Thursday, 31 January 2013

End of year review

No, this isn't me summing up my life in 2012! Just a tad later than planned (ie a month after the deadline) I finally had my 2012 appraisal with the boss man  ,who was over visiting from Vancouver. It was a mission and a half but I got there in the end with one missed appointment, one rescheduled appointment and then turning up 15 minutes late. No, not me, I was always available and I have no problem managing a calendar! My boss however..... LMFAO

All went well though and I am doing well. I have some areas to improve on and I apparently have the ability to make an impact and go places in the company. I can handle that!

All in all it was a good day!

Got home and finally managed to watch Prometheus. It wasn't a bad film at all. It started very slow but did pick up speed and the ending was very good. Not sure why people struggles to see it as an Alien prequel when the by the end it most clearly was. Not sure where the Predators stand in all this now though! (and yes that was a JOKE!)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Utopia and American Horror Story

Thanks to my work friend Matt for recommending the new Channel 4 series Utopia. Here's a brief synopsis:
"The Utopia Experiments is a legendary graphic novel shrouded in mystery. But when a small group of previously unconnected people find themselves in possession of an original manuscript, their lives suddenly and brutally implode.
Targeted swiftly and relentlessly by a murderous organisation known as The Network, the terrified group are left with only one option if they want to survive: they have to run."

It's a really promising show, a bit violent, a bit whacky, big on conspiracy theories and well put together! Two episodes in and really enjoying it.

The evening ended with the final episode of the second season of American Horror Story. A great ending that joined up most of the dots that had been presented throughout the previous episodes. As I said, most! Completely different to season one but all the better for it. If you like things a little unusual and scary then this is definitely one for you!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Monday, 28 January 2013

Back to work and WWE Royal Rumble

So today was back to work day, on the train and into the office. It was good to be well enough although I was knackered by the end of the day!

Got home and enjoyed a delicious chicken curry that Aaron had made.

Viewing for the evening was the 2013 WWE Royal Rumble. Not a bad PPV overall and it was nice to see the return of Chris Jericho. I have a feeling he will be heading into a feud with Dolph Ziggler which will make me very happy! Have to say that the title match between CM Punk and The (c)Rock was a total screw job. Unless they build a good story line out of the ending of the match it's going to be a pretty crap run up to Wrestlemania. No doubt Cena will now want to challenge The (c)Rock for the belt at Wrestlemania (I expect this will happen on Raw tonight) which will leave CM Punk without a good storyline or feud and a very boring run up to the WWE's biggest event of the year.

Considering that The (c)Rock is only there part time I have taken a real exception to him getting a belt at all. If he was sticking around full time I could just about stomach that but considering that he is supposed to be buggering off again after Wrestlemania I see no point in him getting another championship other than to boost his already over inflated ego!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

New hair at Daraline Towers

Today Toni and I made a break from the clan and headed over to Daraline Towers in Norf Lahnden to see Caz, Darren T, Darren L, Sara and Christian for general larking about and new haircuts.

Toni was up in the chair first:

Next it was my turn!

We had a great laugh and ended the day with a mighty kebab at Kervan's followed by excellent shopping at Serwan's

It were a right good day!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Star Wars day (and a new hope to boot)!

Today was officially Star Wars day in Glitzville! My Star Wars spark was seriously reignited yesterday after playing The Old Republic.

I had expressed my concern recently about George Lucas' decision to sell off Lucasfilm (along with other subsidiaries like Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasarts etc) to Disney. The announcement that Disney would be making Episodes VII, VIII and IX filled me with dread especially given the fantastic flop that was their sci-fi epic John Carter.

In the early hours of the morning however all this changed. I was reading a copy of Star Wars Insider (issue #138) which contained a very candid interview with George Lucas himself and Kathleen Kennedy (who was George's choice to head up Lucasfilm under Disney as he retires). This interview has put mind at ease. George has faith in Kathleen and knows her well. Kathleen will be heading up the making of the movies and running the company. George will be creative consultant for the films.
They are working with George's original ideas to formulate scripts. That's good enough for me. Having had this revelation and now also not so bothered about JJ "Star Trek" Abrams being appointed as director for Episode VII.

On that note I bring you this piece of joy (anybody want to bet what actual date this is going to hit our cinema screens?):

Freshly excited we embarked on a movie marathon today and started working our way through the saga...... once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away... on a Blu-ray special edition....

Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Toni vetoed it last time we tried this but I insisted that we had to do it properly today much to her disgust. This is probably the weakest of all the Star Wars films but it does it have its moments. There are some stunning visual effects, there is Darth Maul, a two handed lightsaber and pod races. The story is weak in places for sure but as an overall sci-fi yarn in the Star Wars universe it's OK.

Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. If you can overlook the whining of Hayden Christiansen then is is a good film. The story is much stronger and starts to build up lots of the history that we created what we know and love about the Star Wars universe. We have clones, Jango and little Boba Fett, Darth Tyranus and more stunning visuals especially with the planets Coruscant, Geonosis and Kamino.
You gotta love the battle on Geonosis at the end too!

Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. This movie was a return to form for me. Christiansen is less whiny in this one plus he gets his butt kicked by Obi Wan so thats a good thing from the off. Once again the visuals are top notch, epic space battles, General Grievous, wookiees, the planet Mustafar and all it's fiery lava glory! The final battle between Anakin and Obi Wan nicely adds substance to the story that we've all known for years and the final creation of Darth Vader is great (apart from the awful, "Nooooooooo!". Oh yes, and Order 66!!!!!

Episode IV: A New Hope. The start of the holy trilogy, what can I say that you don't already know. This was where it all began, the start of the dream. Even allowing for Mr Lucas' mucking about with the special editions this still remains a fantastic film. I'm sure loads of people say it but this film really cemented my childhood and I was a Star Wars fanatic from that point in and yes, I did get to see it at the cinema.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. My personal favourite this one as it is so dark. We have bounty hunters, the father moment, asteroids, great effects, the plane Hoth and Cloud City and more Boba Fett! Plus we have the delights of Han Solo being frozen in carbonite.
At this point we had passed midnight and strong coffee was called for to complete the quest!

Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi. Hands up if you know that this was originally going to be called Revenge Of The Jedi but the title was changed when it was decided that Jedi wouldn't go after Revenge, hence the title of Episode III! This is another one that has it all. Effects, Boba Fett, "that" Leia outfit, Endor, Ewoks, speeder bikes, a new Death Star a dramatic space battle and of course redemption at the end. What's not to like about this film?

And thus concluded Star Wars was day. I'm all excited like a kid again, fucking awesome! Thank you George Lucas!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 25 January 2013

WFH, Teutonic metal, kebabs and Star Wars: The Old Republic

I was feeling much better today and managed to complete a whole day working from home. While working I was mostly listening to Teutonic metal in the form of Accept, Doro, Helloween and Warlock. It might a very nice addition to my working day. So glad to have finally shifted the lurgy and I'll be back in the office on Monday.

Sadly Toni is still suffering from the lurg and she managed to get in half a day before crashing out. Fingers crossed she can shift it quickly before the weekend kicks in.

The evening was spent catching up with The Vampire Diaries, more Sabrina The Teenage Witch with time off for kebabs. I also managed to have a quick dabble with Star Wars: The Old Republic game. Although it was only brief I was very impressed with it and amazed at how well to seemed to run on my low spec laptop.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Oh my aching joints!

Yup, you guessed it, little old me was not well again today. I did manage to log on to work and do a few hours before I became really drained and tired and had to rest again. To make matters worse it was aching joints day. Damn thing really bedded in today and I even upgraded to better drugs which still didn't seem to help *sigh*

Sadly Toni is hitting the really achy stage too and Gemima was sent home form school so it looks like I have been spreading this one well LOL

The evening was filled out with more Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Ronal The Barbarian and then some Three Of  A Kind.

Thankfully the aches were subsiding by the time I went to bed so fingers crossed I'll be able to manage a full day of work tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sick, K-ON!, adverts, Sabrina and still sick

So today I was worse than yesterday and I was off sick again :o( Spent the day curled up on the sofa watching stuff and crashing out. I started off with half of season one of the anime show K-ON! before my first sleep kicked in.

Next up was a switch to regular freeview TV with Gaga Vs Madonna: The Title Fight Top 20. This has been documented separately in a different blog entry. I was astonished at the adverts that are shown during the day. Gambling, loans, injury litigation interspliced with the odd charity advert at every break, it was astonishing! Claim money, borrow some money, gamble it, give it away and all in the space of a few minutes!

The afternoon was spent with lots of tea and in the company of Sabrina Teenage Witch. I'd forgotten how good, and funny, the series was. It was also interesting to see another place were JK Rowling has 'borrowed' ideas from to create Harry Potter! The other funny thing was how similar Sam is to Sabrina's cat Salem! If you don't remember that you'll just have to find a clip on YouTube! Oh and move over grumpy cat, Salem had thing scoped WAY before you!

Plenty of liquid and drugs were taken but they didn't seen to help me as I still felt like crap heading into the night. Had of enough of this now, sickness please go away and let me get better! I seem to have a combination of different things which is an absolutely pleasure! More drugs, peppermint tea and an early night for me!

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Gaga Vs Madonna: The Title Fight Top 20

It was quite interesting watching back to back Lady Gaga and Madonna videos and comparing them. Lady Gaga is the princess of pop. Most of her videos have tributes to what the real Queen Of Pop has done in the past. Don't get me wrong, I adore Gaga but Her Madgesty pips it or me!

Lady Gaga had clearly been chosen to 'win'what with Madonna starting proceedings at 20 (and getting the even numbers) and Lady Gaga getting the odd numbers! Saying that it was really a misnomer as it was more Lady Gaga AND Madonna rather than VS.

If it had been a fair fight/comparison Madonna would have won it hands down as she has so much good material to be called up and they didn't choose all of her best videos for this show!

They both have great unique videos though and it's pretty close on that front although musically I think Madonna has it all sewn up.

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Last.FM listening post

Here's last week's top picks music lovers!

Top weekly tracks:

Top weekly artists:

Overall top tracks:

Overall top artists:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sick, Post Office complaint, Windows 8 and a hot bath

Today was a sick day. Sick as in unwell. As such it meant no working for me. I am hoping that it's just a quick thing that I can shake off by tomorrow.

I did manage to catch up with American Horror Story and Cockneys V Zombies and enjoy some of Toni's gorgeous curried parsnip soup while curled up on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.

This afternoon I had the pleasure of making a "fairly annoyed" phone call with the Post Office on behalf of Sam. He posted a package on the 7th January. It was Guaranteed Next Day By 1PM. Track and trace on the 8th showed that it still hadn't arrived. Sam called them on the 11th and they advised him to make a compensation claim which he sent off the same day. On the 16th the package suddenly started moving with the status changing to: "We have received your item and expect to deliver it before the guaranteed time on 17/01/13. If you have purchased Saturday guarantee, your delivery will be guaranteed on Saturday."

On the 17th it said the package was delivered. As of today Sam had received no contact from the recipient so he called them up and they said that nothing had been received. Once we called up the Post Office and they had taken various details and suchlike the confirmed that the package had been received and signed for..... at a postcode that was nowhere near the intended address. Unbelievable! Not only did the package go missing in action for 9 days but it then ended up going to the wrong place. Incompetent much! He has provided all the necessary receipts and such like so hopefully they will at least process his claim quickly and give him the money that he is due. Watch this space!

Having hated the pre-release version of Windows 8 (a product that I removed from my laptop within an hour of installing it) I decided to give it another go tonight. Have to say that the retail version is much better. There are still little bits that I am not too keen on but it seems to be a lot neater than the pre-release was. The Metro (Start) page isn't as annoying as I feared it might be but I suspect little time will be spent there anyway as it's very easy to get to the normal desktop. It's easy enough to stick things on there if required but there is little point as I don't have a touch screen interface anyway.

All my common stuff just gets pinned to the task bar, always has done. It was a painless upgrade from Windows 7 as I had no hardware compatibility issues and only two programs needed to be installed and that was quick and easy to do. I still think it's a little too much change for most people (queue screams of "Where the hell is the Start button") and without a touch screen the Metro interface is kind of pointless so I think it will be slow to take off especially in the business/office environment.

Despite my hopes at the start of this blog I have now resorted to having a hot bubble bath as I still feel like crap. Fingers crossed things settle down and I am good for work tomorrow!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Trains knackered, Arrow, tandoori chicken and X-Men 3

As was to be expected following a reasonable amount of snowfall over the weekend, the trains were all knackered this morning. Those rare ones that weren't cancelled had 50 minute delays and packed platforms. Working from home for me today! It wasn't a bad day overall and although I hate the fact that this country goes to pieces after a few flakes of snow I was more than happy to not have to go into the office!

Late lunch of chicken burger and chips (how healthy am I?) was accompanied by the first episode of Arrow. This is a new TV series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Toni thought it was terrible but I didn't mind it and the twist at the end of the first episode has convinced me to stick with it and watch more.

The rest of the working day passed without any major events which was a relief. Fortunately I managed to delegate testing my favourite product otherwise the air might have turned blue based on some of the emails that I saw LOL

Sam did home made tandoori
chicken with rice for dinner, no ready made sauces in this house! Have to say it was really rather delicious. Just a shame I could t fully indulge in his home made naan as well although I did have a tiny nibble.

We finished our X-Men saga with X-Men 3: The Last Stand. This is my least favourite of the films and for some fans doesn't even exist. Maybe the loss of Bryan Singer was what did it as there was clearly something that he brought to the table that Brett Ratner didn't. Must have been the Gerald Ratner effect in turning things to shit!

We finished the day off with the latest episode of Once Upon A Time flowed by some QI.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

There's snow business..... (and X-Men) snow!

The snow fell last night and continued to do so. Much better than Friday!

Toni, Sam and I took the opportunity to go and mess about in the back garden!

I whipped up a junk food breakfast of fish fingers and chicken nuggets and we enjoyed a bit of Superjail! followed by the last two episode of Haven Season 3. Fantastic series with a great ending and another bloody annoying cliffhanger! I am pleased to know that Season 4 comes later in the year!

More now fell and the table we had cleared was now a couple of inches thick. Sam took the opportunity to indulge in some snow sculpturing. Very childish, very purile, very funny!



Snogina/camel snow:

The rest of the day was spent keeping warm, drinking tea, eating chocolate and we embarked on an X-Men marathon. Being the geeks we are we had to do things in the right order just as we did with the Avengers films. Proceedings were kicked off with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I like this film a lot. Sure it messes with the Wolverine legacy slightly but it does have the wonderful light hearted, tongue in cheek, feel to it with some great action as well.
Wolverine 2 is coming in July!

I am hopeful that the Deadpool film might actually make it our of development hell at some point too although I fear it will never happen. It would be cool though.

X-Men: First Class was up next. Taking aside the plot holes this was also a good film. It's always a brave move to do prequel type films but I think this one is quite worthy of the X-Men franchise. Love the Hugh Jackman cameo! I am also please to see that the sequel is in the pipeline for 2014 and will be called X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

X-Men (the first of the trilogy) came next. From the poignant beginning through its salient issues that quite nicely map on to issues that we face today it is one of my favourite X-Men films. There are some great effects for the time too.

Last movie of the night was X2: X-Men United (or X-Men 2 depending on your preference).  Some great concepts and effects in this one plus the usual dry Marvel humour. I love the Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler character in this movie, especially the fact that he hangs on to his Catholic faith and the scarification marks (one for every sin).

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Deptford market, coffee town and meeting a new friend

This morning started off with a trudge through Deptford market for a vital stock up. We bought a phenomenal amount of fresh meat and vegetables for less than £60. What we have is going to last us for at least 14 days for a fraction of the cost of our so-called "super"market chains. Moving out major shopping from these chains to the market was one of the best decisions that we have ever made.

We picked up Jade and Jamie and then went to Coffee Town for a late breakfast. You can't beat a nice Burger Tall Town to help take the edge off of the cold.

Jamie was dropped off afterwards and we headed back home to chill and have a cuppa. Sam and Jade did a catch up on American Horror Story and planned to head to Deptford to go to the pub. It was nice to see Sam up for going out to meet new people and start to develop some form of local(ish) social circle.

Showers, make up, outfit and then Toni and I drove over to Anerley to see Tamsin (who I had met on Thursday at the protest). We had an amazing time chatting about all sorts of stuff and listening to music and drinking wine. We headed home six and a half hours later which translated to leaving at 03:15! Time just flew by as we were enjoying ourselves so much.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Weather Report

No, not that awful jazz fusion band from the 70s. It's been quite an intense week one way and another with some heavy debate going and so as a little light relief I shall just treat you to some snow pics today.
First thing:

This afternoon:

It was nice to be able to work from home and watch as the snow slowly fell and gradually settled. It was amusing seeing all the panic weather warnings on the news and the internet as the day progressed. This was light snow and once again everything starts to go to pot. Still, I was at home in the warm, didn't have to travel and put up with trains that were cancelled for silly reasons so all was good in Glitzville.
Gluten free pizza and chicken burgers made a meal and we caught up with the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries. It is good to have it back again!
The rest of the evening played out with The IT Crowd followed by Disney's musical animation of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.