Thursday, August 30, 2007

Big Kid post of the week.

So, I'm not going to ask why a grown man was going through a box of Lego the other day. Mainly because there's a box of my own been knocking around waiting to be put in the loft, and my building fingers have been getting itchy...

I was (am) a big Space Lego fan. The classic stuff - early-mid 80s was my period - although I have some of the original trilogy Star Wars stuff tucked away too. I have to agree with Elliot though, I suspect all these big money tie-ins have removed some of the play value, partly with the number of highly specialized bricks that can only serve a limited purpose, and partly because you don't need to invent your own characters and stories.

And just to prove you don't need all those special bricks, this was done long before Star Wars Lego was invented.

Anyway, I'm quite excited about Her Babyship turning 2 in a couple of weeks - that's officially old enough to play with Duplo! With appropriate adult supervision (ie me) of course. :)

In other news, the inexorable pull of facebook has started in this direction. Granted, it has already allowed me to catch up with an old friend before he got married and left the country, but from here it will probably either be abandoned (like the MySpace account I have lying dormant somewhere, having decided it wasn't going to sell any books) or sap every last spare second (and some that aren't spare) from my life.

Next week: something about science fiction and Christianity. Or possibly a Lego enactment of Countless as the Stars.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yoda on Mars: Reunion

So this weekend a bunch of people whose classic cars appeared, at some point, on Life on Mars, got together at the Cheshire Classic Car Show at Capesthorne Hall. And yes, this is the actual Cortina.

Elsewhere at the show there were some other nice '70s cars, including this Mini which came 2nd in the 70s concours class (Yoda was joint 3rd with the other 16 entrants).
Although I think this is what a Mini should look like when souped-up 70s-style.
If we can ever afford to take a long vacation in the States, we're doing a road trip in one of these.
Failing that, I'd settle for a picnic in one of these.

The Life on Mars group, incidentally, won first prize for the Club stands. So we got a little plaque to share between about 20 of us from throughout the Midlands and North West. I think it's my turn in about 2013.

Actually, all I did was turn up, the prize really belongs to those who organised the gathering, and especially put together the backdrop and the 70s memorabilia collection that lurked behind it. Rumour has it we put some noses out of joint among the more established clubs too... see, a sense of fun (and letting kids crawl in and out of your Cortina) goes a long way.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Now this is funny.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Who you calling funny?

There have been some rather disturbing commments this week suggesting that I may, in fact, be 'funny', or at least humourous.

I would like to use this post to utterly refute these allegations.

It may appear, at a glance (especially at my blog tour posts) that I can blog humourously. However, in my defence, I would draw your attention to the fact that none of these allegedly humourous posts actually say anything. I can't write about stuff in a funny way.

Actually, I did once write a good X-Files skit, which would completely fail to work out of context, and a sequel to An Inspector Calls, which I seem to recall was quite funny in a completely surreal way, and had Doctor Who and the entire cast of Bod in supporting roles.

Are you convinced yet? Or do I have to post the whole of 101 Things to do with a Kettle first? I'll do it you know.

I'm not a funny guy, and if I need to prove it I will post some of my 'humour' writings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CSFF Blog tour - The Legend of the Firefish

I suppose I owe it to those less accustomed to my off-the-wall Brit humour blogging style (known colloquially as 'wibble', or, more often, 'rubbish') to explain where these pirates came from.
Well, as luck would have it, it turns out they evolved from aliens, so it's ok that they're here.
On further examination, it seems they're here to promote the swashbuckling pirate fantasy stylings of George Bryan Polivka - the Trophy Chase Trilogy, which consists of the aforementioned Legend, The Hand that Bears the Sword, and the impending Battle for Vast Dominion.
On their travels they have roped in the nice people at Harvest House to help, with their 'Reach out to a pirate' contest. And all these people, some of whom have even read the book. Odd concept, that.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Captain Jack - he's in Torchwood, right?

Look at that, I take a week out, and my blog about Christianity and sci-fi has been hijacked by pirates. Pirates I tell ya! Space Pirates I could deal with - like the combination of Douglas Adams and Tom Baker's loopy Doctor. Or Time Pirates - there's an idea to play with. But no, these are genuine, eye-patch and parrot, salty sea-dog type pirates. What do I know about pirates, beyond Captain Pugwash and his band of Urban Myths?

Oh well, might as well splice the mainbrace, for the good ship CSFF Blog Tour has buckled its swashes and sailed us out into stormy seas, in search of The Legend of the Firefish.

Which was silly, because you can find it on amazon.

Sheesh, those wacky CSFF blog tour guys, eh?

Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Wayne Thomas Batson Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Karri Compton Frank Creed Lisa Cromwell CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Merrie Destefano Jeff Draper April Erwin Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Russell Griffith Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Jason Joyner Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Lost Genre Guild Terri Main Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Chawna Schroeder Mirtika Schultz James Somers Speculative Faith Jason Waguespac Daniel I. Weaver

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More family stuff

Her Babyship gets out of plaster tomorrow. What happens then we have yet to find out, so it will be an emotionally tiring day for us, followed by, well, who knows what.

I will, no doubt, be back once she has settled into whatever her new situation is.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Review - The Clone Wars

I'm still not sure I followed the plot of Star Wars Episodes II & III. I'm sure I didn't follow the plot of Star Wars: Clone Wars, the animated series set in the years between the two films.

That, I am sure, is because the original format - 20 short animations - translated onto DVD gives the impression that it should form some kind of consistent whole, which it didn't, at least not on first viewing. (The Volume 2 DVD, being five longer animations, is less disjointed.)

The Volume 1 DVD is essentially 20 individual battles between the Jedi Knights under Chancellor Palpatine, and Count Dooku's Confederacy forces, acted out in glorious anime-style. (There was a story arc too, but I found it more satisfying to enjoy the battles - like Mace Windu single-handedly wiping out a small army of droids, where the anime influence is most obvious.)

There is a little more plot development in Volume 2; with more of Anakin's story, including his becoming a Jedi knight, and the introduction of General Grievous and his asthmatic wheeze. There are also a couple of lines from the original trilogy that sneak into the dialogue ("What an incredible smell you've discovered.") and various other snippets which serve to link the various movies.

So, is it any good? Well, yes it is, actually. The Clone Wars have been part of Star Wars mythology since 1977, when Old Ben is remeniscing to Luke Skywalker, and it's good to finally see them in a bit more detail. The plot is pretty thin to say the least, but the action more than makes up for it. It is less disappointing than the prequel trilogy, overall. The animation style may not be what some Star Wars fans expected (hey, it's no Ewoks!) but that's probably a good thing. Besides, who doesn't love the stylised Yoda?

Oh, and next year we should get more: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in glorious CGI.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pop Quiz, Hotshot

OK, so who knows where I went last week?

And what significance it has in the world of sci-fi/fantasy?

I'll even give you a few picture clues...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Have a Cuppa Tea

So a certain blogger, well respected in these parts, has confessed to not really knowing who the Kinks were. Which seems as good an excuse as any to broaden the subject matter of this blog.

The Kinks are the most under-rated band of the 60s. You just have to listen to the debut Kinks to get some idea how far from the norm You Really Got Me was - against some more 'conventional' Ray Davies-penned songs and a couple of Chuck Berry covers, its originality - and Dave Davies' awesome guitar solo - shine like nothing else on the album, and is often credited with creating the guitar driven sound of more recent heavy metal/rock music.

The Kinks are, however, best known for Ray Davies' brilliant lyrics on 60s hits like Sunny Afternoon and Waterloo Sunset. Every home should have at least those two songs somewhere.

The Kinks first came to my notice via The Stranglers' version of All Day and All of the Night, and The Jam's cover of David Watts - both of which sound perfectly at home alongside those bands own compositions. Since then I have been building up a collection of the band's back catalogue, over the last 15 years or so, and although much of the 60s and 70s albums have been released on CD, quite a lot of gaps remain.
My nomination for their best album would come from just after their 60s heyday, when Ray was starting to play with ideas like rock opera and 'concept' albums. The Village Green Preservation Society, with its quintessentially English themes, has long been my favourite, although Muswell Hillbillies is running a close second, largely due to Have a Cuppa Tea, which should be an anthem for English people everywhere.

I also recommend Other People's Lives, the debut solo album by Ray Davies, which does sound a bit Kinksy, but you'd expect that, and probably be a bit disappointed if it didn't. Davies does take the opportunity to swear a bit, and inject a little more humour into some tracks (Stand Up Comic is particularly funny, imho). It does sound a bit wierd to hear the quintessentially English RD singing about Thanksgiving Day (thrown in as a bonus track) though.