Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Nearly the end of 2013

Beat one Zelda, moving onto the next. 3DS battery doesn't seem to be big enough for this new adventure though which is shaping up to be pretty dang sweet. Just been eating midnight pizza which has fueled an idea for an end of year review. The kind of idea that has totally not been ripped from my Brother's top 20 songs of the year. I will be preparing a top 10 games of the year list for tomorrow, so thats something to look forward to!

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Tearing through 'Zelda: A Link to the Past.' For a game that is considered to be on par with 'Ocarina of Time' by critics, I'm not enjoying it anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Last dungeon though! Had to make a split decision about what film I wanted to watch tonight out of a pair of 'could be theater' films. I decided against watching 'The Odd Couple' at this point, just so I could enjoy it with Mark or my housemates as the theme of contrasting lifestyles seemed like an appropriate watch with them. Instead I watch 'Metropolitan,' a film about upper class young adults overly concerned about their lives and place in the world in a pretentious way. It's the characters that revel in the irony of their social gatherings which are the strongest. And while the film is about 20 somethings, it's only clear by the end, that they are still fundamentally children, no matter how hard they try to dress themselves up to appear otherwise.    

Mum playing video games take two

Bid goodbye to my grandparents this morning as they went back home to Kent, from what I hear, they have not been affected by the recent power-outage so that's a plus. I also did my annual 'Get Mum playing a video game thing' which often results in her moaning about the technical short comings of a game but not entirely so today! Brothers, a Tale of Two Sons went down surprisingly alright with her despite some moments of extended frustration due to her lack of user input; which of course she blamed on the game instead.  Baby steps though.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Ah, clothes shopping...

Kickstart today's post with a direct link to our new trailer for the 14 films which Mark has very kindly provided for us. So if anybody missed it, now's the perfect chance to gasp in awe at how awesome New Year's day is gonna be. For anyone who's seen it already, why not watch it again?

Louis and myself went into town today to see if we could use any of the gift cards we got over xmas. So we hit up a couple of clothes shops because Louis really wanted a new pair of trousers. I realized after I disgruntledly plodded around clothes shops while he avidly checked through several pairs of chinos that I had become his spiritual boyfriend who hates shopping. Turned out though the he doesn't really like going into too many clothes shops where people 're-enforce their own stereotype.' Couldn't have put it better myself.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day chilling

Eating, gaming and TV watching. This is what boxing day is all about. The awkward wind-down to xmas, a good time for reflection where we can think about all the fun we had the day before and silently get over the fact that next xmas is a mere 364 days away. A gentle break-up for the biggest holiday of the year.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas to all! 2013 marks the first ever Christmas day where my parents actually woke up before me. Usually I have butterflies in my stomach before I fall asleep and have some insane adrenaline kick in when I first wake up to spring me out of bed and into the festive day. My alarm failed to go off so we didn't get to do the annual stocking gift unwrapping, but ah well.

Everything I got this year was very applicable to student life and well-being. Lots of clothes, more fab socks and jumpers along side a fair amount of coffee. Additionally I have a real Zelda back-log to work through now, donning the green garb and hat across 3 different games now. Present highlight was most certainly Louis' one to me. I could see it was a CD through the wrapping paper and I thought he'd gotten me some album he'd know I like. My suspicious were killed somewhat when Barry White appeared on the front cover - I faked an interest in his music based exclusively on that one Simpson's episode he appeared in. Opened up the CD case though, only to find Wind Waker HD inside! Ah yeah!

It's also worth mentioning I got to keep said Barry White Album as well, which actually turned out to be pretty jammin'. Next year will be a very (Barry) White Christmas.

Met up with all of the Durrant family for dinner again this year and had a cracking time just chilling by the fire in the living room. Which, incidentally, is where Louis and myself have been booted from so everyone can watch the Downton Abbey Xmas special. Ah ITV, truly bringing families together on Christmas day.

Finally, if you regularly follow this blog you will be aware of the 'Cafe 14.' Good news to anyone who has been patiently waiting since we are showing off a new teaser trailer as our xmas gift to the internet. You can check it out on our Facebook page.

Once again, to everyone reading this, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and I hope your day was just as joyous and heart warming as you hoped.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Xmas Eve 2013!

Woke up to celebrate a mini Christmas morning in our student house by exchanging gifts of all sorts. I got an awesome coffee scented candle along with a witty picture book about dinosaurs and a neat DVD viewing game. A cheese board was then devoured in the name of Christmas.

Got back home to see the family and to help prepare for our Christmas eve party, I was chief candle lighter and beer keg opener. The festive waistcoat went down a treat with the guests, everyone thought I looked like a hotel worker or a barman. The evening was rounded off with the annual reading of Bilbo's humanities coursework which gets funnier every time I hear it, Louis reads it very well and is quick to point out any spelling or grammar mistakes for huge comedic effect.

Monday, 23 December 2013

14 Filming Done!

All the filming for the Cafe 14 is officially finished. Did our last few shots in Newbury this morning, we ceremoniously changed our 'To do' list into a 'To done!' one. Apparently we just narrowly avoided being crushed by a tree as we went back home to Bournemouth (our driveway is apparently blockaded.) But once we got home, we got straight to work cooking our student Christmas dinner. Currently I am double the BMI I was an hour about but I have no regrets. Frankly, aside from my family, I couldn't ask for better company to share a Christmas dinner.

Merry Christmas from the Bournemouth House!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Airport Security

All my presents are sorted now, minus the gift wrapping part which Mark has really gone to town on. Chilling in the office, surfing the net and playing games until Mark suspiciously ferreted me out of my little zone, he did say it was to wrap up his presents so I gracefully obliged. Two hours later I asked if he was finished, he devoted that time period to wrapping Lucy's 20 presents and hadn't got round to doing anyone else. Holy cow. Respect to that guy for sticking with wrapping for so long.

Our final bits of filming will be happening over the weekend, excited that most of our work for the relaunch will be done. Took a trip down to Bournemouth Airport to get some scenes done there. Mark and I were expecting to film in this grandiose arrivals lounge, hoping our footage would look like this:

 Instead, we arrived into what could have been a car rental waiting room. It was crap. In fact, the whole airport was a bit crap. We felt a bit bad about filming there under the noses of the two people we saw while we were there and wondered what they thought what we were doing.

"Hey Barry, what's that midget with a camera doing with that extremely handsome man?" This, of course, is an entirely accurate representation of their thought process as they saw Mark and myself gingerly plodding about.

Moist Boxes

Feels good to get 90% of my xmas shopping out of the way. Amazon prime has also been a life-saver whenever it applied to a product of mine. Having said that, when I got Jamie's present privately couriered to our house I specifically asked for them to drop it off with the neighbors, instead they hurled it over our fence... into a puddle... while it was still raining. SUffice to say, Jamie's present was encased in a brown porridge rather than the traditional cardboard box when I picked it up, at least it was fast delivery though.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Filming 9 til 5

Busy, busy, busy with all the filming. But the good kind of busy. Up early yesterday and the day before to get stuff sorted, yesterday was literally 9 til 5 filming day. We even rewarded ourselves with a banquet of a Mexican dinner, creating our own hybrid meal: wraps with chicken and mince in a chilli sauce. We called them 'Furritos.'

Me and Jamie hit the main town in search for a model airplane as a prop. We also discovered that model airplanes are a pain in the ass to find anywhere. The hobby shop closed down last month so we had to get a lego one from Argos, but it did the trick after I assembled it. It was that knock off lego stuff though so the instructions for building it were very, very vague.  

Just took one of our emergency actresses back to the train station after watching 4 episodes of Orange is the New Black in a mini-binge session. The pilot didn't set me on fire because it was all about our protagonist's backstory, which turns out to be the least interesting. It actually gets quite good after sticking with it.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Desolation of Smaug

Had a little shopping day out at our retail park this afternoon. Jamie still had a free whole chicken voucher for Nando's so we ate there for a fair price before hitting the shops and laughed at a very poor sales pitch attempt at Game. Not to sound in anyway elitist, but when people who don't know much about video games have been hired to sell games, it's kinda embarrassing.

Shopping was merely an amuse bouche for the new Hobbit film. Jamie really hyped me up for it, and I was so ready to see it and be blown away. Sadly we saw it in the higher frame-rate which was continuously distracting but I took that with a pinch of salt. The actual film was, in my opinion, a bit of a letdown, for reasons I couldn't quite put into words besides saying that everything was just mediocre. I wanted to see more of Martin Freeman and this gang, listen to their banter and get absorbed. Also the part it was all building up to with the dragon was a little bit ho-hum. I may even go so far to say the dragon scene in Shrek was better. But I know I'm gonna get a grilling for saying that from my housemates.

Cold Hole

The aforementioned shenanigans were a lot colder than anticipated. 7am call time, location the beach, weather: parky. While I won't go into specifics about the content of this film, lets just say that if you've seen the first 9 minutes of Ingmar Bergman's classic, 'The Seventh Seal' then you may get similar vibes from our film. Then again, I doubt Bergman buried any of his actors neck deep in the sand, very early in the morning... in December.

I got my payback though! Just look at Mark's car!

An entire milky way of sand on his passenger seat, who could be behind this dastardly deed? I reality that was just about a 100th of the sand that was on my personage after I was dug out of said hole. It was so cold that my hands were too numb to give myself a wipe-down between leaving my hole and getting into Mark's car.

Hit the arcade once again as well, snagged a very special place on the Fruit Ninja leaderboard... or should I say places?

Walked home with a legacy written in binary on some small screen in some arcade in Bournemouth until the end of the day. Some young kid is gonna think I was so cool.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Mark's Bro

Started doing a small washing up session but ended up doing a tornado house cleaning marathon. Mostly in anticipation for the arrival of Mark's brother, whom of which, has provided us with a very relaxing video game session. A well deserved reward after the long nights previously working on Cafe stuff. That said, we are getting up bright and early tomorrow for some shenanigans on the beach!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Pie pie

Nailed shepard's pie tonight. Also got around to having my first proper hot mince pie as recommended by Lucy, how I have gone my whole life without an over warmed bit of xmas magic I'll never know. Additionally I got my hair-cut again, just gotta get used to the short hair another time around, but I guess I'm all the better for it. My hairdresser on the other hand did manage to cut himself doing it, resulting in some rude words.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


You know those days where you just don't feel like you've really gotten dress and gotten out of bed - that is the epitome of my day. Usually I rock a waistcoat/jacket look, I look smart but classically casual at the same time. Today, I wore a t-shirt with a Mario reference on it into one of the biggest retail parks in Bournemouth, I was unshaven and in desperate need for a haircut. If it wasn't for my upbeat attitude, the public may have thought that I was borderline socially inept. At least, moreso than I admittedly am. Had to go into New Look and buy a woman's hair accessory for one of our films dressed like that. Bless the clerk that served me.

Picked up Dan from the train station for some additional filming at the uni, nightmare to get clearance there though. Thought we'd celebrate Mark's return with our first take-out Chinese meal. I may have celebrated a little too hard though as my stomach is bursting and I need to go into a carb coma and sleep for an eternity to burn off all the food.  

Where's my group?

Had my final day of uni this year! Didn't really realize that was the case until after I got home though, forgot to wish everybody a Merry Christmas! Nuts. Ah well, not like many of my group members turned up anyways so it was a fairly quiet day overall. Just sat down and watched six episodes of 'Hey Arnold.' A relic of the 90's and an interesting time capsule for a culture that seems somewhat familiar; starting to feel a little bit old as well.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Xmas Scavenger Hunt!

Uni threw us a curve ball today. After our usual two hour lecture we were sent off for a couple of hours to do a xmas scavenger hunt type thing! Had to get photographic evidence of the following:
  • A stranger with a weird story to tell
  • A group memeber with several layers of clothing on
  • A group member hugging an unlikely person
  • A photo that represented the course
So yeah, that was entertaining. Set off into Winton and found a charity shop worker who told us about receiving a donation of a cremated dog. I wore 20 t-shirts and my beard head. And someone else hugged Mr Zippy! And we squeezed in a Weatherspoons lunch with a pint, blooming successful day!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Zombie voice recording

Got to do some ADR voice recording for Hungerford today. Essentially they are audio pick-ups we needed to do if the originals were not clean enough. So we all piled into a recording studio and re-did a lot of lines along with some group sounds. This is where Dan and myself came in. We did the zombie sounds with a group, so if you hear any zombie grunts and groans in the final product you may hear our incredibly disfigured voices. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Quick Change

Trekked back into Newbury for a very diverse filming day. One minute I was in a blood soaked dress, the next Dan is in a space suit.

I promised the film is more sensible than what I wrote above. The making of this film put us against the very nasty forces of nature, mostly by seriously underestimating just how chilly it can get in December, that fact is something you often overlook when you are passionate about something you are filming. But you do start to notice the lack of sensation in your fingertips after a while.


Group filming session went swimmingly well. We have slowly become more understanding of the benefits of planning ahead, as a result, everything went at about double speed and we had a lot more fun doing everything. Best of all, I got my essay back and got 70 marks for it, meaning that I got a first. Both thrilled that I got such a good grade and a bit miffed off because now I have a yardstick that people will expect of me, bring it on I guess?

Made some banging currywurst with the help of this video, it's worth a watch even if you have no interest in cooking; the host is brilliantly eccentric.

Just finished off some of the film editing with Mark for some of our 14 videos. Wrote up a small synopsis of one of our ideas that has no dialogue which I will leave here to peak your curiosity. Enjoy!

A picnic blanket is being unraveled by Liam who carefully tucks in the corners and places down a basket. It is his first date in a long time, after a long period of being single he is eager to get back to being in a relationship for charming reasons; first impressions are his priority. After taking out the sandwiches, plates, jam jars and other nic naks and beautifully arranging them he removes his phone from his pocket. Lovingly, he reads a message he sent to his date, arranging for them to meet in the park and looks longingly and cheerfully at an attached photo of her. She is worth every second he put into preparing those sandwiches, he even made multiple flavours so he could offer her a potential favourite. It is at this point he notices that the picnic basket is not perfectly in line with the checkered pattern; this is where his OCD kicks in.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Risk Assessment Aggravation

Had a very joyful morning and afternoon sorting out university filming risk assessments. For anyone who doesn't know, university is about preparing you for the big 'ol nasty world. And a common thing that you will have to deal with at some point in your life is health and safety protocol. Many of you have probably attended some kind of meeting or something similar where you have listened to a lecture about the importance of health and safety. The unlucky other, myself included, play a very active part in observing and pre-empting risks. Being a TV student I have a lot of risks to take into consideration like cables, weather and electricity. But today I had a brush with one of the worlds most anal safety checkers.

Film we need to do for Cafe Studios requires us to book out a camera, booking out a camera requires a university risk assessment. A document that is around 7 pages long and needs to be supplemented with other written documents like a script and a call sheet. Film we are doing needs a car. Usually this would mean some awkward safety implications, however our car will not be moving and will permanently remain stationary; remember those last three words.

Now, quite often, my assessments get declined for a multitude of reasons, usually I am missing a document or forgot to fill in one blank etc. The first time it gets rejected is on Monday, I think 'no biggie,' I'll just prove I considered a few more risks regarding the car. So I write this little snippet to provide some piece of mind when it came to the issue of a stable car:

Note the expression 'Permanently remain stationary'
My assessment was later rejected multiple times for the most minute of details, on one occasion the issue was essentially 'You have not included the Bournemouth University emblem on your call sheet' Good grief, society itself might as well just crumble.

I am getting a little bit ticked off now, it's Thursday and it still hasn't been approved for whatever reason. So I compiled every little possible thing I could ever need. I've quadruple checked the paperwork, re-typed everything, I have even stitched their poxy emblem on my chest underneath my right nipple. Everything is perfect, I send it off and a few minutes later I get this... THING in response.

Oh yes. Yes I can... If you just read the part where I clearly mentioned the car would PERMANENTLY REMAIN STATIONARY! Which, by the way, I sent you 3 days ago? What have you been doing while not reading my risk assessment, eating bricks? Because I was going to put those bricks behind the car wheels to keep the damn thing stationary. But if you were too stupid to read what I have been saying for half a week, while nit-picking every other part of the document, it doesn't give me the impression that you have been very thorough or professional at all.

In retrospect, perhaps I am being a little bit harsh, but the above quite accurately captured how I felt at the time. Had to vent this out somehow. Went into town with Jamie to buy myself a cardigan I was so cross. It is very nice though.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Breakfast Backlash

Special effect editing in Avid Media Composer... can do that now. Woop.

Aside from that though, today has been rather messy for me. We filmed some material for around 3 of our new films in my break. One involved the infamously messy fake blood (which is still under my fingernails.) The other involved a lot of cooked breakfast grub being thrown at my face. Well, hurled would be a more accurate verb as I have never had scrambled egg flung at my forehead with intensity head enough to warrant recoil in my neck. It'll be a good one that.

Once again, if you simply cannot get enough Cafe Studios over the coming weeks I would strongly recommend liking us on Facebook, and if you need the extra motivation, here's a witty clip.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Decorating the Bournemouth House

The temptation was to great. I finally caved into the student lunch of... the microwaveable burger. We bought it for filming purposes, an essential prop for another one of our films. It quickly became left-overs though and I had to dash back into uni so I thought I'd give it a nibble. Oh man it was grim. But so good at the same time. My culinary integrity has been forever compromised.

In more upbeat news, it's getting 'Christmassy' in the Bournemouth house. Decked up our halls with our hyper-fancy xmas tree from Wilko! A group photo or selfie seemed mandatory after it was all set up.

Ah yes... We just need some soft focus and a glittery wreath on the boarder of this picture to make the worlds naffest family xmas postcard. But naff in the best way possible!

And yes, we were thinking of having an alternate tree this year so we topped it with an owl!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

14 Is Coming

Survived the pub crawl. I attempted to shepard the first group of us back home. Didn't quite get lost but my sense of direction has been the source of ridicule for the past 24 hours. Our good friend Daniel was still very drunk when he woke up in the morning. 'I feel great!' Said he with a big 'ol grin. 30 minutes later his hangover nearly killed him on our car journey to the film set.

Speaking of film sets. Mark has given me permission to finally plug our biggest project (woop woop!) Been very hard at work making a fair old number of films for our channel after Mark came home one day and said. "I wanna re-launch, lets make 3 new videos... actually, lets make 14 new videos." So yeah, very busy organising, writing, and filming all those bits and pieces. And just to wet you appetite, here is the teaser trailer, featuring our new logo!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Studio Success!

My studio show was a relative success! Despite not handing in the paperwork until literally 30 seconds before start of the day everything went really well. Everyone knew more or less what they were doing, including our hospitality students who had never seen a TV studio before.

Had the nightmare scenario in my head last night thinking 'oh no! I've forgotten to check that one box so the whole day will go to pot!' Don't remember actually sleeping last night as a result, I remember the piercing sound of my alarm that came far too early in the day.

Mentally preparing myself for Jamie's Birthday party tomorrow, probably going to do get up to some description of shenanigans tomorrow as a result - photos will be taken - laughs will happen - blood may be spilt... well hopefully not unless we drunkenly decide to become blood brothers or something eerily similar. But that'd be gross.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


There was this outside our door today.

For those of you with bad eyesight, I'll save you the squinting. There was a very long bit of twine along the floor of our pavement. Stretched all across our road.

And it just kept going and going. Up our road, across another and into a driveway 600 meters on into a small country lane. It was just so irresistible, following this string was just too enticing. Along the way, small signs were dotted along saying things like. 'You are the only girl I have ever loved,' and 'Only you have the power to forgive.' Purely from a spectators point of view, I believe that someone has done someone else wrong in a relationship and this is their big way of saying sorry. The hopeless romantic in me totally fell for it though, just hope his 'crime' wasn't so bad. Bit disappointed when I got to the end though, instead of this banner or something there was just a mopey looking teenager.

Moral of today, if something strange or unique presents itself in life then follow it, even if the destination is rubbish, the journey is at least worth an amusing anecdote.

Follow all the action on Twitter, just search #forgivefrankie. It's an entertaining blend of comments from all his mates there.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


I'm not dead! Sorry about the lack of blogging over the past couple days, there have been internet issues our house recently. Writing this one on the limited 3G internet on my phone. A blog first! And hopefully last since writing this is harder than nailing jelly to a hummingbird - forgive any spelling mistakes tonight, moreso than usual anyway.

Been very busy trying to organise a live TV broadcast for uni, fired off more emails today than in my entire lifetime. Hopefully it will all come together by Friday though. Having to cater for 15 guests in a 15 minute talk show is aongoing, waking nightmare.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Numb toes

Long night (and technically morning) of filming took place last night in what felt like the middle of nowhere. I can't remember the last time I felt my toes turn numb but it was a sensation I didn't welcome back with open arms, jumping into bed at 2am felt amazingly good. Got around to doing another weeks worth of uni readings and eating a proper Sunday Roast with my family again, haven't eaten so well in a long time; heck I miss it already.

Friday, 22 November 2013


Finished off my uni presentation on the TV show, Friends. I was quite surprised to find that one of my group members decided that his entire contribution would be 2 images about multi-camera filming in sitcoms. Images he found on the Wikipedia page. Guess I'm doing his work for him since our deadline was this afternoon.

Lunch was met with equal dismay. What was supposed to be a quick and easy meal of, what is essentially chips, got burnt, we turned to hot dogs. Mark has this awesome recipe for glazed sausages involving honey, mustard and beer which we prepared with baited breath. We also realized that we were out of hot dog buns, feeling slightly adventurous we dismissed the idea of eating our fine sausages in bread slices and instead opted for leftover naan bread. Said naan needed 8 minutes in the oven but in this time the sausages started smoking uncontrollably and set the smoke detector off. Mark and I swiftly opened every door and window in the house and wafted tea towels at the alarm until our muscles gave out - our glorious hot dogs were now burnt. Sadly, the naan met the same fate during the high octane alarm panic so Mark and I dished up a very charred lunch and ate it quietly, in a silence only broken by our infrequent, exacerbated sighs.

To make matters even worse, we came back to Newbury to do some filming over the weekend, halfway along the motorway I realized that I'd forgotten to pack a key prop. Felt like such a massive doughnut for ages. Got it under control though as I'm headed back with Mum to do some gardening down in Bournemouth for the day while picking up the prop of course!

Back in my own bed after a productive evening of photo-shoots and filming, very, very tired since I got little sleep the night before so I'm about to conk out to bed. But a good day overall, full of its highs and lows... mostly lows... but they are more fun to write about. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Mark wanted to do a little photo-shoot today for Cafe Studios. His idea involved an awful lot of brewed tea. Said tea making was put under my control while I was cooking toad-in-the-hole which was an interesting combination. I always thought I was pretty good at making cups of tea and I also believed that I am not generally a clumsy person. That said, I did end up spilling 2 litres of tea all over our kitchen, 90% of which landed on Napoleon.

My face is one of pure discontent - I'm sure our porky friend feels the same
We got the shoot (and clean up) all finished now though and it looks cracking!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Hungerford Trailer

Got home from an odd house party where I was an hour and a half late, but I was still the first guest to arrive. I was also the last to leave as the hosts all stayed back while the guests all went into town, I was fed home-made chips at 2 in the morning which was lovely.

Did a little bit of editing and went in for a single uni session with some 2 year marketing students. They seemed a little bit more interested in stroking their egos than helping us, we came up with a film idea without their help though. Just about to tank the last 3 episodes of Breaking Bad with Jamie. Little bit sad that it all has to end, but it's also desperately exciting, and I don't normally get excited about TV shows but this one feels special. Feels like I've been on a real journey with the characters and tonight we will see it through to the end.

In the meantime however, the teaser trailer for 'Hungerford' has just been revealed and you can watch it right here.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Plenty of Posters

Posters. Posters everywhere. Posters as far as the eye could see at uni today. The awesome sale I missed two months ago came back with a vengeance as everything was half price and I may have gone a little bit overboard, but they were so cheap it seemed rude not to.

My love for Tarantino and Breaking Bad really came out.
It was just a total celebration of contemporary pop culture down there and I knew I had to be a part of it all and soak it all in - it was certainly a nice reward after sitting through a lecture that made me want to french-kiss the barrel of a gun. Plus, Mark's home from California! Excitement all round.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

I'm A Celebrity, get me out of here

Lucy's parents dropped by again this afternoon with a small care package in the form of a chocolate and apricot cake which was greatly appreciated by all the house members. We also hit the charity shops where I found Jamie's perfect Birthday present part 2, literally couldn't believe I was so lucky to find something so ideal, he's gonna love it.

We actually had a pretty sound evening plan tonight as well, went over to someone's house to see 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!' Spent most of the time laughing at the quality of reality TV but loving every second. Especially after chowing down on panic pizza. I call it that because we had a complete misconception of where to pick up the pizza was. We assumed it was only a 30 second walk, but it turned out to be a little drive into main Bournemouth - totally worth it though!

Where's the money?

Back to Lidl to buy some groceries. A little bit of milk and bread, just you average stuff basically. Also picked up a really nice grey scarf that really ties my look together. Got to the checkout though and realized that I had no means of payment so I silently did the walk of shame, no one knew I didn't have any cash so I quietly picked up all my stuff off the conveyor and put it back on the shelf, then went home, picked up my debit card and picked it all back up again. Never again.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cashier Conundrum

Guess it's another stay at home day. Actually that's a little bit of a lie, I did go out briefly to Lidl to get some bits, and subsequently became the hero of the que! Actually that's a bit of an overstatement. On my conveyor belt I noticed a nefarious liquid seeping from somewhere behind my goods. The cashier was just grabbing some paper towels but was clearly out of reach to get to the puddle. So I opted to take the roll and clean it up! Job took a few seconds but hopefully made a difference on the cashiers evening. He even gave me a free carrier bag. Today I learnt that being a good samaritan can save you 3p!

Frances Ha

Gentle day of staying at home and picking up Mark's mail. Got about 3 parcels all addressed to him, one of which was delivered to the wrong house but the neighbours very kindly brought it round in the evening. Just waiting on Jamie's Birthday present now which I technically ordered today, albeit at 1am, so it should arrive tomorrow.

Highlight of the day was easy in two things. The first being cracking into a very nice blend of coffee left-over from my Birthday. The second being a bit of a surprise. While perusing the 'New Arrivals' section on Netflix I discovered to my delight that Frances Ha was added. That was my evening planned, been very eager to see it for a few months now and it did not disappoint. Lovingly shot in black and white, the film borrowed many elements from 'Manhattan' while mixing it with a dash of 'Clerks.' It romanticizes what it's like to not know what to do with your life, which is something I can totally get behind. Throw in some excellent performances and some hilarious moments and you've got yourself a real gem of a movie; maybe the kind of thing I would like to make one day?    

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mario Kart Sherlock

Filming our Uni project today was surprisingly painless. For all the stressing out over risk assessment submission and camera equipment hiring it paid off nicely. We re-enacted the final scene from the first series of 'Sherlock,' but with a more unique scenario: A pair of guys playing Mario Kart! Turned out to be a lot of fun and we had a ball doing it. Plus the essay has been handed in so I can relax a little bit now in terms of jobs I need to do - just need to watch the last few episodes of Breaking Bad now.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Trade show filming

Just got back home from filming a trade show event in Reading and it was a pretty sweet gig. Filming montage shots was very simple until one lady told me to stand exclusively by my booth. By then it was too late sister! I got the goods. I got all the footage I needed! Filmed a handful of interviews as well with the new light Mark bought for our camera. Best part was, hands down, our lunch. Seriously there were so many profiteroles you could have ended world hunger. Modest, professional looking me decided that 3 was a sufficient number but I could have eaten so many more.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Already feeling Christmissy?

Oh man, that essay is finally done. Had to go into Wilko with Lucy to buy some blank CD's to burn the documents on where we were also overwhelmed by that Christmas feeling. So much so in fact that we have already found where to buy an economical tree for the house and issued ourselves a house challenge. Each tenant must go forth to find and purchase 3 different tree decorations to fit a certain category:

1. The best decoration
2. The cutest decoration
3. The worst/most tasteless decoration

There will probably be a prize for who wins each category as well - nothing like a xmas challenge!   

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A visit to Southampton

Just got back from visiting Dan and having a wonderful time in Southamton. Granted getting there was relatively painless with the exception of buying the train ticket using the electronic ticket booth. User error though, I didn't realize Southampton only had one 'H' in it so it didn't recognize my search. Minor hiccup aside, all was well. Visited the infamous 'Hobbit' pub which has a unique cocktail named after each member of the fellowship, I had a Legolas which was a rather awkward blend of whiskey and lemonade essentially, each to their own I guess though. But the whole place had this really awesome atmosphere even if it was a tad crowded on a Friday night.

Still writing my essay in other news. Finally rounding it off now, one more paragraph and I should be golden. Gotta go out and buy some blank CD's tomorrow though as the Uni wants a hard copy and an electronic one, because apparently they haven't evolved into the email and USB age; at least we don't need to hand in floppy discs. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Music hunt

A good portion of editing any film is often spent looking for music. That ideal track that perfectly conveys the emotion and feeling you intended to capture is often buried in a sea of  online mediocrity that takes hours to sift through. But the thrill of adventure is hard to resist, with each selected track which is passable for your film you tell yourself 'There's a better one than this, I know there is!' And after a thousand clicks and a million downloaded kilobytes of information later, you will ind yourself with the Holy Grail of song choice. Nothing beets the satisfaction of importing that track into your little student film as it completely transforms it into something more. A natural evolution of tone and character that would make Charles Darwin blush.

So now that we've got our student film out the way, I've got to tackle the essay. A chunk of headway has been successfully made since I discovered our uni library provides some PDFs and E-books I can learn from. Tomorrow I will have to hit the books I can't click on though. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Do a little dance

Went back to the arcade yesterday. Found the best way to earn tickets was to play giant Fruit Ninja over and over again. I also found out that I am actually rather good at Fruit Ninja. So good in fact that I earned overall second place on that machine.

I was a mere 6 points away from 1st place
 It was almost a moment in my life that was worth celebrating with a victory dance... almost.

Walked out with 1,700 tickets which earned us a bottle opener key-ring, another samurai sword, a pizza plush toy and a miniature golf set. Said golf set was the main event of today, Jamie and I set up the hole in several locations around the house. The most ambitious of which required us to hit balls downstairs and through the hallway, and this was a game with high stakes. The loser would be declared a loser kinda stakes.

Jamie teed off beautifully, as did Mark, both balls rolling downstairs without a hitch. Mine however got down ok, but it landed inside a shoe - a domestic sand bunker if you will. Getting it out would be tricky but manageable with a well placed wedge motion, I was back in the game. Mark and Jamie both had trouble at the putting stage, they finished 8 points above par. I was on stroke 7, the potentially winning shot. Cinderella story, outta nowhere. Former cafe assistant, now about to become the masters champion. Took the shot, it looks like a mirac- ITS IN THE HOLE! 

And that, was the moment in my life that was worth the victory dance.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Frozen Banana Recipe

Another cooking disaster in the Bournemouth house. We sincerely thought we were being geniuses, only a foolish fool could mess up a pudding as easy as frozen bananas. Inspired by the 'Bluth frozen banana stand' in Arrested Development and further encouraged by the '1star easy-ness rating' on most websites we decided to tackle this fun little dish. But with Me and Lucy in the kitchen anything could happen.

Bananas were frozen painlessly. Melting chocolate was an eventual testament to our sanity. Long term recipe plans call for the chocolate to be drizzled onto the bananas which are then left to freeze for longer - being the impatient types we are we wanted to eat them there and then. Chocolate got burnt before we even got that far. A brown, nobbled concoction was left in our pan so we figured 'In for a penny, in for a pound.' Slathered it on our bananas anyway. Took a bite. Cardiac arrest. Hot and cold collided like a meteor into earth. The frigid 'nana gave me instantaneous brain freeze so I tried to spit it out but it was firmly cemented in my gob by the molten chocolate. I  was seriously in such a panicked state I think I forgot how to breathe for a few seconds. Swallowed it down but horrified at the thought of having to eat 2 more of those cursed things. Lotta chocolate on them too... I have now felt first-hand how pure greed can manifest into gluttonous self-loathing. My gut feels like the size of a bowling ball, a pain I figured could only be soothed by REM's 'Everybody Hurts' on repeat.


Towering Inferno

Me and Jamie decided to tank the last few episodes of the 4th season of Breaking Bad. Each episode just got better and better so we ended up watching four episodes in a near-unbroken sitting, only pausing for toilet breaks and coffee. We regret nothing.

I got to cook dinner again today as well! Making a dish very close to Mark's and my hearts. The infamous 'Sylvia's Pasta.' The perfect marriage of spaghetti, garlic, oil and chilli flakes. The flakes give it the flavour and kick that really carries the dish to a whole new level. I was a tad mindful of how much chilli I put in though, having a fiasco the past few times I used it in my ramen and ended up breathing fire, so I was conservative with the stuff. Just about to dish up the food when Mark spots it and decides to add a little more chilli, which then turned into a little more chilli... then a lot more chilli. The question on my lips was 'why?' While I was eating, the question on my now-scortched lips was 'OH GOD WHY?!' I didn't think any dairy farm in the country to give us enough milk to douse the flames in our mouths. Ended up grating half a cheese block to muffle the inferno. Mark has since apologized and shan't be doing it again I am pleased to report.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Scrabble Rabble

Lucy brought her family down this afternoon. This was great for a number of reasons. It's nice to see some familiar faces and spend a day doing something slightly different. They lent us a crate full of awesome kitchen utensils (I have already cut myself on a remarkably sharp peeler.) And I got to show off my new waistcoat.

I also got a chance to have a proper game of Scrabble! Thought I did pretty well after landing 'Diver' on a triple word bonus tile, Lucy wiped the smirk off my face after swapping into 'Divert' and one-upping my score. I failed to keep up after that and ended up losing after hoarding a multitude of impossible to shift tiles like 'B, X, V, and H.' Better luck next time I guess.  

Friday, 1 November 2013

Studio day - getting to grips

Got another studio session today, where I got to play one of five different roles when it comes to live streaming TV.

1. Camera Man/Operator. Positioned behind a massive camera that took a hour to learn about, I was in charge of getting our chat show host perfectly in frame in preparation for the directors decision.

2. Presenter. They needed someone mildly personable in front of camera for one take so I stepped up to the plate. I got to ask our South Korean guest about his favourite topic: Grand Theft Auto 5!

3. Sound. After rigging up some folks with radio mics I then went off into a small dark room with a lot of sliders to fiddle with - too many in fact. Luckily I had the assistance of a sound engineer who told me what to do before we went live, just as we did though he said 'Just gotta pop to the loo.' Leaving this in front of me:

What the hell am I looking at?
 4. Floor Manager. The dude with the headset on who tells people without headsets on whats-what. Very comparable to a sheep-dog in some ways because without this role there would be a lot of headless chicken types present.

5. Production Assistant. I got a big old microphone and a stop-watch to countdown to the crew when we were on air and what stage of the running order we were converging to. It was basically like having new year over and over again since I had to repeat the whole '10... 9... 8...' process a half dozen times.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween everybody. I felt like I should say that because I didn't really celebrate it this year. Went out in town in my very makeshift, student budget, costume of zombie WW2 pilot. Just had to hit the charity shops again for a jacket and a hat and then burn a cheap scarf I picked up. So yesterday was full of Halloween cheer.

The only scary thing that happened today though was when I had an overwhelmingly desolate feeling that no high street in the world sell brown waistcoats. Seriously, me and Jamie spent 90 minutes looking everywhere for one - guess I should have just stuck to online shopping though; think I've found just what I wanted.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Waking up early?

Woke up naturally without the assistance of an alarm clock today. After having a lovely dream about getting some good deals at a car boot sale, I checked what time it was and how long I had until I needed to be at lectures. I had 15 minutes to be there. I forgot to set an alarm, and didn't have time to do anything minus putting on clothes and shoes to run into uni. Close call, I got there in the nick of time!

It was quite dark when I got back home to an empty house, Mark and Lucy are away and Jamie was at work so I have had the evening to myself. I made a 'Beans-hemoth on toast' for one and tucked into what may well be a contender for game of the year. Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons tells the story of a pair of Brother's journey to find the tree of life to cure their dying father. It starts off in their village where everything feels warm and fluffy like a Disney movie but the further away you get from your hometown the more 'Brothers Grimm-esque' the world becomes. The wonderful always outweighs the weird though since the game has an absolutely beautiful art style and story that captivated and pushed me to keep playing through its 2 and a half hour length since each location was more impressive and perilous than the last. Looking back, it really ran the gambit with my emotions as well, I felt genuine fear, sorrow and joy at points; one scene in particular involving mountain goats left me with a smirk I couldn't get rid of. Even though the controls consisted of basic movement and a single action button, everything I did felt satisfying since you have to co-ordinate both characters simultaneously to overcome obstacles. It never got too challenging though so it kept a good pace at it was always eager to show you something new and different. If there was ever a game I think my Mum should play, it's this one. It's short, simple as well as mechanically and emotionally satisfying. Strongly recommended.

Unexplained headache

Woke up oddly early only to find myself with a persistent headache that continued through-out the day, making it very difficult to focus during the lectures. Which was a bit of a shame because one of them was about script writing and the foundations of a compelling story. After getting a bit of coffee in my system I was patched up once again. Learning to edit again tomorrow for three hours, apparently the lessons will open up a lot more now that we have covered the basics so that's something to look forward to.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

RIP the Sword Brolley

Samurai sword went out in a blaze of glory. It protected our filming extras for a little bit and I think it helped us keep sheltered while cooking lunch but with the 'Storm of '13' upon us all it took was a sharp gust of wing and the brolly was immediately bent. Then it snapped. Then it snapped in 5 other places. The purchase itself would probably rank quite highly on my 'biggest waste of money' list, certainly just getting a genuine umbrella next time, none of this novelty nonsense.

Otherwise, today went off without a hitch. I was predominately holding up human and vehicular traffic today so our abandoned streets scenes didn't look so lively. Getting back home to Bournemouth again proved to be the worst part of the weekend. Had to take a coach to Reading train station to get on an hour and a half long train journey. When it came down to it though, I was on it for nearly double that time. Jamie very kindly met me at the train station but neither of us had cash, nor was their a cash point in our proximity so we braved the absolutely crap weather for the sake of sodden banter. I'll probably be dry again this time next year.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Hungerford reshoots

Braved the train to go get back to Newbury to see my family. It was amazing, there was free food and drink, I didn't need to worry about the washing up and the toilets were so clean. I should really go to that place more often.

In all seriousness though, it was great to see my parents again but Louis was the best. Lots to reminisce about between the two of us before getting to bed at a reasonable hour because I was off early in the morning to help out on the 'Hungerford' reshoots. With the oh-so-familiar taste of McDonalds in my mouth I got right back into my running role. Making tea and coffee, wearing a high-vis jacket and grabbing various equipment when it was needed. Today's filming had possibly the biggest budget stunt in it - we got to trash and flip a car! Great to see the gang though!

It's just like The Walking Dead!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Gone Home

I had a single job today. Dreaded doing it however because it was in a whole new realm of social awkwardness. For our Uni short film we needed to get a photograph of an old lady in some apparel I bought from a charity shop, of course this also involves me asking a total stranger to dress up and pose happily for me. It took me 30 minutes of fake browsing to pluck up the courage to ask, but they were very happy to actually do it. Guess you can always depend on the kindness of strangers.

The other, not so important thing I did today was get around to playing 'Gone Home.' An indie game that really made headlines when it first came out earlier this year due to how it tells a story through a video game in a way that is impossible in any other medium. It got exceptionally high review scores. Been excited to experience this for a little while now and now that I finally got to sit down and play the game the New York Times called ' the greatest video game love story ever told.' I can say that I was underwhelmed. Which really sucks because I wanted to fall in love with this game so badly but there was just some things in my mind that held me back. Without giving anything away about the plot, I will say that the game gives the player a lot of respect and it is an achievement in terms of narrative in a video game... But that's also it's biggest weakness. If you took the same basic plot and put it in a book or a film then it'd be mediocre. A lot of game critics are saying that it's brilliant due how it takes strides to improve narrative in games as a medium. Main issue is, the medium is still in it infancy. It's like being given the consolation prize in a creative writing competition because you wrote the whole thing in gravy rather than ink - your story was ok, but the judges appreciate your quirk. 

Short rant over. Here's a nice picture of me in town from last night with my housemate and two friends. Best thing about this photo was Louis' facebook comment: 'Jesus, Theo's wearing braces.'

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

DIY plumbing

Been very busy planning the next short film we have to make for Uni. We have been given a 'character' brief where we need to establish a character with little to no dialouge, then quickly show that they are someone else entirely. We have planned out this Vertigo meets Psycho short film that should be awesome and plenty suspenseful. Speaking of tense though, we had a little panic when we thought our sink was blocked since the water just wasn't draining. So we went all Super Mario on it with our plunger. Didn't really account for the tsunami that would come out the secondary drain point though, got a little drenched as a result.

Got a bit plunger happy at this point so we went around to everything we could for a little plunge. The bath drain was easily the WORST. In fact, it was so bad I did take a picture for the blog, but I thought I would spare every reader that pleasure by not putting it up. Lucky you.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Favourite Ghibli

Standard day at Uni. Went back to the Buffalo Bar for cheap burgers, quickly becoming a Monday Night regular. We overheard some folks talking about Studio Ghibli films so I did a mildly brave thing and entered their conversation by asking 'What's your favourite film of theirs?' There was a short hesitation and then they responded 'Pom-Poko.' Usually I would have terminated the conversation then and given them a shoulder so cold it would have saved the ice caps, but I did the honorable thing, politely told them they were wrong but continued to discuss film with them.   

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Fry my breafast, lunch and dinner

Horrible realization today that everything I ate had either been fried or battered. Waffles, chicken kievs and home-made fishcakes = a full belly and a self-loathing personality thanks to the full belly. Finally got around to recording and ripping sound effects for the mood film. Getting a ticking clock was exceptionally difficult to record along with breathing sounds. We are trying to create a very tense and serious tone in our film, but when I inhale through my nose all you can hear is a muffled squeaky screech that is actually quite funny. Eat some spicy food, get runny nose, blow nose, good recoding, good day? Good day.

Mac and Cheese Redux

Queuing at the supermarket is like waiting in line for the lamest ride at the theme park. It's full of the general public, and each of them are carrying a basket literally bulging with assorted goods which is wincingly painful to look at when all you have is some milk, cheese and butter. Dinner was worth the shop experience though. After the macaroni and cheese disaster a few weeks back, Mark took it upon himself to make the greatest version ever conceived, as he too, had been dissapointed in the past my naff mac and cheese. Turns out the secret is in the cheese. Not so much the quality, but the quantity. About half a kilo worked out very nicely, and working out is exactly what we will have to do it work it all off again; but like I said before, totally worth it. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Stanley Parable

A little game on Steam peaked my interest a while back called 'The Stanley Parable.' Wasn't really too sure what to make of it when I first heard about it - but it looked unique enough for me to give it a closer look, especially after seeing this wacky trailer.

Best part was, there was a free demo. Which is nothing like the main game but simply based on what I experience in that 20 minutes, I slammed down a very small sum for what is a great little gem of a game. If you can even call it a game.

The gist is that you control someone who works in an office block, in an attempt to find your missing co-workers. But even that slight synopsis I just gave you may be giving you more of a motive than you would expect. Truth be told, there is no goal, no purpose, no action, no puzzles, no guns and no skill required to enjoy every shinning second this experience provides. Thanks to some rock-solid writing and story-telling, it's an intriguing, genuinely funny, and at times, mildy creepy journey that is literally worth replaying over and over. In fact, I would encourage that as the game has more than ten different 'endings,' and believe me, you will want to discover all of them; that is the closest thing you will get to a grand goal, even if the game never really acknowledges your accomplishments and choices. But that's all part of it's unique charm that crawls under your skin and is sure to stick with you for years to come.

Check out the free demo if you have a steam account, heck, make a Steam account just to play the demo.     

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Town types

I am still not very good at hitting town it seems. It was only until last night that I realized that me, and Jamie were possibly the uncoolest people there, but you know what? I'm ok with that. Did spend most of my time desperately trying to keep an eye on Jamie or anyone I went with. Finding misfits that look like your friends in a crowd of dancing people is understandably difficult, now I know why the 'Where's Wally' books were put in schools.

Hands down, weirdest moment of last night was while me and Jenny were trying to find Jamie, Jenny went ahead of me and  tried to follow her closely so as not to get lost. Directly in front of me, a girl falls over. Quite badly too, she didn't land on her bum or anything, she fell face-down on the floor. I thought this may have been a good chance to be the gentleman I always am so I decided to help her up. A second before I bent down she starts moving, she put her hand out to her sides and starts to do push-ups. Not like one or two pushups, but like, a lot of pushups. I am stood in awe of this situation, and after a little while some more guys start to notice this. One of the spectators tapped her on the shoulder to understandably ask 'What are you doing?' I see the girls face for the first time at this point as she looks up and it turns out to be a guy in drag. I had to move a good few meters away to start laughing to myself. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Let sleeping Jamies Lie

Back into the swing of things at uni. During of of our massive lectures the presenter asked how many of us had seen Thelma and Louise. I was the closest person who had to so I had to give an on the spot plot synopsis. Bit tricky when you're talking in front of 250 people but I think I did the job. Came home halfway through the day for lunch, this small break is the designated time in which me and Jamie typically watch the new Agents of SHIELD episode. He was fast asleep the whole time I was in between 12 and 1:45. He texted me halfway through my next lecture it read 'Just had a massive lie-in, I feel like a million!'

Wish I could have a lie-in tomorrow, but I'm in at 9am for a three hour editing seminar. Lordy Lucifer have mercy on our souls.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Lets hit the arcade!

Gotta do something a little bit special on a Sunday we figured. Took Jamie to work at Wagamama but something caught our eye on the way back to the car. I believe we stumbled upon what used to be a small establishment called 'Sega Land,' I can remember Mum wanted to have my Birthday party there many moons ago. Now though, that dream became a reality as we spent a good hour pumping pounds into the arcade machines and having a blast. Best part was, this place had that whole ticket system, where you play games to earn tickets, which gets you a prize. Stereotypically, the amount of tickets need for a decent prize is absolutely insane, this place being no exception.

Get a load of that funky carpet!

We won about 150 tickets through games, 50 of which were spent on a refreashers chewy bar... The remainder was spent on the coolest thing ever: A samurai sword!

Proudly displayed for all our guests who, after perusing our vast sword collection will catch this one in the corner of their eye as the ask in awe 'What about that one?'

Mark was so impressed with the craftsmanship of this fine blade that while exiting the arcade and inspecting it closer he walked into a lamp-post. We can draw only one conclusion: The weapon is cursed.       

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Gotta Catch 'Em All... again

Did a little home-keeping this morning while waiting for Pokemon to arrive, I figured that if I got all the cleaning done I would enjoy my game all the more, and by golly I did. For 5 hours. Mark even offered to take me out of the house to Sainsbury's. I said 'Yeah sure, but I probably will just play this the whole time.' Walking down the aisles with my 3DS playing Pokemon, I must have been the envy of every 6 year old in the supermarket. 

Mark's parents came down to visit (hence the manic house-keeping), they took Mark and Lucy out for dinner so I went out to see a presentation by Doug Allan, the lead cameraman for 'Frozen Planet' with Jenny as she was writing a review on how the event was managed. Being around Greenpeace activists was a bit awkward though. After such a good speech from Mr Allan about polar bears a member of the organisation came up and preached to us for a little while which felt a little bit out of place after such a light-hearted initial topic.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more Pokemon to train.    

15 years later...

It finally happened. The 15 year streak of free haircuts has finally ended. Nearly since I can remember, Mum has cut my hair. She has always fancied herself as a bit of a stylist but in reality she was an enthusiast with a decent set of scissors and buzzers. Not that we complained, it helped us save a bit of money and we didn't have to schedule appointments or anything like that so we were (and still are) very grateful to have her expertise.

Yesterday though, Mark and I visited the humorously named barber 'Want a haircut?' (formally know as 'Wanna haircut?' but I guess that sounded too informal?) It was quite a surreal experience, the guy was playing Grand Theft Auto 5 with his pug before we walked in and the dog continued to walk around the shop floor during our haircuts. Anyone who knows me has probably noticed that my hair can be quite thick and messy - something I profusely apologized for multiple times to the barber. So I decided to get it cut very short in an effort to start all over again, and here is the result:  

Ta da!
Admittedly, I think I look a little bit chavvy since the sides are a little too short, but in a few weeks it'll grow out to a decent length again.

The fore-mentioned Nerf Wars is quickly becoming a real event now since we ironed out the rules a little bit. Tactical hotspots are the following:

1. Under the kitchen table.
2. Behind the laundry airer on the landing.
3. Around the corner from the kitchen table to you can dominate anyone silly enough to get under the kitchen table.

Nerf... the child and student friendly version of domestic violence!
 Bounced over to a friend house to play the F.R.I.E.N.D.S drinking game. We were each given two characters to play with and drink whenever they do something stereotypical of their character. I had Chandler, whenever he was sarcastic, and Rachel, whenever she was self centered. Possibly the worst pair to play with when you have uni filming at 9am the next morning.

Got in bang on time, despite only getting a few hours shut eye to act in our big 'Mood film assessment.' I was the acting talent in front of camera as a man with writers block with no dialogue. Think Barton Fink crossed with Eraserhead. Low-point of filming was when I needed to look like I'd been sweating due to a deadline. Plan was to put beads of water on my brow but we bought no spring water with them, solution? Use somebodies bottle of strawberry flavored water of course, because I do love having a sticky hairline.

All good fun in reality though, and we were finished way ahead of schedule which was nice. But right now, all I can think of is tomorrow. I had to bide my rage and watch through gritted teeth as various facebook friends showed off their early copies of Pokemon X/Y. Just they wait... I'll be laughing when I am dancing on their Pokemon's sad, sorry bones as I am crowned 'Pokemon Master!'

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Potatoe problems

I am often gifted with over-confidence. While I worked in a cafe, we served jacket potatoes all the time. They were quick and easy to make after the initial cooking period in the oven. Today however I seriously struggled to bring this simple dish into fruition. Really prepared for them to be delicious. Greased them in olive oil and salt before cooking, heated up some baked beans, we even made our own tuna mayonnaise. But the jackets took two hours longer than they should have done so we were all hungry chaps by 8pm.

Tried out something a little bit new today. Handed out my Nerf guns (toys that fire little foam darts) to my housemates along with some safety goggles. We all agreed that we would each get three lives, after you're hit three times your out, last man standing will be the victor. We all discovered that Mark is pretty deadly with a Nerf pistol... will be taking his stats into consideration when we play team capture the flag one quiet afternoon.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Monday Lecture woes

Had another pair of double lecture blocks, this is now the Monday morning standard. The first seminar is with around 100-200 people in the main hall, we sit quietly and listen to a lot of information being pumped into us, this session is a 2 hour slog more or less but a necessary evil for learning. Our second block is much more intimate, around 40 of us all sat in a room where we are allowed to have a little joke with the lecturer; suffice to say that these sessions are greatly preferred. We did a little piece today on why Dr Who is getting worse by introducing Deus Ex Machina's a little too often to resolve and episode - is there nothing the sonic screwdriver cannot do?

Actually, I'm getting ahead of myself a little. I say I prefer the second block if it wasn't for one crucial factor.

This, is your basic chair. It's simplicity is what makes it perfect. A decent height off the ground with a back support at a perfect 90 degree angle - comfortable, but you'll never fall asleep in a lecture while sat on one.

Now here is what we sit on:

No brownie points for spotting the difference. Most chairs have a neat little 'reclining' feature to make them super comfy. That involves the back support tilting for maximum comfort. But here, the bit you posterior is perched upon is slanted at a malicious 45 degree angle so the very basic task of sitting has become a struggle with gravity. I'm sure that when we were all young at a playground our favorite item was the slide. How many of you readers have tried to remain stationary on the slanted surface of the slide? Most of you I'd guess. But in that context it was faintly rewarding and cool, it was like you were fighting against the natural flow, it was rebellious and awesome to be able to stay still on the slide. But you could only do if for about a minute at a time because it did start to hurt after a while.

Imagine being sat on a playground slide for 120 minutes... You's start to look like this:

Holding on for dear life... All I wanted to do was learn!

Grown Man eating Ice-Cream

Weekly big shop was significantly cheaper this time around thanks to a very economical meal plan for next week. We have also weeded out a large portion of luxury goods from our shop, caving only for yogurt and Mark tempted us all to get a doughnut or cookie from the in-shop bakery. While unpacking the load I was given possibly the greatest instruction in my life. 'Theo, we can't fit these chips in the freezer while we still have this tub of ice-cream. Can you eat all of it?' So I sat in the kitchen, spoon in hand and ate the better half of a tub of ice-cream. It would have been a real Bridget Jones' Diary moment if I was feeling depressed, but I was too fat on ice-cream to feel anything at that point. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday to the Blog!

Just causally after getting off a facetime call with Mark, Lucy and I decided to head through the blog archives for kicks and nostalgia purposes. For some reason, I often find myself coming back to the very first post I did just to have a little read. It's like having a really personal and poorly spell-checked time capsule - a little window where I can see a cheeky and chipper version of myself. Flicking back tonight though I realised something quite amusing: today marks the 3rd anniversary of the blog. I never imagined that I would have actually kept this up for so long. At the same time though it feels like only yesterday that Mark set up this account for me so we could relay any developments within Cafe Studios; he must have seen some rough potential for me as a blogger. Even after Twitter has effectively taken over that role, I enjoy writing about my day. It lets me gather my thoughts in order to attempt to piece together what is hopefully an amusing anecdote and practice my writing style.

Once again I must thank those of you who return every now and then to read about my humbly humdrum life. I still get a little bit excited when people talk to me about why they enjoyed a certain post, and its for the little moments like that that have made the past 3 years worth-while. So stick around, because I have no intentions of quitting just yet!  

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Moody Movie

With the help of Mark, we finally got an idea for my 'Mood' film, which I pitched to my group with much success as the general concept was the one we decided to expand upon. Getting to my group however was a bit tricky, after catching an unusual bus I got a little bit lost finding their uni halls. Getting back was worse as the bus I caught was no longer in service at 7:45pm, so I had to walk for a long ol time to get home. But it was worth the walk since Lucy made her, what should be infamous, lasagna which was a triumph.

The Jeremy Kyle Show

The Jeremy Kyle show is pretty atrocious. Doesn't really explain why we watched an hour of it today. Feel so dirty on the inside. On one hand, I guess its somewhat beneficial for these people to be going on the show because we are assured that they will get 'professional help' afterwards and some secret relationship issues can be put to rest. But it's quite down-heartening that they have to expose themselves for our entertainment in the meantime. It almost encourages people to be dysfunctional just to get a chance to be on camera, or possibly because it's now accepted as a norm. It's as if the show's creators realized that people love the drama in soaps like Eastenders and Corrie but were too lazy to script an episode so they get raunchy members of the public to come and show-boat their problems. It's like the modern equivalent of the Roman Colosseum. But are they the barbarians for duking it out, or are we worse for silently hoping for the most deprived and outrageous social situation to 'come on after the break' for our entertainment? Or is the show simply pushing boundaries?

It's funny, because I would generally defend film for pushing boundaries, Psycho being the prime example of this. A film that was slated upon initial release for being gratuitous but I would argue that it opened the floodgates for film-makers and directors in the 60's as they could put so much more on screen to convey their message; be it nudity or violence. Film making, to some, is an art form. Boundaries must be pushed in order to shock and entice audiences. Some good film-makers know this and often use something shocking to provoke a strong, and in very rare cases, new emotions within their audience. Films like the Saw or Paranormal Activity sequels build on the emotions created in the first film in an attempt to 'cash in' on those audiences wanting another hit, and maybe a chance to see something a little bit more nasty. Reality TV shows and their respected audiences are very similar to the horror genre and it's fans.

TV producers know that if they appall a new viewer first time around, they are practically guaranteed to tune in again for more. But the shocks that come with reality TV 'cheapen' over time. Audiences feel more numbed to a show's tricks but return for more to see how far the series will go and how deep into the human psyche the network will dare them to venture. We are simultaneously disgusted and fascinated by topics and scenarios that are otherwise considered a social taboo. We cannot believe we are reading the words 'My husband accuses me of sleeping with my step-son' on our screens; but we wonder how much worse it can get in every episode until we eventually get addicted. It's like cocaine if it came in every colour of the rainbow. You want to try out every colour in case you felt something different, but deep down you know that nothing will really be unique and it's the same product - problem is, you're hooked now. And you can't stop watching the petty people with bad teeth bicker at each other.           

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Group work for a tricky film brief

Group work was accomplished today after a 3 hour editing lecture that actually was a lot of fun. Tried to integrate myself socially with the group and ended up royally embarrassing myself getting into a lift with them as the doors shut on me. Not even with me on the wrong side, literally the doors crushed me sideways. Hope that was good for a laugh anyway. Organized a production meeting with them Thursday night in someones flat so all systems are go! At least in the crudest way possible.

Still need ideas for our 'Mood' film. Going to go around he school to take photos tomorrow morning in search of potential shots as our brief only permits us to use 10 shots max to fill a 1-3 minute timeframe - time to get our thinking caps on.

Monday, 30 September 2013

First proper lectures

First proper uni lectures today, woo! Imagine my face though when I pull out my brand new pad of paper, fresh for it's first years worth of writing, a vessel for all my accumulated knowledge for my tertiary education. Open up the pad, and I bought plain rather than lined paper. My notes will have to be floating indefinitely in a sea of white and absence of lines.

Mark failed massively in our second lecture. They pulled the whole 'Read all the instructions test' where they give you a set of tasks to do but the last instruction tells you to do none of the above. We had a good laugh. I had a good laugh.

Now we've been tasked with making a short presentation on a certain TV series, my group gets to pick between F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or The Big Bang Theory. At the moment I hope the consensuses is with the former. Just had to chase my other two group members down on facebook, looks like it'll be fun to work with new people.  

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Big Sunday Shop

Hit Sainsbury's hard this morning. Got up nice and early to go do our massive food shop for the week. Custard creams, bacon, cereal. Everything a student could possibly live on. Coming back home we found a CEX shop, basically a great place to get second hand games and movies. Browsing the aisles we managed to find this little gem that we have been desperate to re-watch. Price didn't hurt either.

Just look at Ewan's face, how could you say no?
After burning a schnitzel we hit the beach to watch the waves roll in during the twilight hours, a picturesque and calming scene that took my mind of the cold I think I've caught; or 'freashers flu' many call it. Just finished my first bit of Uni reading material that sparked a heated debate between Mark and myself about the genre of 'Teen TV.' It was surprisingly intellectual but then we got sleepy and wanted to go to bed. Which is what I wanna do now because I slept awfully last night. Got up at midnight for a snack but there was nothing in though house to eat at the time. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Ramen cooking!

Went out to the exact same club last night, except this time it was a Friday! So it was naturally quite busy, imagine my face though when we discovered a 'disco' room where they only played 80's-00's songs in a non-remix way! Boogied in there a bit and at 3am we thought it was time to call it a night. Strangest part of that evening was when we all sat down in a booth a little bit before closing, it was one of those surreal, 3rd-person moments where I was looking in on myself and questioning my actions. I could see all those people on the dance floor, barely wriggling their bodies in a way that could just about pass as dancing, and I just thought to myself: 'Do we all look this atrocious when we dance?'

Flash forward to this evening and it's my turn to cook dinner. So I took full advantage of the Chinese supermarket we have around the corner, buying everything I needed for a basic ramen. There was a fleeting moment between chopping vegetables, stirring 3 pans and laying the table I thought that I may have bitten off more than I could chew; they made it look so easy in the video! But it turned out just fine, I added WAY too much chilli sachets though so we were all crying with spice and begging for glasses of milk, but otherwise it wasn't bad for a first try. 

Friday, 27 September 2013


Me and Jamie were still both in our PJ's by 2pm today. We needed to grab some shopping though so we eventually mustered up the effort to face the world and hit Lidl. Coming home with a bag of shopping a song from The Lion King got stuck in my head and we had a little sing song walking down our road. Jamie suddenly got in the mood to watch Hercules so we rustled up a quick lunch, threw some limes into our beers and had a little watch. Nice little day in, but tomorrow has already been planned out for us, we will be playing pool in Poole!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Scary Scottish

Went to a UV (ultra violet) rave last night. I learnt a few things while I was there. Most prominent of which being that I am certainly not the clubbing type, although being there did land me and Jamie a unique opportunity. We got invited out to a 'mad house party' by a Scottish girl who bumped into me near the dance floor. After splitting a cab back to her house though we discovered that the house party part was fabricated, instead of thumping music, alcohol, glow sticks and the other stuff you would associate with house parties there were just 2 of her roommates sat in the dark on their phones. Got invited to play cards though and they were genuinely nice people, so nice that we have now been invited to a genuine house party on Saturday. Walking back home with Jamie at 5am, all we could do was laugh at eachother.    

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Musical Monday

Got up nice and early to watch Funny Face. The first thing that struck me about it was, once again, how absolutely gorgeous Audrey Hepburn was. Aside from one or two dance scenes however, the film was sadly just ok. It would have been fine if it had come out before Singin' in the Rain (as it's by the same director) and that's what hurt me so much. Singin' in the Rain still feels fresh and fun, 5 years later I expected the director to top himself, but instead he played it very safe. 

In fact, I saw two musicals today, this one I am ashamed to admit to seeing. I succumbed to peer pressure for the movie night and slapped on High School Musical. And it was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. The viewing experience was saved, in part, by some of the 'acting talent' that unfolded before our eyes but otherwise it was pretty trashy.   

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Last Supper (out)

We kept to ourselves today besides going out to Wagamama for a little treat. Probably will be the last time we eat out in the next few years so I savored every last bite, including some parts of everyone else's meal. Asides from that, today was rather unremarkable, we are getting ready for our first course specific welcoming lecture thing. After a short wrestle with the online timetable I think we are all sorted anyway - just need to verify what room we need to be in now.

The fifth housemate

A while ago I confided a nightmare to my friends. It was about a day working at Eddie Catz, but everything looked a little different. I dreamed that there were numerous dangling lines of drying tea-towles and the room was thick with the stench of washing detergent.  To make things much worse, the moistness of the towels were palpable, even in my dream. Plus, every time I needed to serve a customer, I needed to pass through a line of these awful towels.

A lot of you may be laughing right now at the ridiculous nature of this nightmare, but it has a deep-seeded past from my childhood. When I was much younger, I didn't have a whole lot to do on Saturdays. If I wasn't playing on my N64, I would complain to Mum that I was bored, and if her suggestions for amusement were not substantial, bored is how I would remain. Saturdays were also laundry days and somehow the smell of the washing powder just made the day slow to a crawl. Even to this day, the smell reminds me of feelings of monotony and discomfort.

Imagine my pain when I see our banisters lined with moist laundry and that familiar smell piercing my nostrils. I was in a grump for most of the morning. I didn't want to talk or be in the same room as anyone else and just wanted to be left alone. That is, until I met Napoleon.

There he is!

I saw him in G&T's. The moment we locked eyes, I knew it was fate. His previous owner didn't take very good care of him though as his snout was all torn and messy. But we all saw potential in the young pig, so we snatched him up and took him home with us. We are taking real good care of him too, Mark and Lucy got out the old needle and thread to make him whole again.

'Pig surgeon Mark' is on the case.
We have taken a real shine to him, even dubbing him the 5th housemate. But we let him off paying rent. Because he's a doorstop.

That is genuine love in Mark's eyes


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Washing is my least favourite chore

Usually, I am an early riser. Never up later than 9. I often just feel like I could be doing something much more productive with my morning hours than lounging around in bed. That said, today I woke up at 10in the morning and managed top accomplish nothing until the early afternoon. and I use the term 'accomplish' quite loosely. Setting up the Gamecube was the highlight of today, shortly followed by self motivating myself to try Viewtiful Joe on super hard difficulty one more time. This is a thing I usually attempt once a year with little success and this time was no different. One day though.

Actually, that's a little bit of a lie. The biggest accomplishment of today was learning how to use this bad boy:

Have you ever seen the beginning of '2001: A Space Odyssey'? The bit with chimps fiddling with bits of bone and rock before they fashion tools of destruction and potentially creation? Well, that was what me and Mark looked like trying to figure out how this thing functions; it was like learning to pilot a spaceship. 

We later hosted a dinner for 6 at our house, believing that toad in the hole would be the perfect sharing meal. While the division of the dish was fine, the actual cooking was somewhat flawed. Even with me and Mark supervising the meal we discovered one of two things after our batter didn't quite cook through.

1. We are rubbish cooks.
2. Our oven temperature gauge lies.

I know the old saying about a builder blaming his tools, but in this case, we seriously believe that we chiefs are not entirely to blame. What resulted was a fairly gloopy batter numbed by glasses of affordable wine.