Archive for December, 2016

He Typed in a Blog…You Won’t Beleive What Happened Next…

Posted in Personal Thoughts, The World on December 30, 2016 by Neal

Now unless you only read emails and never use the web, you will have seen the old click-baits that adorn our social media feeds. The main aim of these is to drive revenue for adds that adorn the pages. People click on them in the vain hope that this time, the fact she used vinegar in her toilet, will result in some new insight into the world that may not have been known before. 

Yet every time we get conned and see an article that’s written over several pages, repeating the first page every second page, which doesn’t actually tell us anything new. I do find these very funny at times, especially the health related ones. The fact checking on these is so precise and amazing I’m surprised that the pharmacutical companies haven’t burned down all the rain forest to destroy this one cancer curing fruit.  Then there are the assorted range of photo galleries with the most shocking pictures of various topics like “don’t get caught wearing these fashion failures” or “disturbing images of people in compromising situations”.  Yet when you look at them you have to wonder what drugs the publisher of the article was on when they wrote things. Though I will admit, ugg boots and a mini skirt in winter is a serious fashion fail.

These are all critical details we should all be aware of in our daily lives and they provide a great public service alerting us to these things. If you believe that then I have a bridge you might be interested in buying. Now yes I know they are not to be taken seriously and are simply there to garner views. What I do wish is they could at least be a little more honest with their topics. Again I know this won’t get the responses they want, yet when I’m looking to read about disasterous texting fails I expect some real carnage. None of this “oops auto correct changed ‘pen is’ into penis and that ruined my life” kind of rubbish. 

I’m all for people sharing some of the more unusual things of the world. There are occasional diamonds amongst the truck loads of coal posted on the web. I’ll just have to face the fact that sometimes vinegar doesn’t solve every problem in the house.


Can I Get Some Horror With My Gore?

Posted in Movies, Personal Thoughts on December 29, 2016 by Neal

I love a good horror story. The idea of someone or something stalking people and causing a gruesome death is a guilty pleasure I have. Especially when I’m placing odds on how and who is going to end up on the slab. Our minds can take the descriptions given to us and manufacture a world in which we see the grisly events unfold. Alas we all interpret things differently and thus the great debate begins when two or more readers start comparing notes on a story. 

Enter Hollywood to save the day. Adapting a story to the screen gives everyone the chance to see one person’s vision of the story. You can argue about the casting of the hero or heroine and how they don’t match your vision. We can see the villain (or hero depending on your view) stalking our hapless victims and dispatching them. The music score adding to the suspense and atmosphere of the events. 

Perhaps I’m old school but I do find a lot of new horror movies to be very tacky. It’s not the plots or scantily clad swim suit babes romping in snow that annoys me. It’s the depiction of the kills that has me wondering wtf? I love a bit of gore but when you have gore just because you can, it looses some of the impact. I use a gore factor scale out of 10 to identify the effects. Paper cut would be a 0, exposed bones and organs get a 5 while 10 is reserved for wtf moments. 

For example in many of the Friday The 13th movies, people are being killed in gruesome ways but the cinematography doesn’t always depict that final blow. When it does show the killing moment they range from a 2 to a 6. Then there are those moments of an 8 or 9 just for the sake of gore. In The Redwood Massacre, the heroine is punched in the face several times and the amount of blood shown makes it look like she’s on extreme blood thinners. Or a classic head stomp is shown in extreme close up until the head resembles a smashed jar of strawberry jam. The logic that more gore equals good horror is misguided in my opinion.

That being said there is a place for the whole range of gore in horror movies if used correctly. Alien and Psycho implement the assumption of death with the flash of teeth or a silhouette behind a curtain. Teenage slasher films mix it up depending on the style of director, extreme injury mixed with a range of deaths and gore in just the right proportions adds to the experience. Horror/comedy like the original Evil Dead trilogy use the whole range of gore to enforce the gruesome effects of the Deadites on our heroes (the flood of blood out of the wall over Ash and then having it vanish adding to the mind games they play). Now a truely great wtf moment has got to be in the original Nightmare on Elm Street when Glen (Jonny Depp) falls asleep on his bed and Freddy pulls him into it with a fountain of blood following. 

Gore for the sake of gore doesn’t always make a movie. Like any form of cinematography it needs to be used in a way that suits the story and setting. Just like good story, the effects can either make a winner or make you wonder.

Reboots – Work Great For Computers, Not Always For Movies

Posted in Movies, Personal Thoughts on December 28, 2016 by Neal

If there’s a buck to be made in a movie then there’s the chance Hollywood will grab the idea and run with it, Sharknado springs to mind. The choices for movie topics, stories and ideas are as limitless as our imaginations. Now that being said there must be some very imagineless people making decisions when it comes to new movies. Most of the time a reboot is aimed at just getting more money from an already successful franchise. It is very rare that a reboot does better than an original, almost like a sequel pales to the first. But we also have to consider that each person has their own opinions and views when it comes to what they enjoy. Keep that in mind as I give my views on things.

Personally I would like to consider reboots as a way to reinvent a franchise. Look at the movie as a whole new experience to the universe in which it is set. However more often than not this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it’s a retelling of the original with minor updates or changes to make it a little more relevant or modern in concepts.

Spider-Man is an example of reboots for the sake of it. Starts off with a retelling of how Peter gets his powers and the death of his uncle directing his life. The only major difference is in the villains and the actors. Another example is the Nightmare on Elm Street which was almost identical to the original with a few minor additions. Why go to the effort of making a movie which has unlimited scope if you are going to copy most of the original. Remakes like Annie or many of the adaptations of Shakespeare’s work all follow a fixed format since that’s how they are written originally, so you would expect a lot of similarities between the different versions. 

Then you have the reboots that totally use the idea of a fresh start to their advantage. The most notable I would have to say is Star Trek. The 2009 version kicked off a whole new cast and vision of the Star Trek universe. They took advantage of having a clean slate to work with and generated a new alternate universe for the Enterprise to explore. Or there are movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th in which they follow the previous formula founded in the originals but add new additions that give more insight into the protagonist of the movie. After all finding out why Michael Myers went crazy adds extra depth to the silent killer.

Recently I watched the new Evil Dead movie. There are a few things that bugged me about it but that’s a different topic all together. While there were moments of subtle and not so subtle homage to the originals, the movie looked at a totally new aspect of the Naturom Demonto. The movie has a very serious tone to it rather than the light hearted original.

Reboots offer many options to the creator which can open up a whole new universe to viewers. However this doesn’t always happen and we can sometimes be left with simply an updated version of the original. Some fans will swear by the originals while others will bow to the remake. Either way we all have our own views on things and this is the important part to always remember. 

Guyver WIP – Part 1

Posted in Cosplay, Guyver on December 26, 2016 by Neal

It’s rather funny that while my kids have all the time in the world and no hobbies, I have loads of hobbies and no time in the world. 

It’s taken me a few weeks to tweak and mess around with files for printing but I think I have the correct scale for the Guyver costume. Now as usual when I start these sort of projects my first attempt is always off the mark size wise. 

Yeah this size will never fit my giant mug. It does however fit my 4yr old so he’s currently “encouraging me” to make the chest, legs, arms and all the other parts for “his” costume. Yes I know I’m a sucker all right. So his costume will act as a test guide for me. The build has a lot of bends and curves so while I work with 2mm craft foam for his, I’m using 12mm gym mats for mine. The obvious challenges is in shaping the thicker material and cutting things out to help them fit better. 

The helmet may be a little over sized but won’t know for sure until I finish the basic shaping and forming of it. Fingers crossed but so far the progress is looking good. 

More to come as I progress.

A Four Year Olds Big Heart

Posted in Family, Personal Thoughts on December 24, 2016 by Neal

This is the note my 4 yr old son wrote for Santa this evening. He has grown so much this year and it is always amazing to see how much he learns each day. 

Have a great Christmas everyone and stay safe. 

Night Before Christmas

Posted in Personal Thoughts on December 24, 2016 by Neal

”Twas the night before Xmas and all through the store, all I could hear was the fridges as they hummed and roared. 

The air con was cold while out side was hot, the media couldn’t tell if it would rain tonight or not. 

People were out doing lots of last minute shopping, even this late there seemed no signs of stopping.

Each person that came into the store wanted ice or fuel, all in order to help celebrate tomorrow’s Yule. 

A lady came in and wandered around, the look on her face a troubled frown.

“Do you sell sticky tape?” She quizzicaly asked with anticipation on her mind, I shook my head no as we only had the elctrical kind.

“But wait a moment” I said with a smile, “I think I can help, just wait a while.”

I grabbed a small roll of tape from the stationary drawer, and offered it to her as I could easily get more.

It was a pleasant surprise that I offered the tape, the smile on her face being a pleasant shape.

“Thank you so much you’ve just saved my Xmas day.” She grinned as she left and went on her way.

People need to remember what Xmas is truly about. It’s not the presents or gifts that we give a shout. 

It’s doing good and helping those in need, for we show our true selves when we do a good deed

A recount of my Xmas eve as I ponder things instead of working. 

Anxiety, Depression and Issues With Social Media 

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Personal Thoughts, Role Playing, The World on December 24, 2016 by Neal

Social media is the biggest form of communication for the world since the invention of the phone. We can talk to people anytime, anywhere and they don’t even have to be available when you are. We can leave a message, post a video or photo, like or emoticon something people have put up online, blog, tweet, snapchat, FaceTime…the options are increasing every day as new technology develops. But with all the good that comes the bad. Trolls, flame wars, memes and revenge posting are just some of the negatives for the world we live in now. I’ve seen how quickly a conversation can turn nasty in a matter of minutes thanks to the anonymity of the keyboard. 

Now for me I have several issues that make it difficult to interact freely. The first is my social anxiety in which I worry about how others will view what I’ve posted. Yes that does include my blog which is why it’s taken me years to actually post stuff openly. Then there’s the negative thoughts of failure and why bother that are whispered from my depression. Now add those all to a mind which has a very ingrated tendency to internally catastrophise everything and you are probably wondering how the hell I even function. 

Strangely enough I haven’t always had issues with interaction via an online media. Many years ago I was a very active online text based role player. Instead of role playing at a table with friends I was able to play on the computer with others from around the world. My ability to express myself and be imaginative was leagues ahead of myself today. What I didn’t realise for many years was that my depression and anxiety fuelled my creative side. I used it as a way to escape things and keep myself balanced.

Life shifted and I went from part time work to fill time. My free time for role playing became sparse and over time stopped all together. That’s when depression started to make itself obvious and since then I have struggled to find that creative aspect of myself again. The last few years I have made many attempts to interact with social media but it doesn’t last long. Yes I have a twitter, Facebook, google+ and even a tumbler account. That being said I have actually started being more active in the last couple of months on Facebook than I have in the last couple of years. Not that I’m posting new stuff but I am sharing more that I see and like, working on improving my social media stamina as I call it. 

So far I haven’t had anything negative thrown at me. No trolls coming out from under the bridge as I walk across it. Given time I’m sure that will happen but then I just need to remember that social media can be a double edged sword. What may hurt me can also hurt them and in the end they are only words from someone with no willingness to learn and grow.