Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chrimble!




Happy Whatever, everybody!

(This is the first post since I moved to Blogger Beta, so let me know if anything broke.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Haven't we met before?



I think that even if we disagree concerning the merits of Casino Royale, we can all agree that the theme tune was naff. Paul Hartnoll has a better idea, and it's called Haven't we met before.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Meaty



I was looking at a recipe for some roasted vegetable thingie. Completely vegetarian. And at the end, it had dessert and drink recommendations. In the drinks bit, it mentioned some wine or another, then it said "for a vegetarian option" and listed a different wine.

Why isn't wine, by default, vegetarian? Is it made from chickens? Is it really the blood of Christ?

Monday, December 04, 2006

In All The Wrong Places



I don't know how popular he is here (I know I had a bugger of a time getting his album), but the music off the new Nokia 5300 advert is In All The Wrong Places by German ambientster Ulrich Schnauss. Maybe now he's on a mobile phone advert, he'll suddenly surge in popularity and for the second time ever, I'll have been following a musician from before they got popular.

(first: Moby)

This has been a public service announcement, because I hate it when there's music on the telly and the internet doesn't help me track it down.

(Grumpy Update: It seems that there are a number of versions of the same advert, with the same visuals but different narrators and music; there even seems to be an alternate British version, which I've never seen on telly, with a grumpy-sounding male narrator and generic twangy guitar nonsensery. Perhaps poor Ulrich won't catch on after all. Bah.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yippee!!! (or indeed, not)



We went to see Yippee!!! tonight. We're both in general agreement with the review, except I liked the music a lot more than either the reviewer or Meg did, and an early Come to Daddy bit showed promise, but yeah, it was shite.


As Meg said, "I was happy when the monkey came on stage; not because it was a monkey, but because it meant that the whole thing had to be almost over."

Monday, November 13, 2006

I know one of them's a basketball player and at least one is a burglar




HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
93
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?




I'm not sure how accurate this is, as I plugged my mate Liam in there, and it claimed that there was no one called "Liam" in the US. No one at all. Dubious.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Whatever Happened to Evil Thor?



At the beginning of Ultimates 2 #11, we see an ersatz (presumably Russian) Thor take down Air Force One and scare the pants off George Bush. He then disappears for the rest of the issue, and makes no appearance at all in Ultimates 2 #12. Where did he go? #13 will apparently revolve around a fight between the real Thor and his brother Loki, and while I wouldn't be surprised to see Evil Thor pop up to aid Loki, it wouldn't explain where he was during #12...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Windy



This is what you miss when you get up late. A tornado? Crikey.

Another Brad strip is up here. I'm working on more right now.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Vamped Up



After far too long, I've returned to my (ostensibly) ongoing subplot for Brad the Vampire, kicking off this time with #396. How long this stint will last, I know not.

Bad Plan...



Hang on lads, I've got an idea...That's right Iron Man, put the Marvel Universe's most inspirational figure in an enclosed facility with hundreds of superpowered people, most, if not all, of whom will be at least sympathetic to his cause. I mean, it's not like Captain America's the kind of tactical genius who could organise a jailbreak within hours of arrival, or anything lke that.

It's a shame that X-Statix got cancelled. I'd have loved to have seen them do a Civil War tie-in. They could team up with Dazzler to do a "stop the war" charity record or something.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How Civil War Might Be Saved



If the last issue consists of a Thor versus Thor fight, with the real Thor utterly kicking the arse of Tony Stark's weird sex-clone-thing, it won't make up for the abundant clichés, the complete lack of much-promised moral/political analysis, or the woefully badly written characters.

But it'll be spectacular.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Re-Assembled At Last?



Warning: Geeky comics post!

Iron AsshatMarvel have released a preview of their new Mighty Avengers series, a comic designed to win back the old Avengers fans who, like me, have abandoned Brian Michael Bendis' New Avengers. In some ways, this is a nice friendly move from Marvel, as Bendis' series sells shedloads, and the company could just sit back and watch the money come in, regardless of the feelings of the established fanbase (who, for all their moaning about how much better the old days were, could only manage to muster up about half of today's sales figures).

Pop a Cap in Yo' AssBut I won't be buying this new series, as it seems to be woefully misjudged. The warning signs were there when Marvel announced that they'd be producing a series for the old fans, written by the very same writer who'd alienated them in the first place. And from the preview, it seems that what Bendis evidently thinks is missing from his New Avengers is lots of fighting. While that is indeed missing from his slow-moving, indulgently scripted anti-superhero comic, it might also be nice to include some effective characterisation and a semblance of plot, like the original Avengers title did. To be fair, the preview is only a handful of pages in length, but it reeks of superficiality and fundamental creative misjudgement.

Oh well. I still have my back issues.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Padding



I've just noticed that Channel 4's 11:25 showing of The Simpsons runs until noon. How many advert breaks have they shoved in there to make a 22-minute show last upwards of 33 minutes?

Egad.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Worm



Chris tagged me, so...

One book that changed your life:
I'm not sure it changed my life, but reading Wuthering Heights at school made me realise that "proper" books could be just as fun as the trashy scifi and fantasy stuff I'd been reading until then.

One book you've read more than once:
There's a fair few, actually. I always mean to read Lord of the Rings once a year, but it's actually been about twice in a decade.

One book you would want on a desert island:
Presumably something like The Dummies' Guide to Escaping Desert Islands...

One book that made you laugh:
The first Hitchhiker's, the first few Discworld books. There are a few too many to limit to just "one".

One book that made you cry:
Um, nothing.

One book you wish you had written:
The Bible, clearly.

One book you wish had never been written:
The DaVinci Code. Not because it's particularly bad in itself (I've not read it and have no desire to, but people I trust quite like it), but because of the juggernaut of stupidity that followed in its wake.

One book you are currently reading:
I'm in between books at the moment, but I've got an ever-growing stack of novels in the bedroom. Rad told me to read The Algebraist, so that'll be next.

One book you have been meaning to read:
Apart from the stack, I've always wanted to read the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Tag five people:
I'm so out of touch with the world, I don't know anyone. Let's try Rad, Nagl, Tony and Liam.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quickie Film Reviews: R-Point



Film Four showed Korean spookfest R-Point last night (or early this morning). It's quite clearly a post-Ringu film in terms of style, right down to a Sadako clone wandering about, although the narrative, with talk of old burial grounds and curses, is a bit more traditional than the post-Hiroshima psychic teenager shenanigans of the Japanese film.

It's also something of a disappointment, but on the plus side, it's only such a let down because the opening two-thirds of the film are exceptionally well done, with a couple of nicely-paced shocks and some clever and quite subtle moments (well, I saw them as subtle, but I suppose they might seem obvious if one were to take certain portions of the script literally). Sadly, the creators seem to have run out of ideas by the end of the film (aside from one bit dealing with the fate of the lead character, which again seemed subtle and somewhat heartbreaking to me, but might in fact have been patently obvious), resorting instead to erratic storytelling and bursts of random violence. The "rules" of the curse are also somewhat inconsistent, particularly in comparison to the stark simplicity of something like the aforementioned Ringu; I'm still not sure why certain stuff does and doesn't happen to certain characters. Similarly, fairly important chunks of the script seem to be missing, like what exactly Sergeant Jing is up to; I get the feeling that either the original script was a bit shaky, or more likely the English translation is somewhat haphazard.

Still, the first hour or so made the film highly entertaining, even if the climax wasn't up to the same standard. R-Point isn't as good an entry in the "squaddies against the paranormal" genre as either Predator or Dog Soldiers (where's that sequel, Pertwee?), but it's definitely worth a look, and it's better than The Keep, or that one with the haunted submarine that no one watched.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tapas'd



I surprised myself by actually liking tapas, although the quality of the restaurant has a great deal to do with that. Obviously, bits of tentacle and things in shells are never going to be favourites of mine, but on the whole I quite like the concept.

However.

You can't go twenty feet before finding some poncey bar that serves "tapas". It's apparently the in thing. But: (a) although I like some good Spanish-style cookerery, I might like a change now and then, so the opportunity to have something that's not tapas would be nice. (b) a third of a sausage and a dribble of tomato sauce in a tiny dish is not tapas. Especially at six quid for one of those tiny dishes.

Bastards!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hover Bovver



In the post today, we received an advert from some nice young gentlemen offering a lawn-mowing service.

We live on the second floor.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Are you a goal-scoring superstar hero?



So, does anyone know if the new Sensi Soccer is any good? The only magazine review I'd trust would be from Amiga Power, but (a) they obviously wouldn't be reviewing PS2/X-Brick games, and (2) they stopped publishing about ten years ago. So is Sensi 2006 anywhere near as good as the originals?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Actual Conversation



(Names withheld to protect the innocent)

A: You know, football can be a bit dull. They should replace the players with glamour models and fill the playing area with jelly. Perhaps strawberry jelly.

B: Or even better, instead of twenty-two models, have forty-four!

A: That's just silly.

B: Why?

A: If you double the number of models, you'd have to double the amount of jelly, but then you'd have too much jelly and the models would drown. And then you'd have forty-four dead models suspended in jelly, and who wants that?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Comics Post: In Defence of Mary Jane



Jackpot!
My formative Spider-Man reading years saw him swinging with the Black Cat, so I have no particular attachment to Mary Jane as the love interest of choice for the discerning wall-crawler. But...

Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada wants to "unmarry" Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane because he says that Spidey is the everyman hero (true), that he could be any one of us, and that being married to a supermodel damages that concept, because the average bloke on the street has no hope of meeting a supermodel, let alone being married to one.

However, what Quesada appears to have overlooked is that the average bloke on the street doesn't have the proportional strength and agility of a spider either, and yet Spidey's remained an "everyman" with that particular baggage for over thirty years.

Stupid Marvel.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Lunatic's Guide To Hostelry



Things are going fairly well. I've made no grievous errors so far, and while there's still a fair bit to learn, I think I know what I'm doing.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Update the Third



As you know, the flat's sorted out, and as of tomorrow, I'll also be working... running the very hostel I've been staying in these past few weeks. Bizarre.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Today, we are all Laplanders



Well done to Lordi, who totally shook up the Eurovision Song Contest last night. You can't go wrong with a bat-winged lead singer and guitars that are on fire. They were, of course, only marginally less terrifying than Gina G.


Well done lads.
Ooh ah, just a little bit (of goat's blood)...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Update the Second (or, I forgot how big seagulls were)



Begorrah! 400th post!

It's been a while, hasn't it? Things have advanced somewhat. I've finally had a stroke of luck, and we have a flat to move into on the 1st of June. It's a nice place in a lovely area, and it's even got a bit of a sea view (if you tilt your head, and quint a bit...). Of course, this good karma is being repaid with a string of arsey rejection notices from each and every chuffing job I've applied for so far, but such is life.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Update the First



Right then. I'm in an internet cafe type thing on Western Road. I'm still staying in a hostel, and I still haven't become gainfully employed as yet. However, I may have lucked into a flat. I'm off to take a look at it tonight, but things are looking rather positive, which makes for a nice change.

Brighton is lovely, and I'm convinced that this is where I want to live out at least the next phase of my life (although we'll see if my confidence continues to hold when the costs and pressures of real life set in). But living in a hostel (even a lovely one like Baggies) means that there's always a sense of being displaced, and I won't really feel at home until I can sleep in my own bed.

But things look to be going well. I hope it doesn't all go pear shaped.

Monday, April 17, 2006

If at first you don't succeed, cry like a girl and wait for Green Lantern



I'm flying back to Blighty today, to have another go at moving. This is the "do or die" part; we have a better plan this time, but it has to work, as I won't be coming back here for another pit stop. Frankly, I'm terrified!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Do You Remember the First Time?



Those pesky Two Guys (well, just one of them) recently put out a call to all and sundry on the comics blogothingie (of which Brainsplurge is an honorary member). "Tell us about the first comic you ever read!" they roared. I've had a think about it, and I really don't remember, but I think I've narrowed it down to a small number of suspects. It's likely that I read some comics before these, but I don't remember them; these are the ones that stuck, and undoubtedly had a major hand in forming my comics habit.

So...

According to comics.org, one of my earliest comics was The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #12, dated December 1983, putting me at just over four years old. However, what I read was in fact a Marvel UK reprint, and although it had it same cover as this issue, the contents were likely very different. The first half of the comic was a reprint from Marvel's 1981 adaptation of the first Indy movie (I recall it opened with a big splash page in the snake pit and I think it ran until the Ark was opened and (SPOILER) all the Nazis melt (END SPOILER)), and the second half was some oddness about a magic nail (from Jesus' crucifix, I suppose) and some undead ninjas. All I could find out (comics.org doesn't list British titles) was that the British comic ran during 1984 and 1985 before being merged into Spider-Man Weekly. I think the issue I had was #4, but I can't say for certain. My Spider-Man fandom started with reprints too (mostly from the bizarre Spider-Man and Zoids title), and as such, while I distinctly remember stories from Amazing Spider-Man's mid-200's (circa 1983 to 1984, and about the same time as Calvin's Spider-fascination emerged), they were likely reprinted a year or so later in '85 or '86 and so technically weren't my first comics (but see below).

So, moving on...

I vaguely recall my Dad buying the Indiana Jones comic at a train station to keep me quiet, and I think he also bought me Blue Devil #17 at the same time. This one was an actual US import, which I know because I recently was overtaken by nostalgia and bought a copy, and the ads are the same as I remember (the UK ads would have been different). I don't think DC had a British arm in the 80's (or ever?), and reprints were very sporadic (although there were some); this is why, I think, I've grown up without much of an appreciation for DC stuff. This issue, dated October 1985, is actually a Crisis tie-in, as I'd find out years after finally reading Crisis itself. The tie-in consists of the supporting cast muttering about the odd weather and Green Lantern turning up at the end of the issue to interrupt Devil's sunbathing to drag him off into space. So hardly an essential chapter.

The other comic I remember very vividly from those days, and that I actually still have somewhere, is Judge Dredd #19. This one's also a reprint, but oddly enough, it's a US-format reprint of British stories. You've got the Dredd stories from 2000ad progs 241 to 244 (from the famous Block War arc) reprinted and edited together into a longer, more complete, story. The comic was also in full colour, and I don't think the original strips were. Steve Dillon and Brian Bolland Dredd art in full colour! How lucky I was! This one's dated May 1985, and is full of fun stuff. A renegade Soviet Judge poisons the rainwater so that everyone in Mega-City One goes mental, and Dredd discovers that the poisoning is just the preliminary move in the Apocalypse War. The issue ends on an image of nuclear missiles heading for Mega-City One, and it was a good decade or so before I found out what happened next. Cliffhangertastic.

Another oddity of the British comics industry is the British comics annual. Unlike its American cousin, which is usually merely a more expensive comic that contains dreadful stories produced by fill-in teams, the British annual is a hardback book, upwards of ninety to a hundred pages, that comes out at Christmas. These things are usually full of reprints and may have some original content, ranging from text pieces or special features, to brand new comic strips (the Transformers annuals were mostly new stuff). It was one of these annuals which forms my earliest comics memories, and is almost definitely the reason why I think Spider-Man is so cool and why it took me years to warm to Mary Jane. But unlike many Spider-fans, I'm not lamenting the loss of Gwen Stacy...

Amazing Spider-Man #226 was first published in the March of 1982, when I would be just two years old, but I remember it from a slightly later reprint in the 1984 Spider-Man Annual. I don't recall whether that means it was actually published in 1984 or in 1983, as those annuals were sometimes dated for the year ahead, and sometimes for the year leading up to it. Either way, it predates all of the above comics. It's a two-parter (continued in #227, also reprinted here) featuring an unlucky-in-love Spider-Man running into none other than the Black Cat and almost persuading her to go straight. But she just can't give up her thieving ways, and Spidey tries to bring her in, with (what looked like at the time) fatal results for her. The story is full of fun moments that any four year old will enjoy, including a great splash page full of those "phantom Spider-Men" all good Spidey artists use to show him bounding around, fights with random mooks in suits (what happened to all the mooks in suits? You never see them nowadays) and a scene at a costume party with Spidey going as a Jawa (and making a terrible pun about coffee). This little adventure was drawn by John Romita Jr, although he was aping his Dad here, and hadn't yet developed his signature style (that would come during his X-Men run). Even so, JRJR remains one of my favourite Spidey artists, and this remains a great-looking comic. I suspect I still have that annual somewhere, athough I recently found the story reprinted in an issue of the Spider-Man Megazine. It still holds up.

So there you have it. Amazing Spider-Man #226 from 1982 was (probably) my first comic, although I only got around to reading it in 1983 or 1984.

Crikey. That was knackering to put together. I'm off to bed.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Passion of the Kiefer



Jesus only has 72 hours to save the world!













Now I'm not ridiculing anyone's beliefs here, but this has to be the first time I've ever seen a church trying to pass of the crucifiction/resurrection story as a popular television action thriller. I eagerly await Christmas, where no doubt we'll see parallels drawn between the old nativity story and that week's episode of The Shield.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

number15dream



From Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge:

Due to diminished readership and rising paper costs, it has been decided only fifteen comic titles will be published from this day forward. You have been charged with the decisions of which titles shall be printed and what creative teams will be assigned to them.

What fifteen comic books will we find on the racks next month and who will be the creative teams behind them?


Oooh...

(I'm assuming that the Japanese, Koreans and Europeans are quite happy with their healthy comics industries and don't need my "help".)

2000ad
w: various
a: various
Continues as it is, except with more readers and fewer crappy strips. The comics world needs 2000ad. Where would DC get all its writers and artists from?

Amazing Spider-Man
w: Joss Whedon
a: Skottie Young
Whedon's wasted on the X-Men; as anyone who's seen Buffy will know, he's got the humour and characterisation down for Spidey and his supporting cast. He's a perfect fit, and I'm baffled that Marvel have him slogging away at forgettable X-Men stories. Skottie Young is an artist who seems to be universally reviled, but he's got a funky energy to his art that I think would be perfect for Spider-Man. See also: Spider-Man Tales

Avengers
w: Robert Kirkman
a: Carlos Pacheco
Reading Marvel Team-Up, it's obvious that Kirkman could do this with ease, but I've been struggling to think of an artist. Pacheco is a great superhero artist who I'd like to see have a longer run on Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Doctor Strange
w: Alan Moore
a: Mike Mignola
'Nuff said.

Fantastic Four
w: Iain Banks
a: Bryan Hitch
It's a sci-fi adventure book, so let's get in a great writer who knows when the sci gets boring and when to put in some fi. Banks says he can't grasp comics on a conceptual level, but we'd teach him and then pair him up with Hitch for a glorious year or so of aliens, space ships, time travel and Doctor Doom. Alternatively, I'd hand it to Morvan and Bucher, the creators of Wake, and let them run with it.

Green Lantern Corps
w: Warren Ellis
a: Ed McGuinness
DC's best concept, and it's never been done amazingly well (although the current series is okay). No hero worship of Hal Jordan, and no particular emhpasis on Earth's Lanterns. Just full on space policery of the highest order. And if the Hallites bitch and moan, we take it over to Marvel and call it Nova Corps or Star Brand Corps or Quasar and the Quasons or something and it'll be just as good.

Hawkmen
w: Grant Morrison
a: Frank Quitely
That's right. Hawkmen. Grant Morrison gets to use any or all of the various Hawkmen as he sees fit. If he can't make sense of the character's continuity, he can at least make some beautiful nonsense out of it.

Invincible
w: Robert Kirkman
a: Ryan Ottley
Continues as normal.

Iron Man
w: Tsutomu Nihei
a: Tsutomu Nihei
I'd previously attached this writer/artist to Batman, but I've thought better of it, and Nihei's approach would bring something genuinely new to Iron Man, and that's that Cronenbergish mixture of technology and horror. He'd need a strong editor though, as Nihei tends to turn all of his projects into clones of his manga Blame!, only with different lead characters.

Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD
w: Greg Rucka
a: ? (suggestions welcome)
Just after Alias turned up, I thought Marvel were missing a trick by not putting out a spy/special ops book. Put Fury's name on the cover, but make it a team thing, really digging into the underbelly of the Marvel Universe. And tie it in, subtly, with the other books, so that if one of Doctor Doom's labs is raided in Fantastic Four, you never know who did it unless you read SHIELD and see them doing the raid. Everything will be behind the scenes, even their appearances in other books.

Sergeant Rock
w: Garth Ennis
a: Carlos Ezquerra
Ennis can write war stories, as well as the similar-but-different genre of stories about soldiers, in his sleep. Ezquerra hasn't done a lot of US work, but he's a veteran of proper war comics back when they actually existed, and his style is perfect for tales about grubby and weary soldiers engaged in endless conflicts. Alternatively, I'd stick both of them on Captain America.


Spider-Man Tales
w: various
a: various
Pare down the Spidey books to Amazing (see above) and this "anything goes" title. This could be used to tell out-of-continuity stories, or tales about supporting characters, or historical stories, or even reprints. Whatever. A combination of Tangled Web, Webspinners, Untold Tales, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and MTU, perhaps even as an anthology (although US fans hate and fear anthologies).

Tales of the DCU, Featuring...
w: various
a: various
I don't know or care enough about the DCU to pick too many specific survivors, but there are enough good concepts and creators to put together an anthology and/or "anything goes" book. Perhaps it could even be weekly.

Thor
w: Neil Gaiman
a: Jim Lee
Gaiman has a gift for the mythology stuff, and Lee's bulky yet iconic style is perfect for the larger-than-life Asgardians. In it fortyish year history, Thor has had only two definitve creative teams, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and Walt Simonson. This would be the third. After a suitably epic twelve-issue run, I'd bring in Mike Mignola to draw, and if Gaiman leaves, to write too.

The Walking Dead
w: Robert Kirkman
a: Charlie Adlard.
Ain't broke.


That'll do.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Inspiration Hits Like a Brick in the Guts



For a long time now, I've been wanting to get stuck into drawing a regular comic, as it seems to me to be a great way to practise; the need to get at least a page done a week would keep me drawing and my skills would only improve with use (I hope). But I can't do humour strips, and I've been struggling to come up with any kind of plot for a dramatic, story-based comic.

(I've had a go now and then, but it's mostly been using other people's characters, and I really want to just go off in my own direction for a bit.)

But a few days ago some ideas started to come together, and I've been pretty regularly jotting down bits of plot as well as whole panels and pages (in rough of course). I don't know when I'll get around to actually starting it since I'm going to be in a state of hellish confusion in a couple of weeks (we're going to try to move again), or how it'll be published (I think online is a definite, but whether that's on my site or as a stripblog or whatever, I don't know), but I'm just pleased that I have an actual workable idea for a story, because all I want to do is tell stories.

So that's just to keep you posted on what's been going on here. Posts have been rare of late, and will be even rarer when I'm back in Blighty in a couple of weeks, as I'll have little or no internet access, but I shall attempt to keep, um, "you" posted on what's going on with both moving and my webcomic ambitions.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Enough



...of these so-called "comedies" about the soul-crushing ennui of life. Or at least, if they have to be made, let's see about putting something funny in them, so they actually live up to their descriptions. Bloody hell.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random Selection



In my twenty-odd years of video gaming, I don't think I've ever used the SELECT button on a game console's controller. Has anyone? Or is it some vestigial remnant of something from gaming's past, kept around merely out of a sense of tradition, like an electronic appendix?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Better Than Nothing At All



Today, I have been mostly submitting some new comic reviews to SBC, adding a new page to my website, and failing to find our copy of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

England Prevails



The move didn't go well; in fact, it could be considered an utter failure, as we didn't in fact move anywhere, and we're back exactly where we were two weeks ago, occupying the dark corners of my in-laws' home like a pair of cockroaches. With fewer legs and reduced invulnerability to poison and nuclear conflict, obviously.

But it wasn't a waste of time, money and effort, at least not to us. We learned some important things, decided some other important things, and got to catch up with almost all of our friends over there.

Upon arrival, we stopped to recharge at the posh London abode of Alex, Soni and the hitherto-unknown Jill (Gill? I failed to check), before heading off to Bristol, which is of course where all the magic was supposed to happen. Except it didn't. We learned two very important things there: (1) we really didn't like Bristol at all, which came as a surprise to me, as I really liked the town on previous visits, and it was my idea to move there; and (b) given our current situation, we discovered that getting a flat or house was going to be prohibitively expensive and complicated. Mostly complicated.

So we gave up.

We decided to return and rethink our strategy, and instead treat our "move" like a trip. So we visited friends and familiar places and had a great time catching up and reacquainting ourselves with good old Blighty. One day, we went to Brighton, our original choice for the move, and Meg fell in love with the place. I've always loved it, and it was only because we'd expected it to be out of our price range that we rejected it. But it turns out that Brighton is on a par with Bristol, and even cheaper in many cases. It's closer to most of our friends, and it's closer to London, a place I dislike, but one that holds much promise for Meg's career goals (I have no goals of any sort). So Brighton is where we're going to go. We've come up, thanks to excellent advice from friends, with a workable plan for making it happen. A real plan. A real good plan.

So if all goes well, and there's really only one little thing that can go wrong and even I'm not quite that unlucky, we should be living in Brighton by the end of the year. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern at my vague and ominous postings while we were away; it meant a lot, and we'd be grateful if you can all cross as many spare fingers as you have (borrow some from the Yakuza) when the time comes for us to try again. Cheers.


While back in my homeland, I caught up with 2000AD, which is on a creative high right now, and also decided to give Iain Banks another go. I'd read a few of his books back at school, just before my flirtation with higher education, and thought they were merely okay (although The Wasp Factory is an astonishingly good debut, and would make a cracking BBC2/Channel 4 drama, assuming they could find a suitable lead), but Waterstone's had a three for two offer on his books for some reason, and while I didn't end up buying any from there (due to not really liking his work all those dusty years ago), my interest was piqued enough to pick up Excession at Gatwick. I ended up watching films on the plane instead (Chicken Little is terrible but has a superb last five minutes, Æon Flux is a generic post-Matrix actioner with pretensions of profundity (and is nowhere near as good as the original cartoon, much as I hated the art style), Romancing the Stone is just as enjoyable as, but more derivative than, I remember, and The Lion King is an excellent film obscured by Disney's novishness), but I'll get to Excession at some point in the near future, and I'll report whether I still don't get on with Banks' scifi. Maybe.

Oh, and while in Blighty, I finally read the copy of number9dream we bought ages ago on the cheap, and I loved it. Much better than Mitchell's first (fewer boring bits), and I'm not sure why so many people hate the ending. It made perfect sense to me. I suspect I'll get around to reading Cloud Atlas circa 2008.

Oh, and oh, and I just watched V for Vendetta, and fair's fair, they didn't do an awful job of it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Drat! And Double Drat!



The move is not going well. Plans A and B have already gone tits-up, and plans C and D look like going the same way. Guh.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...



Right, we're off. With luck, I'll be posting on the road (as it were), and I'll perhaps be able to set up some internet at the new house/flat/bedsit/cardboard box.

Until then, a quiz: what is the greatest mismatch of movie and movie soundtrack? Which film has the most inappropriate main theme or song given the film's tone? Answers in the comments, please!

See you in a bit!!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Gulp!



Well, we're moving back to Blighty on Wednesday (yes, this Wednesday), and it's about as hectic and insane as you might imagine. But I think I might have become desensitised to the whole thing, as it just feels like I'm going on a trip. I expect the panicking will start when we get there.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Batman #650



Okay, so hands up who expected the story to end like that? What the heck was all that about?

Mental.

Lazy/beautiful



Oh, I've been crap again. It's because my life of late has consisted of either slouching about the house, or doing boring organisational things in preparation for The Big Move II. So far, things are a bit of a nightmare, organisation-wise, and I suspect things will only get worse, but my thinking is that we will be rewarded for our patience. We'll see.

While sorting and packing, I uncovered a tryout script for Marvel, that they put out in 1999 or 2000 when they were looking for new artists. Back then, I couldn't have done it, and even now, I don't think Marvel would even think about hiring me (and I'm not sure I'd want them to), but I thought it might be a fun experiment anyway, so I'm going to have a go and then put it on my website.

Oh, and I received my contributor's copy of Solar Wind #6 today. I actually feel a little bad for receiving it, to be honest, as I only contributed one page to it, and it's a sizable publication. Oh well. Next time, I'll try harder to earn my keep.

Sorry, this is all dreadfully dry and boring, isn't it? Fear not, I expect I'll have plenty of horror stories in the coming weeks to make up for it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Oi oi!!!



So yeah, it's been a while. Nothing of particular interest to report (well, I did have a good laugh at this, mainly because Warren Ellis once tried to beat me up...), which is probably part of the reason why I haven't posted anything of late. Lots of reading and writing, not much arithmetic.

I did hear the Arctic Monkeys single the other day; I quite liked it, and was sufficiently impressed by what I was hearing about their staggering chart and sales successes that I got hold of the album, and... well, it doesn't really impress me. Good single, bit of a boring album.

There. That's my annual music post. Now, I have stuff to do. Expect my next post to be in another two weeks or so...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Do You Need A Toothbru-u-u-ush?



Is this the first time that a comic, not a comic character, or a film based on a comic or whatever, but an actual ink-on-paper comic, has had a theme tune?

With this and FIN FANG bloody FOOM, Nextwave could quite possibly the most Airwolf comic Marvel have published in a long time.


Fin Fang Bloody Foom. Yesterday.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mark Off Of Eastenders (And Qui Gonn)

It's Friday, it's 10pm, and it's time for...

KRULL!

Fantastic. SciFi are cretinous for not jumping all over the new Doctor Who, but they get points back for randomly showing Krull. Really, this film should be on at least once a month.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Professor Who?



Dredlox love hide and seekIn Power Man and Iron Fist #79, a comic from the March of 1982 (and thus one that outlives both the blaxploitation and kung-fu fads that spawned the characters by a number of years), the titular twosome run into a race of robot-like beings that trundle about (because they have wheels in place of legs) shooting lasers at people while proclaiming that "YOU WILL BE INCINERATED!"



Our heroes flee from the tinpot fascists and take shelter in a nearby shop, where they discover something rather unusual about the interior.

Antique Shops And Relative Dimensions In SpaceIt turns out that the "shop" is in fact a time machine merely disguised as a place of business, and that the owner and pilot, Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, is a rogue member of the Time Variance Authority, a group that oversees and fixes problems in the timeline.

Gamble, Iron Fist and the Avenger Formerly Known As Power Man join forces to fight the dastardly monsters, with the heroes doing the smashing, and Gamble doing the thinking and the technological jiggerypokering. Once the baddies are defeated, Gamble disappears in his time machine, leaving an empty space where his "shop" once stood, and a couple of confused superheroes.




On a not-related-at-all-no-siree note, the Beeb have put up an director/writer/producer commentary for The Christmas Invasion up here. It's just a tiny bit fiddly to get it running at the same time as the show itself, but it's a nice little free extra nonetheless.
Lovely fella, that Arthur Dent

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dream Cookery



Last night I dreamed that I was doing an undergraduate degree in baking, as taught by Richard Gere.

What's that all about then?