News and comments from Arthur

Sci-Fi London 7 Programme

 Monday 31 Mar 2008, 7:18 PM Sci Fi London 7

In more festival lineup announcements, this year`s Sci-Fi London film festival (www.sci-fi-london.com) has been announced. And this year it`s a bit of a mixed bag.

Last year the all-nighters were good but there weren`t really any films during the day Arthur wanted to see. This year it`s the exact opposite: loads of individual films Arthur wants to see during the day and rather uninspiring all-nighters. In fact Arthur doesn`t think he will be going to an all-nighter at all for the first time in 5 years!

The anime all nighter consists of Tekkon Kinkreet, The Girl who Leapt Through Time, Vexille and Appleseed Ex Machina. All are great films and will look fantastic oin the big screeb but Arthur knows this becasue he already has them all on DVD and has seen them all, with the exception of Appleseed which will be winging it`s way to Arthur just as soon as he finds out about the dubbed vs subbed issues with the various DVDs and HD DVDs being released at the moment.

The DeadSpace all nighter is just some classic sci-fi like ALien, Pitch Black and The Thing each of which Arthur has seen pkebnty of times on the snall and big screens - again nothing that gets him too excited there. And the MST3K sounds a bit too poor even by its usual low standards! Plus Arthur still isn`t convinced about just how funny listening to a night of American humour will be - he would prefer the films to be played in their origional form and let the audience mock them as they see fit rather than have someone else point out the funny bits.

But during the day there`s loads to see: Dragon Chasers, Wolfhound, Chrysalis, Paragraph 78, Wasting Away, Dai-Nipponjin, Suspension, Netherbeast Inc. etc. More than Arthur can possibly hope to see! Arthur has started drawing up a viewing Matrix of all the possible combinations of films to watch - unfortunately he can`t get to see everyhting he wants due to scheduling conflicts but he`s going to try his best to see as much as possible! Still, shame about the all-nighters. Perhaps he can go home and watch something instead although it will need to be fairly quiet so as not to disturb his next door neighbour. Plus he won`t get a free goody bag and ice cream...

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Reading Festival Lineup

 Monday 31 Mar 2008, 6:45 PM

In the first of today`s festival lineup announcements, The Reading (and Leeds) festival has released the headliners (and then some) for each day of the festival. Arthur is sure you usually only get the top 2 bands on each day on the 2 main stages announced at first then a few weeks later the lesser acts further down the list start to appear.

The main acts this years are Rage Against The Machine and Queens of the Stoneage (Friday), Killers and Bloc Party (Saturday) and Metallica and Tenacious D (Sunday). Other bands Arthur would be interested in on the various days include manic Street Preachers and Feeder.

Probably the only day Arthur would consider going is the Friday. Then again he kind of hopes a huge bomb goes off there that day too, to take out that worthless cunt Pete Doherty who is headlining one of the other stages. And if Dizzee Rascal happens to still be hanging around from his appearance earlier in the day on the main satge and also takes the full force of the blast to the face, so much the better.

Anyway, Arthur had better decide what to do in a timely manner this year - he doesn`t want to spend hours queueing for a ticket on the day like he did last year. And even if he decides he doesn`t want to go for the music after all, perhaps he can use it and take up his role as a suicide bomber and take out the aforementioned 2 worthless chimps for the good of society as a whole.

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Grindhouse

 Saturday 29 Mar 2008, 9:02 AM Grindhouse poster

After the wasp attack last night, Arthur wen`t out to the cinema to see a late night showing of Grindhouse, the proper version showing both films togethr complete with the fake trailers rather then the separate versions that had previously been released 6 months earier.

In fact Grindhouse was originally supposed to have been released a year ago and Arthur thinks it was certainly worth the wait for the proper version. They finally decided to give the original version a limited release in a few cinemas with the prints touring round the country to give everyone a chance to see it. And Arthur wasn`t going to miss this opportunity to see one of only 2 screenings in his local cinema, even though he still had a bit of a cold. It worked really well, entertained throughout and was never boring even though the whole thing was 3 1/4 hours long.

Planet Terror was the more entertaining of the 2 films, being deliberatley cheesy and trashy with lots of over the top zombie action. DeathProof was a better quality film and , even though Arthur had seen the full length version before (via a downlaoded BitTorrent - Arthur refused to pay to see the film unsless it was in its original version as it was meant to be seen), he still found it to be enjoyable. In fact Arthur found the trimmed down version, complete with "missing reels" section where a whole 15 minute chunk of the film was just left out(!), to be better as it didn`t drag quite as much.

But best of all were the fake trailers for Machete, (by Robert Rodriguez), Don`t (by Edgar Wright of Sean of the dead and Hot Fuzz fame), Thanksgiving (Eli Roth who makde the Hostel films) and Werewolf Women of the SS (by Rob Zombie)! All perfectly captured the sleazy, trashy nature of low quality Grindhosue films - and Arthur reallt wan`s to see most of them made into proepr films now, especially Werewolf Women of the SS, featuring Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu! Genius!

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The Wasp

 Friday 28 Mar 2008, 8:49 AM

Whilst doing a bit of painting tonight before popping out to the cinema Arthur felt something odd on his neck. He thought it was the label sticking up from his T_Shirt so reached round to poke it back in but it wasn`t the label - it was something flussy and fuzzy.

Bringing his hand back to see what he`d grabbed (a bit of fluff or dirt perhaps?), Arthur was rather surprised to see a large, fuzzy wasp sat on his hand. And the wasp was not at all happy about being unceremoniosuly grabbed and was busy stinging the crap out of Arthur`s fingers.

Arthur reacted the way any noraml, sane human being would - he flung it to the floor and stamped on it repeatedly as quickly as possible before it could recover it`s bearings to mount a second attack (athur was careful not to get the wasp stuck on any of his fresh paintwork though).

The stinging pain quickly kicked in and Arthur remembered a bottle of insect bite lotion he had found the other day whilst clearing out a cupboard. Bizarrely, Arthur had got this bottle of lotion in a Korean DVD box set of the film "Save the Green Planet" where the heroes use this stuff to torture a guy who they think is an alien by dripping it into his eyes and onto fresh wounds on his feet. What`s more, it worked really well - the strange bottle of stuff stopped the pain really quickly and Arthur was able to go back and finish his painting!

Arthur isn`t quite sure where this wasp came from - he can only assume it had just woken up from hibernation. It possibly came out of an air brick in the room right where Arthur had been working as that would have made a great hibernation spot, snuggled up in the fluffy warm fibres of the cavity wall insualation. Arthur will be putting a vent cover on there ASAP just in case there are more of them though.

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Yet more painting and woodwork

 Thursday 27 Mar 2008, 8:34 AM

Arthur got his skirting board at a bargain price. He went to Jewsons, the builders merchants, for some 4m long primed mdf skirting board as it was the only palce that did it in such long lengths (meaning he didn`t have to join 2 pieces) and becasue mdf is easy to use, doesn`t warp and can simply be glued (grabs-like-nails-ed) to the walls with a minimum of effort.

When he got there, there were only 4 bits left (Arthur needed 3) and all were damaged. Arthur would have waited for some undamaged stuff to arrive but as he had had to get his dad over to help transport it on his roofrack (Arthur`s car does not have a roofrack) he just wen`t with the damaged bits to save the extra hassle and to enable him to get on with his work. Arthur expected a discount but was surprised when he was given 65% off! And to make things even better, once Arthur got it all home, he discovered he could cut the pices in such a way that most of the damaged sections weren`t used anyway, so it really wasn`t a problem!

Having cut several pices to size, Arthur has a slight problem in that his longest 4m piece had trouble fitting up his windy stairs and hallway - he only managed to get it into the room via a complicated serious of manouvers sticking it out of various windows. And even once he got it in, he discovered it was the wrong way round so, with no room to turn it round in a room that was exactly as long as the bit of wood, he had top take it all the way bcak, turn it round and take it back upstairs once again!

Once all the skirting was in the actual room, he gave it a couple of coats of eggshell white before sticking it to the calls (Arthur finds it so much easier to paint the skirting when it isn`t attached to the walls). Getting the corners to join was bit tricky as Arthur didn`t have a mitre was big enough to cope witht he 6 inch tall skirting. Thus he had to go for the slightly more complicetd, yet more professional technique of "scroll cutting" one of the pieces to fir the other when placed together at a 90 degree angle. Arthur`s first attempt was a bit out but his final scroll cuts were near perfect joins that needed minimal filling. Nearly done... just a window sill and a bit more painting to go...

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An Easter cold

 Friday 21 Mar 2008, 9:20 AM

Oh hooray. Just as Arthur was looking forward to a nice long Easter weekend to get lots of decorating done and eat some nice chocolate Easter eggs, he goes and gets a stinky cold, kindlky donated to him by his friend the Waferthin Ninja (www.waferthinninja.com.

Arhut tried to do a bit of painting but discovered he kept dripping snot all over his skirting boards messing up the finish, so he had to give up in the end and just go back to bed.

He couldn`t even enjoy his mini-egg Easter egss as he found his sense of taste somewhat screwed up. The most useful thing he achieved all weekend was to finish reading the book of Jumper, which was quite different from the film. it would have made a slower film with a focus more on character rtaher than action and Arthur can see why they chnaged it how they did to make a mopre eciting, action packed film. In fact the book really was rather depressing at times! Probably not the best thing to try and lift Arthur`s day when he was feeling unwell but never mind; it was still a good read.

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Nice coloured paint

 Thursday 20 Mar 2008, 8:19 AM

After his yellow paint disastaer from B&Q Arthur went to Homebase to try another colour. This time he decided to get a tester pot just to make sure. Arthur was initially going to go for another magnolia but found that crown paints were on special offer, buy 2 get third free, so decided to be a bit more adevnturous. They had a nice range of natural shades (i.e off whites!) and Arthur opened their catalogue and chose a colur scheme based on their photos in the brochure: white ceiling and "wheatgrass" walls . And becasue Arthur was getting a pot free he decied to go for a darker, contrasting colour to paint on his smaller end walls, called "picnic basket".

Once home, Arthur wasted no time in getting his first coat up and initially was rather concerned that "wheatgrass" was rather dark, especially compared to the yellow magniolia that had gone on there before. Still he persevered and went on to his "picnic basket" walls which were even darker! Arthur thinks the name "chocolate mouse" would have been more appropriate. Arthur was getting even more anxious - this was the darkest paint he had ever used and he was using it in his smallest room (thgus potentially making it look even smaller) but, once everyhting was painted and the nasty old yellow had been obliterated, the room looked good. Really good.

Arthur was originally going to paint the skirting in his favourites skirting board colur called "pebble mosaic", part of the Dulux custom colours range (strangely the name of this paint has now been chnaged to "rum truffle" which is nowhere near as good - this is paint, not a box of chocolates!) but having seen his lovely darker shade walls decided to go with egshell white for all the wood work and radiator. After a year of not much happening the room was coming togtehr quite nicely and, somewhat annoyingly, was rapidly turning into Arthur`s favourite room in his house! He would have to go back and repaint other rooms with some new darker colours to bring them up to the same standard!

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Yellow Paint

 Monday 17 Mar 2008, 6:08 PM

Arhtur is decorating one of his spare bedrooms at the moment. He had previously deocrated it many years back ready for a ledger to move in but had done it all in a bit of a hurry and it wasn`t a very good job - the walls were lumpy and uneven, even though they had been wallapapered, the skirting board was scruffy and patched together and the ceiling was a mixture of 2 different designs of polystyrene ceiling tiles! But this time Arthur decided to do a better job and take his time. Indeed Arthur first started stripping the room alomost a year ago and has only now got round to painting it having spent ages smoothing over the walls and ceiling.

Arthur decided to go for a nice easy, netral option when painting his walls so simply chose a large pot of magnolia paint from B&Q. "Nothing could possibly go wrong with magnolia" he though. Wrong.

After Arthur put up the first coat it was yellow. A pale lemony yellow. This is not what Arthur thought magnolia should be. it should be a brownish/pinkish off white rather than a yellowish off white. So Arthur painted a bit of wood to compare with other peoples magnolia paint just to double check he wasn`t going mad. And he wasn`t. Every other magnolia wall he compared it too made his paint look yellow. And everyopne else said it was wrong. Everyone except the satff at B&Q that is who, when Arthur went to complain about the paint, refused to entertain Arthur;s cimplaint in the slightest and all insisited there was nothing wrong (somehow they all suddenly had amazing memories that could pefcetcly colour match Arthur`s paint with what they had in their hallway at home). They even refused to honour their "no quiblle 100% satisfaction quarantee" printed on the pot! Arthur thinks there will be a complaint to head office and/or Trading Stnandards in the pipeline.

In the meantime it was off to Homebase for a new colour paint...

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Sergeant Frog

 Friday 14 Mar 2008, 6:14 AM Keroro Gunso model kits

As Arthur`s faviourite Panda-Z Toys are becoming harder to find by the day, he treated himself to some new Japanese toys from www.YesAsia.com a few days ago - a couple of cute, but kind of cool, figures from the Keroro Gunso, (aka Sergeant Frog) series.

Arthur doesn`t actually know anyhting about this series really although he ahs seen the fugures for quite some time now. The basic toys didn`t really inspire Arthur much, but a couple of new nes caught his eye as they were dressed in traditional Japanese samurai armour, which lifted them above the basic figure range. A few clicks later and Arthur had them ordered and, like clockwork, they arrived 5 days later from the ever reliable Yes Asia (Arthur thinks this must be the only company he`s ever ordered from who have never once made a mistake. And even if they had, Arthur suspects they did such a good job of rectifying the error that he doesn`t remeber it as a bad experinece at all; They really are one of the best online retailers there is).

Unfortunately upon opening the box, the figures were not quite what Arthur had expected - they were in fact model kits to be assembled rather than pre-built toys. Whilst Arthur was perfectly happy to build them (he did so whilst watching Ashes to Ashes on TV that night with a craft knife and an old cardboard box on his kness) the only dowbnside was that the finished product didn`t look as nice as the fully painted version on the box. The kits came in various colured plastics with stickers for spot colur and detail but were missing some of the finer painting such as gold trim on the uniforms and alike. Maybe Arthur will get out his paintbrushes and give them a good going over to finish them off although this will doubtless take quite some time to do a good job and Arthur is rather busy at the moment painting one of his spare bedrooms but thats another story altogether...

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Pocky and Posters

 Thursday 6 Mar 2008, 5:34 AM Captain America US teaser poster and some Japanese snacks

Well, after a long wait and numerous emails, Arthur finally got his parcel of Pocky 2 1/2 months afetr it was first ordered from www.jbox.com.

This first attempt at delivery was screwed up by the post office in England; It arrived somwehere in the country but was returned to Jbox in Japan with a "Not Collected, 8/1/2008" sticker on it. Well, Arthur would have collected it had he known it had ever arrived but alas there was no card put therough his door. But even more suspiciously, when Arthur went to hsi local sorting office, there was no record of the parcel ever having vbeen there, either arriving or being sent back to Japan. Even more mysteriously, the parcel was sent back to Japan less than 2 weeks after it was originally sent, even throuhg the post office are supposed to wait 3 weeks. Given that it must have taken at least a week to travel round the world it must have been in this country less than a week before being sent back. Personally Arthur doesn`t evcen think it ever made it to his local sorting office.

Anyway, after numerous emails, JBox kindly offered top send it again for free, using a trackable delivery methid jusyt to make sure. Unfortunately their lack of communication let them down somewhat and Arthur`s emails went unanswered for 2 weeks (not good service). Eventually the parcel turned up, almost a month after they said they were going to post it (it had only actaully been posted 4 days earlier). Still Arthur got his Pocky in the end, although they had removed one item from the delivery as it had passed its sell by date - probably becasue it had been over 2 months in transit travelling round the world several times! Grrrrr!

In slightly better customer service news, Arthur got some US one sheet posters from www.quadbod.co.uk. Yes, Arthur realise this is slightly ironic gievn that Quadbod deal in British Quad posters, but they had just had a job lot in to dispose of and Arthur grabbed 3 of them whilst they were going cheap. He got a nice Captaion America teasre, a Dolby Digital sound system promo and a Darkman teaser (Arthur already has this poster albeit with the edges trimmed off becasue they were a bit damaged from where it had been used to advertise the supposed UK premiere at the Leeds film festival many years ago - in fact Arthur had seen the actual UK preimere several weeks earlier at the Black Sunday film festival!)

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