Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hurrah! What a weekend...

If you haven't already seen the recently recovered Doctor Who stories The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear then do so! You'll have to find someone who uses iTunes (massive act of suck on behalf of the BBC) to view them, until their respective DVD releases in the near future. Best 50th Anniversary present ever! So happy right now.


Tuesday, 31 January 2012

PROTEIN POWER!


Today's smoothie contains: raw cabbage, wheat grass, apples & hemp seeds.
Can't really top that for a nutrient-dense meal! :-)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Loose Cannon Reconstruction: The Wheel in Space

From the Loose Cannon mailing list:


Hi There

This is the first Loose Cannon mailing update for quite a while, it is around 2 years since we released Faceless Ones but we haven’t been sat idle in that time, we have been working away on new recons despite a lack of an update to our website

There have been several things gone on in that period which have delayed us from releasing stories, at present we have several stories which have episodes complete but not the usual extras we release along with them, we had been endeavoring to get these releases ready to go but there has been a recent development which has caused us to have a little bit of a rethink

As you will probably know Loose Cannon has always insisted on releasing our stories in VHS quality, the reason for this is we fully respect the BBC’s copyrights in the situation and have no wish to tread on their toes, we have been led to believe that the BBC are unlikely to take any action whilst the releases are in a degradable format, despite our best attempts to stop it our stories have been made available again and again over the years on eBay converted from our VHS versions onto DVD, this has become an increased problem as VHS as a format has now all but died, I suspect most of you keep your VHS players simply to play the recons on, indeed it’s the only reason we keep ours! As people get rid of their VHS machines an unfortunate side effect has been that eBay is an even more popular place to try to sell recons, in addition to this in more recent years YouTube has become a more and more popular place for people to view and share video content, once again we prefer to avoid YouTube for fear of offending the BBC, however as YouTube has increased in popularity it has become more and more difficult to avoid this, we have asked people again and again to remove our recons, most people are happy to comply and often do not realize we have an issue with it being on there but no sooner has one recon being removed someone puts it back up again, usually in all innocence, indeed in recent years we have simply given up trying to prevent it, we cannot force people to remove our stuff and YouTube is crammed full of Doctor Who related items other than recons varying from full episodes to peoples own edits of stories to animations, indeed not only are our recons up there, often in horrendous quality, people see fit to reedit them on occasion and add in a narrated audio, thus totally opposing our wishes not to distribute something the BBC could sell, in short whatever we do we cannot seem to stop the YouTube floodgates.

Now the recent development that has happened is one of our unreleased stories has appeared on YouTube, as episodes are completed we do give copies to people who have contributed to the recon, people often contribute photos, information, CGI etc, and we do ask them to keep the copy to themselves until the story gets a wider release, however the world being as it is people inevitably do a copy “just for my mate” then that person does one “just for their mate” and before you know it the episodes are beginning to circulate, in this case someone has uploaded The Wheel in Space to YouTube, once again without necessarily realizing the implications, this has left us in a bit of a quandary as we don’t yet have the extras ready we would like for a full release, however we would like the people who enjoy recons to be able to see this story, with that in mind we have decided to send this update to people explaining the situation and to see how things go, it seems churlish to ask for it to be taken down as it will inevitably be back up there again within days!, obviously at this stage we have no idea what will happen from this point but one way or the other we simply want as many people as possible to enjoy our work so whilst it is up there please follow this link to enjoy The Wheel in Space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZZNyYwJOXo all of this story is now up there and we understand Web of Fear will be following, feel free to check in on our forum http://ianlevine.forumco.com/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=24 and keep an eye on our website www.recons.com and maybe even submit a review for this or any other story.

Thanks

Derek, Dean & Russ

Loose Cannon


Well, there you have it - enjoy! :-)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

T.Power - Amber



Brilliant tune! You can tell it's very cyberpunk influenced...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

DVD Review: Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks

I must admit that like many fans who saw Day of the Daleks as a kid I was rather let down by the battle scene at the end. I think it was the second video I ever bought after Death to the Daleks - which I think is still awesome and under-rated to this day! So, when I heard that the DVD release was coming up, and that new CGI effects, footage and Dalek voices (by Nick Briggs) were to be added I was quite excited.

I must admit (and I hope my bosses don't read this!) that I took the day off work to watch this in one sitting. And being older I can appreciate the complex storyline a lot more than I ever could have as a seven year old. This pre-dates Terminator by over a decade and there is a similar complex script from Louis Marks revolving around time-travel paradoxes with complex characters from the 22nd Century attempting to alter the course of history. It is a bleak and dystopian vision of the future and it made all the more richer by the wonderful new CGI effects shots that blend in seamlessly with the original '70s ones.

I think that the new Dalek voices are excellent, more on par with the new series' ones. The original voices for this story were downright awful in my opinion - although some might disagree. I also think the new CGI work done for the battle scenes at the end are superb, and I ought to say a big 'well done' to all the team involved in bringing them to life. Barry Letts would've been proud!
For all it's original production faults, Day of the Daleks has been glossed up here and given a new lease of life. It means a whole new generation of fans can look back to it and discover the magic of the classic series again.

I must say that it's worth purchasing just to see the wonderful scene with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor drinking wine and eating cheese! A real gem, it gets a big thumbs up from me. One of the best DVD releases so far!

Let's just hope that Death to the Daleks gets equal treatment, it's long overdue... ;-)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lubuntu 11.04

Here is a screenshot of my newer desktop, this machine currently runs Lubuntu 11.04 on it. You can tell the difference in speed compared to Xubuntu, which has become rather bloated these days. Nice and lightweight...no fuss or other fancy eye-candy to hog your memory, although I did get some of the Compiz effects working the other week just to play around with.

Here is my .conkyrc file in case you liked what you saw:


# UBUNTU-CONKY
# A comprehensive conky script, configured for use on
# Ubuntu / Debian Gnome, without the need for any external scripts.
#
# Based on conky-jc and the default .conkyrc.
# INCLUDES:
# - tail of /var/log/messages
# - netstat connections to your computer
#
# -- Pengo (conky@pengo.us)
#

# Create own window instead of using desktop (required in nautilus)
own_window yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,skip_taskbar
background no

# Use double buffering (reduces flicker, may not work for everyone)
double_buffer yes

# fiddle with window
use_spacer yes
use_xft yes

# Update interval in seconds
update_interval 3.0

# Minimum size of text area
minimum_size 400 5

# Draw shades?
draw_shades yes

# Text stuff
draw_outline no # amplifies text if yes
draw_borders no

uppercase no # set to yes if you want all text to be in uppercase

# Stippled borders?
stippled_borders 8

# border margins
border_margin 4

# border width
border_width 1

# Default colors and also border colors, grey90 == #e5e5e5
default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color white

own_window_colour brown
own_window_transparent yes

# Text alignment, other possible values are commented
#alignment top_left
alignment top_right
#alignment bottom_left
#alignment bottom_right

# Gap between borders of screen and text
gap_x 10
gap_y 10

# stuff after 'TEXT' will be formatted on screen

override_utf8_locale no
xftfont Terminus:size=8
xftalpha 0.8

TEXT

${offset 240}${color slate grey}${time %a, } ${color }${time %e %B %G}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}${time %Z, }${color }${time %H:%M:%S}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}UpTime: ${color }$uptime
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Kern:${color }$kernel
${offset 240}${color slate grey}CPU:${color } $cpu% ${acpitemp}C
${offset 240}${cpugraph 20,130 000000 ffffff}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Load: ${color }$loadavg
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Processes: ${color }$processes
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Running: ${color }$running_processes

${offset 240}${color slate grey}Highest CPU:
${offset 240}${color #ddaa00} ${top name 1}${top_mem cpu 1}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 2}${top cpu 2}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 3}${top cpu 3}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 4}${top cpu 4}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}Highest MEM:
${offset 240}${color #ddaa00} ${top_mem name 1}${top_mem mem 1}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 2}${top_mem mem 2}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 3}${top_mem mem 3}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 4}${top_mem mem 4}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}MEM: ${color } $memperc% $mem/$memmax
${offset 240}${membar 3,100}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}SWAP: ${color }$swapperc% $swap/$swapmax
${offset 240}${swapbar 3,100}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}ROOT: ${color }${fs_free /}/${fs_size /}
${offset 240}${fs_bar 3,100 /}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}HOME: ${color }${fs_free /home}/${fs_size /home}
${offset 240}${fs_bar 3,100 /home}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}SLACK: ${color }${fs_free /mnt/slack}/${fs_size /mnt/slack}
${offset 240}${fs_bar 3,100 /mnt/slack}

Friday, 2 September 2011

Book Review: Food of the Gods


Many people have their own theories as to how the hell we evolved into upright-walking and thinking creatures. Some believe it was aliens tampering with our DNA, others believe it was gamma radiation from space and there are countless other theories flying around out there. But there is one that stands out and (if you take the time to listen rather than just laugh) that actually makes some sense. Terence McKenna proposes that our ancestors living on the grasslands of Africa ate Magic Mushrooms as part of their diet (which contain the active and non-toxic chemical Psilocybin which resembles ordinary human neurotransmitters already present in our brains) which stimulated our central nervous systems and the linguistic functions of our brains to give birth to culture, art and language. I am sure that sounds crazy to most of you, but anyone who has tried this or other similar mind-expanding substances will know how powerful and profound their effects can be. Psychoactive plants have had a long history of use dating back thousands of years in shamanic cultures all around the world, and there is plenty of historical evidence to support this, which this book presents.

McKenna also looks at how our species has always had a fascination with substances that alter our perception of the world, and looks at the damage that everyday drugs such as chocolate, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and tobacco cause in our society, and he also looks at how the CIA trafficked cocaine and heroin the the 20th Century. He argues that our species lost a deep connection with nature when we stopped using these sacred plants and believes we created alcohol to try and fill that spiritual void and need for ego-loss, mental stimulation and intoxication that only these plants that exist as part of our planet's natural eco-system can provide.

He also examines man-made psychedelics such as LSD, all the way through to the natural Mescaline-containing cactii and DMT and their use throughout history and the benefits that they would provide to individuals and society as a whole if they were legalised and seen for what they really are. Beyond that he goes into detail as to what the experiences that these substances provide actually mean, and the potential for expanding the human mind into seeing beyond our five senses and into higher dimensions and realities. There is little mention in this book of McKenna's machine-elf theory, but seeing as a lot of people will find that hard to swallow and that this is more of an introduction to psychedelic plants then that is best left to McKenna's other books and lectures to explain in further detail.

So, go on - open your mind a little! Even if you don't do drugs and are really against them then please read this book to understand why people do them. Terence McKenna is no crazy hippy or Timothy Leary-type advocating irresponsible use of these substances, he is an intelligent and funny guy with some brilliant arguments and an amazing knowledge of the subject (he is a botanist after all!) and his writing style is second to none. Highly recommended!