Archive for May, 2009

29
May
09

Occupational Therapy and Lies…

Those who know me know that I have several charecter traits that, well, trying to put aside false modesty etc, are quite good. I’m fiercely loyal to friends and incredibly defensive of them. I have a ‘thing’ about injustice and fairness that, to be honest, has got me into a few scrapes over the years. Anyway, my blood pressure is currently at danger levels. Why? Because of a lazy delivery driver and his ever so loyal, blank faced drones of office back-up.

A couple of weeks ago I was assesed for my disability needs. Now, I don’t need much – they offered more and I turned it down. What I DO need, however, is some way of actually immersing myself in my bath. I currently have what they call a ‘bath board’. This is usefull, but it does mean sitting slightly pecariously over the bath – nice mental image for you there, lol – and doing ones best to wash.

So, at this assesement, I was surprised to be offered a bath chair lift thingy – called the ‘Aqua Joy’ – a name that made Jo! choke on her peppermint tea and ask if I had inadvertantly wondered into Ann Summers by mistake. (Actually, talking of Ann Summers, I note they’ve put a couple of kiddie rides right in front of the local store…how wonderfully ignorant..still, thats Crawley for you). Basically, this thing lets me sit on it, then lowers down into the bath so I can be immersed in yummy, lovely, warm water. Then I can slowley, Thora Hird style, rise up out of the depths pretending to be the Great Kroll!

Or something.

They also said I needed some blocks for my sofa to rest on so I can get up out of it more easily without too much effort and also an incrdibly clever thingy that looks like a lead for an invisible dog. It basically slips around the foot and allows you to lift your leg out of the bath – usefull when ones legs are…wonky. Someone, probably a boffin witha beard, in a shed, used their brain to come up with that one…great idea.

So, I was told that they’d call me to arrange delivery.

Today, at one, I hear a slight slithering noise. I get to the front door to see a card in the letter box saying that they’d tried to deliver my stuff but I wasn’t in. Well, apart from the fact they hadn’t told me he was coming, he also hadn’t even bothered to knock. Just popped the card in and away he went. It’s Friday so I expect he wanted a nice, sunny, early afternoon.

So, I phoned up the number on the card. I was told they couldn’t get a reply from the driver. I tried again a little later. Still no joy. I tried again, later still. I got told that the driver had said he had knocked loudly, waited, gne back to the van, got the card and then left.

He had NOT knocked. If he had I would have answered. I mean, if I can hear a card gently being slid into the letterbox, then Im sure I could have heard a knocking, surely? So, I was getting nowhere with the bod on the end of the phone…I asked to speak to his supervisor. A supervisor who’s job it was to imply that I was lying and that her driver of many good years standing, would never do such a thing. Now, I know things. I’ve been around, as I’m sure have a lot of people. I know that delivery drivers have nice little ways of getting the job done early if necessary, especially on a nice, warm summer’s day. What better way to save time then to say that a customer wasn’t in and therefore save at least half an hour? Then switch your phone off so no one can get hold of you for a while.

But what really, REALLY makes me ANGRY is the fact that the supervisor basically said I was lying. Oh, the actual words weren’t there..she reckoned that she knew the driver wouldn’t lie, but she wasn’t saying I was lying either….the implication was very obvious. And yes, I’m putting in a complaint. A big one. I want an apology from both the supervisor and the driver. I tend not to stop on things like this….

Talking of things, I mailed our local MP, Laura Moffat with regard to the Early Day Motion I asked people to support. I let her know what it was about, sent a copy of the actual motion, was very respectful, polite, included my name and address.

Apart from an automated reply, I have heard nothing. Nor has she signed the motion. Guess who else is about to feel my wrath? It’s amazing what a bit of bad publicity can do for an MP’s descision making process…. Or rather, MORE bad publicity…

And as for the podcast, it’s in edit stage at the moment…and seems to be just fine..nothing too in depth, but it’s a first shot with a new team etc. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it once it’s released… 🙂

24
May
09

Of Podcasts And Other Waffle…

Been a funny old week. After the Radiophonic Workshop gig – more of which in a moment – I think my body decided that enough was enough, BOB kicked in and suddenly I was somewhat ill again. Annoying, to be honest. So, have to wait and see if things ease off.

As for the Radiophonic gig, well, it certainly surpassed expectations. Jo! and I met at Victoria and also met young Alistair Lock. We popped up to Camden and slipped into the Enterprise pub where Alistair decided to spray the entire population of London with vinegar. Oh, the joy of the accidental, over-enthusiastic spray top. Still, made his cranberry juice more like pretend wine After that we went to the Roundhouse where they had a fascinating Delia Derbyshire installation, showcasing some of her work along with images of her notes – all stuff from her archive thats now been donated to a university. Popping into the bar we noticed this bizarre, mechanical musical orchestra thingy. Programmed by computer, it was several pieces that had small hammers that struck pads and performed pieces…very apt, considering the gig we were there to see.

I don’t want to go into too much detail here about the actual gig because Jo! and I discuss it on, wait for it…

The first Flashing Blade podcast!!

Yes, its recorded!! Celebrate! Run wild in the streets! Have a nice cup of tea! And a biscuit!

Within, once it’s eventually released – more on that in a minute – you will discover Jo! and I waffling about the Radiophonic thingy, our completly incorrect ideas about Ashes To Ashes and, oh dear, the Five Doctors.

Once it’s edited down I then need to look into a website and hosting etc, something I’ve never had to bother with before. Then there’s website design. What the Bod is that??? And graphics? What in the hells that? Talking, editing, doing clever sound stuff? Fine, not a problem. But all that nonsense? Oooh dear.

I’ll be plopping a vid taken on my tefelone camera thingy, from the radiophonic thingy here as soon as I can work out how to split it into two so YouTube will allow it. The sound ain’t brilliant, alas, but thems the breaks.

Oh, and I’m going to be recording the new Mr. Dalek story by Benjamin F Elliot. So, at least you have that to look forward to, LOL.

21
May
09

Just A Quickie…

Review of the Radiophonic Workshop at the Roundhouse to come – just trying to sort the vid out. In the mean time, we should be recording the pilot episode of the new podcast this Sunday. In it, as is The Law, we are obliged to take a look at the Five Doctors – look, its best we get it out of the way first. We’ll also be trying to sort out Ashes to Ashes.

So if you have any views on either, please feel free to reply to this post using the comment thingy. There’ll soon be a proper email addy etc, but for now, this will have to do, lol.

17
May
09

Geek Pride Day

From the wikki…

Nerd Pride Day, or Geek Pride Day, is an initiative which claims the right of every person to be a nerd or a geek. Of Spanish origin (“día del orgullo friki” in Spain), it is celebrated nowadays among Spanish frikis (an equivalent of geeks and nerds).[1]

This day is celebrated on May 25 since 2006, celebrating the premiere of the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Origins

In 2006, this day was celebrated for the first time all over Spain and on the Internet, thanks to the publicity given by some media as:

The biggest concentration took place in Madrid, where 300 Geeks demonstrated their pride together with a human pacman.

[edit] 2007 celebration

In 2007, the celebration counted with more help from Official institutions (as the Price Circus in Madrid) and has been more widely celebrated throughout Spain. Official acts were announced in Pilar de la Horadada, Cádiz, Huesca, Calaf, Huelva and Valencia. A Nerd Blood Donation campaign took place. Among other acts, the movie “Gritos en el pasillo” (“Screams in the corridor”) was presented.

[edit] 2008 Geek Pride Day comes to America

In 2008, Geek Pride Day crossed the Atlantic, and was officially celebrated in America, where it was heralded by numerous bloggers, coalescing around the launch of the GeekPrideDay website. Math author, Euler Book Prize winner, and geek blogger John Derbyshire not only did a shout out, but announced [2] that he would be appearing in the Fifth Avenue parade, dressed as number 57, on the prime number float – prompting some bloggers to say they’d be looking for him.

By 2009, acknowledgment of the day had reached the Science Channel, with special programming on May 25th to celebrate.

[edit] 2009 Geek Pride Day comes to Ottawa, Canada

Nerd Pride Day is set to come to Canada in May 2009, with festivities planned in Ottawa, Canada, the capital city. Ottawa is home to the Canada Science and Technology Museum as well, the Ottawa Chess Club, and a notable research centre in Canada.[3]

[edit] Basic rights and responsibilities of nerds

A manifesto was created to celebrate the first Nerd Pride Day which included the following list of basic rights and responsibilities of nerds.[1]

Rights:

  1. The right to be even nerdier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not have a significant other and to be a virgin.
  4. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  5. The right to associate with other nerds.
  6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  7. The right to have all the nerdy friends that you want.
  8. The right to not be “in-style.”
  9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
  10. The right to show off your nerdiness.
  11. The right to take over the world.

Responsibilities:

  1. Be a nerd, no matter what.
  2. Try and be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something nerdy, you must give your opinion.
  4. Save any and all nerdy things you have.
  5. Do everything you can to show off your nerdy stuff as though it were a “museum of nerdiness.”
  6. Don’t be a generalized nerd. You must specialize in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every nerdy book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related t-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don’t waste your time on anything not related to nerddom.
  10. Try to take over the world!

Interestingly, it falls on the same day as Towell Day….

Now then, people, who fits what catergory, hmm?

15
May
09

Please read and email your MP

Ok folks, I’m going to ask those of you in the UK to read the following and then mail your MP to ask them to sign the Early Day Motion. It’s been put forward to the House of Commons in relation to the arrest of Stuart Syvret, the search of his home without a warrent, and the fact that law and order in Jersey is corrupted by the Establishement to suit their own ends….Please quote EDM 1480

Early Day Motion.

ARREST OF SENATOR STUART SYVRET

“That this House deplores the arrest and detention of Senator Stuart Syvret by the Jersey Police Force for alleged infractions of data protection laws; notes that the Senator was in receipt of information disclosed in the public interest, with which he is attempting to hold the Jersey government to account for a variety of profoundly serious child protection and clinical governance failures; condemns the manner of the Senator’s arrest and the subsequent searching of his home by the police without a search warrant; further condemns the fact that substantial quantities of his constituents’ private data were taken and copied by the Jersey police; considers this an intimidatory and anti-democratic action which the Senator is virtually powerless to challenge given the politicisation of the Jersey judiciary and the propensity of the Jersey legislature to oppress minority members; and calls on the Secretary of State for Justice to fulfil his duties by exercising his constitutional powers to intervene and ensure good governance and the proper administration of justice in Jersey through requiring a separation of powers and the imposition of effective checks and balances in order that survivors of child abuse, and other victims of malfeasance gain the proper protection of justice; and considers that through such actions the UK will return to compliance with its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, obligations which are breached by tolerating the situation in Jersey.”

John Hemming.

Peter Bottomley.

Austin Mitchell.

Cheers folks…

14
May
09

Swoops, Wind Bubbles and Vworps…

So, this Sunday, after it being up in the air a little, I’m off to go see the BBC Radiophonic Workshop live at the Roundhouse. Mark Ayres, rock god – makes ya think, lol. Anyway, I was at their last shindig, the Generic Sci Fi Quarry event. I wrote a lil review for Staggering Stories

Here, have a copy of it…

Well, what can I say? It was superb.

With a score by Mark Ayres, Brian Hogdson, Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland it really was never in doubt.

The idea behind this was to try to evoke memories of British sci fi shows, from Dr. Who and Blake�s Seven to Hitchhikers using sound and rather clever visuals.

The visuals were projected on to two walls of the quarry – fore and aft. They told the story of a journey through space and time. Then, a suspiciously shaped, rotating box landed on a planet. We left the TARD..er, the ship and journeyed across the alien landscape. This was a very clever effect. Projected on to the front wall, it really appeared three d. Suddenly, a small army of “generic sci fi robot men” appeared, marching across the wall, and, as the sound panned around to follow them, they circumnavigated the quarry to reappear on the aft wall. For those that remember “The Old Grey Whistle Test”, the robot men were made up of points of light. Then, a huge humanoid creature walked from behind us, jumped over us then carried on his way.
After that, we appeared to rise up out of the quarry onto a bleak heathland. We entered a city and traversed a long avenue bordered by arches. Then onto film and into a series of corridors – and if I lived in the estate where that was filmed then I�d apply for a transfer off it as soon as I could. What a place! There was a chase and gunfire, then we were back to the ship and taking off.

All this was achieved by different types of animation and film and it was incredibly effective.

Then there was the soundtrack.

YUM

It covered the years, that much I can say! It started with a Musique Concrete piece, at least, I think that�s what it was, which at times bordered on the score for “Forbidden Planet”.

Now, being “generic”, the score was new though I did spot the odd referance to some of the composers� other work. There were hints of “The Curse Of Fenric” and “Mawdryn Undead”. Also, I spotted a certain, four note, chord sequence that has appeared in several Paddy Kingsland scores. Try watching the bit in Hitchhiker�s on Magrathea when Zaphod and co are exploring the tunnel. Then they cut to Arthur on the surface and you�ll see what I mean. Logopolis and Castrovalva are two other scores with that sequence in. Actually, when that bit started playing I apparently was standing with a very, VERY happy smile on my face. Don�t ask me, I was lost in the moment.

Oh, and yes, I have a feeling that Dudley Simpson WAS represented in the score. Well, love him or loath him, it wouldn�t have been a true “evocation” without him. The only thing missing was the theme to Doctor Who, which, as the event was a tribute to Delia Derbyshire, I feel could have been played at the very end, after the credits, with a howlaround sequence projected on the wall. Maybe the new, stereo mix? However, as this was supposed to be “generic”, it seems that it simply wouldn�t have fitted – too specific, I expect. Shame, but understandable. Mind you, the ship landing was accompanied by a sound effect that, if you listened carefully, had a very familiar, if slowed down and fiddled with �wheezing, groaning� sound buried deep within.

Oh, ignore me. I�m just a silly post sad-fandomist.

It was actually very interesting to hear new scores by these composer�s and to try to guess which bit was done by which composer. What is interesting is that, with all the new, digital and computerised equipment around, they still ended up resorting to hitting objects with small hammers! Lovely! Authenticity at its best..lol

The performance was incredibly enjoyable. Everything came together beautifully.

I can only hope that TV Swansong gets together with the boys from the Radiophonic Massive to produce a sequel.

Nice one guys. Delia would have been proud.

That was then…

However, the actual show is still online and free to view… Have a link….

Generic Sci Fi Quarry

09
May
09

Review: Big Finish – ‘Doctor Who – Orbis’

When last we left Doctor Who and his plucky girl assistant, Lucie Miller, Doctor Who had pushed that naughty Evil chappy, Morbius, over a cliff – some things just never change – and had unfortunetly forgotton to let go.. Oopsies… and Lucie Miller had been shot.

It happens.

Orbis carries on from where the last Paul McGann series finished. Well, for Lucie, anyway. For the Doctor, well…lets just say time passes….and passes…..and passes….

Lucie has been shot with a temporal bullet type mcguffin thingy by the Headhunter – who still reminds me of Neil Pye’s (from the Young Ones) mother on ‘Neil’s Heavy Concept Album’ – especially the track ‘Bad Karma in the UK’… ahem, I’m drifting. This bullet thingy means she can be killed and then ressurected more times then Ainley’s Master on a bad day. Actually, it sounds quite fun. It’d certainly let Richard Dawkins come up with definate proof either way, LOL. No, seriously, imagine the fun…you shoot Trevor, then bring him back, then shoot him, then bring him back then…. Instant YouTube classic if you ask me…Note to self: Remember to bring him back, tempting as the other option is… Ooh, but I’m bitchy this afternoon – I’m putting it down to only having had the one nice cup of tea so far and having to go into town ‘cos our local ATM no longer works ‘cos the local supermarket has shut.

Anyway, the Headhunter has somehow got hold of the TARDIS. Bless. That Ship is such a tart, honestly. And she needs to find the Doctor. Or else <DRAMATIC CHORD!> the universe will end. Or something. So off the two ladies pop, into Time, Space and Debenhams.

I may be lying about that last part.

The relationship between Lucie and the Headhunter is in places hilariously funny. Lucie is perfect Doctor Who companion material in that she’s thick, accidently clever, slow on the uptake, yet tenacious, plucky and the perfect foil to McGann’s Doctor. Talking of whom…

‘Old Doctor’ is stuck on this planet, see? And has been for, wait for it…. 500 years! Just as well this story has come along as he’s probably filled up that diary of his by now.

‘Tuesday – spoke to bubbling, molluscy type life form.’

‘Wednesday – spoke to bubbling, molluscy type life form.’

You can see how this may, possibly, get to someone. As it is he has the Sisterhood of Karn to thank for being stranded on this somewhat damp planet. Bless them and their amazing powers of teleportation. Possibly a map, an A-Z or a universal version of Tom-Tom may be of use to the dear Sisterhood…?

Anyway, there is evil afoot. No, really. Eeeevil. However, it’s a very clever sort of evil in that it involves using the local planning laws – people from Jersey will be all to familiar with this type of evil, lets be honest here. And somehow the Headhunter is involved. As is the Remote Stellar Manipulator that Morbius happened to have lying around the place. Now, face facts, when a Remote Stellar Manipulator gets involved you just know it’s going to end badly for someone – just ask Davros.

‘I say, you Dalek fellows, heres fun. I’ve got this Hand thingy – makes up for me only having the one, lets be honest here, chaps. What say we fire it off, eh? It’ll be a jolly hoot, what? Yes? Right oh…shoot the thing then. Sorry? What was that? Skaro’s sun..? Oh….Oh blast. Um…look, you chaps, I’m just going into this little escape capsule thing to have a think about what we’re going to do next. You just concentrate on mixing up some cocktails for the party later. What do you mean, ‘What party?’ You know, the ‘We now have mastery over Time’ Party? Yes, yes, ok, I admit, that went a bit pear shaped, but still, a partys a party… Look, let me go have a little think, ok? Oh and you may want to consider moving the ship as I think, just think mind you, that the Hand thingy may be on its way back here – and we really don’t want it’s sort hanging around, now do we?’

You see? It never ends well.

So, it’s been 500 years for Time’s Kitten…and..ah…he’s forgotton a lot. Including plucky girl assistant Lucie Miller. So, when she turns up, all dripping and grumpy, he hasn’t the faintest idea who she is and indeed, thinks she’s behind the Evil that may be occuring. Or at least, the nasty form filling at the local planning office.

Sheridan Smith continues to amaze with a wonderfully brilliant performance. She is, quite simply, the best thing to happen to the Big Finish range  in years. The charecter of Lucie brings out the sense of fun in the Doctor that’s been missing for so long. I’ve been moaning that Big Finish does have a tendancy to take itself far too seriously. Well, this play is very much in the style of ‘Partners in Crime’ – a hoot from start to finish. Though, without giving too much away, it doesn’t end well for the locals who all sound like Mattresses from H2G2 – they floop and glooble…I was expecting Marvin to turn up! Andrew Sachs is, I’m afraid, wasted in this production. He needs a decent role to really get his teeth into. And no, I do NOT mean Adric! Bring back Mathew Waterhouse, that’s what I say! McGann is his normal, sterling self – a bit grumpy, understandably, to be honest. And I’m wondering if BF are slowly aiming Doc 8 towards the Time War as he’s started to go on about ‘stupid apes’, something his successor was wont to do… Not that they’ll ever do a Time War series….shame that. Ah well.

So, bottom line then. A great deal of fun, not too much pre-knowledge of the range needed to enjoy this – and just who is the Headhunter really working for? She claims that without the Doctor someone has to take his role in the universe… I’m really enjoying these McGann series, mainly because of the dynamic between McGann and Smith.

But for Bod’s sake, someone take Nick Briggs into a little room and beat him till he agrees to change the theme. I said on the WhoCast that it’s a great track, just inappropriate to top and tail a play.

Buy this play – get the cd or download it…you won’t regret it.