Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bike, boobs and BB

Well I purchased a bike today.

It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve owned a bike, but the plan is to use it to cycle into work. It felt damn weird being back on the roads again on a bike. I felt so damn vulnerable. I also kept looking for a rear view mirror… hmmm…

I spotted a special issue of FHM in the newsagents today, called “The girls of FHM ASIA”, being a bit of a sucker for Asian women my eyes jumped out of their sockets. So much so that my wife bought me a copy… What a gem of a wife I have.

Okay I admit it, I’ve been watching far too much of Big Brother, it’s just so damn addictive. Must stop soon!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Brain age

Just got my brain age down to:


That twenty damn one... Just one year away from brain age perfection!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Poor Elliot

Elliot hasn’t had such a great weekend. All his little friends have had a stomach bug recently and Roz and I were beginning to think that he may have managed to avoid this, but no.

He woke up around 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning and proceeded to be sick on his bed and from then onwards, neither Elliot or Roz and I got much sleep (I estimate I probably had around 2 hours sleep maximum). Elliot continued to be sick until around 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

Sunday wasn’t much better, although he’d stopped being sick, he was still very ill, and spent most of the day lying down.

Thankfully he seems to be on the mend now. I’m just pleased it was this weekend rather than in a weeks time whilst we’re in Jersey.

Elliot was also a little disappointed because I told him that we could play football in a friends “big garden” during a housewarming party on Sunday and as he was too ill, we couldn’t make it. Also, Roz wanted to have a look around and chat…

Saturday, May 20, 2006

BB, Flat, Work and Phoenix

Okay I admit it… I watched the first episode (and now the second) of Big Brother 2006.

I used to rather enjoy watching Big Brother, but since Elliot came along, finding the time to watch so much television became problematic, as such I did really see much of the last 2 series.

The reason I enjoy watching Big Brother – simple my friends. As outrageous and freakish as the large majority of contestants are, they are still people. As such, after a very short period of time (maybe a few days) their true character normally bubbles to the surface and then you get conflicts, disagreements and arguments… The real fun part.

I guess I always tend to put myself mentally in the house and imagine what it would be like as a “housemate”. For starters, I’d tend to be the oddball in the corner who doesn’t speak to a soul and doesn’t get involved with anything. There’s also the fact that I’d likely hate the majority of the housemates and not hide my feelings or opinions in the slightest. Strangely, I’d probably rather enjoy the experience (even if I was tearing what little hair I have out in frustration after a couple of hours).

Will I watch anymore of this series…? I might, but not religiously so.

We now have the deposit from out new tenants and I’ve drawn up a new lease, just need to get it signed now. The new tenants sound like nice (reliable) people, so fingers crossed, things should go as planned. They’ll be moving in on June 11th.

I’d love to blog about what I’ve been doing at work, but I can’t. Confidentiality you see. I’d love to say that I went … and saw …, then bumped into… Then went … and did …, but I can’t. I’ll just say that it’s been quite an eventful week and probably a little more varied and exciting than usual.

Games played:
Phoenix Wright
This has got to be one of my favourite games on the DS so far.

It’s so, so simple. Really no more than a simple text adventure really, but as the story progresses and you start to put the clues together and build a case, it really gets the adrenalin pumping.

Roz said the other day that it sound a little too much like work (my work that is). Then again I rarely deal with Silver Samurai actors, Psychics and dead bosses in real life!

Just hope that the sequel is as good. Maybe a Wii version may even be on the cards (although I’m uncertain how the wiimote would be used – unless they included a microphone attachment), I can but hope anyway. After all, Trauma Centre is due to be a launch title for the Wii – so why not bring Phoenix Wright to the party?


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Flat, Second console (?) and Jersey

We have reached a compromise with our tenants. They are going to pay us the amount we paid to the estate agents in fees and as such, we will allow them the cease the lease early. As such, our flat will be available (again) on June 11th. We’ve contacted Martel Maides (not Swoffers this time) and they have found us tenants already!

Unfortunately, however, are agent from Martel Maides has told us that there is a rather unfortunate smell in the flat. She described that as like a tomcat had peed on the carpet. So now we have this to deal with. The new tenants seem happy to take on the flat, so long as the smell is dealt with.

The problem is, we can’t very well go down to the flat and tell our tenants that they smell, or even ask what they have been doing in the flat to cause the smell (they could very well be unaware of it). I think our best bet is to simply get the flat professionally cleaned (including the carpets) prior to the new tenants moving in.

Our new tenants would prefer to move in a little early on the 1st June, so I’ll have to speak to the existing tenants to find out whether they are willing to leave early. That's the plan at least, except I don't seem to be able to catch a time when the tenants are actually in the flat...

I read on the internet today that the official response to the Wii from BOTH Sony and Microsoft is that it would make an excellent second console… At this rate the Wii may even get the biggest market share! We can but hope. All I want now is an official release date in Europe sometime before Christmas 06… Pretty please Nintendo.

I’ll be off to Jersey in a couple of weeks with Roz, Elliot and Roz’s parents. We’ll be staying at the Merton Hotel as this is ideal for children, and Elliot seemed to enjoy it there last time. Also the evening buffet meals are lovely!

Whilst in Jersey I’m hoping to catch a few films at their vastly superior cinema… Namely:

The Da Vinci Code
X-Men 3
United 93 (possibly)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tenants, knee and Vengeance

First of all, the tenants spoke to Roz the other day and have explained that their nephew who is currently living with them and helping with the rent, has decided that he wants to leave Guernsey. As such, they will shortly be unable to afford the rent. What they want to do, is give us one months notice.

They have signed a years lease which was arranged through an estate agent (who took a 10% finders fee). So if we were to allow them to give one months notice, we will have in effect paid the estate agent the commission for a years rent, for just 3 months. Of course I would insist that the deposit was not repaid, which would help a little, but we would still be losing out, not to mention the fact that we’d have to try to find new tenants…. Again!

Alternatively, I could insist that the tenants stay. They have after all signed a years lease. We also hold a letter from their employer which guarantees payment of a years rent. So presumably, if they were unable pay, we could chase the employer via petty debts for the remaining money.

I’ve spoken both to the employer and the tenant. The employer basically said that his employee has to stay and will speak to him about this. My tenant (the employee) has said that his employer will not help out in the least and that he simply cannot afford to pay the rent that I’m asking (which is very reasonably btw).

So, at the moment, I’ve left it that I’ve told the tenants that I’ll think about it… But what to do? Insist that he abides by the years lease and see how payment goes… pursuing the employer for payment of my tenant doesn’t cough up? Also bearing in mind that there would be a great deal of bad feeling from my tenant towards me (they after all, just live downstairs from us). Or, just accept a month notice, keep the deposit (losing out on a few hundred pounds to the estate agents) and start all over again…

Why did I ever decided to become a landlord again?

Elliot accidentally lost a beanbag into the field behind our garden today. I climbed over the wall to try to retrieve this (but was unable to – too many brambles and stinging nettles), then as I was climbing back over the concrete wall, smacked my left kneecap on the wall.

By god is it hurting at the moment.

It seems the longer I don’t use my leg, the more it hurts. I’m dreading the paid tomorrow morning when I wake up…

Films watched:
Lady Vengeance (aka Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)

The last part of the Park Chan-Wook Vengeance trilogy, comprising of Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance.

I simply loved Oldboy. It is without a doubt one of the most astounding films I have seen in years. Unfortunately, when I watched Sympathy for Mr Vengeance shortly after watching Oldboy, I was very disappointed. Therefore, whilst really looking forward to Lady Vengeance, I was also a little cautious that it may turn out to be the disappointment the Mr Vengeance was.

In a word… “wow”,

While not quite as good as Oldboy, Lady Vengeance is still an absolute masterpiece. A very different film, slightly more sluggish pacing and a more drawn out conclusion, but still on a similar level to Oldboy.

I have read that some found that this film wasn’t as shocking as Mr Vengeance and Oldboy. Whilst it is true that for most of the film, it isn’t as stomach churning as the first parts of the trilogy, the final segment of the story is just as powerful.

For the most part, this initially seems a much simpler tale of revenge than Oldboy, but as will the twists in Oldboy, Lady Vengeance holds a spectacular card up it’s sleeve. I wouldn’t spoil the film for anyone, just to say that it turns out a lot different than you might have expected and involved a lot more people than you might expect.

As a father, I’ve also got to add that I found the film particularly disturbing, but again, without spoiling anything, I can’t go into the specifics.

A wonderful. Wonderful film.


Friday, May 12, 2006

E3, E3, E3 & flat


I though I’d take a moment or two to write down my thoughts so far on E3.

I have watched all of the Nintendo conference, half of the Sony conference and have downloaded a lot of gameplay video/trailers. Read several “hands on” reports and pretty much taken in as much of E3 as possible without actually being there.

So far, it looks like Nintendo seem to have hit the ground running… and skipping. Sony on the other hand, seem a tad unprepared, over expensive and ever so slightly uninteresting.

Zelda on the Wii is looking very promising and Super Mario Galaxy just looks stella. Other promising looking Wii games are: Metroid Prime 3, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Excite Truck, WarioWare, Red Steel and Super Smash Bros Brawl. My only slight concern is that Nintendo are heavily marketing the Wii as a console that anyone can use, but there isn’t anything as immediately open to non-gamers in the same way that Brain Training and Nintendogs has been on the DS.

Talking of the DS… Phoenix Wright 2, Yoshi’s Island 2, StarFox… Yeah :)

On the PS3 both Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy XIII are looking stunning and I quite like the look of Warhawk, but other than that – nothing truly new or immediately interesting.

As for Xbox360 – I’ve barely even looked…

I thought I’d also mention the PS3 controller. As predicted, this has reverted back to the old dual shock design (playing it very safe Sony). However, they have also include motion sensor in this at the expenses of the rumble pack. This just screams to me as a half-arsed attempt to outdo Nintendo. However, as the controller itself hasn’t changed, I don’t see this being as versatile or as well used as the Wii remote. It’s a good addition, just not sure how much it will be used.

Back to the Wii remote… A speaker on the remote? My first thoughts were simply… “huh”? But the more I think about it, the more I can see the sense of it. After all the sound of hitting a ball and a slight rumble of the remote would be a great indication that you’ve made virtual contact with a tennis ball. It should be interesting to find out how this is put to use by various developers.

Just also recently downloader the trailer for Super Smash Brothers Brawl. That has to be both one of the coolest and funniest trailers ever!

On a less happy note… Our tenant situation has taken a turn for the worse. I’m not really in the mood to blog about it now, but rest assured – the saga is not over.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

E3 E3!!!

Too much to read / watch - too little time to blog!

Wiiiiiiii :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Beatles, TV, Games and "no, it's poo"

Okay, got a few more Beatles CD’s through the post over the last few days (been using Ebay a tad). These are:

Magical Mystery Tour
Past Masters vol. 1
Past Masters vol. 2
Anthology 1
Anthology 2
Anthology 3

As I already had the “1” album, I already had most of the singles which are on the Past Masters albums, but it was still worthwhile getting these for the B sides and the rare singles. The anthology album, are fantastic. Again, most of the tracks I already have on other albums, but it’s interesting to listen to the demo’s, alternative takes and the general progress of each song into it’s completed form.

Got the 2 episodes of Lost to watch tonight – definitely looking forward to it. Also, Battlestar Galactica just seems to be getting better and better. I’m really quite spoiled for great TV shows at the moment!

Told Elliot that the new Nintendo console was called “Wii” the other day. He just sniggered and said “no, it’s called poo”. Even Elliot immediately things of urine… but then again he is currently being potty trained!

If anything, Wii is growing on me a little :-

Oh, I've just caught the trailer online for Superman. Previously I've been a little lukewarm in anticipation for this.... Now, consider me excited:

Is it a bird... Is it a plane? No, It's the trailer dummy!

Games played:
Phoenix Wright
I’ve just spent ages trying to type my opening statement for this game… What to say really?

Well, if you’ve ever wanted to stand up in court and shout “objection” then this is the game for you. It’s a mix of old text adventures of days gone by and something completely different, a lawyer sim.

The sense of satisfaction when a case starts to go your way really is great… Although I suspect this game may not last too long, it is certainly very different and memorable.

I downloaded this the other day from the Japanese PSP site.

It really is quite bizarre, there really is no other word for it! A strange mix of Sonic, Pikmin and Kirby. The fact that I can’t understand a word of Japanese also adds to the confusion a tad. However, this is without a doubt the most original game to come to the PSP since it’s launch and it currently the only game on the PSP horizon that I’m looking forward to!

Brain Training
Got this the other day… It has proven to me something that I have known for some time now… My wife is far smarter than I am. My initial Brain Age… 76 (very bad), hers 35 (pretty good).

I can see why this has done so well in Japan, the incentive to “play” each day to better yourself is very addictive. Also the fact that it keeps a record (in graph form) of my (and my wife’s) performance in the game is also a great idea.

Occasionally the voice recognition isn’t perfect. You have to say a colour in a calm tone for it to work – quite hard when you’re frantically trying to get as many answer right as possible. Also the text recognition slips up occasionally (it doesn’t like the way that I write 5’s and Roz writes 9’s), but then again, this could be seen as a bonus, as it makes us write correctly!

Overall, another great little distraction on the DS.