Monday, October 20, 2014

Himalayan disaster 2014 and some mountain safety advice

With the situation in the Himalayas still confused it's unclear what the final death toll will be, sadly this should never have happened.
Much about whats happened is still unclear but from what I'm hearing many of those who died were not equipped for the winter conditions and lead by inexperienced guides, there's also some questions over the weather warning system.
Many go into the mountains every year, all too often I've seen badly equipped people walking into trouble, some take the safety advice given, others ignore it at their peril.


Some basic safety advice for winter walking.

Don't think you have to be on the north face of Everest or in the Himalayas to get into trouble, people die in this country every year after getting into trouble in the mountains.  I personally have seen -20 in the Brecon Beacons, and if you've never been in a total whiteout you wouldn't believe what it's like (put you head in a big white paper bag and light the outside evenly, then try walking about see below ) You could literally walk off a cliff and not see a thing.
Dress for the worst, it doesn't matter if it's a lovely day, it might not be when you get half way up. That means proper water and wind proof clothing, warm clothing, and good hiking boots (not trainers)  Carry gloves and a good warm hat.
Take a torch and spare battery, a survival bag or space blanket, and a map and compass (make sure you know how to use it)  and make sure your phone is charged (but don't rely on it)  A flask of something hot and some mars bars or similar may come in handy too if you have to spend a night out, and seriously you should be prepared for that.
Make sure someone responsible knows where your going and when you due back, and don't change the route with telling them, they are your last line of defence if it goes tits up.

Now this might sound like overkill for a stroll in the mountains on a fine winters evening, but the weather can change quickly, and trust me teeshirt trainers and jeans really isn't going to be fun in -20 in a blizzard.

Remember experienced SAS soldiers have died in the Brecon Beacons from exposure, these are well trained and usually well equipped people with the armys resources behind them.  If it can happen to them.....


Please don't actually try the walking around with a bag over your head bit, it's a bad idea, it's just to illustrate the point.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dracula Untold 2014 (film review)

IMDb "Facing threats to his kingdom and his family, Vlad Tepes makes a deal with dangerous supernatural forces - whilst trying to avoid succumbing to the darkness himself."

Well this wasn't  what I was expecting, and it's a whole new Dracula to the one we're used to from the Hammer Horror movies.
Staring Luke Evans as Vlad, co-staring Sarah Gaden and Charles Dance, the film is dark and moody without being to dark to see whats happening.  In some ways it feels a little like the Lord of the Rings with the battle scenes, although a few bits left me feeling I was watching a video game.
the film is fairly fast paced and the visual effects are stunning.
The film keeps it's pace right up to the end, and theres an interesting twist.... Won't say any more, just see the film and you get it.

Waynes rating 8/10  Well worth a watch on the big screen

Spider



I spotted this little blighter out of the window this morning, so went and took a few pics, trouble was he wasn't half moving, they are really quick movers when making a web.
I took a few shots and got one I liked but ran out of time as I had to take my dear Mum shopping, so when I got home I took a few more, now although "spidey" had more or less stopped moving the bloody wind had got up enough to bound the him around like a bungee jumper, I got one good one again and gave it up.
If the weathers better tomorrow I might have another go.








Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Prince 2014 (movie review)


IMDb "When his daughter is kidnapped, a retired assassin is drawn back into the life he gave up. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival."

The film starts off promisingly with a big explosion, then slows down a bit, oh theres a few fights and a car chase but it'd not convincing.
Staring Jason Patric and Bruce Willis I was expecting more, Bruce Willis is almost a cameo role, he makes a few brief appearance and it's not until the very end we really see anything of him, and even then it's not the Bruce Willis we're used to, this is no Die hard thats for sure.
The problem for me was the film was just a cliche, you know the retired assassin looking for his kidnapped daughter.... it's been done to death, and sadly this isn't one of the better ones either.
I didn't really connect with any of the characters, Bruce Willis seemed miscast as the baddie, he's no Alan Rickman thats for sure!   and it just didn't seem to work, by the end I didn't care if they all died.
Speaking of endings, I'm sick and tired of bloody stupid silly shoot-out endings, how real is it for one hero to shot 20+ armed security guards!, even worse they were all taking turns to walk out into the open and be shot, and of course the only bullets that found their target were his.   And why would someone have 20+ security guards, even big companies only have a few, they just call the police if it's getting out of hand.

Waynes rating 3/10 very disappointing save the money and buy the Die Hard dvd instead

Bank of weird?

My bank staff are weird, when I go in to check my balance on the machine inside they say things like 'theres a machine outside mind!'  So bloody what! theres a machine inside as well but you don't stand in the street to tell me that.
The fact is I prefere to use the one inside for two reasons, one it's less lightly to get tampered with and two it's in the bloody warm and dry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The unexplained files the Russian yeti

What started as an interesting look at the deaths of nine hikers/climbers in 1959 (the Dyatlov pass incident) turned into a stupid Bigfoot hunt.
An American (who else!) and a Russian interpreter follow in the tracks of the Dyatlov party to try and solve the mystery. Sadly he seemed to have already decided what had happened and looked for facts to fit that theory.
The big problem was most of the facts didn't fit or make sense, he claims that a Bigfoot had made three previous attacks, two on soldiers and one on a hunter, yet none of these armed men managed to shoot the thing, he also pointed out on all three occasions the Bigfoot was cornered by those groups and may have attacked in self defence.  Yet the Dyatlov party were in their tent on an open hillside, so they had hardly cornered an animal.
The action then moved eight hours drive away to a Bigfoot cave (I kid you not) here the guide who does Bigfoot cave tours (It just keeps on giving doesn't it!) shows us the nest, a pile of grass really.  Now our intrepid explorer and his slightly terrified interpreter alone set up a tent to watch for Bigfoot.... A tent? what the fuck for? they are inside a cave, and you can't see bugger all inside a tent.
Unsurprisingly there are noises and the American guys rushes out to see whats there and finds.... Yep a new Bigfoot nest. 
Now call me suspicious but it has occurred to me, and probably you that the guide might just want them to hear noises and keep his business alive with prime time free advertising.  Nor is it explained how Bigfoot Bigfoot makes the eight hour snowmobile journey to kill random hikers
The final part moves back to the hillside where the Dyatlov party's tent was pitched, here in an attempt to attract a Bigfoot he fires off countless flares, again this seems odd as most animals are scared of fire or strange noises (rather like Russian interpreters), now as a safety measure they have an armed guard (why wasn't he with them in Bigfoot bloody cave?)   After a while they decide to go down to the tree line with the guard, although for safety reasons the camera crew have to stay behind.  More weird noises are heard and with torches flashing in each others faces and the camera in best Blair Witch mode we see the sum total of bugger all, although after a few minutes they find a dead dear and the guide say they have to go.

So what have we learned?  Well we've learned that any American is totally the wrong person to look for anything in the woods or cave, and judging by the bloody awful camera work not much good at that either.
We've learned that really we are no closer to finding out what really happened to the Dyatlov party, but whatever happened I seriously doubt a Bigfoot was involved.
I really wish someone would put together a proper team of ex-paras/sas and do this properly, stake out the area with night vision kit, from proper hides.   I've said it before but you'll see nothing if you go crashing through the woods waving a torch and setting of flares, all you have to do is sit quietly and the wildlife won't e scared witless.... Rather like Russian interpreters, I did feel sorry for the poor girl.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

UK starts Ebola screening


UK starts Ebola screening today... well when I say screening I mean a few selected passengers will have their temperature checked and given a questioner.... at terminal 1 in heathrow.  So not exactly screening all passengers arriving at the UK then.
And just in case they actually get lucky and find any (I get the feeling they are not looking too hard) they have put 26 beds ready across the UK. 
The UK is sending 780 medical staff abroad to help with Ebola treatment there, so thats a few more wards shut here then.  From what I've seen theres hardly enough staff to keep the hospitals open as it is, where the hell they found 780 spare from God knows!