Friday, October 31, 2014

Metropolitan police waste money again

Metropolitan police waste money again.  yep!,  the same force that spent huge sums of money paying people to change light bulbs for them are at it again.  This time they've spent a ton of money testing new software that studies peoples facebook posts and tries to work out who's going to commit offences in the future.
A few problems with that though.  One like all software it'll be crap and get it wrong half the time.  Two these people won't have committed any offence, so the police have no legal recourse until they do anyway (so they might as well have just waited)   Three they don't have enough police as it is, so the few that they do have will now be chasing future crimes that haven't happened yet, and may never happen.
So what have we learned?  That the police don't seem very bothered by crimes that actually happen now, get burgled and you might get a copper rushed there a week next Thursday.   However if your reporting something that happened in 1975, or 2042 then they'll be straight around your house.
Bloody barmy or what!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What happened to efficiency and service?

What happened to efficiency and service?  No seriously wheres it gone?  Did it run off and join the circus, or has it jumped ship and gone to live in a commune somewhere dressed in hippy beads and a beard?

The reason I ask is because I've just wasted an entire morning of my ever dwindling life doing precisely three things. Getting a blood test, getting petrol and buying a stamp All that should have taken about a half hour or forty five minutes max!
Getting the blood test took two and a half bloody hours!  It's absolutely insane!  Theres four women working in the hospital blood test room, in the two hours I watched they did twenty blood tests, that's five each in two hours, that's about 24 minutes each, yet each test actually takes about five minutes, and theres bugger all paperwork.  They really need to get the time and motion people in there, that's our money being wasted there.

Getting petrol isn't very quick or efficient these days either!  Years ago you drove into a petrol station (one that wasn't a supermarket) a man in a scruffy overall put the petrol in for you, you paid him and you were off in about three minutes. 
Now it's slightly different, you queue for about five minutes in the middle on the road, then you pull onto the pump, you have to get out in the cold and put the petrol in yourself, then walk to the mini supermarket/petrol station to pay for it, and thats where the trouble really starts.  You see theres about 12 pumps and one woman serving, add in the factor that some of the people in there are doing a weeks shopping and the bloody queue is out the door, across the road and up the nearest bus stop.  To add insult to injury the cashier isn't exactly hurrying,  Oh no she's asking each customer if they collect the points, do you have a bonus card, and worse explaining the benifits of having a bonus card to all those customers who don't have one (and don't want one)  By the time I left the cars were backed up to the M25 or somewhere, and the queue looked like those going to the gulag, talk about depressed, I've seen happier Kamikaze pilots reuniun dinners.

The last straw was the post office, I was the only person in the queue (for a change) but sadly that didn't help.  You see the post office isn't actually a post office any more, it's a Spar shop, they closed the proper post office and turned one of the Spars tills into a post office.  This means you have to share the cashiers with the other customers, trouble is this being Port Talbot that means your sharing a cashier with someone who is about as bright as tinned mikl!  Ok they are some nice normal people in Port Talbot as well, I just never seem to meet them when I'm out shopping. 
In this case the lady being served was buying milk and cat food with a credit card, and she was about a hundred and forty seventeen years old. 
After killing two credit cards with the wrong pin numbers she managed to find one that worked and paid for her shopping, trouble is this all took time, and the cashier had to tell here how to get her other cards unlocked as well, this meant it took me about twenty five minutes to buy a stamp as the only person in the queue.

In the old days I'd have had the blood test done in my doctors surgery in minutes, the man in the overall would have sorted my petrol out and wiped my windscreen by the time I'd got the money out of my pocket, and the nice lady in the post office would have sold me a penny black and I'd have been home in time for breakfast, not a bloody midnight feast!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fury 2014 (film review)

IMDb "April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany."

The film was disappointing, the clips I'd seen suggested it would be a good movie but sadly it wasn't.
I didn't like any of the tank crew and frankly didn't care if the Germans won or not.  
The film is done in the desaturated "gritty" look which seems to be in fashion these days, the special effects were pretty terrible. Someone obviously hasn't seen real tracer rounds, they don't look like like star wars lasers for a start, the tanks were all shown firing on the move, which although they could do in practice they very rarely actually did, mainly because they couldn't hit bugger all (some reports claim a tiger tank would damage the turret if it fired while moving) some of the weapons were wrong as well.  The soundtrack was like listening to a funeral dirge, and too loud as well.
The film is slow and the action sequences silly,( especially the laser show) To be honest it felt like I was watching a crap video game.  It could have been so much better!

If you want to see a good tank movie buy the Beast of war 1988!

Waynes rating 3/10   See something else instead

How to out act Doctor Who

How to out act Doctor Who, actually it's easy if your Abigail Eames 9 (Maebh in the episode in the forest of the night) She did a great job of out acting Peter Capaldi (or the sneering man as I now call him)  But to be honest it's not saying much as most of the trees managed to out act him.
But Abigail did a good job and I suspect she will have a long acting carreer in front of her.

Seriously whats gone wrong with Doctor Who?  What happened to the Doctor?, the old Doctors would never ask a lost little girl if she had an appointment, or close the Tardis door in their face, they would be there to help someone in trouble, especially a lost little girl. This Doctors too silly.

The new Doctor Who really is terrible, I don't know if it's the scripts or just that Peter can't act, he seems to have two faces, the sneer, or the where the bloody hell am I look.  Sadly neither are convincing!

Port Talbot family fun day and fireworks 2014

Well Port Talbot and I seem to have a different idea of what a "family fun day" should be.  My idea doesn't consist of a small funfair on a abandoned disused bombsite (who could be so heartless as to abandon a disused bombsite?)  The site floor was covered in loose rocks golf ball and bigger size, bloody dangerous, add in the dozens of loose cables dumped across the floor and you have an insurance claimers wet dream!

The council wouldn't have a leg to stand on, HSE rules clearly state the floor surface must be even and cables should be dug in or overhead, and only then if they have to be on the floor they must be covered by cable protectors( sort of big rubber mat things) 
Factor in the lack of first aid cover (they must be clearly visible to the public and we never saw any) and the site breaks most of the HSE rules on funfairs, and personally I'd be interested to see if the rides had up to date safety tests as well.

Then the fireworks, with the wind blowing hard towards the crowd I expected them to be called off, but no and to be fair it wasn't a bad display, nothing like as good as fireworks displays of my youth but not bad for todays displays.

I took a good few pics of the fireworks but most were spoiled by the mini gale buffeting me about, but here two I've done, the rest will have to wait as I'm currently dying of cat-leg-foot-pox... or a bad cold?  Anyway thats it for now.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Horns 2014

IMDb "In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples."

A strange film, part horror, part thriller and part comedy, and yet somewhat surprisingly it manages to do all three without clashing or falling apart..
The story revolves around Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his girlfriend Merrin Williams (Juno Temple) who is found murdered.  After the murder Ig spouts horns from his head, and strange things start happening around him  Did Ig murder Merrin while drunk or was it someone else?  The story has some twists and turns and enough comedic moments to lighten things.
The story is told part in flashback, and gives Daniel a chance to show off his acting skills.
I found the film slightly slow at the start, but it builds nicely to a good ending, the special effects are excellent.

Waynes rating 8/10  a nice change from the normal horror/thriller well worth a watch.

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


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!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I am soldier 2014 (film review)

IMDb "I Am Soldier follows Mickey Tomlinson (Tom Hughes), a military chef, who attempts the most dangerous military selection known to man: The Special Air Service (S.A.S.) selection. The S.A.S. Is the United Kingdom's most renowned Special Forces Regiment, tasked with life threatening missions in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Mickey has more military experience than simply being a chef, something he doesn't let on to the other candidates... Mickey is smashed by this selection process - his mind, body and soul scream for mercy as he endures torturous speed-marches over the steepest mountains, running for his life during 'Escape and Evasion' and then facing the most evil interrogation possible, during the deadly phase known as: 'Tactical Questioning.' Even after everything, there is still only one way you can really prove yourself: in combat... Many try to get into the S.A.S. Only the elite make it."

Well where do I start?   The film is set in Wales/England with some of the footage of real locations (the Brecon beacons ) It would appear that the production crew got the military details from a book, probably Andy Mcnab (real name Steven ) anyway while some of the details are spot on, many others are totally wrong, theres also a big chunk of the selection process missing, the jungle traning.

The film stars Tom Huges as Micky an army chef taking part in winter selection (theres a summer selection as well) also in the movie is Nole Clarke (micky from dr who) he plays a sort of up market Ross Kemp from ultimate force, with a beard which you cant have as the gas masks wont seal around your face.

The first part of the film is based around the selection process, the later half is the small group and the Sergeant carrying out a mission to save London.
Now why only 6 men including the sniper take on 11 bad guys armed with machine guns and a dirty bomb isn't explained, nor is it explained why 2 new recruits are part of this mission. Logically it would make more sense to send a bigger more experienced group.

While I could sort of live with the mistakes like sunshine through a window in Wales at 4.30 on a winters morning, what drove me barking mad was the way it was filmed. It's filmed in a sort of desaturated arty docudrama style, thats bad enough but for some reason the transitions between shots keep cutting to blackouts, add in the flickering/strobing effects and it's hard going just watching the thing.

I seriously advise you not to watch this if you suffer from photosensitive epilepsy

Waynes rating 3/10 watch it for views of the Brecon beacons in winter (and leg it before the crap ending)

Automata 2014 (film review)

IMDb "Jacq Vaucan, an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation, routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity."

The film is a sort of Blade runner meets Irobot.  Staring Antionio Banderes, it also features Tim Mcinnermy (of black adder) David Ryall and the voice of Melanie Griffith.

The film is set in a dark moody post apocalyptic city for the first part it then moves to the desert for the final part.

It's what Irobot should have been, not jazzed up with car chases and huge explosions, more a story about about robots interacting with people.

The locations are good and the robots stunning, by the end of the film you really start to connect with them.

Waynes rating 7/10    worth a watch

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sweet pics

Wireless flash on a budget (cheap ebay kit)

Now I know many modern cameras have built in wireless flash, mine does, but frankly it's a pain in the ass to use.

What should really be a one button job takes about 5 minutes, because it's far from one button.
On my flash for example you have to hold down two buttons for 3 seconds, then cycle through the options for slave.
Next on the camera, I have to go into the menu, into the flash menu, and select several different options, including turning off the camera pop up flash (which still fires anyway)  then pop up the flash and turn the power down (in the menu of course)  After all the playing silly buggers in the menus I can then take the picture, always assuming the subject hasn't got bored and gone, or died of old age.
So the thought is there has to be a better way!  And luckily there is.

Now theres been proper real wireless flash (I think of wireless as radio!) for years but it tends to be pricey, but now with the miracle of the Internet (and ebay) you can get cheap wireless flash kits.
I bought a Wansen wireless flash set, you get a transmitter to go on the cameras hot shoe, and a receiver with a hot shoe for your flash to go on.
There are switches for 16 channels so you don't clash if theres lots of you shooting at the same time with the same kits, but if your on your own you can just leave it at default, theres one on off switch on the receiver (none on the transmitter curiously)
The receiver also has a tripod mount in the bottom (and a cold shoe) so it'll fit on most standard tripods and you can use it with brolly holders etc.

In use it couldn't get much easier, you turn on the receiver, stick your flash on top, turn the flash, and fit the transmitter on the hot shoe of the camera and off you go.

Now the cheap kit I bought is not ettl flash so you have to work in manual, but it works a treat.
The makers claim it works to 30 metres, I didn't measure the distance but I must have got to around 50-60 feet (maybe a bit more) before it stopped working, to be honest plenty far enough for normal shooting.

Conclusions, for under a tenner off ebay it's a great buy, now I might not use it often but if I need a bit of quick and easy off camera flash I'll be using this rather than the built in camera shambles any day of the week.
If you have a few receivers and several flash units you have the making of a studio kit, all portable too.

I have no connection with the company that makes or sells any of these kits

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

USB risk

Well done to the two "security experts" who found a security flaw in USB, but what a moronic dozy bloody silly idea to release the code to all the hackers who didn't know about it.  Stupid bastards!