Friday, December 28, 2007
However the much sadder affairs of state now see our illustrious leader, Gordon Brown, having another pop at terrorists in Pakistan - a country now pretty much destabilised and rather significantly, one that possesses nuclear weapons. I'm sure you can see the parallel here - the kids may be about to have something a little more destructive than stones to throw at our windows!
Perhaps if we stopped getting involved so much in foreign affairs and concentrated a bit more effort on sorting out our own society we'd all have a safer world to live in.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
And remember that's just a 40 inch waist. This is not the morbidly obese category that requires two seats on an airplane or has issues with turnstiles. So I have to wonder if the policy of Next is to ensure the overeight can't get a decent pair of trousers to increase their social stigma in a perverse attempt to shame them into losing weight?
Well, I'm afraid this fatty is back to M&S where they still make clothes for all shapes and sizes!
..and some really nice multi-pack custard donuts! :)
Monday, November 05, 2007
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the evening was absolutely hilarious, so if you can still find any tickets for his tour I would very much recommend laying your hands on them. Sadly I have the memory of a goldfish so cannot actualy recount any of his routine for you here, (on the upside that probably means he won't sue me for breach of copyright though), but needless to say he had me and the rest of the audience in far more stiches that anyone who uses the term "Sleepy-time" to mean "going to sleep", should ever be able to do.
Friday, October 26, 2007
3 F****ing years!
I tend to be a fairly tolerant person normally, but I'm afraid this depths to which mankind has sunk not only wants me to bring back the death penalty, but lets actually have people like this tortured to death. Bugger this "the death penalty isn't a deterent" - I don't care if it doesn't deter people, but these sad w***ers DESERVE to be put to death. Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating any vigilanty group going out and doing the job to this one person in 3 years when he gets out. No I just mean the time is now long past when we should have stopped worrying about the basic human right of trash such as this man is. Human rights should not apply to people that prove themselves to have no sense of human behaviour. The law and the view of society needs to change such that people have to live with the consequences of being evil, and not let evil people get let off because of feeble excuses like bad parenting, drug use, depression and the like.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Anyway, 2 things struck me as I watched the match tonight. Firstly it amused me how we british (to be said with the same indian accept of the guy from "it ain't half hot mum") always like to be the underdogs. With the score at England 8 and France 9 I had a conplete stranger comment "doesn't look good, does it?" on the way past to the loo, and Shelley sitting next to me saying, "It'd be great to win, but I can't see it happening". Now I know the line of wisdom from Hobson's Choice goes "It's always best to look on the worst side of things first. Then whatever chances can't be worse than you've looked for", but do we take this feeling in England just a little bit too far? We seem to always assume we'll be crap at something just so we won't get disapointed when we do fail. The problem with this approach is that, a) we are just as disapointed as ever when we lose anyway, and b) if we go into things assuming the worst, have the time that apathetic approach puts us on a bad footing to start with.
The second thing that stuck me was oneof the newspapers that headlined with a picture of the Bayeux Tapestry and commented about the Norman Conquest that it depicts that, "this was the last time that the French beat us at anything important. Although in my best pub landlord spirit I have to agree with the sentiment, may I just stop everyone to point out that really speaking they didn't even beat us then. The invasion was by the Normans, or as they were originally called the Norse Men. These were Nordic people who had already invaded the North of France and settled there. The original Gauls that were displaced never had anything to do with the invasion. So next time any frenchman tries to remind you about Hastings, just remind him that those same Normans probably raped and pillaged his ancestors a few hundred years earlier!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Sure enough it turns out that although Ash could raise the capital to buy the place (as I'm sure she would have had first refusal from June), it seems she's got the next best thing and the new owners have given her the managers job.
And from the grin on her face when we spoke to her, I think she's more than happy with the situation.
Good on yer, Ash! I'm sure you'll do very well.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Sadly, my dear, yes, a toaster is very much out of the question...
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Poor old Jeremy Irons. Now I'm a great admirer of a lot of this guy's acting, but he does just seem to kiss his brains goodbye when it comes to choosing which fantasy movie to be a part of. Back in the 80's there were a string on cheesy fantasy movies, but as they were in vogue at the time, films such as Hawk the Slayer, Ladyhawke and Krull gained a cult following and a certain cache. Sadly Jeremy Irons wasn't in them. Several years later after the brief period in which it was OK to like fantasy films was well and truly over, he starred in Dungeons and Dragons a terminally awful attempt to cash in on the geek following the role playing game had (yes I know I was one of those geeks in my teens……and twenties…enough about that). Then we had a brief attempt at it again in the 90's with Willow which did OK but finally in the good ol' naughties, The Lord Of The Rings arrived! Suddenly fantasy is cool again and it's time for Hollywood to churn a few more out. Up pops Jeremy Irons again and Eragon is born. Oh dear, oh dear! At least this time he's not alone in his shame with the likes of John Malkovich and Robert Carlisle also being drawn into the mess. The critics at least seem to let Rachael Weiss off saying her voice over part as the dragon was the only good bit of acting in the movie, but I must admit even that wasn't exactly inspiring.
I think the problem is that in the 80's fantasy was just getting going as a genre and the public (well teenage boys at least) were happy for anything they could get. Now in the 21st century everyone is much choosier about what they'll watch. The Lord Of The Rings worked because Steve Jackson had a passion for the material and gathered around him others with the same passion. He also had a piece of fiction to work with that had been born out of years and years of work by Tolkein to create a rich and complete fantasy world that had it's own coherence. The results were spectacular to say the least.
In Eragon, we have the a Hollywood stampede of "Quick lets get another fantasy film out to pick up the void LOTR left" so we straight away lack the passion for the source material. And the source itself, is a book written by a boy in his late teens who wasn't even a twinkle in the milkman's eye when Hawk The Slayer came out. The, by now, horrendously overused "farm boy becomes hero" plot is the basis for 90% of all fantasy fiction so it has you yawning from the word go, and the villains are just as stereotyped. This is a child’s attempt at writing a novel, and it's been very successful as a novel because the audience it taps into do want more and more of the same stuff. In a book your imagination can flesh the characters out a bit. In the film your left with the same Evil King (our star wars Emperor) with the same sorcerous side kick (aka Vader) on the dark side and the same farm boy (Luke) aided by the same hero of old (Kenobi). The names all change for Eragon but the setup is the same. The added twist of plot is the bond between the Rachael Weiss’s Dragon "Saphira" and our hero Eragon. Unfortunately this departure from a "known" plot device, just smacks of plagiarism for any who know and like the Anne McCaffrey books for which the "Impression" bond between dragon and rider that occurs at hatching and gives the pair their telepathic link, is the central theme of her Dragonriders of Pern series. It is such an obvious rip off it surprises me I've not seen it mentioned before.
So with such flaky source material, a Hollywood push, and no help from a good scriptwriter, the curse of Jeremy Irons doing fantasy has been well and truely established. Sadly I have a feeling that Eragon, the movie may have put a nail in the coffin of fantasy movies for another decade or so.
On the other side of the coin, I do have to acknowledge that a) Jeremy Irons did do the best possible with the woeful material he had to work with, so this post is not a condemnation of his acting, and b) I'm told that the book is much better than the film…well, it couldn't be much worse.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Anyway, this one had the extra little twist of the looming war with Germany and deals with the implications of a German scientist working for the British in the 30's. What struck me as odd though was the fact that the film opens with the words "based on a true story", and indeed a quick Wikipedia lookup of Gerhard Zucker reveals he was doing just as the film says developing a rocket post on Scarp in 1934. A bit of poetic license is of course taken with the love interest and in reality both his attempts at a rocket launch failed whereas the film depicts him succeeding in the second launch. Also the final outcome of the Gerhard differs from film to reality (won't tell you in case you actually want to watch it ever) but in the main it has to be said that this was indeed based on true events and a real historical person.
So why is this odd? Well, for once I actually sat watching the credits (as the end music was quite a good bit of Clannady/Enya style Celtic stuff), and when it rolled down to the very last bit of the credits the odd bit came along.....110 minutes after seeing "based on a true story" written on the screen, I see "All characters and incidents protrayed, and names used in this film are entirely ficticious. Any resemblance to real events or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental". Odd? Well no actually, it's just plain lying!
It just struck me as amusing that a company would be so worried about being sued that they'll print a complete howler of a pork pie to cover themselves. Which is effectively lying to cover yourself in case you are lying.....!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
A) My ambition is to kill lots of infidels, so I spend years training to be a doctor , get myself a job in the UK hospitals where I could easily slaughter loads of defenseless patients...... and then I get into a car full of propane and drive into a brick wall to incinerate myself! Our family fortune survey says... X!
B) I am a concerned news presenter that has found out that a small amount of anthrax could easily be dispersed as an aerosol over London and kill millions. It hasn't been done yet and the general public have never even considered the threat. So I broadcast the possibility on prime time TV which firstly scares a lot of people and secondly gives the idea to the terrorist (who just like the rest of us had never even considered doing it until this TV show! 10 out of 10 for an enthralling documentary... minus several million for good thinking!
C) I'm a zealous terrorist but I'm just wanting to scare people....honest. So I make up a device with highly dangerous chemicals and fuses to look just like a bomb and get on a tube train..... with it hidden in a backpack so no one can see it. Oh that is until all the chemicals leak and the fuse detonates itself only, which burns the back of the backpack wearer without setting of any explosive. Where to start? Is the stupidity in trying to scare people with a fake bomb that no-one knows is there? Is it just incompetent stupidity in making a crap bomb? Or how about the real stupidity in thinking anyone in the whole of creation would believe you were not trying to blow the thing up in the first place!
Of course what we really miss are the good ol' days of the gentleman terrorist. Remember the IRA? They used to phone you up before hand to tell you when and where the bomb would go off! As Patrick Kielty says, they were a better class of murdering scumbags.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
So here's the way it goes.... You're head of the state and so "the buck stops here", but it never does because you've always got a fall guy in the ranks below you. And then when the fall guy takes the heat, you step in and bypass the legal system to get them off their sentence!?
Call me old fashioned, but just as leaders of state should not be above the law (even though it seems they are), I don't think they should be able to nominate friends and cronies to be above the law either.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Tuesday before last those nice men from Blazes came round to install a new gas fire. So we had to empty the living room and since then we've been living in the conservatory as it is a truth universally acknowledged that any room in posession of a new fireplace must be in want of a decorating! Not that I'm complaining about the decorating. As usual most of it is being done by Shelley as I'd only get in the way, so I can't exactly winge about the hard work. The only problem is the timing. Since I work from home, and am now working in the conservatory I've had a week of the rain clattering on the plastic roof and it becoming a bit like chinese water torture - it's worse than being in a tent in the rain!
Still, I can always hope that the roof manages to leak on the TV and result in a nice insurance claim followed by a new HD one! :)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I do feel sorry for both the missing girl and her parents who must be going through such pain at the moment, but I must say I am a little surprised that the media seems to be only briefly skirting round the issue that these parents are guilty of neglect - they left their young children in the aparment with no supervision, while they went out to enjoy themselves. Unless you are close enough to hear a cry and be there within a few seconds (and I mean 10 or so not a minute or so), then you are being negligent. When the Portugeuse media suggested this, our news machine seemed all to keen to report how uncaring that news item was, carting out all sorts or indignant relatives to say how disgraceful it was to suggest the McCann's were anything other than the most loving of parents.
But the fact remains, Madeleine would in all probability still be with them, had her parents looked after her properly. I'm not suggesting any lack of love for their child, but they made a big mistake, and put their own comfort before their daughter safety. Nor am I suggesting that it's their fault Madeleine was taken. No, blame lies squarely with the abductor. But, by ignoring the responsibility to their children that the McCanns failed in, or suggest it is wrong to question their behaviour, is to somehow validate this neglect, when the lesson that needs to be learnt from this sad occurance is that it is not OK to leave your kids alone while you go out to play. If you want to take the children with you on holiday, look after them. If you want a calm relaxing one leave them at home with relatives or trusted friends.
Or, like a couple I saw when in Cala San Vincente, ensure you book a room right next door to a relaxing restaurant and take a baby monitor with you. They managed to enjoy a meal by themselves in a lovely beach side restaurant, but at the same time could hear what was going on in there room, could see the door into their room, and could physically be in their room within 10 seconds of anything that worried them.
Do I think they should be punished for this neglect? No, certainly not - they are being punished more than enough already, and it will not help Madeleine one iota after the event. Should it be a lesson for other parents - Yes - stop thinking "oh, it'll be all right" - just like the lottery...it could be you...or your child.
Don't get me wrong, I sincerley wish for Madeleine's safe return and hope that she and her family will be reunited. As such please take a moment to vist the official website below and see if there is anything you can do to help.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So, what happened over Easter? Sunshine and warm weather! Absolutely unheard of on a bank holiday weekend. We made the most of it with a few little trips out to Runswick Bay and Staithes and had a great time shooting arrows on the Sunday morning. Mixed in with this was The White Swan’s “Beer & Cheese” festival all weekend which warranted a couple of visits – Laughing Leprachaun winning my vote as a delicious porter (even if some of the locals thought it was a bit “girlie” compared to the pub’s own Black Porter) and Atlas Brewery’s Three Sisters on the more traditional Ale front was leading the pack too. On the cheese front Oxford Isis (a soft creamy one) and Crabtree ( a firmer Italian Alpine style cheese dipped in brine, that comes from a farmhouse cheese maker in Cheshire) got my attention as very tasty cheeses that I’d not come across before, and there was lots of the old favourites (Munster, Lincolnshire Poacher, Shropshire Blue etc.) to complement the Ales too.
We also went to see the Goodies on Stage in Darlington on Easter Saturday, although Bill Oddie was only present on a pre-recorded video on a big TV screen that was “scripted” to interact with Graham Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor on stage. All in all a great evening of nostalgia, plus a few clips of the earlier work the guys did for the BBC that I’d never seen.
By Monday when the clouds started to come over I think we were ready for a lazy day watching the telly.
But wasn’t it nice to keep thinking for several days on the trot, “It feels like Sunday…but, no, I don’t have to go to work tomorrow!” – great feeling!
Monday, March 19, 2007
It’s now even easier to post on The Virtual White Swan. As long as you register your email address as your google mail account used for blogging, then just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it’ll appear as a post, just like this one! Of course I’d appreciate it if you remove any standard headers and footers your email software may use
The real downfall was not going straight ahead and buying off the web, but instead visiting those nice people in Custom Built Archery in Guisborough to see all the kit before we buy. I knew it would be a bit more expensive to have it all setup especially for you, and had already assumed that the budget was going to be up at £300, but once you can see all the kit close up, and try it out then that entry level just doesn't feel as good as the next one up. And then if you are going to pay the extra for the next model you might as well go the whole hog....And to cut a long story not quite so long, £500 later I am now the proud owner of a Hoyt Nexus recurve bow.....which will mean absolutely nothing to any of you except Shelley, but look at the picture - doesn't it look nice?! Mine is a mottled red'n'gold colour rather than the blue
Friday, March 16, 2007
Now although this is a fairly funny sketch with it's ironic twist on those famous celebs motives, my only problem is (again) with Ricky Gervais' part in this. As usual he's relying on the joke that he's doing the charity thing for the wrong reasons, which is OK, but I've yet to see him do anything for the right reasons first. To make that sort of sketch you need to earn the right first by being seen to do something first like going out to Africa and experiencing it first hand. The rest of them have put in the hours doing something for others, have made the effort to make a difference. Mr Gervais has "appeared" at charity events without being paid..gee whiz!...If I earned what he did, one night without pay in return for the airtime on TV wouldn't be to much of a burden.
Don't get me wrong, I have no idea if Ricky Gervais gives any money to charity or not. And I don't know if he does anything off camera either, but being in the public eye as he is I just think that he needs to make some form of serious comment on his commitment before continuing to, apparantly, join in for "the laughs".
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I pointed this out to someone who said, "yeah, but that includes all those staving millions in Ethiopia" as if that fact somehow invalidated the ranking. No - that's exactly the impact this meter had - the other 97% of the world consists of people who worry that they can't afford an education for their children, or can afford medicine for their illness, or can't even afford food to keep them alive. And here's me worrying about if I can afford a second holiday each year!
Not that I'm going to start feeling guilty about either my "wealth" or about the fact I will continue to worry about affording holidays and other luxuries, but I like it when things like this give me pause to sit back and realise just how lucky I am. Life is good to me really.
Now let's get back to moaning about my work....!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Shall I give him a stroke as he's looking cute? Best not.....It'll just start off the drooling again and the half squwark/excuse for a meow that's his ever present cry for more food. Best just let him sleep.