Getting Back in the Swing

“Previously on Bloody Marvellous…”

As you know I’ve just got back from a 2-week business trip to Utah, so my excuse for not writing anything in the last few days is jet lag, combined with thoughts about work refusing to leave my brain alone. It was a really good trip and a lot of good new ideas came out of it that I’m excited to put into practice.

Now I’m back and jet lag has not quite finished with me. Since returning home on Sunday evening my sleep patterns have been all over the place. This morning (Wednesday) is the best yet; I was up at 5am. That’s a lie-in for me. Luckily I have the kind of job where I have to work unusual hours and I can set my own daily agenda, which is another way of saying I can sleep during the day and get paid for it.

The flights to and from the States were like chalk and cheese. Both on Delta — with whom I’d never flown long-haul before — the flight out from Jo’burg to Atlanta was great, but long. A new plane, touchscreen entertainment system with dozens of on-demand films, and a free bar. Coming back was a very different story. The flight from Atlanta to Brussels was on an old clunker with no seatback screens, which meant you either watched what they chose to play for you on the 14 inch TV hanging from the ceiling (and, might I add, directly above your head for those seated in the bulkhead row, as was I), or you had to make your own entertainment. Oh yes, and a gin & tonic costs $7! Just for that I only had the one. Luckily I had the foresight to become an iPad owner, so am fully self-sufficient in the electronic entertainment department, thank you very much. I also had two new weapons in my arsenal on this flight: a travel pillow that I bought at Atlanta airport and a pair of earplugs kept after the biking weekend. They worked like a charm and I managed to sleep through most of the flight.

The last two weeks have also been full of great new movies. During this trip I have watched the following movies either on a plane, on my iPad, on TV or at the cinema:

  • Kick Ass — bad language and violence alert kiddies, but a great movie and very original. I watched it first on the plane over then bought it on iTunes and watched it again on my iPad.
  • Harry Brown — very bad language and extreme violence alert kiddies, but another great movie. Full of dark, bleak menace. You’ll never want to talk through a British council estate again (not that you ever did).
  • Chinatown — yes, the old ’70s one by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. This has been on my To-Watch list for ever and it surprised me. From the title I had been expecting something altogether different. What I got was a pleasantly surprising modern rendition of the classic Humphrey Bogart gumshoe movies of the ’40s. It reminded me a lot of The Maltese Falcon, which is one of my favourites.
  • Despicable Me — saw this at the cinema. This newest of the bunch is an animated fantasy about a super villain who turns out not to be all that villainous. Doesn’t sound too wild I know, but trust me this film is hilarious and very, very well put together. From the sideshow of Gru’s minion hordes to the oh-so cute three little girls, it’s pure entertainment from start to finish. There are plenty of gags for the grown-ups, some Roadrunner/Coyote influences, and even a scene copied from The Godfather. I laughed out loud several times.

I returned home to find two packages waiting: the first was the replacement removable fascia for the car stereo (we’re finally on the road btw!), and the second was the long-awaited Super Mario Galaxy 2 (for the Wii). I’ve only scratched the surface of this game so far and it’s already delighting me, but since the last trip to Jo’burg I can’t hear Mario speak without visualising Charles Martinet sitting in the store posing for photos. Oh well… guess I’ll have to learn to live with it.


About Chris Neal

Personal Technology Consultant. Tailored services and advice for people who want more from their technology.
This entry was posted in Diary, movies, Technology, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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