Well, all systems go for my birthday next Saturday the 8th. Full details here.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, listed in the Guiness book of records as the worlds greatest living adventurer.

On my first Inter-railing trip, I took a book called Living Dangerously, it was the autobiography of Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Ran is one of my life hero’s, and I was delighted to read recently, that he will be visiting Chester on the 24th of June. Full details here.

I’ve added 2 things to 17 things I like, so its now called 19 things I like.

Hanging Tents.

Speaking of Mountaineering, a chap I did my mountaineering training with is on expedition for 21 days on Baffin Island.  Mike “Twid” Turner and 2 of his fellow climbers will be mountaineering in the daytime, and sleeping in hanging tents at night (oh, and in between, they will have to avoid wild bears).

The cool thing is, they they have a sat phone with them, and will be answering questions each evening. You can find out about it and possibly ask them a question (I will be) here.

I only have about 25% of my hearing (In my youth, I went on lots of longs walks, with a cassette walkman screaming in my ears. It provided me with all kinds of inspiration and ideas, but at a price.) if you want to get an idea of what the world sounds like to me, click on this.

You may remember, that I did some work with Antique Pine Imports, with the intention of learning about joinery. Whilst working with Matty, we listened (in my case under duress) to Radio 1. The outcome, is that I can’t stop humming “she said” by Plan B. Torture !.

People voting.

I said recently, there wasn’t much that was funny about British politics. I’ve change my mind, after watching this and this , done with state of the art animation for foreign audiences.

Seriously, its important to vote. I’ve stood in Nelson Mandela’s cell where he worked for 27 years to restore democracy to his country. I’ve stood in Wenceslas Square in Prague, where  Jan Palach set himself on fire  as there was simply no other way to protest for democracy and be heard.

Warren Buffet once said “If you’ve been at a card game for 30 minutes, and you cant work out who the patsy is, you are the patsy !”. British Politics is a bit like that. The parties all seem the same, the expenses row has shown many politicians to be corrupt and the economic problem looms so large, that you wonder if anyone can fix it. But if you don’t vote, then you literally are the problem, not a symptom, whatever you tell yourself.

I remember being on a train once, and it was very late. I was annoyed, and talking to a passenger next to me. I explained that the ticket had cost £90 and the train still didn’t run on time. The passenger replied that he hadn’t bought a ticket, he had sneaked onto the train without paying, but he was still annoyed. The passenger sat across from me, turned to him, and said if you don’t pay, you don’t get complain !.

If you don’t vote, you cant really complain afterwards.

The "I want to believe poster" from the X Files.

I’ve been watching a series by another of my life heroes, Stephen Hawking. Into the Universe, explores all sorts of things that you normally see in science fiction, in a grown up but interesting way. I’ve said many times that we cant possibly be alone in the Universe, and that I hope we make contact with Aliens in my lifetime.

I’ve always believed that once Aliens are discovered, the fundamental reality that we aren’t alone will bind the human race, more closely together. Startlingly (but subtly put) Hawking reckons that we should be cautious of meeting up with Aliens of superior technology and almost avoid letting them know of our existence.

He points to the example of the native North Americans as an example of what could happen to us !. I certainly hope not.

I went to see Iron Man 2 the other evening. Money is tight, but I use my Tesco vouchers to buy Cinema tickets, which works out quite well.

One thing that really annoyed me, was how they now have a sign saying you cant take your own food and drink into the Cinema. I can get 2 bottles of Coke from Wilkinsons, for 99p. They charge £2.40 for one. Things bought from the Cinema shops, have a special sticker on them. Everything else isn’t allowed !.  I think that its a liberty, and I’ll be surprised if its legal.

Anyway, on to the film. Firstly, the scene in the trailer, with Pepper Pots (which interestingly, is my mum’s name (I mean the surname, is her family name. Her first name, is Vera, and she is really nice. I’d be embarrassed if she was called Pepper !)) throwing the helmet out of the plane, never actually happens in the film.

The action and effects were everything I expected. They had opted for a few big action scenes, which left a lot of the film free for character development and plot twists (its just a shame, that they didn’t actually use it for this purpose, as far as I could see 🙂

My main disappointment, was with the continuity. In the first film, as he escapes from the cave, he turns to his dying friend, and says come on, well get out of here, and you can be with your family. He replies, my family are dead. Ill be with them soon, and you realise that he had never intended to leave the cave. With his dying words, you hear him say, don’t wast your life Stark. A billionaire arms dealer, he returns home and vows to change.

He does change for the duration of that film, but in the 2nd one, he’s back to his old ways.

Other silliness is the love interest with PP, the fallout with his best friend, and dealing with his illness. All handled with enough Ham and Cheese to provide Britain’s workforce with lunchtime nutrition for a year.

The ending is pretty cool and the audacious scene, where he builds a particle accelerator from heating pipes and creates a new element, almost makes up for the pointless congressional hearing scene at the beginning.

I’ve always been a real fan of the Iron Man franchise. Its not like a normal superhero series. He hasn’t been bitten by a spider, or escaped from a doomed planet, he’s just an engineer, however gifted, who builds a machine that can protect the innocent and fight tyranny (or that’s what the original comic book was about).

One scene in the first film, really connects with me. A fictional group of villagers are being held at gunpoint in Afghanistan. How many times in real life, have you switched on the tv, and seen something terrible happening on the other side of the world. If your like me, you felt stricken, hoped that things turned out okay, but inside you knew that you were powerless and that probably things would end badly.

What if you could get into your suit, fly there and make things right. There wasn’t a single scene in the second film like that.

Chester Film Society

It was my 2nd trip to the Cinema that week. On Tuesday, I finally got around to watching Be Kind Rewind at the Little Theatre, with the Chester Film Society. I have been on their mailing list or nearly 4 years, but finally got around to going.

I was really impressed. Like everything that the traditionalist’s do here in Chester (including the sponsored walk), it was done properly, and organised with military precision. They even had a small bar, so Glenn and I had a drink, then went upstairs to watch the film.

They had a really smart setup, with a large screen, good audio and the film on DVD. One thing I did like, was a short film, shown before the main film. It used to always be this way when I was growing up, and encouraged many young directors. We realised at this point, that it was the last film of the season, and they actually conducted an AGM before the main film.

Glenn and I (who aren’t members, it must be said) had a quick look at the budget, and listened intently to the plan for next year, the fact that the Olympics has wreaked havoc on grants from the arts council, and other important matters. The main point I wanted to raise, was that Carling, in their bar, was only £1.40 a pint, and that I would like the price to be held into next season. I couldn’t find the confidence to actually say that, so I’ll just have to hope.

It wasn’t the best film, I have ever seen, but it was enjoyable. The main thing I remember of the experience , was how enlightening it was to sit and watch a film, with about 80 other people who had all come out that evening just to watch the film. There was no talking, mobiles popcorn or any of that rubbish.

I’ll be going back, I really enjoyed it.

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