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Friday, April 29, 2005

Special Effect Free

Awesome set of pictures showing a the impending approach of a Sandstorm in Iraq.

Posted by Dio Bach at 08:45 | 2 comments | links to this post
Thursday, April 28, 2005

How Do You Get Dio Bach Moist?

Send him a link to the trailer for George A Romero's new zombie epic, Land Of the Dead. So thanks to Badly Dubbed Boy for getting me so.

Its fair to say it looks good, Dennis Hopper's in it as well getting freaked by Zombies. Hopefully this will be as cutting and sacarstic as the previous Dead films. The trailer emphasises the smack-bang-wallop as you'd expect.

Boy am I looking forward to this 'un. Its fair to say that at least two of the Dead trilogy (would be in my all time top 10, with the other being in the top 50. Its hard to believe its been 17 years since the peerless Day of the Dead hit the family VCR and blew my mind. More amazingly its almost 40 years since the film that started it all, Night of the Living Dead.

Still myself and the movie going public at large can't get enough of the shuffling undead - and Romero's remain the best for my money - which is why I'm so excited about this one. Here's some screengrabs to whet your appetite.

Land Of The Dead - Screengrab from trailer, the dead rise enmass from the water


Land Of The Dead - Screengrab from trailer, this guy looks pissed...


Land Of The Dead - Screengrab from trailer, they chucked us out of the mall in Dawn, now we is back to shop...


Yummy.

Posted by Dio Bach at 20:49 | 3 comments | links to this post

Explicit Content Only

I'm feeling all sweary now. Play a track and enjoy the NWA - Straight Out Of Compton - Explicit Content Version. I like this.

Posted by Dio Bach at 12:43 | 0 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Its Been A Bad Week For Fellow Bloggers

Firstly RR suffered an attempted hack at hers, followed by Stuart Hughes suffering a potentially Blog ending hack attack and disclosure of personal info at his.

Now just to top it all ever reliable Badly Dubbed Boy has managed to bork his entire blog database, losing 4 years of posting in the process unless he goes back and manually fixes it by cutting and pasting from the basic HTML.

Touch wood I've got a permanent back-up here on my new server (for those of you who've noticed) and have never done something to offend a hacker anywhere. *Crosses Fingers*

Posted by Dio Bach at 16:03 | 5 comments | links to this post
Sunday, April 24, 2005

Did You Miss Me?

Well, been a week since the last update, and a funny old one at that. Was ill from Monday through to the weekend (off work and all with a stinky cold), then busy with family stuff all week end. The BAFTA Cymru 2004 Awards Ceremony was last night and where the next clutch of photographs came from.

As the evening wore on I had planned on calling this piece 'Celebrating Mediocrity' and moaning about the whole thing. But to be frank, life is too short. I could have spent an hour moaning about how Welsh it all was - the clichés, the valleys grit, bygone drama and the lack of real innovation, vision and fresh talent. But I won't - instead I took photos rather than dwell on the derivative, unimaginative and uninspiring that modern media in Wales has to offer.

Still - next year should see the inauguration of a new award - the special award for all the shows that haven’t won because they aren't Doctor Who. Fair play, the series goes from strength to strength - it has to be about the only thing being made in Wales that doesn't feature the gritty struggles of a single-mum on some rough valley estate - however, it hasn't quite transcended its country of production as it does go back in time quite often. I see from next weeks trailer there's a Dalek on the loose in the Millennium Stadium, lets hope they've fought back the urge to throw it a rugby ball.

Anyway, back to the CIA where the awards were held. It's fair to say it's not a very good location for shooting stills without specialist camera equipment. However, I did have some fun as the awards dragged on, taking some snaps of the proceedings and playing about with stuff. A few semi accidental shots and a few semi intended - here are my favourites from the evening - and despite being quite drunken at the time, they were intended shots.

Quite a straight photo to start to give the scale of preceedings - this was our table, we knew we were important as we were so far from the stage so we could bask in the limelight if we won an award (we didn't.)

Table 71 at the BAFTA Cymru awards 2004 - important table at the very back

You can add your own caption, but the punch line is something like "any longer and he could have used it as a belt." This photo also shows the beginning of my fascination during the evening with the overhead drapery, being a lot more interesting than what was underneath it.

How big? Interesting lights above the BAFTA Cymru Awards for 2004

Some more nice lights and drapery.

Drapery and people

More drapery.

More drapery in space

*Cough* drapery...

Yup, wibbly shot of the drapery (and Mark And Emma Boulton)

Big smiley face in the drapery.

Smiley Japanese robot face in the drapery

And damn it, my favourite shot of the night *was* an accident - featuring some nice drapery...

Classy but accidental shot of people at the BAFTA Cymru Awards

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:45 | 5 comments | links to this post
Sunday, April 17, 2005

Shogun Assassin Assassinated

Shogun Assassin - Lone Wolf And Son (Ogami Itto and DaigoroFriday night, I went to see Shogun Assassin, one of my all time top 10 favourite films. It was the first time I'd had the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen. Chapter have a wild Japan season on, and this was one of the films featured - I'd never seen it advertised anywhere in the cinema (it was banned for many years as a Video Nasty) so leapt in joy at the chance of finally getting to see it on the big screen.

So, tickets ordered a week earlier, I met up with fellow fan Nursey, who was equally stoked to go and see it. It was fair to say I was quite giddy, partly from a quickly necked beer but mainly from childish excitement (I've seen it many times already.)

For those of you who don't know the film, its a lyrical, violent, gory and stunningly shot master-class in Samurai sword play and eastern mythology. Basically, this film was culled from the first two of a six part series of films (equally excellent) called either Lone Wolf And Cub or Baby Cart depending on which title translation you prefer. Re-edited, dubbed into English, re-scored with a pulsing synth soundtrack and a nifty and moving narrative (from the child's point of view) - this version works as a standalone outing, and was my introduction to the entire series of films.

It has some exceedingly graphic and nastily beautiful sword fights and some beautifully surreal moments in its short running time - stunning, in fact. A recent mention in Kill Bill 2 and a loose rehash in the form of the inferior The Road To Perdition has led to a keen new (and exceedingly irritating) audience for it - annoying people.

It's fair to say the clientele at Chapter can be a tad wanky at the best of times. Sporting a large proportion of failed or under-achieving arty types, pint-glass intellectuals and semi-successful light-weights - many with an up-their-arse attitude, its never been a place I've enjoyed drinking at. The cinema has some class stuff but I seldom go as its too much of a hassle (despite being only a few bus stops away) - Friday night's showing has only added to my frustration with the place and reinforced my lack of willingness to go there.

So, we settled down for the showing and up clicked the film. From the off I knew we were in trouble and it was going to be annoying. To start with, the print was damaged - badly. Big cuts and dialogue jumps, consistent scratch lines - crackle, you name it the print had it (and should have been binned years ago.) That I could have lived with - I've sat thorough many a nth generation bootleg in my lifetime so that's not a big issue for me. It didn't improve, and great swathes of choice dialogue disappeared in bad re-splices and film jumps.

A bloody scene from Shogun Assassin / Lone Wolf And Cub / BabycartBut what really annoyed me was the smug, self conscious laughter that emanated from sections of the audience every-time one of the majestically vicious sword fights broke out.

People bleed in this film, maybe a little to much like the infamous Salad Days Monty Pythons sketch, but when you slash and dismember people with a big sword, that's what tends to happen. But every time an artery opened or a severed limb plopped lifelessly to the ground, clasping an unbloodied sword, the laughter rose. Not a polite snigger either, a real belly laugh. Me and Nursey just looked at each other in disgust. Nursey even said 'What the fuck are they laughing at?'

It was distracting and down right vexing. The scratchy film may have given it that authentic 80's grindhouse cinema feeling (where the film would have first made its mark) and I could have lived with, but the annoying elements of the audience came close to ruining it for me. However, its fair to say, the film still rocked despite it all - the composition and cinematography looked fab on the big screen and it remains a top 10 movie for me - just don't ask me to sit and watch it in a cinema surrounding again.

Posted by Dio Bach at 21:29 | 2 comments | links to this post
Friday, April 15, 2005

Letting The Truth Get In The Way Of A Good Story

The Amityville HorrorI read The Amityville Horror as a child, at the end of the 70s and it terrified me - scarred me even. Proper hiding under the bed clothes terror as well, not the barely chilling intellectual frisson that passes as being scared by a movie these days. It was a compelling story though, made all the more riveting by the fact it was touted as being 'true'.

A so-so film and a raft of forgettable sequels later, they've gone back to the original source and remade the film, supposedly delving into the book even more. I've been seeing all over the place this myth that its true on the web - but here's a good Snopes page for people who believe that it is.

Now, I was speaking to some people about this before, and we remember in the early 80s the family appearing on the old BBC 6.30 programme, Nationwide - may have been Frank Bough interviewing them. They basically announced they had made it all up for the money, and laughed about it.

Does anyone else remember this out there - a quick google around has been inconclusive? Its not just me as Other people I speak too remember it. If anyone can find a link to some info on it then drop us a comment below. I may be confused and it may have been the author, but I'm pretty sure it was the family itself. I remember it so well as it shattered that long held terror I'd had from reading the book and left me feeling a little cheated. Looks like the cheat is back on again.

Posted by Dio Bach at 14:24 | 2 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hot Potato

And they're off. Michael Howard has decided that the thing most likely to press the public's button is immigration (how very *un* Conservative...) so its best you educate yourselves so you don't buy into the largely media induced moral panic of immigration.

Here's a handy link to start you on your way. And when you've read that, ask Michael how short a memory he thinks we have when it comes to being straight with people.

*Dio* lines up Paxman Vs Howard video. :D

Posted by Dio Bach at 09:36 | 4 comments | links to this post
Monday, April 11, 2005

All Change

The more alert of you out there may notice a slight difference or two to the page. The overall layout is fairly similar, but I've changed lots of bits to accommodate the handy new stuff that Blogger gives you.

I learnt a lot of new stuff setting up Chav Mum that I thought would be handy here.

Basically I've tried to clean things up, remove the older bits which weren't working anymore, improve the basic CSS, update the links and adopted Blogger's comments and smart pages system. All the old comments still exist, and in time I will export them to a file for me own personal gratification.

The benefit of adapting this system is the reliability of having the comments and blog from the same provider, plus they stay embedded in the page making archiving easier. As the page's now use smart-titles, all me older posts now look a bit skew-whiff due to the fact I always hard coded the headlines in the entry. I've updated all the ones from this year - but lots of previous posts will have strange looking headlines. Maybe one day I'll go through the hundreds of old posts and update them, but I guess not.

I may move the blog to my own domain - but the thought fills me with dread as I'll lose all those wonderful back-links and have to email people to update their links. The benefit is that once again I have all the back-up I need on my own server, should I need it. It’s a big job. There are still a few bugs on this new template that I need to fix. When its done I might make the move. Now if Blogger has an automatic redirect for moved blogs I'll be laughing.

Any comments on the update appreciated.

Posted by Dio Bach at 11:46 | 0 comments | links to this post
Sunday, April 10, 2005

Outstanding

Doctor Who - Episode 3 - The Unquiet DeadJust watched Episode 3 - The Unquiet Dead of the new Doctor Who and can honestly say that's one of the finest three quarters of an hours of TV entertainment I've seen in years. The very fact I felt inspired to write about it here should be testament enough, given how little I write (or even care) about TV (partly down to how little TV I watch.)

In 45 minutes of prime-time family entertainment slot we got a heady brew of zombies, sly wit, literary jokes, ethereal gas creatures, séances, Charles Dickens - alien killer and genuine moments of spine creeping uncanny. All the sweeter as it was set in Cardiff in 1869 and as lavishly dark and gothic as mainstream television is likely to get at 7.00pm on a Saturday night.

It's very hip to be dissin' the new Doctor, but so far I've thoroughly enjoyed every episode. There have been a few wince inducing moments, but more often than not it's hit the spot. This one hit it and sent it into orbit. The writing was sharp, the story was engrossing, fast moving and entertaining. So far this new series has had a really disquieting air of melancholy under-pinning the drama - and hints at a lot of backstory yet to come out.

I was never a massive fan of the old Doctor - I watched lots of them, even read a few of the books. But I've not watched it regularly since Peter Davidson gave up the Tardis. It was always a good watch, but I really don't remember it ever being this good. The trailer for next weeks one looks superb as well. Finally Saturday nights have a reason to turn the TV on, shame there's sod all else on after it.

Posted by Dio Bach at 00:19 | 2 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Simply Barking...

But extremely addictive - Zubaaaaaaaan Crash. Basically smash into some hapless anime school lad and conspire to keep him airbourne for as long as possible using the various specials and powers of the people on the ground - bar one who stops him dead with a mildly erotic and triumphant whimper...

Best so far is 3500+ for me - basically, when the word arial is blue you can bounce him into the ground (unlimited once at 100%), when its red, send him skyward (limited to 3 times) - when the word special flashes up - hit it for some spectaculer Street-Figtheresque combos and moves - superb fun.

Screen Shot of the addictive Zubaaaaaaaan Crash game

Posted by Dio Bach at 10:24 | 1 comments | links to this post
Monday, April 04, 2005

Suits You Sir

I'm now in the process of updating the blog, so over the next few days things may seem to be going a bit askew. Fear not though, its in hand. Had to go in to town lunchtime to look for a suit as I'm going to the BAFTA Cymru Awards in a couple of weeks for my small part in helping with the images for the Painting Flowers Site, which has been nominated for an award.

Should be interesting given my distaste for these things, but the thought of a night on the (free) pop was enough to persuade me to go. I can always behave mischiefly if the Taffia lovies start winding me up (as they will).

As a consequence, I need a suit. Let me set one thing straight here. I hate suits. Not just have a distaste for them, but true hatred, in the utterly pathologoical sense. My current suit is now aging and I'm a size or two bigger since buying it to get wed all them years ago. So the hunt is on for a new one. As cheap as possible. Found a contender, but they (typically) didn't have my size. Touch wood they'll get it in soon as I can't bare the thought of parting with good money on such a shit item of clothing.

Anyway, as I said before rambling off - I went into town lunchtime to look for one. Got a couple of shots by St David's Hall of the nice skies and light, thought I'd share them with you as well as a handsome snap of Elis enjoying me headphones this morning.

View of the sky over The Hayes via the Old Central Library and St David's Hall

Corner detail of the Old Central Library and St David's Hall, Cardiff, Wales

View of the sky over the lunchtime shoppers on The Hayes via the Old Central Library and St David's Hall

Elis and headphones, enjoying Jad Fair and Kramer's 'The Sound Of Music'

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:50 | 2 comments | links to this post
Saturday, April 02, 2005

Time For A Good Catch-Up

H'ok, a view into the last few hectic weeks of my life. I missed this place and not posting, so I've been making up for it the last couple of days. Where to start? Ok, firstly, spent the best part of a week doing some major decorating. It started about 3 weeks ago and has been pretty full on ever since. Fixed up a slightly damaged ceiling, laid loft flooring, completely redecorated and moved two bedrooms around. Elis has a new big bedroom and we have a small and cramped spare bedroom and computer room.

This has meant lots of rewiring, shifting of mounds of junk, books, photos, bits and bobs, emptying cupboards, etc. This kept me away from everything for the best part of a week - even to the point where I did naff all on my birthday.

Leaving that work unfinished we also had a short 5 day holiday in Devon (one of those cheap collect the coupons from the papers affairs.) We stayed at a holiday park at Challaborough Bay, reached by driving down many miles of single track, twisty and treacherous country lane. We had a cosy little chalet and all sorts of weather. Cold, damp, storm, thunderstorm and sun - topped off with a fabulous view of the bay and the sound of the waves audible from the bed. I didn't go mad with the photos, but here are some of the nice ones.

The bay overlooks Burgh Island, which looked like it was well worth a visit, but we didn't really have a lot of time to explore and ended up missing it.

The first full day we ended up in Totnes, it was cold, grey and Elis was a little displeased about an hour in a car and twisty lanes. I left the camera in my pocket. The second day was sunny and we spent a lot of time on the beach at Challaborough Bay, where the following snaps were taken. The one end of the bay had fabulous surf; it must have been 6-7 foot at times. Here's some views.

Big surf at Challaborough Bay, Devon

Surfers watching big surf at Challaborough Bay, Devon, looking out towards Burgh Island

Dog on beach and more big surf at Challaborough Bay, Devon, looking out towards Burgh Island

Wispy clouds and lovely blue spring sky, Challaborough Bay, Devon

Needless to say, Elis loved the beach.

Elis on the beach at Challaborough Bay, Devon

We took a trip to Torquay the next day where I took a few snaps also (Basil Fawlty land). To be honest I don't like the place - but Mrs Dio spent many a childhood holiday there. It's too big and concretey for me, a real touristy and over developed place. It has one or two nicely decayed old buildings (which I didn't snap), but otherwise it's fairly soulless.

Harbour rails, Torquay

Elis, Torquay harbour

Door arch Cherub, Torquay

On the way back home we stopped at Pennywell Farm and Wildlife Park, Buckfastleigh. It was one of those great places where you could pick-up and pet the wildlife, but Elis was quite retiscent about it. I think it would be a good place to return to when he's a bit older. The final lot of snaps are from there.

Quack, quack - Elis bones up on his duck impersonations despite looking at geese

Way too scary for Elis, the hungry goats of Pennywell Farm

Hungry goats with evil eyes… Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon

I was quite pleased, I did my first major stints of motorway driving, my first drive across the new Severn Bridge and lots of driving in places I've never been before, which did my driving confidence the world of good.

Then, back home for another four days of decorating tidy-up and hardcore web work before returning back to proper work feeling like I was going on holiday.

Posted by Dio Bach at 01:20 | 0 comments | links to this post
Friday, April 01, 2005

The Great Flood Of 1606

Just watching this fascinating Timewatch documentary about a cataclysmic local disaster. To be honest I'd never heard of this event, despite the fact it caused death and destruction over 200 square miles of the Severn coast both in here and England.

Long thought to have been caused by a storm surge of record proportions, this offered fascinating and compelling evidence that it could have actually be caused by a Tsunami generated by an Earthquake in the Irish Sea.

Filmed before the events of the Asian Tsunami of Boxing Day 2004, the echoes of the events, reconstructed from old engravings and historical pamphlets, were eerily similar. Quite strange, especially as it was killing 100s of people just a few miles from where I'm sat now.

Either way, [DEAD LINK] Tsunami or Tidal Surge, it was a fascinating documentary and a real eye opener.

Posted by Dio Bach at 20:45 | 0 comments | links to this post

April Fools Past

Woman picking spaghetti from a tree as part of a 1957 BBC April Fools jokeI had considered an elaborate post for today, but gave up on the idea due to a lack of arse in doing it. Haven't spotted any good ones today yet, so here's a classic from the past - the infamous Spaghetti Harvest of 1957.

Posted by Dio Bach at 09:08 | 0 comments | links to this post

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