Archive for March, 2011

>I watched Quantum of Solace again the other day, as part of my continuing ‘Bondomania’ thing, and also partly because when I saw it the first time I didn’t really like it. I thought it was too dull and pretentious and just… meh.
But I wanted to give it another chance as Casino Royale was pretty darn cool, and I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

And it wasn’t. I enjoyed it this time around, but there were still a few things that bugged me. First was the fact that I thought I was watching an Aston Martin advert at the start, which made me think that I’ve never actually seen an advert for Aston Martin. Not that they need to, they’ve got $150 million dollar film with the hero driving said car every two years.

 Speaking of advertising, the other thing that really bugged me was Bond breaking into an apartment, but as I was watching I realised that I was staring at his watch. For ages. The realisation was that staring at his watch was probably what I was meant to be doing, and I felt used, dirty. But more than that I appeared to want to buy a new watch.

But yeah, other than that, and aside from Bond dropping on a car and shouting “We have a mutual Friend!” at a man he then killed an instant later (seriously, what the hell was that about?) it was good. I just hope for the next film they’re going to get Q and Moneypenny back and start being proper Bond again. Just not too much like the Roger Moore era, in which we saw a fiftysomething running around who only apparent skill was to turn up an eyebrow whenever a woman said something a bit rude. For the next one I’ve heard from my sources (i.e read on the empire website) that Michael Sheen is going to play the main villain, which is awesome purely as he’s from Port Talbot. Might not be true, but I hope it is.

Thank’s to Michael “I’m always playing real life people, me” Sheen, Port Talbot has a bit of a buzz about it at the moment. If you go into the town there’s posters up with his face on it asking if anybody’s seen him as he’s gone missing (I saw him in town the other day funnily enough, his hair is fucking huge). It’s all for this new play he’s doing in the town. Well, I say play, but I was looking at the flyer for it and he’s taking over the town on the Easter weekend. There are staged events everywhere and the scale of it is pretty big.

Whilst in the town I took some pictures to show non Port Talbot people (aka the norms), the sort of shenanigans that’s being going on:

oooooh!


                                        Of course I’ve seen him, He was in Tron: Legacy….

This is why I’ve got a huge amount of respect for the guy. He’s doing something that everyone can be involved in, something that is not an everyday thing for pretty much everyone around here. It’ll be something that children can watch, be inspired by and be a part of, and they’l talk about it for ages and show them what they can do if they put their mind to it. I only wish my boy was older so he could watch or be a part of it.

I’m looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to see what it’s all about.

I may just end up staring at his hair (it’s fucking huge).

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>Wonders of the Whoniverse

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

>One of the advantages of being a Dad is being able to play with toys for longer than you can otherwise get away with.

Every male like to play with toys, but as they get older the terminology changes and “toys” become “gadgets”. When a male is 12 they want the latest computer or console. Add another 10-15 years to that and they want the latest smartphone, which with the first look they try to find a simulator for the computer they wanted when they were 12. So these days it’s not uncommon to see someone hunched over an iPhone trying to get a world record time on act two of the Green hill level on Sonic the Hedgehog, only to curse the name of the person who’s just interrupted their attempt by calling their phone asking why their 2 hours late for work. Of course if their playing angry birds that’s a different matter.

There’ll be a bank holiday for that game one day, mark my words.

But sometimes when your older you can get away with being bought toys with the “irony clause” (i.e. being bought as a supposed joke). This is generally for a) geeks and b) fans of programmes that handily have fantastic merchandise. Which funnily enough is normally sci-fi programmes, which lands you back in the a) geeks category. The thing is that the irony clause is, like a government general election pledge, a thinly veiled lie that you go along with in the slim chance it might actually turn out to be true. The male just wants the toy. Subconsciously everyone knows this.

I tend to opt out of the irony clause, mainly because I have a very understanding wife who knows my geek nature (she refers to me as ‘her geek’ which is something that makes me fall in love with her all over again) this is why I have an unashamed love for Doctor Who, and as a result I own two sonic screwdrivers.

Yes, I know that a 29-year-old owning a toy generally aimed at the younger fans of Dr Who can be seem as, well weird. But it’s not like I put a huge scarf or bow tie on and prance around pretending to be a 900 year old alien who has a fucked up time machine. Sometimes you’ve just got to make concessions for the child in you because otherwise you’ll become another person who wears beige and drives a Vauxhall Astra, and everytime you buy a coffee on the way to work wearing a shirt and tie you die a little inside. And probably burn your tongue.

Also having said toy is a reason why I’m looking forward to when the boy gets older and starts watching Dr Who for himself. If he’s ever scared I can use the screwdriver to check under his bed for monsters and assure him that I can get in touch with the Doctor if the need ever arises. When your that age your Dad (or Mam) needs to be your hero, and if a part of getting there means using a plastic toy for kids I’m not going to argue.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to the new series. When it finished the first time around (I believe in 1989) I was seven. So since it kicked off again in 2005 I’m making that concession for my inner child and geeking out with the Doctor. And why not? It’s a well written sometimes thought provoking, fantastic piece of family entertainment. Go seek out the episode “Blink” and “The Family of Blood” two-parter from David Tennant’s second series and tell me the’re not brilliantly constructed stories. They also contain great performances including one from an oscar-nominated actress.

So come the Easter weekend, I’ll be there watching. But I’ll be longing for the day we can sit with our kids, each of us with our own sonic screwdriver and we can watch it as a family, as it was always meant to be.

(The new version of the theme music is a bit rubbish though…)

>I’ve been outwitted by a one-year-old. 

A few times as it goes. It’s mainly sneaking past me to get to the staircase. He never gets a chance to get up them but what signifies the “win” is the laughing as he wings it around the corner. Other times I’m trying to play with him but there’s something on the TV, and so he gives me a toy to play so he can get on with it. 
I worry about when he gets older, when he starts asking lots of questions about all the random things I wont have the answers. One option is to make up spectacular lies, another would be to actually learn everything in the world. I think the former has more potential for fun, but ooh he’ll be angry when he gets older. 
But it’ll be fine. I know this, he’s a smart boy and I just feel he’s going to do well. I also know he’s going to be a great older brother as we found out this week there’ll be a new boy in the house in the summer.What’s great is that all we’ve learned is backward compatible for the new baby so we’re confident in what we’re doing. 
Of course that’s the theory. 
Also the one-year-old will be going on all sorts of trips with various grandparents for some peace.
I’m only kidding of course, I fall in love with that cheeky monkey every day. Every day he’ll try to outwit me and every day he does something that makes my heart glow and, when the new baby comes, seeing them together will probably combust into a waterfall of tears and other patchy metaphors.
*Serious bit*
Not that I’m under the impression that this blog will be read by millions or even hundreds (I’m hoping maybe dozens…a man can dream), but I’ve noticed that I’ve gathered some readers that are in other than the UK. Tomorrow (Friday 18th of March) is the day for the charity Comic Relief and if you ever saw the films that they do showing what the living conditions for some people in Africa are like,  you’d want to do whatever you can. I’ve posted a link below to the site where, if you can spare *anything* you can donate some money. £5 can buy books for schools, help get running water for villages and help prevent needless deaths of children. Check out what’s being done and what some people are doing to help. It’s well worth it, it can save lives. 
I’m not being preachy, I just want to help.
I’ll try and be funnier next time and talk about How I’m childishly excited about the new series about Dr Who, and how I’ve got two (yes two) Sonic Screwdrivers.

>I’ve become a bit fixated with James Bond as of late.

it started with an an old Bond reference book i found the other day and read to death, and the fact that ITV2 have nothing but Bond films and Shaun of the Dead to put on. I’ve been watching all Bond films that have been chucked out on that godawful channel. (Don’t protest, it’s *shite*)

I think that’s this has come about due to several factors. The first would be that I’ve always been a fan of the Bond films as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Octopussy, which only left me with a massive fear of Octopuses…..don’t laugh). Another factor is my son being a fan of Special Agent Oso, which is kind of a kids version of Bond but with a teddy bear voiced by the guy who played Sam in the lord of the rings films.
I’m really not making this up.

Oso is a bit of an oddball. He’s proficient is all types of vehicle usage, he drives like a pro and seems to BASE jump a lot. But sometimes he can’t tell left from right. Or what colour orange is. Or if he’s wearing a hat. Personally, if I were him, I’d being having existential crises about how a stuffed teddy bear came to be sentient. Maybe it was that mother nature. First Superted, now this…

Anywhoo…

Apparently everyone has a “Bond”. It’s like which incarnation of  Doctor who you grew up with (i’ll probably talk about him in the future, I bet you can’t wait!!).
For me it has to be Brosnan. For me he even beats Connery. I reckon it’s because Bond is technically a civil servant, and he’s the only one of the actors who can kick seven different types of pain induced noises out of you, and still look convincing if he was doing the paperwork explaining why he beat someone to death.
Or if could be that he was the first Bond  I saw in the cinema.

 I was in the civil service. I never got an Aston Martin company car. Which is probably good as I would’ve spent my time firing people who say OMG off the severn bridge with the ejector seat.

I dunno, maybe the dad thing is speeding up my midlife crisis, I’m grey enough for it. I’ll let you know if I get leather trousers and a Harley, but you’ll probably be able to hear the laughter from 20 miles away.

>I freakin love technology.

If I won the lottery I’d have a room of my own in a big house that i’d convert to look like the bridge of the Enterprise. It would probably just be a lot a iPhones glued to tables (but stylishly so) and one massive iPad for a view screen. Thinking about it that’s not the best idea because you’d need a stepladder to reach to the top of it and a small army of redshirts to swipe the screen across (and one of them would somehow get injured). Tell you one thing though, my bridge would have a clearly marked toilet in there.

(Seriously not once did you once see anyone taking a restroom break in Star Trek. Or a toilet. Wouldn’t it be great to just once, see someone in there with a copy of Klingon Wives just as the ship gets hit by a photon torpedo, and they get flung clear off the seat?)

One of my current favourite bits of tech is the V+ box (otherwise known as Sky+ for cool people). It’s a Godsend when changing the boys nappy, as he can watch the programmes he likes instead of taking a rather opposing attitude to clean underwear. But I’ve recently been feeling like it’s starting to get the better of me.

We record stuff on there all the time. All the things we don’t normally have time to watch and want to save it for a different day (i.e when Masterchef isn’t on) or things that look interesting but clash with our more popular viewing (i.e. Masterchef) We also record for the boy as aforementioned decoy tactics. So at the moment we have a number of films and programmes, punctuated with episodes of Special Agent Oso & Imagination Movers. I haven’t watched any of the things I’ve meant to.

It’s not because I haven’t got time, in the evening if we look and there’s nothing on I don’t turn to the stored intellectual goodness, I’m watching the Simpsons (which I’m also recording just in case). And there are things on there that demand to be watched by title alone.

There was a programme called “Werner Herzog eats his shoe”. The title alone demands viewing. This is a man  who was baptised in a bowl of crazy and I will refer to bullet points for some of the highlights:

  • He made people drag a massive boat over a mountain for one of his films.
  • He threatened to shoot his leading actor in front of the crew.
  • He was actually shot during an interview.
    Why haven’t I watched this yet? Why hasn’t everyone watched this yet?
     He eats a fucking shoe!
    I’m sure I’ll get round to it this weekend. Unless Masterchef is on….

    >Daddy Fool

    Posted: March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

    >Port Talbot is Batshit crazy.

    Hardly a revelation I know, yet it’s true. You walk through the centre of town on any given day and you will see some fantastic examples of the unhinged massive in all their fist-shaking, world-cursing glory.

     For instance there’s someone who I saw with what was either a massive MP3 player or a home made PKE meter. He had a Sporticus backpack. He was at least 60 years old (ear hair gives it away).
    I also saw a man shout at his sandwich and throw it on the floor. He then walked away composed himself and on his way back he lost it again. He stamped on it so hard a piece of tomato flew out and hit a nearby bin and slowly slid down the side of it like the local drunk after a White Lightning binge.

    You see, my worry is that (and I think it’s starting to happen) when you’re exposed to this insanity it’ll start to rub off. You can think something that seems perfectly normal and when you say it out loud you get a look that’s half bemusement and half “keep him happy while I call a specialist”. But what some people don’t realise it that being a parent to a one year old will speed the process up. I’m sure that other parent’s can back me up on this.

    With children you will do all sorts of things and make all sorts of noises to keep them entertained. You’ll try anything to get that one or two nuggets of fried gold that’ll amuse them and you build up a repertoire that will stop them figuring out the conundrum that is the door handle.

    With my Son I have several of these nuggets. One such example it running back and fore holding him, shouting “CHARGE!”. For him it’s the equivalent of Morecambe and Wises’ Breakfast sketch. Another such one is pretending to eat his chest or hand and uttering the immortal phrase “nom-nom-nom”.

    Like I say, any other situation and they’re after you with the butterfly nets.
    But it works, it makes him laugh and makes him happy which is all we want to give our children; happiness and love. The Disney channel helps as well.

    So after a day when the boy has gone to bed me and my wife can sit in the lovely silence (not including the buzz of the baby monitor), we can reflect on the wonderful son we have and look forward to the arrival of the new baby at the end of July. We had such a day and I took my wife’s hand to hold and gave it a gentle kiss.

    Except I didn’t.

    I meant to, but instead I uttered the immortal words “nom-nom-nom”.

    The insanity continues…