Friday, 19 December 2008

Work Christmas Party: Turkey in the Ceramics Kiln!

We had our Christmas party today at work.

Basically the technical staff from the art school (I worked there for 15 years before moving to the School of Architecture, got together in the Ceramics workshop and had a full Christmas Dinner, turkey, roast veg, brussel sprouts etc.

We cooked off the turkey in the ceramics kiln and the veg in one of the glass fusing kilns (they were both fairly heavily cleaned out first I must add!

Anyway, we had a great time and were all suitably stuffed afterwards!

Here are a few photos!

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Phil and Kelly checking the "turkey kiln"

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Done just to perfection!

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Roast Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips and (in the foil) Brie with garlic cloves!

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All followed by home-made Profiteroles.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Michael Moorcock's Birthday!

Elric as depicted by Michael Whelan on the cov...

Image via Wikipedia

Many happy returns Mr Moorcock.

Thanks to Singular Points for making me aware of this one!

It has been a few years since I read any books by Michael Moorcock. I think the last ones I read were the Oswald Bastable trilogy and the two later Elric books before that!

I really must get around to reading some more of his work.

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Survivors Show 5

I have been a bit slow in getting around to review this episode and I think that the generally average scripting on the show is starting to take effect on me.
Thankfully next week is the finale and hopefully (going by the trailer) it is going to go out with a bang!
To be honest most of my views of the episode are very similar to Tim over at the Heropress blog, so rather than repeating most of what he has already said it is probably easier if you go read his comments HERE!
Watching this series has reminded me how much I enjoy Post-Apocalyptic stories, unfortunately this one does not stand up to most of them! From the original Survivors through things like The Ultimate Warrior and Mad Max (I must see if I can pick up the DVDs in the new year sales) to Reign of Fire, Doomsday and even Children of Men generally I enjoy them!
One that is not terribly well known but I enjoyed when I saw it years ago was No Blade of Grass! With a similar plot device to Survivors, in that a plague wipes out all wheat/grass species on Earth causing mass starvation and eventually the breakdown of civilisation.
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No Blade of Grass is certainly worth looking out for, although I don't think it is available on DVD. I will have to do a bit more hunting on this one...
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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Survivors Episode 4

I enjoyed this episode, although I did feel that with the group splitting up and going in so many different directions that it would be virtually impossible for them to meet up again by the end of the show!
This week Abby set off hoping to find her son by following up a lead she got last week , and most of the rest of the group decided they liked the sound of the community that Abby found last week, so they headed out to join that group.
Still as with a lot of modern TV shows the "reset button" at the end of the episode was suitably pressed and everyone was back together, no harm done! A little disappointing that...
I did feel that a lot was skimmed over with this weeks show, the extremely fast condemnation and eviction of Al (the playboy) by the new community seemed ridiculously fast. It struck me that a community like that could not afford to throw out a fit young man quite so quickly, without at least trying to tame his "wildside" (although to be honest I hardly consider sleeping in, and a little bit of talking back to people to be rebellious). The whole thing felt rushed and would have worked much better if it had been carried over into a second episode, but no the "reset button" had to be pressed by the end of the episode!
Abby's adventure was also slightly baffling, she met up with and then spent the night with a chap (ex-army, live off the land type)whose family owned a large stately home, unfortunately the house had been taken over by a group of boys who were running wild. Abby eventually sorted out the boys problems with the house owner and went on her merry way! It seemed to me that the house and grounds and also the asset of the survival skills of the ex-army chap (not to mention the "love" interest), would all have been too valuable to not at least suggest a joining of the two groups. At the very least you would have thought that she would have planned to visit in the near future! I guess it was that dreaded "reset button" again.
No sign this week of the bio-scientists working on the cure for the virus, but looking at the trailer at the end of the show, it appears they will play a central part in the the plot of next weeks show!
All in all not great, but enjoyable, a few hard to believe moments and decisions and Max Beesley's character, the murderous Tom Price is still the most interesting, especially as they have not played him as "bad through and through" (which I had been expecting after the first show).

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Survivors Show 3

I was about to do a piece on episode 3 of Survivors when I read Tim at Heropress' review and it pretty much says it all:-
http://www.heropress.net/2008/12/continuing-to-survive.html
I will just add, that although I agree with Tim that they probably tried to cram to much into this episode, I did feel it caught my interest more than last weeks.
I felt that this was a step in the right direction, although it still has some way to go yet. I do get the feeling that there are probably going to be a lot of cliched stories ahead, but I hope that the moral and interpersonal aspects can be brought to the fore and are developed more.
I think that in a situation where civilisation has broken down in this way, there certainly needs to be a reassessment of what is needed in the way of moral fibre and "right and wrong".
As Tim says, the anti-hero character, Tom is certainly the most interesting at the moment, and assuming that the writers don't go down the cliched route and have him turn bad (worse) and bring the community down. It could lead to some interesting situations, where Tom becomes the force that holds the group together, having the guts and attitude needed to survive in a lawless world, but then revealing his past and the group having decide if they still want a murderer as such a strong binding force within it!
He is certainly showing "heroic" tendencies at the moment, and was instrumental in resolving the isolationist story in episode 3.
As for the second tier characters that seem to be struggling to find a place within the story. I think that in a real life situation like that those people would certainly be there, and a strong part of the development of the leaders of the group will revolve around how the cope with less capable individuals and how they develop the whole group to become productive and grow.
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