Month: May 2009

My “Personal” Birthday


Well, its that time of year, and its my birthday once again. I normally spend my actual birthday (the 7th) on my own reflecting and planning for the future and have my birthday celebration (this year the 9th in Liverpool) a few days later.

An old friend Andy Gepp (who at the time I called  a Buffoon ) once told me that he always took a day of on his birthday. He reasoned that otherwise, it just becomes like any other day.

Ive always felt the same way, although taking a day off at the moment is a bit redundant (pardon the pun). Still, a candles as bright as you see it, and a day is as special as you make it.

No gym, and a 9am lie in as a treat. Nothing to do, as I have already cleaned my room, prepared my clothes and everything, so nothing routine needs doing today (apart from reviewing available jobs).

Read texts and emails wishing me happy birthday (a nice virtual card from Frank and Na) and then go downstairs and start opening my cards.

Bath and get ready ( Ill be doing some walking later, so I try for the “stylish rugged look” that I can sometimes pull off).

When people think of luxury’s, they probably think of yachts and Ferrari’s. One pure luxury for me, that I absolutely love, is having a sit down full English breakfast. I head for British home stores, and order the whole 10 items breakfast.

Plenty of fuel, I head towards the Grosvenor Park. Its a beautiful day and the sun is shining. After spending another 40 minutes, just wandering around and sitting in the sun, I head for the waterfront, across the handbridge and up towards the Westminster park.

I wander deep into the forest and then leave the path. Exploring in forests is one of life’s pleasures for me. On a tracking course some years ago I was taught to do a sit spot. It involved sitting very still. It was designed as a stalking technique, but over the years Ive learned to develop it to help me relax.

I can do it now for up to 3 hours, but on this occasion, being all alone in the forest, an hour is enough. Wander through Handbridge, notice ANOTHER new pub there.  Decide to organise a pub crawl up there at some point in the near future.

Mum calls, and we chat for about half an hour. I miss being in Manchester, but Ive been back and I know that Chester’s my home.  Say goodbye to mum, and then head for the meadows (pictured above).

Loads of open ground to walk along, then I make for the banks of the river Dee, and wander back towards Chester town center.

Its nearly lunchtime, so I head back to my local, the Frog and Nightingale. All the staff are there, as its Race day (I hate the Chester Races as town gets really busy, but its no problem, as I have other plans for the afternoon). I get various congratulations (and free “birthday” pints).

Its lunchtime but I’m not hungry after such an enormous breakfast. I know from experience, it takes 28 minutes to walk from the Frog to the Cinema, and the first showing of the new Star Trek film will be at 12:50 so I set of (I have given myself an emergency 2 minutes to spare).

Arrive at the Cinema, the film starts almost straight away, which is excellent. Wont talk too much about the film, as its mentioned in this weeks media review.  Suffice to say, it was completely on the wavelength of my birthday mood.

Nip back to see my friends Sean and Mandy. They don’t own half the things I own, haven’t been to a 10th of the places ives seen nor done a 100th of the things Ive done, but they are quite the happiest couple I know, its a pleasure to spend time with them and always gives me a sense of perspective about whats really important.

While there, a mate texts me, and asks how to get into a certain pub (a lot of nice local pubs, get swamped by racegoers, and they have invented some quite ingenious techniques for ensuring only locals and regular get in. Its for this reason, I wont mention the name of the pub nor the routine, in this case).

I explain the procedure and I get a text a few minutes later, he and his friends have got into the pub.

A text from Dan, inviting me out for the evening. The Oaklands, a pub I have never taken too. Still a few friends are out, who I havent seen for a while, so I head over.  Evening turns out pretty cool after all (they must have sacked all the staff and re-hired).

On the way home, I pop into the Sea Breeze chippy in Hoole.  Pie and Chips, home, one episode of  Special Victims Unit and then bed.  Another birthday over.

Whats hot, week begining 4th of May (revised)


Saw the new Star Trek film yesterday. It really was superb. I don’t just mean that from a Star Trek fan perspective, I mean it was 2 hours of action, entertaining plot, and enough science fiction, without going over the top.

The bench mark for me, is similar to the James Bond film Casino Royale. I have always loved Bond films, but I have never seen one that, if it didn’t have someone in it called James Bond and all the usual trappings, would work as a good action thriller in its own right. Casino Royale was the first one to do that.

The new Star Trek, does, I believe achieve the same thing for the Star Trek franchise. JJ Abrahams work in Lost (and before that Alias) along with Mission Impossible III displays his credentials for making exciting action films.

The story shows the original characters growing up and how they develop. There are some cool moments,  for example we find that Sulu is an expert with some kind of Samurai sword. The stuff about Spock being a man constantly in conflict with himself (eluded to in the series and films, but never really gone into in any detail) is finally explained.

A drunken Kirk fighting in bar and saying “you can whistle really loud” to Captain Pike, is one of the many genuinely hilarious moments.

If your reading this now, make some time this evening or over the weekend to go and see this film and watch it as it was meant to be viewed.  Don’t wait for Sky,  wait for the DVD or download it, you owe it to yourself to enjoy this properly.


Main things happening on the media front:

Wolverine, to be honest was disappointing. I remember several years ago, watching film 93. I remember that whoever was hosting it at the time, mentioned 3 things, which were critical to a good film. In the years since, I’ve forgotten 2 of them, but have always remembered the 3rd.

A film must create characters that are believable. If this isn’t possible, then the audience must at least be able to identify with the characters they are watching. The reason this is important, stated the host, was that otherwise, when you put those characters in danger in the film, nobody actually cares.

That’s a lot like Wolverine. There are some great action sequences (I find it funny, that the film makers were complaining about the film being distributed unfinished on the Internet. In reality, every action sequence is featured on the TV advert anyway) but the story never seems to gel, is overly long, and there are some strange moments with his father, brother and Stryker.

Having read up on the film, on the Internet, it seems like the original story, contains loads of other stuff, that would have made it a lot more interesting (you see Colonel Stryker looking at a young male mutant, who has been frozen , no point is made, that the boy is actually his son).

On the other hand, there is some pretty cool dialogue, which I am sure is unintended. When told in that thoroughly military voice “your country needs you”, he replies “I’m Canadian !”.

On TV front, Special Victims Unit, gets better and better. I have also taken to watching every episode of Red Dwarf since hearing about the remake on the Sky channel Dave. Red Dwarf, really is one of the most imaginative TV programs I think I’ve ever seen and I thought the last seen of the last episode of season 8 with the Grim Reaper, was fantastic.

A film I saw last week, 17 again, was far better than I expected. It wasn’t the teenage girl film I had expected, it had much bigger things to say about life. I really enjoyed it, and I would recommend watching it.

Just finished reading Wilbur Smiths new book, Assaigi. It really is terrible. The first half is okay (and considering he only brings out a book every 2 years, that’s far from acceptable) and the second half turns into some kind of Mills & Boon nonsense. Finally, the ending is a complete anti-climax.

If his next book is as bad as this, I’ll stop buying them, and get it from the Library.