I already had a rant about the airport and covered the Eiffel Tower in day one – you can go read that here, if you like.
While I had a plan for the weekend in mind before we set off, day two (Saturday) was meant to be a day of wandering and discovering. And oh, it was. I am not a healthy, sporty or fit person, but I think we might have walked about 5 miles. First thing in the morning I hopped out of bed (also something I don’t usually do, at home it’s more of a roll-and-splat motion), and we made a beeline for the Seine. If you are headed to Paris in the future, you really, really have to start your trip with a boat tour. It’s insanely beautiful, very informative and gives you an idea of where everything is in comparison to everything else.
We went with Bateaux Parisian, because it wasn’t raining and we could sit outside and take fifty million pictures.
After our very lovely boat trip, we WALKED from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, via a whole bunch of bridges and museums and gardens and landmarks. Paris really does need to be done on foot, we would’ve missed so much if I had been more me-like and refused to walk. Notre Dame is spectacular, of course, but they’ve built a viewing platform-thingy for the 850th anniversary (yes! 850 years! That is one OLD, OLD building), which was packed, ruined the view from the ground and looked downright cheap and tacky. Especially when you put it beside on of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world.
RIGHT. On to the real geekery. First up, after getting into Notre Dame and being silent and respectful, we got a little bit lost. Which would’ve been fun, if my legs weren’t about to drop off and if we weren’t literally going in circles. We did stumble across the world’s fanciest toilet, but I don’t think that’s really a feature of the city…
Eventually we found the Pantheon, one of the big tourist attractions that nobody seems to really go to. Except for the French. Good news is, if you are between 18 and 25 and from the EU, you get in for free! Same goes for the Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe. It pays to be from Northern Ireland. Sometimes.
This one time.
I highly recommend a visit to the Pantheon though, it’s really amazing. They have a wonderful exhibition on how the church building is actually crumbling and falling down, which was both interesting and terrifying. Maybe bring a hard hat? The real sights are underneath the church/mausoleum part (it’s changed purpose so many times, thanks to all those revolutions), where there are crypts where the French government bury citizens of note. Of which there are many! Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie and Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Louis Braille…the list goes on and on. Humbling to visit and fascinating to look at (all the info. panels are in French, by the by, so you might want to get a book or an audio guide if you really want to know what’s going on).
After we went and visited some famous dead people (ah Paris, the city of love), we got lost a little bit more, but again, in the pursuit of something marvellous. If you have been to France/Paris and you are of a geeky persuasion, you really must’ve gone to Album.
Album is sort of like Forbidden Planet. Except, bigger. And better. With newer stock and older stock and displays that nearly put Disneyland to shame. It’s just…wow. They have an English section as well, so if you aren’t fluent in a foreign language (I got by okay, I’d like to point out), you won’t be completely lost.
PICTURES. ALL THE PICTURES.
As we were heading back to the tourist-beaten-track, we stumbled across another store I’d been dying to see – Shakespeare & Company. An English bookstore opened in 1951, named after an even older English language bookshop (that closed during the Second World War), the place is pure, incredible chaos. There are books everywhere, each room leading on to another room, people crammed into every little space. Oh god, I really loved it. I want my house to look like that. So many books. Heavenly, it really was. The outside of the shop is just as lovely, with little benches and trees and tables of books. Everyone who works there seems to be American, which struck me as odd (HIRE ME?!), but at least you don’t have to try and ask for a specific book in broken French!
All in all, a brilliant day of wandering and finding and shopping and romance. And now, I am sitting in Northern Ireland, wishing so badly I could just go back and stay there forever.
Don’t worry though, days three, four and five are on their way!
A little while ago I mentioned that I got Sky TV. I won’t go back into my adoring prose, because I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much I love it by now. I also mentioned that there are a butt load of new shows starting at the moment, and that I would no doubt have a blog on what I do and do not like. So, well, yes, this is it.
I watch an awful lot of TV recently. Recently, if someone so much as sneezes within a two mile radius of my delicate self, I seem to get sick and have to spend a week on the sofa, so it gives me something to do at the very least.
Anyway, first up on awesome-Sky-TV night, I started to get caught up with Spartacus. Having only seen the first season and the prequel season, I’ve got a quite a bit to catch up with, given that the series just ended. I don’t know what put me off ever watching it after the prequel…I think the change in actors (unavoidable as it was) and my awful habit of moving house lots in the last few years (away from the safety of the parental nest and Sky box) had something to do with it, but I really am I very big fan. Sexy, violent, gory and clever, this is a must-watch show. Preferably not with your parents in the room, which is usually the sign of a great program, no?
Spartacus: Vengance is currently showing on Pick TV.
Next up, I took a gamble, and watched a show that I really did not like the look of. Da Vinci’s Demons is (yet another) fantastical historical drama, based around the history and life of Leonardo Da Vinci. You know, that guy from that Dan Brown book. Anyway, when I say fantastical, I mean of the fantasy genre, I am most definitely not making a reference to the quality of this show.
Made by the same studio as the aforementioned Spartacus series, Da Vinci’s Demons is trying so very hard to replicate the popularity of it’s ancient peer, all the while attempting to cling to the back of the rollercoaster that is Game Of Thrones. It fails it both aspects. The story line is overly complex, the characters are the least engaging they possibly can be (especially ‘Leo’ himself. Playing him as flamboyantly camp yet troubled was a strange way to go, and the actor can’t quit pull it off) and I’m pretty sure there is some harsh racial stereotyping going on in there. There are at least three characters who are summed up completely by their nationality; and please don’t get me started on Da Vinci’s gormless manservant/boy toy. It’s not made entirely clear what that relationship is, but it is not healthy.
There are some saving graces – this is not a low budget production, so it is well shot and there is some interesting use of CGI in making Da Vinci’s ideas and doodles come to life. I’ve decided that I will watch at least two more episodes, in the hope that, maybe, the first episode was just aiming too high. Even then, I am anticipating that those will be two more hours of my life that I will never get back.
Finally (and this one will be brief, because my need to shower and eat meant that I only caught a little bit of the episode), there is Defiance. I know very little about this program, apparently there’s a game based on it? Or it’s based on a game? Or it is a game? I don’t know. Basically, there’s been some sort of event and now humans and a race of (very humanoid, but very pale) aliens have to live together. Either way, some very recognizable faces, an interesting concept and reasonable production value (if you ignore the crappy CGI, which I cannot), this is actually shaping up to have some potential. I might even be tempted to go back and watch the whole episode.
This is high praise indeed, coming from me.
Anyway, more shows are on their way, so I suppose more blogs are too. Both Banshee and Hannibal (as in, yes, Hannibal) look incredible and are starting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out, yesyes?
This is an important blog. Make yourself comfortable, get a cup of tea (or rum, depending on the time of day) and prepare to hear the good news. Not about Jesus; about Sky.
Now, if you already have Sky TV none of this will be news to you. You probably even take it for granted, because you haven’t had to put up with the complex and miserable alternatives (here’s looking at you, BT Vision). When I lived with my parents, who are very loyal Sky subscribers, all I did was channel flick between Kerrang! and Scuzz, which have both gone massively downhill – presumably because music is getting worse as I get older. Shut up, it is.
NOW though, now I am using Sky to further my appreciation of the wonders of the universe. I watched a documentary about the Zambezi river this morning. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it will come in useful at some point. And oh, the potential for procrastination is overwhelming.
My very lovely boyfriend even went and did a very lovely thing and expanded our shiny new package to include the extra documentary channels (National Geographic, y’all) and the freakin’ kids channels. Yesterday, I ate lots of cornflakes and watching Sonic Underground and Thundercats. Yeah, so I haven’t really changed much since I was five, but this is entirely irrelevant, because those cartoons are awesome. All cartoons are awesome. Right now, I am watching Dora The Explorer and I’m not even drunk. I am, in fact, learning Spanish from a monkey.
This is quickly turning into an ode to Sky as written by a primary school child…
My name is Stacey and I like Sky because there are cartoons and I am allowed to watch as much TV as I want and I like Spanish monkeys.
…so let me get to the point. We got Sky mainly for all the amazing original programs that we can get through this TV service that we can’t get from anywhere else – Game Of Thrones (obviously), Defiance, Spartacus (just in time for it to end, typical), Revolution, Da Vinci’s Demons…the list goes on and it just gets better and better. That’s before I even mention movies or sit-coms (I can watch Friends again, via Comedy Central! Yay!)
I intend to spend tonight getting acquainted with some of this fabulous new programming. Blogs likely to follow. So many blogs.
S (is for Sky).
On a Sunday and everything! All hail me! Excuses if this seems short or rushed, but I do have a life. Sort of. I have a lot of YouTube to get caught up with, which is sort of the same thing…
So. Review-time-goodness. This week I bring you, not a book or a video game, but a television program. A terrible, terrible television program; that is also somehow amazing.
Catchphrase is back! This very evening, Catchphrase put out a new episode for the first time since 2002. I googled that little fact obviously, but to be honest, I was extremely surprised to discover that it was actually on for that long to begin with. It is a quintessentially ’80s program that plagued my early childhood (I was never any good at it and tonight I discovered that I am still fairly rubbish. A nice little blow to my ego), and I sort of thought that it might be better left to the tacky past. Alas, no, it has been reincarnated with that bloke off CITV. I don’t even know his name…Steve something?
Then again, I don’t remember the original dude’s name either…Clint? He looks a bit like a Clint.
And never fear, Catchphrase fans! That scary robot Chip thing is back too, only ITV’s CGI budget has thrown up on him.
While the drinking game possibilities are endless and I am screaming at my television right now (one of these women is so stupid, it’s obviously…wait…no…it’s not), something’s just not right. I think we may be over the idea of a shiny TV game show, with all the standard prizes and overly scripted jibes from the overly oiled presenter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining, but maybe somethings should just be left in the ’80s.
Yes. Somethings should be left to the ’80s.
Okay! I finally remembered to do one of these on time. The down side is, I don’t think I really have anything I want to review. I have literally done nothing all week, except for watch The Office (US, naturally), play drinking Jenga and eat fast food. I am an inspiration, I know.
Oh! I suppose there is this one other thing that I do all the time. Just before Christmas, I discovered Supernatural. I realize that everyone else discovered Supernatural years and years and years ago, but it is pretty new to me. Mind you, I am catching up nicely – about to start season seven, so I think I average about two seasons a month.
Which is actually sort of sad.
Anyway, if you are not familiar with the concept of the show, it’s about two brothers (who both won the gene-pool lottery and are brain-warpingly good looking) who travel all over America being monster hunters. One of the brothers is Jensen Ackles (formerly of Days Of Our Lives) and one of them is Jared Padalecki (who used to be on the Gilmore Girls), but don’t let their dodgy acting pasts or floppy hair scare you away. Given the way I feel about horror movies (why would you pay money to have someone make you scared and miserable?), it’s a bit of a surprise addiction, because at times it can be really bloody creepy. Ghost kids and piles of skin and people exploding; the works. It also happens to be hilarious. There’s this one episode where they end up in an alternate dimension, where they are actors playing themselves on a TV series. No, really.
I don’t really know how else to sell the show to people who don’t already watch it. There are hot girls, sometimes? The music is awesome (but only if you really like Kansas)? There is really no point to this blog what-so-ever, I just needed an excuse to bring up Misha Collins and my insane love for his perfect face. It needed to be on the internet, somewhere.
I have discovered, in recent weeks, that I actually have a super power that is very closely tied to this particular TV show. I am slightly psychic about it. I always know what’s going to happen, but only about thirty seconds before it happens. It’s not a great super power I’ll grant you, but I’m sure not all the X-men were that useful.
Anyway, if you haven’t already given Supernatural a chance, you really should. You’ve got a whole heap of catching up to do.
These are only a few ideas and opinions, there are literally dozens of movies I would die to see remade. There are hundreds that I beg Hollywood will never touch, but they’ll probably hit those first, huh?
The Spawn movie has some sentimental value for me and my brother, given it was one of the few movies my Dad let us watch as kids. (Strange choice, Dad. Strange choice). With this is mind, let me say, it’s not really a ‘bad’ movie…it’s just that it was, perhaps, ambitious for the time it was made.
Imagine, though, a remake with the CGI of today! Shiny and bright and new…Spawn has the potential to combine the depth and darkness of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, with the gore and imagination of any of the million zombie movies released in the past decade.
The Shadow (1994)
Am I the only person that ever saw this movie? So few people seem to remember it! Like Spawn, The Shadow was an amazing concept with a unique back story…it just could’ve been better done. Or at least, it could be better done now.
The Shadow is set in the 1930’s, and focuses on Lamont Cranston, who has learnt to ‘cloud men’s minds’ and disappear into the shadows. With The Great Gatsby set for next year, this decadent era is about to become extremely fashionable.
And the remake probably wouldn’t star Alec Baldwin.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Is there anyone in the world over the age of 18 who hasn’t seen this cinematic train crash? The whole thing just seemed to miss the point of Mario completely. The film attempts to hit a gritty, realistic angle…and instead, looks like it was actually filmed in a New York sewer. Ew.
Generally considered to be one of the worst movies all time, the flick does appeal in an ironic kind of way (it is cheesy and camp, and I like that in my early ’90s features) – but modern film makers would probably be quicker to embrace the colourful, chubby little Mario that we have known and loved since 1985.
Also. The princess is called Daisy, and not Toadstool, or Peach. THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT.
Street Fighter (1994) /Mortal Kombat (1995)
I’ve lumped these two together, for obvious reasons (THEY’RE BOTH BASED ON ONE-ON-ONE FIGHTERS), but I’ll still address them separately just to confuse you.
Street Fighter is a cheese-tastic classic, which manages to introduce nearly all of the characters, without really referencing any back stories what so ever. Interesting. Jean Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue reportedly had an affair during the filming – that baby would’ve been the embodiment of the early ’90s, surely?
Moral Kombat, on the other hand, can’t even be called cheesy. It’s just so bad that it’s good, a full circle kind of deal. There have been rumours of a remake for years, but so far, this prove to be unsubstantiated. Shame, really. Did you see Mortal Kombat: Legacy? Sexy, sexy stuff.
(Side note, does any one know if this particular rumour happens to be true?!)
Anyway, fingers crossed that the next few years will be fruitful for making bad movies better. Any flicks you would love to see brought screaming into the modern age? Let me know on the Facebook page!