Well… that’s it. I’m leavin on a jet plane, and all that other Jonny Denver type stuff. As they say where I come from: “It’s all over bar the shoutin'” Of course, in this particular case, “the shoutin” involves packing my few remaining possessions; dragging 50kg of luggage (each) in 3 seperate cases (each), through the deep snow to the subway station; catching a train, then a bus, then a plane; being picked up from the airport, and living under someone else’s roof for the next week or so until my wife and I find somewhere to live. So if we’re gonna stick with the fighting analogies, I haven’t even spilled the other bloke’s drink yet. But it’s all over as far as the blog posts about my moving are concerned. I am writing this post on Monday the 26th, and it is scheduled for release at the exact minute we are due to land in the UK. So… once again, you must endure the anguish of my absence. At least for a little while. What will I be blogging about when I return? Your guess is as good as mine. Well… I suppose I could make a slightly more educated guess than you guys and say that it’s likely to be about my new house, and my new job (back to being self-employed now). I do have one or two things in the pipeline to keep you occupied until next we meet, and they have been a very long time coming. So, I will see you again soon. If you don’t believe me… take a look at this video. And the next time someone hears me say “Hmmm… I think I’ll kill myself off in this weeks video. I just want to try out this new effect!” STOP ME and say: “Jimbot… don’t do it. The storyteller in you is a perfectionist monster, and you know where this will lead.” Normally I sign off by saying goodbye, but on this occasion I will just say those 3 little words I have been desperately waiting to say for almost 3 years: I’m back baby!!
I started writing this blog as a record of my attempt to get my novel published whilst creating a successful YouTube channel at the same time. There was a very clear line of thinking behind the reasons for writing here.
- Writing a weekly blog will make my efforts public, and so urge me to keep my promises, and keep up with the submissions and videos.
- I may find some followers for the YouTube channel.
- It will keep me writing, even when I have nothing to write about.
- Prospective agents/publishers will have a wealth of my writing at their fingertips, should they wish to investigate.
- If, after a year or two, I have still not found a publisher… by that time I should have a sufficiently large YouTube audience to help increase sales of my book, should I opt to self-publish.
…On February 17th, it will have been 3 years since that moment.
I set up Sleepless Knight accounts on twitter, facebook and YouTube on the same day I started this blog. 3 weeks later I checked the stats… I checked them again today.
It’s fair to say that I got a little sidetracked.
As a direct result of writing here on WordPress, I met the woman of my dreams, and we are now very happily married… so it is tempting to say that this blog doesn’t owe me anything, and walk away from it. But I’m still convinced that I can make this whole thing work for me, and if there’s one thing my wife will tell you about me, it’s that I once I get an idea into my head it is impossible to shift it.
But that’s not really a good thing is it. I mean, it’s one thing to convince yourself that you can run through the wall into the next room because atoms are mostly empty space… but, as the very level-headed Dr. Ben Goldacre would no doubt have said to the poor, deluded Major General Stubblebine and his broken nose: I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.
It’s no good repeatedly saying “I’b dot givig ub!” through your mashed and bleeding hooter, as you bounce off the wall for the 30th time in a month. Sooner or later, you either have to start using the door, or accept confinement by the men in white coats, in a room where the walls can’t hurt you any more.
There are many reasons why the plan I outlined above has failed. Some of them are no doubt still a mystery to me, but the more obvious ones are:
- You cannot hope to gain followers on twitter if you never use it!
- You cannot hope to gain followers on YouTube if you never use it!
- You cannot hope to gain followers on WordPress if you never use it!
Once again; it’s a bit more complicated than that. The twitter thing is no more complicated than that. I simply keep forgetting it’s there. The YouTube thing is firstly a result of my monumental over-ambition when it comes to making videos; where I come up with extremely simple ideas and then over-complicate the crap out of them. And secondly because my circumstances keep changing every 5 minutes, which makes it difficult to film things. It’s tough to make and upload YouTube videos when you’re computer blows up OR you have no access to the internet OR you have no camera because you sold it in order to eat OR your crew live in another country, because you left them behind for 3 years!
So now let’s address the WordPress thing, because if you’re reading this, the chances are fairly high that you have at least a passing interest in reading blog posts.
There have been more agency submissions since those first ones, and there have been more videos since that first one… but the one glaring problem with my blogging above all others, is that I don’t find one subject and stick with it.
Without doubt, the blogs that get the most visitors (and WordPress do tell you this when you first start blogging here) are the ones which have a specific focus. If you have one subject about which you write, and you write about it regularly, then half the work is already done. So, if I know that, what’s the problem?
Well once again, the problem is me. All my life I have deeply envied people who have one passion; one area of their life which dominates all others and decides the direction of their life as a whole. My problem, as I have stated again and again, is that despite many, many efforts to narrow my focus to one specific area… Storyteller is the best I can do. That is as narrow as I can make it. I love telling stories. I want to tell my stories and there are many! I can’t put the required amount of exclamation marks after the word many, because you would think I had fallen asleep on my keyboard, and I can’t make the word big enough without writing it on something much larger than the state of Texas. I have many, many stories which I want to tell; from the things that happen in my daily life (which has been much more interesting than you might think) to the many, many hundreds of story ideas which have been filling my brain, and dozens upon dozens of notebooks and scraps of paper, since I was a very young boy, and are still doing so on a daily basis.
The problem is that storytelling covers a lot of sins: Books, Films, Short Stories, TV Series, Plays, Screenplays, Stage-acting, Screen-acting, Voice-acting, Game production, Animation, Poetry, Blogging… there’s a lot of scope to it. The other problem with telling stories, is that unless you first have people’s attention, no-one really cares what you have to say. So I need to get back on track here, and start growing my audience, because I have made a decision to keep trying to find an agent for my book until I return permanently to the UK next year. If, in that time, I have not found a representative, then I will self-publish my book and let the chips fall where they may.
So I need your help. I realise I’m probably going to make myself look really stupid here, since no-one ever comments on this blog, but I’m going to ask anyway, in the hope that one or two kind souls have suggestions for me, and actually tell me what they are in a helpful way… in the comments section [It’s easy to find – Just click the speech bubble at the top of this post and you will be directed to the comments section].
This blog needs a permanent focus. Something very specific that I can blog about on a weekly basis, and then if I want to tell you other things, I can do so in a different section.
- Movies – I love the movies. I always have done, and I still almost always end every day with a film. (but there are too many sites doing movie reviews already. Needs to be something new, or at least something that everyone and their grannies aren’t already doing)
- Film-making – My biggest passion by far. This is my world, and the people who do this are my people. I love everything about it, and I do every single job on a movie myself, but my main areas of interest are:- visual effects, miniatures/modelling, sound design, film scores, set/prop design.
- Writing – I have done this for a very long time, and I don’t think I could stop if I tried – check this post, to get a brief idea of my writing career – but I don’t think the internet needs another website about writing. Everything that can be said has been, and by better writers than myself.
- Bad Science and the proliferation of – It has become a bit of an obsession with me to fight back against the constant stream of bullshit which is posted, and reposted as fact on social-networking sites. The internet is a wonderful thing but it does let pretty much anyone state pretty much anything as fact, because the majority of us are too stupid or lazy to check the facts. The problem with this idea is a) Ben Goldacre and others are already doing it better, and b) I fear that my lack of medical/technical knowledge might actually do harm to the kind of intelligent professional debate run by much better qualified people than myself.
- Astronomy & Space Travel – Another passion of mine since I was a very, very small boy. I am probably one of the only people in the world sad enough to have read the entire Apollo 8 mission transcripts (that’s everything that was said in the capsule for 4 days), when they didn’t have to. I love everything about the universe outside our little planet, but once again, I fear I am not really well-read or qualified enough to contribute anything of any value to a wealth of on-line information about… the universe.
I will leave you with those for the time being, since I fully expect to get no responses whatsoever that did not come from inside this apartment.
See you soon.
All the best things come in threes, so I’d better make sure that I don’t drag this out over yet another post this week. Also, since the movies I’m previewing are getting further and further away (these ones start in October 2014) as we go down the list, it is getting much more difficult to find images relating to the production… so I may start improvising a little now.
Dracula Untold –
So, Dracula, became Dracula: Year Zero, and now Dracula Untold. But is it? Haven’t we been told this story before? I seem to recall that no-one really much liked what Francis Ford Coppola had to say on the subject. Well, if a Hollywood giant like Coppola can’t get it right, what else is there to do but give the project to a man who has previously only directed commercials.
Gary Shore is not really treading entirely new ground; drawing on the widely held belief that Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on real-life 15th century overlord, Vlad Tepes. From interviews I’ve seen however, it does sound like Shore is telling a much more interesting story than Coppola, who pretty much tried to tell us that Dracula wasn’t all that bad before he fell out with God and developed a bit of an O+ habit. The truth of the matter, if the stories of the inspiration for Dracula are to be believed, is that Stoker took Vlad III and toned him down a bit.
For those of us who remember vampires before they went all glittery and pouting, the thought of having your blood drained by an immortal bastard while we slept was a fairly horrifying prospect… but that is a peaceful, dizzying drift into a warm (if rather too permanent) bath, compared with what Vlad tended to do with people who didn’t laugh at his jokes. I’m not going to go too deeply into it here (as much as I am tempted to), but as many of you will be aware, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, is usually referred to by the much more evocative epithet, Vlad the Impaler. In case you were wondering: No, this was not just a clever 15th century nickname for a well-endowed gentleman. He was so called because he is rumoured to have used over 40,000 people as life-sized pencil toppers… holding their legs apart and oiling a large stake, which was then… I think you get the picture. I’m sorry if you were eating a hot-dog or something while you read that. I should have put a disclaimer, or a spoiler-alert or something at the top of this post. Anyway, Vlad used to arrange these impaled people in concentric circles outside cities he planned to attack, or as a deterrent to his enemies (I don’t know about you, but this tactic would deter the fuck out of me), and the story goes that this lovely fella was the inspiration for Dracula; hence the stake through the heart, I would imagine.
Okay, maybe I did go too deeply into it, but if you wish to know more about the charming Vlad, check this out.
As far as the movie goes, it should be worth a watch. Just, maybe go without snacks for this one, eh?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles –
Once again, Megan Fox finds employment in a franchise based on a cartoon. Turtles are mutated by toxic stuff that we flushed; someone makes a movie about it; we flush that, and so goes the never-ending life-cycle of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
It shouldn’t be hard to discern my feelings about this film. If you can only see one film this week, make it the one with the stakes up the bottom. Unless you have kids. In which case… cover their eyes when it gets to that bit.
The Maze Runner –
Nope. This is not leaked CCTV footage of a thief who took a wrong turn after nicking a novelty tankard from the Hampton Court Palace gift shop, but the latest adaptation of dystopian fiction, this time from author, James Dashner.
A young boy with no memory wakes up in a community of 50 teenage boys, surrounded by a deadly maze. A day later, the first ever girl arrives.
Well, you certainly couldn’t ask for a situation with more tension. Throw in a box containing only one After-Eight mint and I think most cinema patrons would need chain-mail gloves to save their fingernails.
This will be the directorial début of Wes Ball, so it’s a very difficult one to call, but I think it would be difficult to mess up such an idea, so I’m gonna risk saying: Hit
Those who are superstitious leave now. Especially if, like me, you are a fan of Christopher Nolan.
For me, this is the big one of 2014. I simply cannot wait to see this movie. And not necessarily because I think it will be an instant hit, but because I think Chris Nolan is one of the most talented directors working right now… and I’m kinda wondering when this ride is going to end.
You see, in my opinion (and I need to stress that not everyone agrees with this), Chris Nolan has never made a bad move as director or writer, but let me explain the problem with expecting too much from this movie:
The film revolves around a group of explorers and scientists from a resource-depleted Earth, poking their heads through a newly discovered wormhole to see what’s on the other side. All very good so far. Then, in an unsurprising move from Nolan, it stars Michael Caine. Excellent; no problems there. Anne Hathaway also joins the very interesting cast list, along with John Lithgow and Wes Bentley; all of whom are watchable and usually dependable. Sounds great. Then the first teaser trailer combines images of historical, pioneering moments in human history, with a beautifully written monologue which goes directly to the very heart of everything I feel most passionately, about human-beings and this little planet we inhabit, in a single line of dialogue I would love to have written myself “…our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.” And the monologue is read by…. Matthew McConaughey.
I’m being tremendously unfair to poor Matthew here, I know. It’s a very, very minor point in an otherwise perfect-sounding premise. I just get so nervous whenever a new Chris Nolan movie comes out, because I have come to expect so much from him.
I suppose if there is one thing I should have learned by now, it’s this: When a fantastic cook tells you they are making a mouth-watering dish, but they’re going to use an ingredient you don’t ordinarily like… trust them to know what they’re doing.
Will this be a hit? Absolutely!
Paul King directs Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in this big-screen outing for Michael Bond’s beloved bear.
Paddington bear arrives at Paddington station from darkest Peru, where he is found and adopted by the Brown family. He is politeness in a little duffle-coat, and loves marmalade sandwiches; which he presumably eats from exactly the kind of paper-bag that Nicole Kidman couldn’t act her way out of!!
Paul King: Paddington was found with a note attached to his duffle-coat, which read “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and you let Nicole Kidman onto the cast… Shame on you, Paul King… Shame on you. You just better pray my sister doesn’t find out.
Adapted from a children’s book entitled The True Meaning of Smekday. An alien race called the Boov have invaded Earth and renamed it Smekland. Whilst being relocated to Florida, teenager, Tip (so nicknamed because her first name is Gratuity) befriends one of the aliens, and adventurous stuff happens.
The Wikipedia plot summary for this book left me more confused than a vacuum-sealed horse, so I went over to the website for the book, at smekday.com (set up by the book’s author, Adam Rex), and was more confused than I was to start with, but at least I was confused and laughing. I recommend a visit.
Having visited the website, I am certainly tempted to buy the book… er… for my daughter, and with a plot as mental as this I believe the movie will be a hit; even with a cast which includes both Rhianna and J.Lo (coincidentally also the name of the alien befriended by Tip in the book).
I will definitely go and see this movie… with my daughter.
Also: Steve Martin as captain Smek? Where the hell did you find Steve Martin?
Yep. From the book of the same name. I told you this was going to be a year of biblical epics, and with Ridley Scott in the director’s chair, it certainly will be epic. Captain serious has become the modern day David Lean, when it comes to epic movie-making… hardly surprising, since the briefest glance through Scott’s movies is enough to tell you that he set out to be exactly that. Kingdom of Heaven is so obviously his Lawrence of Arabia, it’s a wonder he didn’t call it Balian of Jerusalem.
Anyway, with one big ego in the director’s chair and another in the lead role, I’m surprised there hasn’t been an on-set explosion already… seriously, Christian Bale as Moses? If that isn’t like using plutonium fire-lighters I don’t know what is. I mean the man went bat-shit (see what I did there?) playing John Connor, and you give him Moses!! What’s gonna happen when he stands atop Mt. Sinai, screaming at God for interrupting him while he was writing “adultery”?
As I said in part one of this preview; Atheists appreciate a ripping yarn just as much anybody else, and I am quite a fan of biblical epics. A biblical epic directed by Scott? I’m there.
Dumb and Dumber To – (Check the movie title out before you write and correct my spelling)
I like both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. And the Farrely brothers have made me laugh in the past, but I’m afraid the original movie did nothing for me. If you liked it, by all means go and see this one… but The Hobbit: There and Back Again gets it’s UK release on the same day…
The Hobbit: There and Back Again –
What did I just say?
The Giver –
Hold the sniggering at the back there, you childish imp, the title refers to a giver of memories – specifically history – played by Jeff Bridges. The receiver, Brenton Thwaites, is selected to hold all the past memories of the time before Sameness, but is conflicted about his future within The Community after learning what the giver has to tell him.
Yet another adaptation about a seemingly idyllic community on the verge of discovering just how isolated they are from reality. The children’s novel, by Lois Lowry, upon which this film is based, has received a fair amount of criticism because of concerns about its suitability for young children, but that hasn’t stopped it selling over 5 million copies, or winning several literary awards.
Director, Phillip Noyce hardly has what you might call a golden touch, but Jeff Bridges has been one of my favourite actors since I first watched Tron, back in 1982, so on this occasion I have to agree with Empire, who said:
“We’d go see Bridges and Streep sit and stare at the floor for two hours, so this would have to be pretty terrible to skip it.”
However, my wife said:
“Then again… it’s got Taylor Swift in it.”
She raises a good point.
Black Sea –
Jude Law plays a freelance submarine captain (there are such things?) who searches… you guessed it… the Black Sea, for a submarine full of… NAZI GOLD!!
Sorry, since watching Bill Bailey do a sketch about UBS, I can’t write or say the words NAZI GOLD!! without doing that. You can imagine how this has hampered my lifestyle.
So… this Jude Law movie then. Whaddaya think then?
I’m going to reveal a decidedly weird and freaky fact about myself here, previously known only to my wife and one or two others: I watch submarine films when I’m poorly!
There. I said it.
I have no idea why this is, although, since I also tend to enjoy movies where the action is mainly confined to the inside of a spacecraft at such times, I suspect it’s because I’m a bit of a claustrophile. For the hard of thinking, that just means that I feel more secure in confined spaces. You might say I’m a closet claustrophile if you wanted to make a really bad pun (turns out I also like making really bad puns), but all this really means for the movie is that I’m very likely to watch it whilst coughing through a duvet. Since this is hardly the sort of endorsement that directors and production companies like to see on the backs of their DVD cases, I suppose I’ll have to say something like… This movie will get a 6.5 out of 10 with most audiences. Once again, Jude Law is another one of those actors who is worth watching in most things.
Well, as a certain speech-impaired, porcine thespian was fond of saying: That’s all folks. Regular blogging on slightly more varied subjects will resume within the week. I don’t know how long it will continue, since I have another film to edit over the next month, but I’ll try to get ahead with my posts, so that I can at least release one-a-week for… a couple of weeks.
I will certainly keep you updated about Sleepless Knight’s entry into the Empire: Done in 60 Seconds awards. If you want to find it in the meantime, and you live in the UK, go to jamesonempirediss.com and look for The Lord of the Rings – In 60 seconds – by James Moors (that’s me, in case you’re one of the 3 people reading this blog who doesn’t know me personally). If you don’t live in the UK, just go to the same link and pretend to be from the UK.
It’s not very often I get the chance to bash religion, homophobia and politics all at the same time, so I will join other bloggers, journalists and newsreaders around the UK in thanking the great and powerful Wizard of Oz (or whatever your particular religion calls him) for Councillor David Silvester of the UK Independence Party.
I consider myself thankful for David Silvester for two reasons:
- He gave me something more interesting to write about than the 007/Harry Potter fusion dream that I had last night.
- Because of the joy I felt in seeing virtually the whole of the United Kingdom, join together in mocking Mr. Silvester for being a bigoted, God-bothering, lunatic.
Before anyone reacts to my wording there, I use the term God-bothering because I am quite certain that if, against all suggestion of common sense, it turns out there actually is a God… I am quietly confident that he would be just as embarrassed by Mr. Silvester’s comments as was the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage.
For the enlightenment of those readers of this blog, living outside the United Kingdom: floods are a fairly common thing in our country these days. It used to be that the only people over the age of five who wore wellies in the supermarket, were people with horse-boxes attached to the backs of their Land Rovers. Then, in July of 2007, Britain suffered its worst floods in 60 years… followed, a couple of years later, by the worst floods in… well, 2 years. After that it seemed to become a regular thing, and a pretty good reason not to live in Cornwall, in case you didn’t have a good one already.
Anyway, it seems that not all UK residents are convinced that Global Warming is behind the recent surge in flooding incidents. Councillor Silvester is entirely convinced that we would need far fewer umbrellas and inflatable rafts, were it not for the Prime Minister’s decision to legalise gay marriage.
For those of you not living in Texas, I’ll let the shocking 16th century-ness of that statement sink in for a moment.
Yes, you read it correctly; Councillor Silvester believes that God is punishing the United Kingdom for legalising same sex marriages. In a letter to his local paper The Henley Standard, Councillor Silvester said
“The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”
He claimed to have warned the Prime Minister about such an unchristian move, and blamed him for the floods… saying
“…the lesson surely to be learned is that no man, or men, however powerful, can mess with almighty God with impunity and get away with it.”
Apparently “…everything a nation does is weighed on the scales of divine approval or disapproval…” which makes me wonder how we weren’t buried under an avalanche of fire and brimstone during the reign of Britain’s Got Talent, but I guess even The Almighty finds it difficult to take Simon Cowell seriously.
So, how does Councillor Silvester respond to allegations of homophobia, following this public denouncement of the Government’s decision?
Well, he told BBC Radio Berkshire in a recent interview, which can be found here, that he loves gay people enough to pray for them to be healed.
Once again… I think we’ll have a moment of silence while the monumental bigotry of that comment sinks in. Feel free to break something if you like. I’ll play some elevator music until you come back…
Are you ready to continue? It’s almost over.
The reason this blog post has only just been published; several days after
Witchfinder Gene Councillor Silvester made himself look so very stupid, is that (as regular readers will know) I usually try to make some sort of cartoon to accompany my blog posts…
The problem with making memes/cartoons about bigoted stupidity of this magnitude, is…
It’s so very, very easy.
And once I got started…
I found it hard to stop…
I had 2 or 3 more, but if I had carried on much longer, no-one would even have remembered David Silvester’s name by the time I got this blog post finished. So I suppose I’ll leave it there and allow you to stew over all that has been said.
In other news, Sleepless Knight’s entry into the 2014 Empire Done in 60 Seconds competition is now up on Empire’s website. You can find it HERE… If you live outside the UK, you may have to visit the jamesonempirediss.com FIRST, and claim to be from the UK by selecting it from the drop-down menu. Then either click this link again, or simply find The Lord of the Rings – Done in 60 Seconds (by James Moors), on the webpage. If ALL these thing fail, do not fear, I will post a straightforward YouTube link to it, as soon as it is up on the jamesonempirediss YouTube site.
Next time I will post about something much more fun. Until then… it occurs to me, that without the original context in which it was said, my customary farewell might always have seemed rather odd to my readers, and with that in mind I shall stop using it from today onwards. So, for the very last time: Whatever you do David Silvester… don’t bend over for the soap.
Back very soon.
Once again I have upset both of my regular readers by abandoning them for weeks… or in this case almost 2 months. So this will be more of an update than the usual exciting posts (y’know, the ones that have you running for the telephone to share my wisdom with your friends and relatives).
Life has slowed right down here since my summer work dried up, and Amki has returned to University, so our roles have now reversed again for the time being.
Of course, life is never without its little shocks and surprises… We feared dying in a plane crash on the way back from England a couple of weeks ago, as the pilot missed the runway TWICE in thick, low cloud, before eventually deciding that it would be best for our friends and families, the airline, the terrified motorists we almost landed on, and all the poor trembling and bewildered wildlife, clinging desperately to the trees that we almost snapped the tops off, if we simply landed at another airport.
A couple of days after arriving back home in Sweden, and less than 12 hours after signing up on an extras/acting website, I was called and asked if I would like to be in a new Volkswagen commercial. I agreed. Amki came with me to watch but was then also offered a part in the commercial, and so we spent a day in the freezing cold centre of Stockholm, trying to look pleasantly surprised while a Volkswagen (or an assistant director, waving his arms around and pretending to be a Volkswagen), drove past. Despite the bitter cold, lunch was supplied and we were both paid for the day.
I am still trying to work out what skills I posses that people would be willing to pay for, and am sorry to say I’m coming up short. I’m sure that will have come as a shock to most of you, so I’ll give you a second to come to terms with it. Sit down (in the highly unlikely event that you were not already doing so), make yourself a warm drink, grab a paper bag if you’re worried about hyperventilating or vomiting, and just return to these pages when you feel strong enough to continue…
…are you ok? Shall we go on?
Now, there are actually a few things that I can do, and several possibilities I am looking at but don’t want to talk too much about until I know whether or not they are viable, but I am also still trying to figure out a way to retrieve all the files from the computer (may it rest in peace), that selfishly and stupidly, and without a moments warning (bless its poor little circuits), blew up… leaving me with nothing but a pile of scrap metal (I shall miss it) and the smirking glances of “sensible” people, who warned me to buy a hard-drive on which to back up my files in case of disaster. To all those people I say: Nobody likes a smartarse!
Video-making will more than likely not resume until I figure out a way to do that, but once I do you will be the first (or possibly about the 11th) to know.
I am also ashamed (or proud, depending on who’s reading this) to say that I have returned to the world of video-gaming for the first time in over 2 years, and was unprepared for just how much I had missed it. Skyrim is almost everything I hoped it would be… AND I am overjoyed (like… literally, I had trouble calming down for a day or so) to say that, finally, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, and a lot of enthusiasm (not to mention money) from the general public, a game I have waited almost 30 years for is due to hit the shelves in 2014. Elite: Dangerous is the sequel to the highly successful Elite franchise that started in the early 1980s, and completely captured my imagination as a young boy (and then later as an adult). You can check out the progress of the new game here.
This recent bout of leisure though, has led me to the conclusion that there is a lot of work out there in the world of video-gaming. Particularly in that of RPGs. Skyrim, for example, has hundreds of books and little notes throughout its sprawling fantasy world, as well as dialogue and general storylines; all of which have to be written by someone. Not to mention the voice-acting.
Now, if you don’t play video-games often, take my word for it; some of the voice-acting is absolutely terrible. In Skyrim for example, there is a mage in a place called Dragonsreach who is voiced by the single worst actor I have ever heard in my life. I’m not kidding… this guy makes bit-part actors in 1960s “Doctor Who” episodes look like Laurence Olivier, and someone PAID him to do THIS (watch from 0:26 for full, gut-wrenching effect):
I don’t know whose sensitive areas this chap so delicately tickled to get this job, but if he isn’t the perfect 6ft 5inch specimen of a chiselled god , with the sexual prowess of a Stepford Husband, programmed by Eros himself… then I want to know who is making the decisions over at Bethesda!!
I’m serious now; video-gaming is becoming a real threat to the world of cinema. Some of the stories in games these days are really well written. And try to bear in mind that you spend maybe 2 hours watching a movie. Video-games create the potential for attachment to the central character/characters which goes far beyond that you could ever hope to get from a movie or TV character… and yet at this stage it still seems to attract the sort of actors that would be out of their depth in a school pantomime. These games are getting more and more immersive, but you can still be pulled right out of the game when a guy says “Off to Bleak Falls Barrow with you…” as though he’s reading the ingredients off a cereal packet, whilst trying to cook a three-course meal, having just stubbed his toe!
How do I get into this line of work? Reading character dialogue… writing those unimportant “journal entries” which you find all over games like these… Helping to write the story-lines for the latest immersive RPG??? If anyone has any idea, please let me know.
Some of the more observant readers will have noticed that the blog has a new look. Sleepless Knight has a new identity, in preparation for becoming an actual business at some point, and our new mascot can be seen at the top of the page. He can only be seen in silhouetted profile at the moment, but if I ever manage to render him in 3D I will post better images for him here. He needs a name, so if you can think of a good one LEAVE A COMMENT.
Now, since I seem to have wandered from mildly amusing to “bring back the cereal packet guy!”, I will leave you with this thought: ……
Did you get it? Or do I have to go back and reprogram this fucking telepathic broadcasting device yet again?
Oh well. Don’t bend over for the soap… but for crying out loud use some before I return! Who knows how long that might be.
In the last 3 weeks, there have been 2 marriages and 2 brand-new, bouncing babies, in the whirlwind world which surrounds my own, making all the dried-up little leaves of my life leap to whatever tune it chooses… and occasionally spitting out a week of watching television with a cup of tea.
OK… a lot of that alliterative list was littered with… STOP IT!!!!
So I got a little carried away there, but I am extremely tired. I will now try to write like a normal person, albeit a normal person with one arm tied behind his back and a complete insensitivity to the conventions of blogging (whatever those are).
The bit about the babies and the brides was completely true though. One of the weddings was my own… here is a picture to prove it.
But, no sooner had I acquired a brother-in-law, than he goes and gets married himself, giving me an extra sister-in-law, as well as the one (or possibly two) that I already had. Confused? You will be! Some of these relationships confuse me, so if you can make sense of them from my dis-jointed, clumsy, unrefined blog posts… please contact NASA immediately; they’ll want to hear from you.
In between these two weddings, a little baby boy was born. Actually, since 2 weeks elapsed between the weddings, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if several babies were born, but the one I am talking about belongs to the long-haired bloke with the glasses in THIS VIDEO:
I know… it doesn’t bear thinking about really does it? Fortunately he has a lovely wife to make sure he doesn’t turn this kid into a Red-Bull-fuelled engine of orc-slaying, beat-em-up-playing nerdiness, with a strange affinity for squirrels and a use of the words “meh” and “boobies” with a frequency that would almost qualify the boy as bilingual.
The father of this brand new person was once my son… To clarify: He was once my step-son. He was then supposed to be my best man, but the imminent arrival of junior meant that my best man was my best woman. Are you following all this?
I drew a picture which should make things clearer…
If that image helped you in any way at all… you’re much sicker than you originally thought.
- Open a new browser window.
- Find your nearest psychiatric hospital.
- Call and ask for a car to the opera and a stylish jacket with extra long sleeves.
- Find any mirrors that you didn’t smash in your futile attempts to stop seeing the “little people”
- Wipe the drool off your face and wait for your escorts to arrive.
- If they have not arrived after one hour, make a cup of tea, call back and tell them you just caught Tom Cruise in a spring-trap.
The second new baby belongs to a young lady I am unfamiliar with. But a new baby is always worth a mention. I only really added it because it makes my life seem busy and exciting.
In truth, the only reason for this blog-post was to say: Two people who met right here on WordPress are now married. The wedding was a roaring success. Richard is still alive and well, and is now a father. Some other people you don’t know are now married, and yet another person you don’t know is now a mother.
Now the real adventure begins. In the next few months, I must discover what service I can legally offer people in return for money, so that when Amki and myself return to England in a couple of years, we won’t have to start looking for work all over again… I will start submitting the novel to agents yet again (NO “flogging a dead horse” cracks here please)… IF I can get a decent video camera from somewhere, I will try breathing life back into the YT channel again (I really do miss it intensely), and I will find a way to recover the data on my old computer, so that I can start editing the 3 videos I already have in the queue.
Apologies if this post made even less sense than my usual ones… but I really am very tired indeed.
Next time: Back to plain-old blog posts that have nothing to do with weddings or babies (unless a baby gets married between now and then, because I think that would be worth a mention).
Until then… Don’t bend over for the soap.
Irony, far from being an impulse to remove creases from things, is one of life’s little blessings. It can make us laugh and smile; many sitcoms could not exist without it, and for the most part it’s fairly harmless. Sure, Dyslexia is difficult to spell and stutter has 3 Ts in it, but even the fact that Ben Affleck chose actor for a profession is nothing more than a mild annoyance in the annals of irony. Sometimes though, irony wakes up on the wrong side of bed and decides, in a very Carrie kind of way, that we will all pay dearly for daring to laugh at it.
A couple of days ago, while astronomers were watching the skies and marvelling at how closely the Earth had been missed by Asteroid 2012 DA14, a different rock, measuring approximately 15 metres across and weighing around 7,000 metric tonnes, entered the atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia. Now, I firmly believe astronomers’ claims that one big rock had absolutely nothing to do with the other – the shattered teeth of anyone who has ever dared to suggest to me that the Apollo Moon landings were faked should be testimony enough that I have very little patience with conspiracy theory, or the paranoid, squishy-minded ignorance of the groupies who wear its t-shirts – but I shudder to think of the tsunami of drool that a coincidence of this magnitude must surely have caused at the headquarters of Lone Gunmen. Other than a shadowy association of Masonic, Russian glaziers, or a highly organised union of reinforced umbrella manufacturers (I figured an Enemy Mine reference just there might be a little too obscure even for this blog, but here is a link to my favourite “Zirky proof” scene anyway) I struggle to think who might benefit from such a conspiracy, but the odds of the closest asteroid miss in living memory coming just hours after the most catastrophic meteor strike in over 100 years would have made an overnight Howard Hughes out of even the poorest gambler.
Coming on the heels of my December post (which was rather scathing in its mockery of apocalyptic prophecy), and taken together with a rather nasty bout of Glandular Fever, which confined me to a bed for the better part of January, it would be tempting to think that the universe was giving me a hefty kick in the hairier parts of my complacency… but that would assume a level of importance that I fear I could not even achieve if the constellations rearranged themselves above my head, to read “There he is! Get him!” And, while I’m sure a more narcissistic blogger would have run straight out into the morning air, waved their fist at the skies and yelled “You missed!”, I need only WordPress to remind me of my significance; which, judging by my latest blog statistics, is roughly equivalent to that of a quality control inspector at a factory that makes novelty vomit.*
And that breathtakingly clumsy segue brings me tumbling like a tripped rhinoceros into the subject of blog re-design:
I have done this several times before but, if your life is empty enough, you may have noticed that this time I’m taking it slightly more seriously. There are a few reasons for this, chief among which is employment, or more precisely a lack of it. After 5 months of job-hunting in Sweden, it has become fairly clear that it would be easier to make money panning for gold in the sewers beneath the renal ward of my local hospital than it is to convince Stockholm business owners to employ an unpublished English writer to sweep their floors, let alone write for them. To that end, my impending wife, and our flat-mate have been helping me to refine a few things; including the way I define myself, and the way I present myself on the internet. I have started with a logo, and a mascot; both of which I have been threatening to design for the last 2 years. I will (I hope) then move on to designing an actual working website, once I have finally worked out what service I am planning to offer to the
poor suc lovely people I will be privileged to call my clients. Having been forced, in the loveliest possible way, by my flat-mate, to write down a list of the 10 things that interest me most in terms of employment and hobbies, the one word that seemed to tie all my interests together was “storyteller”. The most revelatory thing about this discovery was that it should have been no revelation at all, considering I have been describing myself as such for as long as I can remember… but we all lose sight of things from time to time, even if some of us are a great deal more Mr. Magoo in that department than others.
Expect a few more design changes over the coming weeks, as I have not yet finished with my designs for the blog. Ideally I would have waited until things were finished to publish a new blog post, but today is exactly 2 years to the day since my first post, and to ignore the earth-shattering significance of such an event would obviously be a crime.
…that and the meteor thing.
In the coming months I shall also return to my long abandoned YouTube channel. Whether that will be with an entirely new crew or with no crew at all remains to be seen but, since Richard and the former Sleepless Knight crew are separated from me by a considerable amount of land and water, and the length of string needed to connect tin-cans doesn’t bear thinking about, some changes are inevitable.
In other news, the date for my wedding is now set, and a pauper’s ceremony is less than my fiancée deserves, so if you feel like helping in any way at all… spreading the news about this blog and bringing me new readers (and hopefully writing jobs) would be a really good start. I am also planning to bring the wedding to the attention of the folks at WordPress, since this is where we met. It may do no good at all, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for a feature on Freshly Pressed, and I’m sure it couldn’t hurt if you guys put in a good word for me.
In the meantime, keep watching the skies and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
*Sleepless Knight apologizes to anyone who actually does this job, and may have been offended by my arrogant assumption that this job is of no importance whatsoever. A job of little apparent significance is still better than no job at all. Please address all complaints to email@example.com
In a rather surreal turn of events, I’m writing this post from Stockholm, on the computer of my lovely Swedish Flowerpot; who is sitting behind me on the bed, studying for a test. Utterly bizarre when I think about how we met in the first place. But, I have been here almost a week now and the hour draws near when I shall return to England, and to reality, where I shall continue the good work of re-homing helpless, unemployed teenagers who have been crippled by waterfowl.
No… of course not. I have absolutely no knowledge of any adolescents being viciously attacked by Ducks, Swans, or any kind of winged beast. In fact, if I manage to drag my pitiful behind back to Lincoln without kicking small feathery creatures, simply for their ability to fly away whenever the mood takes them, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
It has been a glorious 11 days. No-one died during the Amki/SK Crew meet-up, although Richard is, this very day, in hospital, recovering from surgery to have his broken arm pinned and plated… but I swear that had nothing to do with me. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even in the same country when it happened. Still, I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him a swift recovery. My sister-in-law also had a fairly nasty accident, but is thankfully now safe and well. Amongst other weird happenings was missing electricity (don’t ask), an elevator with a mind of its own, 2 strikes which never happened, and a bizarre Hitchcock-like moment, involving all the pigeons in the world!
As regular readers will know, I flew back to Sweden with Amki, following her visit to England last week, and it has been good to be back in Stockholm. On Thursday, I watched Amki made-up by her very talented sister, Anna; studying to be a professional make-up artist (Another surreal coincidence, considering I discovered Amki as direct result of this post on her blog). It’s always impressive to watch a professional at work and Anna is no exception, as you can see…
On Friday night we enjoyed a whisky tasting, where we got a few strange looks as Amki whispered in my ear throughout the whole presentation. Fortunately most of the other guests realised by the end of the evening that she had in fact been translating for me, since my Swedish is not yet nearly good enough to follow more than the odd sentence or two. At any rate they got their revenge at dinner, where I was sandwiched between two large Swedish ladies who were very obviously enjoying their food rather more than is perhaps necessary to express in a family establishment; and orgasmic “yummy-noises” in stereo can detract somewhat from your own enjoyment of a meal. Still… it provided Amki with some amusement from the other side of the table, and if I can’t provide amusement then I really have outlived my usefulness, so we are thankful for small mercies.
On our return from the restaurant, the weather finally caught up with me again and we were treated to an April snow-shower in Stockholm. I’m not usually one to complain About the weather but it does rather seem just lately, as though the weather is determined to bring glorious sunshine to whichever country we are not in at the time. But Stockholm was good to us for an hour or so during my visit.
So now… I await the plane home, like a man going to his death! Let it never be said that I don’t know how to round off a good holiday.
I apologise if this has been rather more like a diary than my usual entries. No moral-of-the-story, no life lessons, no revelations or reflections. I haven’t really had the time to reflect on any misfortunes or mistakes this past week or so, because there haven’t really been any…
And perhaps, if there is to be a point, it is precisely that: I have had far too much time to consider things lately and procrastination has set in, like mould on a bowl of fruit that you are almost definitely going to eat at some point, because you bought it to be responsible and health conscious. I have far too many ideas and brilliant, exciting schemes to ever actually do any of them. My writing needs a much tighter focus… the channel needs to be streamlined. Nothing is happening, because our ideas bank is full to the brim, but it’s standing in the way of action. It isn’t going at all in the direction I intended, and things need to change.
I write this here so that the world can see it, and nag me when I inevitably fail to do any of the things I have just promised myself. Keep an eye on this blog, my writing career, and my lifeless channel. If nothing has changed in the next 6 months, you have complete freedom to stand around in a circle and kick self-help links in my face.
For now… Take care of yourselves, and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
For a die-hard movie fan, I have spent very little time watching movies in the last 6 months. The other night though, dear Mr. Farnsworth decided to put on one of my (and a lot of people’s) favourite movies… A movie he had never seen (What?). The Shawshank Redemption is just one of two fantastic Stephen King adaptations from the wonderful Frank Darabont; the other being The Green Mile. If King and Darabont had started collaborating earlier, we might never have had to endure the god-awful Pet Sematary, or the bewilderingly successful Children of the Corn! Seriously people… who kept buying tickets for this movie? Stapling your face to the arse of an angry, flatulent rhino seems like a better way to pass time.
Where was I? Oh yes… The Shawshank Redemption. Those foolish enough to follow this blog – or those foolhardy souls who actually choose to spend time in my company – will recognise that this movie has many themes close to my heart: “Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things”, “Whatever mistakes I made I’ve paid for them, and then some.” I even considered using one of my favourite Shawshank quotes in last week’s post:
“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty when they’re gone.”
It seemed appropriate to what, and more particularly who, I was talking about at the time. But I’m getting off the point.
If there’s one thing watching great movies always does to me, it’s to refuel my inner filmmaker. So this week’s post is going to be a Sleepless Knight film appeal. It’s time to start driving viewers to my channel, so here we go.
First in line is a video we made a few years ago, when we were still “Watch Hour Productions”, and there were only two of us. It’s a parody of a series of Mastercard commercials that were around at the time. I really wanted to play around with digital rotoscoping, I love to build props, and, like every kid of my generation, I always wanted a lightsaber, so ahead we went and made a Mastercard-style commercial for a fictional anti-psychotic drug called “No-Mad”. Like everything else we make, it was a great deal of fun to film.
The second one was our entry into the 2009 Empire magazine “Done in 60 seconds” Awards. A competition we considered entering again this year, but most of our ideas involved a great deal of expense and/or swimming around in a great deal of very cold water, in the middle of January. Amki was not very keen on the idea of my dying from hypothermia, and I’m not enough of a James Cameron to treat my crew members like bait in an ice-fishing contest. My plans were little less grand in 2009, and I spent 3 weeks building 2 sets on my own (thanks for that, Richard), most of my crew chickened out at the last moment, and those that did turn up had to be dressed in bubble-wrap and paper overalls under very hot lights. The rules for this competition are that you remake a movie of your choice in 60 seconds. It is even harder than it sounds, and for my movie I chose Apollo 13. A movie set in space! Brilliant, Jimbot! Anyway… I think we pulled it off, but judge for yourself.
I’m going to miss out a couple of the not so good ones from early last year, and bring us a bit more up to date with a tribute to the late, great Douglas Adams. This video was part 3 of 3 (Parts 1 and 2 can be found here, and here respectively), and was the very first time I ever worked with the crew members who make up Sleepless Knight as it is today. I first met Kitty, Tom, Ben, Emily, Dean, and of course, the man who is now my flatmate and the 3rd SK front man; Mr. J.V. Farnsworth, on the day this was filmed, and I have been glad of it (mostly) every day since. For the videos leading up to this one, I had been gagged, tied up in the back of a van at 1am on a freezing night in March, and forced to watch the Royal Wedding. We had a lot of fun making this video, as can be seen from some of the outtakes at the end. Try and spot the Douglas Adams references and leave a comment telling us what you thought.
After that I was hit by lightning and blown to tiny pieces. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I was planning to be resurrected by two little blue aliens. Unfortunately, after 3 months building a virtual set for the little guys, I ran into a rather large snag and they had to be shelved. Besides that, there was the small matter of moving house again, a lack of money, motivation, co-operation and an awful lot of other complications in my life which slowed down my return, and pretty much wrote off the rest of 2011, with the exception of a blooper-reel video which can be found here. Now though, we are back up and running again, and it turns out that I might be resurrected by a masked time-traveller. There is a whole back story to that which will come out in later videos. For now I’ll leave you with part one of my resurrection story. It was poorly planned, even more disastrously filmed, and it was the last video ever to be shot with my old, standard definition camera (Yes folks… we’re in HD now). Enjoy the last SD video, if you can.
That brings us up to date, and part 2 of that story is being edited at the moment. We tried filming part 3 in late January but we were freezing cold and eventually rained-off, so filming will begin again shortly.
In the meantime, please watch the videos, please leave comments (on here and on the SK YouTube channel if possible). Subscribers are always helpful if you feel like doing that. If you feel like telling your buddies about the videos, even better. If they subscribe to the channel I may even consider having your babies… They won’t be the prettiest children in the world, and you may need to keep them away from combustible materials, but they sure will be enthusiastic about lots of stuff they can’t actually do! That was supposed to be a good thing… I forget why. Please support Sleepless Knight’s channel. The more support we have, the more videos we’ll be able to make (again… that’s a good thing, in case you were wondering), and the better they will get.
That’s all for this post. This time next week I’ll be in Stockholm with my lovely Swedish Flowerpot, so the blog post may come from there… or it may be written ahead of time and brought to you from the past, via the medium of sorcery. Either way, I’ll be enjoying myself (or more likely checking my pulse every few minutes as I prepare to meet members of my girlfriend’s family) so don’t expect me to care very much if the post gets misplaced as a result.
Until we meet again, take care… and don’t bend over for the soap.
I’m going now.
It’s a funny old place, the blogging world. You never know what wonderful people you’re going to meet, or what kind of things will jump out from the shadows and grab you firmly by the tear-ducts.
Some people enter your life through the front door, with a firm handshake and a confident introduction. Others come to the party as a plus one… and I must say that, at least in my life, these have turned out to be some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Mike, Farnsworth, Richard, Kitty, Frank… I’m talking about you. There are occasionally those who enter through an open window, and you don’t even notice what good friends they’ve become until they tap you on the shoulder and say “I refilled your toilet paper and impregnated the dog. I hope you don’t mind. Here… I also got you a Whisky & Coke.” Arnie, JB, and Jess are such friends, and all you can do is laugh till you cry when you notice these lovely people.
Just once or twice in a long lifetime though, a person comes along whose presence begins as a bright spot in the corner of your eye that you can’t ignore. So you turn to look at them and your vision fills with a light so blinding it makes everything else around them look slightly dimmer by comparison. Just two such people have ever entered my life. They both read this blog, so I hope they both know who they are. I think we all know by now that one of them is the lovely Swedish Flowerpot (who I may start referring to as Amki, because 1: It’s easier than saying The Swedish Flowerpot every time, and 2: Well… it’s her name after all).
The thing is, we’re always so preoccupied with our own little patch of ground, our own history and experiences, that when someone like this comes along we often overlook the fact that they have experiences and history of their own that began long before you were there and have nothing whatsoever to do with you; the same way my daughter believes that I popped magically into existence, like a big Yorkshire genie, on the very day she was born. We might even foolishly believe the reason that person was meant for us, is that we are the first one ever to notice just how brilliant and blinding they are. Sure, you swap stories of dangerous childhood experiments and old friends who held back your hair, or said “I told you that was a bad idea” as you watch a frightened hitch-hiker running off across the fields (don’t ask), but how often do we honestly get a real glimpse into the past life of a loved one?
As many of you reading this will now know, I first met my girlfriend through this blog, but we didn’t really start talking as friends until just about the time she returned to her Swedish homeland, after almost 3 years in Canada. I remember feeling badly that she had to leave that life behind, but Newfoundland’s loss is Sweden’s gain, I thought, and happily… mine. The thing about Amki though, is that she has that blinding light affect on pretty much everyone she meets, and a way of looking at the world which leaves even my skewed, childlike perspective hanging its head and feeling like Lou Ferrigno at the opening of the new Avengers movie. She alters the lives of everyone who gets close to her and leaves them a slightly better person for having known her, and never was that more clearly illustrated to me than in this blog post – and then later, this one – written by one of her best friends from Newfoundland. Sarah tells stories of their friendship that make me extremely proud to be a part of Amki’s life, but which also, rather oddly, left me feeling such tremendous sadness for them, and the gaping hole she left in theirs. As Sarah so beautifully put it:
“If there has been anything that pretty Swedish princess has taught me? Goodness wins. Beauty triumphs. Power is found in the one who believes they have it.”
Incidentally, the song Amki is singing there is one of her own.
It’s a strange thing to get such a painful insight into the empty space that would surely be left if a person you care so deeply about was suddenly gone.
As you may or may not be aware, the flat I now share with Mr. Farnsworth is my 25th address (Or is it 26? I’m starting to lose count), and as such I sometimes feel like a much more inept, and much less cool, Sam Beckett… Leaping from life to life, hoping not to put wrong something that was perfectly alright before I got there, and hoping each time that the next leap will have affordable rent and a place to hang the Greenscreen. My substitute for a wise-cracking, cigar-chewing hologram is a tiny cloud of very mild bad luck that rarely leaves my side, and my version of “Oh boy!” is a slightly less family-friendly utterance to say the least. At any rate, I never seem to stay anywhere long enough to make a lasting impression, and the only gaping holes I leave are those I have accidentally blown in the walls of buildings in which I was supposed to be teaching safety! (Again… don’t ask)
The way we have affected the lives of those around us so rarely gets back to us, especially if you move away before you can find out that the potted plant you peed in was a gift from a long deceased relative (OK… that one never happened), but most especially not in such a positive, life-affirming way as exists in Sarah’s posts. The people close to us deserve to know how important they are, and we should never let them forget that they are appreciated, and missed when absent.
If nothing else, it is a stern lesson in why you should never take those you love for granted. Because, as Don Henley would say: Everything can change in a New York minute.