Saturday, December 31, 2011


I actually went back to see what I had written about 2010 before I started on this post. I feel like a lot of what I said still applies. There were good points during the year but for the most part it seems to have slipped away unnoticed and uneventful. The middle third of the year could have not existed and the result would have been much the same. At the beginning of the year I made various plans and I failed at nearly all of them. There were different degrees of failure but overall I would not call 2011 a success by any definition. I'm not sad or depressed about that. Perhaps just a little disappointed with myself. Definitly room for improvments in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Silent Running

This was quite interesting. When I bought this film I wasn't sure if I had seen it or not. However I could tell from the description it was something I should have seen. A science fiction film by Douglas Trumbull who at this point has just spent the last three years working on the special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. I noticed in the credits that it's also one of John Dykstra's first films and he would later go on to work at ILM. So as you would expect the quality of the effects work here is top notch for a film made in 1972. The story is fairly simple, one man's quest to save the Earth's very last forest. As admirable as that is, the film has very heavy hippie vibe. Still I'm glad to have finally seen it as it's obviously an important part of cinema history.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The idea of home is a rather odd concept. Spending a week at my parents house for Christmas feels like home, but really I've never actually lived at that house. I have my own flat in Sheffield which is my own home. So I've been home for Christmas and I've also just come home after my Christmas holiday. So where is home? I guess you can have more than one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Christmas

It's the last day of my Christmas holiday with my family, back to Sheffield tomorrow. I don't really have anything else to post about today so instead here is a picture of a cat eating a Christmas light.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movie Music

I've said it before but I really enjoy live music. However I've never actually been to anything other than rock/metal concerts. This evening was time for something different though. Tonight I saw the Manchester Concert Orchestra along with conductor Paul Bateman playing classic film themes. It was a great evening featuring lots of great music from Gone With The Wind all the way to Lord of the Rings. I had a good time even if it is a little bit odd to have a concert where you sit down and be quiet!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Had a little play with my camera and my parent's Christmas Tree. I don't have my Picasa here with me so you'll have to have an Imgur album instead. Some turned out better than others, have a look here:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Have a great Christmas everybody out there!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Something happened today which has never happened to me before, that I'm aware of. Someone seems to have stolen something I posted online and then presented it as their own. Of course it's only a silly GIF on Tumbr and not important I was just a little shocked that someone would consider that, particularly a Nerdfighter. These things happen unfortunately and perhaps it was a mistake, but I think that's unlikely considering how easy it is to reblog things on Tumblr. And of course the copy is getting was more attention than my original post. Not very Christmassy, ah well nevermind.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hobbit on Location

As an early Christmas present after the excellent new trailer we have The Hobbit production vlog number five, now filming on location around New Zealand. Lots and lots of trucks and Hobbiton is back.

Watch on Facebook here:!/photo.php?v=10150554790416807

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Books vs Film

There are only a few films adapted from books where I have read the book and seen the film. Technically the count is 12 but it feels more like 3 as 8 are Harry Potter, 3 are Lord of the Rings and the other one of Where Eagles Dare. When The Hobbit is release that will be another 2 and if the film version of Foundation goes ahead that will be another one. I also have a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep but I've not read that yet. So for now it's just twelve. The thing is, contrary to popular theory for Lord of the Rings and Where Eagles Dare I kinda prefer the films over the books. Reading Where Eagle Dare I could never quite grasp who each character was and constantly got them mixed up. It was much easier seeing distinct actors in each role. Although I was a lot younger when I read that. The Lord of the Rings books are great but the films just seem to be even greater. The story seems much straighter flows better in the films (extended). The books tend to get a little slow and off track at times.

Now perhaps it's due to how soon I watched the films after finishing the books but I did not feel the same for Harry Potter. For those I thought the books to be infinitely greater with the possible exception of Deathly Hallows Part 1 oddly enough. There were so many little details missing from the films that I found myself wondering how someone who had not read the books would understand. However my main problem was with characters. The core of the cast was okay, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Draco, Dumbledore, Snape and Sirius were all fine because I knew which actors where playing them before reading the books. However many of the other characters didn't meet the expectations I had in my mind, mostly the Weasleys in particular Arthur, Molly, Fred & George. Also how can you leave Bill out completely until the Deathly Hallows when he's the best Weasley.

Now for why Deathly Hallows Part 1 was better than the book for me. I think it's simply that in my mind all the various forest locations looked fairly similar and it didn't feel like they were getting anywhere particularly quickly. However in the films they've sped things up considerably and found lots of the lovely looking locations to shoot in. In general I did feel that Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 were the best of the films. I wonder if that's because the extra length allowed them to fit more of the book in or if the VFX were more matured or if the acting was better as everyone has gotten older? Probably a little of each.

That's my Harry Potter marathon completed now though and it has left me as a fan.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit

Only one important thing to mention today. The first trailer for The Hobbit Part One! Less than a year to go!

Watch here:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deathly Hallows

I suppose I had never really given it a whole lot of thought but I had always presumed that the Deathly Hallows was a place. I guess either way they would have still spent the entire book searching for it/them. I have heard people say that the film Deathly Hallows Part 1 was very slow and that not a lot happened. After reading the book I can understand why. It surprised my how very little seemed to be happening as Harry and company moved from forest to forest not really knowing what they should do and months passed. Then once they did figure things out everything suddenly became rushed. Slightly uneven I thought. I can imagine I might have been a little disappointed if I'd been waiting since the Half-Blood Prince to read it but as a whole read altogether it was a satisfying ending and left me wanting more. Of course I suppose you do have to end these things on a high where possible but know I and many other would like more. I wonder what Rowling is actually working on now. I find it hard to believe a writer would ever stop writing simply because they'd made huge amounts of money but it's got to be a hard act to follow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

So Many Words

If you'd told me two years ago how many words I would be writing per week now I would have laughed! First there is a blog post every day. Then there is a weekly column on new releases for a DVD collector forum and now I've got my video blogs going properly. I don't know if you get tell but the video blogs are generally scripted in advance. Even with all that I still can't seem to convince myself that I'm actually any good at it and I'm constantly second guessing myself. One thing that's suffered the most from that and my busy schedule is Doon's Reviews. I haven't made anywhere near as many posts there as I had originally planned to. I think some reorganization will be needed next year, although as always the blog will stay at the core and I'm going to keep that going daily.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


And so the Project for Awesome for 2011 is over and after 24 hours of live events and video viewing over $60,000 has been raised for charity so far. It's been fun to get a few more comments on one of my videos than usual although of course that's not the reason for doing it. There is one problem though. The Project for Awesome started out essentially as an attempt to hack You Tube. At the time the main You Tube homepage showed the videos which were the most viewed and the most discussed. So an army of nerds rating and commenting on the same videos could hijack the frontpage. However since then it's become much harder as You tube has changed, especially since Google took over, to the point now that I didn't see a single P4A video featured on You Tube unless I searched for it. So it didn't seem like much of an impact was made outside the existing community who already knew what was going on. Still a record amount of money was made so that's still good, although as John Green said in one of the live streams, that's probably because over five years the Nerdfighters are getting older and getting better jobs. There's still time to pre-order John Green's exclusive P4A zombie short story for a $10 dollar donation to the the P4A fund at

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Project for Awesome 2011

It's December 17th and so today is the for the Project 4 Awesome. That the day when the You Tube community (particularly the Nerdfighters and the HP Alliance) spend 24 hours upload videos about their favourite charities, then watches, rates and comments on each other's videos to push them to the top of the charts and expose them to more people. This is the fifth year it has taken place and the second since I heard about it. It's also my first year submitting a video of my own which I think turned out reasonably well, although if I'm honest it was a little rushed. You can of course find it on my You Tube channel linked on the right. There are various live events going on to feature some of the best videos, which excludes mine of course and you can watch those on the Vlogbrothers channel. To find out more visit

Friday, December 16, 2011

Half-Blood Prince

Even though you know it's coming it's still really sad and of course I didn't know any of the details. So no more of Dumbledore, what will happen next and what are you up to Snape? I know from Alan Rickman interviews about the films that there's more to that character than there appears to be but I can't figure out what his deal is. I mean I guess he's secretly helping but I can't think of a good reason why. Still only one book to go now so I guess I'll find out soon enough. Sorry this is a bit short. I'm low on time and have videos to film and edit. I'll do a big overall review at the end I think.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What films have you seen?

I came across an interesting site today. It's called iCheckMovies. It's a site which uses IMDb data and allows you to create a profile and track what films you have seen and then compare lists with other users. Sort of like a social network for film fans, you browse the lists and tick the films you have seen and it keeps track of everything for you. I'm finding it very interesting. I'm sure I've not ticked every film I've ever seen yet but I hope to get close one day. I know I'm not even close yet because my current checked count is 333 but I own over 400 DVDs and of course I've seen way more than that. Now I can find lots of interesting stats. Of the top 250 films rated on IMDb I have only seen 94. However ranked by box office rather than rating I've seen 221 of the top 454. I have seen 31 of the top 50 Sci-fi films but I've only seen 5 of the top 50 romances. And going by decades it seems the majority of high rated films I have seen are from the nineties. You can see my profile here: and add me as a friend if you like. How many films have you seen?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jedi Consular

I decided for my first real character in The Old Republic I would re-create the same character I first played in the first test, a Twi'lek Jedi Consular. I played for quite a while last night staying up later than I really should have. It was mostly easy as I had played the majority of it before in test. Although one or two things have changed nothing major has changed in terms of story or structure. I realized if I kept going I could get to the point where you receive your first lightsaber and become a full Jedi. The game ran well and the servers were nicely populated but not too busy. That's not the same this evening after another day's worth of new players have arrived. The servers are all nearly at capacity now and there are queues to get the server. There's a 35 minute estimated wait time on a couple of the servers. Luckily it's currently less than 10 minutes on the server my character is on and that giving me time to write this post. If you'd like to see my character I made a little animated photoset for Tumblr earlier which you can see here and if you're playing the game you can join me on the Frostclaw server.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Old Republic

The saga begins. Star Wars: The Old Republic is released in stores next week on the 20th. However over the next seven days people who pre-ordered the game gets early access in waves, based on the order in which they registered their purchase. I wasn't expecting to get access on day one but I received my email about an hour ago as part of wave 4. It's a little odd that I get to play the game before the physical disks I ordered actually arrive but I guess that's part of the nature of MMOs and of course the collectors edition comes with many extras apart from the disks. So later this evening I will create my first permanent character, no more testing!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Order of the Phoenix

Things are starting to get serious now. Major preperations taking place and actual wizard battles in the end. Although he did apologise in the end Dumbledore's treatment of Harry here seemed a little rough. I guess he's always kept Harry somewhat out of the loop, but it seemed to be extra harsh here with everything else that was going on. This was another good book but again I'm having trouble deciding what I can actually say about it. Because of the way I'm reading the series it doesn't actually feel like a separate book. It's more like chapter five than book five if that makes sense. Also like I've said before I'm forgetting in which book some of the minor things happen. Is this the first book in which we meet Luna Lovegood or was she in Goblet of Fire? I think it was this one, she's a fun addition anyway. The blog has now caught up to where I'm reading, still part way through the Half-Blood Prince. So a post about that will come later and tomorrow we'll have something different for a change.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Goblet of Fire

So this is the first of the extended length books in the Harry Potter series. There is a lot more going on in the world outside the school this time and more before term starts as well. So even though the word count is larger it didn't actually feel longer just more detailed. The Tri-wizard competition was an interesting way to introduce other schools and characters while at the same time avoiding everything revolving around Quidditch for the fourth time in a row. However I felt like realistically it could have done with a couple more events. Not actually a lot of space in the book for them but with only three events it didn't really seem necessary for the foreign competitors to spend the whole year at Hogwarts. Finally at the end we have the proper return of You-know-who, I didn't expect that to take so long. However I guess you have to pace these things so it doesn't get repetitive.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All Gone Wrong

That's how it feels anyway. A post about the Goblet of Fire can wait till tomorrow. So many hassles and annoyances this week and I'm sure there's more to come. I've had enough for today. Computer's going off and I'm going back to the Order of the Phoenix instead I think.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Prisoner of Azkaban

Azkaban is another name which my brain keeps mixing up. Unless I'm concentrating I always transpose the K and A making it Az-ack-barn. Of the four books which I've read so far I think this one is my favourite. I think that's because there is a lot more of the bigger picture type stuff here. We learn more about the world in general and a lot more about the back story. Not only that, it's an interesting and complicated back story. I wonder how they tackled the end in the film version though. There's a whole lot of talking that takes place, flashbacks I guess? So that's another year of Potter complete and I'm still enjoying it, but I'm not sure what else to say about it at the moment.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chamber of Secrets

One problem I'm having due to reading all the Potter books as one long story and then writing about them a week later is that I'm having trouble remembering in which book some of the more minor events took place. Looking back I remember enjoying reading the book, but of the four I've read so far it seems to be the least distinct. Although now I'm thinking more things are coming back. The structure is very similar to book one, mostly limited to the school with our heroes investigating a mystery. Thanks to You Tube I've been aware of Harry Potter themed bands such as The Parselmouths or The Moaning Myrtles and now after this book I understand where those references come from. Ministry of Magic of course have a much more obvious name and they've a got a new album coming out soon. They're all a bit to electro-poppy for my tastes though.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Philosopher's Stone

So I'd been avoiding posting about Harry Potter until after I'd finished my video about it. Now that that is out of the way and I've started reading the books I guess it's time for some of my mini reviews. Of course I knew vaguely what I was getting in to but a lot was unexpected. I was basically expecting a fun tale of Harry's first year at Hogwarts. Now that is mostly what it's about but what surprised me was the parts in the Muggle world. I knew Harry grew up in a cupboard but I'd never really thought about the circumstances and I'd never heard of the Dursleys. But they're a mean old lot so people are probably just pleased to see Harry get away from there. I keep wondering why he would ever go back there but I guess a twelve year old doesn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Also now at the end of the Goblet of Fire I see hints that there might be other reasons too. Another one I'd heard of is Diagon Alley but I never knew it was magically hidden in London. So even after all this time there are plenty of things to learn. It's great start to the series and introduction to the world of magic. One thing though, even though I learned the correct pronunciation many years ago, I have the same problem as Krum. Sometimes my brain still reads Hermy-own instead of Her-my-oh-ni.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Harry Potter

Sorry I don't have a topic ready for this evening so I'm just going to embed my lastest video blog instead. (Not something I plan to do regularly but it will have to do for today).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cabin in the Woods

Brainchild of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard this film is finally going to be released in April 2012. This was actually filmed a few years ago but never got a release due to the financial problems at MGM. When things are so bad that Bond 23 is put on hold you can see why a genre-bending horror film would be ignored. However now sold to Lionsgate we're finally going to get to see the film and today the first trailer was released. I'm looking forward to seeing it much more now. Warning R rated horror trailer awaits beyond this link:

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Oh joy. The last thing you need on a Sunday evening is signs of a hard drive failure. Now I have to make sure my backups are all up to date. There's nothing on that drive that's so important I couldn't afford to loose. Although it does contain all my MP3s. So that's been my evening. Now I have to buy a new hard drive.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Quantum of Solace

I could have sworn that I'd already seen this film. However the more I thought about it the more I realized I couldn't remember anything about it. For a long time it's been the only Bond film which I've been missing from my DVD collection but last week I picked it up on Blu-ray and I watched it last night. A couple of parts felt oddly familiar but I'm now pretty sure I'd not actually seen it before. It was pretty good. I've been trying to decide how it compares to Casino Royale but can't really decide. They both have good points and bad points so it's quite even. In the end though I think Casino Royale comes out on top. There are two parts to a Bond film. There's the spy thriller and there's the action adventure, the mix between those is key. The earliest Bond films along with Casino Royale are heavy on the spy thriller side. Where as the Moore and Brosnan films are more action adventure and are enjoyable for different reasons. Quantum of Solace seems to have added more action adventure to the mix again but not quite enough so it feels like an odd mix.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lightning And Lunar Eclipse

Let's just have a nice photo today and then get back to normal tomorrow.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not Feeling It

Some days I wonder why I make the effort to write something every day. It's good practice I guess but sometimes I feel like a day off. However after 637 consecutive days it seems a shame to break the streak. There's no real point to this post though except to explain that there's no real point to this post. So is it really worth it? I don't know. I'm just not in the mood to write anything complicated or worthwhile tonight.