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Monday, January 26, 2015

Review - Breaking Bad

I'm a little late to the Breaking Bad party… I totally missed watching this when it was broadcast; and to be honest, wasn't all the interested.  But - when your parents are the one’s to tell you how good it is, well, you have to listen. Right?

What’s more, it was my parents who bought us the box set!
So.  No more excuses.  
No more reasons (I don’t have Netflix, and it’s not on Amazon Prime)!

Not forgetting to mention my eldest son.  He’s been almost begging me to watch it; and I promised him that once I’d seen the first episode, I would write my review.  Ethan - this is for you.

For those of you who don’t know what the story is about; allow me to enlighten you.  Walter White is a chemistry teacher, who one tragic day receives some life-changing news.  Not wishing for his young wife, unborn baby and son to go without, he decides use his training to cook and sell crystal meth, in partnership with one of his former students.  That’s the brief synopsis - there’s so much more.

The box set contains almost 50 hours of the full five series and bonus material, across 21 discs!  I have watched the first 3 episodes… so I still have some way to go.  Other reviewers have also mirrored my own feeling, that the story-line is just too weird!  Which may explain my reticence to watch this at all.

I also agree that, having watched the first episode, I couldn't wait to watch the next.

Bryan Cranston, as Walter White, plays the part wonderfully well (he did win an Emmy Award back in 2008 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series) and he portrays this sorry character with real empathy.  I have no idea what’s coming up, but I expect he will grow as the series continues.

The first episode is 55 minutes (I thought it would be less, given the US television predilection for “commercial breaks”) so I was pleasantly surprised.  The following episodes were 45 minutes a piece, so with about 34 hours to go; either I need to take a week off work to watch them all, or at one episode per week; this will take me just over 6 months to complete!

Have you seen Breaking Bad? Did you enjoy it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One From The Archive - What Did We Do Before...Sky+

I originally wrote this in 2011.  Since then there has been an explosion in "on demand" video capabilities; from Chromecast to Roku to Apple TV to YouView  and many more.  So, this post may be a little dated; but the overall premise remains the same.

Now here's a subject close to many peoples hearts.

How on earth did YOU cope without Sky+.  It must be the single best revolution in televisual history (ignoring HD and 3D)

NB: Whilst I refer to Sky+, I haven't forgotten there is an alternative, in Virgin Media (except; they're not available down our street!)

So - let's remember the 'old' days.  The wonderful days of VHS and Betamax.  Those cassette tapes on which we lovingly recorded our favourite programmes; with labels stuck on, peeled off, renewed; as we shuttled the tape back and forward, finding the programme, keeping tape libraries of our favourite programmes.

Now, thanks to the advent of Sky+, we are not only able to record our favourite programme, but we can record a whole series and it's much easier to skip the adverts (although the advertisers might not be too chuffed at the idea!!)

Have we become slaves to this technology?
Of course we have.

What's more; if the Sky+ box has to be replaced then *Kaboom* - all the recordings are gone too.  At least with video tape; you just put the tape in the new machine (assuming it hadn't been chewed up in the old one!)

So, is Sky+ a good thing?  Undoubtably, yes.  What's next?  I have no idea.  Already, Sky+ hard drives are growing to cater for the many hours of programmes; there's now a 1Tb (Tera-byte) version which can store up to 500 hours of viewing.

I have one question.

With todays' busy lifestyles, when on earth do you think you'll find the time to watch almost 21 days of entertainment?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Driving With Care

Have you noticed how stupid some drivers can be in any given weather condition?

For example, this weekend saw thick fog.  I mean, really thick.  So thick that I couldn't see the main road from the house! 

I had a meeting to go to, which meant I had to venture outside!  
First, de-ice the car (inside and out, I kid you not!)

It’s thick fog.  I’m sure you've all heard the acronym for FOG - Foot Off Gas; or to put it bluntly, Slow Down.

And what about using your lights?  
You know?  
Those sparkly things on the front and the back of your car...  
There are even special, high intensity lights; known as FOG lights, designed especially for these conditions.  Are they on?
No?  Then how do you expect me to see you?

As I drove, the matrix signs on the motorway were non-existent; hidden by the blanket of fog.  The concentration needed to see the other vehicles was tremendous.  It was hard enough trying to see the junction, to exit the motorway.

On the side-roads, cars were just appearing out of the gloom; again, no lights so it wasn't until they were nearly on me that I saw them. So dangerous to other drivers, not to mention pedestrians.

For the record; I did have my lights on; and all fog lights.  

I’m in no way, the perfect driver, but I drive within the limits of the conditions, and it’s so annoying and worrying when others don’t have the same consideration.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

AFC Bournemouth - The Journey Continues

It's so exciting right now.

The result at Rotherham has taken The Cherries another step closer to the Premier League, with a goal difference of 10 and a point clear of second place Ipswich.

It's a busy time for the team, as, on Tuesday, they visit Leeds for a Championship game.

Next Sunday there's a little distraction in the form of the FA Cup 4th round match against Aston Villa (which, of course, I hope they win), then it's a home game against Watford, on the following Friday.

On the 7th February, I'm hoping to go and see them play against Wigan.

In the meantime, I have the scarf wrapped around me on these cold, wintery, mornings and the belief that they can go all the way to the top.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top Gear - Awesome Trailer

The Top Gear boys have done it again, with this great "Lego" trailer

I love Top Gear.  I'm not a petrol-head, but I do enjoy the banter, the Star in the Reasonably Priced Car, and their adventures are great fun (even if totally staged).

This years Christmas special featured the now famous trip to Argentina, from where they had to escape due to negative feeling from the locals, due to a car number plate referencing the Falklands War (in 1982).

What was more incredible is that you get a complete sense of the size of an adventure like that, where three presenters become 30+ people making the programme.  Incredible.

If you've never seen Top Gear, then check out the BBC website

Anyway.  Sit back and enjoy...


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