Nine Inch Nails – The Eden Project

This weekend has been pretty awesome. Smith and I drove down to Cornwall yesterday to see the band Nine Inch Nails. There aren’t many bands that would have the draw to get us to travel the width of the country but NIN are one of them. Firstly we stayed at a hotel in Okehampton which was on the route and far enough away from Eden to make the journey home this morning less by an hour. While waiting in Okehampton I persuade Smith that we should try and see a viaduct!

Meldon Viaduct - Okehampton
Meldon Viaduct – Okehampton

We parked near the reservoir and walked down by the river to the viaduct. Climbed up and walked the length of the bridge/viaduct. On the return journey we saw Dartmoor ponies and they were rather cute. We also got up close and personal with the dam holding back the reservoir waters.

Meldon Reservoir - Okehampton
Meldon Reservoir – Okehampton

After the walk and some food we drove to Eden. Parking was at the top of the project but there were shuttle buses up and down before and after the concert. It was lovely wandering through the biomes with 6000 other metal fans. It was absolutely pissing it down outside at this point with a lightning storm. The noise of this inside the biomes was like a small jet taking off, quite spectacular.

First band on were Yves Tumor. Not really my thing. Listened to a couple of songs but left it at that. Wandered around for a while.

Yves Tumor - Eden Project
Yves Tumor – Eden Project

Nine Inch Nails were quite spectacular. There wasn’t much interaction with the crowd from Trent Reznor. But is was still an amazing show. I hadn’t noticed until right towards the end of the concert that the biomes had lights and lit up as part of the show. The sound quality was really good and the fact there were only 6500 people attending made it quite an intimate venue. It’s the largest concert I’ve been to for years (mostly because of covid).

NIN - The Eden Project
NIN – The Eden Project

Andy disappeared into the pit on the second song which was “Wish” from The Downward Spiral. I maintained my composure until they started playing March Of The Pigs and I joined in with the pit. I didn’t stay there, I just hovered on the edge and enjoyed the show.

At one point Trent spoke and said there were two things that happened this evening that had never happened at any other gig. First, he made a mistake playing one of his songs and secondly, there was a rainbow. The rainbow was enjoyed by the crowd, it was quite life-positive-affirming.

NIN Rainbow
NIN Rainbow

It was a great concert. As we left and walked up the winding path to the main entrance my niece called both of us and drunkenly chatted which was pretty funny. Also, the biomes were lit up thus:

Eden after Nine Inch Nails
Eden after Nine Inch Nails

Nazca – Peru – Flight Sim

I’ve written here about my current Flight Sim challenge which is to fly around the world in short stages. Each leg is somewhere from 50 miles to 2000 miles, sometimes you have to fly over the Pacific and there isn’t a load of airports there. I’m currently in Peru and my previous journey had me landing at Aerodromo Maria Reiche in Nasca. While heading there I flew over the Nazca Lines and so I decided to download a scenery pack and go back and see what it looks like. I didn’t want to zoom over at 500 knots so decided to take a Grumman Goose out for a trip. As I’m heading to Lake Titicaca next I might make that trip in the Goose and land on the lake. It’s not very fast so I’ll have to see how much time I have. I might take the T7 to closer to the lake and then swap.

Grumman_G-21A_Goose - Peru
Grumman_G-21A_Goose – Peru
Grumman_G-21A_Goose - Peru - Nazca
Grumman_G-21A_Goose – Peru – Nazca

What A Feeling

I’m still playing Gran Turismo 7 as it’s most likely the only game I will be able to get a Platinum trophy. There’s quite a bit of work to do, but I’m not in a rush. I have plenty of time. I just enjoy playing the game. I know there’s been annoyance from players because of lots of the internal economic market but I don’t really care about that. I’m happy to just keep playing.

I don’t currently spend huge amounts of time online racing as other people can be terrible and it’s hard t get the balance right. I’m happy to nudge an AI car now and then but it’s different when it’s another person. This is not something most people think about it would appear given how many times I’ve been knocked off. Anyway, I recently did some qualification laps and I was surprised that I claimed Pole Position. Not entirely sure how that happened and I don’t know how Polyphony allocate people to races to it could be entirely random. Anyway, I got Pole. I also won the race and got fastest lap. This was the first time this had happened for me and I was super proud.

Gran Turismo Online Win
Gran Turismo Online Win

Men

I had a small window of spare time today and so I went to the cinema to watch “Men”. There are details I need to enter before we get to my review. First the tide was nearly full. I couldn’t tell if it was waxing or waning but it was close to high. Also, the M2 eastbound was at a standstill and I don’t know what that was about but I hope that people are safe. I didn’t travel that way as I don’t like having to go to the top of the Downs just to get back down the other side. I used the “new” bridge which has probably been in place for many years now. After the film I rated it on IMDB and there’s a page that covers the rating process here. Then, I tweeted the result:

Earlier today I had tried to screen grab a walk around of the new Minecraft base but the screen recording wasn’t working properly so I’m a little miffed by that. Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow. I think what I’m trying to do is delay writing what I thought about the film. The problem is I don’t know what I thought about the film. I genuinely spent the last twenty minutes wondering what the fuck it was that I was watching. I wonder if the film was trying to be too clever, although having read the Kermode review in The Guardian I think my interpretation was in line with theirs. I think I’m reminded of Mother but less so, as I didn’t mind this particular film.

I might come back and write some more at another point but honestly at the moment I don’t think I have anything else to add.

It Looked Amazing

It’s been a windy few days here in the south east of this funny island. It hasn’t rained much, or at least not when I’ve been awake, but the wind has been a consistent feature of the “jubilee” days. Yes, it’s been the queen’s jubilee and I’ve been mostly not-interested. I’m not a monarchist by a long way, in fact I think that the royals embody all that is wrong with this entitled country. Anyway, the wheat in the fields out the back of my house are young and have bendy stalks still. The wind gusts were creating lovely wave patterns in the fields and so I tried to capture what that looks like. To be honest I don’t think I succeeded.

In respect of all other things I’ve [once again] deleted Twitter and Reddit from my phone. I don’t think they are good for mental health. I do like knowing the things that I see mentioned on there but there’s only so much shit in this world that I can cope with and along with the knowledge that the entire environment is going to collapse soon I’ve decided to try and focus on what I can do from afar and stop worrying about the end of the world. There isn’t really anything I can do to try and change what’s going to happen. My area of focus needs to be more on the things I can affect. I will occasionally check Twitter but Reddit is likely not to be looked at much.

If you read the news or listen to the radio [I don’t watch television news] then you will notice the, almost daily, warnings from scientists about the collapse of the climate and environment. Those warning signs have been there for most of my life time but no one has really done anything to try to change what’s going to happen. The current economic and political systems do not allow a decent long-term plan that will help the future generations. I am convinced it is all going to be utter shit.

Through my life I had thought that the country and world was heading towards a more liberal approach to people and life. I had thought that society progresses to be more accepting of social norms as they change. But it turns out that I was wrong. The current UK government are fucking horrible people who are liars and self-serving assholes. They have been brought up to believe they are entitled to the power. The problem is they are morally bankrupt racist liars. I honestly can’t believe some of the headlines I see where people are “I’m almost at the point where I won’t vote conservative“. What the fuck have you been watching for the last decade? I honestly despair at the level of cognitive dissonance these people have.

I’m not claiming to be perfect or to have the answers. I honestly have no idea how to change the current to fix the future. But I do know it’s not what we are doing now. The way we treat some aspects of society is horrific. My central tenant is “be nice”. It’s the easiest thing to do. I think I’d also have to say that we should use evidence to improve and help people along with doing out best to look after the planet for the future. We are nowhere near doing that yet. It’s a real shame. So, now I’m going to head off and be selfish for a while along with donating money to organisations that are working to change our current world in the best of ways so we can be the best for the future.

Blink And You’ll Miss It

I watched the latest Star Wars thing, a series about Ben Kenobi. Or rather, I watched the first episode. I might watch more as I’ve just finished the latest Picard series and I’m in need of something good to watch. Anyway, watching the first episode and I recognised a hill next to a lake, so I rewound and paused at the point. It was definitely Cat Bells and Derwentwater. I know this view very well. I sent a message to Penguin who’s back bedroom window looks out on this view and they agreed, although they had missed it while watching the television show!

Kenobi S1E1 - Cat Bells
Kenobi S1E1 – Cat Bells

This Made My Day

The other day when I went to see Top Gun Maverick it was a special showing for cadets and staff of Kent Wing ATC. We were invited and so I took some cadets. Being in a theatre with other like minded people was brilliant as we watched the film. But, the best bit was that before the film we had a personal message from Tom Cruise. Now, I’m involved with the Combined Cadet Force and traditionally they are based at private schools although my school has been state run since just after the second world war [not sure if that should be capitalised!]. Our cadets were the only CCF cadets there but we are still part of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets and are based in Kent. Although our direct command chain doesn’t quite follow the Wing structure it was still great to get this message.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

I went to see Everything Everywhere All At Once at the Cineworld cinema in Rochester. Usual observations on the tide soon but this is the forth film review in a row and I’m worried I’ve run out of shit to say! I’m going to have to make up some rambling communication to try and get out of this rut. I wonder if quite a bit of this has to do with the world at the moment. I’m bothered in no particular order by Ukraine, Boris Johnson and our ever more fascist government, Human rights in the USA, the climate being absolutely fucked. It does feel as though we are living through the warning signs of future shit that will one day be taught in history classes around the world. These were all the signs they will teach and the kids will be like “how couldn’t they see it coming”. The problem is some of us can see it coming and I’m not sure what I can do. I currently give money to various lobbying organisations I think deserve it. I’m almost in the mental position of having to try to do the best to survive in the hellscape that is coming, I don’t have the energy to fight.

As I drove along the riverside I looked to see that state of the tide and it looked very low. I could see the dips at the end of the mud bank, I could see a lot of the withies. This film was shown in screen 8 and that’s my favourite because it has the best seats and plenty of space. I think I’ve been to see a film just because it was in that screen! They don’t tend to put kids films in there so my offspring have only been in there once. I wonder if I’ll go and see Top Gun Maverick again at the cinema? I don’t think so. There’s an issue with films feeling a little too long for me and I wonder if that’s a me problem rather than reality. I’m going to try and get some information soon. After the film I tweeted the score I gave it on IMDB, for a discussion or explanation of the scoring system see this communication.

I really liked this film. It was wonderfully original and thought provoking. Absolutely great fun and laugh out loud in certain places. It’s a very good take on the multi-verse theory. It’s funny how some things are absolutely abstract or appear nice because of mathematics and then they go and appear in popular culture. My current fascination is that wormholes might exist. If they do then they might lead to another part of the universe. If they do that then we might be able to travel them. You ask the person in the street what a wormhole is and I’m sure they’ll think they are real and we know for sure what we can do with them, we just have to find one. Back to this film, it had set pieces which were wonderful and the story was great. I loved the introspective feel of the thing. The rocks were my favourite I think. How great was that? Rocks.

This film felt very slightly longer than I wanted and as I mentioned earlier I wonder if that’s a “me” issue rather than film itself. For a good seventy five percent of the film I was going to be hitting this one as eight stars on IMDB but something happened in the last twenty minutes or so and I downgraded to a six as I left the film. I don’t know why. I think it’s a “me” thing but that’s what this rating system is, a “me” thing. The rating system exists for me to rate a film on a consistent scale. The system has lasted nearly ten years so I think it’s worth keeping! I enjoyed this film and it was refreshingly different.

Top Gun: Maverick

I was always going to see this film, the big question was where and in what sort of cinema. That question was answered by an email from Kent Wing Air Cadets saying they were putting on a private showing of the film and would we like to go. The answer was a very easy “yes” and so we drove a school minibus down to Folkestone to watch the film in the Guildhall. I should normally waffle on about the tide here and even though we were in a port town I can’t tell you as I wasn’t close enough to the sea or local river to notice the state of the tide. I feel as though I have let you down slightly but also I don’t care because of this particular situation. After the film I rated it on IMDB, there’s a system so don’t quibble with me if you disagree.

There’s a lot to say about this film and I’ll probably add more after this is published. But I think it can be summarised thus: “it’s a Top Gun film”. I had a great time watching it and didn’t laugh out loud too many times at inappropriate places. I’m still amazed that before the film started we had a personal message from Tom Cruise to Kent Wing Air Cadets. How amazing is that? I’m super impressed with the people who organised this event and am slightly jealous too.

There are going to be spoilers in the following text. I don’t think I’m going to give much away of the story but I think I’ll be saying things that might spoil those little moments in the film. I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this justice so I’m just going to write the things I remember, they might be in the wrong order but I’ll try to make it match the film. Read on if you wish . . . .

The font to the opening titles was the same as the original. I liked this. I smiled. I was very excited and looking forward to the opening scene – which, let’s face it, is the best part of the original film. So, the opening scene did not disappoint, F18s launching from a carrier and “Danger Zone” playing over the top. It was bloody great. I loved it.

Cut to – Tom Cruise mechanicing with a spanner on his own Mustang. We know he’s good at this stuff because he has to wash his hands and so got dirty while doing stuff to the engine. Note we never see what he is actually doing, it’s just the spanner in some random part of the engine which was a Rolls Royce, of course. Then, Tom has dinner in his living room which is some chairs on some carpet in the middle of the hangar and I was struck by how stupid it was and how jealous I was at the same time.

Tom then rides his motorcycle along the taxiway on a major secret flight test location because they always let people just ride motorbikes on taxiways and he then pulls in a parks next to some super-good-looking plane straight into a conversation. Notice how, as a pilot, he never wears a crash helmet? In my experience pilots are some of the most safety conscious people I know. Anyway, actors don’t look good in helmets. Now let’s have some conversations about project in trouble and Ed Harris being amazing at some general or other. The plane taking off over the shitty little guardhouse is funny and stupid as fuck. Tom has to fly this new plane at Mach 10 or the programme is finished. So, Tom flies this plane at Mach 10. But then he can’t help being an immature prick so he pushes it a little faster and he breaks the whole thing and parachutes to safety. I think I genuinely would have loved it if they killed his character here and the rest of the film was about Rooster. Note – the Mach 10 plane could probably have carried out the secret mission perfectly well.

Next we have to put the team together. Cue “that one bar” where everyone goes in their full on uniform and drinks and talks shit to each other. Oh, it just so happens that this bar has been bought and is now run by some woman who Maverick used to fuck. The bar owner is also not too worried about the bottom line and owns a pretty neat yacht. I’m not sure what universe the economy is based in. There was some stuff happening with the Team.

My absolute favourite moment was the classroom scene. My god. I laughed. Military classrooms are the crappiest rooms thought about as an after thought and generally devoid of all decoration. The idea that a classroom would be placed in a hangar isn’t laughable. But. The idea that it would be a hangar on an operational flight line with the doors open and jet noise everywhere made me smile. Then, there was the flag. Or rather, THE FLAG. It was fucking massive. Just hanging there in the hangar. Being all stars and stripes. It was absolutely a laugh out loud moment. It was hilarious. Americans eh?

The hard deck of five thousand feet is always so close to the ground in the flying shots and I wonder if that’s because this is filmed in a mountainous region and the five thousand feet is AMSL? It always bothered me about the fist film and it annoyed me a little about this one. Also, if you fly an F18 between two other F18s they don’t really get “blown apart” from each other as they do in the film but then we need on screen action rather than reality here and I understand the choices made. I enjoyed the death spiral move that happened and I quite liked the flying scenes all the time. I mean, they are flying scenes.

I’m pretty sure some shit or other happens during the training and we get lots of machismo. There’s some love action with the bar owner who also happens to have a Porsche so this must be the only bar in San Diego and also just outside Fightertown and also next to the beach. Val Kilmer appears somewhere along the way and he was great. So nice to see him. I love the idea that Maverick is protected by this man. I’d say that’s quite realistic. The armed forces often come down to who you know rather than the rules sometimes, it’s just like life everywhere else.

I was amazed that the USA had valleys that exactly matched the ones in the Bad Place. We were told the F18s would have to fly down a twisty valley and follow an exact route. Fair enough. We were also told the computer would have the map but then, when training, they were flying down or up actual valleys. What an amazing coincidence. I didn’t mind, it looks much better to have aircraft flying near the ground or with clouds to give the impression of speed. I let them have this one. But I chuckled a little.

The target. The target. The target was the exhaust port on the Death star. I’ve nothing else to say.

The bomb run was great. Who cares that it was mostly bullshit? I loved it. The dogfighting was impressive. The SU-50s were amazing. The moves were cool. I liked the reconciliation scene between Maverick and Rooster and I also thoroughly loved the F14. The Tomcat clearly makes this Iran the Navy were attacking as they are the only country that still flies those gorgeous craft. But Russia are the only people with Felons. Oh well, who cares. I loved the F14. Bloody gorgeous. It was all amazing.

I really enjoyed this film. It was great. It was terrible but it was great. Just like the original. I’m not waiting for someone to make an “aircraft only” cut of the both films and put them together. Who cares about all the talk parts of the film. It is and always has been about the aircraft and cool things like that. I honestly don’t care about the story. The whole character arc of Maverick, if we can call it that, is an excuse to see the aircraft doing their shit.

Obviously, one B-2 Spirit and the movie would be over in two minutes.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

I saw this film about a week ago and I’ve only just got around to writing the review! I think I’ve been prompted into doing this because I’m off to see another film shortly. I went to see this film at the Ashford cinema because I saw the film on the 4DX screen there. It’s the nearest cinema of this type to me. 4DX means the seats move, there are sprays of water, snow falling, bubbles and wind. The film is in 3D as well to add to the effects. I had seen two other films in this way quite a while ago. I clearly rated this film on IMDB and there’s a communication which details how the rating system works.

I would normally write about the state of the tide in this aspect of the communication but there was no tidal water to see in Ashford so I shan’t be commenting.

Did I like this film? Not really. I watched it to get to the end but I wouldn’t want to see it again. This would normally make this a four out of ten but I quite enjoyed the effects of the 4DX. I think the best effect was when Strange got stabbed through his abdomen and something prodded me in the back and then was removed when the stabby item was removed from Strange. That was pretty cool. The rest of the film was pretty much shit.