Showing posts from September, 2007

The Greek holiday itinerary

OK, for those of you interested as to where exactly I'll be for the next 2 weeks, here's the itinerary:

Sunday, 16 Sept:
Depart Durban for Johannesburg in the afternoon.
Fly from Johannesburg to Athens on Olympic Airlines.

Monday, 17 Sept:
Arrive before 6am in Athens.
Check-in at our hotel - Hotel Arion.
Paul working and myself exploring.
Meet our Contiki Tour mates in the evening and have a traditional Greek dinner at the Plaka.

Tuesday, 18 Sept:
Depart on the Spotlight on Greece Tour. Guided sightseeing in Athens, including the Acropolis and Parthenon. Pausing at Corinth to see the canal. Then to the Palace of Agamemnon at Mycenae, with its beehive tomb. Past the Acronafplion Citadel to Olympia, where we're spending the night at the Olympia Amalia Hotel.

Wednesday, 19 Sept:
See the Temples of Hera and Zeus at Olympia, as well as the site of the original 776BC Olympics. To Delphi (home of the Oracle), where we spend the night at the Hotel King Iniohos.

Thursday, 20 Sept:
Tour of Delph…

Family Guy Friday: Ollie Williams

Today's Family Guy Friday: a collage of clips featuring the grumpy, monosyllabic weatherman from Quahog's Channel 5 News, Ollie Williams. "It's gonna rain!"

Family Guy news

I know it's not Family Guy Friday but yesterday I happened to stumble across two bits of info related to the hit animated series. And the only way to describe both of them is "Sweet!"

First up, here's one that deserves a place of honour on your wall: A Family Guy Star Wars poster. It's to promote the hour-long new season opener in the States. Wasp Jerky had mentioned a little while ago that some preview footage was shown at this year's San Diego Comic Con (which you can watch at YouTube here.) And yesterday G sent me the link to the poster. It's pure awesomeness!

Here's the plot synopsis for the season opener, which debuts in the States on Sunday, 23 Sept on FOX.

After the Griffin ’s lose power, Peter entertains the family with the greatest story ever told…the story of Star Wars! After Princess Leia (Lois) comes under siege by Darth Vader (Stewie) and his evil Storm Troopers, C-3PO (Quagmire) and R2-D2 (Cleveland ) escape to find the only person who can …

Movie news

First up: What the hell is going on in the Overport / Musgrave area? It's become a nightmare construction site. Pavements upturned, giant holes in the middle of roads, gushing exposed water pipes, dead traffic lights, collapsed walls and mud everywhere. Once the dumbass municipality "fixes" one thing, the next thing breaks in a horrific chain effect. The once well-maintained area looks terrible and it's added an extra 20 minutes of sitting in gridlock every morning.

Why the hell can't the municipality employ contractors and workers who know what the hell they're doing, instead of just putting a pick in the hands of the nearest fool?

Anyway, as you all know, I'll be AFB (Absent from Blog) for the coming 2 weeks, so there's no real point in saving this for Trailer Tuesday. Here's the Iron Man teaser trailer. Most of all, I dig Robert Downey Jr. as fast-talking, "Lord of War" Tony Stark, whose moral code gets a dramatic shake up once he is …

Trailer Tuesday: Elizabeth - The Golden Age

It's very unusual for an "arty" historical epic to be followed up with a sequel, but that's exactly what has happened with Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It's been nine years since the original Elizabeth was released. At the time the film won much critical acclaim, especially for a then little-known Aussie actress called Cate Blanchett. Now director Shekhar Kapur is back, along with an all-star cast that includes Clive Owen, Samantha Morton and Geoffrey Rush, to continue the story of Queen Elizabeth I.

After the first film depicted Elizabeth's personal sacrifices as she learnt what it was to be a queen ruling solo, The Golden Age focuses on new threats to Elizabeth's monarchy.

Extracted from the official plot synopsis:

Reprising the roles they originated in seven-time Academy Award®-nominated Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush return for a gripping historical thriller laced with treachery and romance - The Golden Age. Joining them in the epic is Clive …

Shopping to fill suitcases

It’s now officially under a week until Paul and I depart for Greece next Sunday. And after the horrific traffic this morning (half an hour to travel 100m!), I do think a nice two-week break is deserved.

Anyway, with the holiday so close, a good portion of this weekend was spent at the Pavillion – when we weren’t playing World of WarCraft, of course. Friday evening was spent clearing out the Wailing Caverns with a quickly assembled group of players. Completing this dungeon with five players as opposed to two (and a pet pig) was a lot easier. And Paul got to put his player-resurrecting Goblin Jumper Cables to use.

I’ll have to head back to the Caverns again though, to go ingredient hunting. I found a very nice leatherworking recipe that involves scales only available off creatures in those caves.

Speaking of WoW, I finally have the game up and running at home. This said, I pretty much have this evening to play. On top of packing for the trip, I have to move out of my room for my grandfath…

CivCity: Rome

I actually think I’m starting to get the hang of CivCity: Rome, which combines playing aspects from the Caesar and Civilization series. I’ve played a few sessions now and am slowly making my way through the campaign missions (there’s also a freeplay ‘sandbox’ side to the game). I’ve just been promoted to overseeing the development of my third town.

The most challenging aspect of this economic strategy game is ensuring that all the resources needed for civilisation development are within a certain distance of your residential areas. As in real life, people are only prepared to walk so far for employment, food, etc. An in-game example: a shack will only become a hovel if its residents have access to a well, while a small hovel will only evolve into a large hovel if its residents can buy meat and linen nearby. And so on.

Obviously this can become quite a juggling act when you’re trying to squeeze in shops, temples and assorted other buildings all into one small area.

CivCity: Rome demands…

Family Guy Friday: Stewie the Gymnast

The quality isn't the best, and I had to use a clip that includes a lot more footage than I wanted, but the following contains one of my favourite ever exchanges between Stewie Griffin and Brian the Dog. "Commie.."

Fun for a Thursday afternoon

This really appealed to my sense of humour...

Always better on the big screen!

As promised yesterday, here's an updated movie release schedule for South Africa. I must confess I haven't been to movies for a few weeks now - we seem to be going through one of our 'dry' patches at the moment, with just tepid, one-joke comedies like Evan Almighty and yet another Rush Hour on circuit.

7 September (Tomorrow):
No Reservations - Another "opposities attract" romantic comedy with Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart as rival New York City chefs.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - An apparently biteless comedy with Adam Sandler and Kevin James as straight firemen who masquerade as a gay couple.
The Hitcher - Critically panned remake of a cult 1980s thriller. Sean Bean terrorises the couple dumb enough to give him a ride.

14 September:
Footskating 101 - Frum the teem that brung u Crazy Monkey. Yes, a South African rival to silly sports comedies Balls of Fury and Dodgeball.
Nancy Drew - Find out if everyone's favourite teen sleuth really has sand…

So where the hell is today's blog post?

Yeah, yeah, sorry about that.

I had a doctor's appointment first thing this morning and then I had to sort out my foreign exchange for the Greece trip (naturally on a day when the Rand has had one of its usual wobbles). So I only got into the office after 10:30.

I'll try make it up to you, my faithful blog readers. Tomorrow you can expect a new up-to-date movie release schedule, and, hopefully, some commentary on Civ City: Rome - I dabbled in the game on Monday evening, and came to the abrupt conclusion that I suck at Management titles. I ended up with something like 20 vagrants sitting oustide my town square. And none of the residential buildings evolved beyond shacks - the residents were happy to do chin-ups in their free time, but too lazy to walk to the butchers' shops for food. So began my fantastic Ancient World empire...

Otherwise, my evenings this week have been spent working on my November GEAR column. I want that out of the way by this Friday, so it's one less…

Trailer Tuesday: The Mist

Right, put the truly ridiculous, truly awful Dreamcatcher from your mind ("Shit-weasels" ferchrissakes!). There's a new Stephen King story being adapted for the big screen: The Mist.

I can't say I was overwhelmed by this trailer, although you do get a definite Stephen King vibe from it. All the trademarks are there: small town survivors, local loon, "chosen" little boy, contagious fear and, of course, a silly monster payoff that destroys the carefully established tension.

It might be worth giving The Mist some attention though. For one thing, the cast includes Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden and Marcia Gay Harden. More importantly, The Mist director Frank Darabont was the man behind 2 of the best Stephen King film adaptations: the prison-set Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Hopefully Darabont will ensure The Mist remains focused on the human character interaction as opposed to lazily giving viewers a CGI-monster fest.

The Mist is due for rel…

A busy weekend

Friday evening was probably the one single quiet point all weekend – Paul and I played World of WarCraft and made divine Italian bread rolls from scratch.

Saturday was spent running around, sorting out more things for our overseas trip, including an investigation of Foreign Exchange options (Interesting fact: ForEx has a higher exchange rate on weekends!), and buying some much-needed goodies, including an over-the-shoulder bag and a rainproof jacket. Oh, and I couldn’t resist a copy of the Lonely Planet Greek Islands guide. Yes, I’m one of those tourists – continually wandering around with a much thumbed guide book in my backpack.

On Saturday evening we headed to a friend’s housewarming, having helped them move around a month back. The geekdom level was high, with much discussion of role-playing at a loud volume. The food was excellent, especially the chocolate brownies for dessert, and we got to introduce more people to our boardgame staple, Settlers of Cataan.

It was actually the firs…