Soundtrack Of My Graduation

30 09 2015

Preston Guild Hall Graduation Hat Throwing

Just over a couple of months ago, I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a 2:1 in Combined Studies (creative Writing and Screenwriting). Now while it was a big moment, graduating from University; the weeks prior and even the day before I was in no way looking forward to it. I was excited to see my friends from my course again, but I wasn’t looking forward to it for several reasons, one of the main ones being I don’t like getting ‘dressed up’. As the day went on though I actually enjoyed the whole thing and felt rather bad for not looking forward to it. Throughout the whole day though, I had a constant soundtrack going through my head. So I thought I would do a post about the soundtrack, why I thought of certain pieces of music and so on. Think of it as sort of one of those Father’s Day CD’s that gets released just before, well…..father’s day.

Preston Guild Hall

1. General Grievous theme – For most of the morning I didn’t have any soundtrack at all. When I got to Preston I had nothing much going through my mind, it wasn’t until I had signed in that I began to get nervous and shake. A little bit later I got my gown, and then tried to get a photo, but time was running out so I just went straight into the Guild Hall. It was at this moment that the feel of what was quite a heavy gown began to grip me. The grand thing of it all, and the theme for General Grievous came through my head. The grand music he has, and the fact he walks like he has a cape and walking stick. It made me feel like that and the music really helped to calm my nerves too.

2. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff theme – As I sat down and began to wonder what was coming and going to happen. A new piece of music came to my head. As I saw the stage I would walk onto, I visioned the grand theme of professional wrestler Paul Orndorff, particularly his theme from the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2005. It was just like Grievous, but I felt the combination of the gown and that music really worked together, but it was more just looking at the steps and stage that I just imagined some kind of music to play when I took to the stage.

3. Monty Python’s Flying Circus theme – As the ceremony ever more neared to starting, an Organ began playing in the background. Most of the music I did not know, but then it started playing the theme music to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It was a pretty good piece too.

4. King Kong 1976 Arena Entrance – The organ playing also made me think of something else too. In the 1976 remake of King Kong, when Kong is put on display and enters the arena, this really low, deep, organ piece is played. Its spine tingling, dark and spooky. And just for a laugh I thought it would be a cool piece to play for when the Chancellor came into the hall.

5. Sting In The Tail – It wasn’t really the song that I was thinking of. I think it was when I was sitting down, but my time was coming. And I just kept imagining hearing the announcement of my name and thought of the introduction to The Scorpions at their Get Your Sting & Blackout performance in 2011. I could just hear it in my head the announcement followed by the opening riff to Sting in the Tail being played as I walked on stage. Sadly that didn’t happen. Strangely enough though, at no point during the day did I think of Rock You like a Hurricane or Wind of Change.

6. Happy by Pharrell Williams – Naturally I wouldn’t have thought of this song at any time unless it came up some other way. Basically, as the ceremony began to wrap up, the UCLan Chamber Choir; who have won several awards and appeared on TV, came up on stage and sang a pretty good version of this song. The only time I would probably say I liked the song, because I don’t really.

7. Star Wars Ceremony theme – Let’s get the next 2 over and done with as quickly as possible. As the ceremony began to wrap up, the organist decided to play the end ceremony theme played at the end of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. I was instantly able to pick up on it. I thought it was a rather embarrassing piece to use.

8. Indiana Jones theme – This was then immediately followed by the theme from the Indiana Jones films. Why couldn’t they have used Jaws or Jurassic Park?

9. Killzone 2 opening – As the day began to wrap up, after the meal at the University, I began to like the feel of the gown. It began to make me think like I was some Grand Emperor or Villain. Sort of like Emperor Palpatine. But a much stronger image came out, that in the form of Scolar Visari from the Killzone games. At the beginning of the first 3, Visari; who is the game’s primary antagonist makes great speeches to the people of planet Helghan. His speech from Killzone 2 most of all began to resonate out of my head as I began to feel the gown more, like I could make those speeches. At the end of it all though I was pleased to get it off as it was rather heavy.

10. The Hunger Games ending – As the Graduation Ceremony passed, and as me and my parents got back home, I began to feel rather emotional. I didn’t want University to end. I had been going there for 4 years, and I liked it there. I was happy. But it had to come to an end. The ending theme for the Hunger Games appropriately came on. The one where Katniss and Peeta nearly eat the nightlock berries and their time on the train afterwards. That music just kept going through my head, and for most of that afternoon, I failed trying not to cry.

11. This is our God, The Servant King – I began to get out of the emotional afternoon by playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on my PC. When texting a friend though about what I felt, she suggested doing something that took your mind off things, and even suggested some hymns. The one that came to my head was the chorus for the Graham Kendrick hymn: “From Heaven You Came Helpless Babe.” Why just the chorus? Because I couldn’t remember the verses, plus the organ like feel in the chorus came to my head thanks to the amount of Organ playing I had heard earlier in the day. But altogether it worked; it helped me get out of the emotions I felt all afternoon (it was only very recently that I found out what the hymn was really called).

12. Mike Awesome theme – This one is in here only because I listened to it on my Mam’s kindle in the afternoon. It doesn’t really have much other significance during the day than that, but I thought I would cover all pieces of music.

13. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan theme – As the evening began to draw in, the original plan was for me and my family to go out for a meal to celebrate. While we originally planned on going to a Mexican restaurant in Preston, because I felt it was too soon to go back to Preston due to still feeling rather emotional, I asked if we could just grab a Go Burrito, a burrito place in Lancaster) and eat at home with some nice ice cream to follow. Well, as the evening out with my Mam to pick up the Burrito’s and buy some ice cream panned out; I began to feel like I could have milked receiving my Diploma a little bit more. This is mostly due to seeing a couple of people who did just that. One who took a selfie half way through, and another near the end raising a fist in triumph. Well, that’s where this theme came in (another hall of fame piece). I just imagined walking on stage again, playing this theme, waving a hand, (maybe kissing the air to the audience), but sadly I didn’t think about that earlier. Well, that’s where this theme came in, and I pretty much ended the day on that one.

14. The Raid: Razor’s Out – The thing is, after all that I felt like the list of pieces of music I had compiled didn’t really have a sense of closure to it all. It was left on this uncertain note. I felt like for this list to mean anything it needed that closure. I then remembered something. Earlier this year, for a period of 2, 3 months, I could only think about The Raid. After watching it again and writing one of the best reviews I feel I have written this year, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In May, as my last Academic week with Uni approached, I decided to make the song Razor’s Out by Mike Shinoda and Chino Moreno, played at the end of the film to be my ‘end of University song’. Well, it made sense to use it for this list. It does give closure to the whole day. It’s still an uncertain future, but puts a positive-ish piece, spin on the whole thing. It’s like it’s not ending on a positive, ‘everything is ok note’, but is still saying the future is uncertain, but I am glad of what I have done for the last 4 years and feel like I am ready to move on to the next adventure.

GENEPOOL (Also during the day my brother showed this rather funny Mitchell and Webb Sketch, couldn’t stop laughing afterwards).

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Top 5 Supreme Commander Experimental Units

23 09 2015

Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games - 2007)

Supreme Commander is one of my favourite games. I first played it back in 2007 (I think) and it very quickly became my favourite game. Designed by Chris Taylor and developed by Gas Powered games for the PC (originally), Supreme Commander is a Real Time Strategy game and is seen as the spiritual successor to Chris Taylor’s Total Annihilation released in the mid 90’s. In Supreme Commander; player’s build an army for one of 3 factions (United Earth Federation, Cybran Nation and Aeon Illuminate) in the hope of defeating one or many other armies in the local vicinity. It’s an absolute powerhouse of a game with loads of units and buildings to be built. One of the game’s most significant unit collections is its range of Experimental Units. These are big weapons that can give the user a strategic advantage over everyone else, provided that the enemy doesn’t have any also. While not completely invincible, most units and buildings don’t really stand much of a chance against them. For me the Experimental Units are the things I look forward to building most, as each one is unlike any other unit in the game. While more are introduced in the expansion and sequel, in this list I will only be mentioning the Experimental Units in the first game; so here are my Top 5 Supreme Commander Experimental Units.

Czar

5. Czar: Imagine a giant flying saucer; not as big as those ones from Independence Day, but still a really big one. Then imagine that it’s coming towards you, and then it starts to fire a giant laser on top of you that can destroy a house in one go. That’s what the Czar is: A giant flying saucer with a big downward vertical powerful laser. It’s almost like a giant flying donut, but because they are quick to build yet still pretty powerful I like to build them. Czar’s also have the advantage that due to their size, when they are hit so much they are destroyed, they fall out the sky, potentially destroying anything it falls on. The Czar also comes with the ability to house several aircraft, meaning that you can transport a fleet of planes to support it in combat, as well as to refuel any aircraft that need it (so sort of like the big ships in Independence Day).

Fatboy

4. Fatboy: Fatboy’s are large land based vehicles, like Giant tanks that serve two purposes. Firstly, they are like Giant Tanks. They can move underwater and on land thanks to 4 giant sets of tracks. They come armed with an armament of 4 pairs of three large cannons each; one on each corner. It’s like strapping three UEF battleships together and giving them tracks; it’s that big and powerful. It comes with a shield to protect it as it is vulnerable to air attacks and places on the top for two aircraft. The Fatboy’s other purpose though is that it is a mobile land factory. So you can land the thing near the enemy, then build an army with it for a full-fledged invasion. Most of the time though I just use it for the purpose of being a giant multi-gunned tank.

Monkeylord

3. Monkeylord: Possibly the weirdest sounding vehicle in the entire game, particularly as it looks more like a giant 6-legged spider with a big gun, but do not underestimate it for one second. The Monkeylord is an incredibly powerful machine. It has weapons that can be used on land, in water and defend itself against air attacks. It’s one of, if not the fastest experimental unit in the game. And above all else has access to a multi directional laser beam weapon that can cause lots of damage, very quickly and even (as I discovered a couple of weeks ago) can destroy something as big as a Fatboy, even when taking a pounding and eventually getting destroyed the second it finishes it’s attack. It is a really cool experimental unit that should not be ignored. While it may appear weaker compared to other experimental units, it’s just as deadly as they are.

Atlantis

2. Atlantis: The Atlantis is rather easy to explain. It is a submersible aircraft carrier. Whilst both Cybran and Aeon have aircraft Carriers, the UEF’s version is so different; it’s classed as an experimental unit. On the surface it can collect and hold up to several vehicles, but then for extra protection can dive underwater with its cargo safely inside. Of course it will need to surface again to launch them. I myself have not used them for much in the way of combat, but the AI has attacked me with them before, and they can be quite a serious threat, even when not underwater. I myself though use them as aircraft carriers and places to store and refuel aircraft when I need to. But the potential for their use is almost unlimited as they can be used as storage space, plus also help launch air support for an invasion, or even help launch a strike team when attacking an enemy base.

Galactic Colossus

1. Galactic Colossus: Out of all the Experimental units out there, there is one that stands mightier than all the rest. It’s a unit that can walk through any defensive line, trampling small units and buildings beneath its feet. It can survive near direct hits from nuclear weapons and the detonation of Commander’s. It can suck up and crush units with its hands…..or just destroy them all thanks to its great laser weapon. The Galactic Colossus can do all of these things. I am surprised at how much of a beating they can take, even surviving hits from nuclear missiles. When attacking you, it’s your greatest threat, but when you are in control of one; your enemy panics. They are incredibly dangerous and can bring about a quick end to nearly any fight, well…..when it gets there, it is rather slow. But, speed isn’t everything. Along with all that, it also looks like a big mechanical skeleton. It is a cool yet dangerous and destructive machine, and easily my favourite Experimental Weapon.

GENEPOOL





How/Where/When Do I Start?

16 09 2015

X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus book

After nearly 3 months since ordering it, a few weeks ago I finally received my copy of X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus through the post. I have been looking forward to its arrival for a long time now, but my search for such a book began several months before then.

Onslaught

I have known about the X-Men comics character of Onslaught for a long time now, but I never really looked into him before, although I have always been fascinated about him. So I looked up his character and history in the comics on Wikipedia, and I was amazed at what this single character was capable of. After reading the synopsis of the story, I knew I wanted to read the comic story and looked around online for it. All I could find was a collection of 4 books (X-Men: Onslaught – The Complete Epic) showing the whole series. I wanted to buy them, but finding all 4 books proved tricky. So I left it for the time being but I kept looking back in the hope that something might happen. I discovered that there were some other comics more readily available which chronicled the road to the whole Onslaught saga, but still no real sign of those saga books.

X-Men: The Road to Onslaught, Vol. 1 (Marvel - 2014)

Eventually though I discovered a full book was due for release soon. I looked it up and checked it rather a lot for price, plus to make sure it was the same story. It was, and so after nearly more than a month of eyeing it online, I put my order in for it, and now it has arrived and is sitting on my shelves waiting to be read. I knew when I ordered it, that it was a big book at over a thousand pages; however I completely underestimated at how big it was going to be. It arrived in a big box, and was thinking that once again the supplier (like many on Amazon) provided a big box, but the item inside is only a third of the size or something. Well it wasn’t. It was very big but also rather heavy. When I put it on the shelves alongside my other big books, while it’s not as tall as some of them, it is by far the largest book I currently own. And that’s where it remains as I have yet to read the first page, and don’t know what the best strategy to read it is.

Onslaught: The Complete Epic (Marvel - 2008)

 

It’s not like I haven’t read a large book before, it’s more that it is so big that I can’t use it for my main book read, as most of those can fit inside a normal plastic bag; and I can’t use it for bed time reading neither as it is possibly too heavy for that (plus I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and find that you fell asleep while reading a comic). The issue is more that because it’s unlike anything I have read before; I feel like it requires its own dedicated time and place to read it. So it comes down to needing to find a time to read it that will best suit me, plus where I can have space to open it; most preferably across a table for it to rest on, because I doubt I will be able to hold it by the bottom of the book spine like I am able to with most other books I read. At the moment though it is something of a struggle as I have other stuff to read too; I am only one chapter into Darkmouth: Worlds Explode and I am now fully engrossed in The Enemy series having just finished The Enemy and now moving onto The Dead. Plus I have yet to finish Save The Cat! and have begun reading If You Could Ask God One Question (plus a Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle that I received for my Birthday).

Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle (and you can just see the edge of a copy of the board game Taluva too).

It could be sometime before I finally make it round to reading Onslaught, but who knows, before then I may even get to read those prelude books and stories and then have an even larger knowledge of the story. I look forward to reading it too, because while I know the story thanks to Wikipedia, I will get to see it with my own eyes too. Let’s not forget; it is a comic book after all.

X-Men Avengers, Onslaught

GENEPOOL





Have I Finally Found A New Book Series?

9 09 2015

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

I like reading. I really do enjoy reading books. I enjoy the opportunity to get lost inside a new world, one that I have either not experienced before, or continuing one I previously have entered. For the past few years, since 2012 I think, reading has become one of my favourite past times, particularly when I am travelling by train. The amount I can read on the train depends on the distance of travel, but for Young-adult fiction; which is my main genre of choice, even the short 15-20 minute travel time between Lancaster and Preston can result in one whole chapter being read. Recently though I have been having a bit of a problem with my reading.

The Young Elites (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers - 2014)

The issue has been something of finding a book to read in the first place. I like reading book series as when one finishes, another begins and this continues until the final book in the series. When a series finishes then I have the tough task of finding a new book/series to read, but when at the beginning or in the middle of one I can just look forward to the next book. Due to how slowly I read also, series can last a number of months, and when I am interested in a particular series, I can just read that one and nothing more. Of late though its become a real struggle to find a new series.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

It’s not like I have very little choice either. My Goodreads wish list allows me to keep tabs on books I have spotted and explore them further. This allows plenty of consideration time as what I would like to read next. But some of the book series I have read over the last couple of years are ones I am not too sure about continuing. In that time I have read several series of books from Michael Grant’s GONE series, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games books and more recently Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy and A Monster Calls. I have also started some other series I wish to continue at some point from possibly Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles, Jasper Fforde’s Chronicles of Kazam and Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth books (the second book is my current bed time read). But other series of books I have tried in the recent past, have not gone the way I had hoped. Two particular series of mention include The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. While I did like some of these books and do have something in them for me to want to see where they are going, they also have little problems in them that I find put me off from reading anymore in the series either. However, in the midst of all these though I think I may have finally found a series that works for me.

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

Recently I have been reading The Enemy by Charlie Higson. It’s a series I have known about for about a year now, and it was only when I was looking for a new bedtime read that I picked up a copy of it. After finishing The Young Elites I began reading The Enemy. In my first sitting I read the first 10 chapters all in one go. I just couldn’t stop reading it. I didn’t struggle with the text size or formatting like I did with The Young Elites, nor did I think it was too complicated a plot. Much of it I thought read a bit like the GONE books. Due to a busy workload helping out at The Dukes play in the park again this year, plus other bits and bobs, continuing the book was a bit of a problem, but as I went down on the train for my holiday a couple of weeks ago, I was able to get back into it, and with relative ease, and I just couldn’t stop reading it then either, or even on the way back. At the time of writing this I was roughly no more than about 70 pages away from finishing it.

The Dead (Penguin - 2013)

Probably by the time this gets posted I will have already started the next one in the series; The Dead. I really do like the books. The setting of a zombie parent filled London and the children trying to survive in a new world without their parents is an interesting one. While there are moments I find a little bit silly, there are some really good characters and some really interesting stories going on. It’s not too hard of a read either; chapters are relatively quite short, and when in the reading zone can be just blitzed through. I really am enjoying it, and while this series like many others will not last and then I will need to go find new stuff to read, for now I am happy that I have found something new to read but will also keep me occupied for some time.

Stone Heart (Disney-Hyperion - 2006)

GENEPOOL





They’re Back!

2 09 2015

WWE Logo

This past week I was away on Holiday. Due to me not being able to leave until Monday I was able to stick around to see who won at Summerslam between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker; the result of which I was really happy about. While I was away on holiday I played some Laser Quest (if that is the right terminology) with friends at a place in Horsham, and used the name GOLDBERG as my gamer name instead of the usual GENEPOOL. I even had Goldberg’s entrance music going through my head as I went in and left the arena. Overall I came 3rd in that round, and at the time was the 5th highest scoring player all day (even though I do believe I was knocked down later on).

Anyway, what has all this go to do with the above title you might be asking; well I don’t know if you saw my post this time last year when I said there were only 3 real reasons why WWE was worth watching anymore. Well, things have changed, now there is another – or should I say 2 more. While I was away on holiday I did not see much of WWE because I did not have access to a TV……….and frankly I didn’t really care. Then I heard some amazing news. I heard that Sting is going to be facing Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship which is Great News – time for Sting to take the one world championship he has never held. But while that is all well and good (I’m a huge fan of Sting), something else caught my eye while looking this up. It concerns the return of one of the Greatest Tag Teams in wrestling history. A team who have held over 20 championships together and have remained, despite their image as villains; fan favourites. After a 10 year absence from WWE (mostly because they have been wrestling for TNA), Bubba Ray and D-VonThe Dudley Boyz are back.

Dudley Boyz

I found the video of their return on YouTube after looking at Sting’s return and silent challenge holding the WWE Championship belt. I was thrilled by this appearance from them. I don’t know what this means for them or WWE; but the fact they’re back is incredible news. The one thing I found hard to listen to was their theme music. The Dudley Boyz have had some good themes; from tag team and singles completion in TNA, to Aces & Eights and even differences in music in WWE. But for me their best theme music is the Bombshell soundtrack by Powerman 5000. It packs the attitude that such a team requires and presents. I just think that a return like that should have had that soundtrack, or maybe they did and I couldn’t hear it due to the reaction from the crowd, who knows?

Despite their theme music though, the return of the Dudley Boyz is a reason to celebrate, it means that essences of WWE that made me start watching it in the first place are starting to make a return. Mix this up with Sting possibly challenging for the WWE Championship, plus the recent re-appearance of The Undertaker and revolution in the Diva’s division, and it all comes together to make WWE worth watching again (for me at least). Now there is more than just 3 reasons to watch WWE, there are several.

Sting Champion

GENEPOOL (“Get the Tables”).








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