My Mum On Christmas Day

As Paul indicated, Claire and I are out of Aberystwyth this Christmas: first with my folks, then with hers. As I’d threatened it yesterday, I’m sharing with you and the world in general this video of my mum on Christmas Day. She’s had a few drinks already, and she’s decided that she’s suddenly able to ride a unicycle. And juggle at the same time.

Still haven’t fixed putting Flash right into my blog, but as this one’s a 3MB video, it’s probably best to link to it anyway: watch the video!


This morning, I saw a family of three otters swimming up the Rheidol. I’ve never seen or even heard of otters in Aberystwyth before, so I found this noteworthy and remarkable. In answer to questions in advance: Yes, I’m sure they were otters: I had quite a clear view from the riverbank. No, I don’t have a picture; I only had my phone with me which at best managed to achieve a picture of what is barely recognisable as water. And what were they doing? Well, just paddling slowly up the river, dipping and diving as they went, and attracting a lot of attention from a flock of confused-looking local seagulls.

A Very Merry Troma Night – Tonight At The Cottage

Tonight’s Troma Night will be held at The Cottage. It’s the final Troma Night of the year, and it’ll be our least Christmassy of the “Christmas” Troma Nights ever, we suspect! Here’s the plan:

  • 8pm prompt start – order pizza and start watching xXx Top Gun (we can’t get hold of a copy of xXx – sorry!)… with a RiffTrax! This’ll be our third RiffTrax experiment; hopefully it’ll be as great as the last two.
  • Second; Bernard & The Genie; wonderful Christmassy comedy starring Lenny Henry, Alan Cumming, and Rowan Atkinson.
  • Third and finally; Snakes On A Plane, perhaps the most overhyped movie ever (or, if folks can’t survive another feature length film, I suggest MST3K ep 602 [Paul, would you be so kind as to bring this, please?]).

One more thing – as a small “thank you” to everybody who’s made Troma Night so fantastic this last year – and as a Christmas gift to our friends in general – Claire and I have decided to “buy a round”: we’ve racked up a sizable quantity of ales for tonight’s attendees to drink. So come along for some good films, bad films, pizza, and – just this once – you can get pissed on us. So to speak. Ahem.

See you later.

Geek Night Tonight

We haven’t had a Geek Night in, like, forever, and a few folks I was talking to last night suggested one. So let’s have one! The Cottage at 7pm; see you there.

Gorilla Monsoon Mailing List

The Gorilla Monsoon Mailing List is finally becoming usable, after a lot of kicking of the Monsooners by yours truly. If you’re in Aber, and interested in stand-up comedy, and weren’t on the mailing list because it was impossible to persuade anybody to put you on it, the problem has now been fixed and you can sign up like a normal person. Now go do it.

A Wild Wiikend; Part One

We got our Wii at about half past seven this morning, and – excepting breaks for lunch, to attend Gareth‘s guest lecture at the university, and to handle tech support calls from my place of work – we’ve been playing it ever since. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to:

Wii Sports
Comes with every Wii bought outside of Japan, this set includes Tennis, Golf, Bowling, Baseball, and Boxing. They’re all suitable for up to four players on the same console, and all make full use of the capabilities of the wireless, motion-sensing Wiimotes. The Tennis is particularly good and very immersive: it’s easy to find yourself leaping to try to reach the ball as it goes barely above your head. Here’s a video I captured earlier of Jimmy and Claire beating the crap out of each other in the square ring.

Hmm; my attempt to include the video failed. If you’ve got Flash 8 or above, watch it here. It’s worth it.

Wii Play
Nine different minigames; all very simplistic, but some of them are pretty good fun. We enjoyed in particular the "Laser Hockey" (an enhanced air hockey table), the "Where’s Wally"-like "Find Mii" game, the cow-riding game, and the mini tanks game. The duck hunt-alike is a bit of fun too.

Red Steel
Very fun single player; reasonably good multiplayer too: yakuza fun. Can be pretty hard to get used to the controls, though.

Zelda: Twilight Princess
Which we haven’t played yet. Watch this space.

We’re off for curry soon, but if you wanna come around and we’ll all play Wii together, later, that’d be cool. You know where we are.


You’re probably already familiar with the concept of a drabble (if not, where were you in February?), a piece of fiction of exactly one hundred words. Today, I was introduced to the concept of a hemi-demi-semi-drabble: that is, a piece of fiction totalling exactly twelve-and-a-half words. Seeing as, no matter how I try, I can’t ever seem to write a piece of fiction totalling more than seven or eight thousand words, this appeals to me. Surely I can manage twelve-and-a-half?

Here’s my first:

The Goddess

Seeing her there, I finally understood how beaut- no; she was a goddess.

And here’s another:

Courting Disaster

Coldly, the judge made his verdict: guilty. Disconsolate, the defendant cried out, “Noo…”

It’s harder than it looks. Give it a go.

Troma Night – 9th December 2006

The next Troma Night will take place on Saturday at The Cottage. Following last week’s success, we’ll be following a similar structure this week. But; there is a difference: all Troma Night folk (and everybody else, for that matter) are invited to start early this week at the Arts Centre to see The Host. The plan is as follows:

  • 5:30pm – if you wanna, join us at The Arts Centre for The Host, a brand new Korean action/comedy/thriller/horror film. Yes, I did mean to put all of those genres there.
  • 8:00pm – Troma Night properly begins, down at The Cottage. Pizza is ordered; drinks are poured; Gareth is teased.
  • 8:05pm – The first film will be The Matrix, with a RiffTrax from the same people as supplied the hilarious one last week for The Fifth Element. If you don’t believe how funny it’s going to be, go watch a 2-minute sneak preview… Pretty sure I’ve got the synchronisation down to a fine art after last week’s technical shenanigans, too.
  • 10:30pmish – The second film will be either, depending on whether people want something good or something bad, The Poseidon Adventure, a classic disaster movie and one of my favourite films of my childhood (in anticipation that we might watch it’s remake in the new year sometime and compare the two), Legend Of The Mummy 2 (mummified servant of ancient rain god wreaks hell on bad actors), The Shepherd (U.S. made-for-TV sci-fi in which a husky voiced loner spends most of his time wearing sunglasses to help him remember how great his family were), or Cyborg 3: The Recycler (mentioned it last week, go read about it there).
  • Midnight; we’ll either call it a night or we’ll watch another film or we’ll play Nintendo Wii. We’ll work it out when we get there.

No American Dad this week, because the next episode broadcasts on Sunday, but we’ll be at The Arts Centre anyway.

Usual rules apply. See you this weekend.

My Favourite Criminals

Sometime over the weekend – probably on Sunday night – my Nintendo DS Lite, DS-Xtreme, and a pair of Claire‘s sunglasses were stolen from her car, parked outside our house. We noticed this on Monday morning when we found Claire’s car door ajar and her glove compartment emptied onto the passenger seat. Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased, but did feel at least a little bit stupid to have left expensive electronics in plain sight in the car in the first place. Interestingly, the radio (far more valuable) was left, suggesting that this might have been the works of an opportunist thief "just passing"; possibly a child or somebody else who was able to identify a Nintendo console at a glance.

Of course, we called the police, who sent an officer round to investigate the scene and to take statements from anybody who might have seen or heard anything suspicious during the window in which the crime might have occured, but without much success. He advised us that even if they were able to get an intact fingerprint sample, the odds of a match or of recovering anything was minimal. No insurance that we had would cover the theft. So, I resigned myself to being DS-less until sometime in the New Year when I might be able to afford a new one.

This evening, I came home from work to find a carrier bag wedged clumsily into the letterbox. Inside, I found Claire’s sunglasses and my DS and DS-X, wrapped up in a tea towel. The stolen goods have been returned.

I have no idea who stole them in the first place, or what prompted them to return them, and while I can’t forgive them for the former, I certainly thank them for the latter. While it’s unlikely that you’re reading this – whoever you are; congratulations – stealing from a car under a streetlight in a residential area is both brave and stupid to the point of brave stupidity, but it’s even braver to sneak back to return what was taken, knowing that it could heighten your chances of "being caught" if your victim didn’t care much for your sudden honesty.


The Independent Scrutineer

Today I have mostly been listening to The Independent Scrutineer, Pagan Wanderer Lu‘s new EP. It’s very highly recommendable, and well worth the fiver I paid for it.

Unlike his previous releases, The Independent Scrutineer comes on a properly pressed CD (rather than a CD-R) and in a shiny jewel case with full-colour printing, though I know that in time I’ll miss the look and feel of the handmade folded brown paper, handwritten/newspaper cuttings CDs.
But that’s not the only thing that feels more “professional” about this release than his previous EPs… it sounds brilliant. With a cleaner, better-edited sound, PWL makes for genuinely fantastic listening. It’s still characteristically Lu: Repetition 2, my favourite track of the disc, still has it’s quirky discordant moments, but now they sound more funky than ever. Repetition 1 is clean and sharp and just slightly more openly emotional than many of his songs, and —- and Knight -> King 4 remain the fabulous ballads they were born as. There’s nothing new, strictly speaking, here, but the presentation, but it’s easily worth taking the time to listen to even if you’ve got a full library of pirated MP3s already.

Our New Hospital Sucks disappointed me a little. It’s a great song, but I think the best I’ve ever heard it was live, which is somewhat unusual: it just feels like it’s trying too hard to be loud and not hard enough to be smart. The Memorial Hall is a wonderful (and sad) song, but I preferred it when the time-signature transition in the middle was a little more obvious: a little more “raw”. Perhaps PWL’s just finding his feet in this exciting fast-paced world of “having real CDs cut and not having to burn them himself,” or perhaps I’m just being a little bit nostalgic.

Nonetheless, a brilliant CD. My minor gripes with it are most likely my general pickiness, and certainly don’t make the compilation itself any less enjoyable. And you can even listen to plenty of it online before you decide that it’s worth five of your Earth pounds.

Additional: What the fuck is Knight -> King 4 actually about? We’re very befuddled by it, lovely though it is. Answers on a postcard. Or in a comment would do, too.

Last Night’s Troma Night

I was going to write a post about how brilliant last night‘s Troma Night was, but Jimmy‘s beaten me to it.

The highlight for me must have been when the commanding officer of the “special” forces team in Primal Species shouted at his team after a training exercise because they took 15 seconds longer to complete the practice mission than he felt they should have: “15 seconds is a long time. They could kill 15 hostages in that time!”

I chirped up with, “What? They can only kill one per second?”

Jimmy responded, acting, “One…” blam “…mississippi, two…” blam “…mississippi, three…”

Troma Night At The Cottage

Troma Night tonight is at The Cottage. I’ll dig up as many seats as I can, but be advised that stragglers will end up on the natty wooden chairs so if you’re late – bring a cushion! Apart from that; usual rules apply.

We’ll be playing The Fifth Element, but with an unusual twist – we’ll be playing a Mike Nelson RiffTrax over it! For those of you who we haven’t raved to about this already – about half the folks behind the fantastic Mystery Science Theater 3000 now record dub tracks for mainstream movies and sell them over the internet: we’ll be starting an MP3 simultaneously with the movie, and so Mike Nelson and co will be saving us the bother of taking the piss out of the movie by doing so for us. It’s a Troma Night experiment, but if it’s successful, we’ll put a few more RiffTrax’d films on future Troma Nights.

What else? Well; I’m still open to suggestions: I’d like to put on one of the awful flicks that Jimmy‘s kindly supplied second, though: I’m thinking either Nightmaster (teen ninja stupidity), Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (terrorists release genetically-enhanced dinosaurs, special forces have to save the day), or Cyborg 3: The Recycler (cyberdellos and mechano-whores scavenge cyborg parts and sell them).
And finally: if you’re behind on your American Dad, we’ll be doing our usual thing of watching the most recent two episodes starting at about 7pm.

See you later!