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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Taking A Break

22 07 2015

Tea

For the past few weeks I have been working hard on producing a series of film reviews to be posted over the space of a week. For such a task, I chose one specific film series, the name of which I intend to as secret as possible to be a surprise when it finally happens. Writing a series of film reviews though does take time and at best I am able to write about 1 a week. So 7 films should take about 7 weeks. Well, not really. It took me close to 2 weeks to get the first one written before I then put myself onto a proper schedule. I am currently (at time of writing) 3 films in, with 4 to go. Due to having a fully booked week last week due to my Graduation and a day out at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, I took something of a week off from writing with a plan to restart the following week with a plan to get straight back into the reviewing process as soon as possible. Watching the same film series and writing about it over a series of weeks, (particularly when the series is more than 3 films long) can get a bit tiresome and eventually you can find yourself craving to watch something else. During my Graduation week, I thought I could take the opportunity to watch some other film entirely in order to break the cycle, I did not however take such an opportunity and found myself about to restart writing film reviews again, and it’s not helping when the next film is the worst in the series.

A Game Of Thrones (George R. R. Martin)

I am finding writing a series of film reviews quite hard/daunting as so far I am not even half way through yet, and most of the reviews can be 7 pages long. While I thought number 3 was going to be a little quicker due to it not being bad as such, but definitely a weak film, it was about as long as the others. Ideally I would like to complete the series before I go on holiday, as it would mean that they are finished, and I can enjoy my holiday without thinking about them. Most of the time (when I am in the zone) I can just write away and get it done, but I am finding it hard to even think about how it’s progressing when it still feels like a long time away until it’s done. It makes me think of it as being like a film review version of A Song of Ice and Fire (although I am confident that it will be finished well before The Winds of Winter gets released).

TMNT (Imagi Animation Studios - 2007)

So with the next film in sight, I was feeling a little low (well, more like a lot) about getting back into it. Then one of my best friends suggested I watch something else before continuing; which was a Fantastic Idea. You see the thing is, that while you are doing such a project as this, you do want to watch something else as the week goes one, but you feel like you can’t because you should be watching the other film’s in the series. With me not doing anything related to that series though during graduation week, I went along with my friend’s suggestion, and instead of watching the next film in that series, I watched something else entirely, and it felt nice. I watched a film I have not seen in years, maybe not since it was first shown on Sky Movies. I watched TMNT, the 2007 CGI movie starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I rather enjoyed it, I have always liked that film since seeing it at the cinema, but seeing it again after so long was the breath of fresh air I needed. I also noticed how short it was, I thought it would be about industry standard 90 minutes long, but in fact it was about 1 hour 20 minutes long (plus a little more including the credits), coming altogether to 87 minutes long. That was not all I watched though.

AKIRA (Toho Co. Ltd. - 1988)

With still maybe a couple of hours to go until midnight, I did ponder about watching that 4th film, but instead I decided to watch a few clips from a film that I saw for the first time back in November, and couldn’t stop thinking about: AKIRA. It’s a film that, like a few others that come to my mind is one I really want to write a film review for. When I watched it again, I did not watch it all the way through, I just wanted to see a few moments. From the Bike Chase at the beginning, to mentions of the mysterious AKIRA, to Tetsuo’s dream and eventual rampage, all the way to the film’s grotesque end. I loved watching it again, even if it was not all of it.

Neo-Tokyo

Watching these 2 films has been a real breath of fresh air in my movie watching. While I will have started the next film review in the series by the time this gets posted, I am thankful for my friend’s suggestion and advice, plus the opportunity to watch two completely different things to nourish my film tastes. While the end of the film series is still some time away, I am confident I will get it finished, and that it will be worth it in the end. First I just need to deal with the tricky 4th film, then onto the even trickier task of reviewing 3 really good films in a row, and then I can take a break from my reviews until I decide to do another one.

TMNT Statues

GENEPOOL





Wasting Away On Creeper 3

15 07 2015

CW3 Logo

For the past few weeks, I have been doing little projects here and there; from writing a series of film reviews (3 down, 4 to go), writing short stories to try and cure writers block (see previous post) as well as for entry into the Preston Short Story Slam, while also trying to develop ideas for bigger stories. All the while doing this I am trying to find work, decide on a direction of career, volunteering and awaiting the dark cloud of Graduation to arrive (tomorrow). One thing though that I have found in my way is something I do for light fun but also to help distract me when I need distracting. I play small little games on Steam every now and ten and have recently been playing such games as Mini Metro among others. One though I have come to realise, while is a useful distraction, is also wasting my time, and it’s becoming a real problem; Creeper World 3.

CW31

Creeper World 3 is the third game in the Creeper World series by KnuckleCracker.com. Over the years I have played Demos and versions of its previous incarnations on Kongregate; Creeper 3 though is the first time I have been able to play one of the actual games to the full. Basically, Creeper is a game where you have to defend/runaway/destroy a moving entity called the Creeper, which aims to destroy all the worlds of humanity. It is a real-time strategy game where you need to build defences to kill the Creeper while also either trying to destroy it completely, or survive long enough to kill it. I have found previous versions of the game really fun and very easy to get into. Creeper 3 itself plays a lot like the first one where you are on a map looking down over it, whereas Creeper World 2 was more a side scrolling view of the level.

CW21

I have been playing Creeper 3 since the Steam Summer Sale in June where I got it quite cheap, and to date, have played for over 31 hours (at time of writing). Yet I have discovered one little flaw in constant playing. Creeper 3 is not exactly a quick game, and levels (at least for me) can take close to an hour to complete. By the time I have finished, too much time has gone by for me to do anything in the way of productive, and it’s starting to become a real drag. It’s becoming such a problem I am considering uninstalling it to put on something that is much quicker to play. I actually feel rather bad as I have yet to play Grim Fandango Remastered which my brother got me for my birthday, and I really want to play it too, it’s just I get into Creeper, and then time has gone.

Grim Fandango (LucasArts - 1998)

It’s not the only game trouble I am struggling with at the moment, I am wondering about restarting Pokémon White on my 3DS as my Pokémon Team, is terrible, and I am also trying to have a second go at Beyond: Two Souls on the PS3, but I find it hard to play the game at night. And then there are my reading problems as I am finding it hard to get ‘into’ The Young Elites. It’s a hard time for me at the moment, all these struggles to do stuff and I am finding it hard to actually do them, and I don’t think playing Creeper 3 is really helping, as I would rather only play it as a 30 minute game to take during a break, not to take up an entire afternoon, as I would rather use the afternoon to do something a bit more productive, like write a book, which I really want to do.

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

I will say however, that Creeper World 3 is a really fun game and one that I do recommend (I have played it for 30+ hours).

CW32

GENEPOOL (Does that title rhyme)?





In An Attempt To Cure Writer’s Block

8 07 2015

Pen and Paper

Since finishing University a few weeks ago (and while waiting for Graduation in just over a week’s time), I have been trying to do a number of things to keep myself productive and busy. I have been looking for work, trying to come up with a career plan, writing weekly blog posts, coming up with ideas for stories and board games, reading when I can, playing games, baking cakes, volunteering at Barnardo’s and at The Dukes play in the park again. One thing though that I have wanted to continue since finishing, I have found rather hard, and that is writing stories. I like writing stories, I like all kinds of writing, and when I am in the zone, I just can’t stop. Starting is an entirely different matter however.

Darkmouth (Harper Collins - 2015)

I have kept up with my blog writing, and right now am writing a series of film reviews to be shown in a few weeks’ time, but writing large pieces of work is proving to be rather difficult. Writing big projects at University (in hindsight) was easier, as I was motivated to get the work done as best as I could, but now I need to find new motivation and am finding it hard. I am constantly coming up with ideas for projects, either it be stories, blog posts or board games, but getting round to actually doing them is what I am struggling with. Writing short stories shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a problem as they are small, quick stories to write, however, starting them is as difficult as any other project. Ideas for them are hard as they need to be concise, small, and not necessarily involve big incidents, or big things happening……….which is kind of what I like. Back in May I even came up with a plan to write at least one short story a month, but in June I (technically) did not write one.

A Cake and some Cake Pops I made recently.

I say technically; basically, last month I entered Preston’s first Short Story Slam. A writing/performing contest where writers write short stories to then read out. Writer’s need to write 3 stories of no more than 200 words that can be read in 4 minutes or less. It’s a head to head sort of thing (as far as I understand it) and I need to write 3 short stories for it. A week ago I wrote one story for it, I still have another 2 to write (at time of writing) but coming up with ideas for such a small word count I am finding tough, and even when I do have an idea, simply sitting down behind my laptop to write it is proving tricky. It was only when I had a voice going through my head telling me to write the first story that I finally did it (The Slam is at the end of July, so I still have some time). Even when it isn’t that though, writing in general (when it is not for my blog) I am finding tough. I can develop ideas quite nicely, (I prefer to do it in my head where I can visualise it, while find that writing it down can usually mean I end up leaving and forgetting about it), but that’s still not writing it.

Rory's Story Cubes: Prehistoria

In an attempt to cure what I think is writer’s block; I have started doing little exercises to get me writing again. While my mind wanders onto other ideas of approaching it, for now, this one is working. I have had Rory’s Story Cubes for over a year now. First I got a small expansion in the form of Rory’s Story Cubes: Prehistoria, but discovered using them rather hard, so I bought a copy of the base set, and was able to get going with them. To begin with I just used them as a little game to play with friends and at the Writer’s Society at University. Basically, the base set is a box of 9 dice, with each side on all the dice being a different image (54 images in total). You roll them, and then use the 9 images to make a story. It has to start with “Once Upon A Time” and can either be done as one continuous story as a group, or several stories. There are other versions of the base set and several expansions, all of which can be mixed and matched to create a diverse range of stories. Recently, I decided to use them to help me write some short stories. I use them in the same way as you normally would play with them; roll them and look at the pictures rolled (sometimes re-rolling if I can’t think of anything). Instead of telling the story to someone though, I would instead write my story in a Word Document.

Story Dice 1

I have been taking the pictures of the images I have rolled, considering possibly putting my stories online at a later date (with a photo of the dice to show what images I have to work with). I actually rather enjoy coming up with stories this way; they can be about anything and there are no restrictions as to the length of the story, nor the genre it is in. It really does help me to get back into writing short stories. While I have not done one for about a week (due to being busy with my current weekly schedule), I look forward to writing another one, and hopefully with time, be able to write some without assistance, possibly even bigger ones. Right now though, I have a Short Story Slam to enter.

Story Dice 2

GENEPOOL








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