Monthly Archives: May 2010

Atari ST – A bit of Computing Nostalgia


A friend of mine is selling his original Atari ST and it was really quite fun to have a quick go on it the other day. It’s nearly 30 years old but is still working fine, I wonder if I will be able to say the same about my laptop in 3 years time?!

Launched in 1983 the Atari ST has a whopping 512Kb of RAM, an in-built 3.5″ floppy disk drive and a mouse!  When I turned it on I didn’t realise there was a disk still in it and was very happy and surprised to see the game Dungeon Master appear on the screen! This was one of the first, if not the very first, 3D games available.

I never was lucky enough to own an Atari ST but a friend had one when I was young and I remember playing Dungeon Master for a little while and thinking how amazing the graphics were and how cool it was to play computer games like this.

The above is the opening screen and it was strangely exciting that the mouse still worked as I clicked Enter to enter the Dungeon Master world.

You moved and turned through the dungeon using the mouse on the arrows and/or using your cursor keys. It was great fun!

Unfortunately the fun only lasted 10 minutes as I quickly became very frustrated at the clunky and slow movement. Also, nothing really happened, other than me getting quite lost!

I do like getting nostalgic for old games and still have a ZX Spectrum +2 and now again play Jet Set Willy, Daley Thomson’s Decathlon, etc. but Dungeon Master is not one I’ll be revisiting any time soon.


Holy Sh*t, I’ve gone Grey?!


You may have read yesterday’s post about the reasons why I was not looking forward to going to the hairdresser today. Unfortunately I completely vindicated my concerns.

It didn’t start well as I managed to walk into the wrong salon! To overcome my feeling of uneasiness of going to the hairdresser I overcompensated, strolled boldly and confidently into the salon and with my deepest voice stated I had a 12.30 appointment.

They smiled, looked onto the computer and then looked concerned and told me they couldn’t find it. I said I had received a text confirmation from them only two days ago and showed them. That’s when they smiled again and politely explained that I was in Toni&Guy and was meant to be in the Rush salon a couple of doors down the road (see below).

In the short distance between the salons I tried to regain a little bit of composure. I managed to fake the confident swagger but the deep voice ended up sounding like I’ve never sounded before. All the staff were very friendly to me, but just like a dog senses fear, they could all immediately recognise my awkwardness.

Yesterday I forgot to mention another hate of mine, the gown they make you wear! It is so emasculating. They then wash your hair and give you a head massage, which is very nice, but then make you walk to your seat with your hair wet and all over the place; it is a walk of shame, displaying your hair publicly at its worst and showing why you need the hairdresser to make it look better again.

No sooner had my bum hit the chair I was asked if I had been anywhere nice on holiday! I was ready with my answer. To be fair, my hairdresser is really nice and we did have a good chat. Well, up until one point.

Being in a salon surrounded by a lot of young and well presented ladies means that I cannot help but notice and my eyes sometimes wander. Oh, I also realised another reason why men often feel uncomfortable at the hairdressers is we are not used to spending so much time looking at ourselves in the mirror, it really is quite disconcerting!

Anyway, my hairdresser is saying something about my hair whilst I am noticing all these lovely ladies around me and I hear her say “Have you thought about having a semi?” I was thinking that I already have one when I realise she is probably talking about something else and I ask what she means. She replies a semi-permanent as I am getting quite grey now?!

Any hint of a semi has definitely disappeared and I remind her that last time she said she liked the greyness of my hair. She confirmed she does but it is greyer now and I may want to use semi-permanent dye to keep little bits of grey but make my hair darker. As she cuts my hair it gets greyer and greyer and I jokingly accuse her of having grey dye in her comb just to freak me out!

But no, I am going proper grey!! I always thought I would never dye my hair, but I think next time maybe I will. Although, now I am home in normal light conditions it doesn’t seem so bad. I guess I will wait and see if my friends make comments or jokes before deciding.

I’m going grey! Oh bum. Oh proper bum.

Jake


Don’t make me get my hair cut


I’ve never liked going to the hairdressers and I’m not looking forward to my appointment tomorrow.

Maybe it’s because I’m a man and have in-built sexist views, but I always feel like I don’t belong in such establishments. Tomorrow’s appointment is at a proper salon place, Rush, where there are never any men there, it is always mostly female staff and customers.

They all smile at me and are very welcoming and nice, but I get that ‘you’re not one of us’ looks. I’m allowed to go in and visit but I’m on their turf and I will never be part of the gang.

I could go to a more male-centric barber but that would not really make much of a difference as my real issues with having my haircut are that I resent having to get it done and the banal conversations you have to have with whoever is cutting your hair.

I know hairdressers are skilled people but I hate having to pay someone to take something that is mine away from me! I feel like I am being exploited by the fact that I can’t cut my own hair due to biological/dexterity limitations.  I’m not there by choice, I’m there because I have to be there and I have to pay for it.

I’ve not yet had a haircut in 2010 and pleased but also concerned at the same time that my hair has not grown that fast so although my hair does need cutting it does not look, in my totally biased opinion, ridiculous. I’ve also got some grey hairs and having it cut shorter always makes it look more grey.

The haircut chat is what bugs me the most as it is all so unnatural to have a mirror-based conversation with someone. The hairdresser is just by your ear and so talks quietly but as you are faced front you have to raise your voice or shout so they can hear you. I’m always getting told off for turning to look at the hairdresser when speaking to them.

I sit there uncomfortably waiting for the inevitable moment the ‘going away anywhere nice on holiday?’ question gets asked, which is, so I’m reliably informed, on page 1 of the Hairdresser Book of Safe Banter. As much as I feel like being controversial and say I am doing a tour of Asia to find the best value prostitutes, I always end up being nice and tomorrow will fully engage in a mundane conversation about my upcoming trip to Spain.

Find out what happened at the appointment, it didn’t go well >>>

It seems I’m not only the only one who does not enjoy going to the hairdressers. Here’s comedian David Mitchell explaining his reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWEa5__ROJg


Not what you want to see on the Motorway


When travelling down the motorway at 70mph in the rain, this is not a view you particularly want to be confronted with.


Divorce is Messy


I was aware that divorce can get messy, but this Divorce section in my local bookstore also has a book on cleaning and stain removal?!


They didn’t cash my gold?


In the last 6 months there has been a massive growth in companies who want us to send in our gold to exchange it for cash: CashmyGold, Cash4Gold, PostalGold, etc.  Their adverts are very annoying, particularly the one with Mr Fake Tan, Dale Winton below:

To get my own back for being subjected to this so-annoying-I-want-to-kill-someone advert and because I clearly have too much time on my hands, I was curious to see how they would handle this Gold bar:

It’s not been in my family long, but I have become very attached to it. However, some cash is always good to have and I thought that because it was in such good condition and that it clearly bears the McVitie’s hallmark I would get a good price for it.

Via their website I sent off for my FREE Gold Bag and got back the following pack :

With a heavy heart I placed my Gold Bar in the bag and went down to the post office to hand in the special delivery package.

About a week later I received a package in the post. They had rejected my gold bar stating that ‘we were unable to make you an offer on these particular items‘.

I did think about ringing to complain, but I was very happy to be reunited with my Gold bar again.

Jake McMillan

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Top 10 Definitive Bond Girls – No.1 Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman)


<<< No.2 Vesper Lynd

Character: 87     Hotness: 90        Impact: 91           Overall Score: 712,530
(click here for scoring methodology)

The number one Definite Bond Girl is Pussy Galore, beating all her rivals quite comfortably by scoring very high in all categories. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder may have set the standard for Bond Girls, but Honor Blackman in 1964’s Goldfinger raised the bar so high that no one else has been able to surpass it.

This achievement is all the more impressive when you consider the name Pussy Galore is really quite absurd and juvenile, but Honor Blackman’s performance gives it complete credibility. She was also 38 years of age when she made the film, making her the oldest Bond Girl and is nearly 5 years older than Sean Connery.

Pussy Galore makes her first appearance halfway through the film when James Bond wakes up inside the private jet of baddie Auric Goldfinger and being the pilot she introduces herself to him.

Pussy Galore: My name is Pussy Galore.
James Bond: I must be dreaming.

Pussy is more mature, not just in age, than most Bond Girls and she is actually a villain who is helping Goldfinger carry out his dastardly plan so she can make a lot of money, buy an island in the Bahamas and ‘go back to nature’.

Pussy Galore: I’m Mr. Goldfinger’s personal pilot.
James Bond: Oh? Just how personal is that?
Pussy Galore: I’m a damn good pilot. Period.

James tries to win her over when they first meet, but she is having none of it.

Pussy Galore: You can turn off the charm, I’m immune.

As well as being an expert aeroplane and helicopter pilot, she runs her own air show team, Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus, who are instrumental in Goldfinger’s plan to break into Fort Knox, killing off the surrounding army base by spraying Delta 9 nerve gas into the air.

James Bond is being held prisoner at Goldfinger’s Kentucky stud farm and when Goldfinger is informed people are watching the farm (CIA’s Felix Leiter), he asks Pussy to entertain James to make it look like he is not in any trouble.

James Bond: Well, well, the new Miss Galore. Where do you hide your gold knuckles in that outfit.
Pussy Galore: Oh, I never carry weapons after business hours.
James Bond: None at all?
Pussy Galore: I’m completely defenseless…
James Bond: … so am I.

They take a walk arm in arm around the farm and Bond spots a barn for them to go into. Their banter has been friendly up until that point but he expresses his dislike of her being caught up in the plan and states that Goldfinger is quite mad.

James Bond: What would it take for you to see things my way?
Pussy Galore: A lot more than you’ve got.
James Bond: How do you know?
Pussy Galore: I don’t want to know.

He grabs her and then she shows off her judo skills (written into the film especially for Honor Blackman) and they proceed to have a tumble together which leads directly to a more passionate and intimate moment. We later realise this time with Bond has helped her see the light and Pussy and her flying circus team only pretend to use the nerve gas, allowing the army and CIA to prevent Goldfinger’s plan.

Pussy Galore is a talented and independent woman who knows how to handle herself, yet is also very beautiful and sexy without any need for gratuitous bikini shots. Her character is interesting and develops over the film as she is involved in something quite bad, but ultimately her actions allow Bond to succeed.  Her impact was and, 46 years later, still is huge, being one of the most well-remembered and highly-regarded Bond girls.

Therefore, Pussy Galore fully deserves her place as the number one definitive Bond girl.

Related Posts:
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Jill St John (Tiffany Case)
Carey Lowell (Pam Bouvier)
Maud Adams (Andrea Anders & Octopussy)
Halle Berry (Jinx)
Definitive Top 10 Bond Girls
007
Interesting James Bond Trivia

<<< No.2 Vesper Lynd

You might also want to look at:

Honor Blackman at Wikipedia

Honor Blackman Official Website – http://www.honorblackman.co.uk/