The Cinema Cometh

  on October 31st, 2006

The old TV Room is starting to take on the new shape of a home cinema, new flat panel or not.

Kermit the FrogI arrived home yesterday evening and I immediately knew something was amiss. The inner, airlock, front door was open. The outer door was closed but the inner one wasn’t. I never leave it like that – it rather defeats the object of the door! I immediately knew what must have happened (and I really must get my surveillance cameras back up and running!) I rushed to the TV Room and, sure enough, the house elves had done some work. My old futon had been raised up on two parallel blocks, one along each side under the feet, and a long foot step along the front added so people don’t have to jump up into the seat and have their legs dangling down like Kermit the Frog! This is now the raised back row of my home cinema!

So, what’s left? A front row of seats, for one. They’ll have to wait a while as the recliners I have in mind are a good few hundred pounds each and that money might need to go elsewhere first. In the meantime, if there is a need, I can always drag in swivel chairs from the computer room. There is also still the question of a flat panel TV. I am still undecided on this matter. People have made very good arguments for waiting and I should take heed. Still part of me is urging myself on, though. If I wait a bit I can buy a Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display (SED) or perhaps a Laser TV. I expect it will be a few years before these are ready for mass production/uptake and there’s always something better and cheaper around the corner. I may yet take the advice and wait a bit longer or I might give in. I don’t know yet! TV aside, the other minor bits outstanding are things such as little tables for drinks raised up for the futon and a raising of the light fitting which is now all too easy to bang your head on!

The other recent innovation in there is a new DVD Recorder – finally VHS is completely obsolete! The only use I’ve had for video tapes in the last few years (since getting a TiVo) has been to record things off for other people. Now I can just put things onto DVDs. It’s a Panasonic DMR-EX75EB, with built-in freeview and a hard disk drive. You can record to the hard drive or directly onto DVD, either by using the freeview guide to set timed recordings or just record live (from any input). If you put it to hard disk you can edit it and then save it off to digital versatile disc. Not only that but it is also multi-region (absolute requirement!) and it even upscales Standard Definition DVDs to High Definition (it will never look as good as real HD but I’m told it does a pretty decent job nonetheless). From what I’ve seen of it so far I certainly recommend it!

That only leaves one thing: the gap under the throne-like raised futon. The back is against the wall, under the left and right sides are two blocks that raise the chair (and stick out so the futon can still be converted into a temporary bed, if ever needed (hasn’t been so far but the spare bedroom has been used from time to time)) and along the front is another block to rest your feet on. The futon, being on four metal legs with no skirt, now appears to have a large pit beneath it! What to do with it? The old piranha pool idea is always good but you’ve got to feed them – the local area will too quickly run out of cats, I think. It’s not big enough for respectable sized sharks and I’d have the same feeding problems. No, it can’t be anything that exotic. Storage? Maybe but it isn’t the easiest area to access. For a childish moment I thought it would be great to make a little camp under there! That’s going back to the old childhood of getting a few dining room chairs together and covering them with blankets to make a tent-like structure! That would be fun! But, sadly, I think I’m far too old for that. No, there’s got to be some semi-practical use for that new space. Anyone with any ideas?!



Nothing is ever forgotton…

  on October 28th, 2006


so, the latest edition of Robin Hoody.

And it’s still very poor indeed.

Oh, it has got better, I’ll give it that, but the opening episode was so bad it couldn’t have gotton much worse, tbh. The Merry men are very bland, aside from Much, with only one other showing any glimmer of personality – so they kill off poor Mr Roy in case he gets too exciting. John is way underused, just sitting around brooding and occasionally knocking down the odd door or two. T’others are..well..nonentities.

I’ll keep watching in the hope it gets better and old smuggy hood grows up a little.

By the way, did anyone spot the Doctor Who in-joke? Well, it gave me a chuckle…thats something, I suppose…



A question of parenting

  on October 25th, 2006

Am I a bad parent? Before you all rush at once, you gits, let me explain.

Our Youngest Lad is rather fond of K9. He grins and pays attention when he spots the Tin Dog on screen (those who know the boy will know he couldn’t pay attention if his life depended on it and, being a teenager, grins are few and far between).

Ambling through Woolies today The Folically Challenged One and I spotted a super duper remote control K9 and agreed it would be the perfect pressie for him.

Now, we’ve already bought his pressie – it’s one of those This Cost A Bit So It’s The Only One You’re Getting type of pressies so we agreed we shouldn’t buy the Tin Dog.

The reason I’m wondering if I’m a bad parent is this – I’m going to ask my mum and dad to buy it for him for Christmas cos I really REALLY want to play with it!!



Macfadyan’s….Torchwood?? What the…?

  on October 24th, 2006

So there I am, happily watching Torchwood and something very, very odd happens…

If there’s any music I know well it’s my own – especially Macfadyan’s Folly (Beware The Judder Man). I mean, I composed the bloody thing and its the main theme throughout the trailers and music for series one of The Buccaneer Chronicles.

So, you can imagine exactly how gobsmacked I was to hear it in Torchwood! It’s in episode two – just a small part of it, but one you’ll hear in the trailers for Catharcerous and Keeping The Peace and the forthcoming trailers for Dancing With Crystal Reflections, Solve My Problems and another story of which anyone outside the Buccaneer Chronicles’ team knows nowt about – yet. You can also hear it in the tracks Macfadyan’s Folly and Beware The Judder Man as well as the pre-titles music for Crossover Productions’ ‘A Time Lord In Prince Henry’s Court’ – all of which can be found in the various subsections of our Audio pages. And before you wonder why I’ve used it so much, like I said, it’s a running theme and it’s place in Aaron’s play was very deliberate, (enigmatic, huh? LOL).
Now, i admit, for a small moment I was calling Murrey Gold all the names under the sun and some others I’ve picked up in my travels 😛

however, it’s a fairly simple refrain and one I’m sure he just happened to stumble upon.

Didn’t you, Murrey? Eh? Eh?

Mind you, if I ever find out he’s visited this site then me n him may be having words, ROFL!

Still gave me a bloody shock hearing it, mind.

I’ll let you lot have a fumble through Torchwood – Day One and see if you can spot it.



The Cut of Power

  on October 23rd, 2006

Power CutAt sometime during the hour of 3AM a beeping insisted its way from my computer room. It was an Uninterruptable Power Supply. This particular one has given me more grief than it’s worth, in fact the computers attached to it have had a lot more power interruption because the damn thing, it keeps tripping off, than if I’d left them directly connected to the National Grid. In fact I can’t think of a single power failure I’ve had in the seven years I’ve lived here, this UPS has cut out on me at least a dozen times. That rather defeats the object of a UPS. So I turned the computer room lights on, the energy saving fluorescents seem to take quite a while to fully kick in but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I prod the on/off button on the offending UPS but it just bleeps and dies again. Try three or four times, the same. It’s finally died. Probably about time, it’s given me enough grief so it will be good to replace it. I unplug it to stop it beeping until the light of morning. Unfortunately it turns out that the UPS wasn’t dead, it just knew better than I did.

A few hours later the truth comes out. All the buildings power has failed. 9AM on a wet, overcast Sunday morning I’m rummaging through my computer room to find that old corded telephone so I can call out to the electricity company. Digital cordless phones are great (except my living room one that randomly fails to correctly pick up) but they don’t work when there’s no power. There’s been an explosion down the road from you, the fire brigade were called out and it is now safe for our engineers to try to repair the link. Huh? Explosion? Fire brigade? I didn’t hear any of that. The person on the emergency electricity line also added that they expected to have power back up by about midday. About 3 hours. That won’t be so bad. Of course you and I can now see where this is going…

Without power I am, well, powerless. Like Popeye without his spinach or Velma without her glasses! My computers didn’t work. My TV didn’t come on. My lights wouldn’t light (given the overcast nature of the day I had trouble even reading in the natural light!) The hot water didn’t come on. No shower for me that morning. Smelly. So, what could I do? Not much. I read as best I could for a bit and then went down town to catch the shops opening at 11AM. Bought a couple of bits, grabbed some lunch and then returned to see if the power had come back. It must have been gone 1PM. No power, of course. In the virtual twilight, with a bit of help, I fitted a new carpet. It was planned so nothing was going to stop me!

Somehow one of the two local newspapers had gotten wind of the power cut and a rather drenched looking reporter trudged up to my front door. Umbrella and pencil in one hand with a rather sodden notepad in the other, he asked a few questions. I didn’t know very much about the situation. He tried the old leading question of ‘do you feel frustrated by this’ but I gave him a the answer he didn’t want to hear, I said I didn’t mind, lying. He soon went off to find someone else. I was a bit surprised, it hardly seemed like news, especially not news enough to get a reporter knocking on doors on a miserably wet Sunday afternoon. Of course I immediately phoned Hobbit, as known on this blog and works at the other local paper, to warn her that the competition were sniffing around for a story. She couldn’t figure out their interest either.

Increasingly worried about the state of my fridge and freezers (it had been well over 12 hours with no power by this point) I went out for Sunday dinner. It was almost dark by this stage and I had no idea if there would be any power or heat when I returned. I quickly dropped by town again to buy a decent torch and some candles, just in case. There wasn’t only the light and chilled carcasses to worry about, oh no. What about Torchwood? I came so close to buying a house full of HD kit ready for Torchwood and now I might not even be able to see it at all?! Oh the… inconvenience! I’d had a couple of kind offers to see Torchwood around other people’s places so I was, in truth, unlikely to actually miss the historic debut but I still wanted my TiVo to catch it.

The half a dozen or so electricity company vans, and their drenched in a trench crew, came good. When I got home about 8PM, an hour before Torchwood was to start, the power had just returned. I quickly booted up the TiVo and various other bits of essential kit and all appeared to work still! The feared power surge hadn’t damaged anything. That dodgy UPS may have actually saved some of my computers. It gets a reprieve, for now.

As for Torchwood, well, more on that in another place (when I get to it!).