Howdy folks, and first of all, apologies for my lack of bloggage of late. I’m right into writing Grimblades now and have, as my good buddy Steve says, ‘gone dark’ for the duration.
I’m going to try and blog intermittently on the usual stuff – what I’m reading, gaming, the odd review and maybe even an oddity or two from the marvellous world of the Internet.
Today, I’m pretty fatigued. I reckon it must have been the muggiest night of the summer so far in Nottingham last night and sleep was, unfortunately, a rare and precious commodity. Of course, Shakespeare’s incessant scratting and chewing of things (everything as the cold light of another muggy day revealed) didn’t help, but then I do loves the little ball of fluff and it’s only his nature, so I can’t be mad at him.
So, what’s going on then? Well, the Salamander competition goes well. I keep checking the inbox for the odd new entry after an initial influx. There’s still time if you want to enter the competition. If you want a copy of the book, over a month before it’s officially release, made out to you and signed by me then this is the place to get it. Here’s the link to the competition blog post or you can find it by trawling through the old posts via the archive list to the right of screen. All issues regarding the email inbox have been solved (the the previous blog post updated with correct details). Just email your answer to: email@example.com
Remember, you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose! Even if you don’t win a copy of Salamander you can still get your hands on Assault on Black Reach: The Novel as signed by me.
Okay, enough on that. In other news, I had an absolute storming day’s writing yesterday. I bracketed my effort over two ’shifts’, an early morning and a mid-afternoon. Consequently, I have smashed my target for the week and gained a pretty good foothold in next week too. This feat was achieved in no small way thanks to the purchase of my first netbook. Shift one of Grimblades was done on the laptop at home, and shift two on my new netbook at Costa Coffee in Waterstones.
I think I’ve said before how conducive I find a fresh environment to writing. So far, I’d only tested this with penning notes but yesterday I was able to see how I faired with actual writing. It went extremely well, especially after I changed seats from a slightly less central and coffee-spillage threatened corner (I had my eye on a great seat and was next in the queue but some cheeky swine jumped ahead, bagsied the seat and then went to get a drink – most annoying). Notebooks, I would day in my experience, are tricky little beasts to get used to. I have smallish hands and slim fingers but even I found myself pushing the ‘equals’ instead of the ‘delete’ key on more than one occasion. After about a half hour or so, I got used to the more restricted typing space and rattled off a couple of thousand good words. Very pleased indeed.
My plan, given I’m doing a fair bit of travelling at the moment with one thing and another, is to use it on the plane or train and make the most of the travelling time. If I’m being productive, the long journey will go by faster too.
In addition to my netbook, I also purchased Franklyn on Blu-ray yesterday. Not watched it yet, and I might be taking a bit of a risk given the so-so reviews I’ve seen for it and the fact it tanked at the cinema (I’ve seen more advertisements for it on DVD and Blu-ray than I did on its cinema release, though…). I’ll put up a full review soon as I’ve watched it and formed a coherent opinion.
Not played much Ghostbusters yet, though a short review is inbound soon as I have. So far, I’m only really on the initial training mission but I’m loving the feeling of getting to be a Ghostbuster and revisiting some old ‘haunts’ from the movies. In fact, the game does feel like you’re in the third movie, which might not be to everyone’s tastes. So far, I’m loving it but it’s way to early to tell if this game has got legs, or tendrils, or ectoplasmic vapour trails or whatever…
As I’d had such a disturbed night of ’sleep’, I wanted to chill out a little this morning, so I sat down for a couple of hours to watch The Kingdom on DVD. For those not in the know, the story is about an attack on US citizens on Saudi Arabian soil perpetrated by an extremist groups. A team of the FBI including bomb technicians and a forensic expert manage to barter/blackmail their way to the country so that they can try and figure out who was actually responsible for the attack.
The movie stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Batemen and Chris Cooper as the FBI team sent to aid the Saudi authorities in apprehending the criminals and the excellent Ashraf Barhom as Colonal Faris Al Ghazi, essentially a police officer who ends up in charge of the case and acts as liaison for the Americans.
It’s a Michael Mann film, so there were, understandably, lots of explosions and action. Certainly, the film was bookended in this way with the initial harrowing attacks that sets the whole thing off and a climatic finale. Setting all of the politics and issues of religion aside, the one thing I would really recommend about this film is the stunning final act in which the rest of the FBI team and some of Colonal Al Ghazi’s men effect a daring rescue attempt to prevent the execution of Adam Leavitt (Jason Batemen’s character). Exceptionally tense, fast-paced, if a little gung-ho, it was a great exercise in how to film a fantastic and emotionally-charged action scene. Watch it for this alone.
The acting is very strong, especially from Foxx as team leader Ronald Fleury, as it’s nice to see Garner, who played forensic examiner Janet Mayes doing something other than Alias or a bit part. Chris Cooper is just one of those acting warhorses, and in his role as bomb technician Grant Sykes, he doesn’t have a lot to do, but delivers a strong performance as always.
A good movie, I would say and not what I was expecting from Michael Mann.
Well, that pretty much wraps up the update for this morning (what’s left of it). I might have a look and getting another 1,000 words down for Grimblades, but only if the mood takes me. This humidity is really getting under my skin though, and something of a barrier to productivity, so I may pass.
Oh, and finally, how rubbish is it that the UK version of Watchman on both Blu-ray and DVD doesn’t contain the extra 26 minutes of Director’s Cut footage that appears on the US version. If you’re a fan, you’re probably already seething about this and have no doubt read the scathing reviews on the likes of Amazon etc. It seems a very odd move to me, but is perhaps indicative of our film distribution board in this country. It all seems very short sighted to me. Anywho, not to worry, apparently the US version is region free, so will play on UK players. I’ve ordered mine on Blu-ray already and I guess time will tell if it will actually work on my pS3 – here’s hoping…