Thursday, 27 March 2008

Sweded Movies

For those of you that have not seen the film "Be Kind Rewind" I say shame on you and go see it, but you may then not be familiar with the term "sweded". To swede a movie is to essentially remake it yourself on a very low budget. As per the plot of the film the main characters remake the films that their video store customers request after all the VHS tapes in the store become accidentally erased. The tapes are described as having come from Sweden as an excuse for higher rental fees and longer wait times.

Anyway it seems the concept is taking off with some superb results. Search for the term "sweded" on YouTube and you will find many great examples. See below for "Star Wars, A Cardboard Hope".



Other great examples include, RoboCop, Die Hard, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters. There is also a superbly made Lord of the Rings but the production values are little high for a true sweded movie.

Enjoy!

Monday, 24 March 2008

A Thought Regarding Death

At the edge of mortality, a man is not concerned with what he will never see, but rather with what others will never see in him.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

A Trip Down The Memory Superhighway

I have been an obsessive keeper of bookmarks for many years. I did try to sort through them a few times and even publish the better ones but as you can see I am not good at keeping them up to date. I'd eventually like to find the time to sort them out as although many have disappeared and are lost to us, there are still a few gems amongst them that date back to the early nineties when the Internet was perhaps smaller but certainly less commercial. This allowed the general oddness of those of us who populated it back then to shine through. :-)

For instance, there is The Bunnies Survival Tests and later The Bunnies Strike Back. Two sites that undoubtedly qualify as classics. Another one has to be the Really Big Button That Doesn't Do Anything. I have spent hours reading the comments on there. If those a little too useless for you, perhaps something more practical would suit. How about the SGI Fridge or My Other VAX is a VAXBar? Or there is the bizarre. The Infamous Exploding Whale, Corpses For Sale or Sin All You Want, We'll Print More. Finally, if you're feeling just a little more destructive, there is always the legendary BOFH or The Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer.

I have enjoyed revisiting some of the sites that I used to frequent in days gone by and as there is little chance I will ever clear out my bookmarks I will probably post some more soon. After all, I have thousands more. ;-)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Not Much To Report

I’m sorry that I have not been able to post for the last few days. Work has once again taken me abroad and I’ve just been too swamped to get anything written. I am now sat at the airport as I write this waiting to catch my flight home. I won’t actually be able to make the post until tomorrow though by the look of it as the wireless card in my laptop appears to be having some time off from working.

Travel broadens the mind so the saying goes, but at the present time all I can focus on is getting home and perhaps a nice pint at the local. I have a few days off work for the Easter holiday and so I will hopefully be able to post a little more regularly over the coming week.

The only news I have in the meantime is that the family managed to talk me into getting another cat. Meet Pat (the Cat!). So named as he was brought home on St Patrick’s Day.


So far we have kept him separated from the dogs and the other cat. I think a gentle introduction is in order and with all that has been happening here recently we decided to postpone that until the weekend. He is a feisty little fellow for his size and I have no doubt that he will be able to look after himself. It’s going to be nice having another man around the house.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day

Having an Irish wife and children, there is certainly no escaping St Patrick's Day in this household. However, I assume helped by the lack of celebration associated with our own patron saint, the habit of drinking green pints of Guinness and wearing giant leprechaun hats is gaining popularity in this country generally. But what interests me, is that so little is actually known about a man who supposedly lived over a thousand years ago and yet it is enough to have his memory celebrated around the globe to this day.

Born in Roman Britain, when he was about sixteen he was captured by raiders from Ireland and taken back there as a slave. He lived there for around six years before escaping and returning to his family. At some point he joined the church, eventually becoming a deacon and later a bishop. He eventually returned to Ireland as a missionary. It seems that we cannot be sure exactly when he lived, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century, and by the eighth century he had become patron saint.

A lecture entitled "The Two Patricks", published in 1942 by T. F. O'Rahilly, caused enormous controversy by proposing that there had been two "Patricks", Palladius and Patrick, and that what we now know of St Patrick was in fact in part a conscious effort to meld the two into one. St Patrick is said to be buried under Down Cathedral in, County Down alongside St Brigid and St Columba, although this has never been proven.

More information can be had from the ubiquitous Wikipedia link here. Whatever the truth, can I wish Nigeria and Monserrat a Happy St Patrick's Day as they also venerate him as their patron saint but always seem to be forgotten.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! Tabhair dom a rud céanna mar atá ag an fhear ar an urlar. :-)

Sunday, 16 March 2008

LRBoards

If you are a Land Rover fan like me you are probably already aware that the online Land Rover fan base is enormous. Most Land Rover clubs such as my own, the Discovery Owners Club, have an online presence in one form or another. But there are also an increasing number of more informal groups springing up. With the relative ease and low overhead in which a forum can be created and maintained, these online groups are being created and are proving very popular in linking like-minded users together. Not just to swap technical advice and anecdotes but to help with the organisation of meetings and events.

One such group, of which I am a member is LRBoards. A collective that started with a breakaway from the forum run by LRO, they have soon grown in to a sizable entity in their own right that shows no signs of slowing. With a very relaxed but no-nonsense set of admins, the forum has got to be one of the friendliest I know, with a sense of camaraderie that is unmatched in my opinion.

The forum is split in to sections that represent general Land Rover chat, technical posts on each of the models, off-topic chat etc. It's not exclusively Land Rover either but appears to attract fans and owners of other marques also. Regular meetings are arranged in different parts of the country that cater for all, from the hardened off-roader to the casual fan that enjoys the social scene.

With a spiffy new facelift just completed, why not pop a long and join the fun, and be sure to tell them I sent you. ;-)

Friday, 14 March 2008

The Contract

The pain in your heart,
I give that to you.
The anger in your voice,
I put that there too.
The worry in your mind,
It's free of charge.
That sense of despair,
I'll make that large.
But if you think if I didn't you'd be glad,
Think again, because you're my dad!

Jon Hunt - 14/3/02

Happy Birthday Lolly!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Had Enough?

This nation, in my opinion, seems to be currently gripped in fierce state of apathy and complacency. Complacency about many things but in particular fuel prices.

Here, like in many other countries, a tax is imposed upon the sale of fuel. British drivers pay two taxes on the petrol they buy at the pump: Fuel Duty and VAT. Of these, fuel duty remains by far the most significant. The duty is looked upon as a source of general revenue, with some being put towards the maintenance of roads etc. In 1993 the then Conservative government introduced a fuel price 'escalator'. This was a way for the government to not only make money but also to help protect the environment by discouraging people from using their cars. It was set at 3% above the rate of inflation. It was abandoned in 1999 with tax on fuel having risen from 72.8% of the overall price to 81.5%, and British fuel prices having risen from one of the lowest in Europe to one of the highest.

Action is clearly needed, but we seem to be just sitting back and allowing the government to keep raising the prices every budget (12p per litre since Labour took over). A very easy simple change would be to stop charging VAT on the fuel and duty price combined and just charge it on the fuel price alone. Removing this double tax would immediately save the motorist over 9p a litre.

If like me you are a motorist that is tired of being dumped on and has had enough, why not visit Had-Enough and register your support. This complacency must end. Don't wait for the hauliers and the farmers, it's time for us to do something.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Iron Man

My favourite super hero from my comic reading days has to be Iron Man. I can only assume that the lack of superpowers is what attracted me, as Batman is my second favourite, but Iron Man had to have the edge because he could fly. Created by the genius that is Stan Lee (of Spider Man fame) and his younger brother Larry Lieber at Marvel Comics, Iron Man first appeared in 1963.

As I am sure you are aware by now, a new live action movie version will be released at the beginning of May. It stars Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and weapons designer, who is captured by terrorists in Afghanistan, and forced to build them a weapon. Instead he builds himself an all singing all dancing suit of armour and escapes to save the world. Also starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges, it is directed by Jeff Favreau.

As is the norm these days there is a very slick looking website to promote the film which features some nice trailers. With a trilogy already being hinted at, a new Hulk movie later this year and even the possibility of an Avengers film sometime in the future, it looks I'm going to have some childhood reliving to do. Great timing for my midlife crisis!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Food Court Musical

Being a father I have had my ears battered by the phenomenon that is High School Musical on many occasions. Musicals irritate me at the best of times. The idea that nobody thinks it is odd when a hidden orchestra strikes up and someone randomly bursts into song, oh and of course everyone else knows the words and the dance steps. Real life is not like that, right?

The folks at Improv Everywhere obviously had the same thought. As I posted before, these guys like to stage "missions" in public places for no other reason than to make the public smile. This time they took the unusual step of getting permission from a shopping centre to stage an "impromptu" musical in the food area. They used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the shopping centre’s PA system. The mission was filmed with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors.



My favourite part has to be when the security guard appears to be about to break up proceedings but shocks everyone by joining in with the song himself. The full version of the song (the video is edited and therefore the performance is as well) can be found here, and a full mission report by IE can be found here.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

My Chariot Returns

Well she's back! Last weekend I was finally reunited with my beloved Land Rover Discovery nicknamed "grep". As I have posted previously she has been off the road since last August getting some much needed welding done. Let me clarify that, a lot of welding was done. New sills, new inner wings, new front body mounts, new load-space floor, new rear cross member and a host of other minor things. I owe a massive debt of gratitude to two very good friends, because without them she would be scrapped by now.



So now, to fit the dog guard, rock sliders, chequer plate, window tinting, heavy duty front bumper and all the other bits that have all been waiting for her return. I'm so happy, I can't stop driving it. It's costing me a fortune in diesel. :-)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Sad News

Two pieces of sad news this week. Firstly the death of rock musician Jeff Healy. After a long battle with cancer he passed away in a Toronto hospital aged only 41. I really loved Jeff's style of rock blues ever since I first saw him in a cameo appearance in Road House with Patrick Swayze. Much is talked about his remarkable guitar playing using a memorable flat across the lap style, but he was also a trumpet and clarinet virtuoso. Having played and recorded with the likes of BB King, Mark Knopfler and George Harrison, Jeff could be considered a legend in anyone's book and I'm sure his music will live on. See below for a recording of Jeff and his band singing "Confidence Man" in Brazil.

The second piece of sad news was the death yesterday of the "Dungeons & Dragons" co creator, Gary Gygax. Back in 1974 together with Dave Arneson, Gary came up with a set of rules for role playing games which is still universally used today. He was aged 69 when he passed away after being ill for several years. RPG are not really my thing to be honest but you have to admire this guy. An estimated 20 million people have played D&D since its inception, and many tabletop games, fantasy books and video games owe much of their inspiration to the methods that Gary and Dave created.

Monday, 3 March 2008

GEMMO

What a busy weekend I have had getting the Land Rover back, but more on that in a future post.

Being a long time fan of Google Earth I am subscribed to several blogs and feeds that are dedicated to it. One of them, Google Earth Hacks has launched a public beta of their MMORPG. Called GEMMO, it is a RPG based entirely in Google Earth. You can create a character based on one of three races, Warrior, Elf or Mage, and travel the globe fighting various enemies. You can accrue gold and experience points as you win each battle, helping you raise your character to higher and higher levels. You'll find hidden shops in various parts of the earth, where you can buy increasingly powerful weapons and/or magic spells. Each city (there are nineteen available at the time of writing but more are being added) is guarded by a "boss". Defeat the boss to earn a crystal. The more crystals you have the higher you will rise on the leader board.

To be honest, I am not a huge game playing fan, but the rather inventive nature of this really appeals to me; and of course it is free. Visit here to download the KML file. Please note that the beta currently only runs on Windows version of Google Earth v4.2.
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