Monday, November 15, 2010

Merlin: "The Castle of Fyrien" and "The Eye of the Phoenix"

Cut down reviews I'm afraid.

Both these episodes of Merlin were decent enough and enjoyable. Certainly the quality of Merlin has improved although it's still not a must-see for me nor one I can't wait to see from week to week.

In the first of these two episodes the evil Cenred, helped by Morgause, captures Gwen and shows her that he has her brother. Morgana has told them that Arthur loves Gwen so they send her back with an ultimatum: either she gets Arthur to come to them or they kill her brother. Of course, Arthur sets out to the castle of Fyrien where Gwen's brother is being held in order to rescue him, with Merlin alongside, and soon they get captured.

Here's where my main criticisms of this episode occur. First, I can understand why they keep Arthur alive but why don't they kill Merlin? He's just a servant so no use to them whatsoever and Morgana knows that he knows she's a traitor. Also, there are clearly manacles in the cells but the bad guys don't think to use them on their captives. Which means Merlin and Arthur can come up with a lame plan to escape which actually works due to the stupidity of their guards! I wish that sort of plan had worked when I used to play RPGs.

Still, enjoyable enough and any episode with both Morgana and Morgause in is worth watching.

Unfortunately, only a brief appearance of Morgause in "The Eye of the Phoenix" but still a rather entertaining - and one of the most fantasy like - quest episode. Fights against wyverns, mysterious bridge guardians, hints of the once and future king from an (almost) dead and cobwebbed king. All very satisfying. We get to see Gwaine again, which is a bonus. And, Gwen discovers Morgana's treachery - which helps push along the series storyline.

Admittedly, the quest seemed rather easy - other than the wyverns and some lifestealing gift from (the rather lovely looking) Morgana. I wonder whether anyone checked that Arthur had actually gone into the land of the Fisher King and not just picked up a trident from a local market?

Anyway, in conclusion, a couple of good episodes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The WorldWideWeb

The World-Wide Web is apparently 20 years old.

Okay, the whole interconnected computers thing (i.e the Internet), hypertext and the idea of publicly sharing information is somewhat older than that. But the beginnings of what we know as the web started 20 years ago at CERN when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau published a proposal to build a hypertext project called the "WorldWideWeb" on 12th November 1990. (I am aware that they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the WWW last year but the WWW was actually born at the end of 1990)

This surprises me. First, it seems older than that. And second I remember getting involved with the web during 1994 just 16 and a half years ago. Which meant the web was only 3 and a bit years old at the time. Of course, by involved I mean just using the months-old Mosaic web browser on the Sun Sparc-stations at Manchester University to look up stuff about superhero comicbooks and sci-fi TV shows. Not much has changed really...

Well, except the fact that, in those days, very few people had heard of the internet and the worldwide web. The average person on the street was unaware of this high-tech phenomenon waiting to happen. Even I didn't realise that the web would become such a everyday thing within 15 years time.

Unfortunately, my first web pages no longer seem to exist. They may be backed-up somewhere on one of the servers in Manchester Uni's Medical Biophysics department but I can't find them on the 'net. They existed before caching sites like Google and the Wayback Machine started. I think my old Tesco web page still exists though (which would never have won any awards for design and layout).

I learnt HTML all by myself and just used a basic text editor to write it - same as I do today. I even learnt VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) because I thought that would be the language of the future. Of course, the whole virtual reality bubble then popped (whatever happened to VR helmets?) not long after. Some of my PhD work was written in VRML.

Looking at the list of websites founded before 1995 on Wikipedia, I remember a number of these. Sites such as the Virtual Library (actually the East Anglia mirror index site), SunSITE, Doctor Fun, the coffee pot webcam, Lycos, and Yahoo (the premier search engine at the time - funny how no one says they'll "yahoo it" when searching for something on the web).

Anyway, happy birthday WWW!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Day 15 (and 16) - Home

Back home, safe, sound and somewhat weary. Yesterday, we wandered around the block around the hotel looking in the bargain gift shops and buying a few nibbles for the airport. Then just after lunch the bus (a better one than that that took us to the parks) took us to the airport.

Airport okay and they loaded us onto the plane early. Airplane was different type going back, smaller with much shorter leg space - very cramped. And the films were even the same ones as going out! Not very good. Thankfully, due to a brisk tail wind, we arrived 1hr 45mins early.

Once back and after waiting an age for our luggage, we got a taxi home and, because it was still early and dark, had a short sleep.

Overall, a very good holiday, if a little rushed and tiring on the feet.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Day 14 - IoA and Universal again

Decided to do Islands of Adventure and Universal again today. IoA was very busy - waited 80 mins for Hippogriff ride. Jimmy neutron ride broke down just before we went on. Bribed Hannah to go on Simpsons ride again - very good. Cold today.

Dinner was at IHOP again. now stuffed.

Tomorrow the bus comes for us at lunchtime to take us to the airport. Then its a long flight back home :( BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Day 13 - Epcot again

This is a day late because we were back late on Thurs. We decided to stay late to catch the fireworks at Epcot. Got the 9.25 bus. Forecast was for rain all day but wasnt actually that bad until later. A little cold though.

Did Ellens Energy adventure, Test track and a few other things again and then headed around the World Showcase. Hannah did the Kim Possible quest thing for a while as well. Seem to take ages to get around this.

Ate at Electric umbrella and then saw Illuminations display. Very good but downwind of smoke. A minute after the end the heavens opened and it rained lots. Got late bus and went to bed. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Day Twelve - Late Magic Kingdom again

Today we decided to go to Magic Kingdom later after a lazy morning which Hannah spent in the pool. Then we got the bus at 11.50am. This set the record for the longest trip ever. Yes it was nearly empty but it took 2 hours to get to the park.

Once there we saw a couple of characters, got a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain and then watched the parade (which wasnt rained off this time). Then we did BTM, buzz lightyear, space mountain, peoplemover, speedway, laugh floor and then ate at Starlight Cafe at MK.

It then started to rain and so we headed back on the bus which was better coming back. Tomorrow its set to rain and thunder alll day. :( BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Day Eleven - Hollywood Studios

Day eleven saw us going to the final park we havent yet visited and the first rainy day here in Orlando. We got the early bus to Hollywood studios which is much better than the later one so we got there for opening. We then rushed for a fastpass for the Toy Story Mania ride which is very popular. We also tried the Tower of Terror which none of us liked - Hannah most of all.

Just before the 3pm parade the heavens opened and it threw it down. It sort of drizzled throughout most of the rest of the day.

For dinner we went to the Golden Corral which was okayish. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day Ten - Universal Studios

Again we braved the old and packed shuttle bus and headed to Universal studios. First thing we tried was the new Simpsons ride which we thought Hannah would like because shes a big fan. Unfortunately it was too intense for her and she didnt like it - unlike us who thought it was one of the best rides here.

Instead Hannah really liked the ET ride - even though the film was out 20 years before she was born. She loved it so much we did it again and bought a cuddly ET. She also like the Jimmy Neutron ride, Woody's coaster and the Men in Black ride!

Then it was back to the hotel for a free beer before heading out to nearby Dennys again. Omelette and chocolate cake (not together) for me. Yes, for the first time we actually manage desserts. Our bellies much be getting bigger!

Together we may try another early start - we'll see how that goes. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, November 01, 2010

Day Nine - Spooktacular Seaworld

Breakfast in the hotel and then the I-ride off to Seaworld for our "free" second day. It was Halloween today and Seaworld had its Spooktacular event on. This was brilliant with various characters, little shows and Hannah managed to get a metric tonne of candy. Seriously we had enough to last us until next Halloween. We also did some shows too.

Before the rush, we headed back on the iride and went to Giordanos for pizza. Excellent pizza and plenty of it. Other than at Seaworld, there didnt seem to be much trick or treating going on. Mind you we didnt walk down Intl Drive much this evening.

Again very hot and this holiday is turning out to be very tiring. I'm knackered. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop