Wednesday, May 18, 2011

52:18 Three simple rules...

There are a few rules one must follow when attempting to see a film aimed at young children when you don't have children.

Rule number 1: Avoid the opening weekend of said film (9 times out of ten you and your date will be the only adults in the theatre without children and the noise generated by the 300+ children are likely to drown out any dialogue of said film)

Rule Number 2: Avoid early evening and weekend showings of said film if it has been in theatres for longer than a month. (These show times are aimed at families with very young children and parents with little to no control over their children)

Rule Number 3:. Enter at your own risk. (If you have ignored the above rules you have knowingly entered a temporary child kingdom and have forfeited any rights to a quiet evening and for all intents and purposes are at the children's mercy.)

You would think that of all people I would follow the above rules to the letter, unfortunately I blatantly ignored them when Helen and I saw RIO. The film itself was alright, unfortunately as we were in an early evening Sunday viewing we shared the cinema with 1 other adult and roughly 20 children in ages varying between 4 and 16.

The children were out of control climbing over seats from the back of the cinema down to the front and back up; stomping up and down the aisles, and throwing sweets (two of which hit me and inspired this little rant) and generally being disruptive; While I know the above rules, I don't think it is completely out of the question to hope that parents would instil some kind of manners into their children. God only knows what my own parents would have done to me or my siblings if we acted up half as much as these kids.

end rant...

As you may or may not know Helen and I recently moved in to our own place which is why this blog is about three weeks late, hopefully I will catch up and be back on track in the next few weeks.

Random Fact. Mandarin duck couples stop liking each other after their nest is built.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

52.17 Yeah I've got nothing.

Helen and I had a nice day, we went down to the sea side and saw a bunch of classic cars, including a couple of American classics. And after that we went to a friend's Bar-B-Que and met some awesome new people.
We have seen three more flats since my last post and really liked one, but we are not sure if our application will be accepted so we are waiting to hear back from the letting agent (real estate agent)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

52:16 Moving on out...

This week Helen and I have finally given into the reality that as badly as we want to relocate to the Brighton area, it isn't going to happen any time soon. Swallowing that bitter pill with smiles on our faces we have actively begun searching for our first home as a married couple. 
We don't want much (and we can afford less) but after looking at a small flat yesterday we are very aware of compromises we are willing to make and those we aren't going to consider.  This is an odd experience for me for a couple of reasons. It is the first time I have had to look for a new place as part of a married couple. 
Both Helen and I have expectations and reservations about our new place and finding a happy balance will be the biggest challenge in this move. Luckily we both are fairly agreeable and willing to compromise.  
One of the other reasons this is an odd experience for me is that I have never rented a flat in England (or any country that isn't America for that matter) Though I have lived in a couple of different countries the military handled the living quarters in each of those circumstances. There are so many little rules and taxes (council and television) that are alien to me it just seems to be incredibly overwhelming.
 The fact is we are both very excited about having a place to call our own, and while this first place may not tick every box on our wish lists it is with out a doubt a step in the right direction.
As of this post we have seen two flats and learned areas we are willing to compromise on  and areas we are not. 
Random Fact: Giraffes and humans have the same amount of vertebrae in their necks.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

52:15 @Kapow

One of the things I enjoy most about weekends away is the tiny things you do that you wouldn't normally do. Helen and I spent last weekend in London, with our friends Kim and Ross, they live together in Brighton and unfortunately we aren't able to hang out nearly as often as we would all prefer.

The four of us get on really well, and spent the majority of the weekend laughing at one thing or another. We all met up the Friday evening before the conference at our hotel. The St Athans Hotel was the only hotel on the street with a seedy looking neon light sign above it's door, but all in all it was a decent hotel, and even though we shared the three available restrooms between two floors I didn't have to wait to use the showers or bathroom once. After settling in to the hotel the four of us set out to look for a place to eat dinner (we chose a nice little place called Gourmet Burger Kitchen that had amazing delicious burgers) after our meal we jumped on the underground, went to Covent Gardens and found a small comedy club where we watched a few comedians tell jokes and after the show we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.

We spent the majority of Saturday either walking around the convention centre or waiting in a queue for one cool thing or another. We were lucky to get pretty decent seats for each panel excluding the very first one we went to where we were in the second to last row and could hear the people on the panel but couldn't actually see any of them. The four of us were all blown away by the Thor footage that we saw, and I even got to ask the actors playing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Heddington) a question during the Q & A portion of the panel. I asked them if the fact that Iron Man 2 had gotten a lot of criticism for cramming so many nods at the upcoming Avengers film that the actual story seemed a bit muddled had affected the production of Thor. Hemsworth answered diplomatically and said it was a definitely film in the established Marvel Film Universe, but Thor was very much its own film.

On Sunday the four of us all dressed up as comic characters, Helen as Rogue, Kim as Bat Girl, Ross as The Spirit and I went as Beast's alter ego Senator Hank McCoy. We had a lot of fun and took a ridiculous amount of pictures with a lot of different people, we even did a couple of interviews with different forms of media like Bizarre magazine, (the article will apparently appear in June/July issue.) Though I think we had the most fun when we went out to lunch in full costume we got quite a few looks from children and adults. We all had an excellent weekend and eagerly await the next convention on the horizon...

Random Fact: Over 50% of all singles in America have not had a date in more than two years.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

52.14 Sin-ema

Helen brought up a topic during the He said, She said, VEDA project on Monday that I have very strong feelings about, and I thought I would weigh in this week with my own cinema peeves, of which I have a few. I should preface this by saying that I am sure at one time or another I have been guilty of at least some of the following things that really annoy the piss out of me. 
The following are in no particular order. 
Cinema sin 1  Texting/answering calls and or generally fapping about with your mobile phone during the film. 
This was the subject of Helen's video on Monday so I wont spend too much time on this particular issue but seriously unless your significant other/family member is either in labour or otherwise seriously ill, TURN THE DAMN PHONE OFF!  
Cinema Sin 2 Full volume conversations (and or dumb ass comments) through-out the entire film. 
I don't expect you to be completely silent during the film, even Helen and I talk to each other now and again. (although mostly we just give each other knowing looks and discuss things on the ride home) The point I'm making is that there is an acceptable volume to use with the person on either side of you, if the person on the other side of them can hear you, you are using the wrong volume.  
If you are one of those people that struggles following complicated plots (Like those of Inception, 2009's Star Trek, or Unknown ) I encourage you to do one of three things, (1) sit as far back or to a particular side in the cinema as possible (in order to limit the number of people you are likely disturb) (2) Refrain from asking questions until the credits role. or (3) Wait for the more complicated films to hit DVD, that way you have the ability to pause the film at your leisure.
 Cinema Sin 3 Loud snack/sweets packaging and or glass bottles. 
There are a number of reasons why your local cinema has numerous signs posted restricting outside food and drink. The biggest reason is that the cinema's profit margin is derived from concessions, another reason is that these products are made to be as quiet as possible the large cups and sturdy popcorn buckets are intended to minimise the rustling noises you get from bags of crisps (chips) and similar items.  
There are ways to make your Pick 'n mix bags quieter as well, If you tear off the top of the excess bag it will rustle less (Helen and I usually do this as soon as we sit down.) as you paw around trying to get at your sweets, you can do the same with the popcorn bags during the film but, it can be loud if you aren't careful. Helen and I rarely ever have popcorn at cinema but know from experience how loud the sweet sacks can be.  
I have never understood the need to sneak alcohol into the cinema; usually those that do get belligerent and disruptive and pay little to no attention to the film they paid to see. Anyone who has been in a cinema when someone drops a glass bottle is well aware of the amount of noise one makes let alone multiple bottles. If you need to be drinking to enjoy a night at the cinema, perhaps you would be happier in a bar with a big screen.  
Cinema Sin 4 Children and age appropriate films. 
I'm not implying that people with children shouldn't be able to go to the cinema. I do think that bringing your small infants and toddlers to films that are obviously not intended for them is frankly rude to other theatre goers with out children or with the presence of mind to find a baby sitter.  
Obviously if my wife and I are seeing the latest Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks animated film we expect to share the cinema with small children and the noises that go along with them, we shouldn't how ever have to share a cinema with a screaming chorus of infants when watching Unknown, or Source Code or the like.  
You may not agree with the things I have said, but really most of my Cinema Sins annoy me because of the lack of consideration for others that is displayed when they aren't heeded. I love everything about the cinema, really and truly no matter how I am feeling, I genuinely leave the theatre feeling happier. Call it escapism or mini vacations or what ever just please don't disturb the theatre patrons around you.
Random Fact: Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

52.13 Oh right... this...

Yep, totes didn't write a blog this week, and as I have less than 2 hours before next week starts you aren't going to be getting much out of me...

Today is mother's day in the UK so Helen and I spent the day with her parents and her Sister her husband and our nephew. It was Helen's sister's first mother's day (Phew that was a mouthful to say) and we had a fantastic roast lamb meal, that I couldn't possibly do justice to in blog format... Know that nomz were had.

I have every intention of writing more in the weeks to come, but this is all you get today....

Random Fact:
When Heinz ketchup leaves the bottle, it travels at a rate of 25 miles per year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

52.12 A little bit Random...

The Wizard of Oz was fantabulous, Helen and I both had a fantastic day in London. This week I haven't accomplished much more than work so unfortunately I have very little to write about so I thought I would flood the random fact section with a few completely unrelated facts, along with little snide and hopefully amusing comments on each.

Random Facts:

Infant beavers are called kittens. (there is a joke here that is just too easy.)

In the Middle Ages, chicken soup was believed to be an aphrodisiac. (possibly because anyone even remotely healthy is sexy prior to Penicillin?)

Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment in the palms of their hands. (we are also the only primates that rarely chuck feces at one another.)
Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete. (Remind me to avoid testing that particular fact.)

The New York Stock Exchange started as a coffee shop. (and Starbucks started as a criminal enterprise to launder large sums of Money.)

And finally:
A week before President Kennedy died, he was in Marilyn Monroe. (Some times the jokes write themselves.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

52:11 We're off to see the Wizard

I have very little to write about today as I have spent the majority of the day either at the cinema (where I saw Unknown for the second time) or huddled away in the dark corner of the back reception/living room playing my recently acquired (new to me) game Saint's Row 2.

Saint's Row 2 is basically a carbon copy of the Grand Theft Auto games, it is an open world game with a thin plot and a heavy helping of unnecessary and gratuitous violence. (read man fun) The game is fun and the controls are easy enough that I am able to complete missions in order to move along further in the game and the structure is designed that if I randomly decide I want to carjack a vehicle by yanking the driver out of his door, and take his remaining passengers on a high speed police chase until they pay a ransom, I can do just that.

Tomorrow Helen and I are going to spend the day in London. We are going to have a nice lunch and visit our favorite geek schwag store Forbidden Planet (which sells awesome things like this ) and the actual reason we are going into London, We have tickets to see Andrew Lloyd Weber's Wizard of Oz production at the London Palladium theatre!

We are both very excited last year we watched Danielle Hope win the cherished role on a talent search show called Over the rainbow, and Helen gave the tickets to me for my birthday this year. We are both very excited and I am sure you will hear more about our London adventure next week.

Random Fact:
Since Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s venture into the world of reality TV in shows like Over The Rainbow, the demand for theatre tickets has soared. Audience numbers have increased by well over one million since Lloyd Webber's new cast members began appearing on stage.

Lee Mead took the lead in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, while Connie Fisher starred in The Sound of Music. Jodie Prenger filled the lead role in Oliver! and Danielle Hope most recently took the lead role in The Wizard of Oz. Theatreland (or the West End) has treated Lloyd Webber well and this year he was listed as the third-richest music millionaire in Britain. He beats Simon Cowell, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney with a personal fortune of £700 million.

Friday, March 11, 2011

52.10 Unusually, unusual...

It has occurred to me that I am somewhat unusually, unusual. I have always been very lucky in life, surviving helicopter crashes and bullet wounds, being lost in the desert of Iraq with 4 other soldiers and an Italian television reporter and her camera man for more than a week with out any contact with the rest of my unit and no help of support. I managed to survive all of these possibly dire situations relatively unscathed if you ignore the fact that I bring it up every day.

I am married to a beautiful and loving woman, living in a far away land, (complete with castles, manor houses and actual royalty.) It occurred to me yesterday how odd and wonderful my life is when Helen and I went into London for an interview (read her blog about the interview) had lunch at the very American TGI Fridays, and went back home.

Never in my wildest dreams as a child did I picture myself popping into London for a meeting and bit of lunch only to jump back on the Underground to head back home via London Liverpool station and the National Railway service.

I was terribly gutted when I didn't get that Disney job last week but the truth of the matter is I am very lucky. I'm married to an amazing woman (five months tomorrow!) I have a job that pays the bills. (though I am far from loving the hours) My life is freaking awesome and I am grateful for every minute of it. With that thought I shall bid you adieu.

Random fact: Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

52.9 Swing and a miss

Sports metaphors aside, I do not handle failure well. I did not get the job that I mentioned in last weeks post. The feedback from the employer was highly positive and said that had their other applicants not have been such a high caliber they would have happily employed me.

I don't know about you, but I read that statement and while it seems nice what they are really saying is you were good but there was better. Which is obvious as I wasn't chosen. The interview process was intense and interesting and I am gutted that I was not selected to be a part of what appears to be a creative and resourceful team, but life moves 0n.

I could go on and on about how miserable I am that I didn't get the position, and how when I recieved the email informing me of that, I apparently got something in my eye for the next few minutes, but really the fact is there will be other opportunties and better jobs. I think to end this post I will conclude with another sports metaphor: I have to keep my eye on the ball.

Random Fact:
The modern game originated in Scotland was entitled Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden.... and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language. The first written record of golf is James II's banning of the game in 1457, as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery.