Monday, October 31, 2011


Another year and another Halloween which I am not really bothered about. I'm glad the UK doesn't make as much fuss about Halloween as the Americans do. Also I'm glad I live in a flat with buzzer entry in an area that's low on children.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Work Work

After playing with After Effects now I have to work with it in order to get four videos done by Tuesday. So thanks to that and the Indian Grand Prix this morning I have not had a lot of time for anything else. This leaves me with very little to post about and little time in which to do so. I need to get ahead of myself again otherwise we might be stuck with these boring short posts for a few days.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Special Effects

I'm busy playing with new software at the moment. I picked a copy of Adobe After Effects to go with my Adobe Premiere Pro (my video editing software). I got it mainly for work related purposed but I could also use it in future blogs or gaming videos. As the title suggests it allows you to add various post processing effects to your videos like particle systems or 3D spinning text or green screen replacements. Added video making fun! Now back to experimenting.

Friday, October 28, 2011


It's the weekend and I've complete run out of things to write about, sorry about that. If you've got half an hour to spare then listen to John Green read the first chapter of his new book instead.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughts From Places: London

Thoughts From Places is a particular style of video blog pioneered of course by the great and inspirational John Green. This is my attempt at the style with footage from my recent trip to London.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Three Musketeers

While I was in London we spent one evening at the cinema and it was a very nice Vue cinema in Islington. It was much more comfortable that the Odeon I go to here in Sheffield, although it was also more expensive. The seat layout was great with exponentially rising seating so everyone gets a perfect view and with a gap halfway making one row extra perfect for tall people. It's going to be sad next time I see a film here in Sheffield while remembering this, the Vue here is also pretty good as far as I remember but it's also much further away from me.

The film itself was great fun as well. It certainly isn't a serious adaptation of the original novel. Instead going for a fun and outrageous style which I guess is partly influenced by the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean. The fact that Orlando Bloom stars as the Duke of Buckingham helps with that comparison. Although I was surprised by the amount of screen time he got, less than I expected. However there are times when he looks so similar to Luke Evans as Aramis that you could be excused for getting confused. Of The Three Musketeers I only remember seeing Ray Stevenson (Porthos) in anything else before, but they all did a great job. D'Artagnan I'd never heard of before either but IMDb tells me he was Percy Jackson so I guess that's pretty good experience. The film looked and sounded great and the 3D was excellent too, thanks to Paul W.S. Anderson for being a pioneer and using 3D cameras properly. This is his second 3D film already and he's working on more.

It's not a deep thought type of film but it is an excellent evening of fun for all the family. I recommend it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

Important Whedonesque news occurred while I was away in London. I still heard about it thanks to mobile Internet of course, however I've not had chance to post about it until now. Apparently after principle photography on The Avengers Joss Whedon was supposed to take a short holiday. Instead he decided to shoot a self funded film of Much Ado About Nothing in his house with all his actor and industry friends, in only 12 days! It's been known for a long time that he holds Shakespeare readings with friends so I guess this is a logical extension. I admit I'm not exactly familiar with Shakespeare's plays but I am very much looking forward to see this when it gets a release of some sort next year, it's probably a great introduction for someone like me. Any fan of Whedon's previous work can't look at that cast list and be anything but impressed. There's a nice interview about the project here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Post All The Pictures

It's been a fun weekend in London but now I'm worn out. I'm looking forward to a nice uneventful week in front of the computer again. All my pictures have now finished uploading to Picasa for your viewing pleasure. (There are lots of them!)

Day 1: Arrival + Food and Beer

Day 2: The Eye + Imperial War Museum & British Museum

Day 3: London International Technology Show & Tower of London

Day 4: Design Museum & Science Museum

Day 5: Going Home

There's also some more video content but that still requires some editing and so will have to come later.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

London Day Three

Final full day away in London, here are some more pictures.

Two main things today starting with the Design Museum.

After that the majority of the day was spent at the Science Museum.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

London Day Two

A few more photos from my London adventures.

First was the convention which drew us to London in the first place.

That turned out to only really need the morning to see it all, so in the afternoon we went to see the Tower of London.

And surrounding landmarks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

London Day One

For our first full day in London we decided to do some of the touristy things. I post the full photo galleries once I get home but in the mean time here are a few highlights.

As it was nice we started at the London Eye.

That gave me a chance to make a mini House of Commons.

Next we visited the Imperial War Museum which has lots of war related things.

Finally, as it's near our hotel, we briefly stopped a the British Museum which led to a photo specifically for Fiona.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I'm posting early today as I'm about to travel down to London today for a weekend away. The hotel should have WiFi but I don't what I'll be doing later so it's best to get this out of the way before I leave.

Aside from seeing friends I'm also going to see The London International Technology Show and possibly also The Doctor Who Experience.

Should be fun and I expect there will be lots of pictures next week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I've been thinking about it for some time but today I decided to restart my video blogging You Tube channel. I'll keep this short and let the video version of myself talk about that. However I will say this: A while ago I moved the whole Life of Doon channel to another account. If you look closely you'll see the URL is now TheLifeOfDoon rather than LifeOfDoon. What this means is that if you were subscribed to the old channel then that's not valid anymore and you'll need to subscribe again to the new channel.

The new video is here:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bye Bye 13

Every season of House has had a slight unique twist to it. From crazy private detectives to relationships with the boss. However so far this season has been the most different. I suppose it's realistic that after many months in prison things wouldn't be the same afterwards but it takes some getting used to. Actors have left, characters have changed positions and I'm not really sure I like the new people yet. Still I have enjoyed the season so far but I think that's mostly because Hugh Laurie continues to be awesome and Robert Sean Leonard brings great support. At the moment there are only three characters left who have been there since the beginning. Although I understand that Chase and Taub will be back later in the season. However this week we had the departure of another main character to deal with. Thirteen wasn't there at the start but at a guess without looking it up I say she's been in at least half the episodes. Still her screen time has been getting smaller and smaller for some time. Of course this is because Olivia Wilde is becoming a famous film star instead which is great for Wilde but a sad day for House. At least it's been left open for the odd guest spot in the future but for now that's the end of Thirteen's story and the viewers have to go back to figuring out the new people. Thirteen you will be missed but good luck to Olivia Wilde in Hollywood-land.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walking Dead

The zombies are back! This was a bit of surprise as I'd forgotten it was coming so soon and as an added bonus the opening episode was extra long. We pick up the surviours on the move after the events of season one and it's not long before they have to make a pit stop for supplies. There are of course then problems with zombie herds and runaway children. The show has been accused of being too slow at times and for a couple of point in the first season I would agree, but to me the pace feels about right now. I suspect the people who stil think that are looking for more zombie carnage rather than any character development. I was engaged in the the story throughout the episode. The zombie makeup and effect were still great and the acting and action was all done well. Andrew Lincoln's fake American accent did seem a little off at a few points but that's only a minor distraction. The biggest worry now is what the rest of the season will be like. It's after this point that Frank Darabont stepped down/was fired from being the main showrunner. Of course shows like this are run by a large team but can you imagine Buffy without Joss Whedon or Lost without Damon Lindelof? The show is now being run by Glen Mazzara and I have very little knowledge of his previous work. Still the trailer at the end did look like we have some interesting things on the way and I'm looking forward to it. Also the fact we get 13 episodes this year rather than 6 is good too, although I expect that means they'll have had to stretch the budget further.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There is one problem when the F1 circus is on the other side of the globe, it really messes with your schedule. 5AM qualifying on Saturday and then a 6AM race on Sunday is odd enough but then add to that the fact that it's on at a different time for each race and that the races aren't on at regular intervals. Sometimes I stay up and sometimes I get up early. It can get confusing and I've never been the best a keeping schedules in the first place. It always messes with my sleep patterns which are already pretty screwed up. At least next time we've got India which is further west so it will be around 8AM and closer to something normal. Still it was an interesting race this morning although not the most exciting ever. Congratulations to the Red Bull team on winning the constructors championship, although just like Vettel last week it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Three races to go and at least the battle for second place is still going strong and personally I hope Button gets it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Again I don't have anything to post today. It's been one of those days where looking back you really can't remember doing anything significant.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Slump

It's been a good week of blogs I thought but now it's Friday evening and I seem have run out of ideas. I mean I've had a few thoughts but nothing really excited me enough to spend some time writing about it. So I'm going to leave at that. Sorry that's a bit boring but it is one of the perils of trying to write something every day. Also it's an F1 weekend again, Korea this time. So for the live showings it means early mornings again so I don't want to be too late thinking about things.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dead Ringer?

Sorry, that's a really poor pun as that's obviously one of the things the name of the show is alluding to. Also it's not actually true, it seems the ratings were up this week and it's been officially picked up for a full season. However at this point it is losing me.

There are three reasons I will try a new TV series.
1) It involves an Actor, Writer or Director of whom I'm already a fan.
2) It has a particularly interesting premise or a great trailer
3) Peer recommendation

Number three doesn't actually happen very often as it's usually me who keeps up with the news and is the one doing the recommending. However if you count the excitement in the Whedon fandom that influenced me a little. In the case of Ringer it was mostly number one. Obviously Sarah Michelle Gellar was the main reason I gave this a shot, but there was also Nestor Carbonell from Lost and Ioan Gruffudd helps as well.

Unfortunately after five episodes I'm just not feeling it. To be honest I never really expected I was actually in the intended dempgraphic for ths programme anyway. The story is barely above soap opera level. The only reason there is any mystery in the story is due to the fact the everybody spends the entire time lying to each other. They all have their own selfish personal agendas and there seems to be a complete lack of common sense.

I'll keep an eye on news and reviews I guess and possibly catch up later if I hear thing change but for now I'm done. There is only so much TV time available and this is one hour I think could be better spent.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dragon Age: Redemption

It's been a long time since this was first announced and at this point I'd mostly forgotten about it. Yesterday the first episode finally arrived online, although The Avengers trailer trumped it for posting priority. After one episode there's not a lot to say. Production values look pretty good for a web series however with a ten minute run time not a lot has actually happened yet. So far we've just got a couple of basic character introductions and some world information for those who haven't played the games. I'm going to reserve judgement until I can see the whole thing together, or at least until a few more episodes. Still it was good enough to make me want to see more.

Watch here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Avengers Assemble

I didn't expect to see this quite so soon as it is not out until next year, but now we have the first teaser trailer for The Avengers! It's looking great, check it out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And to finish...

A nice triple screen wallpaper to tie everything together.

Thanks to for the wallpaper. I've been using this guy's wallpapers for many years now.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Tale of Upgrades

I've been nursing a lot of computer issues this year. They've all been showing their age. On a day to day basis I generally use four different PCs. There is my gaming/media rig which is the newest and doing okay but even that is two years old now and had a hard drive failure earlier in the year. The machine runs Windows 7. Recently you may remember I had major problems with my servers and upgrades were required. At the time they were the oldest but they are also the most important. Some of the smaller tasks took a while to get to but the configuration of the new server is all complete and running now. One server holds all my development code and serves as my test environment including databases etc. That server runs on Linux, specifically CentOS. The other server is a backup mirror, it spends most of its time downloading backups from various online servers around the world and also local backups too. If there was an emergency and I could grab one thing it would be this PC. The backup server runs on Window Server 2008 R2. That leaves my main work PC which was once a top of the line gaming machine but now that my servers have been upgraded it is now the oldest machine I run. I've known I needed to reinstall Windows on this machine for a while and I've had a new hard drive waiting for it for a long time. However I've been avoiding doing it because its always a daunting task to get everything you need setup again restore various settings and it's never quite the same as it was before. Still during the recent mini heatwave I realized something had to be done. According to the hardware monitor the CPU was idling at a temperature of 90°C with peaks of 110°C. If a peak was extended too long it would simply give up and shutdown. You wouldn't want to be touching that heat sink until it had been off for a while! I had to resort to taking the side of and pointing my room fan at it. So yesterday I finally set down and sorted it out. The heat sink was removed and the dried out thermal paste was replaced. Windows XP was then reinstalled and the process of install programs and updates began. For the most part that is complete now and it almost feels like new again, although it is still now my lowest spec PC. Idle temperatures are back down to 60°C and I can probably get at least another two years out of it now. four working computers at once. It's been a while since I had that situation! Obvious moral of the story, don't put off the little things, just get them sorted!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drawing a Blank

With no Doctor Who this week I find myself with nothing to talk about this evening. I'll need something new for my Saturday evenings, what I actually did was watch Fringe which was good but I'm not going to start reviewing episode of that right now. For now I'll leave this as a short post. I'll need an early-ish night as F1 is in Japan this weekend which means the live show is quite early in the morning.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Completed: DeathSpank

That didn't take as long as I expected it to, only 9.5 hours according to the Steam play time tracker. It was still plenty of fun though and of course it wasn't a full price game to start with anyway. In terms of money verses fun it's definitely a success. If you're looking for something fun to pass the time while waiting for Diablo 3 and you've also already played too much Torchlight then this is a great alternative. It also has two sequels which will make it last longer, although I've yet to play those. I do indend to though, but probably not right away. I'm still on my quest to finish off more of my game back log and next I need to get back to finishing The Witcher.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I spotted this house a long time ago but only recently remembered to take a photograph of it. Do you see the same thing I do?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Terra Nova

The problem with the new TV season is that you're inundated with new programmes to watch and it becomes hard to find time for everything. Terra Nova is one of the new shows I've been interested in this year but it took me a while to get around to watching. Any attempt at new science fiction television I'll will give a chance as there is never enough of that. It's safe to say that with Steven Spielberg plus dinosoaurs there has been a lot of hype surrounding this series. The only reason I wasn't more excited about this is all the rumours of trouble during production; re-writes, re-shoots, budget problems and the fact that the pilot came in short because there wasn't enough story! I don't know how much is actually true but it's not a good sign.

So now I've seen the opening double episode and the one following that, what do I think? The first issue I have is with the budget which was apparently very large. However I just don't see it in the final product. I felt the set and the vehicles looked pretty flimsy. There was a nice CGI future opening but that wasn't anything above or beyond the usual TV standard, especially for a pilot. There was some nice CG shots of Terra Nova as well but they will be able to use over and over as establishing shots. So I presume most of the cost went in to the dinosaurs but I found those to be the least impressive part. They seemed particularly bad during the Rex chase part which was in daylight. They were much better at night with rain and shadows to blend with. This is something they will have to work on.

The second issue I have is with the Shannon family. I didn't really like any of them. Perhaps they will grow over time but I didn't connect with them at all. Their motivations seemed unclear and it felt like they became too important in the settlement far too quickly. I found myself far more interested in the people already living there. Commander Taylor, Lt. Washington and Skye all caught my imagination much more than any of the Shannons did.

I did generally enjoy it though. It will depend on where the focus goes. If it focuses on the Shannons and the dinosaur of the week type format it will probably lose me in the end. However if we get more on the the mystery of Taylor's son and the Sixers I think it could be okay. I'll be keeping up with this for sure but it is not vying for favourite status yet.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

First Impressions: DeathSpank

First a quick explanation for those that might not know. There is a type of You Tube video called Let's Play. Basically it consists of a screen capture of somebody playing a video game and then as they are playing they commentate on themselves and what they are doing. I don't know who did it first or who was the pioneer but there a lot of people recording them these days. I even considered trying do one myself once, but my tests turned out to be of the not good variety.

I don't actually watch a lot of LP videos either. Generally if I'm interested I'd prefer to play the through myself. Though I have found sometimes it is interesting to see how others tackle a game after I'm finished with it, but it has to be someone whose commentary I'm interesting in hearing not just some random You Tube user. So the only ones I've watched regularly are the ones put out by Hank Green.

How does that relate to DeathSpank? Well that's one of the few times I'm started watching a Let's Play video having not played that game first. I owned it via Steam, but it was one of many games that I'd not got around to playing yet. This is okay as it is not a game which is big on story. It's what's known as a hack-n-slash RPG which is all about killing the monsters and getting fancy new swords.

A couple of days ago I got the itch to actually play the game for myself for a change and so I loaded it up. However because of the videos, technically this isn't my first impression. I already know this is a very nice looking game with cartoon styled graphics and this works very well with the parody theme running throughout the setting and the writing. I already know there are jokes, but not the kind I will usual lough out loud at. I already know a lot of what needs to be done as I already watched someone else do it. I do now also know that it controls well and acts very like Diablo 2, however that's not very surprising as that's the main game being parodied here.

What did surprise me was realizing how little the Let's Play videos actually cover. When you're watching the game in ten minute chunks once or twice a week it makes it feel like it been going on for ages. Although it's actually only 25 episodes since earlier in the year. Still after one evening's play I found I was almost caught up to where the videos are already. At which point you calculate that 25 ten minute episodes is only four and a bit hours. So there's no worry about spoilers anymore as I'll be ahead soon and it feels like I'm barely even one quarter of the way though so far.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I wasn't sure what to write about today so I started thinking about the new TV season and what I haven't talked about yet. Fringe is the only one I've given a whole post to so far so today let me briefly mention my other most anticipated returning series, Castle. Aside from the slowing growing relationship between Castle and Beckett very little has changed in this series. Each week there is a new murder to solve and each week it's a fun adventure to get there. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic continue to be excellent leads, of course I'll probably watch anything Fillion is in until the end of time. I hope the ratings stay consistent and we get plenty more years of this. It's always going to have a niche appeal but making it to season four is a very good sign. I wonder why it doesn't get much promotion here in the UK. In the US it's a fairly large ABC production, but here it's only shown on the Alibi and Five channels, hardly high profile. Also they're two years behind and we've still not had any region 2 DVD releases. So you'll have to excuse my timeshifting of the latest episodes. In a spoiler-full Internet, where I can even follow Fillion and Katic on Twitter, there's just no way I'm waiting that long to see new episodes. Side note I must pick up the new Nikki Heat book at some point soon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Opeth - Heritage

Even considering that fact it's Opeth, this album covers a huge array of styles. Unless you're paying full attention (which I wasn't) it's tricky to pick out where the actual breaks in the track are. There are a lot of style changes mid-song and also moments of silences. Nothing sounded bad but it's obviously not a simply album. It is going to need some more intentional listening to get the most out of it. Until I can do that there is not much else I can say. The quality is good and it is well mixed. There is no doubt that these guys play well, but it's not a casual listen.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wedding of River Song

After all the mysterious build up I was surprised at how uncomplicated this episode was, especially for one of Moffat's. The episode was fun but I found myself a little underwhelmed by it all. I think that it fell victim to its own hype and with all the foreshadowing it simply couldn't live up to expectations.

The idea of all of time happening at once is really interesting even if it doesn't entirely make sense, it's fun until you look too deep. Though we do get a wonderful view of an alternate London with cars in hot air balloons and steam trains running from the gherkin to the pyramids. It's a great setting but possibly a bit underused. Although I guess big exterior shots like that are quite expensive for a BBC TV budget.

I still don't understand The Doctor and River's relationship. The timeline is okay, I get that now but I just don't feel the love. I'll admit it's not something I have a lot of first hand experience in but everything about this feels wrong. I don't think their personalities match, I think that's what bugs me, I'm not really sure. I may just not like River Song, perhaps some of both. Time is falling apart because River won't let the Doctor die. To me through that whole speech about her suffering more than the universe came across selfish and needy. In response to that I felt like the Doctor married her as a plan to get her to be quiet and save the universe, not out of love. However then later there's a conjugal visit joke and a mother-in-law one. Though now I think about it, wouldn't he just need to ask River to look in to his eye to convince her?

For me again, it was Rory who stole the show as bad ass soldier guy, even in a smaller role.

Some fantastic moments here but overall it didn't quite work for me. If I had to rate all six series finales of New Who in order I'm afraid this one would have to go at the bottom. Don't forget though that is still far above the majority of the rest of television.

Now can we leave the River Song stuff alone for a bit now and have a nice Christmas special? Moffat, go write some great lines for Bill Bailey!