A Rental Lament

I miss Blockbuster Video.

Time was, you wanted to watch a movie, you went down your local Blockbuster, headed for the New Releases section, and saw if there was anything you wanted to watch? Oh, and you could be fairly certain that, if a movie was out on DVD, it’d be available to rent. Alas, no more.

I just spent ages trawling around the internet trying to find a number of movies to rent, all to no avail. Oh you could buy them alright, no doubt about that, but as for renting, forget about it!

And we’re not talking all new movies either. “Wrath of the Titans”, “White House Down”, “Avengers Assemble”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”; all are available to buy on Amazon Instant Video or iTunes, but not to rent.

I just don’t get it? Why would the studios restrict access to their product like that? It makes no sense. Do they think in desperation that I’m going to buy it instead? Because I just have to watch it NOW!

The thing is, I’m not so into these movies that I want to see them more than once. I mean I’ll pay £3:50 to give them a go, but I’m certainly not going to pay £5-£15 to own them. That’s just not gonna happen. I do want to watch them, but not that much.

No wonder people are turning to file sharing and illegal downloading to see and hear things they can’t get elsewhere. You set the price too high and people will always find a way around it.

Not that I’m going to do that. I’m too lazy. I’ll probably just watch something I already own (y’know, the good movies that do stand up to more than one viewing), or I’ll just stick the TV on and see what’s on. It’s coming up to 9 o’clock, something decent must be about to start.

As for my hard earned cash, that’ll stay in my pocket. Congratulations Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount; you just lost out on some revenue.

“It’s The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer!”

Hello my non-yogic friends. How are you all?

It’s been literally months since I posted anything proper on here. All you’ve had from me are re-blogs of all this Yoga Bum stuff I’ve been doing. And while I’m sure you’ve enjoyed my current escapades, I’m sure some of you miss the old me, the one who trawled the internet for all kinds of dross to share with you here (I know I miss him).

Well, with the intermittent time/cost/availability of connections whilst traveling, there hasn’t been much chance to find and share stuff. But sometimes you have to make time. Nay, sometimes you are compelled.

I’ve had scenes from the movie Step Brothers going around in my head for days now. I dunno why. It’s not even one of my favourite movies. Maybe it’s a reaction to all this yogic/sattvic stuff I’ve been doing, but every now and then I have to stop, shake my head, and say “It’s the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer!” out loud for no good reason at all.

Now, assuming you don’t know what I’m on about, I’ve dredged up a few clips to share with you all. The first is a clip that has caused so many youTube parodies, but for you here we have the original Sweet Child Of Mine scene.


 
This next scene just makes me laugh so much. It’s just wrong on so many levels. I can’t say any more than that.


 
And of course, the final scene, the denouement, the Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer. All I can say is, stick with it, watch it all. All should become clear.


 
And there you go. Happy? I know I am. Ciao for now.

38!

I turned 38 yesterday. That’s awfully close to 40 y’know. Makes you think, huh?

Didn’t do much on the day. Went to the osteopath to sort my ankle out (got to try out my new sat nav), had to go to the launderette – boo! :(, and went to see the film Chronicle at the cinema (which was about as enjoyable as going to the launderette). Seriously, don’t do it!

Instead, let’s look at what I ate.

kiki's birthday breakfast

Treated (can you say ‘tret’?) myself to a birthday fry up as I haven’t had one in ages. It was most satisfying.

kiki's birthday pie

Then after the movie had some pear and apple pie and cream. Not brilliant but still, not diabolical either.

As for everything else, here’s the tally.

3 presents – a CD, a book, and said Sat Nav (which I bought myself with a parental contribution)

7 cards

2 phone calls

2 e-mails

4 texts

6 well wishers online

A reasonable haul for an average birthday I reckon (there’s nothing special about turning 38, except I’m now very firmly in my late thirties!). Next year I hope to go see the northern lights on the day, then the year after it’s the big one! I might do what I did for my 30th, rent out a cinema and have a screening of something. Last time I played Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This time I dunno… Dude, Where’s My Car? maybe. You’ve got to love the classics, don’t ya! 😉

Pancake Day 2011

Shrove Tuesday, a religious holiday that has been joyously hijacked by everyone as an excuse to make pancakes every year. Of course you don’t need an excuse to make pancakes, but it’s nice to have a reminder.

Now I’ve made mine early this year, as I’m working ’til late on the 8th, and I won’t have time to make any then when I get back. Here’s how they came out.

pancake day

I made mine using the pancake mix recipe from How It All Vegan (which is just flour, soy milk, baking powder, baking soda and oil) as they always turn out great. And being a man of simple tastes I garnished them with a heady mix of honey, lemon juice and sugar. They were faaaantastic! 😉

On a side note, if you haven’t seen the movie Paul yet you should go check it out. Saw it last night and thought it was well funny. It’s full of sci-fi movie references, one of which is so geeky it took me a second to realise I was the only one in the cinema cracking up at it. Oh the geek shame, lol.

Good Karma / Bad Karma

Good Karma

The place where I go to yoga has this idea called Karma Yoga. Basically it means doing something for others. A task, a good deed, just being selfless for a moment to ‘exercise’ your karma. I did some last week after class, hoovering the room we’d just used, and I thought that was my bit for the week. But I got an opportunity to do much more the day after.

Came home from a night shift Thursday night (7am Friday morning) to find my upstairs neighbour and her boyfriend huddled shivering in the hallway (it was -2 outside). Turns out they’d gone out for a cigarette in the night and accidentally locked themselves out of the flat. I guess it’s lucky for them they hadn’t gone all the way and locked themselves out of the house too.

I offered them a cup of tea which they refused (they’d been to McDonalds at 6am to get a coffee and warm up a bit), so I gave them a blanket – they said they only had a half hour wait of so before her friend down the road who had a spare set of keys would be getting up – and started to get ready for bed.

But as I contemplated climbing into my nice warm bed with them shivering in the hall outside it just seemed daft to me. So I invited them in, stuck the heaters on, gave them a cuppa, and we chatted for an hour or so until her friend would be up, then they went on their way. I felt pretty good for doing that.

Sometimes we are fortunate in life, and our path is clear.

Bad Karma

I watched The A-Team the other night, and I was very disappointed about their blatant mis-appropriation of a Gandhi quote to justify killing people.

Basically BA Baracas had an epiphany in prison, and decided that killing people is wrong. But when the big fight at the end comes Hannibal decides he needs him the way he was before, so he uses the quote, “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” Apparently that is enough for BA to give up his peaceful ways and go back to whacking bad guys.

The full quote goes something like this, “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.” Basically, it’s better to do something rather than nothing; but it’s better to be non-violent than it is to be violent (click the link to check out a much more detailed and eloquent explanation).

When they first brought up the BA non-violence angle I thought they were going to do something clever with how, in the TV series, they used to blow things up left-right-and-centre and no one ever got killed. So when they just did a reverse and decided to go back to killing (and used Gandhi to advocate violence!) I was gob smacked. If I was involved in the making of this film I would be ashamed of myself for being a party to such a thing.

Koyaanisqatsi/Powaqqatsi

Well known in certain circles, virtually unknown in others, Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are two of the most moving and mersmerising films ever made.

Shot in 1982 and 1988 respectively Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance, and Powaqqatsi: Life In Transformation, were ground breaking movies exploring the environment and man’s relationship to it. With a mixture of images from the natural world intercut with footage of man made environments, shot using a mixture of techniques, and accompanied by a beautifully haunting soundtrack by Philip Glass, both these movies weave a spell over you that it’s hard to ignore.

It’s hard to explain the draw of two films that have no plot to speak of, no definable structure, and are ultimately just a collection of sound an images, so I’m going to show you what it’s all about.

Believe me when I say these clips are just two small parts of an amazing collection of music and imagery, and you’ll benefit greatly from watching the whole thing in a non-compressed format. They’ll change the way you see the world, and our place in it, and ultimately you’ll come away with a greater appreciation of the beauty of life and how we should do everything we can to be in harmony with it.

For anyone wanting to know more there’s an Official Qatsi Website.

International Kiki Day

A couple of years ago I decided there weren’t enough bank holidays in September, as in any, so I invented one. Welcome, to International Kiki Day.

Celebrated on the 14th of September participants (namely me) are to take the day off from work and spend the entire day doing something interesting yet completely unconstructive. Previous years have seen me at the Greenwich Planetarium seeing a show, and spending the day in the Victorian Turkish Baths in Carlisle, as well as enjoying various vegan meals about the place and seeing a movie or two, and this year is no exception.

battle plans

We started at the Loving Hut in Camden, a UK version of the one I went to in Hong Kong. I was, I have to say, ludicrously excited about going there. If the food was as good as it had been in Hong Kong we were in for a treat.

burger and wedges

They didn’t disappoint. I went for the eco ‘beef style’ burger, as you can see (Sarah had the golden ‘chicken style’ burger), and we split a portion of wedges. They were fantastic! Seriously. I haven’t had a burger that tasted that… burgery, since going vegan. And the wedges were pretty damn good too.

free cake

We got chatting to the guy who runs the place and he very kindly gave us a couple bits of cake on the house to enjoy. One was a kind of lemony tofu cheesecake, and the other a chocolatey orange sponge cake. Both were divine, though at a push I’d go for the cheesecake.

the loving hut

The only drawback for me was the TV they had on in the background. Loving Hut do have their own satellite TV station promoting veganism, animal rights, and eco-friendliness, which is fine, except the whole time we were there they were showing an expose programme on factory farming methods. Not really the sort of thing you want to see while you’re eating. I mean, I’m vegan already, so what do you hope to achieve by showing me that apart from making me ill. They should accentuate the positive things about being vegan, and leave the scare-mongering up to the government.

secret society of vegans

Then we were off to a shop run by the Secret Society of Vegans in Kings Cross, simply called “Vx”. I’ve been meaning to go there for ages, and this seemed like the perfect time.

sarah the secret vegan

We were going to have tea and cake in their cosy downstairs lounge, but since we were all sponged out from our freebie at the Loving Hut we just went for the tea instead. That, and a wee bit of shopping. Check out the stuff I got.

vegan booty

If you get a chance I recommend you pop along. The staff were lovely and they had a great selection of vegan goodies to covet. I’ll be going back there that’s for sure.

scott pilgrim vs the world

And the final part of the day saw me at the movies to watch Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I thought I’d check it out since I was having a vegan day and it has a bit in it to do with vegans (but that’s all I’m saying on the matter, so don’t worry about any spoilers).

scott pilgrim avatar

This movie is an epic piece of daftness. Expect silliness and you will not be disappointed. Brought to you by Edgar Wright, the guy who directed Hot Fuzz, Shawn of the Dead, and the brilliant Spaced!, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the story of a guy who has to battle his new girlfriend’s 7 evil ex’s video game style in order to go out with her.

The story doesn’t really matter, what you go for is the dialogue, the performances, and the epic battle scenes which were superbly done. Michael Cera is great as the lead, resisting the temptation to spend the whole film mumbling (which he has done in the past), but a lot of the really good stuff comes from Kieran Culkin as his gay roommate, and Ellen Wong as the ever so slightly imbalanced Knives Chau. In fact I think that’s what makes this film so good, the fact that all the characters are real, human, and eminently flawed, but all of them are likable in their own certain way (except the evil ones, who are just evil).

This film is a lot of fun, and I’ll be seeing it again, as I know there’s a lot I missed because I was looking the other way. Once again, another slice of fried gold from Mr Edgar Wright.

And there you have it, another successful International Kiki Day. It’s been a good one. Got the chance to do some stuff I’ve been wanting to do for a while, didn’t do a lick of proper work, yup today was a good day. Looking forward to next year already. 🙂

30 Days of Kiki : day 6

day 6- favorite super hero and why

This was a tough one. Should I go for heroes with powers, or very human heroes with skills? Is a costume required, or does just being in a comic book qualify you as a ‘hero’? In the end though, there could be only one…

Constanteen

photo by surprise truck

John Constantine, the original Hellblazer!

Sod the candy-assed Keanu Reeves excrescence that Hollywood foisted on us, the Constantine of the comic books is a beer-drinking, fag-smoking, ass-kicking scouser, who got into magic for giggles and shits (and the chicks), and who spends most his time getting into and out of trouble and pissing off the devil (all 3 of them).

constantine

I like him coz he doesn’t fuck around, especially if you go against him or hurt anyone close to him, and coz he fucks up all the time, like a normal human being, and that’s just the way it is.

constantine 2

At the end of the day who would you rather have a beer with, some bloke in red spandex underpants who’s not even from this planet, or a guy who’s gonna get the next round in and wouldn’t look daft with a pool cue in his hand? Pretty obvious really when you put it like that, eh?

Nice one JC, the first one’s on me.

Week 33: A search for meaning

Been kind of a bitty week this week. My shifts in work changed, which was good as it gave me the weekend off, but then I was cat sitting away from home at the weekend, which limited my ability to do new stuff (like writing, etc.). Plus I’ve got no money, again, which also puts a bit of a dampener on things. I failed to come up with a new recipe, but I did manage to do something new – go to an open air cinema – but still I’d like to have done more.

I have however had much time to think, and think I have. I’m not sure this blog is achieving what I set out to do in the beginning. Namely, a Brand New Life. I’m still single, still in the same old job, still in the same old flat; nothing’s changed. I’m doing more things, but not making many new contacts. I’ve been so caught up in ‘stunt blogging’ I’ve forgotten the point of it all.

So I’m going to let myself off the hook (kind of). No more weekly reports. I’m not even sure if many people are reading them, so what’s the point? I’m still going to blog new things I get up to, but they’ll be on an as-and-when basis, not every week. I’m going to concentrate on making big things happen, not just lots of little things. If I want to make big changes in my life I need some big ideas.

That being said, here’s my ‘report’ on going to an open air cinema for the first time.

outdoor cinema

It was at Syon House, which is the same place where the London Tropical Zoo is that I’m doing the fundraising for. I had the pleasure of being joined in this escapade by the very lovely Sarah, and the film we saw (along with a large group of middle aged women!) was Dirty Dancing.

hey johnny

Now I’ve already blogged the film itself, so I’ll just mention here a few things about the experience. Being outdoors to see a film is great. Just lazing about on a blanket, having a wee picnic, was great fun. We had to wait for the sun to go down before the film started (of course), and once it did it got a little chilly. It was at that point I stated to wish I’d wrapped up a bit warmer.

I did at least bring an umbrella, which came in very handy about 15 minutes before the end, when it started chucking it down. Thankfully though the rain didn’t last long (and the cinema people very kindly gave us all free pac-a-macs to keep us dry) and we got to see the end uninterrupted.

nobody puts baby in the corner

I can recommend seeing a film outdoors if you get a chance. If you live in London there’s plenty of opportunities coming up. Just remember to wrap up warm, take a blanket, take some food, and take a brolly. Those are my survival tips. 🙂

cabbage and carrot summer salad

Also, I’d like to mention the conclusion of my Thrive in 30 experiment. It was an interesting thing to do, and I’d suggest you give it a try if you’re at all veggie/vegan, thinking about going veggie, have in interest in nutrition, or just want to get an idea about how what we eat effects us in out daily lives.

I must admit, I haven’t been able to put all his lessons into practice yet (mind you, a lot of them I was doing already), but I have learnt a great deal, I have taken a lot of information on board, and I’ll be incorporating more and more of his ideas as I go along. And the great thing is I can revisit each lesson as and when I like, so I’ll never stop learning.

Sign up now and see for yourself. It’s a win win scenario, believe me.

Dirty Dancing/Roadhouse

“Nobody puts baby in the corner.”

That’s right, I said it! You heard me! Dirty Dancing. Not my usual fare I grant you (but then again, isn’t that the point of all this?) but I went to see it the other day at an open air cinema and it was brilliant! A tight movie, well scripted, well shot, well acted, and a whole lot of fun. And of course starring the darn sexy Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in two of their best roles ever.

I haven’t seen this film since I was 16 on a coach trip to Spain. They only had one video to watch, so we saw it twice on the way there and once on the way back. Almost enough to put me off for life. If it wasn’t the only thing on when I wanted to go check out an open air cinema I never would have seen it again… and I’d have missed out!

Swayze is brilliant as Johnny, the bad boy dancer getting pushed around by rich society and just trying to survive. Jennifer Grey is perfect as the innocent yet resolute Baby, a daddy’s girl just waiting to come out of her shell. And when they get together, his vulnerable toughness and her tough innocence, they play beautifully against each other. Probably one of the best performances either of them has ever done.

I can’t embed the video I’d like to here, but just click on this link to go see it. You’ll get an idea of how good it really is!

“You’re too stupid to have a good time!”

But, for those of you too blokey to watch Dirty Dancing I have another Swayze classic to recommend, Roadhouse! It’s a little known movie of his but man, he kicks some ass in this little beauty. Swayze plays Dalton, a ‘cooler’ brought in by the owner of the Double Deuce to sorts his bar out and make it the sort of place respectable folks want to go to have fun.

Sounds pretty naff huh? Well picture this: great tunes, great characters (except the baddy, he’s a bit pedestrian), great fight scenes, some great one-liners, there’s a bit of something for everyone in it, even the ladies (Swayze in a tight t-shirt for one).

In many ways it’s just a modern day cowboy movie. A stranger comes to town and sets about releasing it from the iron grip of one evil business man/rancher/plantation owner (delete where applicable). Hell, it’s even got Sam Elliott playing a guy called Wade Garrett for crying out loud (who is just brilliant by the way). Now it don’t get much more cowboy than that!

If you haven’t seen it give it a shot. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Hell, maybe you could do a Swayze double bill! That way there’s something for everyone. There’s worse ways to spend an evening! 🙂

Addendum: I just want to say much love and respect to the late great Patrick Swayze. You made some great movies, played some iconic parts, and gave us so many outstanding memories to choose from. Thanks for all that. Rest In Peace man.