Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Punisher

I got out to the flicks again tonight, this time to see The Punisher. I’m not a big fan of the comic book but a friend has been excited about the movie and it made me keen to see it on the big screen.

It’s a good movie- good, but not great. Thomas Jane was very good as Frank Castle (although he looks eerily like a clone of Christopher Lambert) and I enjoyed the movie (mission accomplished, say I) but I was left feeling like it could have been better. It feels like a proper traditional action movie, with good old fashioned effects, but it lacked a certain style. There was nothing special to lift it up onto the “next level”. Even a bit of creative cinematography would have been enough to do it but the filming and direction felt a little pedestrian to me- not bad, but not special either. Which is a shame because it was fantastic source material to be working from.

According to the trivia page on IMDB, the movie’s action scenes had to be scaled back or even cut to stay on budget, and knowing that, you can tell that it’s not all it should have been. It’s a shame- personally I would have preferred a little more violence, with a grander shoot-out at the climax. I’m not asking for A Better Tomorrow 2 or anything, but a little bit more flash would have really topped the film off. Nothing fancy, just a bigger shoot-out. It’s a bit like Hellboy- good but should have been better. But go see it anyway. The scenes with the pro from Memphis and the Russian are worth the price of admission/rental.

Tyler Hamilton

As you may have heard, cyclist Tyler Hamilton has tested positive for having a blood transfusion to boost his red blood cell count. EPO, the drug previously used by cyclists before a test was established, has now given way to transfusions- despite the health risks involved. Hamilton is protesting his innocence (I’ve never once heard of an athlete caught with a positive drugs test who actually held his hands up and said, “Yeah, it’s a fair cop- I was cheating.”) and disputing the new test but according to this New Scientist article the test seems to be pretty accurate.

I was really disappointed when I heard about Hamilton’s positive test because he’s shown that he was a good strong rider when he was with UPS and Lance Armstrong, and I had hopes that he’d be a Tour contender himself someday. If he is positive- and it looks pretty sure that he is- all I can say is that it’s a shame that he won’t be stripped of his Athens medal too (he tested positive on his first test but the second test from Athens couldn’t be completed because it had been incorrectly stored).

Van Helsing

I just watched this movie on DVD and it was a huge disappointment. This is not a good film. The effects are almost totally unrealistic looking CGI (please, give me a man in a Wolf Man costume next time, not some crappy computer effect), the script was juvenile, the dialogue stilted and that's just for starters.

I love the original Universal pictures that this movie took its inspiration from (Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man are beloved classics), but the makers seem to have no love or understanding of the genre. The actor playing Dracula was awful, really bad, looking more like an old queen than the epitome of evil. This was a really dreadful bit of miscasting. The Wolf Man was a sorry excuse for a special effect- looking much less convincing than the original from the thirties. Have these people never seen American Werewolf in London- don't they know how it's supposed to be done? The Brides of Dracula spent most of the film as flying harpies that couldn't compete with a Ray Harryhausen effort and were neither seductive nor sexy. Frankenstein's monster was just pathetic. Jeez, if they could rig up Boris Karloff to be the Monster back in the '30s, why on earth did we end up with this sorry being? Herman Munster was scarier- and, again, more convincing.

As for the two leads of the film- Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale; Hugh seems to have had his personality wiped for this feature (he was so good as Wolverine, but he just didn't do anything for this role, though that could be entirely the fault of the awful script and poor direction) while Kate looked as bad as I've ever seen her look. She was supposed to be a gypsy princess but dressed like an extra from Pirates of the Caribbean and her make-up seemed to have been applied in such a way as to make her look older and less attractive than she actually is.

As I've been writing I've been trying to think of some redeeming quality to this film, but none spring to mind. At a few points it mimicked Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula (which is what it should have been called, because it most certainly wasn't Bram Stoker's vision), but that only served to show how bad this is. Coppola's film was by no means perfect but it got so much right- the Brides, the outstanding Gary Oldman as Dracula, the great sets- that it can be forgiven for Anthony Hopkins crappy overacting. No, nothing about Van Helsing strikes me as being good, or for that matter, even average. I didn't like the opening sequence with Jekyll and Hyde- it just made me think of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (a decidedly mundane film, but an awesome graphic novel) and came a poor second to it too. I didn't even like Van Helsing's full auto crossbow. Come on guys, if you're going to give him a Q sidekick, at least come up with some cool gadgets.

Sorry, but this film disappointed me on so many levels that I can't give it any recommendation. The only plus point I can conceive is that it might make me jot down a few thoughts of my own- on what the script should have been like.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Oompa Loompa-gate

This was just too funny to pass up- Kerry’s sudden and miraculous “real” tan turns him into an Oompa Loompa.

Blogs for Bush also quotes Kerry advisers as stating that the tan came from Kerry playing football -he’s a great sportsman you know *chuckle*.

If they can’t even tell the truth about a little fake tan, can you imagine what sort of presidency he would have?

The world makes a little less sense

This is the kind of dumbass, crazy thing I’d expect from Europe. Oakland cops are being prevented from setting up roadblocks to stop DUI because, and I’m not making this up, it upsets illegal immigrants. No, seriously. They’ve been stopped because they were catching people who have broken the law.

One of the ‘solutions’ to this problem is for the police to notify the Latino community when they will be setting up the checkpoints- thus warning illegal aliens but also anyone planning on having a drink before going for a drive. WTF?!?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

"Allies" say 'no' to Iraq

Le Fraud must have been wishing that no one from France or Germany (who somehow seem to make up America’s allies- as a citizen of the UK this alone would be enough to make me detest Kerry) would comment on his plans to include them in the “quagmire” which is Iraq. Unfortunately for him, someone has spoken up- with French and German officials pointing out that they will not increase military assistance to Iraq, even if Kerry is elected. Now, to a regular rational person, this is not a surprise or a shock- we’ve known it all along. Hell, even Kerry knew it- which is why his plan was a secret, because it’s a crock. His only stance on Iraq now (and surely he’s running out of time to change tack again) is withdrawal and defeat, surrender to the Islamo-fascist murderers. I’m sure that’ll go over well with the electorate.

Maybe Kerry should have done the decent thing and, once the war began, supported the troops and the plan. He could still have fought Bush without having to hope for, and then plan, the military defeat of the United States. The War on Terror is not going to be over in four years time- are the next batch of Democrat hopefuls going to realise that they can campaign against a Republican on domestic issues, while agreeing on remaining steadfast in the face of global terrorism? I wonder what Kerry’s poll numbers would be like now if he had voted for the money for the war, if all through the campaign he had signalled his clear intention to continue the war that Bush has been fighting since September 11? Better than they are now, that’s for sure. The appeasement monkeys of the left might shout pretty loud, but they’re a small minority of the Democratic faithful. I’m sure that an awful lot more want America to be victorious, want America to remain strong and safe. Right?

Bush and Vietnam

It now looks like Bush volunteered to join a fighter squadron heading out to Vietnam during his time in the National Guard, but he was turned down because he didn’t have the necessary flight time. I’m not expecting this to get much coverage in the MSM because it not only ruins the “Fortunate Son” image the Dems are trying to paint of Bush, but Col. Ellison also states that Bush served all the time he was required to.

Has CBS (and the rest of the loony left for that matter) apologised to the President yet?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Kerry's Gun

I blogged a few days ago about John Kerry’s Communist Chinese assault rifle- well, I’m not the only one whose interest was piqued and Michelle Malkin has a follow up story on the subject here. It seems that John Kerry not only says things that he doesn’t mean because of his speech writers, but he also says things which aren’t true, because his staff fill in his questionnaires for him- complete with Vietnam references;

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

This sounds so screwy to me that I’m having trouble believing that Kerry isn’t campaigning for the Very Silly Party and not the Democrats (or maybe they’re one and the same?). Are we to believe that the Kerry campaign staffers just make this sh*t up?

It seems more likely to me that Kerry tried to get in another ‘I was in Vietnam’ moment, with his trademark “exaggeration” and he got caught out on the lie. Maybe he got the assault rifle in Cambodia? Maybe he got it when he was given his CIA hat? Now his campaign is claiming that he doesn’t own an assault rifle, just a shotgun and a bolt action rifle which has never been fired (is that statement for the anti-gun types?).

Wow. Did Kerry do a lot of drugs when he got back from Nam? Because it certainly looks like he’s detached from reality right now.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Concept 2 does it again

I hit the gym yesterday for my second weights session, this time targeting my biceps and legs. The two muscle groups that I hate training are the so-called vanity muscles- the chest and biceps. I was therefore not particularly surprised to find that my biceps are a little weaker than they were a year and a half ago when I last did weights regularly- though I was surprised that I had the strength in them that I do. It was only by a margin of around ten pounds less that I was lifting and part of the reason I didn’t do so well is that my triceps are still aching from my first workout. All in all, pretty good.

When I moved onto my legs however I was really shocked by how tough the leg extension exercise was. Wow, but my quads were burning when I was done. My main exercise is the leg press (because of my damaged back I can’t squat anymore) and I was pleased to find that I could press 120kg (plus whatever the footplate weighs- I think it’s another 20kg). I was tempted to go higher but I didn’t want to do too much first time out.

Rowing is obviously a fantastic exercise- in a matter of weeks doing it I’ve regained virtually all the strength I had before a long lay off due to my back injury; and I was unable to exercise for about a year. I’ve written before on how effective the Concept 2 rower is but it’s really gone up in my estimation after these gym sessions. This is one seriously good bit of kit.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Two stories today that I felt I had to comment on- I’m steering clear of Kerry and co. and their absolutely staggering insults to Prime Minister Allawi because it just doesn’t seem possible that anyone could be so stupid (but the Kerry seems to be plumbing new depths as each week of the campaign goes past).

First up, a little bit of movie news- plans are afoot for Terminator 4 with the possibility of a small appearance by the Governator. I hope that they can pull this off because I’ve a soft spot for this franchise and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without Arnie. Maybe Vin Diesel could be brought in to play a Terminator?

Second, is this nonsense. Even though he’s never failed a drugs test and has legitimately won the Tour de France a record six times, a company charged with paying Lance Armstrong a $5 million bonus is refusing to cough up- because of a book which claims he’s taken drugs. At the time of the Tour I can recall hearing about this book and its claims- none of which have been proven. In the Tour the yellow jersey wearer, the top three finishers and also some random cyclists are drug tested every day as far as I know. So Lance was drug tested quite a lot this Tour and never once failed a test. That this company is refusing to pay out now is ridiculous and an insult to a great sporting hero. I hope Lance sues the hell out of them for this.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Snubbie 45 and some others

This month's Combat Handguns (November) has a neat article on Smith and Wesson's 325PD, a snub-nosed .45ACP revolver. At first I wasn't sure about this little bulldog gun with its two-tone finish, lovely cocobolo grips and hi-viz foresight (they might work but they just look weird); it just didn't look right. By the time I'd finished reading the article however I was sold. It might look a bit odd but it's a nice little .45- a four-pound single action pull, machined for a lanyard attachment (hey, maybe that just appeals to me, but it's a nice touch), Airlite weight (Scandium and Titanium- hence the dual finish) and, most importantly, big bore performance in a concealable package.

The 1911 .45 has got to be one of the best pistols for defensive shooting available and this 325PD would make a nice partner to the semi-auto. Taurus make a nice 2 inch barrelled .45ACP revolver but it's a five shot model, as opposed to Smith's six shooter. I'm becoming more and more of a fan of Taurus the more I hear about them and this .45 looks to be a pretty neat package too. If a five-shot .45 tickles your fancy then why not check out some other Taurus options- in the venerable .45 Long Colt of course! They have four compact options- the Tracker Model 455, the Total Titanium 450, the Model 450 and the Ultra-Lite 450. All very nice guns. .45 ACP is probably the optimum self-defence round but I've got a real soft spot for the Long Colt and these modern snubbies are a great platform for it.

Speaking of the 45 Long Colt (once I'm started etc.) how's this for a lovely piece of hardware? I've got to admit that I've never been a fan of the legendary Colt .45, much preferring Ruger's single actions with their modern sights, but as I get older I seem to be becoming more of a conservative and traditionalist- this colour case blued Ruger Bisley Vaquero is just a lovely gun (even better when you see the actual 4 and five eighths barrel) and it's enough to make me look again at the Colt design. This is very nice indeed.

Now, how about a .45 Long Colt Redhawk with this low glare stainless finish?

Getting back in the swing of things

Hard to believe that I haven’t blogged since Tuesday! Been out and about a fair bit this week. Thanks to my sister-in-law my Other Half and I not only got out to the cinema Wednesday but also for dinner. The meal was delicious and the movie- Dodgeball- was hilarious. I was mighty pleased by this film, much funnier than I had expected it to be. A fair bit of physical humour was involved which brought me to mind of about the only Adam Sandler movie I like (Happy Gilmore), but also some great lines. The only flaw with the film was Ben Stiller’s dialogue- his idiot gym owner just wasn’t that funny- okay, the opening ad scene was great and he had a few moments throughout the film, but it was more miss than hit. Rip Torn’s character was great and there were a whole bunch of cameos. All in all, one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I also managed to get permission to sneak out of the house Tuesday to hook up with a mate of mine to go see Collateral. A nice thriller, with two solid performances from Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. Cruise was superb as the amoral hitman and the movie was beautifully filmed. It’s no Heat, and I found a couple of the plot turns fairly unconvincing but aside from that it was very enjoyable. The ending felt like a bit of a let-down to me but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the film. Along with the cinematography Cruise was the best thing about this- and I’m no big Cruise fan. The action sequences were very well done and had a certain authentic feel to them- no big flashy pyrotechnics just some rapid fire shooting. Nice.

I’m being spoiled by all these good movies recently- and Sky Captain has yet to open here!

Yesterday I hit the gym for the first time in about a year and a half and went straight into my standard back and triceps routine. I took a bottle of Viper along with me but even so I was flagging by the end of the workout. The surprising thing though is that my strength is still pretty much where it was way back then (or for a few exercises, better!). Obviously the rowing I’ve been doing has been more beneficial than I thought. I do a Wide Grip Pulldown and V-grip Pulldown on the cable machine and on both I was able to equal the weight I used to handle, while on the seated row I was able to exceed my previous by an extra 10 pounds and a couple extra reps. My triceps were also stronger on the Lying French Press (AKA the skullcrusher) but come my final exercise (cable triceps pushdown) my tiredness was beginning to tell and I just about managed to equal my previous weight limit. All in all a very satisfying workout. Today my triceps and lats are a little sore (I was expecting much worse) but my lower (bad) back is killing me. I had planned to take my Other Half and kids a quick run into town to do a little shopping but I’m not sure I’m fit even to drive at the moment, let alone walk around the shops. But, hell, it was worth it to lift heavy bits of metal again!

BTW, Shaun of the Dead is opening in the States this week. I’m not sure how the humour will translate across the Pond, but I thought it was hilarious- it’s also a very good zombie movie with some terrific scenes and even “proper” acting in some serious moments from the lead, Simon Pegg. I saw the DVD of this not so long ago and it’s jolly good fun. If you see it and like it then make sure to check out Simon Pegg’s TV show, Spaced. A fantastic sit-com chock full of movie references.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kerry's Assault Rifle

Kerry seems to stuck in Vietnam- he won’t let the subject drop when it comes to his campaign and now he’s saying that he still owns a Chinese Communist assault rifle- all the while supporting the Assault Weapon Ban for lesser mortals than himself.

Either he’s lying about owning this weapon or he has one (perhaps illegally). What are the chances the MSM will cover this one?

I won’t hold my breath.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Couple more movie reviews

Thanks to my sister-in-law offering to baby-sit I now have the opportunity to get out to the cinema fairly regularly. Tuesday night my Other Half and I went to see Hellboy. Now, while I’m aware of the comic book the movie’s based on I’ve never actually sat down to read it and so I went into the film with virtually no expectations. I can honestly say it’s a good movie- I want to say that it’s great, but something’s missing. What it is I can’t quite say but it doesn’t quite make it into 5 star territory- 4 stars definitely but it just falls short. Which is a real shame because it’s a fabulous idea- during World War 2 Nazis summon a demon but are foiled and the demon is raised by the US, working for an ultra secret branch of the FBI fighting supernatural threats (and any film/book about evil Nazis and the supernatural already has me interested).

Ron Perlman is superbly cast as Hellboy and I can’t fault him at all. There’s also a nice vein of humour running through the film and the supporting actors all do their jobs well. To cap all that Hellboy even packs an oversized (big big-bore) revolver called the Samaritan. A big red guy with filed down horns, a stone hand and a gigantic gun- surely a recipe for success? But even the Chthonic chaos gods can’t quite lift the film into the realms of greatness and I left the film feeling a little let down. That’s not to say that it’s not an enjoyable romp, because it is and I will go see to see the sequel when it’s released, but I was expecting more from director Guillermo del Toro. Let’s hope it’s all sorted come 2006 when Hellboy 2 hits the big screen.

Another film I watched recently is the Korean action flick Volcano High- wowzers! This film is awesome. Based around a high school it features all sorts of amazing fight sequences between it’s super-chi-powered students and teachers and out-Matrixes The Matrix. There are some great fight scenes in this movie and some great special effects. This is one for any fan of fight films- don’t be put off by its Korean roots. If you like over-the-top action mixed in with a little goofiness then this is the film for you. I was mighty impressed by this one, it’s a delight to watch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

.50 Cal 1911

The 1911 pistol and the .45ACP round it is chambered for have proven themselves time after time to be highly effective “problem solvers”, but there are always people looking to improve on this classic design and cartridge. One recent development is for a 1911 pistol chambered for a new round- the .50 GI. That’s right folks, a .50 cal 1911 is available! Now, there might not be an overwhelming requirement for such a round (and I’m sure Jeff Cooper will comment on this development as being totally unneeded) but for fans of big-bore handguns (of which I most certainly number myself) this is good news.

The latest edition of Guns and Ammo (October) has a small review of Guncrafter’s .50 GI pistol. Even next to a .45ACP round, the .50 GI looks surprisingly chunky and the gun can put out a 300-grain bullet at a fairly sedate 700fps- but at half an inch across that’s going to make a big hole. It can also purportedly be loaded up to put that same 300-grain projectile out at up to 900fps, but I’m sure controllability will suffer greatly with such a hot load.

The gun itself seems to be built to tight tolerances with a match grade barrel and match tuned four pound trigger pull- but in the G&A review they were not overly impressed by the groups they fired, blaming the ammo- although the author admitted this was a common problem in early production runs. A standard .45 cannot be customised to fire .50 GI due to the size of the new round but a .50 GI can be adapted to handle .45ACP. At nearly $3000 it’s not cheap but the development of a new round is always good news I feel- it may turn out that it doesn’t work as advertised but I’m sure that before long someone will take note of it and then try to improve on it. Maybe this could start a trend in big-bore 1911s?


The Rathergate scandal over the forged documents about Bush’s National Guard duty continues- with the documents debunked as forgeries and with CBS still denying any wrongdoing or fault. How they expect to get away with it is beyond me. Do they think that the topic will just be dropped if they stonewall for long enough? What we have here is a major media outlet producing a story based on falsified documents to discredit a serving president during a time of war. Surely CBS can’t get away with it? Not only should Rather be fired immediately but legal charges must be pressed. What is this- libel? Treason?

To keep up to date with what’s happening check out NRO’s Kerry Spot page for all the latest news on this important story.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Not everyone outside the US wants Kerry to win

A Czech doctor is betting on Bush to win in the hope of providing help to the victims of the Beslan massacre.

Perhaps Kerry should do the right thing and step down! Although, given the past few months of campaigning it’s hard to tell if Kerry isn’t deliberately and actively trying to lose the election.

If he can’t even run a campaign effectively, and I’ve seen nothing yet to suggest that he can (Cambodia, Vietnam, flip-flop, Vietnam, avoid the press, Vietnam, don’t release navy records after promising to do so, Vietnam, flip-flop, Vietnam, about a dozen versions of how he won and what he did with his medals, flip-flop some more- seriously, is this guy for real?), then maybe he should consider how hard it’s going to be for him to run an entire country? Maybe his tactic is to continue to blame his speech-writers/ Secret Service/ Republican attack machine/ BushCheneyHalliburton/ Digital Brownshirts/ Vast Right Wing Conspiracy whenever he screws up?

If it weren’t so scary that he is actually trying to become President of the last remaining Super Power, it’d be funny. Maybe Scary Kerry isn’t the truly frightening thing, maybe it’s the fact that some people will actually vote for him. *shudder*

Sin City Pictures

I’m a big fan of the work of Frank Miller, particularly his interpretation of the Battle of Thermopylae, 300, and for his outstanding hard boiled noir series Sin City. When I heard that they were making a movie of Sin City I was less than enthralled by the prospect. However, my interest-meter is beginning to rise. First off, it’s being directed by Robert Rodriguez (of From Dusk Till Dawn and Desperado fame) and Frank Miller. Second, the cast is really starting to shape up- Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Josh Hartnett, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood and Bruce Willis to name but a few. It’s sounding more and more interesting as time goes on. Then, yesterday, I came across these stills of Sin City here and here. Wow. One of the great things about the original graphic novels is the use of colour- stark black and white punctuated by brief flashes of colour- a red dress, that yellow bastard (also the name of one of the stories). I’m really hoping that this movie lives up to the original books. One thing that worries me is the combination of three books in one film. Maybe it’s too much. The leads, Marv, Dwight and Hartigan, each deserve a movie of their own but maybe this way will work too. Fingers crossed.

Now all we need is a movie of The Dark Knight Returns. If you haven’t already, go read some Frank Miller.

On a vaguely related note- I see that they’re doing a remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. I’m sure that this is a film which doesn’t need to be made but I said that about Dawn of the Dead too and the remake is a fabulous piece of film. Mmm, have to see how this one pans out.

One last bit of movie news, thanks to MadOgre- Kurt Wimmer, who made the excellent Equilibrium, is back with another movie- Ultraviolet. One to watch out for! Also, check out Ogre’s review of Resident Evil 2. Worth reading!

Shaky camera work might have been cool once but it’s definitely over used now and frightfully irritating- I’ll be going to see this even if it is a stinker, I’m a big, big fan of zombie movies (and let’s face it, most of them are stinkers).

Friday, September 10, 2004

The AWOL story again

As the Kerry campaign continues its slow implosion yet again comments were made about Bush’s own National Guard duty and then CBS claimed to have documents referring to his service. I’m not even going to touch on the CBS fiasco, but if you want to learn more go and check out the excellent posts on Power Line. The power of the blog continues to amaze me.

As for Bush’s service, why can’t people accept the facts? His records have been released (we can’t say the same thing about Kerry months after he promised to do so), he got his honourable discharge and as you can see here- he obviously fulfilled his obligation. Can the same thing be said about Kerry?

Fly Eater

This has got to be my favourite story from yesterday- what wouldn’t I give for a robot that eats flies? I’ve been plagued by those dirty little buggers all summer long- for some reason this year our house has been surrounded by swarms of flies.

If only I’d had my fly-eating robot! Maybe next year…

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Back Again

I’ve had a bit of a wasted week last week and haven’t had the time or inclination to blog. Partly it’s because my Other Half is working on an assignment for her degree and partly it’s been due to a very restless baby. Anyway, nothing has been done for days and it was only Sunday that I managed to shake it off and get back to training. Boy, did it make a world of difference- one good, long row later and I felt back to normal. Totally re-energised. So here I am a few days later with two 10,000m rows under my belt already this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in another tomorrow- looks like this is my new standard. The days of struggling to do 2,000m seem so far distant, thank goodness.

With the weekend marking the end of my torpor on Monday I got to slip out to the cinema and saw Chronicles of Riddick. Great movie with some fantastic action scenes. It’s not much like Pitch Black, it’s on a totally different scale altogether, but if you enjoyed that film you’ll be sure to like this one too. It is a superb sci-fi movie, though very grand compared with Pitch Black and with a totally different look. While one of the things I liked about Pitch Black was the feel that things hadn’t changed that much (the character Johns’ carried a pretty neat pump action), Chronicles is very much more futuristic looking- though that’s not exactly a bad point. Riddick is a great character and while he’s not quite as menacing as in the first movie he still steals the show. This guy is one of the coolest sci-fi characters since, well, Han Solo. It is absolutely crammed to the gills with action, really stuffed full. A very entertaining film and a great way to spend the evening. Again, it’s one to catch on the big screen if possible; but I’ll definitely be adding this to my DVD collection when it’s released.

Last night I took my Dad to the cinema and we watched The Bourne Supremacy- I was a fan of Identity and this sequel is as good as, if not better than, the original. One of the plus points for me was the anti-Bond feel of the movie- no flashy cars, no trick gadgets, just a clever spy flick. One of the things I really enjoyed was the look of the film, there are a few scenes were you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a ‘70s film; Bourne drives an older model BMW, the city scenes are very grey and the colour seems quite muted at times- it really tops off the whole atmosphere of the film. At first I wasn’t impressed by the casting of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne as I’m not a fan but in this film I realised the advantage of using him, he’s pretty much the antithesis of Bond. He’s not a handsome, suave sophisticated international agent; he’s a grey man, a nobody, a figure in the crowd. Perfect for a CIA hitman; Damon is convincing as the very efficient and deadly Bourne. The fight sequences in both films are very well executed and have a genuine feel to them- there are no flashy martial arts, just grim efficiency. Damon is a fairly blank canvas, but that seems to be the point, Bourne is a tightly wound cold-blooded killer. I really enjoyed this film and am looking forward to the final part of the trilogy. Bond may have been the spy to beat, but with Bourne on the scene, he’s very much in danger of becoming an Austin Powers figure. XXX with Vin Diesel tried to re-do Bond for the modern generation, but it’s Bourne who has set the new standard for spy movies. Again, one I’m looking forward to seeing again and again on DVD.

While I’ve been gone Bush has surged ahead in the polls to a double digit lead (which can hopefully be maintained until election day), Kerry’s campaign is in full disintegration (Kerry himself seems to be coming apart at the seams) and the Beslan school massacre took place. I watched the latter live on BBC for a few hours on Friday and words can’t describe the sheer horror of it. These people- these Muslim terrorists for almost every media outlet seems afraid to call them what they are- must be exterminated, eradicated from the face of the planet. If they can not only conceive of this, but actually go through with it and deliberately murder so many children then they have no place in our world. This cannot stand.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Training and Fat

I recently posted about the Tanita body fat scales (28%) and since then I’ve also done a quick body fat test from an old USMC exercise book I have- The US Marine Corps 3X Fitness Programme. According to it, based on my neck and waist measurement, my body fat is 23.9%. Better news than the Tanita scales!

Today I went to Health Central and did a couple of their tests too. Results as follows:

You have 19.6% body fat.

You have 39 pounds of fat and 158 pounds of lean (muscle, bone, body water).

Your Body Mass Index is: 31 (obese level)

Based on the computed pounds of lean and the standards from the chart, you should weigh 186 pounds.

This means you should lose 11 pounds of fat.

Now, from all that it looks like I’m either just fat or obese- either way, it’s not good. My Other Half keeps telling me that there’s no way I’m fat- I know I have a bit of a belly but apart from that I feel fairly slim. I really hope I don’t look fat because if I do I’m in the middle of some serious self-delusion. If the belly flattened a little I’d feel happier and, more importantly, be healthier. My doctor tells me too that it’ll take some of the stress off my bad back- less pain is a good thing and that’s the main reason I’m trying so hard to get fit again; to try and help my back pain.

Time permitting I’m going to try and hit the gym for a couple of weeks and see how that affects my weight loss. I’ve already hit my goal on the rower of 10,000m (something I realistically didn’t expect to be able to do until late September) and I’m hoping that a couple of short rows in between weights will keep my cardio-vascular fitness up. Winter is traditionally the time when I’d try to bulk up in the gym but the hard part will be combining rowing and weight-lifting. I’ll have to try and figure out how to meld three hard weights sessions with enough rowing to keep my fitness and stamina at the level it is now. Tricky.