TV

Foxtrot Oscar

Ahh Hollywood the glitz, the glamour, the scandal, the dresses, the guys, the dolls. Hooray indeed for Hollywood and it’s annual backslapping contest The Oscars. Well thank god that’s over for another year.

A contest where the academy made up of white 60 somethings judge to see which film they liked the best. Do they not know it’s a democracy now, we the people demand to vote on an industry award. We also demand that the awards be voted for from a diverse field of individuals.

Who would have thought that an awards ceremony for people talented in filmmaking would need diversity rules. Shouldn’t any contest be judged based upon the merits of the art produced not the ethnic origins or sexual orientation of those who made it. If you have a movie nominated for best picture purely because the director meets the correct race or gender quota doesn’t that devalue their nomination.

“It’s just not fair” people exclaim. White men judging movies made by other white men to give awards to white men. Life isn’t fair you know, since when have you been under that illusion. One man’s injustice is another mans moral victory. As it is, as it forever will be.

People of all types win Oscars and recognition from their peers and the public. How do they do it? By being good. Do people from certain groups have to try harder to be deemed “good” yeah of course they do. Is that fair? No probably not, but it’s an arts competition, judged on opinion, so like life can never be “fair”

Where do we stop in the pursuit of fair? “A black actor isn’t nominated” “A woman from Virginia Beach has never won” “No nominations for anyone over 90 years old” “No nominations for disabled people” “No nominations for one armed orphans named Archibald” Think of your own catchy hashtag for that one.

Wanna win an award? Be exemplary
Think the competition is biased against you, 1. Make a good product make them notice or 2. Excuse yourself by pulling whatever minority card you have, it wasn’t your inability to make good enough thing to turn people around. They hated you anyway.
3. Don’t do things to win awards. Do things you are proud of. If industry awards come great. If not you still did something you love.

Frazerbrown

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My Week with Apple Watch: Day 4, New Apple TV

I worked from home today. So my Apple watch sat unattended on its cradle. Unloved. If you aren’t going anywhere, why wear a watch, or trousers, or pants….

As I did nothing with the watch I thought I’d talk about something I own. The “New” Apple TV (forth gen) I have to admit getting caught up in the hype with this one. I got it on release day to replace one of my previous Apple TV’s.

Lets play good/bad:

Good: Apple TV has apps
Bad: Too many aren’t too good

Good: Apple TV has App Store
Bad: Interface is very clunky (currently, they are improving)

Good: Apple TV has Netflix
Bad: It’s the Netflix that everyone has, the one that prompts you to watch the next thing before the thing you are watching is finished. Netflix, I love you, but I want to see who the dolly grip was on my favourite movies. Don’t move the titles into a small box.

Good: Has remote with motion sensors and Siri
Bad: Doesn’t work with iPhone remote App. Now ok, the remote app has never been great. But if you needed to enter a password it was so much easier to type on a keyboard than scroll sideways through the alphabet. And people wonder why 1234 is a popular pin! This is also stupid from infrastructure point of view. I am in apples ecosystem. I buy their products because they all talk to each other without me having to think.

Good: The screensaver (yes) these are stunning
Bad: They have my excited over a screensaver. Not since 1994 have I been so enthused about a device for stopping screen wear. I changed the marquee of all the screensavers in PC World to tell people to go to another shop. ACTIVIST!

In a nutshell. Currently, unless the app store gets better (and it will) and the remote app gets redone (it should) there is no compelling reason to recommend this gen over previous gen. The previous gen was very Apple. This gen seems very market share price led. Shame really.

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Clearly I like things with breasts in and the writing of Steven Moffat

Comment: The Ugly Face of Disability Hate Crime

Following the documentary on BBC Three last night about disability “Hate Crime” I feel I must add my comments. Sorry this is a little long.

I hate the term “Hate Crime” Gene Hunt expresses this best.

How are we ever going to move on, live together and integrate as a society if crimes against any group of people are labelled in such an insane way. It’s justifying why someone committed a grievous act against someone else, reporting a “hate crime” produces two groups of people. Those who support the victim, and those who support the perpetrator as they agree with his or her politics. If a murder is reported as a “murder” one person killed another, we can all pull together and agree that that is a bad thing regardless of our backgrounds.

This approach removes the often incorrect assumption that “he only killed him because he was disabled/white/black/green/gay” No he got killed because he was sleeping with his wife/husband/girlfriend/mother/tortoise/guitar.

Last nights show was presented by Adam Pearson who has neurofibromatosis which causes excess growth of the skin. Which gives him a striking and unusual appearance like many disabled people. Now I like to think that when I’m sat down or propping up a bar I look pretty “normal” I don’t of course, the way I hold myself up, my movement that is both ponderous and jagged are both clear giveaways that I am “different”.

As kids we stare at “difference” it’s a survival technique present in most inhabitants of the earth. Don’t believe me? Walk slowly into a field of cows. They will all look at you, “Who are you? Will you feed us? Will you kill us? Where are your trousers?” If no-one batted an eyelid at things out of the ordinary we and the cows would get killed.

Of course we like to think we have evolved, it makes us feel superior and for the most part it helps us fit in and not be different as the environments we inhabit are largely about inclusion and acceptance, on the surface anyway.

A place where our true feelings are often is expressed is here on the internet. This very page has a comments section. Upon which you are free, with varying degrees of anonymity to call me whatever you like. The comments section can bring out the very worst in people and statements or poor attempts at humour can be misinterpreted.

One of Mr Pearsons TV interviews was posted on YouTube and seemed to be a significant part of the programme. One comment was nasty suggesting that he should have been burnt to death at birth. Harsh you have to say, but the comment was sent to YouTube who didn’t do anything about it. Mr Pearson mentioned “genocide” and I turned off.

It’s a comment on YouTube! The person who made it is probably 12 and as he accompanied his comment with “lol” he was hardly suggesting people hunt you down and burn you. So to suggest genocide is giving this comment much more credence than it deserves. Much better to laugh at it or reply back taking it further “Yeah hideous burns might improve my looks” Thus disarming any malice and perhaps leaving the commenter with a “See him there, he looks a bit weird but he’s alright” feeling winning him over and maybe stopping such comments in the future.

There are times in everyones life where we need to pack our thickest skin (no pun intended) regardless of which groups we align ourselves with. There will always be people who prey on easy targets or promote hatred but we should never underestimate the power of our response.

If you are in the UK or use a VPN (shh!) you can watch the program here.

Bases Loaded: MLB.tv Across the Pond

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs and the count is 3 and 2. It’s all down to this, if the ball is despatched into crowd, via the inky black night sky. The game is won. Miss, and the glory is theirs.

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there... well maybe

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there… well maybe

My first brush with baseball came with the launch of Channel 5 in the mid 90’s. Late night, after the low rent porn movies, I would sit and watch. I chose a team, based on name only; The Royals of Kansas City. The Royals also being the name of Reading FC.

Both sets of Royals during this period were less than good.. Also I can’t recall Channel 5 showing a single one of the KC Royals games. Now however, thanks to the glory of my Apple TV I can enjoy, every single strike out or homer of the MLB season regardless of whether I can stay up to see the games or not. My allegiances have changed somewhat. The draw of the Yankees and the influence of a friend who is far too wonderful for her own good, means that I now follow the boys from the Bronx.

MLB.tv is included on all Apple TV’s second gen onwards (and 39 other devices). It is a subscription service in the UK it costs £89 per year. I didn’t sign up for the whole year, because I wasn’t sure I’d get into it or if most of the games would be at stupid o clock so I signed up via MLB.com which lets you use Paypal to pay monthly. From there you sign into your account via Apple TV and you are good to go.

The MLB.tv subscription includes access to the great MLB At Bat App for mobile devices, which allows you to follow more action than you’ll ever have time for, wherever you are. You can enquire about that hitter whilst on the shitter if you so desire. You have stats, video and audio feeds.

Baseball itself for the uneducated English gent; Forget comparisons to Rounders, yes this is where the game originates but to compare it now is like comparing an iPad to a Newton. Think Cricket, think T20. If you stripped some of the English away from that and replaced it with some American English terms you’ll be halfway there. (My favourite term from last nights game was “Nowhere man’s land.” So no mans land then!) The game itself is not typical of American sport, there are long periods of action, at a low level (like cricket) but then it can change in a split second and be over quicker than an excited virgin. This is an American showcase but without the usual need to score a point every other second.

Yankee2WM

Thanks for the images.. you know who you are 😉

The Premier League take note. This is how sport should be delivered, all the games (for UK viewers, blackouts are in effect in North America) whenever you want. No adverts (yes really!) I want to be able to watch my team play, be it at the ground or via Apple TV in my pants. If you like Baseball or even have a passing interest. Well worth a look.

Your Scheduled Programming Shall Never Resume

The 80’s a fine decade. Well maybe I don’t really remember it, being born in June of 1980 as I was I pretty much spent half of the decade crapping my pants. I’ll let you decide which half that was. In the UK we had no remote control on the TV and when you got up to change the channel (Yes kids) you had the choice of 3 channels plus the new upstart Channel 4 from 1982 onwards.

On demand TV was how loud you shouted “I want to watch…” and your Sky Plus was a scuzzy Scotch VHS tape that allowed you to watch one thing and record another. The Internet was around in university computer labs, although Netflix was a while off and even if it was around they would still be waiting around now to see the opening frame of Breaking Bad given the speeds of the connection.

Fast forward to now and we have a multitude of things to watch, on a plethora of channels, platforms and devices. The BBC at the time of writing has ballooned from 2 channels in 80’s to 9 channels. All of which air via digital TV in the UK. It was announced yesterday that one of those 9, BBC Three, is going to go “online only” prompting lots of twitter outcry and #SaveBBCThree hashtaggery.

Why save something that isn’t going?
BBC Three is the corporations “Youth” offering, serving a demographic which I am still just part of. The same demographic (to generalise) have access to a smartphone, are computer savvy, have access to high speed broadband, regularly watch on-demand content. So for BBC Three’s target audience very little will change, especially if they have a smart TV. If it was BBC 2 or BBC Four I would understand the concern. Given the older target audience, again to generalise.

I believe that in the next fifteen to twenty years the only programming that will be scheduled, as it has been since the very start of TV, will be live sporting events and news programmes. Everything else will be delivered as you want it when you want it, in a similar way to how Netflix works now. So BBC Three is ahead of the game on this one, and although it will still run to an online schedule, if viewing figures are good I see other channels following suit.

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be downloaded.

The Christmas Perineum

A phrase stolen off of a tweet from the wonderful Charlie Brooker who’s  2013 Wipe Review of the year is still on iPlayer.

Yes the time between Christmas and New Year. It seems to me people wander round not really knowing what they should be doing. I mean Christmas and New Year are so very structured:

25th Dec

  1. Make sure turkey is in
  2. Unwrap presents
  3. Eat chocolate for breakfast, feel a little sick
  4. Find presents you haven’t unwrapped
  5. Eat Turkey
  6. Eat
  7. Eat some more
  8. Threaten to kill at least one family member
  9. Break at least one present
  10. (UK) Argue about watching The Queen / Watch The Queen
  11. Drunken stupor

26th Dec

  1. Regret
  2. (US) Back to work, really? Boxing Day richest country in the world and a day off to recover from Christmas is beyond you? OK
  3. Boxing Day, sporting day so maybe watch your team lose #AdkinsOut
  4. Eat leftovers
  5. Eat new food that someone brought especially (Mad world people)
  6. Sales (Farting all the way)

Now the abyss, the days which aren’t called anything. They may as well be January 17th for all that matters! What do you do? Some people had to work on the 27th, but some were able to take time off. But what do you do? Do you go to see friends? They might be at work, or gone to see family they made an excuse not to see on Christmas Day. TV is shit, all the good stuff was on a few days ago. Do you hit the sales (again)? Noooooooo screams your bank card, are you mad you don’t get paid yet. So you fart about, going hither and yon trying to find quality time to do something, anything.

28/29/30:
All spent floating around. Saying maybe we should do this, or maybe that. Maybe I should write a blog piece that no-one will read. On the 30th you will discover that the beer you got from that bloke expired on the 29th. So you will buy some beer 2 crates for £16. Forgetting that the offer in the summer was 3 crates for £16. “Well it’s New Year”

31st Dec
New Years Eve: Cretins Holiday
A time for people who need to be told when and exactly how to have fun Whoo yeah, man made time celebration. It’s gonna be different, overnight. Yeah like it is for the other 300+ overnights.

1st Jan

  1. Regret
  2. Hangover
  3. Looking forward to the next 6 months of writing a 3 when you should write a 4

Happy New Year people, despite being a miserable bastard I hope 2014 is for you, dear reader, a year filled with Beauty, Happiness and Light. Who knows it might even happen for me too.

(WMB4X) Numbers. Oh My (Time) Lord

Numbers ruin things. If you can remember the amount of times you have done something you either haven’t done it enough or it was terrible when you did. Numbers are devoid of emotion and feeling, they cannot be used to convey anything other than hard facts. A constant in the world of grey areas. At times bringing un-needed order to the world.

One of the main fall outs from the wonderful “Day of the Doctor” and the less wonderful Doctor Who Live: The After Party, seems to be “Is Matt Smith the 12th Doctor now because of John Hurt?” Or varations upon that theme adorning many a fan forum or podcast. As arguements go it’s pretty stupid. Numbers again ruining it. You see and this is a point that even the most ardent fan will miss (or argue with me about).

There is only one Doctor.

In a similiar way that there is only one James Bond or Joey from Bread, Eric Draven from The Crow or Miss Marple. Only one. There have been multiple actors who played the part bringing with them different facets of the characters personality. When it comes down to it at a core character level there should be no differences between the Bond of Sean Connery or the Bond of Daniel Craig. The same should apply to the Doctor, he only changes based upon life experience in his relative time strand. Hartnell, Hurt, Smith and soon to be Capaldi all playing the same man at different points in that characters life.

The numbering then, Hartnell 1, Troughton 2 etc given that the Doctor is the same man, matters not a jot to the story. Yes there is a limit to the amount of times the Doctor can re-generate but that will be explained away in the clever writing of the Moff maybe in the upcoming Christmas episode (The only Christmas TV I want to see) It only matters when referring to the actors who have taken control of the TARDIS.

It seems strange to me that given that this show is about an alien with two hearts who can travel through space and time that such a mundane debate has emerged. I am aware of the irony of me writing this piece about it, adding to the debate. If you really must organise “timey wimey” may I suggest a better system. Names. In the same way no-one says the 3rd Bond when they are referring to Roger Moore’s James Bond, I suggest we adopt the same system. Matt Smith’s Doctor, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor etc. Doing away with the numbers and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Doctor Who Experience (8105543304)


Visit the Resident Weeble a number of times.

(WMB4X) The Day of the Doctor

50 years of The Doctor. How the hell do you begin to write anything about that? For once I’m pleased I’m not Steven Moffat. Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt and Billie Piper amongst others a stellar cast. I loved it, absolutely. I’m going to try not to spoil it for anyone who didn’t see it. (Like my blog will be the only place that mentions this) I will mention a few things though.

So many times do you wait for something that has a great fanfare beforehand only to find it doesn’t live up to it? This wasn’t one of those times. This was the TV event of the year if not the century. Surprises at every turn, humour and even rewards for the oldest fans of the show. Also the beauty of a time travel show means you can travel back and “put right what once went wrong” but enough about Quantum Leap.

One of the things I hated about Russell T Davies last ever episode with David Tennant is that Tennants Doctor says “I don’t want to go.” just before he regenerates. This is been a huge annoyance of mine because the Doctors regeneration is not him ‘going’ anywhere. Steven Moffat obviously was annoyed by this too. So he only bloody well went and fixed it. This alone would have made my night but wait there is plenty more.

Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) was criticised on her return to the show in 2010 after a two year absence as Rose’s voice had dramatically changed. Billie said that she had forgotten how Rose was supposed to sound. Cosmetic dental work aside of course. The vocal change did distract somewhat. So I have to admit I was worried about Rose Tylers return. Moffat brilliantly fixed this too.

I have spoken before about Matt Smith’s great ability to play a character much older and more world weary than himself. John Hurt managed to play a younger Doctor superbly, as you knew he would. Brilliantly acted, brilliantly casted.

I’d be a rubbish TV critic. This is a bit of non piece for which I make no apologies. I just didn’t think this would be quite so damn good.

So fifty years for the Doctor. 200 blog pieces for me. Not quite as impressive but a very fortuitous bit of timey wimey.

Dr Who (316350537)


Visit the Resident Weeble. He’s on his fifth regeneration.

(WMB4X) Tea for Two (am)

It’s the Ashes (again) in Australia. So heres to weeks of disrupted sleep whilst I watch eleven of my compatriots retain (hopefully) professional sports smallest trophy. The first test match is in Brisbane and play starts (for day two) at midnight UK time tonight.

The Ashes

For me it’s actually quite nice. Nicer than when the test matches are on in England. Nowhere to go, no-one who’s gonna call. The wind and rain going on outside whilst I can at least see the sunshine in full HD. I only wish I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Cricket is a sport that many people don’t understand the appeal of, I get that. The naming conventions for the field placings don’t help. Leg slips and Silly Mid-offs are too much for some. Again maybe that is part of the appeal for me.

Test matches last five days (and you thought baseball was a long game) but during that time the upper hand in the game can change several times. A marathon rather than a sprint but with tactical elements a plenty, and especially in the case of the Ashes a great deal of human emotion and passion.

Stuart Broad England fast bowler, has been made a panto villain in the Aussie press for “refusing to walk”. Which basically means, he was out in a previous match, but the umpire didn’t give it so he stayed put. A bit like a footballer doing a bad foul then staying on the pitch because the Ref didn’t give him a red card. There have been front pages encouraging all Aussies to blank Broad wherever he goes. Broad fought back in the best way possible by taking 5 of the 8 Australian wickets to fall yesterday.

When you are up watching this kind of theatre. It is important you stay refreshed, and whilst I did succumb to a wee shot of Jack, by 2am I was ready for bed. Which brings me to the title of this ramble. There is nothing, no drink on earth, I would rather have by my side in the early hours than tea. It warms the mind and soul. So if you like me are watching the cricket or maybe some other more fitting event to your personal preference. Askew the coffee, say good-bye to gin. Go and make a brew. You won’t regret it.


Go and visit the Resident Weeble. He might show you his googly.

(WMB4X) Tennants Pilsner

Doctor Who this month celebrates 50 years of existence. Which is very good for me as fan. My generation really missed out on the Doctor with the show being sent to the knackers yard by the BBC in 1989. I was 9. Had I been just a few years older I would have been able to appreciate the show. As it is I remember McCoy as MY doctor, and he was also voted the best doctor of all time when he was current resident of the TARDIS. He wasn’t of course.

In a recent Radio Times survey David Tennant has been voted the best Doctor with over 50% of the vote. I wouldn’t put Tennant at the top. In my view whilst there were some gems in his tenure as the Time Lord poor writing and shouty acting really put me off. Although it has to be said most of this dislike has come on in retrospect after being alerted to the Shouty, running Doctor by friends.

I get that Doctor Who is an action drama. Motion and movement are important, but largely lazy writing means that the solution to lot of problems is to run. If you don’t believe me play a drinking game where you have to drink every time Tennant says or is running. You’d have drunk the place dry by episode 3.

It’s difficult to vote on who is the best Doctor. It’s usually the person who is currently holding the sonice screwdriver who gets the nod. However Doctor Who in the Tennant years was much more a drama with Sci-fi elements. Since Steven Moffatt has been the show runner the program has moved a darker place with rewards for the regular viewer over those who dipped in on their way out to Yates.

Matt Smith has produced an excellent performance for such a young man playing a character over 900 years old. Maybe thats what it is with me when it comes to Tennant. Permit me to explain.

Sean Connery is my favourite Bond. In 1983 he made Never Say Never Again, which was not an official Bond film. In itself it’s quite enjoyable, with Rowan Atkinson making a pre- Johnny English big screen appearance. There is something about it however that doesn’t sit right as a Bond film. It appears to be Sean Connery, playing a younger Sean Connery who is playing Bond. This to me is what Tennants Who was like.

Tennant playing a Doctor, not THE Doctor. There were lots of inconsistencies Daleks could fly being the main one that springs to mind. Smith’s performance brought the show back to it’s roots playing the well travelled time lord with a wisdom and eccentricness whilst at the same time scaring the bejesus out of a new generation. Tennant could never quite pull that off.

Favourite doctor? High hopes for Peter Capaldi


Please visit the blog of the Resident Weeble who’s favourite Doctor may or may not be Doctor Dre