Friday, 3 August 2012

thank crunchy it's friday

So I've really felt the impact of the Olympics this last week.

Every week I set up all the programs I want to watch on my PVR and this week it was really quite apparent that actually all the stuff I'm setting up is on the radio.  There's maybe been only 2 programs I've recorded this week.  Well, I say that, there's Mythbusters on Quest every day, but it's basically all been radio stuff.

This is the first weekend of the four week hiatus for the Grand Prix and after the double header it's now a chance for me to clean the flat.  I usually give it a clean every two weeks and at the end of that it's usually clear it really needs it.

When I have to leave it three weeks for the doubleheaders the place is proper filthy.  I've tried cleaning anyway when there's a Grand Prix, but it really doesn't work - all the stuff I have to do on top of spending some 10 hours on all the Grand Prix stuff just makes it impractical and a little tiring.

It also kills off any possibility of me doing anything else and means I tend to end up with a full list of other stuff to watch on my PVR.  It's better to just leave the cleaning for a week.

Also, the flip-side is that the nature of the double headers usually means that I end up double-cleaning and it's nice to clean when it doesn't really need it.

I'm hoping for some good weather, but it appears to be more of the same rainy, cloudy and not warm but not cold stuff for the weekend.  While I had the cold I wasn't really up for doing much walking and I'm afraid I did a fair bit of comfort eating.

My diet has pretty much ground to a halt.

I've not really put anything on, but I've not really lost much either - I'm sort of bimbling along around a constant just under 20 stones weight.  It's a lot better than I used to be, but still means I'm obese and my target was to get under the line for simply being fat.

I'd need to lose about 4 stones to get down there, which is less than I've already lost.  Trouble is I've sort of slipped back into eating too many bad things.  To lose weight I need to go back to the more strict diet I had before.

In theory I could up my exercise too, but there's not a lot more I could do in the time available I have.  Certainly the exercise I do is balancing out the extra eating, so cut out that extra and I will start dropping again.

Part of the problem, to be honest, is that I really need some new clothes.  The clothes I have are all at the stage of hanging off me.  Obviously if I get some more clothes now and lose weight, then those clothes will need replacing, but of course if I stick with my current clothes then it's just going to be even worse.

Thankfully the new pay for my job should relieve my financial situation somewhat and I should be able to afford to buy some new stuff.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

farnborough pics 1

So I processed the photos from Farnborough and thought I'd upload a few of them. This is a UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle). the weird gold thing on the front is (essentially) a radar. This thing is a boom for refuelling - it unfurls and is like a basket that the plane that wants to refuel sticks a boom into. This is a C295, which is a transport type plane. As you can see, it's quite big, but if we look at the next shot... What this is is the C295 again, which is next to the new Airbus A380, which is the enormous new passenger plane. The C295 actual has a Chinook helicopter in front of it and both together are not as long as the A380. So this is a cleaner shot of the A380 and you can clearly see it's a double decker. And mentioning the Chinook, here's a cool shot down the rotor blade. This beasty is the A400M which I think I'm right in saying is about the biggest cargo plane used by the military. It is a monster (but still smaller than the A380!). Back end of the A400 and a bit of an arty shot. And this is a zoom to show the cargo deck of the A400. When carrying troops they actually put two rows of seats (so there are effectively 4 rows of seats down the length of it). The Virgin Galactic is the space plane that's meant to be so regular people can experience going into space. Think I'll leave it there for today.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Big bugs is one of those staples of horror films.

I guess it's obvious why - bugs are not on many people's lists of favourite beasties and the bigger they are the more icky they tend to be.  So making them really big is an easy way to create a good "bad guy" and of course splatting them is always fun.

Fun is the real order of the day here - infestation is definitely a low-budget horror, but it's the great sense of fun that really carries the film.  I mean, there's not much here that's really original, but it keeps up enough of a sense of what it is that you're happy to go along for the ride.

Saying that there are a few interesting things in there.  In particular the film starts very normally and the switch to the big bug stuff is very quickly and cleverly done.  It also gives rise to a situation where our hero is very much a hero by accident.  I mean, he rises to the occasion in the end, but it's just random chance that puts him into the situation he finds himself in.

The characters are just on the right side of cliché.  You've mostly seen them before and you know what they're about, but you get enough of a flavour that they're proper characters to engage with them.  It has a feel of being what you'd expect to actually happen if an apocalypse happened.

The sort of people you'd encounter would end up being pretty random - especially with how this works out.  The hero essentially revives people and of course if you were in town on any particular day the sort of people around you could be anybody.

The effects are quite good.  It's low budget, but nowadays they can do great things with both prosthetics and computer graphics even on tiny budgets so it really doesn't look bad at all.

One thing I would say is that the ending is a little frustrating.  It's clear it was set up as being for a sequel, but it's very open ended.  It's not quite clear what that sequel would be and the ending is therefore a little frustrating.  Particularly in light of the fact there isn't a sequel.

You know I don't really have a lot else to say about the film, other than that it's well worth checking out if you fancy a bit of big bug action.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

olympics opening ceremony

So I watched the Olympics opening ceremony.

Well, I actually recorded it and then watched it the next day.  The original ceremony lasted something like 3 and a half or four hours, but I only spent about an hour watching it.  The reason for that was that I skipped through a lot of it and also had a lot of it on fast forward.

The bits I skipped entirely were the parade of nations and the speeches.  The first seemed to take hours, which isn't surprising, I guess, since there are something like 200 and odd nations taking part.  The speeches I just didn't really care, but it also felt like a great big comma in the whole thing.

I have to confess I also fast forwarded a lot of the first segment.  It all seemed to take a bit too long for me and also there was a lot of dancing in what I felt was a sort of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical style.  I think this stuff was probably a lot better if you were there.

One of the good things about watching on TV is that you can get close ups.  If you're there you might not see things that close up (unless you have binoculars or a camera with a zoom lense).  However, the down-side is that you have to look at what they show you.  When you're there you can focus on the bits that interest you.

The very first section was a big "pastoral idle" that was then transformed into a kind of industrial landscape.  The idea of the whole ceremony was to present a lot of British cultural stuff, so obviously the theme there was the industrial revolution.  But I had a couple of problems with it.

Firstly I think the impression was supposed to be how nice the pastoral stuff was and how grimy and oppressive the industrial stuff was.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the industrial revolution was a barrel of laughs but the country life pre-industrial revolution wasn't exactly a happy fun-time.

Also, this whole section lasted far too long for me.  However, the end of it, which was a clever introduction of the rings and a very striking image of the rings showering sparks was good.  It also kicked off some stuff I enjoyed a bit more.

As I say, the whole thing was about presenting Britain and British culture and on that front I don't know how a lot of the stuff would have been understood outside of Britain.  A lot of it was quite subtle and specific.  For example, I don't know how well known the Eastenders splash screen is - would people from China know what the hell that was referencing?

However, I don't want to give the impression I thought it was bad.  There was a lot of stuff I really liked, especially the use of music.  There was also a great segment where it was about children's literature, which was really clever.  Also the NHS was a nice thing to pay tribute to - the whole idea of the welfare state is a truly great British idea.

There was also a good amount of humour with Rowan Atkinson and the whole Bond thing being obvious highlights.

So overall I'd say it was good, although I'm glad I recorded it and watched it later.  Danny Boyle did a really good job.

Monday, 30 July 2012

hungarian gp

This cold seems to be hanging around longer than normal.

I don't feel bad, as such, but I still have a snotty nose and a bit of a cough.  It gets a bit better every day, but it's gotten to the point of just being annoying now.

It was the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

It wasn't very exciting.

I mean, Lewis won and the Lotus's look particularly strong, with both finishing in the top three, but in terms of the actual race, very little really happened.

Apparently it's quite a fun circuit to drive and the spectators get quite a good view, but the circuit has a tendency to produce dull races.  On paper it does have some things to it that should make it enjoyable - it's quite short and there are quite a few sharp bends, including a couple of hairpins, for example.  But the trouble is for these to be effective overtaking spots you really need a good long straight beforehand for the cars to build up speed on.  This is particularly true where there are big bends that follow technical bits where drivers may make mistakes.

The main outcome of the race is probably to make the championship a bit closer.  Alonso is still quite a way ahead, but there's now a clutch of 4 drivers who could all potentially catch him.  However, it would probably take a spate of unreliability or lack of performance for Alonso for that to be likely.

There's also a very good chance, given the way the season has so far tended to play out that those drivers will actually all squabble over sins and second places, effectively taking points off each other.  That happened in the last couple of seasons and was a big part of why Vettel won.

It's now the big august break, when the teams are required to have two weeks where they close the factories and everyone takes a break.  It generally results in more than two weeks without races, though.

While it's good for me as it'll give me a chance to catch up, I have to say this year it would probably be better if they didn't have it.  The races will stretch out until November this year, and it's a bit silly if I'm honest.  Particularly as we'll probably start up again in March.