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Long-time, no post!

To be honest I haven't really had a lot to say that could warrant a blog-post. Pretty much most of my online waffle can be found on Facebook and Twitter nowadays.

Things are getting interesting though so I thought I'd dust off the old LJ in readiness.

No photography!

I was planning to do a breakdown of my fortnight in the USA, complete with pictures and everything but then I realised that it would just be a colossal waste of my time.
Back in January, I shared a tale about how I turned on Sunday Brunch just for something to watch while I ate my breakfast.

I told you, with barely contained enthusiasm, about how they have a playlist and previewed a track by a band called GUNSHIP - the track was "Fly For Your Life" and the accompanying video was a brilliant animation called "Paths of Hate", which featured two World War 2 enemy pilots having a killer dogfight and eventually succumbing to their inner demons, wiping each other out in the process.

Even without the video, the track was epic and since then I have been crying out for the album release. I must have watched the video on YouTube eleventy-umpteen times and today, finally, it is here...

...and it is fantastic!

I have not been so stoked about an album release for years and this one is well worth the wait.

I actually downloaded it at work and, with the aid of an AUX lead, drove home with Fly For Your Life playing at a very high volume.

GUNSHIP have captured the essence of the 80's synth-wave and movie-soundtracks and released a fresh, well produced album that is a steal at £7.99.

As I said in my iTunes review:
"If this album and it's cover art were any more 80's it would have a mullet! If you were even remotely alive in the 80's and want a good slice of nostalgia without the merest hint of cheese, you NEED this album in your life!"

Buy it here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/gunship/id998104509

Sorry for the over-enthusiastic babble but this has been a long time coming!


Moving Metal


Carbine working her guns.




Like many people, I like to start my day with a brew and a spot of light but enlightening reading.


"It's a smegging garbage pod!"

Sooooo....Red Dwarf is getting two more series. As someone who has grown up with Red Dwarf from the age of 8 and can be classed as a "very big fan", you'd be forgiven for thinking that I am very excited about this.


I just can't find the enthusiasm...

As I said, I am / was a huge fan of Red Dwarf and have been since I was 8 years old. Even if I didn't truly understand some of it, I still found it funny as hell. Me and my parents never missed it and every new series was an occasion that would provide many laughter filled memories. Back to Reality, the final episode of series 5, holds a particular fondness in our hearts and my usually stoic father laughs until his face turns red and tears flow down his cheeks when the Cat takes an ill-advised trip into the bushes in "Backwards".

However series 7 was the beginning of the slide, Red Dwarf 8 sucked, I still can't bear to finish RD9 / Back to Earth and lost interest in RD X after 2 episodes.

Red Dwarf X had promise but once again it was sullied by unnecessary "silliness". Red Dwarf originally got its laughs in an indirect way, most of the time. They never gave the impression they were trying to be funny but instead it was the things that happened to them and their reactions that got the laughs. A classic case in point is the infamous "shrinking boxers" scene - this was neither set up by the characters or played as a joke, it was just something rather unfortunate happening to Lister after he tried to clobber the polymorph with a baseball bat and the net result was actors unable to hear themselves think what their next line was for the deafening laughter from the audience.

Red Dwarf 7&8 started playing for laughs in the same way that a certain Marx brother would fart around with a horn whilst Norman Wisdom went arse-over-tit 1000 times a night. It also had Lister and the Cat seemingly being stupid on purpose, which was as painful to watch. Kryten went from being a rather knowledgeable and eventually confident character to one that was so comically(?) unhinged it was painful to watch. When he screamed "Woo! I've turned into a frog" I almost walked out of the room in disgust at what had been done to my favourite 'droid.

Back to Earth part 1 also fell very flat, despite a welcome return to the "norm" - the original posse back on Red Dwarf but it soon dissolved into the characters being over-blown, "comical" caricatures of themselves as if the series had been re-done as a "cartoon" for kids. I missed part 2 thanks to a migraine and many people who watched it tell me that I still had a better night than they did.

Red Dwarf X showed the same promise but again nose-dived into irreverent silliness that put me right off. By all means have electronic beings spaz out and shut down but why pull that stupid face as they do so? Why have Lister go on an all-out rant at a simulant because he's desperate to buy something from a tele-sales system when he knows full well that it's a malfunctioning relic of the past and, in the old days, he would have thrown the phone down and shoved a bazookoid up her nose.

Maybe I need to give X another chance but I still recall the feeling of "What the fuck am I watching?!?" when it was first shown. I know things have to change in order to grow but RD seems to be shrivelling and dying instead...and that about breaks my heart.

Anyone who knows me that I like me a good, gourmet burger. Fast food is all well and good (sarcasm) but you just can't beat a properly done burger made with decent ingredients.   For the record: Beef (medium rare) with bacon, rocket & blue cheese.

Anyone who knows me that I like me a good, gourmet burger. Fast food is all well and good (sarcasm) but you just can't beat a properly done burger made with decent ingredients.

For the record: Beef (medium rare) with bacon, rocket & blue cheese.


Spring has Sprung!

Yesterday saw my BMW scrape through it's MOT by the skin of its front bumper. The advisory that required attention sooner or later was the fact that the front coil springs were both about as knackered as they could be without being grounds for an MOT fail.

Not wanting to have one / both make a sudden bid for freedom or snap mid-bend, I fired-up eBay and, after some searching and checking of feedback, ordered a pair of new ones at just shy of £70 for the pair. The seller also threw in free, next-day delivery and, as the following text messages from them stated, they arrived today inside the allotted delivery slot.


While I can't comment on the quality of the ride yet as they've not been fitted, they seem pretty sturdy and the sellers feedback is nigh on perfect. Positive feedback was left by me for the price as well as the communication and free, next-day courier delivery.

I was planning on re-springing the Beemer this year anyway as it suffers from the common right-hand drive "sag" that manifests in a lot of older E36 and E46 BMW's with 6-pot engines. The engine is canted over to the right; the steering gear and driver are on the right and so is the battery. The result is that, over time, the car sits lower on the right hand side than the left. The rear springs will come later and, unlike the fronts, I should be able to fit those myself with a metal bar and some brute force.

I was pleased to hear the tester describe the engine as "sweet, especially for one that's done 148'000 miles" (147,826 miles to be precise), which is not the first time this has been said. All I do is make sure it is serviced (by me) once a year and I try to tend to any niggles as soon as possible.

Another area that needs attention is the handbrake but this too is something I can sort out myself.

So, some work to be done but it could have been much, much worse!


Poker Face

So I have dipped my toes back into the murky waters of online poker. Texas Hold 'Em poker using Zynga's much-maligned app, to be precise.

The reason I have returned to Zynga is twofold:

1) You don't play with real money.

Sure you can buy chips but you shouldn't have to if you have half a brain. I'm no expert but I proved this point by going from $1m to $3.7m in a few hours by knowing when to play and when to fold. Sure I got bluffed and hustled a few times but the strategy pays off in the long-run. Winning that $1.8m pot with a full-house helped a bit, too!

2) Better the Devil you know.

Zynga's app is much-maligned and I have had a lot to say about it myself. That said, none of the other FTP iPad / iPhone apps stand above it if the reviews are anything to go by.

There are still the marks who go all-in on the pre-flop, something which irritates and confuses me as it requires no skill and they invariably buy-in right away when they bust (more often than not) as they bought several-squillion chips rather than win them.

I just cannot see the point of going all-in on the pre-flop as the best possible hand you can guarantee is a pair, which is the second-weakest hand you can get. OK sure, if you have 2 aces and another comes down on the flop then you're laughing but, more often than not, I've seen bullets beaten at all stages by stronger hands, played by people who know what they're doing.

It also boggles me what people will actually go all-in with, even after the flop, turn or even the river. No, really - in the past few hours alone I've seen people go all-in, even after the river because they have a King or something. All-in on high-card...yeah, good luck with that!

If you have a good set of hole cards, by all means test the water with a discreet raise or call / check through to the flop before upping the ante but going all in when you're only guaranteed a pair at best just doesn't wash with me!

I suppose it ultimately doesn't matter if you're not playing for real money but if you pay real money for chips and then spunk them up the wall then you're still losing out.

Birthday present reactions...

- I now have another steak knife...by my logic that means I can now eat twice as much steak.

- Is it bad that, upon receiving a lidded pan, my first thought was: "Great! Now I can properly reheat last night's pizza!"?

- A crate of Peroni! That'll keep me going for a day or two...

- V-Force: Ready for the unthinkable (Thank you, huskyteer) - *hums Rule Britannia*