Friday, 27 September 2013

Sam buys dinner and Dan & Laura come to stay

Today was a good day. Sam received his first salary payment and treated Toni and I to dinner at Rishta. You can't beat getting that first ever cash injection and he was so happy that he wanted to treat us.

After the noms we watched a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad while we waited for Dan and Laura to arrive. After that it was chill out and catch up time.

Good times!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


It was cinema time again as Toni and I headed off to Cineworld in Bexleyheath. Our movie of choice was R.I.P.D. A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.

Let's be clear, this is a silly film. You can't take it seriously, it is just one of those good fun movies that takes you along for the ride. There are some excellent one liners, plenty of funny moments and the strained relationship between "partners" Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds is great. Throw in Kevin Bacon making a convincing bad guy and you have a good blend of characters. We saw the 3D version of this which actually wasn't too bad with some nice use of the camera.

It's not big, it's not clever but it is a load of fun!

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, 23 September 2013

Paganism In Fairy Tales

Toni and I met after work today to go to Treadwell's Bookshop near Goodge Street for a talk on Paganism In Fairy Tales. We started off buying a few books as we often do when we are in Treadwell's before being called downstairs for the talk. We indulged in a couple of glasses of wine and some nibbles before it all got underway.

The talk was really good. Joanna Coleman was an excellent speaker and shared some very interesting information on Fairy Tales based on the study that she is doing for her PhD. It was one of those talks that you wish could have gone on a lot longer as there were so many different aspects that were mentioned but only briefly elaborated on due to time constraints. It was certainly interesting to see how Fairy Tales can fit in with ritual. There was a lot of emphasis on the importance of oral storytelling as well as how things evolve. We briefly touched on language as well as various different theories and transformation.

An excellent night that was followed up by some delicious vegan Chinese food in Camden.

We'll definitely be attending more talks at Treadwell's after this one.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Post party......

...bizarrely I was awake at 9am this morning despite not actually going to sleep until 03:30. Even more bizarrely I felt pretty damn good. I was a little sluggish but there was no sign of the hangover that I had feared might have been lurking.

Daz and I went out to the shops at some point to gather the essential supplies for breakfast, bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and bread. Caz then work her magic and we were all fully restored to ugh status LOL

After the brekkies we ventured back to Selmo Mansions to pick up Alexa de Strange (and some leftover food). We then had a painless run back to Beckenham to drop them off and then it was back home to crash out.

It has been a great weekend!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Sara & Christian's engagement party

Toni and I threw on the glad rags, went to pick up Francesca and Shannon (from Alexa de Strange) and then headed out to Norf Landon for Sara & Christian's engagement party.

They were delighted with the gift that we gave them:

The party kicked off with some Espresso Vodka and things just got better from there! We were treated to an acoustic set from Alexa de Strange. There might be a video but it is currently undergoing approval from the band.

There had been plans to take lots of photos throughout the night but they went by the wayside once the drinking started! It was an amazing night. Good people, fantastic food, fantastic music and drink, LOTS OF DRINK!

It was an honour to have been invited!

Afterwards (at stupid o'clock in the morning) we got a taxi back to Daraline Towers as we were staying over with Caz and Daz. The camera did come out for Lokicorn

Suitably humiliated he then retired!

...and just as we thought the night couldn't get any more amazing, there was then an excellent incident when Daz went upstairs. Here's the transcript from Caz's Facebook:
My beloved Darren vanished upstairs an hour ago for a wee and then bed. I came up just now for a wee, to find a firmly locked bathroom door. After banging on it, the conversation went something like this:
Me: Darren, my darling... WAKE UP AND UNLOCK THIS DOOR!
D: urrrrrgggghhhhh
Me: [bangs on door again]
Wake up! You've fallen asleep in the bathroom again, and some of us need to pee!
D: I'm not in the bathroom.
Me: [deep breath and calm] If you aren't in the bathroom, where are you?
D: In bed.
Me: Open your eyes and have a look around you... Where are you?
D: Oh bollocks...
Me: Yes...

Friday, 20 September 2013

That bastard boiler again!

Yup it's happened again. That bastard boiler has packed up again. This time it's not just lost pressure it's now pissing water too. Absolutely typical that it starts doing this at almost midnight.

We had plans for hair washing and dying tomorrow that will now have to be abandoned unless we can get someone out from British Gas first thing. Unbelievable really.

Needless to say we aren't particularly happy about the whole affair!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 19 September 2013

iOS7 overview

Yesterday night I upgraded my phone to iOS7 and today I was giving it a run for it's money. First impressions are that I like it a lot. There are lots of positive things about it. The fist big one for me is removing the restrictions on the number of apps you have have in a folder now. I had quite a lot of folders which I have now managed to consolidate to a more manageable amount.

Although a long time coming the new swipe up Control Centre is fantastic. Better late than never with this. It is now a piece of cake to go into airplane mode, turn wi-fi on and off and adjust screen brightness. There is also a new torch buttton in there plus access to the clock app, calculator and camera.

The clever Parallax background manager was a novelty for five minutes but I turned that off quite quickly as it is one of those battery drain items LOL.

The new icons are nice and crisp although I have to confess that I think the Newsstand one looks a bit pants now. The old one was much nicer but hey ho, can't have everything.

Things I like:
Nice clean feel about the whole thing. The whole aesthetic of iOS7 is quite pleasing to me. I like the way some of the core apps have been redesigned
New lock screen
New camera app
New music player
No limit on apps in folder
Control Centre
App Management to kill off open apps is now a breeze

Things I don't like:
Newsstand icon
Calendar display in the Notification Centre. This used to just list all the events. Now it tries to show a chunk of day view so you can end up with a grid with nothing in if your appointments are outside the time band that it is showing plus all day events don't appear anymore. This one MUST be fixed ASAP as it renders the whole thing pointless.
Colours/display of the new Messages app. I know the whole thing is supposed to look flat but the colours are a bit meh. It's a shame they can't be customised.

Oh, and while we are here, BATTERY LIFE! As can be expected with snazzy new iOS updates you have to learn all the things to switch off to help preserve battery life. It's not a big deal but does have to be done especially when you are running a 4S! I am sure when I do my upgrade to the new 5S I won't have such a big issue with the battery.

So, to sum up. iOS7 is a HIT for me. I much prefer it to iOS6 and it's amost like using a whole new phone. Haters are gonna hate but I like what Apple have done here.

Tomorrow the iPAD gets it! LMFAO


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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, 17 September 2013

Sleepy Hollow - now this looks quite good

Big thanks to Shaun Parry for giving me the heads up on this new series! Sleepy Hollow! This looks a little bit silly and a whole lot of excellent. It had a premier last night but I haven't seen the episode yet but the trailer looks great! It's Sleepy Hollow with a Once Upon A Time spin on it (ie a past and present mash up)!

I'll be sure to blog more about it once I have seen it!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Sam's first day at work!

Today was Sam's first day at work. I agreed to travel in with him which meant I actually had to get up and leave early! Not sure I signed up for that, it was a bit of a shock to the system! We ended up on a train that was even earlier than the one we had planned on getting.

We split up at London Bridge and he made his merry way to St Katherine's Dock and I headed off to The Gherkin. My day was unremarkable! Did some stuff, got bored in some meetings. Business as usual for me!

On the plus side Sam was allowed to leave at five so we met up at London Bridge and travelled back home together. He even got to experience commuter hell as the 17:41 turned up with four coaches instead of eight which meant that we couldn't get on as it was overloaded so we ended up getting the 17:48 instead.

He had a really good day though. Likes the people he is working with and thinks he will settle in well. He'll be on light duties this week as he learns the ropes and shadows people but it certainly sounds like he is enthusiastic and looking forward to getting fully engaged in his new role. He even had the wonderful chance to call the Job Centre to inform them that he is now in employment. I have to say that is such a great feeling! Even better for him is that he will still be getting another week of money from them!

The one thing that Sam has to come to appreciate though is just how tiring commuting and doing a day of work is. Now he knows how Toni and I feel! Welcome to real life!

We got home to the lovely smell of a chicken casserole that Toni had prepared. There is nothing quite like getting in from work to the sweet welcoming smell of food! Relaxation came in the form of WWE Night Of Champions which wasn't the best pay per view that we've seen but at least Daniel Bryan was allowed to walk away with a belt once again without a crew job.

Another two episodes of Breaking Bad followed before we hit the pit ready to get up and do it all over again! Sam has been asked to start at 08:30 this week so he'll be getting up even earlier tomorrow. I might join him, or I might not!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Cancel the weekend, bring on the zombies

Any potential plans for the weekend were put on hold due to Toni feeling far less than 100%. She spent most of the day in the bath :o(  It always makes me sad when she is unwell. I did keep her supplied with copious amounts of tea and a couple of bacon and scrambled egg rolls. Curry was provided in the evening too, just for good measure!

As Toni is not a fan of horror films her bathtime did give Sam and I the opportunity to catch up on a couple of things while she was absent.

We start off with World War Z. Life for former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane and his family seems content. Suddenly, the world is plagued by a mysterious infection turning whole human populations into rampaging mindless zombies. After barely escaping the chaos, Lane is persuaded to go on a mission to investigate this disease. What follows is a perilous trek around the world where Lane must brave horrific dangers and long odds to find answers before human civilization falls.

I was quite impressed with the film. Although the whole zombie contagion thing is not a new concept they did at least add some fresh elements in to their take on things. There are some pretty cool effects in their too. If you like zombies then this is definitely one for you.

Next up was a BBC three part series called In The Flesh. It had a novel plot. Four years after the Rising, the government starts to rehabilitate the Undead back into the society including teenager Kieren Walker, who returns home to his small Lancashire village to face a hostile reception as well as his own demons.

This was really good. If you are looking for brains and gore then move along as that isn't where this is pitched. It's a well written show that deals with the struggles of society dealing with the undead being rehabilitated and the undead (classified as suffering from partially deceased syndrome) trying to get to grips living normal lives while being treated as outsiders. It isn't a cheery show by any means with some pretty deep issues being brought up and there is a well preserved sadness to the whole thing as you can really empathise with what is going on.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Final boss stage - CLEAR

Yesterday Sam had another communication saying that the company he had interviewed for wanted him back for a third interview today at 10:00. He set off nice and early all suited and booted. The third interview was with a big boss. I got a call at 10:40 saying that he was all done and was on his way home.

He thought it had gone well and answered everything that was thrown at him. They hadn't given him any idea when he would hear back again so we assumed it would be a couple of days.

Not long after getting home he came bounding down the stairs saying that he had an email informing him that he had been successful! He called them up straight away to accept and they want him to start this coming Monday! Result!

He'll be working at St Katherine's Dock in London and we'll be travelling in to London Bridge together :)

He is very happy and understandably so! I am so proud of him! Everyone is proud of him and happy too!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

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, 10 September 2013

Sam's second interview, some new iPhones & Breaking Bad

Following on from his telephone interview last Friday Sam got the call back yesterday for a face to face interview today. Suited and booted he headed off to St Katherine's Dock in the afternoon. I met him afterwards and we travelled back home together. It sounds like the interview went well. He started off with a thirty minute technical interview followed by forty five minutes of actual talking. Now the tough bit comes as he has to wait until next week to find out how he got in. He has been told that it will be Wednesday at the latest. If it is good news then he'll either get the job or be called back for a third interview depending on how the other candidates shape up. Fingers crossed that everything aligns and he is straight into work! Sam has worked so hard to get this far and I really hope he gets the break he deserves.

In slight less interesting news, Apple made their latest iPhone announcement today. Two models will be available, the 5S and the cheaper 5C (which comes in a variety of colours styled like the iPod). Whilst neither of these phones are gargantuan phablets, instead opting for the same foot print as the iPhone 5 there is still plenty there to get excited about. Better performance, improved camera and flash, fingerprint scanner and of course the much anticipated IOS7 that will be hitting the download trail next week. My upgrade is due at the end of October so I think I am 99% sure where I'll be headed on this one. Although some of the other smartphones out there are very tempting I have invested far too much in my previous two iPhones and the apps that I am using to move away to something new.

Certain friends of mine will be very vocal as to why Apple have lost their way and the new iPhone(s) are a load of old carp but I really couldn't give a toss. I like what I like, and I like Apple products. I might even get an Apple laptop at some point LMFAO!

We continued our Breaking Bad fix tonight as completed Season 2 in a bid to catch up with the rest of the world. It's a show that just goes from strength to strength, excellent scriptwriting, nice plot twists, humour and a whole lot more. It's must see TV for us and you are certainly missing out if you haven't seen it before!

Monday, 9 September 2013

My Native American tribe grows

A few blogs ago I posted some pictures of my new Native American Lego pieces. Since then my tribe has grown somewhat.
One of my favourite pieces is Tonto:

Here's the rest of the new members of the tribe plus a group shot:

This isn't the end of it though. The tribe will be expanding more over time as I've seen some other very cool things :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Autumn cleaning

In a move uncharacteristic for us, we got up reasonably early and decided to have an Autumn clean of the house. It's amazing how much stuff can pile up without you noticing and then all of a sudden it looks cluttered and becomes annoying. We reached that stage and so decided to take action. Fortunately it wasn't a major mission but it did mean that we now have a much tidier house which makes us both feel calmer and more relaxed. Tidy house, tidy mind!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Transforming The Human Spirit event

Toni and I took Jade and Gemima to Oddfellows Hall in Sidcup to attend a multi-faith event called "Transforming The Human Spirit". The event was run by SGI (Soka Gakkai International) UK. Soka means the 'creation of value' and Gakkai means 'society'. SGI is a movement based on Nichiren Buddhism. It is a broad humanistic movement for the benefit of humanity, engaging with other institutions, associations, groups and individuals who wish actively to create a better world.

Given the main title of the event I was a little surprised to find that the agenda was heavily weighted towards the abolishen of nuclear weapons. There was even a talk by ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). After the introduction and an outline on SGI UK's position regards nuclear weapons and then the ICAN talk I have to admit that I was a not really happy. "Transforming The Human Spirit" sounded like something I could buy into and enjoy but I hadn't been prepared for a CND style rally LOL.

Thankfully my grumbles were soon dispersed as we all divided into groups and had to discuss what we had just heard. Fortunately we didn't spend a lot of time talking about nuclear weapons but actually had some amazing discussions about the state of the media, the problems with governments, what we as people on the ground can do to help bring about a change in thinking and how we can cause change in the world. It was wonderful to hear so many common views from people from all sorts of spiritual backgrounds. We had Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Pagans plus a load of people who didn't share their beliefs. The common theme was the same though. We, as people, need to change our mindset towards things and as such we will all have an impact and help other people to change theirs. I was volunteered to present the feedback from our group

After the discussions (which were nowhere near long enough) we had a presentation from the children who had been preparing stuff at the back of the hall. There was a lovely visual display followed by a rousing rendition of "If You're Happy And You Know It". Next up was an amazing buffet and the chance to mingle and chat to everyone again.

Despite my initial (as it transpires unfounded) misgivings the event was really, really good. I'm really glad we went and it was wonderful to be around so many souls who shared the same vision of a different planet that we can live on if we were only to make the effort.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Updates on Sophie and Sam, Heroes Of Cosplay and Breaking Bad

Congratulations to Sophie who has just passed 12 exams now has her DIP 3 qualification as a child care worker. Really proud of her and how well she has worked to get this.

In other good news, Sam had a telephone interview this afternoon that he thinks went really well. He sounded really positive when he was telling us about it and it sounds like he handled things well. Hopefully he will hear on Monday if he has made it through to the next stage.

Jade came over and made a lovely dinner for us all. We watched the first few episodes of a new series called Heroes Of Cosplay. It's quite an interesting show that seems to focus on the professional and serious competition side of things.

The evening ended with a little Breaking Bad. We've only just started watching this and have a lot of catching up to do. It's a black comedy with a simple plot. To provide for his family's future after he is diagnosed with lung cancer, a chemistry genius turned high school teacher teams up with an ex-student to cook and sell the world's purest crystal meth. IMDB is a harsh place for reviews but Breaking Bad was voted an incredible 9.4/10 placing it in the top five TV shows. If you haven't seen this show yet I would recommend that you do!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

What is it about reboots?????

So, the trailer has now hit for the Robocop reboot. I was never a massive fan of those films anyway and this trailer hasn't really warmed me to them. So the effects are a little snazzier and they've updated the outfit slightly but it's still just Robocop.

This then got me thinking about all the other reboots they are threatening us with. First up, The Crow. Just WTF! This film is a classic and needs to be left alone. It stands up as a great film and really doesn't need to risk it's legacy with a shite remake. The only thing that gives this project a slight glimmer of hope is that James O'Barr has signed on in a consultancy role.

I then heard the news that Stargate could be rebooted as a trilogy. Again, this was a fantastic film that spawned another two movies (The Ark Of Truth and Continuum), the SG-1, Atlantis and Universe TV shows. These were all successful (well apart from Universe) and again have a fantastic legacy. Other than updated effects and visuals what exactly can they add to such a solid story?

It's not even like some of these films are old. The Fantastic Four is in the pipeline for a reboot, as is Daredevil. Batman and Superman have been resurrected so many times I am not sure there is enough voodoo juju out there to sustain another rebirth!

Even musicals don't get let off the hook with Annie poised for a big screen return. *sigh*

Other items on the list to make me cringe are Weird Science, WarGames, Jumanji, Starship Troopers, Police Academy and Logan's Run. That's just a starting list!

Dear Hollywood, have some original and creative thoughts of your own and leave our classics alone!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Fixing Aaron's PC and a subtle hint!

Aaron was having PC problems yesterday with some form of corrupted user profile. He went to the cinema with Jamie in the evening so Sam and I set about fixing it so that it was working on his return. Fortunately it was an easy task and the PC was back up and running in no time at all.

As Aaron has needed a bit of a prod about doing extra college study I bought him electronic copies of some of the books that are recommended for his course. Sam and I then proceeded to re-arrange Aaron's PC desktop as follows:

The key parts here were sticking ALL of his desktop icons into this special new folder:

Next up was renaming the three college books with "READ ME!!!!!!" at the start of the filename and then putting them in a place of prominence on the desktop so he couldn't miss them!

Luckily Aaron does have a good sense of humour so he did see the funny side! Hopefully this will give him the incentive to open up the books and read them too! LOL

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, 3 September 2013

Feeling like I am out of kilter with the mundane world

The last couple of days at work have all felt a little odd. Commuting into the big murky central London is quite a drain. I feel like the soul is being sucked out of me. It all feels boring and mundane. It's like I am out of kilter with the ordinary world.

If I had my way I would be relocated down on the south coast somewhere. Toni would be doing arty, creative stuffs and I would be doing something musical. There would be open spaces, good pagan friends and probably a whole load of drumming too. I want to live an extraordinary life among like minded people who recognise what the important things are. I don't want to be trapped in the boring city life.

Changed priorities ahead at some point in the not too distant future!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 2 September 2013

Kick-Ass 2

Toni and I had booked tickets to go and see Kick-Ass 2 at the Cineworld at the O2. We turned up to find that the first pay as you go car park was now closed and as a result the second one was full. Our only option then would have been to pay £11 to park. We decided that this was extortionate and reluctantly headed home, disappointed that we couldn't see the film.

Where there's a will there's a way though and I managed to find a top quality copy online to watch. This was a result and my disappointment was turned to joy!

After Kick-Ass' insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes, our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist -- reborn as The Mother F%&*^r -- only the blade-wielding Hit Girl can prevent their annihilation. When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world's first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she's forced to retire-leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world's first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there's only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.

If you enjoyed the first movie then you'll love the second one. It's not big, it's not clever bit it's a whole load of fun with some real quality moments in there. Catch it quick before the cinema run ends otherwise per-order the DVD/Blu-Ray.

- Posted using BlogPress on my iPhone

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Lazy day, Men In Black 3, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, The Lone Ranger (again)

It was nice take it easy day today. We got up at a reasonable hour, had breakfast and just chilled out.We watched Men In Black 3 as Emma had never seen it before. The ending still gets me all choked up even though I've seen it a couple of times now. After distracting Emma with numerous YouTube comedy clips it was time for her to be on her merry way. It's been lovely to see her again and have a little chaos in our lives LOL.

I then had the task of bleaching Toni's hair again. This went pretty well until her hair started to break in places and the rest of the colouring plan was put on hold. Maybe time to let it recover for a while before we do anything more aggressive to it LOL

With peace restored we then watched Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Beginning just after the bloody Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee intertwines the perspectives of three characters: Charles Eastman, né Ohiyesa, a young, Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation; Sitting Bull, the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their sacred land - the gold-laden Black Hills of the Dakotas; and Senator Henry Dawes, who was one of the architects of the government policy on Indian affairs. While Eastman and patrician schoolteacher Elaine Goodale work to improve life for the Indians on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant for more humane treatment, opposing the bellicose stance of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Hope rises for the Indians in the form of the prophet Wovoka and the Ghost Dance - a messianic movement that promises an end of their suffering under the white man. This hope is obliterated after the assassination of Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of Indian men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on Dec. 29, 1890.

It's a very good film that portrays the plight of the Native Americans well but is also very sad and heartbreaking.

We lightened out mood with an Indian (courtesy of Sam) and then watched The Lone Ranger again. Yes I know we only watched it last night but we enjoy it and Sam didn't see it so wanted to catch up. I'm sure we'll watch again soon!

...and before we knew it, that was that. The weekend had run away from us again and the working week was staring us back in the face again!