Thursday, 29 November 2012

Waiting on the Wii-U

It was right there in the shop. The Wii-U. Playable model. Lovely to hold, wonderful screen resolution and as just about to start using it to play Nintendoland, been waiting for this moment for nearly 8 months now. Then my girlfriend whisked me off of it as she was starting to get embarrassed by me squealing like a little girl while in the high street, she told me to put it down promptly and my heart was broken. Can't wait until tomorrow. I will kill the postman if he doesn't bring it to my door.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ice Sculpture

Work was dead today, spent most of the afternoon thawing out a large block of milk after the bottle broke in the freezer, it got to the point where we used the kitchen hammer (not sure why we have on of those, but hey-ho) and a knife to chisel away at the milky iceberg. That and I spent a fair bit of time with Louis, having some 'bro time' playing Guild Wars 2 while making wise cracks and enjoying the adventure. Aside from that I am currently enjoying the free DLC for Mario Bros 2 Nintendo put out for us; time to collect some coins all over again!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Presentation = Success

Presentation went awesome. Bought some cheap films to give away as prizes for the pupils, they were quite surprised to actually get something so decent for winning. I had a lot of fun doing it too, they all seemed quite interested and engaged with what they were learning about which gave me plenty to smile about while walking home and wearing in my new shoes.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Damn you, Small walls!

Walking to work in a pretty cheery mood, feeling unusually good for a Sunday morning thanks to some pretty decent weather. Come across the front door at work which is locked to the public because I am a little bit early, usually in these situations I head towards the nearest window to tap on and ask for someone to let me in. In the direction of said window, there is a tiny walk, no higher than a coffee table which I have crossed several times before with a little one-two jump over, as if it were a hurdle. This time however, I did not clear it, bumping the top of my knee on the corner. As a result, my knee has been completely nadgered by this puny wall so now I walk with a limp. Resting the leg now after preparing a warm-up exercise for my lesson tomorrow about the highest grossing films of all time, I'll let you all know how that goes tomorrow!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Season Finale

A phone call woke me up this morning from my girlfriend's Mum, naturally I got a bit nervous about this because she rarely calls me unless there is some kind of emergency, it was 9:30 at this point so I expect the worst.

Me: 'Hello?'
GF's Mum: 'Hello Theo, just wondering if Phoebe gave you that jar of lemon marmalade we made for you yesterday...'

Sadly I didn't but I told her I look forward to recieving it another time as I racked my brain as to what just transpired.

My Mum then insisted that we go into town to get me some new shoes, my current shoes are very comfy but have more holes in them than a slice of Swiss cheese so I suppose it would be sensible to get a new pair. Very rarely have I ever been pleased with a shoe purchase but this time we nailed it, leaving with two pairs of rather nice brown shoes that are perfect for my teaching technician job, I was so thrilled to get them that I treated Mum to a cup of tea and slice of sponge cake at a local cafe.

Mark and Dan did briefly visit this afternoon for a couple bouts of Street Fighter 4 and to check out Indie Game: The Movie with Louis, a documentary about 4 developers experiences with independent video game making. Honestly it was a great documentary that really made you sympathize with these guy's struggle to just get their games out to their fans despite the massive impacts it had on their social and personal lives.

Finally me and Louis got around to playing through the final episode of the Walking Dead. Lets pause here for a minute, I purchased this game back in April on a whim and from the very first scene I was hooked, thinking to myself 'This is going to be something special.' 5 Months later and the final chapter has been released, I have just finished it now and I can easily say that this has been my favorite game of the year. Every aspect of this game has been perfect but especially the way it makes you seriously think about each decision you make and how it will affect the relationships between characters. But by far it's greatest accomplishment is how it has effortlessly set a milestone for story-telling in video games which attains a cinematic quality to rival that of the TV series. Even if you have never played a video game in your life you can appreciate this brilliant adventure for what it is.

Subtitles and Sound

Got a small round of applause at school today for sorting out a sound issue in a teacher's lesson. Admittedly it wasn't very technical to scout out a pair of external speakers and plug 'em in, however the teacher needed to show his class 'Paths of Glory,' one of the best films ever made and I couldn't sleep at night knowing I would have denied anyone that pleasure on account of dodgy sound quality. Somehow I also managed to wrangle my girlfriend into watching a film with subtitles, something she told me she hated. Bizarrely, she loved the French though, and I think you can learn so much about them by watching their cinema so I suggested a French rom-com 'Heartbreakers' in an attempt to bridge the gap and hopefully get her more interested into subtitled films.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Thirty Flights of Loving

Whilst I had to combat various leaks in the roof at work with buckets and tea-towels it was generally very quiet at work so I was once again sent to the laundrette to watch the washing spin as I listened to music. Steam Autumn sales started today and I have already caved and bought myself a short, but brilliant game: 'Thirty Flights of Loving.' This is possibly the greatest example I can think of to demonstrate story-telling in video games done very, very right indeed, something about the bizarre atmosphere and endearing humor make it an absolute joy to play through. You get get the prequel 'Gravity Bone' here (just click on the icon at the very bottom) for free and it is highly recommended that you check both these games out no matter of your interest in the industry.  

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Open evening stars

Just had a pair of very productive days as teaching technicians, we continued to help students use various software and generally comment on the visual quality of their work. We did a fair amount of overtime yesterday though, staying on til 5 to catalog all the various camera equipment and give it all a good (and much needed) tidy up. This evening we attempted to inspire a future generation of film students through the school's open evening by showing past clips and enthusiastically discussing the course, Mark and I thought we did really well, made the parents and year 11's laugh at some points and showing our old films was a blast from the past.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Didcot and Distribution

Didn't get back til quite late yesterday as we signed up to film the quarter-finals of 'Distributions got Talent' in Didcot. full marks for anyone who can guess what show the name was based on. We filmed several groups of rockbands and solo singers, all of which were fairly ok however a magician act was certainly the highlight, and it showed as he walked away with the 1st place cash prize. Interviews with the performers were also conducted by yours truly and I think I did an alright job as those were the bits I had the most fun doing. Filming the actual performances was sometimes a test of endurance, especially since I was given the heaviest, but most stable camera to work with, suffice to say, my arms were aching after holding it up for so long. It was unanimously decided that we all deserved a midnight snack at McDonalds while getting the largest size milkshakes they offer, they tasted so good after a very long filming session.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Nicholas 'Credible' Cage

School again today, once again we gave a more refined version of the Final Cut Pro presentation to a seemingly more capable group as 3 had used the program before. Our teacher was also quite keen on making us hot drinks sit seemed, I was offered one as I walked in and later there was one waiting for me on the side, one I didn't ask for but was greatly appreciated. I was also in charge of cooking dinner tonight, with some simple omelets and chips stuffed with bacon, cheese and spring onions, and thery were awesome.

To my eternal surprise I saw a very, very good Nicholas Cage film 'Leaving Las Vegas.' I f anyone has ever seen the re-make of 'The day the Earth Stood Still' and saw how Keanu Reeves gave a credible performance because he came across about as wooden and uptight as a real alien would, possibly unintentionally but it worked really well in that film. Same applies here as Nick Cage's odd mannerisms and attitude were perfect for the role of an alcoholic. This is the kinda movie that makes you pull faces, just thinking of all the booze Mr Cage necks on camera makes me cringe and several other moments wil make you smile and raise an eyebrow. Worth a watch if you ever need to validate you belief that Nicholas Cage was once a great actor. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Life is a state of mind

Not used to waking up at the crack of dawn it seems as it properly was back to school for me and Mark for our first pair of lessons as teaching technicians. Firstly we helped a group with photoshop to aid their magazine cover coursework, some of which were looking very promising and almost like the real thing. Second lesson we had the same group as Mark gave a 15 minute presentation on how to use Final Cut Pro which garnered a lot of bemused and bewildered faces from the students. He went through it fine, did all the basics and any longer would have meant that he would have overstayed his welcome, but it is quite a daunting program to learn at first; guess we will just stick to helping out individuals.

Watched 'Being There' this afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised in almost every way, especially Peter Sellers who did a phenomenally good job in the leading role. But if I would have one criticism it would be the same thing every other person has pointed out; The end of the film has a charming final shot with some very poignant lines read (The last of which are immortally etched onto Sellers tombstone) and the whole thing really felt final and wonderful... Then the blooper reel comes out... Sellers himself hated it but producers refused to take it out upon initial release and it really distracts from the overall experience; that said, it is quite pleasant to see Sellers having a god time filming.


Felt like a general dog-body at work today as I was always asked to do the fun odd job. The day itself was very quiet so it gave us a lot of leniency as to what we could do but mostly we were preparing for the big visit from head office tomorrow so that means cleaning! Started out with the coffee bin, a job that literally demanded thick rubber gloves and should have required a cloths-peg because the thing stunk to high heavens before I was through with is. Sorting out and shelving the seasonal decorations came next as the Halloween stuff needed to go up into the loft, while the Xmas stuff needed to come down with the assistance of a bodge pulley system we got it done effectively while even discovering a hidden second loft full of old goodies like cups and jugs.

Finally I was very hurriedly asked to go to Sainsbury's to pick up some bread, milk and whipped cream. When asking home much milk we needed for coffees I was given the instructions 'As many as you can carry' which I interpreted very literally as it turns out 18 pints in my limit; at least while holstering a pair of whipped cream cans and 3 loaves of bread. Took some serious jugging to get into a steady position with all my shopping (I dropped it all many times in an almost vain effort) as foolishly I didn't have the hind-sight to pick up a basket or trolley, upon loading up my limbs with groceries I instantly located the closest Self Checkout point and stormed in that direction before Anything else went wrong. After work though, my girlfriend came and picked me up and drove me home, the busiest days have the best silver linings.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Liberal Arts

Got up a wee bit later than anticipated today and rushed into work, forgetting my name badge and apron unfortunately, however I only realized this when I got back as I found my bag in the corner ready to be taken into work about 5 hours earlier. Mark came round to film a short thing for our teaching technician roles to help teach the students how to use Final Cut Pro effectively, hope that turns out well. Also went out to see Liberal Arts, a film about the joys of being optimistic about life while being at university which came across as a little bit self indulgent with one or two annoying characters but I guess it was ok...?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Back to school again

Hurriedly did my application form for my Film and Media Technician posts for my old school and got shown around the various administration offices with Mark, we both decided they were probably very nice people outside of school but they were grumpy as hell during school hours. We are both very excited about starting work on Thursday morning, we are starting both our lessons with a brief tutorial on how to use Final Cut Pro which should be pretty awesome if all goes well.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Backpacking to work

Got driven back into Newbury after helping out with the 2012 Bone Hike which I organize with 2 other guys, it's essentially a night-hike for scouts who are not quite confident enough to do larger district competitions so we ease them in with a simpler course. However although it was very easy for me and a 27 year old to walk the course in 45 minutes, one group managed to take upward of 4 hours with multiple phone calls to HQ, the best of which started with the brilliant sentence of:

'We are really, really lost. We are by some buildings and we all think we are in London...'

So after spending a night in a room that felt like a walk in fridge within Pingu's Ice Cave and warfing down a breakfast consisting of chocolate milk and an ice cream I was back at work on the day of Remembrance no less. All the staff got in quite early and we were briefed on the necessary procedure for the two minute silence where we re not to serve anyone or do anything distracting ourselves or others from the silence. The firebell rang briefly at 11am to mark the beginning of the service, a few kids were making nose but that is expected as they are 3 and don't really know what's going on but about halfway through, I could hear the phone ringing at reception. Naturally everyone ignored it but then it rung again, still we didn;t pick it up because we didn't want to disgrace the honour of those who died for our country. FInally the phone rings for a 3rd time, this time down by the cafe, to my immediate right, now the silence has just ended so I pick up the phone. I already know who it's from, the director of the company, the big cheese calling from London:

Me: Hello?
Darren: Hello, it's Darren calling, how is everything doing in Newbury
Me: Oh, it's doing ok, we just had our 2 minute silence
Darren: ...Oh yeah, that was today.'

While this is an amusing anecdote it is still a little bit pathetic that the director of our company can't keep up with what day Remembrance Day is supposest to be.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Coming to a film lesson near you...

Got myself suited up once more to go back to school for a joint informal interview with Mark for a position as Film Studies teaching assistants which went brilliantly. We got the job, and although we won't get paid much, we will certainly get all the right amount of experience we need and it'll look great on our CV's. Also, we went into a new shop in our highstreet called Temptation which I initially wrote off as a place for mums and rich single women, but I was bizarrely surprised to find myself buying things in there and considering other bits and bobs and Xmas presents. I got myself this bad-ass mug that carries its own little spoon in it's handle which I am dead chuffed with.

Expect to see another of our short videos appear up within the next week as we rounded up Louis for a small bit of filming and it should make you chuckle a bit. Additionally our podcast returns, last week I was still on holiday, but that should be up relatively soon as well, and it's a very good one this week as we all really got in the zone for it.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


After a mildly chilly night I did one of the quietest days of work I have ever done, would have been real easy for everyone until the sinks backed up and all decided to simultaneously overflow into the hallway. Thank goodness my shift ended just about then because I and the others headed off to do a photoshoot for our new website desings and profile pictures, expect to see them around some time in the future.

Went to go see Skyfall last night before locking myself out of the house and I can say that the film was highly enjoyable and a great anniversary film for the legendary series. However the entire thing felt more like an action films rather than a spy film, something about the simplistic plot and the pacing made it feel unlike a Bond film. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but we all came out of the cinema thinking that something was a bit off, although we couldn't quite put our fingers on it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Wii U Pre-order!

After a very nice oiled egg at my girlfriend's house I went to work with a smile on my face as everything seemed to go quite well when I got there. Mark drove me home where I finally got round to pre-ordering the Wii U, due to be with me by the end of the month so that's very exciting. In the evening I was given a pipe from Nepal that has a very unique design and I told people's fortunes through Tarot cards with varying success.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Here comes the Spider-Man

Got up bright and early to play Dead Rising 2 today only to find that 90% of Steam copies launch you into an infamous death-screen meaning you can't play your game. 20 minutes of hardcore, first-thing-in-the-morning internetting later I found out I could do play it with a press of a button, sorted; big grins and dead zombies all round. Walked into walk amidst a downpour, the first thing I get greeted to after spending a week off is a load of rain. There was also a lot of chatter about a child's Birthday party whom we had gone to great lengths to organize, bought a special costume for a Spider-man themed party and everything was planned, minus who would get to dress up as the infamous web-slinger. Long story short, this happened:

I figured everything would just go swimmingly if you just get stuck in with what you should do, no matter how stupid you would look while you do it. The kids loved it and nobody knew my alter ego as the mild-mannered cafe boy!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Return from Copenhagen

After playing about 3 hours worth of Super Mario 3D Land in the airport and flight, I have finally arrived back home in England! Already kinda miss Copenhagen, although the temperature is about the same here, England lacks a certain something, might be the frequent cafes or the bustling amount of tourists but I'm not entirely sure. Dad and I did a pretty good job of weeding out the last of our foreign coin, we had about £2.50 left and were searching around the supermarket until Dad settled on getting some dried figs. With the minor time change and the long time spent traveling I am quite tired rather unsurprisingly, better yet I have work tomorrow (Yay!) Need to get some god kip for that!