Tuesday, 31 July 2012

"It Has Turned Out To Be An Annus Horribilis"

That is how Queen Elizabeth II described 1992 in a speech. You don't need to be an expert in Latin (I'm certainly not) to understand that it means Horrible Year. She said "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis."

Between the separations and divorces of her children, a tell-all book and the Windsor Castle fire it had indeed been quite a year for the Queen.

1992 was also the year of that the Los Angeles Riots took place, that Czechoslovakia divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Church of England allowed female priests, Sinéad O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope on TV and George H.W. Bush vomited into the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.

These are a few of my favourite things from 1992:

Husbands And Wives
This a brilliant film that exposes the cracks in two marriages and the effect one break up can have on another. Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis make a fantastic quartet. Released at the height of the controversy surrounding Woody's relationship with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter this film makes for uncomfortable viewing at times. Here's the trailer.

The third Alien film is a blend of the styles of the first two with an extra slice of impending doom. David Fincher's direction is slick, while Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Ralph Brown, Brian Glover, Danny Webb and Lance Henriksen are all great. Here's the trailer.

Peter's Friends
Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Laurie, Phyllida Law and Rita Rudner are great in this gentle comedy with a tender edge to it. Here's the trailer.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
While not in the same league as the far superior television remake, Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland, Stephen Root, David Arquette and Rutger Hauer are great. Joss Whedon's trademark dialogue is still present even in this campy schlockfest which contains the best use of the word "clap" in cinematic history. Here's the trailer.

Red Dwarf: Holoship; The Inquisitor; Terrorform; Quarantine; Demons And Angels; Back To Reality
Series V opens with the Boys from the Dwarf encountering a Holoship in Red Dwarf's second remake of Casablanca, Chris Barrie and Jane Horrocks are fantastic and Don Warrington's cameo scene is wonderful as are Rimmer's sexual conversation, mind patch scene and goodbye speech, while all the Cat's lines are hilarious. The Inquisitor prunes the wastrels and deletes them from existence in an episode with a great SF concept, impressive use of time travel and the scene of the crew judging themselves is fantastic. Rimmer's psyche Terrorforms a psi-moon and the opening scene, the typing taranshula and Robbie Rocketpants are all brilliant, plus the episode also features some of the finest insults ever written. Rimmer puts his crewmates in to Quarantine and all the scenes of incarceration are great, the King of the Potato People, Mr Flibble and hex-vision Rimmer in drag are very funny and the positive viruses are great science fiction. The ship and crew are triplicated in Demons And Angels, the 'low' strawberry is gloriously disgusting, "Abandon shop! This is not a daffodil!", the destruction of the Dwarf is shocking, the 'high' pot noodle scene is lovely, the 'low' crew are nicely drawn and Kryten's "surprise" is great in an underrated episode that sometimes makes for uncomfortable watching as Lister is forced to confront his darker nature, but is still crammed full of great lines. The series finale continues this darker thread the Dwarfers awake into a fascist dystopia and the identities presented to the crew as their own turns them into their own worst nightmares, the Game Over reveal is brilliant, Timothy Spall is wonderful, Duane Dibbley provides great comic relief, the new crew playing out their lives better than they ever did is a nice touch, the chase sequence impressively plays to the strengths of a studio-bound multi-camera sitcom, the assured yet subdued ending. Comedy and tragedy go hand-in-hand, but it’s a brave sitcom that can sitcom that can truly embrace despair and as a result Back To Reality is fantastic. Once again Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Hattie Hayridge and Robert Llewellyn are fantastic and Rob Grant and Doug Naylor’s scripts for Series V blend comedy and SF effortlessly.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conundrum; Power Play; Cause And Effect; The First Duty; I, Borg; The Next Phase; The Inner Light; Time's Arrow; Realm Of Fear; Relics; Schisms; True-Q; Rascals; A Fistful Of Datas; The Quality Of Life; Chain Of Command
Highlights from the second half of the show's fifth season include the excellent amnesia episode Conundrum which shows the crew attempting to make sense of their plight and the inherent misunderstandings are well handled. Power Play is a great action show and Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Colm Meaney are wonderful as their characters are possessed. After one of the best teasers Cause And Effect turns out to be one of the best time travel paradox episodes. Wesley Crusher grows up and throws off the shackles of the boy genius in The First Duty and Wil Wheaton, Ray Walston and Robert Duncan McNeill are great. Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Whoopi Goldberg and Jonathan Del Arco are wonderful in I, Borg the episode that successfully does something different with the monolithic, unstoppable collective and also asks valid ethical questions. Geordi and Ro are rendered incorporeal in The Next Phase, an episode with a brilliant blend of action and high concept SF with a brilliantly shocking reveal and a great chase sequence. The Inner Light is beautiful and Stewart gives a fantastic performance. The season finale is the first part of Time's Arrow which features great performances from Spiner, Goldberg, Marc Alaimo and Jerry Hardin and all the scenes set in 1893 are fantastic.
The sixth season begins with the second part and the story becomes a great ensemble piece as the 24th century crew adapt to life in the 19th, the scenes between Stewart and Goldberg are magnificent and Jerry Hardin leaves you wishing his Mark Twain could have been permitted to stay in the future. Realm Of Fear is a nice Barclay episode and transporter psychosis is a great analogy for a fear of flying. James Doohan is fantastic in Relics, which is not merely a fan pleasing episode, but also a touching tale about retirement. Schisms is a great body horror episode and Data’s poetry is very funny. John de Lancie is great in True-Q. Rascals is very simple, but actually a lot of fun. Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner are hilarious in holodeck western A Fistful Of Datas. The Quality Of Life asks ethical questions in exactly the way Star Trek should. The two-parter Chain Of Command is another step forward, Ronny Cox is great in the scenes of conflict aboard the Enterprise, Stewart and David Warner are fantastic together and the story prepares the way for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes: The Master Blackmailer
Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Colin Jeavons, Sophie Thompson and Nickolas Grace are fantastic in another excellent feature-length episode. The The Master Blackmailer is darker in tone than many of its predecessors as Holmes and Watson find themselves embroiled with a particularly nasty little villain. The story doesn't require the usual deduction, but instead calls upon a variety of other skills. The undercover and burglary elements of the plot are great and Holmes' flawed logic after the auction is refreshing.

Northern Exposure: Dateline: Cicely; Our Tribe; Things Become Extinct; Burning Down The House; Democracy In America; Three Amigos; Lost And Found; My Mother, My Sister; Wake Up Call; The Final Frontier; It Happened In Juneau; Our Wedding; Cicely; Northwest Passages; Midnight Sun; Nothing's Perfect; Heroes; Blowing Bubbles; On Your Own; The Bad Seed; Thanksgiving; Do The Right Thing; Crime And Punishment
Maurice and Adam are great together as the third season continues with Dateline: Cicely and the former's poopscooping is very funny. Joel is even more more of a fish out of water than usual as he inducted into Our Tribe as Heals With Tools. Things Become Extinct seems bleak featuring Ed filming a dying art, Joel's cultural isolation and Holling's midlife crisis, but Shelly's puppet show is great. Chris' trebuchet art in Burning Down The House is wonderful and remember "It's not the thing you fling; it's the fling itself". The series examines Democracy In America with a mayoral election and everyone reacts differently first-time voter Ed is daunted, convicted felon Chris is envious, encumbent Holling is affronted, Shelly is aroused by power, Maurice is disappointed by the turnout and electoral officials Joel and Maggie argue over tenets of democracy and aesthetics in equal measure. Three Amigos sends Holling and Maurice into the wilderness to bury a friend and the juxtaposition of their adventure and Chris' reading The Call Of The Wild is beautiful. Joel identifies with a suicide victim in the touching Lost And Found. An abandoned baby brings Cicely together and Wendy Schaal is great as Shelly's mother in My Mother, My Sister. Joel and Maggie both get Wake Up Calls as he learns some better bedside manner and she falls in love with a bear, and the episode introduces the wonderful Graham Greene as Leonard. The Final Frontier's postal tale is very sweet. It Happened In Juneau and Our Wedding brings the will they/won't they? sexual tension between Joel and Maggie to an end of sorts, a pause maybe, Chris and Bernard's resyncing, Eve's revelation and the throwing of the bouquet are all very funny. The season finale is great as it recasts the regulars as the founders of the town of Cicely and Jo Anderson, Yvonne Suhor and Roberts Blossom are fantastic.
Elaine Miles and Peg Phillips finally make it into the opening titles for the fourth season starting with Northwest Passages, Maggie's hallucinations of her exes and Maurice's dictated memoirs meeting Ruth-Ann's hammer are very funny. The constant daylight of Midnight Sun drives Joel light loony and his basketball ball obsession combined with the attitudes of the team after the fact are great. Nothing's perfect in Nothing's Perfect: Maurice's ugly clock, Chris the petslayer and his motorcycle sacrifice, but Kelly Connell is great. Heroes does a good job of showing up faux rock star interest and Chris' funereal efforts are great (I think I'd quite like a funeral like Tooley's). Anthony Edwards is fantastic adition to the cast as the Bubble Man with an allergy to modern life in Blowing Bubbles and his eventual triumphant stroll through Cicily is a great reveal. Nobody wants to be On Your Own, Marilyn's one-sided conversations with the Flying Man are great, Maggie's blossoming romance with the bubble man is lovely and Ed's cinematic dilemma is brilliant. Marilyn's househunting is very funny in The Bad Seed. Cicily celebrates Thanksgiving in style and the scene with Sisyphus is great. Maggie tries to Do The Right Thing and the reactions are surprising, while a former KGB agent and a health inspector arrive in the town. Anne Haney is fantastic as always in Crime And Punishment, and Maurice's job offer to Bernard and Chris' sense of justice are very funny.

Archer's Goon
This fantastic six-part adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones novel is complex and thought-provoking television. Jamie De Courcey, Roger Lloyd Pack, Susan Jameson and Morgan Jones, Jake Wood, Annette Badland, Clive Merrison are all wonderful. The family "farming" aspects of the town is a brilliant and intriguing idea, there are two really great revelations about identity and how many other children's stories can claim to feature a villain that threatens to give someone tetanus?

Jeeves & Wooster
The third series sees Jeeves & Wooster travel to New York and return with their tails between their legs. Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, John Savident, Mac McDonald, Chloe Annett, Mary Wimbush, John Woodnutt, Fiona Gillies, John Turner and Peter Benson are excellent. Highlights include Jeeves' reaction to daily routine of a poet, Jeeves singing falsetto, the battle over Bertie's upper lip, some top quality swaying, Jeeves catching Bertie's glass, Comrade Wooster's attempt at being a member of the proletariat and his wrestling with brown paper.

Stephen Volk's controversial 'live' televised ghosthunting event at "the most haunted house in Britain" expertly walks a tightrope of credulity. The broadcast is 'presented' by Michael Parkinson, Craig Charles, Sarah Greene and Mike Smith, who all do a great job of playing themselves. Gillian Bevan is excellent as parapsychologist Dr. Lyn Pascoe and Pipes is genuinely terrifying. The end result is a fantastic piece of television that gets better with subsequent viewings, which ironically is exactly the opportunity that was denied it. We shall never see its like again.

Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge
Somehow Norwich's favourite son gets himself a radio chat show interviewing the likes of precocious child prodigy, professional cockney strumpets and a professional gambler. Highlights include: Alan's conspiracy theory about Sherlock Holmes and "this shadowy Doyle figure", pressing a former hostage for funny anecdotes and Norwich as an attitude.

Pulp: Separations
The third album is another step toward what Pulp would become with the recognisable line-up coming together to create an album with a distinctly disco feel. 'Countdown' and 'My Legendary Girlfriend' are as strong as anything that followed them.
Stand-Out Tracks: 'Love Is Blind'; 'She's Dead'; 'Down By The River'; 'Countdown'; 'My Legendary Girlfriend'; 'Death II'

E: A Man Called (E)
Mark Oliver Everett's debut album as E is not as bleak as later albums, but still features the breadth of sound we would come to expect from Eels, best exemplified here by the likes of 'Symphony For Toy Piano In G Minor' and 'Mockingbird Franklin'.
Stand-Out Tracks: 'Hello Cruel World'; 'Fitting In With The Misfits'; 'Are You And Me Gonna Happen'; 'Looking Out the Window with a Blue Hat On'; 'Nowheresville'; 'Symphony For Toy Piano In G Minor'; 'Mockingbird Franklin'; 'I've Been Kicked Around'; 'E's Tune'; 'You'll Be The Scarecrow'

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The thirteenth Discworld novel is a brilliant satire about the gulf between organised religion and actual belief. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and as the most standalone of the standalone Discworld novels it requires absolutely no knowledge of any of the others. It's a great place to start.

Lords And Ladies by Terry Pratchett
Picking up pretty much where Witches Abroad left off, Lords And Ladies sees the return of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick as the Witches of Lancre take on the Elves. The novel is chock full of references to royal weddings and Shakespeare (in particular A Midsummer Night's Dream), while Shawn Ogg's ever increasing job description is fantastic.

Red Dwarf: The End; Future Echoes; Ace Rimmer: Space Adventurer; Fashion Victims; Mr Flibble's Surprise; Flashback; In Living Memory; The Case Of The Cashed-In Contestant 1 & 2; Red Dwarf USA; Mirror Image
The Red Dwarf comic strip starts with very faithful adaptations of the first two episodes of the TV show, The End and Future Echoes, which illustrate "wetlook knitwear" and Lister's dreams in the former and death's cure, the human being-a-tarium, the navicomp explosion and Rimmer's funeral attire with some lovely flights of fancy. Original strip, Fashion Victims, follows the Cat's living nightmare and has a great twist. The Cat has a Flashback to his time as Duane Dibbley (see above) and the parallel narrative between the Dwarf and the hallucination as the lithium carbonate kicks in is great.
The Red Dwarf Smegazine featured comic strips based on many other elements from the TV show. Ace Rimmer: Space Adventurer is a brilliant blend of story elements from Dimension Jump, Parallel Universe and Future Echoes, with a great ending. The deadpan mismatch between the text and the visuals of Mr Flibble's Surprise is great and really establishes the tone of the Flibble strips to come. Red Dwarf USA is an intriguing if self-congratulary pitch meeting for the American version of the TV show that never was. The Inquisitor returns in Mirror Image which sees the simulant delete the only good version of Ján Ludvík Hoch from reality and leaving his replacement all at sea in another great ending. The first two parts of The Case Of The Cashed-In Contestant set up a great surreal noirish mystery for Jake Bullet to investigate and Carl Flint's art is perfect for the job.

Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis
Forget Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, this should have been the fourth Indiana Jones film. This point-and-click adventure game has a great plot, great puzzles and feels just like a genuine Indy adventure should while the option to choose either the team, wits or fists path gives you three games for the price of one.

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
Bizarrely released apparently to coincide with the show's 26th Anniversary and featuring the voices of the original cast. This game does a really great job of capturing the spirit of the original series of Star Trek whilst not compromising either on gameplay or graphics.

I had seen Aliens, but I didn't see the movie of Alien³ (see above) until much much later. My tiny mind boggled at the idea that I could play it on the Sega Master System. This scrolling platform game had brilliant music, a greater sense of realism than your average Master System game and it was astonishingly graphic: the blood, gore, wriggling facehuggers and bald squirming prisoners whose chests burst open were all present and correct, but the zoomed out view and tiny characters somehow makes it even bleaker.

Recommendations welcome.

Next month: 1991

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Brandon Generator, Episode 4

Brandon Generator was used to show off the newish Internet Explorer 9 and some kind soul has uploaded it to YouTube for people using other browsers. Episodes one, two and three have been on there for a while.

Here's Episode 4:

Friday, 20 July 2012


After signing up to Technorati last year I noticed a few extra visitors and decided to sign up a few more bloglist sites.

After a bit of searching I found:

Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.

Acting & Actor Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Blogging Fusion
Blog Directory

Television Blog Directory

Blog Listings

Blog Digger

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Blog Directory

What do you think of these sites? Are you listed on any or all of these sites?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I'd Rather Have A Bowl Of Odo Pops

After Frosted Frakes made its way across the internet, The Geek Twins have posted something today about the recent Star Trek breakfast cereals meme phenomenon.

Despite my lack of Photoshop skills (and my lack of Photoshop), I decided to add to the madness and include one from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a series so far unrepresented in cereal box form as far as I know. I give you: Odo Pops.

Odo's story was in many ways at the core of DS9 charting his journey from being the only one of his kind to finding his race and then losing them again, to fall in love, winning a war only to lose the woman of his dreams to save his species. I can only hope that when Rene Auberjonois was crafting a character as complex as Odo, that he also wanted his face on a cereal box.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Random Adventures Of Brandon Generator

I came late to the party with The Random Adventures Of Brandon Generator, the "crowd-sourced animated" from Edgar Wright and Tommy Lee Edwards (among others).

I was vaguely aware of the name, but the first three episodes passed by whilst I was in a haze of teaching and broken computers.

An advert on late night TV reminded me of Brandon's existence and so I sought out the Brandon Generator website to catch up. The story so far concerned a writer, his addiction to coffee and the flights of fancy that prevented him from writing. That description doesn't do it justice and you should probably watch it instead.

The fourth episode was to be the finale and the call was out for people to write the denouement as either Brandon's escape or Brandon's demise. I decided to hedge my bets and write one of each. I'll see if I can find what I actually wrote and I'll post it up here.

Some of my contribution(s) made it into the final episode and ninety-five other people and I got our names up in pixels. Here are the credits with my name slang bang in the middle:

You can go here to watch the whole thing, or just episode four here.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Top Ten Pilots

Whether they sit in the pilot seat, at the helm or the conn, every spaceship needs someone to do the steering. After finding a captain, first officer, doctor and engineer, the fifth crew member I need to recruit is the pilot. It wasn't until I started compiling this list that I realised how few pilots in fiction are portrayed as anything other than fantastic.

Deserving of honourable mentions are M.A.S.K.'s Matt Trakker, Brad Turner and Vanessa Warfield, who all drove land vehicles that at the push of a button became aircraft as well as Miles Mayhem whose helicopter turned into an aeroplane and Millennium Falcon pilot extraordinaire Han Solo from Star Wars.

Here's my list of Top Ten Pilots:

10 - Mary Margaret O'Connell
Maggie to her friends. Northern Exposure's sarcastic and intelligent bush pilot would make a great companion on those those long isolated flights. She is the only woman to make the top ten which is disappointing because it seems art is barely imitating life and real life female aviators like Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart.

Northern Exposure

9 - Geordi LaForge
One of the visual metaphors used to illustrate the technological advancement of Star Trek: The Next Generation saw them put a blind man in the driving seat. Geordi would become a better engineer than he was a helmsman and it would be the VISOR that gave him sight or his friendship with Data that would involve him in stories rather than his piloting abilities, but the precision with which he exercised the rest of his duties would have made him a safe pair of hands at the conn.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

8 - Pilot
Farscape's pilot was simply called Pilot and as such didn't really have much of an identity outside of his duties. He was bonded to Moya, the living Leviathan ship, and guided her, was aware of her pain and was only able to leave her under very extreme circumstances.


7 - Virgil Tracy
The five Tracy brothers are probably all very good pilots, but Virgil pips the others to the list because he sits at the controls of my favourite of the Thunderbirds, namely heavy duty transport plane: Thunderbird 2.


6 - Tom Paris
Star Trek: Voyager's conn artist broke the Warp 10 barrier at the cost of his own health, helped design and build the first Delta Flyer, raced in the Antarian Trans-stellar Rally, failed a Ledosian pilot's course with the best possible excuse and flew Captain Proton's holographic rocket ship, a shuttle called Alice, two Delta Flyers and was at the helm of the USS Voyager all the way home.

Star Trek: Voyager

5 - H.M. Murdock
Apparently he excelled himself serving as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war, which is probably what sent him Howling Mad. After being accused of a crime he didn't commit, he joined The A-Team. Murdock could fly just about any helicopter or plane The A-Team needed him too and more impressively he even managed to get B.A. Baracus in a plane, fool.

The A-Team

4 - Anakin Skywalker
From The Phantom Menace podracing to the chasing his son's X-Wing in A New Hope, via the weaving dogfights of the animated Clone Wars, the once and future Sith Lord from Star Wars proved he had the skill and the midichlorians to be a phenomenal pilot.

Star Wars

3 - Hoban Washburne
Wash to his friends was clearly a good pilot and would have been welcome in any crew, but it was his sense of humour that helped make Firefly and Serenity a joy to watch. He would prefer to run and hide, but was an asset when forced to stay and fight. Wash could outrun the fastest of Alliance ships with manoeuvres like his Crazy Ivan. He was a leaf on the wind, watch how he soared.


2 - Hikaru Sulu
Star Trek's helmsman aboard two USS Enterprises, but could also turn his hand to flying a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, a Huey helicopter and he also manually docked a shuttlecraft during a combat situation on his first attempt. I pretty much believe that Sulu could fly practically anything.

Star Trek

1 - Cat
Red Dwarf's resident Felis Sapien probably seems like an odd choice, but when the boys from the Dwarf lose their mothership it's the Cat that becomes Starbug's pilot of choice. He has what Kryten describes as "superior reflexes and nasal intuition". It's easy to see how superior reflexes would make him a great pilot, but nasal intuition may take a little explaining. The Cat's olfactory awareness is better than Starbug's sensors and he can smell things that threaten the ship even in the vacuum of space. Clearly impossible, but very impressive nonetheless. Ironically for a character described as "mind-meltingly shallow" and largely defined by his fashion sense and sexual urges, piloting seems to be the one thing that he takes seriously even to the point of resenting a rogue baked potato timer in the cockpit.

Red Dwarf

Who are your favourites?

Next Month: Security Officers

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Please Release Me DVD #5

Here's an update for various Please Release Me DVD posts. There have been a couple of developments in the field of Doctor Who DVDs since I wrote this.

Special Sounds expert Brian Hodgeson mentioned that he has recorded a commentary for The Moonbase. Here's hoping that this is for a full DVD release with animation replacing the missing episodes. He also let slip about a commentary for Fury From The Deep and the assumption is that this is more likely to be for The Underwater Menace...

Following the sad news of the death of Caroline John, it has been announced that The Ambassadors Of Death, the last unreleased story featuring her character of Liz Shaw, will be released in full colour.

Webcast Scream Of The Shalka was classified by the BBFC as early as 2005, but no DVD release has been forthcoming.

I wrote to the BBC DVD Enquiry Team regarding Sarah Jane's Alien Files and Archer's Goon, here is their response:

"We are sorry to disappoint you but unfortunately we have not acquired the DVD rights to this Sarah Jane's' (sic) Alien Files, these are owned by the Rights Archive so I am afraid we have no plans to release it."

"As for Archers Goon, upon investigation I can confirm that we have no immediate plans to clear and release this title on DVD."

Saturday, 7 July 2012


I've been tagged by Spacerguy over at Star Trek Space. So here are the rules.

1. Each person must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
2. Answer the questions the tag­ger set for you in their post.
3. Cre­ate 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post.
5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked to them. No tag backs, and you legitimately have to tag 11 people.

I have no idea why it's eleven things/questions/people, but it is so I'll just get on with it:

11 things about me nobody ever needed to know.
1. I hate Wimbledon. Not the place in South London, but the tennis championship. I'm not particularly a tennis fan, but I have nothing against the French/Australian/US* Open (* delete as appropriate), but when they are televised the disruption seems to be kept to a miniumum. Wimbledon however takes over British TV. The phrase: "Due to the extended Wimbledon coverage, tonight's episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has been rescheduled..." is seared into my memory. It wouldn't be so bad, but it rains here a lot and so much of the extended Wimbledon coverage is footage of wet and miserable sports fans being rained on waiting for the weather to change.

2. I love Lego.

3. I can't seem to stop biting my fingernails.

4. I manage to resist the temptation of my toenails.

5. I have the British Canoe Union Two Star Award. I took the test for the Three Star Award when I was a teenager, but I failed. I'd love to get back into canoeing and kayaking.

6. I have a problem with multiple exclamation marks. I think that single exclamation marks are overused at the best of times, but increasingly people seem to use two. One makes your point and three shows you really mean it, but two? Two is neither one thing nor the other.

7. I need a shave.

8. I have an above average number of digits: ten. Specifically eight fingers and two thumbs. I know most people have a similar arrangement, it's where we get the decimal system from after all. While some lucky people have more than ten digits, many more have sadly lost fingers in incidents that they will probably tell stories of for the rest of their lives. Therefore the average number of fingers is less than ten and if you have ten digits, then you have an above average number as well.

9. I've been watching The Italian Job as I finish writing this.

10. I have twenty twenty vision, but sadly this doesn't mean that I can see into the future.

11. I struggled to come up with eleven facts about myself.

11 Answers to Spacerguy's Questions
1. What was the name of Star Trek's first pilot episode?
The Cage.

2. Who was originally cast as captain of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701.
Jeffrey Hunter.

3. What is Uhura called by Spock in Star Trek 2009?
Nyota, Lieutenant and probably Cadet as well.

4. Who created the Star Trek franchise?
Gene Roddenberry.

4 (again). What did NBC Executives want Gene Roddenberry to do with the guy with the satanic ears?
Get rid.

5. How many episodes are there in Star Trek The Original Series?
Eighty, including The Cage.

6. Who said she cannae take much more of this!! She'll blow up!!

7. What is Dr Leonard H. McCoy's nickname?

8. When the transporter scrambles your atoms and beams them through black empty space to the planet surface or another ship, do you think it tickles?
Yes, but I've never thought about it until now.

9. What is the name of your favorite science fiction show?
That's tough. I love Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Buffy, Firefly and DS9.

10. Do you believe aliens are living on the moon?
No. Mars, maybe.

11. Who's the next big bad wolf in J.J. Abrams Star Trek Sequel 2013 going to be?
Go on then, I'll do it.

11 Questions I'm Asking Those I've Tagged
1. Who would win in a fight between Cavemen and Astronauts?

2. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

3. What is your favourite Band?

4. What is your favourite Bend?

5. What is your favourite Bond?

6. How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?

7. What's the funniest joke you know?

8. Can dogs look up?

9. If you drove a Mini, would you want a red one, a white one or a blue one?

10. What are you afraid of?

11. Why is this 11 facts/questions/answers?

11 Lucky Tagged Individuals
1. Ellie Garratt
2. Geek Twins
3. Blogging From A-to-Z
4. Alex J. Cavanaugh
5. Fan Companion
6. Star Trek Scrapbook
7. Star Trek Scrapbook 2
8. Why Do I Bother?
9. Crazy California Claire
10. Inane Ramblings
11. Building Castles On The Beach

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Hot on the heels of Canada Day, it is American Independence Day.

Let's take a moment to celebrate the country that gave the world Woody Allen, American Gothic, Melissa Anderson, Angel, Rene Auberjonois, John Billingsley, Avery Brooks, Ben Browder, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Emma Caulfield, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Daniel Clowes, Gary Cole, Margaret Colin, John DiMaggio, Peter Dinklage, Dollhouse, Eliza Dushku, E, ER, Ex Machina, Firefly, Harrison Ford, Futurama, Ghost World, Seth Green, Ron Gilbert, Terry Gilliam, Andy Hallett, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Hunter, Harper Lee, Christopher Lloyd, James Marsters, Steve Martin, Thomas McCarthy, Mac McDonald, Maurice Mitchell, Nigel Mitchell, Monkey Island, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Northern Exposure, Now And Again, Peg Phillips, Robert Picardo, Phil Reed, Gene Roddenberry, Ned Romero, Brent Spiner, Star Trek, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Brian K. Vaughn, Sigourney Weaver, Billy West, Joss Whedon and Y: The Last Man (among others).

I've been to the USA, but so far I've only seen three of those United States. I'd love to go again and make a start on the other 47...

Here's Hugh Laurie singing 'America', an ode to America from A Bit Of Fry & Laurie:

Happy Fourth of July Americans.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

O Canada

Today is Canada Day.

They are celebrating in the land of John Candy, Nicole de Boer, Cory Doctorow, Nathan Fillion, Matt Frewer, Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers, Scott Pilgrim, Christopher Plummer, Douglas Rain, Shane Rimmer, Saul Rubinek, William Shatner, Jewel Staite and Jane Vassiliadis.

I've never been to Canada, but I'd love to go. I nearly attended a wedding there a year or so ago, but my funds didn't quite stretch far enough.

John Cullum sings US folk song 'This Land Is Your Land' with a distinctly Canadian tilt as Holling Vincour in the Northern Exposure episode Northern Hospitality:

O Canada, make the most of being Canada while you can because there are some less-than-sharp Americans on the way...