Happy Mandela day (and 95th)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Farewell Spartacus.

So with one expectedly bloody episode we’re about to witness the end of a legend, yes, the Starz version of Spartacus:Blood and sand/gods of the arena/vengeance/war of the damned is all but over.

There was a weird transformation in the show, the first series was undoubtedly all about men fighting, blood and inappropriate bellowing. Not to mention sex, nudity, foul language and absolutely no space for character development. Batiatus was a scheming shit in Episode 1 and remained so until his death. Crixus was a tank sized gruff killing machine and remained so until the end of the series. However a few episodes in, when the new gladiators have “look death in the eye, embrace it and fuck it”.” a transformation happens. The show stops being a 16 year olds wet dream and has the bones of a TV show.

Andy Whitfield

However by the end of the first series the star of the show, Andy Whitfield, was diagnosed with  non-Hodgkin lymphoma and production of Vengeance was delayed. However this gave us the brilliant “Gods of the Arena” a prequel showing the house of Batiatus before the massacre of slaves. And in it Batiatus isn’t a scheming shit, he seems almost human he enjoys the company of Suetonius (before his eventual betrayal and rather gruesome end) and seems to be rather happy. Even his wife  Lucretia isn’t as scheming. Of course the advantage of a prequel and the writers discovery that “hey there’s a story in here” mean this really was one of the better series and marked the transition from “300 the tv show” to fully fledged historical sword and sandal epic.

I’ll miss it I miss the dialogue, yes it’s “Jupiters cock this” and “fuck mouth with cock that” but it does pick up some subtleties with classical Latin, if you use a literal translation then this is how they would speak if they spoke in English. I hope DaVinci’s demons is a suitable replacement.

Now remove self from fucking sight, TV and I are set to purpose.

‘The Newsroom and Osama Bin Laden’

I’m not going to attempt to write a review of this Episode, I’d rather you watch it next week on Sky Atlantic. I will say this though. After a shaky start it’s finally clicked, the episode was well written (crappy love story aside) and the moment with Don on the plane yelling about how paranoid they are that you have to remain seated when the plane is still, and the subsequent reminder of why the rules are there culminating with him telling the crew before the rest of the country that Osama was killed was very emotional.
However as usual the best bit belongs to Will

“Good evening. From New York City, I’m Will McAvoy. ACN is now able to report and confirm that for the first time in almost three decades, the world has no reason to fear Osama Bin Laden. In just a moment, in a live address to the nation, the president will announce that in a coordinated operation under the cover of darkness, US Special Forces tonight killed the leader of Al-Qaeda and the mastermind behind the deadly attack of September 11th, 2001. It’s been nine years, seven months and twenty days since America’s most wanted criminal took from us 2,977 American sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, friends and colleagues. We were transformed that morning into a different nation, more fearful and, of course, more hostile. And while nothing, not even this victory our country has waited for for such a long time, can bring back the souls lost on that terrible morning in New York City, in Virginia, a field in Pennsylvania, and all across America and the world, let tonight serve as a welcome reminder that throughout our history, America’s darkest days have always been followed by its finest hours. Here now, from the East Room of The White House, the President of the United States.”

Come along Pond!

After a rather poor Christmas special Doctor Who is gearing up for another season. A season which marks the last one with Amy Pond as the companion, also marking a sharp decline in the number of short shorts on TV.
It’s also nice to see Kryten finally  living the dream and branching out from Red Dwarf, although I was expecting the four horsemen to turn up followed by the Riviera Kid.

The main question is twofold. 1 How many times does Rory die? as illustrated below

And 2, how do we get the new assistant?

HMS Illustrious Build#1

Today after months of looking at it and sighing I finally took the plunge and bought Airfix’s 1/350 HMS Illustrious. Deciding to spend absolutely no extra money I opted for the gift set as it is a gift. To me, from me, frankly I deserve it.

The advantages over the gift set to the regular models is that you get the paints, brushes and glue (Although the paints end up in the bin) also as a nice touch is the 20 page booklet giving a good overview of the ship and a few profiles on the crew.

On opening the box the first thing you notice (after the price) is the size of the kit. She’s around 60cm’s long and 10 wide when built but when all the sprues are out the scale of the task is daunting.

I have noticed a warp in the hull around the middle, hopefully this is fixed once the lower hull, hangar and flight deck are attached. I did get the Airfix Bismark last month at it suffered horribly from warping, so much so it went in the bin. It’s becoming a more regular feature with Airfix as I also had a BAe Hawk with one wing touching the ground. While they’re minor inconveniences to experienced modellers for someone just getting started it’s enough to put someone of for life.

So the Aim for today is to get the hangar built up and if possible some of the Boats painted and mounted. Firstly the deck needed to be painted:

It looks a bit patchy but once it dries it should look more even. Plus even if it doesn’t with the exception of a small area around the elevators (the 2 bits not painted) the rest is hidden under the flight deck. The idea is to have the Fore elevator either half up or full up and have the aft one down.

After a ton of painting and a rather disastrous attempt at getting the deck markings sorted I finally got the Hangar sorted. One lift is fully up hence it not being visible and the other is almost raised.

So that’s the first bit done. Some of the open areas are painted ready to be glued before the fiddly bits are added. The hull is seriously warped and that will need sorting.

How not to have your company act on social media

Social media, you either get it, or you’re a politician (more on that later.) It’s no surprise that in this age of Twitter, Facebook, LinkdIn and like the forgotten bastard child, Google+. With our lives becoming even more linked to these sites there is little surprise companies want to be involved more. For example a personal Favourite Airfix on Facebook uses theirs to broadcast news such as new releases and it’s also a good place to show off your creations.

Other companies use them more as an extension to their customer helplines, for example the local bus company flash important updates and field a rather basic helpline service, to everyone it’s a very vital service and generally a good thing.

The same cannot be said for the other local company. Yes the company Arriva also runs services, and on one occasion the bus was on time, sadly this was before the invention of camera’s so cannot be confirmed. Arriva’s Facebook page resembles the buses, they’re rude, loud and are quite crap. A simple question about a timetable change results in staff members shouting at the public to “learn to drive then, Simples.” In any other company that would result in a stern talking to. Added to this is the fact the company hiked the fares up 5% and withdrew a lot of services. Now I could understand the fare increase if I saw where it was going. The buses are past it, the drivers clearly aren’t getting new uniforms and the fee’s to charm school were obviously a waste.

Arriva’s defence on this is “they were mentioned on the website and on facebook” failing to acknowledge that the increases weren’t advertised on the buses themselves, and from what I see the main users of the bus service are- how to put this nicely- of a certain age where gizmos and doodads are beyond them.

Arriva really screwed the end game on this. Bringing in sweeping changes without proper notice and relying solely on Facebook to advertise these changes that effect every user of the service. Couple that with the rather cowboy attitude of the “Arriva Bod” (A person more concerned with 3 points won by Newcastle United than the questions from a mother who’s child was stranded) means that Arriva are at least remaining consistent with their level of service. Which is next to 0.

Bargain Hunt

So now the madness of Christmas day is over we’re left with ‘la petite mort’ of Boxing day and more importantly the January Sales.

For those that are from Mars the January sales is when companies that couldn’t shift their rubbish knocks the prices down to clear it in time for Spring. Or if you are a certain electronic retailer named after an Indian dish, you hike the price up 3 days before Christmas then lower it again.

Frankly I like the sales. I can get stuff I actually wanted for Christmas at a lower price. Like a Laptop that was Half price, then full price then slightly less than half price. With the way the economy is for some companies this is the hail mary pass. Billions is expected to be spent by consumers in the next few weeks. Shopping centres are already filled to capacity and I don’t get paid till Friday.

That’s no moon

From the metro

“Call handlers at the Hertfordshire police department received a call after 8pm from a resident claiming to have seen a UFO with blazing lights, visible from his window. The genuine panic from the man led to the call handlers treating the sighting as a serious matter.

When asked if the object was making any recognisable engine noises, the caller said he could not hear anything like that.

The police decided to release the audio of the phone call online, not only making people aware of the silliness of potential prank calls but also as a means of informing call handlers and the force of what to expect over Halloween.

Jason Baxter, assistant manager at the force communications room, said: ‘While the caller here may not have been phoning out of malice, his call still tied up valuable police resources and time for something which was not an emergency.

‘It also illustrates the kind of bogus call we might receive to 999, whether as a hoax or an inappropriate call.”

 

This reminds me of the person on Tyneside who called the Coastguard after seeing a distress flare. Only for it to be Jupiter.

In which Twitter pisses me off.

Twitter, everyone has it and every show has their generic presenter robot announce “Or you can tweet us on Twitter @” (Or in the case of Question time has an actually robot presence on Twitter) it used to be such a nice place.
However with the advent of X-factor and the fact that Facebook continues to roll out “improvements” much in the same way losing your head would be an improvement on your height, most of the devotees of the offal of X-factor now loiter in the virtual bus stops proclaiming their love of it.

When I started on twitter, like everyone else I didn’t get it. However it soon became a place to contemplate the deepest mysteries of life such as “what was the biggest blunder of WWII” or “Just how much humor does an airport authority have” now it is just a place to bitch about something some Canadian he/she did that has no relevance on anything.

Trending topics used to be a glimpse at what the nation was talking about, thus providing the answers to 8 out of 10 cats but not answering the greater question “Why does this show suck now?” When the riots happened it was the best place to get the news before the News got it and turned it arse side up.  Now the news is normally at the bottom of the topic list behind “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (Sponsored link) or “JUSTIN WIPED A SNOT FROM HIS NOSE!”

There was a time when this inane horse**** was confined to one part of the internet. Funnily enough it too consisted of profiles with Stars and moons in peoples names, and those awful oh if I take this photo in the dark with my head pointed down it shows my moody soul. It was called myspace. It was like a containment zone for the stupid. Then Murdoch bought it and it died.

Another reason why he should be on trial at the Hague