bit of the film is the opening sequence which tracks a bullet from the factory to the forehead of a kid soldier. At no point does Nicholas do that thing where he raises his fingers to his temples, as he seems to have done in all his other films; if you've going to see it for that, don't bother.

The director also seemed to like casting kids with missing limbs to play the part of kids with their limbs missing.

However the film is quite thought provoking, especially towards the end.

Proof of Americans exaggerating the news

Check out this report on "extreme flooding" click here

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gameboy Micro RIP

I bought one of those spanking new Gameboy Micros whilst in Japan.
Today I loaded my clothes into the washing machine forgetting that it was in the back-pocket. Too small to be obvious when feeling the clothes down, as I usually do.

I've aborted the washing program and have salvaged the machine but it's full of water. It did actually manage to start up but it was short lived as it's not doing anything now. There is no way I'm going to risk plugging it into a power supply, so it's as good as dead.

I'll just have to buy a new one when they're officially release here - next month I believe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Coaster Site Updated

How I wished I had a camera a few years ago...

I've now put up a pic for each coaster that I've ridden where I have a picture. Now obviously I'd like to complete the set but I'm going to need help to do so.
I've got the OK to use the ECC club website images so the next step is to raid their archives as they'll have pics for the rest.

Link to the coaster page is over on the left.

Saying "complete the set" reminds me of those sticker albums you used to have as a kid.

Monday, October 10, 2005

B-Boy Championships 2005



Another year another weekend spent at Brixton for the battles.
This year was it's 10th anniversary and they'd really pulled out the stops, ensuring every battle featured the highest calibre of dancers.

Saturday was the solos day and featured popping, beatbox and b-boy battles.

The popping was won by Mike from France who beat "son of the legenday Popping Pete" Shon Boog in a very close final. Shon had been the best consistently but Mike really pulled out the stops in the final couple of rounds. However I don't think either of them were as entertaining as Salaah who blew everyone away last year with his mixture of popping and miming, even though he failed to win. It was also odd that last year's winner Sally Sly was present but in a judging capacity only.

This year marked the first time a beatbox battle had been held; in the past Kela and Rahzel had put on shows but this time was the first we saw 2 people battling properly. We had what appeared to be a complete mismatch here with a huge black guy from the states called DOA vs a skinny British white kid called Faith SFX (to be honest I'd heard of neither). It was Faith who won this one, in fact he was so dominant that DOA acknowledged his superiority in the second round, very humbling indeed. I believe it had also been the first time that DOA had been beaten so squarely and it was great to see him hand the torch over at the end.

The B-Boy battle this year ended up with 2-time winner Physix from Korea against Roxrite from the US Rocksteady Crew. The final had been a bit disappointing and it came down to who made the most mistakes, not who did the best moves. I think the Korean was just having a bad day, he didn't even manage to pull off his signature elbow spin and fell on that one. So it was the US guy who won it and I can't recall anything that stood out particularly.

Day 2 and we had pair locking, dj and team battles to keep us entertained.

First there was the locking that was won by Japan with Hilty and Bosch beating Originality Lockers from Korea. The Japanese duo were very slick with some great looking martial arts worked into their routines. The Korean duo were very good too but a little bit too camp with some of their moves for the judges liking I suspect.

The DJ battle was a bit of a mess, I think they were let down by at least 2 of the decks breaking. It was the pairing of Renegade and Shortee Blitz that beat ex-Scratch pervert Mr Thing and Harry Love but to be honest I don't think anybody really cared.

Then it was the big one, with 8 of the biggest crews brought together for what had to be one of the best overall championships I'd ever seen (and as I've been to all 10, it's quite a few). In the end it came down to Pokemon from France, who had beaten a very unsportsmanlike Rock Steady Crew vs 2-time winners Project Seoul from Korea. The favourites were very good, extremely slick in their executions but Pokemon seemed to had come on great lengths since the last time I had seen them. Lelou, their main dancer was insane this year (you've never seen anyone kick themselves in the head like this kid). The French were definitely winning over the crowd with their routines but the Koreans were just consistently good. In the end Korea won it but it must have been very close to call.

All in all a great weekend, and here's to 10 more years.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The BEST Geek Quotes Ever!

Found these on another site and rather than steal them it's only right I link to their page. Please don't think I'm a 'pool fan. I particularly like the Unix one.

Over to this.is.anfield

Friday, October 07, 2005

Scariest ride in Tokyo?


Given the picture above you'd be inclined to think it's the Indiana Jones ride at Tokyo DisneySea or maybe we all ate too much ham for breakfast that day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Coaster Blog Site

I've decided to give my coaster page a little overhaul.

Fed up with all those coaster fans out there who can write 500 words + on even the most boring coasters I decided to go for a minimal review, limiting myself to no more than 5 words in the majority of cases.

Going with the mantra that a picure paints a thousand words I've also decided to include a pic, where I have one.

It's work in progress and will take some time to complete.
Link is on the left.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lost Series 1

Well I was enjoying the show so much I decided to buy the box set. If you're waiting for the UK one, don't; it's a rip-off. It's only going to be the first half of the series. For the same price you can get the full US series; a much better purchase.

Well having the day off work today (actually yesterday) I got through the last disks and the series has been written well enough to answer some questions but raise a whole lot more. Without spoiling too much here's what I thought.

My favourite episode has to be the Hurley back-story one which provides some mirth that has been missing to date as well as giving you a reason to watch all the episodes again, it's quite fun too.

It's kind of clich├ęd that a character had to die and I think they picked the best one. I'm glad my favourite character is still OK as I think the show won't have the same vibe if he's written out.

I don't think my initial purgatory theory still stands. It's more complex than that. I do still stand by my thought that the boy has a more significant part in what is going on than we've been made aware of. The same is true of the baby.

It ends on a good cliff-hangar and as series 2 is now live in the states I have a reason to try my bit-torrent client, which I've been reluctant to do so so far.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Friends Wedding

Fourth weekend in a row away from home (Japan, Japan, Alton & Drayton and now this) and I'm off to Wrexham for an evening reception of 2 friends who had got married. I was invited to the day's ceremonies but I would have had to be up at the crack of dawn to make it which I wasn't too keen on so I just went up to the evening reception.

It was quite a lengthy journey.
Train from Hackbridge to Victoria.
Underground from Victoria to Euston.
Train from Euston to Birmingham New Street
Train from Birmingham New Street to Wrexham General
Taxi from Wrexham General to the hotel.

In all about 5-6 hours.

The evening itself was really nice, not a huge affair, just nice small groups. The two of them seemed to have had a good day although Lisa, the bride, was constantly running around making sure everything was going ok. The evening ended with the DJ playing lots of Irish music to keep that contingent happy. Having consumed way too much cider I made my excuses and made my way to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out for the count.

The journey back was just as complicated but I went via Chester and did a little sight-seeing there too. The taxi driver was kind enough to show me some of the major sights.