Play it Again Philip

22 06 2016

Philips DVD Player

This past Saturday, I bought a brand new DVD player. Not much in the extraordinary I understand: people buy DVD’s and DVD Players all the time; so why is mine so special? Well, I say this, because, the previous DVD Player I had I received all the way back in November 2005. Yes, I have had the same DVD Player for nearly exactly 11 years. Yet again, maybe not the most extraordinary thing out there to talk about, but given the time I had it for and had become acclimatised too, plus the panic and nerves I created in buying a new one, I thought it could be an interesting blog post (if anyone is interested in history of personal items belonging to other people, sort of like those posts I wrote last year about my Bed).

New Bed with Bedding

Back in 2004, I got into watching Pro Wrestling. Every Saturday morning for a time I would watch WWE Smackdown on Sky One. As time passed by, I bought some WWE DVD’s to watch, however the only DVD player in the house was down stairs, and it was hard to watch any WWE event on DVD on the DVD Player as other people were not necessarily a big as a fan of WWE as I was. After several months, I decided to buy my own DVD Player, and put it in my room with my TV. So, the day after my birthday, I bought one from Currys, took it home, hooked it up to my TV and was able to watch programming. I cannot remember much about that player, except the title screen showed bubbles, the manufacturer started with an S and it had this blue streak across the front of the machine. That machine was pretty problematic as it would not play some DVD’s, would majorly struggle with others, and by October (less than 5 months after buying it), the machine packed in and had swallowed one of my DVD’s (WWE Armageddon 2004). My Mam took me to Currys, but they could not fix it, and the following Monday when I returned, they were able to take out the disc, but the machine had already totalled. As I still had the receipt, I was able to swap it though, and under the advice of a store clerk, I bought the Philips Machine, which worked brilliantly for over a decade.

Philips DVD Player 2

The machine was a nice silvery colour, and the controller was short and fat, but easy to control. It was a wonderful machine. I remember the week I picked it up, going to Currys with the old one after College, swapping it over, watching some DVD’s on it, then breaking my Knee Cap the following Saturday. It’s not the DVD Players fault, it just happened within a few days of each other. Anyway, it was good and I liked it. Back then I had an old TV which my family had previously rented before buying which I then utilised for my room. It was perched on a table which I still have, and the DVD Player was next to it. The early history of the machine was tumultuous as there were some scart issues. The old TV had only one Scart Plug, so over the years when I got more items requiring a socket, I would have to switch from one to the other, which weakened the connection, so it was hard for it to sit in the socket properly, which was even harder when the TV would get shoved aside, which would cause colour issues. At one point I bought a multi scart from Comet which I was assured by a store clerk would work well, but did not, and it was covered by those ridiculous small prints that once the package was opened could not be returned; I wasted some good money on that thing. Eventually however, I received the old downstairs TV (a JVC), which was bigger and had multiple scart sockets, so problem solved in the long-term.

The TV

What followed was many more entertaining and wonderful years of watching DVD’s, until just a few weeks ago. I had begun to re-watch the first season of Arrow on DVD. After playing the episodes, the DVD Player would struggle to reload the menu screen. I just thought that may be due to the disc being a previously used copy, but it just got worse. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch Hellboy, but the machine really struggled to load the DVD, it took forever. I cleaned the disc best I could, but once again struggled. I was able to watch it in the end, but I decided to run a test, if it was the DVD, or the player. I took out my DVD copy of Pacific Rim, something I had only run in the machine twice, meaning the disc was still relatively new. I put into the machine, and it did not load. The player was really good for loading a disc in less than about 12 seconds, after 30+, it did not load. I tried to empty the machine, but it even struggled with opening the tray. Luckily I was able to get it out. I then took the DVD downstairs and put it into one of the Players down stairs, and the disc loaded in seconds without a hitch (once I put it in the right way). I tried one more time a week or so later, and it was the same result for the Philips. I did not bother trying it down stairs; it was obvious the machine was dying.

Philips DVD Player Controller

In the end, I decided to buy a new machine. The Philips I had for all that time was a very good machine and had served me well, but even I knew it was time to say goodbye. I did some pre-checking in PC World and Currys, before then deciding that this past Saturday would be the day I would buy a new machine. It was quite handy too as I had been in town before purchasing it to get some books, and watch Princess Mononoke at The Dukes. I went into Currys and had a look. It was nerve-wracking as for one I did not want to spend too much, but two, because the TV was old, it would need some form of old connection as standard in order for me to be able to use it (and three, having previously bought a terrible Matsui from Currys many years ago, was hoping to buy something not so terrible). While I was in Currys I did ponder whether it would be best to get a new TV too, but given my current employment status (desperately looking for work) I knew I would have to raid my savings to buy a new one. So for now it was just the DVD Player. In the end and with some help, it came down to 2 machines, a Sony and a LOGIK. Knowing it would be better to get a more trusted brand, or at least one I had heard of, I went originally for the Sony as it had the Yellow White Red connections in the back, but when someone in the shop said that strangely the box might not contain those cables, I thought in that case I would buy the LOGIK as it had a Scart Connection too (although did not come with the cables, but I could still use the one from the Phillips) plus the coloured connectors and USB (and HDMI I think). After purchasing it plus buying some other bits and bobs quickly, I brought the machine home, and soon after set to work plugging it in.

Philips and LOGIK DVD Player Controller's

It was relatively straight forward in the end, just swap out the Philips, plug-in the LOGIK and then test it. Yeah, pretty simple. When it came to testing it which was simple enough, I knew I needed something good and clear to test it with. The TV is not HD, and frankly I do not care about HD, but I still wanted a clear enough picture. So, I chose the film AKIRA. AKIRA is of course the animated Japanese film from the late eighties, and knowing due to the film’s high sophisticated choice of colouring, knew it would be ideal to test it with. And it worked absolutely fine. It loaded very quickly, and it was a clear picture.

Neo-Tokyo

The controller is a lot thinner than the old one, but still easy to use, and unlike the Philips, does have an open/close button. Once I watched a little Akira, I tried it again a couple of times later, watching an episode of The Detectives, and the video diary of Tim Vine (from one of his DVD’s). Altogether, I like my new DVD player. It’s thin and black and fits nicely where the old one used to be. It’s black so fits in with the Virgin Media box sitting comfortably on top (both are very light, but did not fancy placing the player on top the box, as it’s wider), is quick, and very easy to use. So turns out I did not have to worry so much. So, so far so good. Will it last another 11 years, I don’t know, but as long as it lasts a good comfortably long period, I won’t need to worry about buying another one for some considerable time. So, all in all: good.

LOGIK DVD Player

GENEPOOL (Pop Quiz Hot Shot: What is the above title a line reference too that most people get wrong)?





Am I A Vampire?

11 05 2016

My Week

It has been very hot recently. I first started to spot it a few weeks ago while walking around the University Campus where I currently work. It was a very hot day, and I struggled with it. Since pretty much birth, Me and the Sun have never really been able to healthily co-exist, but it was not until a few weeks ago that I began to wonder if there was something more wrong with me.

Sun Cream

Since birth, I have been naturally ginger haired. For some reason when I was young, this made me a target for large amounts of sunburn, and embarrassing situations when I was smothered in sun cream and this continued for many years. I remember especially when I went on Holiday to Jersey with my family, and a day at a Castle (Mont Orgueil possibly) near St. Helier where I spent most of the visit in the shade, because I was unable to stand the heat coming from the sun. I was thankful when Sun Lotion came in a spray bottle later on, less embarrassing, but to be honest, I have not applied a blob of sun cream since 2009, I just don’t want to remember the embarrassment that came with it. Plus I had this hypochondria issue at the time where I would then have to go and wash it off just in case if any got in my mouth. These days I would catch the sun, but as I have got older I think I must have been able to stand it enough not to get sunburn; even more so as I wear huge amounts of heavy black clothing even in the summer. But it was not until a few weeks ago, on a hot sunny spring day, that I began to wonder the above question.

Daffodils

I was outside Foster Building after a meeting with a careers officer, walking back to Vernon Building where the office I work in is currently located. As soon as I stepped outside, the sun was on me, I hug close to the building hoping to grab the shade, but when the sun hit me when travelling between shades, I almost needed to dive for cover. I kept on walking, but it felt more hot on me than usual. Now, maybe it was the case it was just a hotter day than usual, but at that moment I began to wonder, if my history, coupled with my adult self, made it all clear, that really I am a Vampire.

The Strain

Now it’s something to jump to the conclusion that you are some supernatural force when most of those things as far as we know are fictional. It’s probably fair to say that I am not, as there are other things that need considering in the case of finding out whether or not you are a Vampire, such as the Teeth, but having canines are probably not enough, I mean look at Cats, they have two pointy teeth and as far as we know don’t want to suck out your blood as the following video showcases.

But you cannot blame me too much into thinking about Vampires…..as recently I have been thinking a lot about Vampires. It comes mostly down to one TV Show and one vampire in particular: The Born.

The Born

I am a big fan of the TV Series; The Strain. A TV Show based on a trilogy of books written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story revolves around a virus strain that turns people into Vampires. It’s a really good show and my favourite after the Loss, Demise and End of Top Gear. During series 2 though, we were introduced to a new character played by Rupert Penry Jones who goes by the name Mr. Quinlan; but is also known as The Born. He is a character I have come to love; he carries a screen presence unparalleled almost by anyone else (possibly with the exception for Dutch played by Ruta Gedmintas). He is a vampire, but more importantly is the son of the big villain; The Master, and has spent centuries looking for him, so he can kill him. He is very much like Blade in his origins story, but I find he is near cooler than Blade; like to say that Blade might have finally met his match. Anyway, for some time now, I have found myself, quoting something the Born says in an episode, so much so that I find it hard to stop. It’s a great set of lines, and one great to speak if you have a throat issue, as it makes you sound like him.

Anyway, It was on that spring day, that when the sun hit me, that I nearly started talking like him, speaking out those lines. I thought about my sun burn issues of the past, I remembered scenes form Blade: The Series where vampires would burn from the touch. I began to think across paths, between Blade and The Born, and scenes they appear in. Now on the one side it might actually be quite cool to be one of those two, who wouldn’t want to be an indestructible vampire that was also generally a cool guy? But on the other, sun burn could still be a great issue, and you would have to live at night, which at times can be ok, but others pretty boring. Anyway, I just wondered if in those cases if I might have been a vampire due to my connection between me and the sun in the form of sunburn.

More than likely I am not a vampire, but have a similar trait to vampires in that I cannot stand the sun. However, if I start to grow pointy teeth and have a desire to suck your blood, or suddenly gain other traits of vampirism, I will let you now. Has all this taught me though that maybe I should wear sun block? No, It keeps you from sun burning your skin, but in the end it does not actually block you out of the sun or cool you down, as what Sun Block should really do, in all fairness; that’s what it’s called. So, I’d say No; still no requirement for me to wear Sun Block!

GENEPOOL





The WordPress Blog Fish

30 03 2016

Lionfish

In February I discovered a new species of Fish. No, not the above, that is of course a picture of a Lion Fish (or a Pterois if you want to be pedantic) and has been known about for a very long time. No, I discovered a brand new species of Fish, one that is so rare, that you will be lucky if you get to see it at all. This fish is unlike many other species of fish as this one does not live in Water. It does live in the surf of its native habitat, but this species of fish inhabits a completely different territory; that of the World Wide Web, in particular on the web service known as WordPress. It is very hard to spot, but this could be more the case that the creature is not really found but more created into life.

WordPress Logo

By now I start to run out of things to say to suggest that it is a real creature; it isn’t (unless there is one in which case I apologise). No, basically the best way to describe what on earth I am talking about is to go back to October last year. You may remember (unless you didn’t see it), back in October I did a series of film reviews over the course of a week, all of which were from the X-Men Film Series to that point. Well, every year I get this little feature from WordPress which is an analysis of the blog during the year. One feature this thing includes is a table showing when posts are posted. Most of the time I try to get posts posted on a Wednesday, however to include the week and build up to the week, I posted the posts in a different way, to cut a long story short, when I looked at the end of year stats for my blog, the feature showing posting patterns showed what looked like an Arrow head for that period.

Arrow

You might be thinking (or not) why am I talking about this and Fish? Well, during February, I posted 2 rather small blog posts in the second week, so I added a third and did them so there would be 3 posts in a row. When I looked at the posting patterns on my blog menu, I wondered if I could do something similar as what happened in October. The reason for this though has a second reason, and that is that later this year it will be my 500th post, and I wanted to try and get it a bit closer. So thanks to this little bit of fun during February I was able to post 8 posts over one month, so I think it worked. Anyway, having put up one post at the beginning of February, followed by 3 the following week, I then scheduled some more posts. One for the week after 3 posts, and then 2 the week after that, and then another 2 the week after that (one of which was the first post of March); scheduling the dates in such a way that the end result would look like a Fish. Here is the end result:

Fish

I think I managed to pull it off quite well. I was worried that I would get a day wrong, but overall I like to think that it has worked. You can see the tip of the head, the main body, then a taper behind which then leads onto a Thresher Shark like tail. It’s sort of like the old CITV show Art Attack trying to make a Big Art Attack, especially the one where he tries to do one with the New York City Skyline.

New York City Skyline at night

Don’t know if I will do anything like that again, it was more that the opportunity presented itself and I just went with it. I think the end result is pretty good. Maybe next time I will try and do something a little more complicated. When that will be however I don’t know, as right now I just want to take it nice and slow until I reach Post 500.

Moorish Idol

GENEPOOL





Shona And Isla: More Photos

10 02 2016

Shona and Isla

In 2014, I put up a quick post which was filled with pictures of my cats. Well, this week’s set of posts are all relatively small, so I thought I would add an additional one with even more pictures of Shona and Isla. Some changes have taken place though since the last set, specifically for Shona who since last time has had a lot of teeth removed. She had an abscess on her teeth, which meant it was very painful for her to do anything with her mouth. She has now about 4 teeth at most, but since then has been in a happier state with no longer being in pain. Anyway, here are some more pictures of Shona (the big one with white chest and feet) and Isla (the small one with no white on her, I think); Enjoy.

Shona Isla Shona Isla Shona Isla Shona Isla Shona Isla

GENEPOOL





Cakes Glorious Cakes

9 02 2016

Oreo Cake 8

I like baking, baking is something I find very fun to do. Either doing it in my spare time, or doing it for an event, either way I like baking. I have been baking for many years now, but more recently I have begun to take photos of the things I have baked to show my friends on Facebook. So, in something of a quick post but also to show off my baking talents to the world, I thought I would do a quick post showing some of the cakes I have made recently (and maybe not so recently)…and maybe include some description. Any way, enjoy the post (especially as you will not be able to enjoy the cakes, not unless I know you and let you have some, or make any of these yourself).

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake: This is a basic chocolate cake recipe with Icing in the middle and on top (I think) with icing sugar to finish it off (Click Here for the recipe).

Oreo Cake 1

Oreo Cake: This is something of my own creation, it’s basically a chocolate cake with Betty Crocker White Icing in the middle to make it look like an Oreo. Plus, the mixture for the two cake halves have crushed up Oreo’s in them (Click Here for the recipe).

Mini Egg Cake

Mini Eggs Chocolate Cake: This is basically a chocolate cake with Mini Eggs added on top for decoration. The inspiration to do this came from a cake recipe book I got as a birthday present a few years ago.

M&M's Cake

M&M’s Chocolate Cake: Much like the cake above, this is a standard chocolate cake but with M&M’s added for decoration. Originally intended to have Mini Eggs on, I couldn’t find any, so bought some M&M’s instead, then I found somewhere where I could get eggs, so bought some to make the cake above.

Minstrels Cake

Minstrels Cake: Same again…but with Minstrels.

Cake Pops

Cake Pops: One of the things I have grown to become quite good at making this past year is Cake Pops. I have made many of the last 12 months and continue to enjoy making them plus come up with ideas for some. These I made for New Year’s Eve are the basic Cake Pop recipe, but have chocolate instead of icing for the tops, and are then covered in an assortment of chocolaty sprinkles/decorations including popping candy.

Chocolate Log

Chocolate Log: One of my favourite Christmas traditions, me making a Chocolate Log. Basically it’s a Swiss Roll bought from the shops, and then covering it in Chocolate Icing, before dusting it off with icing sugar, and placing Christmas themed decorations on top. We used to have more, but now it really only comes down to Father Christmas (I am hoping to post a sort of recipe for this sometime in the future).

Chocolate Roulade

Chocolate Roulade: Following a recipe from the book (briefly) mentioned above, this was my first attempt at making Chocolate Roulade. It’s cream in the middle, chocolate base and topping and is finished off with some of those silver sprinkles that look like ball bearings.

Bake Me A Cake (Good Housekeeping - 2013)GENEPOOL








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