Author Archives: ward

Moving abroad – the final countdown

Well, it’s all happening here at the Word of Ward. In 10 days from now, on the 18th, I am undergoing a continent/country/career/lifestyle change. I am mentioning this not to gloat but just explain why blog entries maybe be a bit more haphazard over the next couple of weeks. And also to gloat. I plan to quit my half writer, half TV existence and become pure writer. There is a lot of opportunity out there on the interweb for someone who can vaguely string a sentence together, so it seems like a fun experiment to try and make a living doing that.

Writing on a beach. That's the dream.

Writing on a beach. That’s the dream.

Obviously the best place to try such an experiment is in a hot country with nice beaches,  and cheaper beer. All you need is an internet connection. I intend to put a lot more hours into my websites as well because the pittance I make from them cover the costs of hosting but are hardly helping toward my cocktail on a beach fund. I also intend to release more fiction on kindle and enter stories in competitions and magazines. And of course, there is always the freelance journalism which pays the bills and can be a lot of fun – but can also be quite restricting and frustrating.

So bear with me. I am still here. And soon I will be there.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For trailer (Red Band trailer)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Here is the extended red band trailer for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. If you have seen the first Sin City film and liked it then this looks absolutely brilliant. It is very much Frank Miller’s Sin City, right down to the near identical frames (compared to the comics) with its highly stylised violence and quirky film angles. If you didn’t like the first one then you might as well just ignore this and get on with your life.

I loved the first one and this not not only has more Jessica Alba, it also has Eva Green. Plus some other famous people doing, you know, whatever. (Be warned – a red band trailer means it is unsuitable for kiddywinks or work but is awesome if you like violence and semi clad people.) Enjoy.

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Assassin’s Creed real life Parkour

If you have ever played Assassin’s Creed for hours then left the house, you sometimes find yourself looking at real life buildings to assess easy access to rooftops or cool things to run over. This subconscious analysis gets even stronger when you visit cities that feature in the games and you suddenly realise that you know your way around and that the easiest way to get to where you want to be is to climb a certain wall, run across the roofs of several buildings then dive into a river and hey presto, you’re there.

The crushing reality I felt when I visited places like Rome, Venice, and Florence was that even though it was pretty damned cool that I could navigate between some major sites based purely upon a game, I would probably injure myself just trying to jump over a small wall. Happily, while that would be the case for most of us, it is not true for practitioners of Parkour – that amazing sport/hobby/boastful exercise thing where people jump over street objects in an impressive manner.

Finally, someone has linked these two strands together and proved that Assassin’s Creed could definitely happen. (Although maybe not the ‘leap of faith into some straw’ bit if you have played the game.)

So if you like Assassin’s Creed or Parkour then you should enjoy this 3 minute clip set in Paris. It all looks pretty easy actually although the video shows that it is probably still quicker to take the bus.


Joaquin Phoenix’s Forehead

Sorry, I know it is puerile and stupid but this clip has been circling the web a lot recently and the world has been an increasingly grim place of late. So for just a minute, tilt your head to the left, watch this clip, marvel at the strange little face that appears on Joaquin Phoenix’s forehead and forget about things briefly. A word of warning – you will never look at Joaquin Phoenix the same way again. Or his forehead.




Nice in France

Dear Internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in ages but I was moving house and then had a delightful couple of weeks in the south of France. But I am back in London now and will soon be returning to the drudgery of work and a normal existence. I will be writing a lot more from that point on, I promise. Our first stop was Nice, which is no misnomer. In fact the city could be called Bloody Lovely and it would still hold true. We then went to Antibes, Aix-en-Pronce, Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Avignon, then Paris. With a few little stops in places like Eze and Monaco.

Here’s a picture of what some of it looked like:

The Cote d'Azur

The Cote d’Azur 

As you can see, it was bloody lovely and hence not a lot of writing got done. I should also add that a glass of wine in that part of the world is cheaper than mineral water or coffee, so I was half drunk a lot of the trip. We were on a budget you see…

So prepare yourselves for an explosion of shallow stuff as The Word of Ward returns to business. Tonight I am seeing Monty Python live and tomorrow we are off to Hyde Park to see Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Faith No More, and so on. Then it is back to business.

Please bear with me for this difficult period.

Yours affectionately,

The Word of Ward

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RIP Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall in the Young ONes

Rik Mayall in the Young Ones

I just wanted to say a quick goodbye to Rik Mayall. I would find it hard to add the hours I have spent watching him on TV but it would be a hell of a lot. I suspect his passing will revive a lot of fond memories in those of a slightly older generation. We generation X-ers grew up with Rik Mayall on our TV playing anarchic manic characters and although the characters were vastly different, they were all very definitely him. He seemed to dominate my TV from when I was 10 and he was in the Young Ones, through to the mid-90s when he was in Bottom and The New Statesman. I know he did a lot of stuff before and after but this was the period when he was almost permanently on my TV and his humour perfectly matched my own. Even more so once VHS boxsets came out and I could watch the shows repeatedly.

My personal favourites that deserve particular mention are: Rik – the anarchist student obsessed with Cliff Richard, the awesome Captain Flasheart in Blackadder on whom I modeled my 20s, the legendary and highly accurate portrayal of the politician Alan B’stard on whom I may model my 40s, and Richard Richard who lived in a squalor in London that was a replica of nearly every flat I have lived in until I got married.

Although some of his humour may be a bit puerile or over the top, he brought me some of my favourite TV when I was young and I thought he deserved a mention and my thanks. I feel a New Statesman binge coming on. RIP Rik Mayall.



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Turns out I’m an apathetic non-voting scumbag

I want to vote, I really do. Unfortunately, like a lot of the apathetic bloody populace these days, I don’t. There was a load of local and European elections in the UK recently and I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for any of the main parties. I actively distrust them all and don’t want to risk voting for a lesser political evil when the party involved might actually win and then invade an oil filled country a year later or starve pensioners or lead us to a scenario where no one will ever be able to afford a house ever again or… you get the idea.

I think everyone should have a vote – that’s a given. Everyone who chooses to side with a party and wants them to lead their country should be able to have a say. Democracy is a pretty bollocks system really, but it is by far the best we humans have come up with and I will fight for people to able to have their say. Probably not to the death, but pretty damned close.

I think I just increasingly dislike the generation of politicians who have made politics their career. They rarely seem to me to be arguing for what they genuinely believe should be happening in the country, they seem more concerned with getting one up on their rival politicians and furthering their career. They are more concerned with the politics of government than actually governing.

I don’t know why I have strayed from my usual inane fun this entry. I apologise. I think it is a combination of all the shiny politicians on TV, the fact that it is my birthday next week and I am getting increasingly grumpy, and a concern for all my friends and family in my former home of Thailand (and future) where democracy is really going through the ringer. In Thailand various failed power plays have caused people become so entrenched in two opposing political parties that the army staged a coup to try and get everyone a fair vote. On the same day in the UK, UKIP suddenly made huge gains because people were so fed up with the similar shite spouted from the main two parties that they either voted for UKIP or lay in bed in resigned apathy. In both cases, people in power craved more power and it backfired. Which is a good thing if it then leads to change. Sadly I don’t think that will happen.

The final reason is that I was reminded of a superb quote from George Orwell’s 1984. One of my favourite books. It got me thinking in a pointless and futile way and also gave me an excuse for a great quote on power. I shall stop whining now and leave you with Mr Orwell.




“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.” ? George Orwell, 1984

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Deadly snakes that could kill babies at large in North London!

NatureLittle did I know that I, as a North Londoner, have been living with the threat of DEADLY KILLER probably EVIL, RABID snakes for years. These things are 8 foot long and can kill babies and may or may not be able to fly. Apparently it has gotten to the point  where my own borough of Camden is talking about culling the slithering menace and I am only just hearing about it now.

Panic damn you!

Ok, I am being slightly alarmist here but that is because I have just read a load of news reports that are being massive dicks about the whole thing. Here is one such headline:

“Deadly eight-foot snakes that can kill cats and dogs invade London.” (

Here is another one:

“Snakes capable of crushing small children to death at large in London” (

A few points need to be made here.

– Yes the snakes (Aesculpian snakes to be precise) are DEADLY – but to rats and birds and so on. All carnivores are deadly in that they make other animals die. So you should also be afraid of DEADLY pussy cats and DEADLY little birdies and DEADLY moles, etc. (Especially moles, they just look weird.)

– They have invaded in the sense that they are not native to the UK. According to the newspaper reports, they originate from Yugoslavia which is no longer even a place. So they have been living here a while just getting on with things, although I am sure that still infuriates Daily Mail snake lovers.

– They live mostly on rats and small birds. Technically they can strangle small animals but as London is chock full of rats, why bother eating Mr Tiddles? As one paper pointed out – large snakes have been known to attack small dogs or babies but as this has never happened in London and after decades of them lurking around, I feel ok. Birds and rats have been known to attack kids too, so maybe this will balance out.

– The main concern about the babies being attacked comes from one quote from one person that I have seen repeated in several papers and online magazines (including the two above). They all use the exact same wording as if simply copied and pasted by some lazy bastard who can’t be arsed to do better research. Here is the copied and pasted quote:

Mum-of-three Sylvia Taylor, 33, told the Daily Star: “If they are capable of killing small animals then surely they could constrict small children?”‘

Great stuff. I have a degree in English and one part of my studies involved linguistic analysis. So having skilfully dissected the above statement I can reveal it is slightly misleading. She is actually asking a question not telling them something. Her hypothetical question is not answered but that doesn’t stop the question turning into an implication that is consequently used as a chilling headline.

I grew up in Asia and snakes are fine. Especially non-aggressive non-poisonous ones that eat rats. Leave them alone.

On the other hand I could be wrong! Be afraid! Think of the children! Next article: ‘Moody Geese from France are here to break your children’s legs.’

Regent's Canal, Camden. Right now! (Allegedly)

Regent’s Canal, Camden. Right now! (Allegedly)



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Gotham trailer

Gotham TV show

Gotham TV show

The much anticipated (by me anyway) Gotham TV show is on its way. Now there is a trailer. I think it looks pretty good and I remain fairly excited. I just worry a bit because without Batman and the Joker and all the rest, it is essentially just another cop drama. I know Bruce Wayne and Catwoman appear in this as children but children suck and I am a bit bored with origin stories.

Still, I remain open minded and the trailer looks pretty cool. So time will tell. Enjoy.


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Augmented reality bus stop

This has been doing the rounds on the internet, but in case you missed it I thought I would share because it is bloody genius. I keep meaning to pop down to New Oxford street (it’s in London) and see if it is still there. Personally, I think they could go a lot further and have zombies, Triffids, psychopathic clowns, Daleks, Stormtroopers, Cthulu, Godzilla, the Borg, giant mechanoids, the Blob… well, I could actually go on all day. If I was trying to promote a film or a game I would be all over this augmented reality technology thingy but sadly I am not, so will just gawk at it instead. has shiny new look!

The good folks over at the awesome have a brilliant new look to their site. (Ok ScifiWard is me.) I thought I would try out a new design there and see how easy the whole process was. Turns out, it was pretty damn simple to achieve and now it looks like a veritable window on the future. I urge you to go and check it out forthwith and post haste!  As I mentioned when I chatted about doing code academy, it is time for this site to have a makeover.

I want to keep things simple so will probably go with a wordpress theme.

I just thought I would warn you all so that if you happen to be clicking to somewhere else on this site, everything may go a bit mental for a minute or two. While I may be brilliant at design and basic coding and most other things a human can do, I can’t work out how to change things on a site before it goes live. The changes may happen before your very eyes… Plus it is more fun this way. So don’t panic! Your computer isn’t broken. Look on in awe as a new site unfolds.

Look in awe at the new site!

Look in awe at the new site!

EDIT: Well I guess doing Scifiward first has paid off as the Word of Ward has now had its facelift and it took about half an hour. Any suggestions please email:

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myhotel, Brighton

This isn’t really a hotel review as such – it’s more of an excuse as to why I have been a bit negligent toward the poor old website.

The reason is that I have been busy at work and then busy holidaying. I’m not sure that is a good reason but that is the way it is. While there we stayed at the fantastic Myhotel in Brighton. That isn’t a typo by the way, it is supposed to look like that because it’s all hip and shit.

It was Mrs Wordofward’s birthday and the good thing about Brighton is that it is chock full of cool bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs. All of which we are fans of. I’ve stayed at the Myhotel before in Brighton and it is in a superb location in the hip and cool North Lanes, just a short walk from the hip and cool South Lanes and consequently the not quite so hip and cool waterfront. (I am always disappointed by the pier at Brighton and while there is the odd nice cafe/bar by the beach, if it isn’t a sunny day then the Lanes are the place to be.) In fact, every other male I saw in the Lanes had a beard which shows how hip(ster) it is.

Another great thing about Brighton is that it is less than an hour from London.

Anyway, if you fancy Brighton I recommend the myhotel. It is like living in a hotel in Logan’s Run. Imagine the future as designed by someone from the seventies and you’ll get the idea. There is a great coffeeshop, cool bar – you get a free cocktail and they play retro movies on multiple screens while fish swim in tanks, and a modern Indian fusion restaurant which is also apparently pretty good.

So apologies for a slight lapse. Service has now resumed and fascinating things dealing with science and reviews of stuff and things will soon be forthcoming. In the meantime, here is a photo of our room:

myhotel room.

myhotel room.


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Fargo Tv show

Fargo Tv series' cast

Fargo Tv series’ cast

I, like most people, loved the movie ‘Fargo’. There is very little not to like about it. Great script, great cast, great atmosphere, etc. When I heard they were making a Tv show based on Fargo I was a bit baffled as to what that actually meant. I assumed it just meant the occasional murder in a very bleak landscape with lots of black humour.

Well, now there is a trailer and I am actually really looking forward to it. It seems to have a great script, great cast, great atmosphere, etc. Which I now realise is what they probably meant by the ‘world of Fargo’ all along. Martin Freeman is doing damned well for himself these days and fair play to him.  Anyway, here you go:



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Acapella versions of classic game themes

Everyone loves acapella and playing computer games from the 80s and 90s don’t they? I’m going to assume you answered yes there. I spent most of the 80s and early 90s in game arcades in Hong Kong and certain tunes lodged tenaciously in my brain where they happily beep to this day. Well, finally, a magnificently bearded genius called Smooth McGroove has come along and made acapella versions of these songs – by himself – and posted them on the glorious entertainment hole that is the interweb.

A lot of his songs are pretty obscure but one game theme tune everyone should recognise is Tetris. So let’s start with that:

How brilliant was that? Pretty damned brilliant I assume you are saying. (Ok I’ll stop answering rhetorical questions.)

How about Sonic the Hedgehog? That was pretty classic. Just to remind you listen to a bit of the original (about 20 seconds will do):
And, to show the contrast, the acapella!

There are a ton more on Mr Smooth McGroove Youtube page ( and as I mentioned, unless you are an older gamer or have a passion for emulators, you are unlikely to know too many of them. But for those lucky few who are in that cool clique, I shall end this entry with Guile’s theme from StreetFighter 2. Ahhh the memories.

Brilliant explanation of the Big Bang – space stuff on Youtube

Youtube is normally just a repository for videos of adorable kittens falling over, or adorable humans falling over, or adorable blurry UFOs flying over, or adorable viral events that are soon to be over, or… Ok, I’ll stop as I am running out of ideas. Plus we all know there is a lot of other great stuff on there – trailers, clips of Felix Baumgartner falling from space, new fan made Star Trek movies, cool but stupid retro scifi movies like Space Probe Taurus, and so on.

There are also lots of youtube clips that teach you things. You can get totally educated and shit watching exciting animated clips and documentaries. I am currently watching a lot of astronomy related videos on youtube. This was partly inspired by a recent interest in physics (mostly particle physics but it is all related and bloody fascinating), and partly because I am a pretentious prick who likes to sound clever down the pub. There are some great clips out there like this one that explains the Big Bang for beginners:

The people who made this clip have a page called Kurzgesagt and they explain all sorts of things – astronomy, fracking, global warming etc. Click this for Kurzgesagt’s youtube channel. I am only mentioning all this as it is riveting and there are a surprising amount of people with time on their hands and internet connection. Why not learn stuff?

Here's a picture of the big bang purely because it is interesting.

Here’s a picture of the big bang purely because it is interesting.

On a similar note. Watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on youtube while you are about it. I watched this as a kid on TV and it sparked a lifelong interest in in astronomy and science. Here is the first episode. Enjoy.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth Game

SPSouth Park: The Stick of Truth video game is almost upon us and I am damned excited. It looks, as they intended, exactly like an episode of South Park and seems to be chock full of jokes, puerile humour, poo gags and heavy lashings of political incorrectness. It was written and voiced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, so it should be pretty amazing.  The Stick of Truth has already been released to reviewers and the consensus of every one I read was that it is surprisingly good.

The game  was made by Obsidian, who have made a ton of classic RPGs such as Neverwinter Nights and Fallout: New Vegas. So we are in good hands here. You pick your character class – Fighter, Mage, Thief or… Jew – and you are off, wandering around South Park dressed in lame fantasy outfits.

Appetite whetted? Good. Here is a trailer:

Looks fun doesn’t it? If you want a little more South Park: The Stick of Truth trailer action, here is another with a bit of Matt Stone and Trey Parker thrown in at E3.

As far as I can tell, the gameplay is going to be quite standard RPG fare. But done well. So fighting, exploring and looting, with levelling and ability trees and so on. In fact, after watching a few gameplay trailers, it seems to be a turn based fighting system akin to Pokemon or Final Fantasy. Like Final Fantasy battles, you have standard attacks, abilities/magic, items, and the chance to call down powerful beings – except here the beings do funny stuff.

If you are just a fan of South Park, you probably just got bored a bit there where I went all computer game nerdy. If, like me, you like games AND South Park, you can probably see why I am looking forward to this. Not new-Uncharted-game-imminent excited, but excited nonetheless. If you fall into the former camp of just South Park fan, watch the trailer again. If you are in the latter like me, then here is a glimpse of what the gameplay is like. South Park: The Stick of Trutch is due for release on all platforms that matter on the 7th March. Enjoy!



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Fun with a Theremin

Leon Theremin playing the Theremin

Leon Theremin playing the Theremin

I know what you are thinking: everyone already loves a Theremin so what is the point of this post? Well sadly, you’re wrong you poor deluded fool. It turns out that some people don’t even know what a theremin is! In case you are part of the latter crowd, look to the left. That is Leon Theremin playing his Theremin. Bizarrely the similarity in names was a coincidence. (That was a joke – he patented his invention in 1928.)

I love theremins but perhaps that is because I am a bit of a geek and geeks seem to have been exposed to the sounds of theremins more than other mere humans. Theremins can be heard in The Day the Earth Stood Still (original), Ed Wood, The Thing (from another world), The Big Bang Theory, and so on. Funnily enough they are most famous for providing the theme tunes to original Doctor Who and original Star Trek. Neither is actually true but they do sound pretty fantastic on a theremin as this video clearly demonstrates with the Doctor Who theme:

In popular music, Theremins have been used by a ton of musicians including: Hawkwind, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, (to name but three examples of personal favourites). Plus this guy playing Radiohead:

They have been used in classical music too, although that seems pretty rare. There have been a few professional devotees though, such as Clara Rockmore. Here she is playing Tchaikovsky and it’s rather pleasant:


In case you are bored at work which, let’s face it, is likely given that you have read this far, I give you (drumroll…) – a desktop Theremin! Well actually, I don’t, but here is a link to one thanks to the good people at


Literally minutes of fun as you try and play the theme tune to original Star Trek, then a bit of Doctor Who, then… er… back to the web probably. I thought it was pretty fun for a few minutes and thought you might too. Who knows? Maybe this post will spark off a renewed interest Theremin playing. It’s unlikely but I bloody hope so.

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Conwy Castle, Wales

Conwy Castle exterior

Conwy Castle exterior

Apologies for not having written much of late but work was sparse so Mrs Word of Ward and I went a-wondering. I won’t gloat about the places we went (although I might later) as they were mostly sunny and warm. One place that wasn’t either of these, but was still pretty great, was Conwy Castle in North Wales. If you like castles or spectacular decaying edifices, I highly recommend it. It was actually pretty fun to go on a bleak mid-week afternoon in January as well, as we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

A photo of Conwy from a better photographer on a  nicer day.

A photo of Conwy from a better photographer on a nicer day.

Conwy castle was built the late 13th century. As in just before 1300ish, for King Edward 1st. Or King Edward as he was known back then. It was a major base for King Ed as he was conquering the Welsh – although it is probably best not mentioning that when you visit as they have never quite forgiven us horrible English types.

Unlike a lot of tourist attraction castles, the interior doesn’t have too much crap in it like signs or gift shops or anything. The mood is pretty unspoilt and you are allowed to wander around and climb things. Here is another picture but this time of the interior:

Conwy castle interior

Conwy castle interior

Nice eh? You can almost imagine all the lords and ladies and knights and dragons and so on. Here is another that was taken from what would have been a basement. Note that in the distance of both of these pictures you can see Conwy’s turrets – more on that after the picture.

20140129_132740If you don’t mind twisty steep dark staircases, then I highly recommend you climb one of the turrets. The view is bloody spectacular. Here is a both a superb vista and a brilliant example of modern phone’s ability to do a panorama shot.

Panorama from a Conwy turret.

Panorama from a Conwy turret.

Now, here is a shaky video on a windy day from the top, which may or may not load properly.

I said end it all but here are a couple of bonus pictures as you have been so good. I mentioned how there wasn’t too much crap to distract you from the awesomeness of Conwy castle but there are a couple of random touches that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think they ‘re there to give kiddywinks something to find. There are a few of these. My favourites were:

The ghostly head of King Edward!

The ghostly head of King Edward!


A pile of armour with a helmet, crown, and spike in a deep pit. For some reason.

A pile of armour with a helmet, crown, and spike in a deep pit. For some reason.

So you can see the kid friendly, slightly spooky vibe they are going for. If you get the chance, I highly recommend Conwy castle. As you can see it’s a good balance of castle, decay, random sights, great views, and a general Game of Thrones type vibe.

Thanks to for the picture. You can also get more info there.

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Felix Baumgartner’s jump from a First Person Point of View

I know the world moves at a quick pace these days, but do you remember that Felix Baumgartner guy who jumped from space to prove that science was cool? It was back in the simpler days of 2012. It was a pretty epic fall and he was wearing several hi-def cameras that must have taken a bugger of a lot of processing as the footage has finally been released. There are some amazing shots and it’s still an incredible feat to watch. Enjoy.


A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West

I just saw this trailer and thought I would share. It’s the new film by Seth MacFarlane – the fellow who brought you Family Guy and Ted. So expect some bad language. Also a surprising bit of blood. It made me laugh though, so if you are as psychologically damaged as I am you might like it. Enjoy.

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