Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Thursday 30 December 2010

Next Batman villains revealed !

In a shock move, Christopher Nolan announced today that the next Batman film will be a drama documentary. The unprecedented switch will see the film set entirely within the UK Houses of Parliament, where Batman will battle the corrupt forces of the Coalition government. Nolan explained that the casting is so obvious it would be pointless to bother any further with the fictional Gotham City. For example, Vince Cable has always borne a really quite frightening resemblance to Oswald Cobblepot, and his recent behaviour seems to indicate the Business Secretary may harbour similar ambitions to the fictional Penguin.

Peter Mandelson, though out of government, is rumoured to play Scarecrow, with Nolan stating that they're basically the same person anyway, so Mandelson won't need to act very much.

Both the Prime Minister and his idiot Deputy will also star, with David Cameron playing the Riddler ("because no-one knows what the f**k he's talking about" - Nolan) and the much-hated Robin being played by the now equally loathed Nick Clegg.

Riddle me this... just what the hell is a Big Society anyway ?

Worst. Sidekick. Ever.
Critics have argued that Robin is Batman's sidekick, not the Riddler's, but Nolan dismissed such claims as pointless. "This is a movie about contemporary British politics", he said, "Self-consistency isn't really an issue."

The host of villains doesn't stop there. Given the recent spending review, Nolan decided that Chancellor George Osbourne would be perfect as the evil Mr Freeze. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne, who started U-turns on nuclear power many months before Clegg's more well-known change of heart on tuition fees, is to play Two Face, although Nolan admitted it was a tough call : "There are many Lib Dem MPs who could play this equally well" he said.

It isn't quite all bad news for the Lib Dems, however. Jenny Willot, MP Cardiff Central, resigned as a ministerial aide in protest at the rise in tuition fees. This combination of being part of an unpopular government but still being awesome has lead to rumours she may well take up the role of Catwoman*.
And happily for Joker fans, Heath Ledger's inconvenient passing is now no longer an issue, as MP Boris Johnson is infinitely more of a clown than the comparatively amateurish Ledger could ever hope to be.

* This has prompted many comments that Willot, while a fine MP, is hardly Michelle Pfeiffer or even Halle Berry. In response Nolan repeatedly told interviewers that he managed to cast David Bowie as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, so "I can bloody well do what I like, thank you so very much."

Nolan has stated that the only difficulty in filming in the UK is the shortage of hero characters. Menzies Campbell was briefly considered for the role of wise old butler Alfred, before it was revealed that he was so dull that it was impossible to measure a heartbeat. As leader of the opposition, Ed Milliband was in the runnings for Batman, but his mum said he was "grounded for not sharing". All-round nice guy Commissioner Gordon remains uncast, though the only transatlantic role may be filled by Barrack Obama who will play hard-pressed awesome science dude Lucius Fox.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Off the Grid

Attentive readers - if there are any readers at all - will note a lack of posts for the last million years or so. This is not due to writer's block nor even to lack of inspiration, but in fact entirely due to Sky being a bunch of bloody nutters. Deciding that it's simply impossible to have two accounts in one house they decided to turn it off without anything as courteous as a warning. But enough of that. There are already enough cynical complaint letters on the interweb and I have not the time to write another.

Instead, let me turn to that age-old hippie dream of living a life free of the oppressions of technology, or at any rate the internet. How does a chronic net junkie survive when suddenly forced to exist in a world without email, on-demand pornography*, webcomics and lolcats ?

*Why is it called pornography anyway ? Because none of the pornography I've seen has ever featured a graph. None of the actors has ever paused to check their figures or plot tangents to curves. Not using any graph paper, anyway. Am I doing it wrong ?

Ordinarily I'd probably curl up into a ball and beat myself to death with a calculator, but this time fate decided to intervene. Not that it didn't come close in the first week or so. Forced to make my own entertainment, I was on the verge of hitting my head with different sized bricks to see which would be more effective before at last stuff began to happen to stop me testing my head systematically for weaknesses.

Instead, so much snow fell that planes fell out of the sky, the Thames froze over and polar bears destroyed London. At least, this is what I inferred from BBC News, a channel that has become adept at persuading us that shutting Heathrow for a few days constitutes the end of civilization as we know it (while at the same time telling us that flying causes irreversible amounts of global warming so we'd all better stop right away, or else).

Having survived the plummeting aircraft, I was able to frolick merrily in the snow for a few days. Although quite trapped in my mountain-top abode, there are many worse places to be stuck, provided you have television at least. OK, so I was without power for a few hours, so I just pretended I was in Canada and this made everything fine. Even lolcats become forgotten when there are people snowboarding down your road (I'm not exaggerating for comic effect - that actually happened). And then there was Christmas, and then a certain parent of mine decided to smash her ankle by falling over. Then and only then was the internet fixed.

What's the moral of this short but wearisome tale ? Simples : life without the net is not much fun. BBC News is pretty rubbish without the net to supplement it (both to check their "facts" and find out if anything important is actually happening). Email just doesn't work without the net, because training carrier pigeons just takes too long. Trying to make your own lolcats is damned hard, especially without a cat. And the less said about pornography the better. I've completely run out of graph paper.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Latest CG project : Xeelee Nightfighter

Well I did promise to use this old blogamajig to inform the world of my CG creations, and finally I've finished one. It's a Xeelee Nightfighter based on the novels of Stephen Baxter.

Full size image

Full size image

Full size image

Nightfighter's primary motive power comes from unfurling wings of folded spacetime. I think that's Baxterian code for "their own immense coolness, bitches." I decided to animate this procedure, which you may view in full glorious HD thanks to YouTube :

More to come...