Friday, May 26, 2006

America, here I come.

I'm now just 24 hours away from making my way over to New York for 4 weeks of travelling and theme parks.

The first half of the trip is with the club and we'll be taking in the following parks.
Astroland Coney Island
Six Flags New England
Lake Compounce
Six Flags Great Adventure
Dorney Park
Knoebels
Hersheypark
Lakemont
Idlewild
Kennywood
Geauga Lake
Cedar Point
Wyandot Lake
Paramount's King's Island
Holiday World
Beech Bend
Dollywood
Six Flags Over Georgia

There are supposed to be at least 3 surprise parks of which I know 2, but I'm not going to post them here in case other participants are reading. That means you Chris!

I then have 2 days in Atlanta where I'm hoping to relax in the company of a good friend, you know who you are! I've been told that Stone Mountain is a good place to unwind.

After that I then meet another friend (HEY KEITH!!) and we're driving up to his home town of New York. Not directly though, along the way we'll hopefully be stopping at.
Paramount Carowinds.
Myrtle Beach
Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Europe, whatever its called this week.
Paramount's King's Dominion
Six Flags America

The last few days will be spent sightseeing around New York.

It's going to be some holiday. Around 16 states and about 170 roller coasters in all.


Woooohooooo!!!!

Special FX-Men 3



Of all the comic book movie adaptations, the X-Men movies have been my favourite (oh except for the original Darkman movie, which rocked!). This chapter tells the story of a company that market a cure to the mutant gene by tapping into a mutant boy called "leech", who should have had green skin if they were staying true to the comic.

With the mutant community divided on whether to take the cure or not (including some of the X-men team) Magneto takes the opportunity to begin an uprising against the "homo-sapiens". Seeing this as a threat the military then decide to fight back. Who will prevail this time?

Along with the main thread you have some side stories too. Jean Grey is back after apparently dying in the 2nd movie, but she's come back as someone, or something else. You can tell this by her moody pout. There is the fire and ice rivalry between Iceman and Pyro. Some jealousy from Rogue towards Shadowcat (who I like in this) and the obligatory "is Wolverine part of the team or not" thread.

There are some surprises in the film, noticeably the writing out of some of the major players; not that I'll mention them here, go and see the film if you want to know. There are plenty of new mutants in this film, they've really crammed them in, its just a shame that some of them are fodder in the final scenes. My favourite character from the comics was Psylocke and she's in this but blink and you'll miss her. Nightcrawler who was introduced in the last movie isn't even in this one at all. Mystique isn't in this too much but we do get Beast to restore the blue character balance. Angel who features prominently in the trailer and posters isn't in this too much either. What you end up with is lots of material spread thinly.

With so many characters, the film does become a bit cluttered but what it lacks in character back stories it makes up in effects. They've gone ridiculously over the top in this film. The final sequence with Magneto moving the Golden Gate Bridge is stunning, but wasn't it the Brooklyn Bridge in the comics? Some of the Jean Grey/Phoenix morphs are cleverly done too.

Is this the last of the X-Men movies? I'm not sure. Whilst the film is being marketed as such there is plenty of material to tap into to keep the franchise going and some new characters introduced this time round to develop in the next should there be one. Be sure to watch the film to the end of the trailers though, there's an extra scene which may shed some light as to whether we see another film or not.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

80s Videos

Someone has compiled a list of links to 80s videos.

Click Here

Little London Jaunt

Nothing to do today so thought I'd pop into town to take pics whilst the rain fell down.

The Golden Hind was sailed by Francis Drake in the 16th Century. This however is a replica made to fool the tourists.

This is what's left of Winchester Palace built in the 12th Century. At what point does a building become a ruin?

On Clink St. is an old prison, which is where the name "clink" for jails comes from, and there was I thinking it was from the sound the chains made.

The Anchor was where Ethan Hunt celebrated with his mates after successfully recovering stolen NARC files from some double agents on their way to France.

The Globe was where Shakespeare plays were originally performed. This however is a replica made to fool the tourists.

The Tate Modern full of lots of pieces of art that I can't explain.

St. Pauls and the Millennium Bridge leading to it.

The Turbine Hall in the Tate Gallery wasn't being used today.

Millennium Bridge

Inside the Tate, not allowed to take pics inside it though.

On the bridge, not wobbling on this occasion.

Tower Bridge away in the distance, I didn't walk to it on this occasion.
Canary Wharf is beyond that to the left, I never walk to that.

Tate Modern from the Bridge.

Closer to St. Pauls. The drawing effect is a large screen covering the renovation going on behind it. Nice area for skateboarders.

Confusing sign pointing in the wrong direction to the bridge, which can be seen in the background.

St Pauls from the front with a Queen Victoria Statue in front of it.

Recently renovated Paternoster Square not far from St. Pauls.
Nice of the Swedish couple to walk into shot!

Quite cool sundial overlooking the square. Can't tell you if it works, it was too overcast today.

I have no idea what this piece of modern art is trying to say.

Nice little amphitheatre close to St Pauls.

Statue of Icarus made by Michael Ayrton in 1973. It used to look more detailed but it melted when it flew too close to the sun.

Tribute to the Fireman who were to chicken to fight in the wars and stayed behind to put bombed buildings on fire out. The guy on the right has a double jointed elbow.

In the 80s Glen A Larson was sightseeing in London when he had inspiration for a series about a guy and a talking car who fight crime. He was in this pub at the time...Allegedly

You're not going to be grinding these rails, skater punks.

Some police and a couple of shifty looking paparazzi dudes compare notes on protective headwear.

Arty shot of the bridge from underneath. Filthy isn't it!

Under the bridge, some weird piece of art in tribute to scientific measurement, yawn!

More shifty people hanging about, there's something about to go on here that I don't know about..........or do I?

More people turning up and they're wearing Peta shirts.
Guys are getting their cameras out, so it has to be happening soon.

More people turning up and they don't seem to be wearing too much.
They are however wearing the animal masks.
Looks like some sort of protest is about to take place here.

Well, these people are brave. It was freezing and raining.

Once people were in position they'd lose their clothes/towels/robes before the protest started properly.

Here you go, the protest underway. According to the leaflets being handed out, the protest was aimed at the Royal Guards using real bear skins to make their um bearskins.

The 4 placard holders took it turn to shout out slogans advocating not killing bears for the Queen. The others just laid still and caught colds.

If you're interested in the cause Peta advocate you contact the Queen's private secretary, the Prince of Wales or Secretary of State for Defence John Reid. I think the leaflet was out of date as John Reid is no longer in that role.

I wonder what kind of show Glen A Larson would have come up with if he'd been sightseeing today. "London Bums" a show about a cockney cop and his talking bum that fight crime.

Nelson's Column today. A lot of money was spent building a waterproof curtain which is dropped whenever the rain gets bad. They're thinking of rolling this out around all the London landmarks.

In amongst Whitehall where all the Government offices are. I was wondering if this is the Ministry of the Interior, perhaps thats why I'm not allowed to look in.

The London Eye on a typically overcast London day.

The Hungerford Bridge, which runs alongside Waterloo Rail Bridge.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament both restored back to their former glories after that masked terrorist and his bald assistant blew both up.

The South Bank where skateboard kids fumble their kick flips and bmx kids learn to ride up slopes then roll back in reverse.

Those interested in more cerebral pursuits can buy a book. Imagine being the guy who has to pack this lot up!

Gabriel's Wharf where Gabriel (whoever he was) did some Wharfing (whatever that is)

Blackfriars Bridge with St. Pauls Cathedral behind it.

Another Cathedral not too far away. This is the Gothic Southwark Cathedral built in 1212. This is the real deal and isn't a fake to fool the tourists.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Day trip to Southend-on-Sea

I used to go here as a kid and thought I'd go to it again as I had nothing planned this weekend, and there was a little theme park to visit. However just as I was about to leave there was the most horrendous rainstorm and I didn't leave until it had subsided. I didn't arrive til late in the afternoon.

The pier is the longest in the world. Did I walk to the end of it? Hell no, not with the wind as fast as it was.

Mighty Mini Mega was not bad for a little compact coaster. It did suffer from some major despatch times though. I think they were waiting for a full train.

Strange little wheel

Green Scream is the biggest coaster in the park and has ridiculously long trains.

Told you it was long.

Although the park is small, it does make the effort with its theming.

Not the nicest sky, it rained on and off but happily the park kept open. Only the slide type attractions were closed.

This bit was deserted for some reason, perhaps the colours were too gaudy.

Eagles Claw is a pretty cool spin ride, rotating at a decent speed and flipping you upside down at the same time.

The best shots of the ride come from the promenade.

Barnstormer is a strange little kiddy coaster, squashed into a little bit of space in the park (room is at a premium here). Again it does have nice theming.

Even the closed signs are themed, which, pardon the pun, is a good sign of the park taking their role seriously.

I don't think its re-magicalising that's needed here. The track just needs to be put back.

Perhaps the best ride in the park is the Disc-O, which I first rode at a trade fair in Orlando in 2004. I like this ride.

I think they liked it too.

For the kids that were too scared to ride that there was a little version of it.

After some fish and chips and a walk along the promenade I ended up at the Kursal which now houses a theatre.

Electric Avenue was the main arcade on the promenade. It did have a Harley Davidson game but it was broken so there was no way I was going to get #1 on that.

Looking back at the park. There's a great rail for the skateboarders brave enough to try this!