Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!

Didn't really get the chance to properly celebrate Halloween this year because I was quite busy and tired after last weekend festivities. That said, I did get to do a little internal dance when my new graphics card finally landed on the doorstep. I rushed home to install it and it did not dissapoint - really excited to try out pretty much everything again on it. I got the remastered Resident Evil game too so I'm looking forward being terrified of giant spiders. But for now, I'm getting a comparatively early night so I can fully recharge for the week ahead.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

London Comic Con Day 3

The day is finally here for the world premiere of The Darkest Dawn. Day started out with Mark and I filling bags of popcorn while assembling everything we needed for the screening to go smoothly. I was asked to do a bit of 'crowd theater' before the film. Basically, I pretended that I was a zombie amidst the audience and freaked out before a group of army men actors tackeled me to the floor. A great bit of fun, though I hadn't been so out of breath in a long time.

Film went down really well, and after that we got the cast to do some poster signings. I got mine done with everyone who came along, and some even attached a nice message which was lovely to read.

But after that, we begun to pull down our stand. It has been crazy ride at Comic Con, in some ways it felt like it wsd never going to end, but as we tore down our booth I think its fair to say that everyone was feeling a little sentimental. Back to Rubber tomorrow though!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

London Comic Con Day 2

Back at it again in Comic Con, this time I was put on photo taking full time in our booth and we got a staggering amount of people mucking in. We got a Cookie Monster, Zombie Stormtrooper, bunch of Deadpools and a very special Joker Deadmaus. But hands down, the mist surprising find was an old coursemate I bumped into who likes to dress as Dr Who. Lovely to see him again before graduation!

Our world premiere of The Darkest Dawn is tomorrow and we are hoping for a huge turnout, and based on the number of fliers we sent out, I reckon we will see a healthy crowd.

Friday, 28 October 2016

London Comic Con Day 1

First day back at Comic Con and we hit it like a sledgehammer. Went in and did the final touches to the stand and it looks decidedly peng. We got some decent traffic overall too, loads of happy people showing interest in the film and flaunting all their cosplay outfits. The USP for our stand is a photo opportunity for people to be in our film poster. So they look a bit like this:

I'm looking decidedly unbad-ass here, but we have actually had a load of people jump in as Storm Troopers, Captain Jack Sparrow and Godzilla.

Mulled over buying some of the swag on sale too, if I see something small that I like I might just have to treat myself; I'll just have to see how tomorrow goes!

The Darkest Dawn

Mark and I shared abroad trip in his rented van to London. I'm down there at the moment tobhelp out with Wildseed's Comic Con stand, but today I was setting up for the first ever public screening on Hungerford 2, The Darkest Dawn. And I finally gotbqbchabce to check out the film that we all spent nearly 2 collective years making. And it didn't turn out half bad!

Perhaps the best aspect of the evening was seeing all the old cast and crew again without having to put gory makeup on people or during long filming days. Instead we just had a beer and reminisced about the old times and rekindled old friendship. And in my book, you can't really spend an evening doing anything better.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Work Confirmed!

Got confirmation from my work that I would be staying on with them! Really very pleased with that news as I won't be scrbling around this week looking for more work. Instead I'll be going up to London with Mark tomorrow to set up Wildseed's stand for Comic Con and then go see the premier of The Darkest Dawn, the film I helped make nearly 2 years ago now. I'll make sure to take plenty of good snaps this weekend to post here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Went out for dinner with people from the office tonight. Well, technically not people from Rubber Republic, but with the sister company who we share a floor with in our office block and it was absolutely lovely. We went out to Kathmandu, a Nepalese curry place which was a unanimously good find, everyone had a great meal and conversation was non-stop from everyone. A handful of us later went back to a cocktail bar for a beer/one last drink and the chatting continued there. At first it was a little strange being with the lot I don't normally see at work very much, as a general rule, the are much older than me, in the 35+ territory, but that didn't matter. We all just got on, had a drink and talked about hobbies, films and other things. For most of my post-uni time I had always been worried about the concept of begin old and how the glory days had passed me by, but being around that lot, I realised, the best was yet to come. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Chatty Day

Atypical Monday morning it that, it wasn't actually very busy. Usually we all come in after the weekend with several emails and a bunch of job to do. This time round though, there was maybe a few odd jobs, but that was it. As a result, the office was a bit more chatty and I would say that w all bonded even more in doing so. In fact, I even put myself down for a office dinner out tomorrow - I'll be letting you all know what I think of Katmandu after I've eaten there!

Mark and I finished up our number 1 thing to accomplish before Halloween: Beat Overwatch's Junkenstein's Revenge on hard difficulty. Over the past week we spent many, many hours honing our skills and the stars finally aligned this evening. So much so that we made it look easy. A great victory!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Porky Sunday

Lazy Sunday at its finest. Just stayed in, ate a nice breakfast and played games with Mark. Popped out briefly to Tesco to get grub for dinner too - I made my infamous salad alongside Mark and Lucy's pulled pork and that went in strong as a pseudo Sunday Roast. Ready to face Monday now.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

I am Batman

A Saturday morning wouldn't be complete without a bacon sandwich followed by a 3 hour long film about the trial of WW2 war criminals. The Judgement at Nuremberg was an excellent film that really grabbed my attention quickly, packed with some incredible performances and subtly effective camera work that keeps you hooked throughout. Loved it from start to finish.

Following that, I went back to the PlayStation VR booth with Rebecca to try out some more games. This time... I was Batman.

Yes, those are Batman shaped headphones. While not as interactive as my London Heist experience, this Batman thing was pretty cool for one reason: you got to go down a lift in the game. On paper, it sounds ropey, but around halfway, you defend into the Batcave in first person via an elevator and it genuenly feels like you are going down in a lift. Perhaps my feet didn't quite believe what my brain was seeing so it made me feel uneasy (in a good way) and that effect was very, very cool.

After that Mark and I had old-school bro time by playing a very long stint of Don't Starve Together. Somehow, we ended up playing it for a little over 4 hours, and after we both lost our save, we decided to throw in the towel.

All in all, it was the kind if Saturday I used to have when I was much younger, chilling with games for hours on end, but with the company of friends. The weekends with long gaming sessions were always the best.

Friday, 21 October 2016

PlayStation VR

Had just about the greatest lunch break I think I've ever had today. I toddled along to the pop-up PlayStation VR shop in Cabot Circus with a very impromptu Mark. We only had a little bit of time on our lunch so we signed up for a single game, and it was all we could talk about after we finished.

Now, Mark and I had never really used a proper VR headset before in this capacity. We both opted to play the 'London Heist' game / experience which was effectilvly a driving and shooting game. I plugged in first, after they strapped the headset onto me and gave me a pair of headphone I was totally in the world if the game. It was bizarre, I'd seen footage of people in VR before but I never expected it to be just as good as it was.

I'll pop a video of what I saw down below just so its easier to  visualise - its got a bit of naughty language in it.

The game, as mentioned was a shooting game. You are riding shotgun with a Guy Richie inspired London mafia bald bloke, and as crazy as it sounds, you are really there. While strapped into this carseat you can fidget around with the glove box, the radio and cola cans inside the car, all just by reaching out and grabbing them. The effect never got old, and before I knew it I was handed an submachine gun and asked to now down a bunch of Russian motorcyclists by literally point and shooting.

I got this snap of Mark in the booth, he loved it just as much as I did and it was a lot of fun watching him experience the same thing I did.

It was so good that I'm actually excited to go back and play some more just thinking about it. Good thing Rebecca's work is right next door to it...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Nintendo Switch

Woke up to the most beautiful post on Reddit that I've seen for a long time: 'Nintendo to announce their new console at 3pm today.' Feels like I've been waiting my whole life for this announcement, and no one expected it so suddenly. The wait felt eternal at work today, watching the clock tick down was a mighty task, but I was not disappointed:

Premise is super cool and has got me stoked for more things Nintendo. As if the new Zelda wasn't already enough, now I am reveling in the thought of playing it wherever I go! So far, the news has lived up to the hype and frankly, it's what we've all been waiting for across the past 3 years.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Oh, Hello VR

Head a mini creative streak at work this morning so I was able to churn out some relatively good ideas for our latest brief. Same good news passed over to my lunch break as I discovered that Cabot Circus are doing a 4 day only shop just for experiencing PlayStation VR. Sign me up! Rebecca and I also tried to set up an extra bank account for our bills we'll be getting once we move into our new flat. We have to go back in tomorrow as they didn't have any other bookings for us today so that's a faff.Back at the flat this evening, we all tucked into the semi-finals of bake-off which were pretty dang tense. Rebecca and I are taking bets on who we reckon will be winning the show, but my estimations may be shifting after tonight's display...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Booking Holiday

Walked in with Rebecca to work on this decidedly cold morning. The temperature is slowly dropping all around, to the point where my hands almost went numb while reading g in the park today. I booked a few days off for holiday today with work as I have my graduation coming up alongside Wildseed's premiere of Hungerford 2 next weekend. Looking forward to seeing the final film and all my old plastic guns in action.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Too Many Cooks

Finished up yet another presentation this morning for another client, I was a busy bee this morning, responding to emails and catching up with a colleague who just came back from Texas. During my lunch I almost finished up my book but the rain was a big deterrent. I ended up sitting under a brolly in the park just so I could squeeze in a few more chapters of my book. Mark, Rebecca and I also finished Overcooked, it was a long journey, but I'm proud to say that our teamwork saw us through. The last level was perhaps a bit of an anticlimax, as it wasn't anywhere near as challenging as some of the earlier stages, but we all felt like accomplished cooks by the end of our adventure. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

My Scientology Movie

Spent most of the day in Mark and Lucy's flat, cooking awesome breakfasts and catching up on some TV. My weekend had mostly been building up to watching Louis Theroux's new doc: My Scientology Movie' which was expectedly entertaining, while factually unsurprising.

A lot of the joy comes from Theroux himself, he keeps the tone light even during tense moments by documentary standards. It was genuinely fascinating to see the film crew being stalked at times and understanding the intensity of the regimes practised by higher ups of the Church. But, the film lacked something and its hard to put my finger on what. Perhaps it was the fact that a lot of what was shown now nearly confirms our suspicions surrounding the topic rather than opening up brand new avenues to explore. Which is a shame, because the ride was well paced and highly enjoyable overall and I'd recommend it for those reasons alone.

I'm aware of another, more conventional doc called 'Going Clear' in the same subject. It sounds like the next thing I'll be watching as a companion piece to this film.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

My Time in Zamosc

While I totally had the opportunity to have a lie-in this morn, I really, really wanted to play some Overwatch. So while Rebecca got up for work, I powered up my PC for some early day video gaming, just like my Saturdays of yore. Felt good to revel in zero commitments on a weekend again.

So after a bit of playing, I headed into Cabot Circus to spend my lunch with Rebecca and admire her new shop. Once I was back home, I bashed out a quick write-up for my time in Poland for the Twin Town newsletter. I'll post it below actually in case anyone is interested in having a read:

It turns out, I didn't know very much about Poland before going to visit last Sumner with the Youth for Europe crowd. I had played the immensely popular Witcher 3 and seen a handful of Polish films, but going there I still expected to find a place where the vodka flowed like water, the people dressed in Communist era clothing and where the cold would chill you to the bone. After spending just over a week in Zamosc however, I didn't experience any of that.

Well, maybe the vodka bit was a little true.

My first impressions of the actual town was based on a very lofty looking brochure I was given a few years ago which depicted the market square as Poland's version of Bruges. When I physically arrived in the old town of Zamosc, it was pretty hard to not be impressed by the medieval style buildings and vast town hall. Cafes lined the main square, beckoning with their affordable beer and even cheaper ice-cream. The town itself exists within an old fortress, remnants of its walls and bastions were beautifully overgrown and made exploring an inviting task. Within the old town we got a chance to do a scavenger hunt, organised by the youths, visit an arsenal museum of old weapons and we even got the offer to attend Sunday Mass in their church.

Group shot of the gang after a hearty hike

We collectively stayed in dormitories inside small school a few minutes walk from the town centre. Every meal was catered for inside the school's canteen and its safe to say that most of discovered a new-found appreciation for soup and dumplings. Most nights were spent here too, sometimes there would be quiet evenings were different countries would show off new card games to other, while more merry evening consisted of party music and hilarious group dancing. It was worth staying up late every night just to see what would happen.

Everyday we went out to do an activity and there was an impressive variety to them. Paint balling and a high ropes course were perfect for those who wanted to do something really active. On other days we simply went for a walk in the countryside or went kayaking along a surprisingly chill river. Truly, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Ropes Course in Zamosc

Perhaps the most memorable part of our visit was the Majdanek Concentration Camp. It was genuinely harrowing to see the gas chambers and the prisoner's bunk beds, and the exhibits themselves were tastefully presented and encourage personal reflection. Amidst all of it however, I was extremely humbled by the thought that even though I went around with people from several other countries and cultures, we were all deeply moved and shared the same experience while walking through the camp.

The day before we left Zamosc, we were brought into a large hotel kitchen and told to cook a dish that represented your country as a farewell celebration meal. Naturally our English team went in strong with a sheppards pie and a healthy smattering of scones with tea. And while our pie looked a bit bland and measly compared to the Spain's spicey tapas, or Italy's carbonara, I couldn't believe how many positive comments our dish got.

Final evenings are always bitter-sweet affairs and we danced the night away to mark the occasion as shots of vodka were passed round. Walking back to the accommodation, several people vowed to not sleep that night so they could spend just a little more time with one-another. 

One of my favourite snaps of all of us
It was strange to think that two years prior, none of us knew about Zamosc until a handful of young people came along to Feltre in 2014. Now they are an indispensable part of the Youth for Europe family and a group I very much hope to see more of in the future.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Another Day, Another Brief

Rounded off my last working day by tying up a bunch of loose ends. Finished up another brief and prepped a Keynote on it. Once again, my bosses seem generally quite pleased with the stuff I'm churning out for them and I have a good feeling about this one I've nearly finished on. Now that the week is done I'm really looking forward to my zero commitment day tomorrow, I intend on doing very little in general and I might even watch a film if I get the chance.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Like... Whaaaaaat?

Has a peculiar experience at work today. Typically, if I'm researching a new brief I ingest a whole lot of YouTube videos on the brand. And if you watch a lot of YouTube videos, you going to see a handful of those annoying ads that you can only skip after watching five seconds of them. What a surprise it was then, to see my face on one of those un-skippable ads:

Poor quality cuz I had to whip my phone out
It was just really bizarre, for something that usually causes minor grief became a huge moment for my day. I just couldn't believe I was featured so prominently but its a super cool thing. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

London Pitch

Talk about cutting it fine. I arrived at the train station at 8 for an 8:30 train, eager beaver I know, my boss rocks up at 8:25 and we hadn't even bought the tickets yet. Genuinely ran all the way through the station just so we could catch this train, and we only just made it. In London though, our pitch went down very positively, the client really liked our ideas and I was under the impression that they would get back to us to offer us a working deal - fingers crossed on that one! It was just cool to see my PowerPoint being shown off to fancy London folk, good effort all round!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Office Treats

A small gift turned up for everyone at the office today. The folks we made the popcorn advert for sent over a batch of cupcakes and they looked gorgeous! We all took a look at them and a bunch of the girls in the office continuously hovered around the cakes until someone broke the seal and ate one; glad I got first pick in other words.

Decorated cake decorating my desk
Found out I'm London bound tomorrow to help my boss deliver a pitch to a big company. I finished constructing the Keynote this afternoon and I pretty chuffed that it's going to be shown to some pretty high-up people. As long as I'm back before Bake-Off then I'll be pleased.

Monday, 10 October 2016

I'm a Sell Out

Got a message from an old course-mate asking me if I had starred in a popcorn advert. Waited my whole life to answer that question with a beaming yes.

Astute viewers may notice that I make a cameo appearance in this advert, I was working on it a little while back as a runner and I think the end result came out rather well. I know there is a second ad on its way that I have an even bigger role in, hopefully it doesn't make me a sell out.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Great House Hunt Has...

If my life was as good as this everyday, then I just wouldn't know what to do with myself.

Rebecca and I had two house viewings this morning, the first was for our designated 'dream flat' and the second was just something we were interested in. When we got to 'dream flat' we were really surprised with how it exceeded our expectations, instantly we could see ourselves living there, cooking meals and having social evenings. We put an offer in as quickly as we could and crossed our fingers - we would hear from them at 4pm. Second house was decidedly naff and just not for us on any level, and for the same price as the other one, it was a big no-go.

After the viewing, we went out for lunch with Rebecca's parents who were visiting. Midway through our food, Rebecca's phone rang with the good news: the landlord for 'dream flat' had accepted us! Rebecca and I are officially moving into a cosy spot in Bristol!

The news came as I was dashing over to a runner's job for the BBC which I did for the rest of the afternoon/evening. I did a bit of production assitant-ing and was put on sound too. Was great to get back in the saddle and do something like that again, especially after such good news.

I'll be going to bed tonight planning about furniture arrangements and all the other wonderful things come with owning your own place.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Another House Viewing

Took a whirl slightly outside of Bristol to a yard full of props leftover from the popcorn shoot a few weeks ago. So I did some liftin' and shiftin' for a bit and then headed to another house viewing, this time in the definition of prime location: the centre of town. Unfortunately, that's where the positives ended. Cons included: a bathroom bigger than the bedroom, a home labelled as 'partially furnished' and there being just a small bedside table, and then, the biggest red flag, there was no oven, rather a microwave embedded into the counter to look like an oven. It's a no from me.

Took Philpott out to dinner with Rebecca after a long days work, we took a spin to an Italian place down the road and had a very, very good pizza. The service was very good too as we were greeted and waited by a very friendly chap who you could have a little chin wag with in between courses, we all left with full bellies and smiles on our faces. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Bristol Bike-man

Sat up in my office in relative solitude. Very few people were in today so I properly managed to get a fair bit of work done. I bumped into Miles on the way to work though which was really plesent. At first I heard someone calling my name, and I thought 'I don't know anyone in Bristol, who could be calling me?' And in the distance, Miles came trundling along on his bike with a big grin on his face - the chance encounter really brightened up my morn.

Back at Mark's pad we all shared a Bagel Boy over a game of Cosmic Encounter which I lost again. The bitter lose was dampened by the new series of The Apprentice, which is off to a flying start, already can't wait for the next episode.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Happy 6th Birthday Blog!

Once again, I write down those immortal words: 'Good Lord, has it really been ___ years?' In this case, it's six. Half a dozen years I've been doing this now and again I must thank anyone and eveeryone who has stuck with me along the way, effectively living my life alongside me. And now that I think about it, It's been over 1/4 of my life that I have been writing this blog. Damn, that puts it in perspective.

But enough about numbers and facts, I'd just like to say that it's still been great writing this on a (near) daily basis. And I know that my dedicated viewer base is pretty tiny, but I find some comfort in the knowledge that my ramblings are not going totally unread. It's because of you lovely, lovely readers that I keep going and I am so very grateful to you all and to anyone who has even read a single post.

Thank you for reading! 

As a quick life update: I had my first ever house viewing today! But sadly, the place I saw was a total no-go on account of the fact that the living room, kitchen, study and bedroom were all technically the same room. Rebecca has found a few other really nice looking pads though so we are hoping to hop on those sometime soon.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Great House Hunt

Rebecca and I thought we had found the perfect place to rent out this morning. Mark very kindly shot over a home on Zoopla that looked perfect, it had it all, a second bedroom, a nice living room and an oddly low rent price. 'Something had to be wrong with it' we thought, as it seemed far too good to be true. Sadly, our expectations were true, that flat had been mislabeled online and was double the monthly rent price than what was listed online. So the great house hunt continues after that major, disheartening episode. I've still got my chin up though, I know we will find something soon enough.

Monday, 3 October 2016

How to be Creative

Took an unexpected spin out to a Vietnamese sandwich place with my boss today for lunch. We chatted loosely about my time at Rubber and then about how I could work on being more creative in general - not to say I'm not creative but rather how to harness the literal creative juices. It was a good lunch, and I headed back into the office with a big boost in confidence.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Gig in London

The recent lack of blogging was brought to you by a rather busy weekend for me. Firstly, I tripped up to London for a very brief excursion to a pub where Jamie's new band was playing. We coached down at 5:30pm to get to London at 8:20, we left only a few hours later and I was tucked in bed at 3am this morning. Knackering, but it was good to see Jamie again, and it was cool to support his new band.

Sunday was mostly spent recovering and sleeping in. Rebecca and I did take an experimental route to Bristol's 'Mirror Maze' - a tiny piece of art in the university campus. While we made a day out of it, we probably hovered around it for three minutes before we got a little bored. But, we walked past a street food market, and our nostrils were tantalized by the small of home-made tacos.

Lastly, we caught up with Louis Theroux's Jimmy Savile documentaries. We saw his initial one form 2000 and then moved up to tonight's modern take on the events. While I had never really involved myself in conversations around the allegations previously, it's clear now having seen both docs, how devastating Jimmy's life had been on so many people. Both docs were really good viewings.