Tag Archives: 2015

2015 – My review

2015 – My Review

Hello Dear Reader

Well 2015 has now passed and often people reflect on their year, a personal review you might say. I am no different than millions of others, so beware spoilers ahead. (Well for time travellers at least).

2015 has, just like many other years, been filled with ups and downs across the board. It is often thought that the downs tend to come to the fore at this point and yes there were a few scary moments. It has not been the best of times but things did pick up towards the close. One of the up’s was the pleasure of seeing Michael Palin live talking about his dairies and what he wrote about. It did make me think and yes write a blog about them. Maybe more people need to remember what a dairy is all about. Another odd good moment was a trip down memory lane to the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool and yes sitting watching a lot of people waltzing around the floor. Of course there were many other good moments most of which ended up in a blog or two. I also added to my list of achievements two presentations, one for the Keele Creative writing society which I was extremely proud. Add to this a very interesting trip to Buckingham Palace, one of the afternoon BBC Proms and an evening meal surrounded by most of the cast and writers of Sherlock. Now that was different.

Normally in the past I have reviewed a few good films, so why spoil a good format!

There have been a number of blockbusters yet again and surprisingly the best was saved for last (I am sure you can guess). Here are my top films (in no order whatsoever );

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Ant-Man

Jurassic World

Spectre

Minions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Of course they are all action based adventure films and the ones I saw at the cinema. There were a few I missed, noticeably Steve Jobs, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian and a few more.  It seemed as if each movie, for me, kept on building towards one of the best kept secrets of 2015. In this day it was surprising to find that there was little real information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Man from UNCLE started a short series of spy movies this year, along with Bridge of Spies and Spectre. The latest James Bond movie, rounded what was a very well put together story and left at least one person with a dilemma. If you wish to read my review on this film here is the link; Spectre. The Man from UNCLE was good in the sense to tried to explain the origins of the lead characters. Will there be a squeal? Bridge of Spies was one of those films I missed which was a shame, but there is always rental.

In keeping with the past few years, hard to think there was a time before them, we had the latest two Marvel films. Ant-Man introduced us to the smallest of Marvel’s characters, while the Avengers (still no Steed) came back to battle their own demons. Both films gave us more to enjoy in this growing universe, well at least to the non-comic reading part. Again I enjoyed them for differing reasons; Ant-Man was more of a comic feel, the humour fitted well as did the story. It is always difficult to present a 60s or 70s comic version so taking the best from the whole comic range seems Marvels plan. Age of Ultron on the other hand showed that sometimes it is best not to mess about with alien technology. It will lead into a series of films that could tear the audience apart.

Minions, cute, yellow, strangely understandable at times and one of those hits that was not meant to be. Why? Well they were sort of supporting characters (even in animation) that just took off. There first movie and who knows what else will turn up, was funny predictable and ok. Also returning was the Park, Jurassic one, remember that? It was a major hit of the summer and well worth it. It combined the old with new, basically the Park opened as Hammond always wanted and of course someone decided to play God and well guess the rest. Another good escape.

So finally the film of the year. You can’t argue with facts and figures, not these. Even before the film had been shown it was breaking, cinema servers and records. I have not reviewed this film as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However I did post just one word after I watched it … Emotional. It was all that everyone has said. It did take me back and yet did not reboot as many thought. It moved forward in a logical fanshion. The sets where real, the characters believable, the effects better, the story fine, yes there might be the odd plot hole but sometimes, just sometimes you have suspend everything. It was one of the few movies I could have just sat through a second time without moving. I did in fact see it twice already and plan to see it again given the chance. Many people tend to want to find problems with any film they see, I myself see plot mistakes – take IronMan 3. However, I don’t believe in just denocensing a film just because it does not explain where character A cane from.

So what else has happened that was memorable? A number of things really including having one of my poems published in the first Keele Creative Writing anthology. Completing my first book, which is due to be published in 2016, was a major achievement. That for me, is a goal I have slowly pushed for. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and I doubt it will gain me anything other than self pride. I will be able to say  not only have I written a book but it’s a published one.

Writing has been one of the more enjoyable outlets over the past few years. I have published more blogs in 2015 than before and branched out into posting photographs and a small video. I do plan on producing another short video in 2016.

To close then. 2015 another year to talk about.

Roll on 2016.

Tagline:’Are we there yet?’

 

Diary

Why start a diary ?

Hello Dear Reader,

It has been a couple of weeks since I had the chance to sit down and write anything other than work stuff. I have been rather busy. I do have to finish my first book, ‘Zen and the Art of Timetabling’ plus an article for a magazine and just get back to being creative.

Why am I mentioning a diary? Well, I noticed that Michael Palin was visiting Stoke-on-Trent during his Thirty Years Tour. It was an opportunity not to be missed. Tickets safely purchased, time arranged and then wait. To be fair, I was very busy and just had no chance to read up on the tour, so it was a real nice surprise about what I would see and hear.

I am a long time fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in parts akin to a radio favourite The Goon Show. Actually, when it was first pitched the BBC called it the Go On show. Fortunately for the world The Goons came together, pun.

Settling down in the theatre, I remembered I had a been given Michael Palin’s audio version of some of his diaries. It was brilliant to listen to. It gave an insight as to why you should keep that diary. I do enjoy listening to people who talk about writing. You can learn from it if you take the time. It is not always easy as you may feel that you can not win but you can.

Michael talked about what his diaries enabled him to do which is remember and reflect, so long as I understood that right. There was a very good reason why he started, I won’t give it away as it is a spoiler. His diaries span thirty years and I suspect there is more to come. He was very engaging, just himself on stage with a few film clips. Of course Python was mentioned, as was Ripping Yawns and his travel shows. For me, it explained clearly why a diary not only helped but created its own book. In these electronic days, we often write on Facebook, what we are eating, why we feel joy and the latest rugby news. That might be rather bad given the weekend. (This will only work at one point).

Maybe it is something younger people should be encouraged to try. Rather than using electronic study, grab a notebook and just put your thoughts down on paper. Many writers do that as a habit or again should. It is also not to late to start one and as Michael shows, the entries do not have to be pages long. It is just capturing that thought.

I really enjoyed listening to him, it made me want to read his books again and get back to writing, which is good. Hence this new blog, which after all is sort of a diary or is it a letter or is both?

If you get the chance, I thoroughly recommend seeing his show. Here is the link for Michael Palin. I do have an idea for the Christmas break and I must find my ‘Round the World in 80 Days’ DVD.

Tagline: ‘Dear diary here I am 3rd October 2015, 8pm listening to a rugby match. Oh …’

 

Stafford Archery AGM

Hello Dear Reader

It has been sometime since I wrote a blog about archery. In the past few weeks, I posted an old archery blog on my take regarding the mental game. Last night was our AGM at Stafford archers and something of another new experience for me.

Along side everything else that has gone on, this year (2014/15) I was tournaments officer for the club. It is never to be underestimated just how much work goes into running any sort of club. It may seem from the outside that it is just a group of people getting together to shoot arrows. Far from it. It takes a team of people working together to make sure ‘“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one’. (Yes I did it again)

The club runs very smoothly considering this year we had a major move handled with great enthusiasm by the club. As tournaments officer, I had the job to arrange various postal shoots (not putting arrows in the post either), getting people to take part in competitions and of course the all-important Christmas shoot.

A Christmas shoot was the highlight for me. It was fun, daft, exciting and unpredictable. Given we had over 50 archers taking part shows just how much fun it can be. You have to really think how to make it fun as well. This is not just shoot the gold, this is shoot the nose of Santa or hope you don’t shoot what could be minus 50 to your score.

The AGM itself was a more formal affair until I stepped up of course. Presenting prizes for winners is always uplifting, knowing that these new archers (as well as some older ones) are keeping the sport and tradition alive. It also meant the chance to say thank you to some people whom do so much without always being noticed.

I enjoyed my time as tournaments officer and hopefully will go back in the future. At the moment I needed to step into the background a bit and help support another good person and archer take over.

Lots of people help out at the club and long may it continue. I know many clubs have that same feeling. As for the evening, well it ended with a darn good buffet. Well done all.

Tagline: ‘An archer may shoot alone on the line but the club is always behind them.’

Conference 2015

Hello all

Conference 2015.

I recently attended my fourth Timetabling conference last week. It sounds different but then many professions have a conference. Why should we be any different? It can be refreshing, rewarding and renewing to connect with friends. There is also the opportunity to gather the latest ideas. There is also the odd chance to put forward your own experiences.

For the first time in a few years, I decided to put forward some of my personal experiences. Unlike a blog, for me a presentation of this type is specialized and often quick to put together. The audience is already open to what you are going to talk about which makes it easy. The problem is ensuring you can put over your experience in such a way that people understand your message.

That is the difficult part. My presentation was regarding reporting and how information needs to be communicated. It is part of a book I am writing. Information is very important. It can help shape everything around us. The wrong information or incorrectly used and distributed can cause more harm than good.

Standing up in front of people has never been a difficult task for me. Yet you are still required to get the right message across. It was fun to do, give my view point to colleagues. To be listened to and understood can be very important and rewarding. For me, I gained a new view of the community I have joined. My presentation may not have been overly dramatic, but it did help inform a number of people. That made me feel good.

So my tagline: ‘Sometimes it’s good to stand in front of the crowd’