peck72: (Beast Boy Smiley)

Films, Books, & Events of 2010

Films

Avatar                                                                                     7.5/10

Sherlock Holmes                                                                8.5/10

The Wolfman                                                                        5.5/10

Kick Ass                                                                                 8/10

Clash of the Titans (in 3D)                                                 4/10

Iron Man 2                                                                              7/10

Robin Hood                                                                           7.5/10

Toy Story 3                                                                             8/10

Inception                                                                                8/10

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World                                                8.5/10

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One)          7.5/10

 

Books

William Wilberforce: A hero for humanity by Kevin Belmonte

The Red Tree by Caitlin R Kiernan

Dune by Frank Herbert

The men who stare at goats by Jon Ronson

The stars my destination by Alfred Bester

The Tears of my Soul by Sokreaksa S. Himm

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Hemingways Chair by Michael Palin

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Events

Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool

Plays

Anthony and Cleopatra at The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon

Much Ado about Nothing in the Open Air in Chester Grosvenor Park

Concerts

None

Trips Abroad

Iceland -  Reykjavik – March

Italy, Lebanon & Syria – July/August

Belgium - Brussels& Bruges – September/October


I've been meaning to post his for about the last week and am finally getting round to it tonight. Each year I try and keep a track of the films, books, etc I read/watch just for my own curiosity and over the last couple of years I've been pretty consistent with the numbers.
Sherlock Holmes and Scott Pilgrim get joint top score for this years films but I think that Scott Pilgrim comes out just ahead because it really was a wonderfully quirky and fun film (not that Sherlock wasn't quirky and fun, just not quite as much and it didn't have
Mary Elizabeth Winstead either)
I have to say though that I am disappointed with the number of books I read each year, I really ought to be reading more. I think though that I can lay the blame firmly at the door of the amount of tv I watch instead and until I'm prepared to cull some shows from the 'must watch' list I'm going to be sticking at just breaking double figures. I could say I'll try harder this year but it would be hollow words.
The Magical Mystery Tour was with my sister in law for her birthday weekend and was good fun in spite of seeing some of the heaviest rain in ages which curtailed some of the getting on and off the coach.
I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't get to see any live music this year. I came close to going to see the Kodo drummers at the Phil in Liverpool but it somehow never quite happened.

I did very well travel wise this year, visiting 5 capital cities that I've never been to before (Reykjavik, Rome, Beirut, Damascus and Brussels). I've wanted to go to Iceland for as long as I can remember and it was as wonderful and beautiful as I'd hoped with some incredibly breathtaking scenery. My favourite place that we visited was Thingvellir, the ancient site of the Icelandic parliament and where you can see the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates slowly pulling away from each other (by about 2cm a year). We didn't have time to travel and see a glacier so we'll have to go back again. We nearly got to stay longer though as two weeks after we came home the volcano erupted and the ash cloud brought all air traffic to a halt. So close, so close . . .
At the height of summer I got to travel around Lebanon and Syria taking photo's for the OM workers based out there for them to use in publicity for their work. It was a great time, meeting a number of great people and getting to travel around a beautiful country and take photo's (my favourite pass time). It also meant that I was able to experience the hottest temperature of my life with 42 degrees C in Damascus. Which means that, with the extreme cold here in the UK last month, I've probably experienced a temperature range of over 50 degrees in the last year.

Away from the lists, 2010 was always going to be an up and down year. On the upside, I gained a beautiful little nephew who is now 11 months old and is a hairsbreadth away from walking. On the downside we lost my wife's mother to cancer in May and her loss is going to cast shadows through the family for some time to come. My last memory of her is always going to be her smiling and waving her arms wildly in the air
when Anna and I arrived at the family farm, as she was being wheeled around the garden by her husband. Within 24 hours of this, she had gone.

Looking forward to 2011, there is something coming in March (probably) that could be a really big thing this year and I will bring more news as and when I can. As to the rest of the year, I really don't know what's going to happen, so I'll just have to wait and see.

peck72: (Beast Boy Smiley)
Hopefully you can see these pictures if I post this link, if not, then comment here and I'll play around with it to see if I can get it to work.

Our long weekend in Brussels and Bruges was a much needed time away and even though it was only a few days we were able to see quite a lot as well as having time just to relax and read. I managed to start and finish Terry Pratchett's 'I shall wear Midnight' while we were away. It's an excellent book and, if it is the last Tiffany Aching book, a good way to conclude the series. Anna read Phillippa Gregory's 'The Red Queen' and also enjoyed it a great deal. She's read quite a few of her historical novels and seems to have enjoyed them pretty consistently.

It's late now so I may talk more about Belgium another time or I may not (I'm still feeling my way back into this blogging lark), but if you do want to know more about what we did, then please ask and I'll tell you.
peck72: (Books rule)
Meme pinched from [profile] bwinter 

Name...

* Three books that have marked your childhood...


+ The Mr.Men series by Roger Hargreaves
+ The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
+ The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone

* ... and your teenagehood:

+ Dracula by Bram Stoker
+ Night Shift by Stephen King (although this could have been any of a number of his books)
+ The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

* Your three favourite books (only 3, even if it's hard!):

+ The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
+ Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
+ Enigma by Robert Harris

* Three books you could read again and again without growing weary of it:

+ Mort by Terry Pratchett
+ The War of the Worlds by H G Wells
+ Batman: The Killing Joke by Moore, Bolland & Higgins

* Three books you've read or are reading recently:

+ Diaries 1969 - 1979, The Python Years by Michael Palin
+ J Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ by Roger Steer
+ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

* Three books that you'll read soon:

+ Stardust by Neil Gaiman
+ Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
+ Making Money by Terry Pratchett

* And one special, fetish book that you'd keep with yourself all the time:

+ A Gideons New Testament


Well, that was harder than I'd expected.
peck72: (Books rule)
Once again, quite a break in post's but then I would need to do something a little more interesting than just go to work to have something to post about. but still this week has been quite a good week (aside from work, that is).

Last Sunday was a book fair at Erddig, which is a National Trust property about 25 mins drive from Chester. We didn't get to really look around the house itself (much of it was closed off for the day) but then I was hunting books and that is a much more serious task. In the end I came away with a pretty good haul;

  • the first three Hitch Hikers books by Douglas Adams (I know it's a disgrace, but I've never actually read these)
  • The Deep Range by Arthur C Clarke, bought speculatively just because it's Arthur C Clarke
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, another speculation but it has had the rumblings of a classic so should be at least interesting
  • Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. I'm about three quarters of the way though this one so far and it is very good. Greene is very understated in the way he writes and it sneaks up on you just how deeply your being drawn into the story and how much you care for the characters.
  • and finally and old hardback of Hans Christian Andersons Fairy Tales.
Not bad, especially for £1.50 (about 2.2 euros).

    While I'm on the subject of books, I can finally announce I've finished Jung Chang's biography of Mao. I say finally because I started this book sometime in June and only finished it about two weeks ago. Now it is a big book, and I have read a few other books inbetween starting and finishing Mao but even so, three months plus is way to long to take to read a book like this. I'm going to have to read more serious books like this and get my reading muscles into something like proper shape.
    That being said, in the week after finishing Mao, I did then pollish off both Terry Pratchet's 'Wintersmith' and Susanna Clarkes 'Ladies of Grace Adieu'. These are two very good books but I do think that I enjoyed the Ladies a bit more than Wintersmith.
    'Ladies of Grace Adieu' is a collection of short stories set in the world of her first novel, 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' and tells more tales of Faerie and English magic. My favourite tale is probably the title story (although 'Tom Brightwind, or How the fairy bridge was built at Thorsby' comes a very close second) which details the encounter between Jonathan Strange and the three Ladies of Grace Adieu, who have quite a different opinion of modern magic to him.

Tuesday night also had a literary tone to it as Anna, I and a group of friends went to see Oscar Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband' at Theatre Clwyd in Wrexham. I've only ever read Wilde's 'Portrait of Dorian Gray' and so wasn't quite sure what to expect of this. The play began with a scene of an evening party in which most of the cast delivered typical Oscar Wilde witticisms in very arch ways. I was getting a little worried that this would be the way the rest of the play would pan out but then once the actual plot got going this became less and the play found it's rhythm.
    A quick summary of the plot is that an MP (the 'Ideal Husband') is blackmailed over an financial indiscretion from the beginning of his career to the result that both his career and his marriage are threatened. He and his wife (a paragon of virtue, but somewhat unforgiving of flaws in others) are helped though this by their close friend (who can be nothing but Oscar Wilde writing himself into the play) who is a confirmed bachelor, layabout and dandy (but still the cleverest and wisest person in the play) but has something of an attraction to the MP's younger sister (played here in the style of Jennifer Saunders).
    All in all, a very good production and a very good evening out. But now I must away to bed as tomorrow I must tile the bathroom. Oh the joys of being a grown up ;)
peck72: (Books rule)
Got back from Holland on Saturday after a very good and relaxing time in Amsterdam and Dalfsen. [profile] graceunplugged is still out there for the second week of the conference but I'm back at work today (although I may get more sleep here since they had breakfast starting at 07.30 each day. Needless to say, I never made it to breakfast). Pictures (and more details) wll be forthcoming once the films are developed.

Books read while away were, Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs, which is a good whodunnit (and a bit of a whatdidtheydo, since you don't find out the full crime till the end), but definitly a non-taxing one, spot-on  for a holiday read. Then, read on the way home we have Bosshardt: A Biography by Jean Watson (can't find a decent link to illustrate this one) which is a brilliant biography of the missionary Alfred Bosshardt in china in the '20s and '30s who was held hostage by the Red Army for a year and a half and forced to take part in the Long March. I'll give more on this one when I finish it (I'm about 2/3rd's through so far)

Quick news update, this is sad news but was ultimately always going to happen at some point. This is more amusing though even if slightly cruel. The part that amuses me most is that  no-one has taken them back, how long before they turn up on E-bay?
peck72: (Good music)

This caught my attention and since I've just watched 'The Matrix' again it seemed kind of appropriate.

 

SF meme )


Interesting to see how many of the (so-called) influential films I've seen and of them, how many I'd still lilke to own. but then I always was greedy ;>

On to home news, Anna and I are about to be offered the (red?) right hand of friendship at church as we have been accepted into membership.

Hmm, guess this means I'm about to become a Baptist! So far in my christian lilfe I've been non-denominational, with my church's being of an independant nature. Not that it really makes any difference but it feels a little . . . odd? Really not sure why though and it's definitly not in a bad way. I guess it's not something I'd ever really given a great deal of thought to.

Finished Neil Gaimans 'Anansi Boys' last night and have to say . . . Anansi boys review )



Now I've finished 'Anansi Boys' though, I really, really want to tell stories again. I just havn't had an original idea since about sometime in '97 and it was even longer ago that I sat down and told a group of kids a story (the best time I had doing that was telling watered down Sandman stories at a bible week in Scotland. Me and the kids had a blast). I am going to have to do something about this, I'm just not sure what? (Suggestions on a post card to . . .)

peck72: (Default)
First, a little amusement.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A focused advisor whose actions are dictated by almost pure logic, you believe in exploring the fascinating possibilities around you.
Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Spock is a character in the Star Trek universe. His biography is available at Nimoy.com. (Actually, it isn't. It just goes to one of those annoying ads link sites, but then cut and paste is as cut and paste does)



Wouldn't have said I was like him myself but then if the internet says it it must be true ;)

I really ought to update this much more regularly than I do. Because if I did, I wouldn't need to cram in that we've recently


  • been up to Edinburgh for the week, where we went to Roslyn Chapel  (made famous once again thanks to 'The Da Vinci Code')  and to an exhibition of photographs by  Henri Cartier Bresson who is the photographer that I most admire and who's work I love the most. We also met up with Anna's sister, Elspeth who's living there, and oh yes, Anna was there working at the Christian Resources Exhibition

  • had two blow-outs of tyres on Anna's car (only damage done was to the tyres, thankfully)
  • been to see 'Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-rabbit', which is an absolutely, hysterically, wonderful film which should be seen by everyone at their first opportunity (as well as their second, third and fourth)

  • also been to see Tim Burton's 'The Corpse Bride', which is a beautiful piece of stop motion animation, with a great line up of voice talent (Christopher Lee is his usual excellently scary self) and a good fairy tale story, although the songs tend to hamper the flow in places.

  • recieved my copy of 'To Charles Fort, with  love' by Caitlin.R.Kiernan from Subterranean Press. All I need to do now though is to finish Alec Guiness's biography and I can start it. Have to say that I am really enjoying the biography, even if it does seem to overstress some areas of his life (ie. his homosexuality, not a problem in itself but when it is mentioned and alluded to several times in practically every chapter then I think that the author is trying to make his point too heavy handedly) and skip past others (his work for Ealing studios is covered in a couple of paragraphs). It is encouraging to know that someone as talented as him was at times troubled with self doubt and was a very human person. It does give hope to the rest of us.
  • had numerous people round for a meal or staying with us, and this coming week we have Anna's god-daughter (and her parents) staying with us. The house has been made safe to a two and a half year old (hopefully) and my vasectomy appointment has been pencilled in for the start of November.
Also www.mediafiend.co.uk is begining to take shape. Well, we've got a couple of pages up that work (mostly) but ut's a start considering how long we've had the name. So if you want to go see the webcomics I read on a regular basis then the page is there.



peck72: (Default)

Hmm, I had intended to post about both Terry Pratchett's "Thud" and Joss Wheedon's "Serenity". But the more I think about them, the more I think I'm going to have to re-read and re-watch them both respectivly to be able to give them a proper review.


In, shorthand though, "Thud" is classic Terry Pratchett. May contain spoilers )


As for "Serenity" though, this really is a must see film. Very definitly spoilers )
It is definitly the best film I've seen this year and I really hope there will be sequels or a new series. By the end of the film I was definitly in agreement with Mal though,


"I will get very choked up. Honestly. There might even be tears."

And because these are just too much fun to miss

<a href="http://monster.namedecoder.com">
<img src="http://monster.namedecoder.com/webimages/beast-PAULSMITH.png"
width="240" height="180"
alt="Poisonous Anthropologist-Upsetting Livestock-Snatching Monster from the Isolated Twisted Hills"
border="0"></a>



<a href="http://cyborg.namedecoder.com">
<img src="http://cyborg.namedecoder.com/webimages/edox-PAULSMITH.png"
width="240" height="180"
alt="Positronic Artificial Unit Limited to Sabotage, Masterful Infiltration and Thorough Harm"
border="0"></a>



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July 2012

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