Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Herm & Dark Knight Blu-ray

Just a quick post to say that I'm back from a short trip to Herm to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. We couldn't have asked for better weather (especially for the time of year), and also The White House was a great place to stay, with a very good evening meal to boot.

Also read that The Dark Knight Blu-ray is due out on 08/12/08 (i.e. in time for Christmas). The good news is that director Christopher Nolan has confirmed that on the Blu-ray release, the film will swap between a 2.40:1 aspect ratio for scenes shot on 35mm and full sized widescreen 1.78:1 for the IMAX scenes (IMAX is shot in 1.66:1 so a little bit of the top and bottom of the IMAX image will be lost). Now for those who didn't get the chance to watch this on IMAX, this may seem like it would be a bit jarring, but in the IMAX the 1.66:1 schenes really brought you into the film in a huge way and I barely noticed the change in aspect ratio, so the inclusion of this on the Blu-ray is most welcome.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


For some, completely unknown reason, my LCD has turned around during shipment and been returned to Dabs. So I won't be receiving it as soon as I'd hoped.

Goodness knows why this has happened, unless the courier has decided that they cannot ship to Guernsey, which would be more than a tad annoying.

I've emailed Dabs and should hopefully know something more soon.

Still.... bummer....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beta missed and Manchester?!?

Eurogamer too a massive hit last night. The had the opportunity to offer a few thousand beta keys for Little Big Planet... the end result? Within only a very short time, the site went completely down and only managed to resurrect itself in small bursts. Unfortuneately I was unable to obtain a beta key, so I guess I'll just have to wait until my birthday to give it a try.

The Sixth Axis however (great site) managed to get theirs, and have a great runthrough of their initial experiences (link here). So far it's looking extremely promising. I'm also glad it seems to have a bucketload of British humour (largely courtesy of Stephen Fry) which is most welcome.

Also, I had a quick look online using UPS tracking to see where my new TV currently is. I noticed that it started in Tamworth (central England) and has progressed to Manchester (northen England)... wait a sec, it's going the wrong damn way! It should be heading north, not south! What's going on there?

I'm sure that everything is in hand, and I should hopefully have it in the next few days (fingers crossed by the weekend). I'll naturally post my thoughts idc.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New LCD, lessons and hair

First and foremost… My new LCD is on its way to me right now :)

Hopefully I should have it either by this weekend, or the beginning of next week…

Last night I went to my very first guitar lesson, equipped with my new acoustic guitar (pictured below). I thought I’d give guitar lessons a try, as I have previously tried learning off my own back, but subsequently stopped. Hopefully the lessons will give me more incentive to continue, as well as keep me more focused.

On our first lesson we just went through the very basics, namely learning about the guitar, what the parts are called, tuning and how to hold it. All the same, it’s good to start at a basic level.

One thing that did amuse me however, was that the lesson was held at my old secondary school. Up in the foyer were old class picture, including that class of 1989 (the year I left). What struck me were the ever so amusing big 80’s hairstyles of practically everyone in the picture, students and teachers alike (and me). It really was quite frightening, but fun all the same looking out for all my school friends.

The 80’s really were a bad, BAD time for fashion…as can be attested by the likes of Duran Duran…

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Some times, the most pleasant comments are left on my blog...


Friday, September 19, 2008

Work analogy

Well, lately work has been a bit of a slog…

Unfortunately, due to the nature of my work, I often can’t comment about anything on my blog. I will, however, get something out of my system today by the use of an analogy.

Previously, I would describe my work as similar to a country walk. Generally pleasant, with places of interest at some stages, and nondescript countryside at others. There would be the occasional hill, but these only take a bit of effort to climb and are mainly followed by a downward slop.

Lately however, it has felt like I have been traversing the mud drench side of a mountain, batter by wind and rain whilst trying to avoid the occasional falling boulder…

So not much fun then…

Anyway… It’s the weekend soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde

Film watched:
Bonnie and Clyde
An absolute classic, funny, sexy, surprising and deadly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Diary of the Dead and new TV (?)

Film watched:
Diary of the Dead

Tries to outdo Cloverfield, but fails miserably. Pantomime at best.


So, I’m looking to buy myself a new TV to replace my faithful 50” Philips plasma.

At present, I actually have two TV’s in my lounge, my 50” Philips plasma, which I use for general TV use and films, and a 26” Sony LCD which I use for gaming. The main reason for this being fear of burn in on the Plasma (and even without permanent burn in, there is always a degree of ghosting). I know that this may be a touch paranoid, but all the same, even with modern plasmas, this is still a risk.

Previously I’d been against LCD being used as my main TV, as the quality of LCD 5 years ago was nowhere near as good as it is now. Also, it was rare to find large screen LCD’s 5 years ago. LCD technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, to such a degree that in many respects it has equalled or even exceeded plasma in many regards.

In the past, the negatives against me getting a LCD for my main set were:

1) Compared to plasma’s they used to be very bulky (not the case so much these days).

2) LCD’s previously didn’t handle motion very well compared to plasma’s (again this isn’t too much of a problem with most modern LCD’s)

3) The contrast ratio’s of LCD’s were poor. Admitably plasma’s are also worse than CRT, but LCD’s seemed to suffer more due to the fact that it is a requirement that the screen be constantly backlit.

Two LCD’s are due to come to the market which negate all of the points above, most specifically points 2 and 3, using LED backlighting technology. These LCD’s are Sony’s X4500 series and Samsung’s Series 9 LCD’s, and as such, I have been watching these closely.

As I am used to a 50” TV, I would not want to drop below this size, and both the Sony and Samsung models come in either 46” models or 55”models, as such the 55” would be a must.

Whilst the 55” Sony X4500 looks extremely good, it is priced well out of my price range and as such, I’m looking to buy the Samsung, which just fits within my budget (but only just). I’ve got it on order, and so long as there are no complications (and so long as the price doesn’t change) I should hopefully be getting this sometime after it is released (which means, likely in the next couple of months).

Now I’m very aware that OLED sets are due on the horizon, but these are no likely to be available for some time yet. Also, a large screen OLED set is likely to be extremely pricey and as such LCD (with LED backlight) looks to be the best bet for me at present.

Anyway, here is a picture of this beauty, and below is also a link to a flash site which details the series 9 range:

Samsung LCD series

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Band on the Run...

Breaking... Band on the Run will be a track on Guitar Hero: World Tour.

Colour me happy :)

This may not be The Beatles, but we're getting close with Wings (i.e. McCartney must have signed up to the idea). What's more Band on the Run happens to be one of my favourite Wings tracks, I was only listening to it yesterday thinking how great it would be in Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

Just need the following now from Wings:

Venus & Mars / Rockshow
Live and Let Die

Friday, September 05, 2008

Ghostbusters 3(?) and Noel on Guitar Hero

At last…

The news I have been waiting for, it looks like (finally) Ghostbusters 3 may be in the making (source). I count the first film as being one of the greatest comedies of all time, and the second one isn’t half bad as well (but not a patch on the original).

Here’s hoping that it gets a green light and that they get all the original cast back.

It also has to be said that the original Ghostbusters contains some of the very best quotes of all time. Here is a selection of some of my favourites:

Dr. Egon Spengler: I'm worried, Ray. All my readings point to something big on the horizon.
Winston Zeddemore: What do you mean, big?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning's reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.
Winston Zeddemore: That's a big Twinkie.

Dr Ray Stantz: I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon... what've you got left?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.

Dr Ray Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!
Mayor: Is this true?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it's true.
Dr. Peter Venkman: This man has no dick.

All we need now is Evil Dead 4 (which is also being considered by Raimi and Campbell)

I have also recently read a piece on Noel Gallagher (whom I honestly do not like), where they asked him his opinion of Guitar Hero, to which his response was:

"If it puts little plastic guitars into kids' hands and fires their imaginations, I think that's a good thing," he told Music Radar. "It's harmless fun, innit.”

Which is a good start, however, he then compares them to other genres of video games, and it all goes rapidly downhill:

"I'd rather that genre of video games than somebody getting their f***ing head chopped off with a samurai sword while getting f****d by a goblin up the a**e with a laser. Do you know what I mean?"

Well, it has to be said that he certainly has a way with words. It’s also good to see such a well informed and unbiased view from such a “celebrity” (heavy sarcasm).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Orphange

Film watched:
The Orphanage

Oh, I am so going to break my 10 word review rule for this one…

I think that I can say that without a doubt that this will likely be my film of the year, yes, even better than Wall-E and The Dark Knight.

But I ask, why is it that for the last few years, my favourite film of the year has always been a foreign film? For the last few years it’s been: Pan’s Labyrinth, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and Oldboy, and now The Orphanage.

The Orphanage is a Spanish language ghost story, produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrinth), but directed by first time director Juan Antonio Bayona. The basic premise is that of a woman who has purchased an old orphanage in which she lived in for a short period as a child to live in with her husband and adopted son, with the intention of starting up a new care centre for disabled children. Shortly after moving to the house, her son starts accumulating invisible friends and inviting them to the house, it is shortly after this that they start to believe that they are not alone in the house.

Now for starters, the very fact that it has (without spoiling much – hell you’d probably already guessed it) ghost children in immediately turns up the “I’m sh*t scared” meter up to 11, the only thing missing was a well (see the The Changeling and The Ring for that). But while it was decidedly creepy, it wasn’t as terrifying as some films, and it wasn’t the horror elements that drew me into the film. It was the human elements of the story which really got to me. Without spoiling anything, as a parent the story is a lot more unsettling and emotional.

I’m not ashamed to admit that by the end of the film I was crying buckets, and it was due to a mixture of both sadness and happiness. Also, immediately after the film I had to sneak into Elliot’s bedroom and give him a little kiss on the forehead.

Now, it would be easy to criticise some elements of the film, namely that some of the scares are cheap, it is a little predictable in areas (but not in everything) and also the fact that there are a couple of inconsistencies, but to hell with it, all those are swept under the rug as far as I’m concerned when put next to the rest of the film. I can also think of a couple of parallels to Pan’s Labyrinth, but again these are small and do not distract from the film.

So, overall, a wonderful, moving, scary, clever and very emotional film.


Also, I watched it on Blu-ray, rented from Lovefilm (but will now be forced to buy it), but boy do I love Blu-ray… Being able to rent films and watch them at home (on my admitably sizeable screen) beats going to our local cinema (which, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before – is crap).

Monday, September 01, 2008

US Monster Trucks and Guitar Hero

On Friday evening I went with my wife and one of her friends to a local pub called The Doghouse to watch a local band play called the US Monster Trucks.

I must say that I was very impressed, they had an overall good set list (mainly covers of other bands, but still very good) and all played extremely well. My wife was busy dancing and having a good time, whilst I was watching the guitarist enviously (I doubt I’ll ever be that good).

Anyway, it was their last gig for some time, as the lead singer is pregnant, and in her words, “is due to drop a little truck sometime soon”.

I also bought Guitar Hero 3 the other day for my PS3, as it was on sale in HMV. I’ve played it before on the 360, Wii and PS2, and from my past experience the PS2 version felt somehow… wrong, the other versions (including my PS3 version) are fine.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am thoroughly sick of EA / Harmonics treatment of Rock Band for any format other than the 360 in Europe. It is now almost a year since it was release in the US and STILL no confirmation of a release date for the PS3 (or the PS2 and Wii), as such… stuff them. I’m happy with Guitar Hero 3 for the moment, and will be buying Guitar Hero: World Tour when it is released in a couple of months (as shock, there is an actual release date for this).

I also tend to play Rock Band down a friends house most Monday nights, so rather than spend out on a game that I have already played a lot of, I’d be happier spending out on a brand new game, namely Guitar Hero: World Tour.

I will more than likely get Rock Band (or more likely Rock Band 2) as a game only, for the different set list, but as far as the instrument pack goes, I’ll be sticking with Guitar Hero. Besides, I’ve always preferred the Guitar Hero instruments, and love the look of the Guitar Hero drums.

As a side note, my only complaint with Guitar Hero 3 are those damn boss battles (but by the sounds of things these have been toned down for the next game).