Bullshit & Ignorance

November 26, 2010

You know what I hate?

Fog lights. Fuck you, fog lights.

November 7, 2010

On the subject of books

I just finished reading Zero History by William Gibson – which is I suppose a sequel to his earlier novel Spook Country. I got into Gibson by reading his cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer many, many moons ago. His more recent books have stepped away from the science-fiction he used to write – he’s still dealing with the same subjects of corporate corruption and industrial espionage, staples of the cyberpunk sub-genre of course, but he believes we’ve now reached a point where his fictions are being realised as facts. His recent books therefore, are set in our present day, with the technology he writes about being things we often use ourselves, or are at least aware of.

I enjoyed Zero History, though at times I felt like I was watching one of the new James Bond movies. I don’t mean because there was all kinds of spy stuff going on – but because throughout the book Gibson is dry-humping Steve Jobs and his ever expanding catalogue of over-priced, over-hyped Apple toys, to the extent it really started to feel like product placement. Maybe it was, who knows.

On the subject of movies

I watched The Crazies last night – that’s the 2010 remake of the 1973 film of the same name by Zombie-movie-godfather, George A. Romero. Remakes often fall short of original movies and while I must confess that I have never seen the original in this instance, the 2010 version is definitely worth a watch if you like horror movies. In many respects it’s something of a twist on a zombie movie in its own way, inhabitants of a small town in the US are infected by some form of toxin that makes them all start trying to kill each other and our band of plucky heroes makes a valiant attempt to fight their way out past hordes of zombies crazed infected people to safety, and just for an additional size 12 to the groin, the army has shown up in gas masks and isn’t letting anyone out.

There are plenty of suspenseful moments and aside from one or two “What the fuck are you doing?!” moments, generally the characters manage to avoid a lot of the typical horror-movie-survival mistakes that make me root for the monsters in a large number of the films I watch.

November 1, 2010

Zombie Sunday

My wife and I are both fans of zombie movies. As any fan of the genre knows, the vast majority of zombie films out there are very bad – and perhaps to some extent that’s part of the appeal. More often than we’re horrified by the brain-eating, lurching undead, we’re able to laugh at shockingly bad special effects, acting that would make even Terry Stone look good (Hard to believe I know) and plots that make so little sense you’re left wondering if the screen writer had been smoking crack, the editing was brutally left key story elements on the cutting room floor to squeeze a previously four hour epic into ninety minutes, or some combination of the above.

Every Sunday, we have vowed to set aside enough time for at least one Zombie movie – we’ve been doing this for a while now and, in fairness sometimes the definition of zombie gets stretched a little, so much so that perhaps Supernatural Sunday would be a more accurate moniker, but the original is here to stay at least for the time being.

Yesterday we managed to watch two zombie movies. The first, a movie directed by Lucio Fulci – a director who may have come to the attention of many fans of B-movie horror. Fulci teetered on the brink of brilliance I think, he had vision but sadly lacked the talent to see it through. A lot of what he tried just didn’t work, tethered presumably by small budgets and, well, a lack of actual ability. Still the 1979 movie, Zombie had some good ideas, which were then butchered by atrocious acting and continuity mistakes almost to numerous to believe they were accidental. Still, it was fun to watch in its own way and was entirely rescued by a scene in which a zombie fights a shark. Something that epic can’t be all bad.

The second undead offering of the night was Dance of the Dead. I enjoyed this one. It was intentionally funny this time, and while the acting wasn’t anything special and there were big holes in the story, it managed to find the right balance between zombie-tastic action and comedy. Certainly one to watch if you like zombie flicks and you fancy a chuckle.

October 19, 2010

Turning Thirty

Today is my thirtieth birthday. Thirty, that’s an age that when I was a child seemed so ancient. Properly old people were thirty – real grown-ups are thirty. As I’ve crept closer to that age myself I’ve fortified myself with the belief that thirty is the new twenty. I wasn’t totally sure about that though, so just in case I was wrong, I moved to another country and got married.

No, really I did. I moved out of the UK and now live in the US of A with my new wife. Go me! I’m a proper adult and everything now. Mostly.

As a result of the slow pace of the immigration process I’ve had a lot of spare time on my hands recently, which I have used to good effect by catching up on my reading. I read Lemmy’s autobiography, “White Line Fever”, which was as enlightening as you can expect a book co-written by an aging speed freak to be, really. Entertaining enough mind.

On the recommendation of both my new wife, and my friend Solidus I have been reading my way through C.S. Friedman’s “Coldfire trilogy” I’d have finished it already, but, apparently we only had the first two books and for reasons I will probably never know, so did every bastard book shop in the entire of the United States. I checked them all, of course. Well, a handful of the ones near me anyway. Eventually I just bought it from Amazon because I couldn’t face the crushing disappointment of checking one more fucking bookshop to find they had the first two, but A HUGE GAP where the third one should be. Anyway, I have digressed some. In the gap where I was scouring the entire planet for a copy of “Crown of Shadows” I was bookless, and so once again stole a book from my wife’s shelves and read that while I waited.

The book I snatched was Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. My wife has two copies of this book, one is signed by the author, the other is not. I was happy to discover that the copy I had been reading was in fact the unsigned copy, as during the reading of said book, there was in incident involving two cats, the book and a cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, with freshly squeezed lemon juice in it no less.

There are two other books in that series, too. Fortunately there is no need for me to scour the four corners of the earth to find them, as we have them already. Following the cats-and-tea incidents however, I am somewhat wary of reading the second in the series, which we have but the one copy of, and it’s a fancy hardback-no-longer-in-print-special-spangly-edition version and also signed. It would be just my luck the cats would decide to maim that one too.

Anyway. Good books are good. Read them if you haven’t already.

September 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Terry Stone

Dear Terry,

I understand that there’s a chance that the commenter on my previous post about you being a talentless hack may just be a troll, who has used your name, domain name and email address to comment, but for the sake of lulz, I’ll assume it really is you and take this opportunity to respond.

Firstly, with regard to your suggestion about changing my name, it’s good to know you’re as witty as you are talented as an actor, Terry. Allow me also to extend to you my congratulations. Clearly your acting career, if we can call it that, is going from strength to strength when you have the time to respond to your critics personally. Especially since the criticism in this instance was a short, throw-away post on an obscure blog on these here intertubes.

Searching for Terry Stone will bring up my little rant about you on the first page of a number of popular search engines. Ouch. Time to sack your publicist, Terry. Trouble is, you see, that by posting your witty comment and including a link to your website in the comment, you’re telling the search engines that my post about you has direct relevance to your own website. Nice. Also, I’d forgotten all about you, but now I’m here writing about you again, which means that even more internet traffic searching for you is going to find its way here.

It’s all good, Terry. You keep banging out those straight to DVD cinematic treats you’re uh, well I was going to say ‘famed for’ but that’s probably stretching it. Let’s settle for ‘sort of recognised for sometimes by a very small subset of people, mostly those who remember you as Terry Turbo’ instead, shall we? If you’d like some advice on which roles to look for, I’d suggest looking out for another Robin Hood movie. They always need trees, and you have wooden down man, like no one does wooden like you.

Yours Sincerely,


September 3, 2010

I may have mellowed

I may have mellowed some from my rage-filled-rants of the early 90s, but there are still some things that set me off. If there’s one thing liable to set me off at the moment, it’s people walking along the street, sitting on buses and trains or pretty much anywhere in public, listening to music on their phones, without using headphones.

I’m well aware this is a pretty trivial thing to get The Rage™ about, but seriously, it annoys the fuck out of me. It’s bad enough that the kind of people who do this tend to favour bland, mass produced R&B and the like, which they inflict on everyone around them, but the fact we’re forced to endure it being played through a small, tinny speaker just increases my desire to punch them in the throat.

I don’t, of course because these days I’m a well adjusted, responsible member of society[1]; but I’m fairly sure not only would I take great pleasure from dashing their prized phone to the floor and crushing it under the heel of one of my size 11s, before preaching to them from the book of violence, but that I would receive a standing ovation from other passers by or passengers as I did so.

Okay, I’ve got that off my chest now. You may feel free to carry on about your business. Nothing to see here.

[1] What? I am! Stop laughing…Yeah, you. I can see you. Just stop it…

August 23, 2010

A few recommendations

The Expendables

I went to see The Expendables last night with a friend. As mentioned previously, I was looking forward to seeing it and I wasn’t disappointed. It had everything you’d want from an action film: An uncomplicated, largely implausible story that packs in as many clichés as possible. It makes sure that plot twists are kept to predictable kinks, more than actual twists as no one wants a complex story getting in the way of the punchy one-liners, wince-inducing violence and huge, largely unnecessary explosions.

If you don’t like action films, don’t see this film; It really is that simple. If you enjoy letting your brain go into standby while you ooh-and-ah at the special effects and superbly choreographed fight scenes, and have a chuckle at a never ending stream of one-liners, then go for it.

Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren have relatively small parts, but both performances stood out for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it – Rumour has it that there is already a sequel in the pipeline, too.

Cage The Elephant

I picked up Cage The Elephant’s self titled album shortly after I heard their track ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked’ on the game Borderlands. If you’re into guitar-driven music, these fellas might be worth a listen. I for one have enjoyed their music, particularly the tracks ‘In One Ear’ and ‘Back Stabbin’ Betty’.,


As August draws to a close, and September creeps ever nearer, the weather here in good old Blighty has been steadily deteriorating. A week or so ago some colleagues and I stopped into one of those ubiquitous £1 shops and snagged us some bargain umbrellas for, well, £1 shockingly. With our bargain umbrellas close at hand, we were confident of protection from the elements. Of course, having bought protection from the elements, it never actually rained when any of us needed to be out – until today that is.

Let me put it this way – There’s a reason that they only cost a pound. The lightest breeze turned the fuckers inside out, at which point they lost whatever structural integrity they may have had and wound up flapping around uselessly. I guess I stayed marginally drier than I would have if I’d been caught out in that sudden downpour without it, but not a great deal. In the ten minutes I was out in the rain, the umbrella was so badly damaged by the wind that it is now sat, a tangled mess of broken and bent metal struts, in my bin.

August 19, 2010

Stand your ground and fight

For the last few days, I’ve found myself listening to Motörhead – Heroes over and over again. I have no real explanation for my sudden obsession with this song; I’ve owned the Motörizer album since it came out, I’ve heard it plenty before, but for some reason it’s been stuck with me all this week.

Bike related stuff

As previously mentioned, my morning commute currently involves some cycling – The bike I ride is a lightweight hybrid, much more suited to road riding than anything else. I also own a mountain bike, which has front and rear suspension, huge knobbly tires and all the usual things you’d expect for a bike designed for use on rough terrain. On Tuesday evening, just as I set out home on my bike, my chain started jumping and slipping in a rather alarming fashion. I pulled the bike off the road and took a look. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but somehow, one of the gears on the rear cassette (that’s the spindle of cogs on the back wheel in case you were wondering) had lost one tooth entirely, and another was badly bent, so much so that the cog itself had started to tear. The immediate effect of that was that it was making it impossible for me to use half of my gears, which made the ride home slower than usual.

Plans were set in motion to get a replacement the following day, but in the mean time I had to ride my other bike yesterday. It has to be said, that if you get used to riding a bike set up for roads, switching to riding a bike that really isn’t is a bit of a shock to the system. I think I described it to a friend as being like trying to cycle through jelly. Soft suspension and huge knobbly tires are fantastic for riding down the sides of mountains and all, but they make a real meal out of a largely flat road. With the new parts fitted to my road bike, this morning’s ride was a real pleasure by comparison.


On Sunday evening, I will be going to the cinema with a friend to watch The Expendables. I fully expect it to be a ridiculous story, packed with highly unlikely scenarios which stretch the suspension of disbelief to the point it becomes unrecognisable. Written and directed by, and starring Sylvester Stalone the film boasts a cast containing some, no scratch that – most of the biggest action movie stars of the last 30 years. Sly himself of course, relative new-kids Jet Li and Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Micky Rourke and even Arnie and Bruce Willis put in appearances. I’m sure it will be entirely over the top and very silly. I really hope so.

Other stuff

Following a conversation on IM, I have been trying to come up with an emo emoticon for the moments where words alone just don’t cut it. My best effort thus far has been //.( Do feel free to share some alternatives. If they’re any good, I’ll steal them and claim all the credit for myself.

August 3, 2010

There are no wombats in this post

I’ve seen a couple of new films recently, one of which I have had half an eye on since March this year, the other I was more dreading than anything once I heard about it.


Let me cut straight to the chase with this one: It was far from a cinematic classic but was an enjoyable and entertaining film. It followed a familiar formula (at least for fans of the original). It’s set in a jungle (albeit on an alien world this time) and features Predators doing what they do best. The suspense builds quite well, the cast do an adequate job of portraying the band of clichés that make up the human contingent, and the plot manages to keep the action moving along without being too obvious about where it’s going next.

There were a couple of times where the film seemed to start to take the story somewhere, then go no further with it. I’m not sure if that was a result of hack and slash editing post-production, or if the screenwriter simply started ideas and never finished them.

Also, Topher Grace has a fairly sizeable part in the movie, which was fine except that I was constantly expecting Red to pop up and call him a Dumbass (if you don’t know what I mean by that, you should watch a few episodes of That 70s Show. You really should, it’s very funny.)

All in all, for fans of the Predator franchise, Predators is a return to form. It’s by no means a great movie, but it’s enjoyable and a vast improvement on the two AvP travesties.

The A-Team

Okay, so, when I first heard rumours that there was going to be an A-Team movie, I was initially thrilled. The A-Team on the big screen sounded like a great idea. The delight was short lived however when it dawned on me that of course that was going to mean fresh casting for an old classic. I was further doubtful when very early rumours linked George Clooney and his mob of clowns to project – I had visions of the A-Team movie basically just being Oceans 16 or whatever number they’re onto now. Thankfully that turned out not to be the case.

Once I saw the cast I was somewhat reassured but remained sceptical that anyone could follow in Mr. T’s shoes as B.A. Baracus. I pity the fool who has to follow on from him etc. etc.

Remarkably, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson filled the role with surprising ease and my fears were allayed very early on in the movie. I suspect it was no accident that B.A. was introduced early in proceedings, initially only from the back and with plenty of laughs to warm the audience to him.

Beyond that, the film has most of what you’d expect from the A-Team, really. Plenty of laughs, plenty of action and all with slick production. Well worth a watch.

And Finally

I lied about the wombat.


July 22, 2010

I have been remiss

The substantial gap between posts on this here intertubes site is simply a result of me being busy and lacking time and/or motivation to ramble on about much of anything. Although, if you consider the gap of almost five years that it took me to get around to redesigning the site and actually populating it with anything again, a little over a month is a drop in the ocean. You should probably be arranging some kind of parade in my honour in celebration of the fact I returned to share my insightful musings with you at all. Probably.

One of the things that has been keeping me busy, is that I moved. Moving is a ginourmous pain in the bollocks at the best of times, but trying to cram it all into a very limited window in a single day, when the flat I was moving out of was on the fourth floor (that’s the fifth floor if you’re American or from anywhere else where the ground floor is called the first floor.) and quite some distance from the lift, there are only two of us doing the moving and the only way we can transport the things from the flat to the van is using a cart/trolley thing that if we’re honest about it really can’t hold all that much. The actual loading of the van didn’t take long, it was all the pissing about with trolleys and lifts that took the time.

I have, after 8 years, swapped town-centre life for village life again. It’s a temporary situation – a halfway house as it were. My reasons for the move are many, varied and my own. Much as I enjoy being back out in the countryside, it has rather complicated my commute to work. Previously, that consisted of stumbling out of my front door ten minutes after I was meant to be at work, walking for the 7 minutes it took me to get to work before making sure I left the building on the dot of 1700 to walk the 6 minutes home (it’s downhill on the return leg).

I already miss the simplicity; My journey now is much more involved – were I expecting to be at my current lodgings much longer I would certainly have bought a car. I discovered that the village I am now resident in is distinctly lacking in the public transportation department. The earliest one can catch a bus into the town I work in is 0945 – it doesn’t arrive until 1035 and then there is still a 15 minute walk before I actually reach my office. Hrm. Well I’m not beyond taking some liberties with my start times for work, but even I don’t think I can get away with turning up to work almost three hours late.

My solution was simple enough. I’m a keen, if somewhat lapsed cyclist (By that I mean I really enjoy it, but haven’t been doing it enough for way too long and am out of shape as a result). I pondered cycling the entire ten miles – opted not to however as my office lacks shower facilities and I don’t think I or my office mates would particularly enjoy the result of me cycling ten miles without having the ability to shower when I arrived. Instead I cycle three miles to the nearest population centre with a semi-decent bus service. I lock my bike up at the handy bike rack things at the bus stop, then catch a bus into town. I still have to then walk for fifteen minutes to get to my office, but it’s an acceptable solution.

So there we go. I’ve added around fifty minutes to my commute in each direction and added 30 minutes of walking and 6 miles of cycling to every day. I’m actually quite enjoying it. The cycle in the morning wakes me up; on the bus I get a chance to read a book, something I rarely seem to have the time to do these days and I have no doubt the exercise is both beneficial for me and desperately needed.

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