Friday, 30 December 2011

Advent: Dec 24th

So here it is, the Eve of Christmas. I didn't have work today so decided to get some last minute shopping done, which i did. Thankfully as I do hate shopping at Christmas. All done and dusted I went home to wrap them all.
We have this kind of tradition with my friends, every year now for quite a few we have met down the local village pub to catch up or just see each other as we don't all get to see each other in the test for various reasons. I got dressed up, grabbed a walking beer and started walking, got halfway and my friend was waiting for me in a car park, which was wierd but nice because she gave me s lift, very nice indeed. It was quite nice at the pub though some of the people that usually come decided not to this year. We just sat around outside and chatted, got drunk and had a merry old time

Another Christmas even drunk though thankfully not enough to have a hangover.

Advent: Dec 23rd

Had work today and only a couple of people came in. The rest of the time was spent chatting to the Manager and Area Manager, having a mince pie, drinking tea and checking and cleaning up. 

Plus as its about a week ago i don't remember much else.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Advent: Dec 22nd

Woke up about 2pm, as is usual after drinking till the early hours. I had to start my Christmas shopping today as i would be working Friday and probably wouldn't have time on Christmas Eve to do any shopping. So i decided to cycle into town and peruse the wares of Reading. I quickly got bored, not after buying some things for my brother and my dad, so went to see my friend who was working at Sahara. Fast becoming a bad influence on my alcohol intake. I opted for some fruit drinks, non alcoholic as i was a little ropey from the night before but i did have a Suffering Bastard cocktail that was very sharp and dry and woke me up :)

We had planned to all go for a Christmas meal and it was looking like Whetherspoons for a cheap meal and some drinks, so a few friends came to meet me in Sahara and then we walked to Hope Tap. It was stupidly busy however so we went to meet our friends at Back of Beyond, which was also rammed. We walked around the Oracle but every eatery was jam packed or a 45 min wait so we walked around a bit more and opted for Bella Italia on Queen Victoria St.

Thankfully wasn't too busy inside so we managed to get a table no problem. I had pretty much exactly what i ordered from that takeaway the other night. Though this time was lasagna instead of Spaghetti and two glasses of nice red wine. We chatted for a bit after the very nice filling meal and then set off in our respective ways to go home.

A nice festive meal with friends. Not bad for a Thursday

Advent: Dec 21st

Today was a busy day at work, it rained on the way to work and it rained on my way home. Lots of racing, lots of cleaning was done too.

I wish i had written these posts as the day happened because i have no idea what i did throughout the day or when i got home. I do remember buying a bottle of Morgans Spiced rum on the way home and drinking that till about 8am.

Advent: Dec 20th

Was a pretty easy day today, I worked and that was pretty much it really. My friend came for a few goes round the track, we ate pizza and The Red Baron just finished on ITV, which is a great film i might add! We had some kids come to race that were way too small, by a few inches but instead of saying no we got them out and they seemed to have a great time. Always better than sending people away, upset and having paid to race.

Went home, played COD and the day was done.

Advent: Dec 19th

Woke up and the plan was for drinks in town, well impromptu drinks in town. My parents took me to get my Christmas present as i didn't really want anything for Christmas. I generally hold the ideas that if, as an adult with an income, you want something then you can buy it. Yes extravagant purchases, like at Christmas, you generally don't spend on yourself but still, if you want that game/clothes/dvd then buy it with your hard earned cash.

So i asked for nothing, and got something pretty cool. That done and paid for i made my way into town and headed to Sahara for a few cocktails, a few got worse when i set up a tab and as each friend came i bought a cocktail for them. Quite costly though it was, i like spending my money on friends. We all sat around talking to each other and the staff as our friend was working. Paid of the tab, which was £53 and then also bought two tickets for the New Years Eve party they are having there. I try not to plan New Years as it's usually a let down, like most nights out really. So we went with it and now I'm going there. 

We left for Pavs and sat outside drinking and chatting but we left fairly early and even missed out on the usual trip to Turtle. I did have time to completely whoop Lee at table football.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Advent: Dec 18th

I was pretty hungover as i also drank another bottle of wine from the garage on top of the other one and was awoken by my parents asking what i wanted for Christmas as they were going shopping, i said nothing and back to sleep i went :D

The day was pretty much just COD with my friends and watching the end of Misfits Season One. Was a very relaxing day, as per usual :)

Advent: Dec 17th

Today was a semi busy day, the first few hours were spent cleaning and then people came and raced. Like usual really. Wasn't particularly busy or hard but wasn't a run in the park at all. Got home and wanted something nice to eat. Got home and found cold/leftover KFC awaiting a good nuke in the Microwave. Which sounded disgusting, i mean its not the greatest at the best of times but reheated? No thanks. Nothing in the freezer or to make from so to the interwebs for food. Was going to just get a Papa Johns but decided something nicer than pizza was in order. After perusing local takeaways that deliver from Just Eat which are a few, i settled on Pico Bello an Italian down Oxford Rd. So i ordered Calamari Rings, Spicy Chicken wings, Jalapeno Poppers and a Pan fried breaded aubergine with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce baked dish served with spaghetti. What was better was they delivered alcohol too :D So a bottle of wine and Peroni was ordered too and the food was AMAZING. Really nice from a takeaway and shit tons better than reheated KFC.

The night was spent watching Jackass 3.5 which was as good or better than Jackass 3 but i saw that in the cinema and in 3D.

Advent: Dec 16th

I've been really shit with updating so this will be brief lol. Today was one of the busiest days as it is the last friday, kind of, for most people at work. So all day it was just event after event after event. And the last one was a little too much to bear, or even go into lol but safe to say a drink was needed afterwards, and a drink was had indeed. I just stayed up watching Movies and drinking, talking to those who were awake at that time.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Advent: Dec 15th

This picture sums it up for me. I WAS DEAD TO THE WORLD. I was without any fucking energy today. I slept till about 3pm, watched a few episodes of Misfits and went to work. I started work at 6pm and did one event, came home and got pissed on by the rain. Drenched. Home and showered and then again collapsed into bed.

I think i might be coming down with something.

Advent: Dec 14th

So today we agreed to meet at my mates at 11:30am, which was tough for me but i made it just about on time. I got there to find the two playing Call Of Duty, so naturally i joined in and we spent about an hour playing that. We walked to town to get some food (Burger #1) and some train beers. Nice 25min train to London and a good chat and drink and we were ready. The plan for the day was go to Trocaderro to play some arcade games. So a long we caught the tube to Piccadilly Circus and we were confronted with a protest about the Congo (i think) which was nice to watch and for about a 1,000 people there was a helicopter, 6 riot vans and lots of ground patrol. At one point they made a brilliant move of sitting down but after about 2 Min's were ushered along. We went to the Trocaderro but it was shut, at 3pm, on a Wednesday.... WHAT THE FUCK LONDON.

Turns out from my friend Sam that they have moved the entire 2 floors of arcade games to the bottom floor, and to just a little room? Really? Is that possible and fucking sane? I loved that place, the merchandise they offer there is fun and the games are amazing. But fuck you we will go to the one on the embankment from now on.

So with that obviously done we decided to check out Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, not sure if you had to pay so we went to see and you didn't have to pay. We walked around and saw the sights and for some reason the German Christmas tradition is to have lots of fun houses? And watered down beer, and Pizza express... Well that's what i saw, and lots of shit fun fair rides. But the ice rink did look cool. We walked around and then headed to the o2 to see about these VIP tickets we had.
Turns out we got there early so walked around the o2 as neither of us had been there and settled on Harvester for food (Burger #2). We proceeded to the gates? But were told we had to wait till they opened. Our VIP tickets were pretty much just a separate bar rather than the normal stadium style bar everyone else had to go to. Which was nice as it was pretty chilled and we sat down.
Got a beer and chatted then walked upstairs to our seats to see the first band who i don't even know who they were, some female singer who screamed alot and started to strangle the guitarist with the mic cord and then wear a badger mask. They were pretty shit. But through her incessant screaming i realised i would need ear plugs so i set off and a friendly doorman said customer services would give me some so i got three pairs.

The second act was Miles Kane and they were really good, i recognised a few songs from them and they were enthusiastic too. They finished and off i went to the loo and back before Kasabian started. The entire floor for Kasabian was packed, from front to back. We had good seats but they were seats.... Kasabian started and for the the entire set they did not let up. The energy from them were amazing.... I'll try to upload some videos but my fucking god they were amazing. One of the best performances i have seen in years and there was at least two moments where i had a 'moment', like "I need to fucking change things" which was unexpected but the only downside was we were on the side in the seating area. I would have preferred to have been down on the floor with evetone else dancing along. There were a few people around us drunk and dancing but that is nothing to being in a crowd of people dancing. So the set was brilliant, just wish i was a bit more active in the dancing :)

After the gig we waited outside and had a cup of tea and (Burger #3) while we let the crowd die down as it was fucking mental with everyone getting to the tube station. After about 20 minutes we managed to get to the station and a tube fairly quickly and we managed to get to Paddington fairly easily. Unfortunately the train we rain for was fucking packed, i was gladly going to stay behind for 30mins as the people on the train were packed in like sardines. Come on people.... for fuck sake you would be on a slow train for an hour pressed up against the glass, just wait 30mins and get an empty(ish) train. I don't understand. So we stayed behind but then they opened up another 3 carriages so we all piled on. I just sat in the luggage rack of the train for the hour journey, wasn't too uncomfortable. Got to Reading about 1 ish and got a taxi back to cemetery junction. I treated my mate to some food as he got us the tickets and i also decided on two Mr Cod mini burgers (Burger #4) and we went back to eat and play COD. We ended up watching Wipeout USA, which was fun and a very good looking bride lost out on $50,000 by 20 seconds to a M Night Shalamanan lookalike. Gutted.

Got home about half two and just collapsed into bed. A fucking amazing day, a long day and an unexpected day

Advent: Dec 13th

Dec 13th, Unlucky for some, well not December but the 13th.. Well fuck you, some people think it is. The day went like usual, people came to drive and i was dishevelled. But all that work bollocks was sent into the ether as my friend text me asking me if i would like to go to the Kasabian gig at the o2 in London on Wednesday night. So after saying yes i checked my rota and luckily i had the day off. My day and night was planning what to do and when to do it. So today's advent is just going to be erm the precursor to Wednesday?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Advent: Dec 12th

Today was spent just like any other day off, waking up at about 11am, staying in bed till 1pm. Getting up to feed the cats and peruse the Internet, answer emails, reply to twitter and Facebook and see whats going on in the world. Watched a film called Drive, not to be confused with Drive Angry with Nicholas Cage. Now poor old Nic Cage seems to have a hit and miss career, one film is great, one is shit. Rinse and Repeat. Drive Angry was one of those "it's so bad its good" films, which i enjoyed. Drive however was a film i had wanted to see since the trailer. And at last i did. Easily one of my 'Top 5 Films of 2011' (Expect a post later this month). The style reminded me of GTA:Vice City on the PS2, well maybe it was just the pink lettering of the cast/directors etc but the 80's Electro music helped too. Damn i really liked that game. I really liked it and glad the music from the trailer was in the film too, in an equally poignant moment too. As i said, one of the Top 5 of the year.

Apart from watching Drive i just played Call of Duty on line with a few of my friends, now not boasting but we kicked arse but forgot to take names, oh well.

The night was ended with late night Skype and drinking with my friend, watching crap movies and part writing Dec 10th Advent Blog.

Advent: Dec 11th

Sunday was a write off. I did fuck all bumpkiss. I played a bit of Call of Duty, i wallowed in self pity and drank lots of tea. I was lethargic all day, just had no energy. Bit of a shitty post really but hey ho its Advent :)

Advent: Dec 10th

Well firstly the December Tenth image is pretty damn good. Its of which is an amazing digital radio station from New Jersey, USA that has a brilliantly diverse schedule, check out the live broadcast or hit the archives to check out the previous weeks broadcasting.

I had to get up early to work so i was glad i didn't go out to see DJ Yoda but then again Saturday turned out to be a a really quiet day with parties and that's about it really. The day passed without any incidents which was good as i had a friends gig to go to in the evening and wanted to be out sharpish, and like all circumstances when you want to get out on time, or go somewhere, life dicks you. So getting to when i should be leaving the person to cover me wasn't showing up. Cue frantic phone calls and texts to find cover or where he was and to be fair wasn't sure if he would turn up. No cover available but thankfully he turned up late but turned up. So pedalled my little heart out and turned a 30 min bike ride into 20 minutes by ignoring a few red lights on the way. Got home, changed and back out in 15mins and to Marks to lock up my bike and he was waiting outside with a walking beer. We walked to Plug N Play where my friend was playing with his band 13D (Check out the album at the link)

I hadn't heard them live since they played Pilton in 2008 i think it was, for a battle of the bands to play Glastonbury, Micheal Eavis was on of the judges however they didn't win that time. We also watched Kill the Joker who were pretty damn good too. We stayed and drank till the last band finished then grabbed a walking beer and headed to the turtle about midnight, it was fucking cold. The shaved head didn't help but my god it was a chilly walk to town. Turtle these days has been a bit 'meh' for me. Nothing that fun happening, no random conversations with people, might be the weather or might be the fact i cant be arsed? Who knows but its not the Turtle i once knew and loved. We stayed till about half 2 then walked home, wasn't as cold walking home as it was walking to Plug n Play and Town before.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Advent: Dec 9th

I felt that in this cold climate that a haircut is due, mainly shaving my head. Which i did on the way to work and also dropped off a film to be developed from my night excursion to take some night shots with my DSLR and my TLR cameras. I have to say a shaved head is fucking cold :(

The day at work was pretty standard, people went round a circuit. Had some nice people in for their work Christmas party, a couple were very nice ;) But one hurt her back when a couple of people crashed into her. Luckily not too bad. All day i had been wrestling with the idea of going to see DJ Yoda at Sub89 for his AV set. I haven't seen DJ Yoda since he played Po Na Na years and years ago, which for all i can remember was very good, and how could it not be? By the time i came around to making a decision my mate couldn't come and i really didn't fancy trying to get a ticket on the door etc so i called it quits. Popped into Tesco on the way home for a lottery ticket, bottle of wine and two bottles of beer to replace the ones i drank from my dads. Its amazing how much i can fit into the little pouch on my bag, think its 5 cans of beer usually but now a bottle of wine + 2 of those really big bottles of San Miguel. 

The night was spent drinking said bottle of wine and watching films/whatever was on that night.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Advent: Dec 8th

BOOTIE, only one (maybe two) people i know will get why i just said that and if i don't get a text within a day then i know he doesn't read my blog.
I didn't have work till 5pm so i woke up around 11 as usual after a really cool dream about Vampires who had a joke/party store but it was sort of a cult too. They were scared of water and there was a showdown by the river and i escaped over a small bridge, started throwing things in the water to splash on them. One of them then rowed out and managed to control the water into draining. I ran and then the girl i loved came after me and was crying and i couldn't attack her, because of love and shit. Then i woke up.

Anyway i played Call of Duty for about 40mins, won some matches as you do, then i cycled off into town to get my head shaved and drop off a film to be developed from my TLR camera when i went and took long exposures of traffic last week. With the SLR its easy to see it come out right or wrong but with film, who fucking knows?

But after the haircut i went to work, had 2 people in to drive then a GP to run with some nice people, even got  a tip after the event too. Thankfully after i left the pissing rain and howling wind had stopped so the cycle home wasn't too bad. Once back bottle of red was opened, crap TV watched but settled on a film which is brilliant. Its called Dragon Hunters and the film is pretty basic about a girl who meets wannabe Dragon Hunters who become the heroes be the soundtrack is amazing. A track of which i will leave you with tonight.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Advent: Dec 7th

December 7th. What a day. Historically of course, for me it was another day of nothing. Woke up to a cooked breakfast and did some work in the garden for my mum. Started playing Call of Duty again for about an hour then watched the first episode of long forgotten TV show First Wave. Its pretty much aliens invading but Nostradamus saw this happening.... yeah sound shit, surprisingly isn't. So ill barrel through that eventually. Erm watched Our Idiot Brother, which was fantastic. Amazing cast, well written and easily in the top 5 films of the year for me, so i suggest you watch it!
I noticed today my pile of books to read has gotten out of hand. Theres 12 Terry Pratchett books, Gormenghast Trilogy, Mr Nice, Game of Thrones, HP Lovecraft collection, Lemony Snickets - book 2, The Secret War, Stephen Frys autobiography. I know there are more hiding somewhere in the house. I'll get round to reading them eventually, just takes time i suppose.

I just spent the day reading, talking to people and watching TV. South Park is aired at night on Comedy Central, always fun and never old.

DJ Yoda is playing Sub89 in town on Friday so hopefully i can get tickets for me and my friends to go. Haven't seen him since he played a venue called Po Na Na in Reading years ago. So will be good, considering i missed Ash last week. So here's hoping.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Advent: Dec 6th

Today i started work a little earlier as i thought their were some events, there wasn't but a guy walked in and wanted to drive so that was a good start. Pretty much my day was listening to music and painting the toilets, was quite nice and therapeutic and that was it. We had a few people come in in the afternoon and i was out by 8pm. Stopped off at my friends to grab my camera, had a smoke and a catch up. Watched some community and Never Mind the Buzzcocks with Cilla Black hosting. Was pretty fucking funny and i do love angelos epithemiou, he was great on Shooting Stars and below is my favourite joke from it

It is at 3:03 or press number 5 on the time line. Just makes me laugh every time and i love the reactions he gets.

Not sure on his stand up but i will have a look. The rest of the night followed suite, watched Never Mind the Buzzcocks on YouTube. Which makes writing blog posts ever more harder since its so distracting. I do miss Simon Amstell and Mark Lamaar from NMTB, Bill Bailey too. Oh the good old days eh?

Tomorrow is a day off, Christmas shopping and haircut. Yeah exciting life i lead eh?

Advent: Dec 5th

My days off are pretty standard as of late. Call of Duty, films and internet. No that's not why there is a half naked girl here now, that's what came up when i googled Dec Fifth. Sorry my day wasn't more interesting. But what do you expect me to do, be productive or something?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Advent: Dec 4th

I woke up midday without a hangover which was surprising, just very tired. Sundays like that are write offs in my book and that was exactly what it was. Started it off playing COD with my friend, which went on for a few hours until the game froze and i lost all my saved games, slightly annoyed so we had a break. Spent most of the day writing the previous two days worth of Advent posts and just milled about really. My brother got himself a 42" TV to go with his new PS3 purchase and woke me up while he was carrying it upstairs. 
Watched Golden Compass with my dad which he liked but that might have been the couple glasses of wine he had. I mean its a good film but its not great, and has some shit parts. Oh well.

Most of the evening was spent playing COD or watching films, i forget which ones but thankfully South Park is repeated at night on Comedy Central. I might download South Park and watch it from the beginning again, some of the episodes are fantastic.

Advent: Dec 3rd

I was a little hungover this morning due to the drinking of the night before so on the way to work i had my post drinking dry mouth. Usually i just buy some Oranges or Orange Juice but this morning i bought a Mango, 3 large oranges, a pear, 2 bottles of mountain dew and a litre of Orange Juice. Got to work and it wasn't too bad, had some accidents but nothing too bad thankfully. The day was one long hangover, just had a headache all day and was counting down the hours till i was going to my friends for her birthday. Which luckily came around quicker than i thought. 
After work i came home got ready and went to the flat for some party time. I got there and promptly said hello, grabbed a drink and chatted to the few people there. As more turned up the conversation gets better as more people to talk to, including two very gorgeous girls. Lots of alcohol, a few cheeky joints later the conversation got to Twilight, damn sparkly vampires, and general drunken chit chat. A few people joined and a few people left the party and eventually we ended up playing Kinect, well a few of us did. Drunken tennis and drunken Baseball is indeed fun. I would have preferred chatting to the girls a bit more but they left, oh well.
I left at some time i don't remember but i got home about 3am after a nice walk home. For some reason they have a ice sculpture of a polar bear outside of Marks and Spencers and they had a security guard in a van making sure people don't do something to it i suppose, was a bit weird. I think the night cap at the flat did me in because the walk home was rather long, thankfully not cold or raining however.

I really need to start writing these Advent blog posts the day after rather than two days later.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Advent: Dec 2nd

Today was spent like pretty much most days, lounging around. Watched Waynes World on TV. We had work drinks in the evening however i was supposed to go to work at half five and as no one was booked in, meant leaving at around 6pm. Luckily my manager phoned to tell me it got cancelled so i didn't have to go in. Which was good as if i had i wouldn't have been home till late, then back out for drinks.
Got to Cape around 8pm but they have some pissy policy that after 8pm you aren't allowed in with trainers, one of my colleagues had black trainers so no way i was getting in with white trainers. Instead a couple of us went to the Hope Tap for a couple before meeting up with the rest of work at Oakford. Was good, ha vent been in there for ages, good music and just sat around drinking and talking. It's odd that it took 5months for us all to go for a drink, hopefully wont take that long next time.
Cycled home and was in by half 1, all in all a nice night out, relatively cheap too.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Advent: Dec 1st

So here we go again, lets see if i can manage to keep up to date with this. Saying that I'm already a day late. So I'm going to keep the format from last year, google 'December First/Second/Third.....' and just use whatever image is on the first page. Though i doubt anything too exciting will happen. Way to sell yourself.

The first day of December didn't yield much. I shaved off my Movember attempt and it felt good to get rid of a ginger moustache that looked like i should be in the 80's or the 6th member of the Village People. I spent most of the day playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 which isn't worth the £40 price tag, it should have just been an add-on download for x amount of Microsoft points since it really wasn't anything substantial. The story and the set pieces were amazing but it was just a small follow up. I think 5 hours of game play and that was it finished. Compared with say Fallout which usually has about 30 hours of game play before you finish.....

The multiplayer is where its at for me, as was Modern Warfare 2. Playing against another person is always better and more unpredictable than playing with a AI. I never liked Zombies that much but i love Survival mode. Its brilliant, much like in Gears of War where you have to survive waves of enemies. On line is as usual, sometimes its good and fun, sometimes its just full of people hiding till you run round a corner.

I had work but was only for two events, so after the Grand Prix was ran i cycled home, played a bit more Call of Duty, watched a film and bed. Looking forward to (today) Friday as I'm going for drinks with people from work which has taken too long, 5 months and no alcohol with work people is odd. And then Saturday is my friend Kats birthday so mucho drinko to be had.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tales of a Drunkard: Learning

Last night i went to Sahara in Reading for their EDS (Educated Drinkers of Sahara) night. The idea of the EDS is for the members to become educated about the drinks they provide. Which for this Drunkard is a nice respite from just necking drinks for the sake of it. This meeting was the year anniversary for the EDS so was special for them and the drink of choice was Tapatio Tequila. Along with the different Tequilas was a history lesson from Duncan, from Speciality Brands which was amazing. I had no idea where Tequila came from, where it was made and the different types of Tequila, so for me was a nice eye opener into a spirit which is usually just necked on a night out. So the presentation about this family owned distillery was informative and funny and with the tasting afterwards meant you were more appreciative of the drink.

The tasting of the spirit was akin to wine tasting. Little measures were poured into a wine glass, you let it breath then put your nose to it to pick out the different aromas. Then the tasting. The first glass was the Blanco  which was very spicy and very nice. A bit too spicy for me and this tequila is bottled a few weeks after its been made. The second glass was the Reposada which is aged for a few months and was a lot smoother to drink, not as peppery as the Blanco and was my favourite of the night. The third was the Anejo which again is aged at about 18months. This tequila was a little bit peppery than the Reposada but still smoother than the Blanco. There was a bit of a kick afterwards but again nice and smooth, which you could just sip all night.

They are the three Tequilas that Tapatio make, the fourth bottle and tequila we sampled was the Reservas de la Excelencia, the Family Reserve which was usually just available to drink at the distillery or in the local cafes/bars. Speciality Brands twisted their arms and managed to get bottles of it to sell. It has now been discontinued which made the drink that much nicer. It is aged for about 4 years but the one we had was aged for 7 years if i remember correctly and was so smooth. Not as spicy as the Blanco, smooth like the Reposada and full of flavour. By far the nicest Tequila i have ever had and will probably ever have.

As it was a birthday party of sorts there were party rings, chocolate fingers and hula hoops and marshmallows on offer and like someone said "Food fitting of a 3yr olds birthday". After thanking Duncan for an insight into the La Altena Distillery, which has been making Tequila for 70 years, we moved upstairs where Dan the manager made us some cocktails to enjoy and some made with the Tapatio tequila, we sipped, shared and enjoyed the company. Had a couple of birthday shots and i bought some rum daiquiris. Chatting to some of the people there we decided to get some drinks on the way home since we lived in the same direction so Hobgoblin for a nice pint of cider then a walk to Up the Junction for a nice beer. Always nice to meet new people and friendly ones at that. I got home about 11:30 after stopping off to take a couple of pictures in Palmer Park as it was really misty and looked amazing. Though both my DSLR and digital compact were out of battery so my trusty medium format camera was placed on the floor so who knows if it worked, might pop back there again.

So all in all a good educational drinking session was had. Can't wait for the next one.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Internet

Ever since the inception of the Internet there has been wonderment that man has gazed upon. In this digital age EVERYTHING is at your fingertips if you know how to use it. Things from Michelangelo's blueprints to the Anarchists Cookbook, to everything in between. The amount of information at your disposal these days is far greater than that you could ever wish for from teachers and lecturers. You could, if you so see fit, learn more from the Internet than you could from school/college/university. But you would have sod all to show for it other than a Good Will Hunting take on life. Which some would say isn't a bad thing.

Together with the Pandora's box of information comes a sense of control, well there should be a sense of control, with the Internet. As Rule 34 states: There is porn of it, no exceptions. Basically if you have thought of it, there is porn. And that is the dark side of the Internet. With information becomes distortion. Years ago i downloaded a faces of death video off Kazaa. And that video still haunts me, whether it was true or not i still remember that video, the colours etc. This is what the Internet has become.

With the Internet, and notably through 4-chan, have become this sense of anonymity. You can say and do whatever the fuck you want with near on no repercussions, well nearly no implications. If you are old enough to remember ICQ or yahoo chat rooms before they became petri dishes of perverts, then you will know it was part of the explosion of talking to random people around the room. Chat rooms linked people, with either common subjects or in most cases perverted sexual endeavours. It was like having pen pals but without having to write and wait weeks for reply. Although written notes were more meaningful, digital counterparts were not only easier to reply to but meant you could get through a months conversation within a week or two.

With chat rooms and programs came websites and search engines. Before Facebook and google there was Myspace, Bebo, Anglefire, Geocities, Tucows, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves. People were able to make websites catered to their own sense of style and person. I myself had a site about conspiracy theories, a few of my friends had sites full of nonsensical wonderment and before Geocities closed its doors i downloaded by friends sites (Although you can download the entire geocities directory). All this basically gave birth to Twitter and Facebook that you no doubtly use day in and day out.

But how well do you know that person that you 'follow' or you added on Facebook? The Internet provides a safety net. You can be yourself, you can be someone different. How many times have you gone into town, to a club and though "Well being myself gets me nowhere so how bout i just make up someone" you can be anyone you want in real life but most people decide they would rather do that on the internet. Its easy to tell if someone is lying in real life because usually they trip up on what they say or sometimes you can just tell. However if you talk to someone online, how do you know who or what they are?

How do you know the person you talk to day in and day out is who they say they are. Do you really know that man/woman are who they say they are. What they do for a living is what they actually do etc. There is a degree of trust that you instill in someone, usually someone you don't know, yet you will gladly talk to someone, open up to them as if you knew them for years. Why? You wouldn't walk up to someone in a coffee shop and lay on them your life story or what you have been up to the previous week.
That person you might talk to online, be it Facebook/Skype/Twitter/AIM/MSN/Any other social networking site or program, how do you know they are who they say they are? How would you feel if after a year of talking to someone that they turn around and end up being not who you thought they were?
I have had the pleasure/displeasure of knowing someone for about 18-24 months. Talking to them pretty much daily, knowing them well enough to know that if they did or didn't say something, that i would know what they meant from that. How well do you know your family or friends that you know what they mean when they don't use words? Anyway you get to know someone, about their life and their family, and they do you. Its a pen pal relationship where you just talk to someone else in the world, which is what social media is all about really. But you develop feelings for someone, i mean who wouldn't if you ended up talking to someone day in and day out for a year or two. As trivial as conversations might be "I broke up with my boyfriend, i went on holiday, i had my mum visit, my day at work was shit" Its these interactions that make you develop attractions. 
But my initial question, somewhere up there, still beckons. How do you know how you talk to are who they say they are.

Now this is going to get way too personal for a blog post, well considering most of my other blog posts anyway. I have known girl named Lexi for about 2 years. A random occurrence and following on Twitter brought us together. We both had a love of geeky things such as games or the odd TV show/film. We connected over things such as family, life and tea. When i said things she listened and when she didn't say things i knew what she meant. Its the whole reading between the lines part of relationship i suppose? Knowing someone inside and out without meeting them is a concept a lot of people cant comprehend, and for a lot of people will understand fully. 
Anyway move on about 2 years, a few months ago, and i come upon a revelatory piece of information. There is a website called Tineye, that allows you to pretty much back trace an image. I use it to see if anyone is using my pictures that i upload on face book or my other blog that i use for photography. Anyway, like googling your own name, i used it on a picture of Lexi and was suddenly confronted with an entire google database of websites dedicated to this girl and her pictures. Which i hope you can understand is a fucking shock. Imagine finding a website dedicated to your friend, family member or girlfriend/boyfriend that you never knew about. It took me by shock. So if anyone reading this wondered why a month or so ago i was acting weird and depressed well that's your answer, in a way. 

Upon confronting Lexi i got a story about how she was once a model for Myspace and her pictures were used all over the place and yadda yadda bla bla a story was woven. Now the usual reason someone would fake who they were on the Internet would be because of low self esteem or many other psychological reasons i am not even going to bother going into. So this story was woven which seemed bollocks but also through knowing someone rather well seemed plausible. Heart said one thing, head said another. And upon pressing for actual information the story then changed. It changed to using Twitter and a picture of a model to see, psychologically, how people perceive online persona's. Which is a fucking good question, really. I mean whats stopping you from grabbing a picture and using it as your own persona? Common decency really.

So much bollocks later, about this that and the other, an actual person was found. Her name was still Lexi, but the picture was different. But the person was the same. And that's all that matters. The person you know is the same but the trust is gone. If one of my good friends turned round and relayed some piece of information that was a major contrast to who i knew and what i knew about them, i doubt i could ever trust them the same.
So there is a degree of doubt in everything and anything i knew about 'Lexi'. I can never fully trust that person like i used to. My feelings have changed but are still the same. I'd love to turn around and call her a psycho bitch that had no right to do that, but at the same time its the Internet. Whats stopping her or you? 

Yes for a day or three i was empty. Yes i know don't really like her as a person and that she doesnt mean the same to me as she did say 6 months ago. Yes i don't believe a single word she says anymore, not so much that its untrue, but that what right does she have to have me trust anything she says. But at the same point everything i have learnt about her is true. How do i know? I don't. But talking to someone for a long period of time you just know. Making up a persona is hard, changing your name or image is easy but changing who you are, your likes/dislikes, fears or desires is hard.
I really don't know where this blog was going, maybe i needed to get things off my chest or warn people of the dangers of the Internet? Kids growing up these days don't really know the dangers of the Internet. And i don't mean that pervert down the road that logs onto your Stickam broadcasts, i mean anything and everything you do is on the Internet. It ever goes away, and it can never be deleted. I may or may not have lost/left my job because of things i posted on here or facebook. Try googling your name and seeing what information comes up, its scary sometimes what you find out is available to everyone to see. 

The internet is a wonderful thing. It is a dangerous thing. It stretches the realm of understanding but it also constricts what you can perceive. It offers warmth, solace and caring. It also offers darkness, cold and subjection.

It is up to you how you use it. 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Cereal Killer

One thing growing up I enjoyed. Breakfast. Whether you ate it with your family talking about the days activities or you're sat discussing the news or like me you sat watching cartoons, it is usually a staple diet for most children and adults. It starts the day. Be it toast, porridge, cereal, coffee, tea, fruit, yogurt.

As your tastes change from being told what to eat and what you want to eat in the morning (Cold pizza is damn good in the morning) you forget the little things that set you up for the day. That cartoon, that comic or that toy. Wait, what? Toy? At breakfast? Are you overdosing on vitamin C, you don't have toys at breakfast, your not in hospital. But wait, that happened when I was a child. Was it a dream?

No it was not.

The time was when you raced to open a new box of cereal, either to cherry pick the toy or just for that chance. The older you got you realised that you could just reach in and grab the toy. Yes toy, I keep saying this word, but what do i mean toy?

Well back before retarded children started to put anything and everything into their mouths you were able to find toys in packs of cereal. Admittedly not as cool as American kids toys like decoder rings but still pretty awesome. The picture at the top is something most children in the UK must have seen/had as a kid. I have some toys in the loft I have seen recently and some were water squirters from The Mask and some Simpsons ones too. You got figures, reflectors, stickers, tazos. Lots of things were on offer to the breakfast children. But alas not anymore. The best you get are offers that give you money off other things.
I remember once there were three toys connected, the cutter obviously malfunctioned, it was Christmas, Easter and my Birthday all rolled in one. Three toys in one! AMAZING.

Fuck, I opened a bank account when I was 10 with Barclays, this offer was with Shreddies... You opened an account with something like 75p and Barclays added 25p to make a solid £1 and there you had it, one shiny new bank account. I still have this bank account, albeit it rather overdrawn, but this is the power of cereal. 16 years later I have this bank account, this was offered to me by a cereal company....

What has gone wrong, why do we not have toys. Surely parents should say "No Timmy don't put that replica of Nelsons column in your mouth, its not edible"

Kellogs, I implore you. Add toys back to your boxes of cereal. It will be the best thing you can do.

Friday, 18 February 2011

April 2012: The End of the World or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Loved My Robot Overlords

Don't be fooled by the robotic puppy dog eyes of Wall-E, he means to kill you. Or conveniently dispose of your rubbish in a silent manner. Or kill you. Or make a castle out of blocks of rubbish much like Minecraft. Or kill you.

The whole hubbub surrounding the April 2012 'We are all going to die' scenario is the Mayan calender pretty much predicted most things that happened in an interstellar manner. Up until 2012. Which most people took a sign of "Well they saw everything till then and nothing more, therefore we will die". But much like the Y2K virus which "Would set off all the nukes, therefore we die" it won't. Or will it?

Some troubling news has befallen me, and anyone else with an Internet connection. They are becoming self aware. Recently a Robot named Watson competed on Jeopardy and tied with one of the human competitors who was a reigning champion. Watson learned from his answers and for the most part got them right. When wordplay came into it he got confused and answered incorrectly. Now this learning robot also reminds me of a TED talk about a robot comedian. What was special with the comedian robot was it gauged the audiences response from both applause, laughter and silence and catered its comedy routine based on that. Another learning robot.

Coupled with Big Dog, The Xos ExoskeletonSelf Assembling Furniture, This Lifelike Robot mimicking facial expressions and Realistic Animatronic Eyeball, we are getting a hell of a lot closer with Self Aware Artificial Intelligence. Well its pretty much there really. There is something called a Singularity which is defined as:

A predicted future event in human history caused by the ever-increasing ability of new technology to speed up the rate at which new technology is developed
 This can be described by Amplified Intelligence, modifying the brain with implants, sort of the same way that bloke shoved a camera in his head. Though it was not meant to be as his body rejected it. So kinda pointless.

It can also be described by Artificial Intelligence too. By that we mean computers that can think for themselves and either update themselves to be smarter than us and itself or create machine to work for it. Which would be a scary day.

So it falls back to the 2012 scenario and i put this to you. At some point in our future this 'Singularity' WILL happen and when it does, if it is to lead towards Artificial Intelligence, then some point after the Self Aware computer will start creating other computers and machines. And so on and so forth, may be years or decades but it will happen. Now some point after that people will become frightened of this technology and will either revolt or regress. Yes it plays out like a science fiction film, but that is only because within science fiction lays science fact.

So going through the decades, maybe even centuries something will happen where traveling at the speed of light will happen. And with that is the possibility of time travel.
Now if you were this advanced computer and you knew humanity would revolt and pose a threat you would try and stop this. And the only people that foresaw this happening where an advanced civilization known as the Mayans. So you go back and kill them all. Thus stopping them from communicating what will inevitably happen in the future.

Yeah i know sound far fetched and preposterous. Fun to think about though eh?

Either way this singularity will occur. It will lead to revolutionary discoveries in medicine, science and human understanding. It will lead to a serene time within all. We will be able to feed the hungry, cure the sick and stop wars.
It could also bring about a time of never ending war. More powerful machines and weapons. Nanotechnology could be used in weapons where they are dropped on cities and people/buildings are devoured from within.

I hope to be alive when this happens. It will be amazing, and to be fair the past 25 years i have been alive have shown just how fast technology can progress. Computers have gone from being the size of rooms to the size of a credit card. Phones now have the capabilities of computers.

Hell the Internet. I am lucky to appreciate all of this around me as i have seen it grown. Kids now have all of this technology from the get go. But they abuse it. They are not learning and progressing. There is a 'Tech-Stalemate' We are not progressing as fast as the past few decades, that too will herald the singularity.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Life In Balance: Music and Film


So the post before kind of delved into how i feel about music and film, and what it does to both the cinema goer and the film itself.
One film combines both of these two beautifully and is called Koyaanisqatsi. It is am experimental film from 1982 that combines slow motion footage with time lapse stills to bring a Life Out of Balance, which is what Koyaanisqatsi means when translated (well thereabouts).
It won numerous awards, one of which was the Francis Ford Coppola endorsement and he is now credited as executive producer. The visual elements go from amazement, to haunting, to puzzlement. And the soundtrack from Phillip Glass compliments it brilliantly. The soundtrack is nearly as long as the film, film is 86mins and music is 76, but sometimes you don't know its there. It transitions the different segments of the film as it moves from the early stages showing the environment and humanity through the progression of war, atomic age, right up to the 'micro-ship' age at the end. All culminating in the final scene showing the ultimate price of technology and the progression of man. NB: Its not the challenger disaster which happened 4 years after.

Some of you might recognise some of the music from the first public trailer of GTA IV, or the scene from Watchmen where Dr Manhattan talks about his origins. Koyaanisqatsi has also appeared in parody on the Simpons where an Itchy and Scratchy show entitled Koyaanis-Scratchy: Death Out of Balance was shown. Madonnas 'Ray of Light' video also resembles the feel of Koyaanisqatsi.

The soundtrack was so popular that the Phillip Glass Ensemble toured while playing the music live over the film, pretty much like War of The Worlds, if you have ever seen that on its tour.

Koyaanisqatsi was the first in the 'Qatsi' trilogy which shows Life out of Balance. Powaqqatsi was the second and shows the Life in Transition, primarily third world countries and losing the fight of holding onto their traditions in the face of industrialization. The third is Naqoyqatsi which means Life at War and shows the  'transition from a natural environment to a technology-based industrial environment'.

All three films are cheap to pick up if you want to see what I'm talking about. Those less inclined to purchase them can view the film below courtesy of Google.

Admittedly i used to watch this stoned and concentrated more, as you cant really have a busy mind when watching it. Not that I'm suggesting you get stoned and watch it, just pay attention, don't discount it for being some arty film you wont get, people interpret what they see in different ways. Watch it, think about it, discuss it.

Music and Movies

To me the arts are a complicated thing. You have paintings for example, which some people just sit and stare trying to figure out the meaning. Maybe there isn't a meaning, maybe the artist just drew what popped into their head.
The same with photos. When someone takes a picture why does it have to convey the emotions the photographer was feeling or trying to capture. Why can't it be about capturing a moment in time before it flutters away never to be captured again.

Music in film and television is vital. It tells the audience whats happening. It reminds me of the Shifty eye dog episode of The Simpsons. Dramatic music makes him look sinister, though changing the music behind it would change it to a jovial nature or whimsical. How do you know he wasn't checking for traffic before he crossed the road?

Aside from music leading the narrative, i like when the soundtrack is part of the movie in more than a 'background noise' way. Films where the music and whats happening on screen are intertwined are brilliant. Recently there has been Inception, Tron: Legacy and Social Network that have all amazing soundtracks which i love listening to but are part of the film too.

Some films have also given me new bands to listen to. Wristcutters: A Love Story introduced me to Gogol Bordello, a band which i now love. Garden State introduced me to The Shins and Stir of Echoes introduced me to Rolling Stones via Paint it Black, the soundtrack to Juno, to me, was amazing. It determined the pace of the film, showed the same emotions as the characters.

As well as soundtracks having good bands, music that is made specifically to the film are detrimental to a good film. Who here cant hum the Superman Theme? Or the theme to Star Wars. John Williams and Danny Elfman played some of the best ones of my childhood. Which is why i suppose that Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman sound the same :)

Classic soundtrack overtures like the ones in Shawshank redemption, Gladiator, and even Star Trek are also brilliant to have in a film. To me a film that has stagnant score behind it, or music that doesn't fit anything that happens on screen is a flop.

This is the overlying music from JJ Abrams Star Trek.

Its the theme that plays over pretty much anything dramatic that happens in the film. Its haunting in a way but i love it.
Speaking of haunting music and the correlation between film and music, that will be addressed in my next post.
But i will leave you with my first love of music in movies/trailers and the one that got me more into what happens in film other than actors speaking.

This is a trailer for the 2007 film Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) Its a brilliantly visual film, great story but this trailer is what did it for me. Lots of WTF moments happening at once and when the yellow bus enters the screen, that music that kicks in was it. The band are called M83 and that track made me search them out straight away. Give the film a watch and also the bands album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts.