Jackboots and Shocktroops Remind me of You

All Kinds of Everything
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Rosemary “Dana” Scallon – the Irish version of Rick Santorum – has decided to try to run for the presidency again.  Obviously losing the race in 1997, winning the Eurovision Song contest, and pandering to an anti-progressive base are the only skills needed by a head of state and guardian of the Constitution.

I ran into her in Rome in 2000, which made one of the less sober members of our group really happy.  “Pleased to meet you, Ms. International,” he yelled.

I don’t know why she ran off. Maybe she didn’t like being addressed as “Ms.”

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Jesus, Mary, Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Colmcille and all the holy hosts of angels help me in my hour of need.

Two months ago Ang and I struck a deal: I could let my ten-year old self run wild at Jodrell Bank if we spent the Wednesday before the Royal Wedding at Alton Towers. I thought I was on to a winner there, I loved roller coasters, I didn’t have to watch a wedding, and I got to play with big science: what could go wrong?  I hadn’t been on a really big roller coaster in ages which is why this was the result:

This is what comes from not having a fully rounded classical education. I could have learned from poor old Dr. Faustus.

Picture the scene – 1985, days before a bedraggled Irishman put on a little benefit show for Ethiopia, nine-year old me was brought to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This was the year the Space Invader opened, a black hole ride that I’d just seen on John Craven’s Newsround and I wanted to go on. Dad hates roller coasters so I told him it was just a gentle indoor ride, I begged, I wheedled, I got my own way. Imagine a man terrified of all fast rides, his young firstborn, and a single car climbing up in the pitch dark.  That was the day I learned my first swearwords.

Ang just won free passes to another amusement park and this was my reaction:

Damn, Karma exists.

And she’s a bitch.

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Kapow ComicCon, Day 1: A Wil Wheaton of Nerds

For years comic book fans in the UK have looked across the sea at San Diego and New York and wondered why the land of Wells and Clarke had nothing to offer.  While the US had their huge events, premieres and panels, all we could do was wait for grainy videos and vicarious emails.

No longer!  Kapow was the first attempt at a big British comic convention and proved that it’s not the size that matters, but what you do with it.

Queuing started at 8am with many already in full costume, and didn’t stop until the day was over. The first panel we attended was a Fans vs. Pros quiz, hosted by Jonathan Ross which pitted John Romita, Jr., Mark Millar, and the immortal Dave Gibbons against Stewart Lee and a couple of fans out of the audience.  Obviously no real substance, but a lot of fun and a nice way of letting the coffee injections take effect.  The fans won, of course.

Mark Gatiss was our next victim. One of the League of Gentlemen, Professor Lazarus, one of the Mycrofts Holmes and a thoroughly nice chap, he waxed lyrical on all things horror (Halloween ruined American movies), televisual (“[Stephen] Fry. Bastard Fry”), and supernatural  (“Crystals. Fucking Crystals”). He could have done an entire weekend and I’d have been happy. Just as well, since he made us miss the Green Lantern Panel (Gatiss. Bastard Gatiss).

With a bit of time in hand to look around the stalls, picking up some nice stuff from Genki Gear and Insert Coin T-Shirts, it became increasingly difficult to navigate the Supermen, Batmen, Penguins and Steampunks so I dragged Ang away from the yaoi and started queuing again.  How many Supermen does one city need before it starts to feel like a Monty Python sketch!  Next year I’m going as Bicycle Repair man.

We got really lucky with the last panel of the day; the one every geek, nerd, and fan wanted to see, the Thunder God himself, Thor. After a lot of herding and surrendering of technology (the comic book fan equivalent of Gitmo) five hundred of us got to see twenty-five minutes of footage from Branagh’s movie (with script co-written by the Great Maker) and if the whole movie is as good as those few minutes then it’s going to be a real Easter treat.

Hemsworth is perfect as the hammer thrower, Sir Anthony Hopkins eats the scenery as the Allfather,  Tom Hiddleston gave a good turn as Loki and we even got a brief, tantalising glimpse of Stringer Heimdall. Talk about your 60 degree day.

It’s a shame the movie is in 3D, but at least JMS’s script (and a fantastic cameo that must have left him wet) is full of the humour and excitement fans of Babylon 5 know to expect.

Coming soon: Kapow 2: They Queue in Blood.

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Fenland Virgin

New Flickr Album.

Fenland Virgin (n.): An unattractive girl who can run faster than her brothers.

— Stephen Fry

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Due to engineering works Platform 9 3/4 is closed

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Today’s commute was slightly more exciting this morning due to filming of the final scenes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.  Network Rail staff were less amused as commuters blocked up platform 3 trying to get photos for their children.  ‘Course I only took this for Ang’s sake.

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All Roight Moi Luvvers?

In lieu of any proper content, have a gallery of images from our recent trip to Cornwall. Included are Tintagel (the alleged birthplace of King Arthur), Land’s End, and Goonhilly Earth Station (site of the first parabolic antenna in the world).

In other news, the RSS feed for the site has changed. Please update your readers to point to here.

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COLONIA CAMVLODVNENSIVM

Colchester town center
Image via Wikipedia

At the weekend I did end up going to Colchester, despite inviting myself and it being on a Friday rather than a Saturday. As I’m in full training for another driving test, the conversation on the way down involved mostly talking about driving and roads – especially the scary Girton Interchange.

The party itself was fun. It was good to see some of the people I’d met before the last time I was invited down there, and also good to drink vast quantities of wine. Of course this led to a Saturday where I didn’t rise until three in the afternoon – only because a friend’s text message vibrated my trousers until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Due to fragility we didn’t leave Colchester until seven pm and the rest of the weekend was a complete writeoff.

Plans to go to the pub on Sunday were curtailed somewhat due to a certain excessiveness. I’m just glad that was the only reason for Panda’s flushed face and odd behaviour.

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