Nick Bryan Dot Com

So, I got bored of trying to edit my novel. Decided to kill time on, a notorious website where you get paired off with random chat partners. A large percentage of whom appear to be men waving their penis around.

Annoyingly, I didn’t get one of those after ten or fifteen random clicks of ‘New partner’. I got the above instead. Yes, that is a fat naked man in a tutu. He was looking directly at me, but sadly/fortunately I didn’t hit ‘Print Screen’ in time. Enjoy.

And this picture was so exciting, it was picked up by another website. Fame at last!

Man Vs Camera #41: Super-Sonic

Man Vs Camera #40: One Of These Things Is Not Real

Man Vs Camera #39: Wonderland?

The video for the new Shane Macgowan-fuelled charity Haiti song thing. Once again, the musical merits aren’t really the point, but at least the song isn’t as much of a whinge-fest as the Everybody Hurts cover. Plus as a Pogues fan, it’s great to hear some new Macgowan vocals. (And a pleasant surprise that it’s possible to understand what he’s saying…)

Pay Day Play Days

Link: Pay Day Play Days

Today is pay day! (For me, at least.) I am usually relatively unexcited by this occasion, but this month I have spent all my available funds and find myself in desperate need of a top-up to get me…

Man Vs Camera #38: Foreign Sweets

Man Vs Camera #37: Drinking In Blue

Charity Begins At Home (So Why Try Harder?)

Link: Charity Begins At Home (So Why Try Harder?)

Today on Feeding The Black Dog: Charity.

I was tempted to begin this very special entry with a short appeal for donations to the Nick Bryan Beer & DVDs Fund. I am not a registered charity, nor can…

A Rare Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Tonight, I finished reading the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (no, not that David Mitchell), which I started a couple of weeks into the new year and have been picking through ever since. In my defence, it is quite long.

I didn’t think many blogs would want my personal opinions about a years-old book, but after completing this Herculean reading task, I felt compelled to type something about it. Cloud Atlas is most memorable for two reasons, I think. Firstly, the sheer scale and ambition of it.

Mitchell crafts a complex saga, comprising of six separate narratives, nestled within each other in Russian doll style. Starting in the nineteenth century, it works its way forward to the far flung future, then works its way back out again. Amongst these strands, ideas about humanity and reincarnation lurk, along with the six distinct storylines themselves. It’s truly an impressive feat.

Hand-in-hand with that is the actual writing. Writing all these different characters, in different time periods with different writing styles and vocabularies is no small accomplishment. He skates genres from detective novel to escape to sci-fi. But Mitchell pulls it off and, worst of all, makes it look easy. He’s clearly a very, very good writer. The bastard.

Seriously, the worst part is the way each of the plots has their own supporting cast and, you get the feeling, could easily sustain a novel of their own. It’s a great book, and although it took me ages to read, I’m compensated by now feeling like I’ve read six different books. I thoroughly recommend it, if you hadn’t guessed.

If I had to complain (and I really do), the scale of the feat being accomplished kinda made me expect something more transcendentally amazing to happen. He’s crafted six engrossing storylines, but they never exactly come together to form a single amazing hypernarrative in the way I was hoping they might. It remains six separate arcs with call-backs going between them.

But that’ll teach me to take back cover blurbs too seriously, really. It remains an amazing work of book-writing, and definitely worth a try.

Man Vs Camera #36: Pipework

Man Vs Camera #35: Singing Chap

No Spring In This Step

Link: No Spring In This Step

Next week, it is March. According to my very basic understanding of the calendar, spring is meant to start around that kinda time. Counting each season as a three month period, anyway, it should…

Avatar - Belated Review

Finally saw Avatar a week ago. However, my brief attempts to interest ‘proper’ blogs in a review didn’t go well, as the movie is now over two months old. So I ended up writing this piece for Dorkadore, focusing on its massive financial success (albeit with a few review-esque snippits).

However, I review things out of love, not just as a “job”. So I wrote a straight review of Avatar and am posting it here for the entertainment of anyone who may care. (Notes: Yes, some points are repeated across the two pieces. And yes, a few small spoilers are contained within.)

Man Vs Camera #34: Look Closely

Man Vs Camera #33: Board Stupid

Man Vs Camera #32: I Can’t Dance

Walking The Black Dog – 19/02/2010

Link: Walking The Black Dog – 19/02/2010

Sorry, I’ve been a bit negligent in my FTBD duties this week. Have been rather busy, frequently drunk and finally climaxing in heading off to stay away from home for the weekend shortly. So I…

Man Vs Camera #31: He Will Rise

Man Vs Camera #30: There Was A Cardboard Man

Avatar And Its Massive Success - by me@Dorkadore

Link: Avatar And Its Massive Success - by me@Dorkadore

Ash Wednesday – Do You Give Up?

Link: Ash Wednesday – Do You Give Up?

It is the start of Lent, and many people will take the opportunity to imitate Jesus. Even the non-Christians get in on the act, ditching a bad habit or two to try and imitate Christ’s 40 days of…

Man Vs Camera #29: Portrait Of Pancake

Man Vs Camera #28: Bird In The Road

Teenage Pregnancy Less Rife Than Previously Thought

Link: Teenage Pregnancy Less Rife Than Previously Thought

So, the Tories gave the teen pregnancy rate in the 10 most disadvantaged areas of the UK as 54%. But it turns out they misplaced a decimal point and it’s actually 5.4%.

But it’s okay because this makes no different to the overall findings of the report. That report must’ve been pretty loose if it can afford to lose nine tenths of its pregnant teenagers.

(Disclaimer: I vehemently want the Conservatives to lose the next election. I make no bones about this. But sadly I expect to be disappointed.)

Man Vs Camera #27: Up Stairs

My FTBD Valentine

Link: My FTBD Valentine

(Title to be read so it rhymes with “My Funny Valentine”. Might require some creative pronunciation.)

Obviously, Valentine’s Day is designed to make singletons miserable, couples nervous and the…

Man Vs Camera #26: Yes, It’s Centre Point

Man Vs Camera #25: Who Could Resist The £1 Bouquet?

Man Vs Camera #24: Toy Time

(Featuring Monique, the male purple dinosaur with a girl’s name, Spider-Man, Len The Red Monkey and an un-named penguin.)

Social Media Versus Black Dog

Link: Social Media Versus Black Dog

With the launch of Google Buzz, this seemed a fair time to dribble about these crazy “social” sites and how they tie into whatever I’m talking about here. After all, every blog has at least one…

Captain America, Fox News and Tea Bagging

Link: Captain America, Fox News and Tea Bagging

Since something newsworthy has sprung from the world of comics, I felt I could finally afford to give some blog-space to that dark corner of my hobby time.

Basically, Marvel Comics’ Captain America series has managed to offend America’s Tea Bag protesters by implying they might be rascist. Fox News, who love the chance to paint lefties as attacking righties, jumped on the story. The publisher claims the offending phrase was a mistake. For more details, click the large link above.

I would normally do a piece about freedom of speech, but there is a valid argument that using company-owned superhero characters to make one’s political stamping point is a bit of a no-no. People still do it, of course, but generally with a shade more subtlety, or at least positivity. Partly because the company doesn’t want to take sides, partly because a percentage of the audience will support the opposite side to the author, and abusing their cause risks alienating them.

Not to mention, Marvel is now a Disney-owned company, so having Captain America express a real-world negative political opinion is like having Mickey Mouse call Sarah Palin a moron.

The key word in the above paragraph is negative, of course. Quite a few comic book characters have made small (or not-so-small) endorsements of Barack Obama since he was elected, as a large chunk of the comic book creator community is quite left-leaning. But being mean about the other side gets trouble going.

All of which is why there have been pains taken to make sure everyone knows it was a mistake, and Marvel Comics are “not anybody’s soapbox”. Even though you can get away with a bit of deliberate soapboxing as long as you’re nice.

Man Vs Camera #23: Clouds Over Brixton

Man Vs Camera #22: More On The Line

Man Vs Camera #21: Rail Stuff

Remember “Jedward”, the Irish twins of dubious talent. It’s not their finest hour though, that would be this little gem, featuring the first (and probably last) occurrence of heavily implied gay twincest on primetime ITV.

The above single entered the charts at number 2 yesterday, failing to beat some song which has been at number 1 for two weeks. This probably doesn’t bode well for their future red-hot pop career, and suggests that the public was far more endeared to them as a novelty act on a talent show than as “artists”.

It’s a shame, as even if they themselves are ridiculous, the public reaction to them has been brilliant. People have been leaping onto their high horses as if pop music is some sacred temple with a definite minimum talent threshold. Before now, no-one with very little musical worth has ever stumbled into a pop career through luck. No.

So yeah, if this is the last we hear of the boys, it’ll be a shame, because at least they’re fun. Even if, yes, the actual music isn’t very good. Even “irony” couldn’t persuade me to buy it.

The 1AM Bulletin

Link: The 1AM Bulletin

It is one in the morning.

The worrying part is, I’ve long ago stopped considering this to be “late”. This has become “bedtime”, simply because I need to be in bed by about now to get enough sleep….

Man Vs Camera #20: Wilderness Park Road Thing

Badminton Owch

Played badminton today, for the first time ever (or at least in a very very long time). After some concern in the run-up, mostly over the possibility of humiliating myself, I think it actually went okay.

The aftermath, however, has been a bit of a drag. Mostly, I have been lying in bed, either asleep or complaining to myself about the considerable aches in my knees/neck/head/etc. Having not taken part in any sport more strenuous than pool for two years, my body was not happy.

This, in turn, meant productivity has been minimal. This blog has been about it. I hope to continue playing badminton on Saturdays, although I will start to resent it if those two hours of activity continue to write off whole days.

Man Vs Camera #19: Best Not To Ask

Man Vs Camera #18: An Alien Washing Machine Materialises

The Genius Trifecta

Link: The Genius Trifecta

According to Google, it was Thomas Edison who declared that genius was “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. This phrase has entered the lexicon for two good reasons.

Firstly, people tend to find…

Man Vs Camera #17: No Solutions Available

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 announced!

Link: Sonic The Hedgehog 4 announced!

Announced today, and provoking my inner child to leap out of his box and shriek, is Sonic The Hedgehog 4. This is a new Sonic game in the style of the old Megadrive classics, with none of this 3D stuff jammed in.

Sonic has reportedly taken to 3D like a cod to a gravel pit for the most part, so this is potentially very good news. It also tempts me to seriously play a video game, which is a rare occurrence. (Seriously, the last proper game I played through was Lego Batman in 2009, and before that you’d have to go back years.)

As a result, I don’t own a games console, so am not sure how I’ll be playing this. But I will find a way. Oh yes. Click on the above link and enjoy the nice trailer.

Spring Comic Book Movies - By me @ Dorkadore

Link: Spring Comic Book Movies - By me @ Dorkadore

Man Vs Camera #16: Self

Brief Notes: Yeah, I couldn’t see anything worth snapping today, so I tasked myself with taking a self-portrait I was happy with. It took a few attempts. There were others that were better photographs (less blur, less glaring white light) but this was the one in which I looked the least vacant and gormless. I’m never doing this again, by the way.

Is My Short Attention Span Going To Be A Probl

Link: Is My Short Attention Span Going To Be A Probl

Of my many flaws, most of which are documented at length on this website, my attention span (or lack of same) has probably caused me the most grief. It’s tricky, knowing that if you glance away from…

Apple Core Confessions #1

Link: Apple Core Confessions #1

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Above is an embed of the Simon Cowell Haiti benefit “Everybody Hurts” cover thing. Unsurprisingly, it removes any restraint that song ever had and turns it into a quasi-inspirational power ballad. (You can tell they waited the whole time for that “so hoooold on!”)

It has been pointed out that saying this is bad is irrelevant. It has been banged out quickly to provide people with an excuse to give money to charity, not to be musically worthwhile. And there might even be a few who genuinely like it. In fairness, it isn’t offensively bad, it’s just very boring.

I was fishing for some kind of social point, but it isn’t coming. I have, however, successfully put off doing the “proper work” I was meant to be doing for another ten minutes. Victory is mine.

Man Vs Camera #15: Advert Explosion

Man Vs Camera #14: Bright Words

Surviving After-Work Drinks

Link: Surviving After-Work Drinks

Some things are a little too obvious to bother blogging about. Don’t walk in front of cars, don’t drink bleach and don’t hurl four-letter abuse at senior work colleagues until you’ve all had a…