Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Blog!

In all the excitement I forgot to wish my blog a Happy Birthday. I started writing it on the 21st of February 2005 in preparation for the move to Leicester, and I'm still writing it. Worryingly this represents the most commitment in my life at the moment!

Since I forgot it's birthday I'd better get it something on the way home.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Name's Kerrigan, Stuart Kerrigan

You Are 80% Gentleman

You are definitely a gentleman. You're very considerate and you have excellent manners.

Occasionally, you slip and do something foolish... but usually no one notices!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Birthday

I decided to enjoy a late lie, a shower and shave before putting on fresh clothes and going to work feeling respectable. Then came the knock at the door - which I opened assuming it was the postman who had somehow having ninja'd his way past the security door and was clutching some massive parcel he was unable to shove through my letterbox.

I was therefore somewhat surprised when it was the building maintenance chaps standing there, staring at me in my bathrobe. However this was better than last time when they knocked on the door at some ungodly hour, burst in and decided the best way to investigate the leak in my bathroom was to check out the bedroom where I was hastily changing to answer the door first.

Apparently after reporting my shower leaking in December my lottery numbers had come up and they were here to tear up my bathroom and replace the shower cubicle. The net result of this exchange was that they graciously allowed me twenty minutes to get ready I went to work looking like a hobo with 2 days worth of stubble, and in the first clothes I could find lying around. Using some of the 20 minutes to check the post I was somewhat disturbed by my present from mum and dad - a pair of pink lined rubber gloves complete with ring and pearls. As I walked to work I tried to contemplate the significance of this gift... were my folks indeed trying to say:-

1. "Son, we think you are gay." (hence the pink lining and girly pearls)
2. "Son, we think you need to find a lass and marry her." (hence the ring on the rubber gloves)
3. "Son, it's your turn to do the dishes when you go back to Dundee." (the most likely)

I got into work and discovered a card on my desk. As Andy pointed out it was either from him or Ben. I'll let you guess who it was from, but let me give you a hint - it wasn't the tosser.

Work progressed a little slowly with only surly students making rather humorous errors in an effort to amuse me. After midday when I went upstairs for lunch and ate the most odd chicken baguette and drank a pint bought for me by the gracious Mr A. who let the rest of the staff know this was my birthday. This was followed at 1:30pm by me taking an extended lunch break and going to the student's union beer festival, which was cheap.

This also meant that after lunch I had already consumed 3 pints of beer. I was somewhat unwilling to continue imbibing alcohol as I had nightmares of getting drunk and somehow waking up the next morning with a fit of amnesia to discover I'd taken B. home with me. It also meant that after lunch I was somewhat less than efficient.

However I didn't have long to work - at 4:30pm I was dragged across the Student's Union for a pint, then back to the staffroom for another pint - the net result being I had consumed 5 pints while at work that day. That's probably not much compared to other folks, but at least Scott Adams would be proud I'd beaten the system.

Amazingly still sober I staggered home at 6pm to quickly try out my new shower (which still leaks everywhere), shave and get ready for a nice meal at La Tasca. Which I had, and was very nice, despite people assuming I lost control of my camera after 2 pitchers of sangria. La Tasca's is very nice - and gets the seal of approval. Much tapas, sangria and weird cocktails later I collapsed at the far too respectable time of 2am.

So apologies for the long rambly post: in a nutshell very good birthday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Age, Juju and Fuzz

It's been a while since I posted an update saying how things are going. Mainly because it'd be a long rambly post and because I was waiting for something interesting to happen to blog about.

Things are going good - in fact I was going to reflect how things are much better they are than this time a year ago. Tomorrow's my birthday and in honour of this the university has decided to host a beer festival. (Actually I'm pretty certain they were going to have one anyroads, but allow an old man his senile delusions).

Work has seen its fair share of bad juju - but the juju has been aimed at someone deserving for being a pain in the backside for 2 years. I'll make a long ranty post about it sometime.

I saw Hot Fuzz on Wednesday with some chums - actually quite a lot of chums. It's very, very good - the first half is quite slow but the second half is cinematic brilliance and the idea of Lethal Weapon type cop films being transplanted into southern English villages works on so many levels. I'd say it tops Shaun of the Dead, but that may be the post-cinema afterglow talking.

Anyroads, that is for me to be honest - beer tomorrow, followed by Tapas which will hopefully rival the ones in Glasgow's merchant city.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Source Reviewed

The postman delivered my Russian DVD of Highlander: The Source today. Oddly it comes without any special features. :) However I was slightly alarmed to open the jewel case and find no DVD - until I realised those whily chaps had put the DVD in a separate envelope inside the DVD case to prevent it getting loose or scratched. Actually a very sensible idea for a postal DVD company.

I'd read some pretty negative reviews of it, and had actually downloaded it before hand but managed to keep my willpower and only peaked at the film before the DVD arrived at my door. Then after digesting the Source and a roast dinner I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Overall the Source is not bad, it's not as good as Endgame as it lacks any attempt at real depth. It's pretty much a no-brainer 90 minute action movie - there's not much sophistication to the plot.

Pretty much the story is that it is the near future. The world is falling apart, or at least Eastern Europe is. Duncan MacLeod is depressed because his latest wife has left him to go seek something mysterious. He is seemingly tracking her through "Eastern Europe" (at least that's what the subtitles said, it's actually Lithuania) when he sees the results of a massive quickening, meets the Immortal who received it, gets his ass handed to him by said immortal and escapes, falling in with Joe Dawson and Methos from the TV show, along with his wife Anna, a cockney stereotype immortal called Reggie and Cardinal Giovanni who are all looking for the Source. They all seem pretty up on where the Source is, and the immortal who is guarding it - the Guardian. They don't seem to waste much time discussing it or explaining how they suddenly know all this stuff that they never mentioned in the TV series before going off on a modern day Lord of the Rings style jaunt.

Suffice it to say by the end only Duncan and Anna are left, and he has to claim the power of the Source to defeat the Guardian. The final fight is very matrixy, but seems okay, if a little anti-climactic.

Overall the acting seems pretty good. With the exception of Joe the rest of the cast are British or European and give a good performance. The only character I felt got short shift was Cardinal Giovanni (pictured) - how exactly he became a catholic cardinal is a mystery - at first he appears serene and wise, if a little arrogant, but before long he's whimpering, selling everyone down the river and claiming he's The One and that God shines on him, and generally being an unhelpful twat that reminds me of a certain someone I know in real life. Not exactly cardinal material, much less the kind of material that survives for thousands of years - if he'd obviously become genuinely unhinged by certain events in the film it'd be nice if they made it clearer.

Anyroads, nice no-brainer film, but no real depth that adds to the source material of Highlander. And some pros-and-cons...

- No confusing flashbacks, or flashbacks within a flashback within a flashback. Endgame suffered from that problem.
- Good SFX (although the Source looks a little dodgy).
- Nice orchestral soundtrack
- Lots of Methos being Methos (albeit one who is trying to fill Duncan's shoes for most of the movie until Duncan gets his act together at the end).
- While some of the movie looks a little cheap it actually looks rather spectacular in places - there's a very nice monastery for example.


- The Guardian is goofy, like most Highlander villains. He even sings Who Want To Live Forever (admittedly better than the covering band).
- The story doesn't really begin. There's no indication as to how Methos et al. become aware of the Source given in 6 seasons of Highlander the Series it was never mentioned.
- No Scotland. This is supposed to be Highlander.
- No historical flashbacks bar 1 short one.
- No explanation of what the Source is. Given the film is The Source you'd at least have some inkling as to its nature beyond being some sort of powerful force.
- Maybe it's me but 90 minutes is too short for a film. This film needs a decent epilogue.
- Princes of the Universe : The Karaoke Mix. ARGH! And let's not even start on Who Wants To Live Forever.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wookie Porn!

Now I've your attention this is a post about the Star Wars Holiday Special and how I love watching it. Not alone, you understand, but rather talking over it with chums and watching as their love of Star Wars is put to the test in this 90 minute travesty.

The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast not long after the original movie came out in 1978 and was intended to be a variety show for the holidays (Christmas I think). The plot is that Han Solo and his buddy Chewie are desperately trying to get back to Kashyyk for Wookie Life Day, but the darn Empire keeps chasing them, lazily only via reuse of footage from A New Hope.

It all starts of reasonably well with the dramatic opening of a star destroyer chasing the Falcon, and then the announcer begins with...

Starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as a very doped up looking Princess Leia
--- and so on... ----

(Alec Guinness was unwilling to reprise his role as Obi Wan Kenobi... odd that!)

Then, suddenly without warning the travesty begins as the narrator continues by "introducing Chewbacca's family... his wife Malla, his father Itchy, his son Lumpy". Yes I kid you not - then we open with what seems like an eternity as Lumpy, Itchy and Malla talk to each other in Wookie (sans subtitles). But that's not all, the Holiday Special has so much to offer:-

  • Wookie porn - Granpa Lumpy gets a "wow" machine which looks like it came from a hairdresser but seems to be some sort of Wookie Porn!

  • Princess Leia singing the Star Wars theme

  • Princess Leia looking like she is coked up to the nines

  • Luke Skywalker with far, far, far too much mascara on

  • The worst coded conversation ever - "That rug you ordered will arrive. Made by hand. Hand solo you might say!"

  • A four handed chef basting a turkey on Wookie TV

  • Clothed wookies

  • A musical extravaganza in the Star Wars cantina with Bea Arthur

However it is a little known fact that the Holiday Special saw the appearance of Boba Fett in a little animated short. This cartoon is probably the only respectable bit of the Holiday Special and feels like it was meant to be part of a bigger story that never got made.

If you are morbidly curious the entire holiday special is on YouTube, but be prepared for your brain to hurt!

There is also a five minute long version that really shows you everything you need to know.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Am I A Bird, A Plane?

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another Source

Another trailer for Highlander: The Source - this time in Russian.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Seven Deadly Sins

Pride and Gluttony - who'd have known it.

Your Gluttony Quotient: 72%

Eating is not just a hobby for you - it's your life.
And while your friends do appreciate your good taste in food, they're a little disgusted by how fast you shovel it down.

Your Greed Quotient: 32%

You're a little greedy, but generally you don't let your desire get the better of you.
You know that good things will come to you - as long as you wait your turn!

Your Sloth Quotient: 29%

You're a little lazy, but normally you're a very energetic and motivated person.

Don't beat yourself up over a little laziness every now and then. You do need your downtime!

Your Wrath Quotient: 50%

Ouch! You've got a bit of a temper going on there, don't you?

Just make sure to keep your revenge fantasies just that... fantasies only!

Your Lust Quotient: 39%

You are a fairly lustful person, but nothing out of the norm.

You usually keep your lust under control, but sometimes it gets the better of you.

Your Envy Quotient: 55%

You are an envious person, but only at times.

Perhaps certain situations trigger your envy. Or maybe you're especially jealous when you're feeling insecure.

Instead of letting that green monster out, work on making your own life better.

And then maybe people will be envious of you.

Your Pride Quotient: 71%

You're beyond proud - you think you're honorary royalty.

And while you may be nice on occasion, it's usually just to get what you want.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Precocious Laird?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Most Noble and Honourable Stuart the Precocious of Bumswick by the Hole
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Russian Mafia Discs

I've ordered Highlander 5 on DVD from DVDigitall, even though the official US release is September 2007. Apparently 'an early cut' been released in Russia of all places, straight to DVD. I'll probably watch and maybe even sell the Russian one on ebay and buy the proper DVD when it comes out.

Don't worry - I paid paypal so the mafia don't have my credit card details, and it seems the DVD and certainly the website are legit. I'm looking forward to watching this film, though the mutterings I've heard from those who already have the DVD suggest the film is not going to be amazing, unless they have some pretty major reshoots due before September 2007!

Expect a review forthcoming, but for now everything is in the hands of the Russian postal service.

Bevare Ze Milky Pirate!

This may be the most surreal music video I have ever seen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

At Least I'm Not Lazenby...

Your results:
You are Sean Connery

Sean Connery
Pierce Brosnan
Timothy Dalton
Daniel Craig
George Lazenby
Roger Moore
The original actor to play James Bond in a movie is generally regarded as the best. Sean Connery has always been the epitome of sexiness, suaveness and sophistication.

Click here to take the "Which James Bond am I?" quiz...

The Doctor Who Code

Season 1 had Daleks, Season 2 had the Cybermen, so it makes sense Season 3 has the Master right? Well apparently so as the Sun, Metro and the Independant report John Simm of Life on Mars is to play the Master. (Also purely by coincidence a Master boxed set of Tom Baker/Peter Davidson episodes has just been released).

This means there have been (arguably) six people to play the Master:-

Master 1 - Roger Delgado, moustache twirling Bond villain.
Master 2 - Peter Pratt, zombie with pingpong eyes.
Master 3 - Geoffrey Beevers, still a zombie but played by someone else
Master 4 - Anthony Ainley, moustache twirling pantomine villain.
Master 5 - Eric Roberts, of the McGann movie
Master 6 - John Simm?

Also, Mister Saxon is an anagaram of "On Master Six".

Cunning eh? And yet, given the lack of sophistication Bad Wolf and Torchwood metaplots I suspect this is too clever by half and probably not true. But it's scarily coincidental nonetheless...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Ghosts of Files Past

After threatening to bore people with my scribblings as a writer I was digging around on my almost defunct but still standing Dundee University Homepage I managed to find a copy of my first professionally paid article from Dungeon. If I recall a couple more followed, but AFAIK no-one saw the need to scan them. Anyroads, here it is for posterity.

Speak of the Devil...

... and it appears. There's a new Highlander: The Source trailer on the web, which is good as the previous one was a bit amateurish.

1. Good grief! Never, ever ever ever cover a Queen song again. If I was going to update Queen for 2007 I'd still keep Freedie's vocals.
2. This looks even more angsty than Highlander Endgame.
3. The dark future setting doesn't look particularly dark in this trailer.
4. That's Joe driving. Hello Joe!
5. Good dialogue.

Duncan: "What do you want from me?"
Anna: "The impossible."
Stuart: "Typical woman."

There's Nothing Like A Challenge...

...To Bring Out The Best In Man.

Scenes like these remind me why I like Highlander 2 despite some plotholes. I may be the only person on Earth to feel this way, but hey-ho.

Mind you it's still not as good as my all-time favourite part of the series, even if it is a lot more depressing.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

This Weekend I 'Av Been Mostly...

Making the most of things - as it appears I will be working the next two weekends. Then after that I intend to be mostly recovering from getting older. I'm going to be 27, but at least I won't be 28 and thus no-longer mid-20s. So before it's time to start running the carousel I had a fairly good weekend despite impending old age - visiting Coventry and spending a ridiculous amount of time shopping in its game shop, Bishop Games.

In addition I played poker, and didn't suck entirely. I even went to a party and had a student there who insisted on calling me sir all night and asked me for advice on alcohol. Much drunkeness, thankfully not all mine.

I've been playing Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast. I loved the original Outrun and Turbo Outrun on my C64 and recently had the chance to play the arcade and missed it. The new fangled Outrun is a little too bells-and-whistles for my liking, clearly overly influenced by Ferrari too much, but it plays similar to the original and it's nice to play a gmae that doesn't take a month to complete.

I've also been playing Oblivion - or more accurately it's Knights of Nine expansion. Oblivion has the problem of getting very repetitive, though Knights of Nine was a fun distraction it seems I basically reformed a knighthood that now sit around drinking tea and thinking about doing things. In addition to doing the data disk I've nearly completed the main plot and am the dizzy heights of level 4 - I'm beginning to think my OOO path is reducing my advancement rate.

ITV 4's doing a John Carpenter season and for the first time I watched the original Fog. 100 years after the founding fathers of a town destroyed a leper colony and half-inched its gold the Nazgulish lepers come back in some magical fog. Obviously The Thing is regarded as his best, but I'm waiting for Prince of Darkness to come back on. Physicists vs. the Devil in a weird science-meets-religion-fest with Alice Cooper thrown in.

Friday, February 02, 2007

An Uncharacteristic Music Post

I'm not normally one to discuss my musical tastes, bt I have come to the conclusion from listening to their albums Sumerland are fantastic. It's rare that a band produces an album I like more than 2 tracks on, but every track on Imaginary Ways meets my exacting standards.

We now return you to our regular bloggage.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Vistas

Vista is out. I actually have a copy as its free to download for all students and staff in the CS department who join Academic Alliance (and I imagine the entire University but don't quote me on that), but I've yet to install it for fear that it will replace my unlicensed and unkeyed whiny Windows XP with an OS that is fully legit but no longer speaks to my wireless adaptor, USB devices, soundcard or graphics card. Or more worryingly that it will work perfectly at an initial glance but some insidious problems will bubble to the surface.

Maybe when the Family edition comes out on Academic Alliance I'll dabble. I've played around and like what I saw, though there seems little tangible benefit in upgrading other than a pretty desktop.

So for now my expert? advice is to follow this guy:-