Monthly Archives: March 2010

Vancouver: the definitive review (7/10)

I was recently invited along on another trip to foreign lands, thus helping me flesh out another entry to my definitive review series. This time it was the ‘Jewel of Canadialand’, as I heard absolutely no locals calling it: Vancouver.

The city – quite possibly made from pure, distilled joy and topped off with sexy, yet homely, gold-laced platinum, was originally built by settlers from the metropolitan borough of Bury in 1997. After a rocky start, the settlers soon started putting on daft accents and the nation of Canada was created in 1999. Just in time for the millennium.

Anyway, enough history. I was delighted to spend a little over 24 hours in the city. While I didn’t see a great deal of it – except for through the window of a taxi/hotel room/office, I can safely say it’s a lot prettier than it looks from a distance. The locals are extremely friendly, it actually smells clean and they fed me the pulled pork thing I mentioned the other day. All in all it’s one of the nicest places I’ve ever been to, as well as being incredibly quiet for a big city. So yes – well done Canada. Though you don’t seem to know what a pint is, and my remarks to a barmaid that it was 568ml were met with a blank stare of confusion as she weighed up the enormity/enormousness of what I had just told her. Obviously.

There were negative points bar the fact that I didn’t get to stay very long at all. For one, the shower was only Very Good, and not – as in Sweden – Really Bloody Marvelous. Also, it is still full of Canadians. They’re a questionable race. I HAVE MY REASONS.

All in all though, from my admittedly brief foray into the city I think it’s safe to say Vancouver is absolutely fantastic. I’m a newly-converted massive fan of the place and cannot wait to see what they do with the sequel.

7/10

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Timewasting blog #2385

I have a spare half an hour in which I’m being forced to wait around. There are free snacks, coffee and drinks on which to gorge, but I am still doing nothing for thirty whole minutes. Still, I am doing this on the LucasArts campus in San Francisco, so it’s not actually annoying me that much. Or: at all.

We should compare this situation to those of my jobs* in the past. Let’s see: at Argos the microwave was broken and I had to share a locker with a bloke who would never give me the key, meaning I had to wait until he needed to use it to grab my stuff. Also the job sucked balls.

At CEX I was asked to help a new store open, which involved staying in a hotel for a week and bossing newbies around. “Great!” I thought. Then I realised it was in Hull. I went anyway, as getting freebies from that job was a blood from a stone situation. The first night there I got food poisoning. I also had to pay for my own hotel, which wasn’t reimbursed to me until I threw a bit of a stez. And expenses only covered one bottle of wine, which was downright irritating.

So yeah, I’m fine waiting half an hour here. Plus writing this wasted some time.

*Haha, as if that should be plural.

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The Canadian food report

Yesterday I had a revelation. Not that jetlag is a bitch – no, that was just the sudden realisation of something pretty obvious. And staying up for 24 hours before realising it’s only 10pm hurts my very soul. No, this revelation is a food-based one.

I had been told about the miracle that is pulled pork: slow-cooked for hours, marinated in whatever spices, barbeque sauces and other unhealthy crap they want and then torn from the pig carcass, before being served to you. I was lucky enough to have a sandwich version of this very meat, and I would just like to point out that it is the single greatest food-based experience of my life. All other food now pales in comparison. Two of my companions may have had fist-sized burgers, but sod that – my sloppy (yet firm) bundle of glee has set a new standard. America has a lot to live up to, if Canada is capable of producing this kind of nosh (YES I SAID NOSH).

Anyway, going to get on a plane to San Francisco now and write about 3,000 words. Apologies for the shortness of this entry – thank Vancouver airport there’s even internet connection at all.

Oh, and the one a day aspect of this will be skewed, as it’s 5pm here, and midnight (I think) at home. IT STILL COUNTS.

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Leavin’ on a jet plane (do know when I’ll be back: the 26th)

I’m off jet-setting for a week – in fact, I’ve written this well in advance and right now should be halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, barring any delays/terror attacks. I will continue to update this blog to the best of my ability through my five days in North America and will fill you in on my opinions of the four cities I will be taking in: Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. The last one I will be in for approximately two hours (again, barring delays/mad bombers), which I think will be more than enough time to form a coherent, definitive opinion on the place.

Yes, that’s right – I’m planning on bringing back my world famous reviews of a place, seeing as more than three people have referenced the Sweden review in some way, shape or form. So, people of the aforementioned cities across the pond: be on your best behaviour, and if you see someone who has a face like the one up at the top of this article then be extra nice to him. And probably give him money – he likes to have money, you see.

The rest of you can hold tight and wait to see if I can maintain this whole one a day lark when I’m in and out of planes for the next five days. I hear they don’t take kindly to wireless internet in those hurtling metal tubes of doom. Oh well, we shall have to challenge that belief*. Also, this will be my first experience of both Canada and the US, so if I come back spouting unbelievable nonsense when I get back –  like gap year students do – then you’ll know why.

Oh, this also, unfortunately, means the loss of my world famous world famous world famous Photoshop editing skills. Sorry Samuel.

*I’m not going to challenge anything, I’m going to turn wireless off, I am not a dimwit.

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The name (and image) game

I, like many of you out there, sometimes search for my name on Google. Over the years I’ve seen the Ian Dransfield who writes this very blog rise from second page obscurity into being the very first entry on search results, trouncing that Doctor Ian Dransfield who does so much work in the field of biological study. It’s obviously far less important than what I do. But that’s not what I want to look at today – no, I want to look at Google Image Search, where it’s much harder for results to simply come back from aggregator sites and other such bullshit (and rather frightening sites that rank what ‘sentiments’ my words express. Clue: mostly negative). I typed in “Ian Dransfield” to the search engine – with quote marks, to make it all exacting and stuff – and pulled out some of the more interesting results. I’m not putting them in any real order here, but let’s go:

This is the first result. This man isn’t even called Ian Dransfield. I have no idea why his face pops up. In a strange way, he does look like my dad though. He’s certainly not me though. I wonder if he wishes he was me. He probably does.

There are numerous images like these, all taken from the reviews I did for Kikizo (now Video Games Daily). Unfortunately none of them are me. I do not look like a shark.

I would be so bold as to assume this isn’t related to video games in any way, nor is it anything to do with this Ian Dransfield. I think it’s the molecular structure of cookies, or something.

Dr. Dransfield! I think I got an email intended for him once. That’s about as close as we’ve ever been. I know it’s hard to believe we’re not best buds, but it is unfortunately true. I like his face. I think all Ian Dransfields have great eye-creases when they smile.

This is the image of me used in Play and on the Imagine Publishing website (this version advertising my Twitter, natch). If you look closely, you’ll see that I’m not actually doing a mesma-stare and am, in fact, the victim of some rather unhelpful lens-glare on my specs. Just sayin’. I also cannot smile in photos.

This is an advert on a page where something I wrote has been copied to. I do find it rather amusing that searching for my name comes up with a PETA advert. It’s not that I’m pro-fur, I’m just pro-eating-as-much-meat-as-possible. My body does look a lot like this woman’s, though.

Ah. Hmm. I’m not sure what this says about me.

This would easily be the best image that pops up when searching for my name, were it not for the next result. Still: Meatloaf!

One day this image will represent everything about me, and everything that is fair, right and true in society. I mean just look at that mug grip technique.

What about yours? Anything fun?

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Competitivity – IS IT EVEN A WORD?

I’ve never understood the drive to succeed. Well, actually, that sounds pretty pathetic and far too much like what actually goes through my head. Let’s change it. I’ve never understood the competitive nature of those around me, nor have I ever ‘got’ why so many things in life have to be a competition.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have an older brother, and as such I know what it is to compete. As double such, I know what it is to lose – consistently – at something. Be it running, being tall, being old, whatever – I always lost. It got to a point where I was better than Paul at things like Pro Evo, but other than that it was a general losing streak from me. As such, I really think I’ve managed to avoid the competitive streak in my life. If someone beat me at a game, for example, I will get angry. But I won’t go out of my way to right this wrong on my very being by spending three months of my life training to get better at whatever it is I was beat at.

In fact, fuck this, I’m drunk. Just – well, this sums it up:



Being competitive is to be a twat.

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Look! It’s a movie review!

I watched a film I haven’t seen before for the first time in ages last night, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it with you fine people. The movie in question was a particular little ditty written by one Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, Taxi (which is good, shut up) and one of the best films ever made: Leon) so you can probably guess I was hopeful for From Paris With Love. Even if the poster for it did have Jonathan Rhys Meyers and John Travolta on it.

Then it started, and I noticed Besson had only written it and not actually directed*. The problem being, he’s a man who can make a pretty shit story quite watchable (if not one of the best things ever – see: Leon), so I lost all hope for the film at that point. I also realised this meant all of the car chases would be shite, as it seems only Besson can get those right these days (oh, and the Bourne film bloke).

Anyway, I sat there for an hour and a half (and a bit) and was left feeling rather empty. I watched a film about a man in Paris with a hot girlfriend joining forces with a super-spy in order to take down a terror cell by killing the shit out of everyone in amusing and quite interesting ways, and I was left cold by it. This tells you all you need to know, really, but I’ll go on for the benefit of those with more time than they’d like to admit to waste.

Rhys thingy is Irish. He puts on an awful, awful American accent throughout and is about as believable in his role as an ambassador’s aide as a Cornish pasty in a hammock would be. This isn’t all down to his accent, mind you, as part of the blame has to lie on the fact that – in this film at least – the man couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag. Blank staring, emotionless emotions and a general feel that he’s just playing it by numbers made me lose interest very quickly indeed. And the less I say about how many fucking times he says someone’s name, the better. Still, I persisted – if only so I could have a ready-made blog to write today.

But the one thing that really pushed me over the edge from thinking From Paris With Love was a half-watchable film into the realms of borderline-ludicrous nonsense is the other lead: John “Chunk” Travolta. I like the look of him in the film, actually – he looks genuinely a bit mental/hard. The problem is, instead of making him a super agent who gets his way through sheer brute force and generally being a wall of doom – which would fit his look, like a blunderbuss of espionagey fury – they made him a sleek, slick, athletic killing machine. That does not make sense. The difference in look between Travolta and his stuntman isn’t just noticeable; it’s jarring. The part where he leaps headfirst down a hole, before grabbing onto a fireman’s pole with his legs and spinning around, shooting everyone in the room below… well, if someone like Jason Statham had done that, I would be happy. Fat Travolta though? Even with my exceptionally low film-watching standards, it was one suspension of disbelief too far.

As a hilarious aside – and I may be wrong on this, but I’m not going back to check: there is only one white person shot by the good guys in the entirety of the film. Think what you will of this (potential) fact.

7/10

*I’ve just seen it was directed by the bloke who did Taken. And Taken – the uncut edition, at least – is fucking great. I’m so confused.

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