Spabbit’s Sci-Fi Shows, ranked.

Continuing the series of articles for ranked TV, comes the Sci-Fi Shows, ranked. This covers what are, strictly in my opinion, the best Sci-Fi shows I’ve personally seen. I’m no professional critic, I just like what I like – Just take a show for what it is, with its limits, and just bloody well enjoy it :). The list has been reduced down to the top 24 for a mention, out of the 160 which started!

As was stated in the other articles, the really good Sci-Fi always has a simple idea at the core, and is allowed to grow in to something quote horrific, and like a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster will leave you with one hell of a hangover thought 🙂

Sci-Fi series don’t always hammer home a particular point, some of them may be classed as comedy, or space-opera, but none the less, they’ve Sci-Fi at heart, all be it they’re set in space or in the future!

Hopefully, if you’re looking for something different to watch in the Sci-Fi genre, this article will give you some ideas!

1: Fringe – This show is a memory for some, and a gem waiting to be discovered for others – I was fortunate enough not to have watched Fringe when it was first on – only discovering it on recommendation from a friend – that means I was able to binge-watch this piece of solid gold awesome! The three main actors, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, and John Noble really branded themselves onto this show making the oh so subtle ideas come alive on the screen. Lessons of Fringe: All that glitters isn’t Amber. Watch today – you won’t be disappointed.

Fringe  | TV Series (2008–2013) 46min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | TV Series (2008–2013) Summary: An F.B.I. agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.
Countries: USA, CanadaLanguages: English

2: The Expanse – Syfy did good with The Expanse, apart from the discontinuation! What’s unusual about this show is that it’s stunning Sci-Fi which (mainly) sticks to the known principles of physics – for example, it doesn’t allow for a full-stop in space without consequences, and obeys the principles of ballistic projectiles and gravity. The show reminds me of many a Sci-Fi (trash?) novel, concerning the potential on-world, and off-world war scenarios – this time it’s so polished, you’d think it was actually Canadian Sci-Fi! In a nutshell The Expanse is a sterling example of A-Grade Sci-Fi in the modern age, and a crying shame it was cancelled. I’m hopeful of a revival from Amazon, but if it is coming, it’s damn well taking its sweet time!

The Expanse  | TV Series (2015– ) 1h | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | TV Series (2015– ) Summary: A police detective in the asteroid belt, the first officer of an interplanetary ice freighter and an earth-bound United Nations executive slowly discover a vast conspiracy that threatens the Earth's rebellious colony on the asteroid belt.
Countries: Canada, USALanguages: English

3: Andromeda – Shiny sexy Sci-Fi of the highest standard. This show has been ripped apart, but to be honest – those people can go do one. Andromeda is an epic scale Sci-Fi space show of the highest order. No it doesn’t pay much attention to real-life, but that’s the Fiction element in Sci-Fi for you 🙂 I kinda like the way it has references to the old naval ranks and morality whilst set in a universe which is just amazing. Love the elements of the story line where the up-tight captain has to rely on the sexy-roguish Beka Valentine, played by Lisa Ryder. Do you follow The Way?

Andromeda  | TV Series (2000–2005) 43min | Action, Adventure, Drama | TV Series (2000–2005) Summary: Captain Dylan Hunt and the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant set out on a mission to rebuild the Systems Commonwealth 300 years after its fall.
Countries: Canada, USALanguages: English

4: Farscape – Sci-Fi with Leather – extremely sexy and polished leather modelled by Claudia Black, oh and that smile – this made a younger me have a head-rush of love for this show! Wow, what a different universe from any other shows out there – biological ships, baddies who look insane, a floating alien Sci-Fi version of Lovejoy (You can tell my age from this!). What more do you want from a Sci-Fi show?! 🙂

Farscape  | TV Series (1999–2003) 50min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Series (1999–2003) Summary: Thrown into a distant part of the universe, an Earth astronaut finds himself part of a fugitive alien starship crew.
Countries: Australia, USALanguages: English

5: StarGate-SG1 is in fifth place – This show (technically the movie – but that was crap compared to the series) started an amazing universe with an epic scale. 214 Episodes and a couple of specials makes this the longest running Sci-Fi show out there – when coupled with Atlantis and Universe it make this one of the biggest hitters of all Sci-Fi series. It lasted this many episodes for a reason – Stargate could cover almost any scenario it wanted to, the premise of the show allowed it to branch on-world, off-world, and everything in-between as it wished. I’ve very good memories of this show, and the escapism it provided. Even though (at the moment) it’s pretty dead in the water, hope lives on that another franchise instalment will bring this universe (no pun intended) back to life!

Stargate SG-1  | TV Series (1997–2007) 44min | Action, Adventure, Drama | TV Series (1997–2007) Summary: A secret military team, SG-1, is formed to explore other planets through the recently discovered Stargates.
Countries: USA, CanadaLanguages: English

6: Babylon 5The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. But in the year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope – for victory. The year is 2260. The place: Babylon 5. That line kicked off one of the most stunning pieces of Sci-Fi in TV history, quoting the epically stoic Ivanova “No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow” – B5 went BOOM in the Sci-Fi world, everything was perfect, the premise, the universe, the history – this show had it all, aliens, aggressive and cool looking ships, jump-gates, crime, treason – sexy Sci-Fi of the highest order. Few story-arcs in any Sci-Fi universe can ever hope to hold a candle to this masterpiece!

Babylon 5  | TV Series (1994–1998) 45min | Action, Adventure, Drama | TV Series (1994–1998) Summary: In the mid 23rd Century, the Earth Alliance space station Babylon 5, located in neutral territory, is a major focal point for political intrigue, racial tensions and various wars over the course of five years.
Countries: USALanguages: English

7: Heroes“Save the cheerleader, save the world” was the phrase of the day. I was undecided for a while if this was Fantasy or Sci-Fi, however I’ve come down on the Sci-Fi side of the fence. This series follows the tales of mutants, but unlike the X-Men, these are more ‘normal’ and largely the tales are more subtle. There was always an overall story arc in Heroes, but it was (as is typical of the series) told in a subtle way – the story arc was frequently disjointed taken in small lumps, but was overall beautifully done and is a credit to the writers. Loved this show, and was very excited when a new season came out recently – I feel the new season could have done so much more, and brought life back into the franchise, but sadly it was shit – nice try to bring it back, but no cigar. The original still stands as a beacon of what is possible 🙂

Heroes  | TV Series (2006–2010) 45min | Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | TV Series (2006–2010) Summary: Common people discover that they have super powers. Their lives intertwine as a devastating event must be prevented.
Countries: USALanguages: English, Japanese, Spanish

8: Eureka – Sci-Fi cute, turns evil! Eureka was Sci-Fi lite most of the time, a happy place where tech made lives better, with the odd hiccup! I really enjoyed this – even though there was an overall story arc, it was very much in the background – each episode was OK to watch on its own. The series did surprise me later on with a real turn to the dark-side, turning characters which I’d grown to love into outright monsters – really twisty in places, Eureka is sorely missed!

A Town Called Eureka  | TV Series (2006–2012) 1h | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | TV Series (2006–2012) Summary: A U.S. Marshall becomes the sheriff of a remote cozy little Northwestern town of Eureka where the best minds in the US have secretly been tucked away to build futuristic inventions for the government which often go disastrously wrong.
Countries: USALanguages: English

9: Blake’s 7 – This is the only show I felt actually improved when the title character went missing. When Avon, played by the sadly deceased Paul Darrow, took over the lead role in the show it got 100% better. Don’t get me wrong, it was easy to pick holes in the show, in some places it felt very low budget, but the overall feel of it, from the villians to the heroes and everything in-between was epic. I’m still a big fan of the second ship in the series Scorpio with the on-board computer, Slave – what a ship! ORAC is amazing, they actually wrote a part for a dweeb computer – lol 🙂 ❤ Servalan – so evil!

Blake's 7  | TV Series (1978–1981) 50min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Series (1978–1981) Summary: A group of convicts and outcasts fight a guerrilla war against the totalitarian Terran Federation from a highly advanced alien spaceship.
Countries: UKLanguages: English

10: Space: Above and Beyond – US Navy in space, kicking arse with Naval Aviators. Brilliant series, but very short lived, and some have said Well before its time. Agree or not, I can see elements of this show in the much bastardised film version of the Robert A. Heinlien book Starship Troopers.

Space: Above and Beyond  | TV Series (1995–1996) 1h | Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Series (1995–1996) Summary: The Earth is embroiled in a desperate war against alien invaders, and this series focuses on one squadron of Marine pilots involved in it.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Click the “Continue Reading” link for the full list… you’ll be surprised what’s on it 🙂
Continue reading Spabbit’s Sci-Fi Shows, ranked.

Spabbit’s Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies!

This post covers my picks for the top Sci-Fi movies, starting with my Top 10!

In the list I talk about the ideas at the heart of the movies. Good Science Fiction always has a simple idea at the core, but one which is left to almost naturally develop into a narrative which will make you sit up and think “WTF did I just watch”. Other Sci-Fi, and some in the later stages of the list completely bypass the horrific ideas, in their cases I’d class them as “Sci-Fi Lite”, good for a watch, but they ain’t gonna shake your mind up :).

I’m not a movie critic, and in many examples what I like has been routinely ripped apart by critics… but what the hell do they know? Just take a movie for what it is, with its limits, and just bloody well enjoy it 🙂

First on the list, and in top place is Lucy (2014). Everything about this movie is epic – apart from it’s too short! In the title role, Scarlett Johansson is more or less forced into taking evolutionary steps, and in short order becomes something else all together. The movie takes the viewer on a roller coaster non-stop journey including one of the best driving scenes out there. Can’t say any more about this without spoilers, but seriously, it’s the one. Morgan Freeman, as usual is excellent in his role, and brilliance from Luc Besson 🙂

Lucy (2014) 1h 29min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 22 August 2014 (UK) Summary: A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
Countries: France, Germany, TaiwanLanguages: English, Mandarin, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean

Transcendence (2014) comes in a strong second. It received robust criticism when released, however I just really enjoyed this tale of human evolution when mixed with technology. As with all excellent Science Fiction, Transcendence deals with the small idea integrating into and eventually bringing about massive changes in the bigger picture. A small and horrifying idea given space to grow! An epic movie on every level.

Transcendence (2014) 1h 59min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi | 25 April 2014 (UK) Summary: A scientist's drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program.
Countries: UK, China, USALanguages: English

Again with a horrifying idea at the core, Ender’s Game (2013) comes in third place. The idea behind this film is brutal… You kinda get a hint, but it’s not until the end of the movie where the true audacity of the idea smacks the back of your brain awake! I can’t really say more without spoilers, but this one will blow you away.

Ender's Game (2013) 1h 54min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 25 October 2013 (UK) Summary: Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formics, an insectoid alien race who had previously tried to invade Earth and had inflicted heavy losses on humankind.
Countries: USALanguages: English

No list would be complete without my fourth place choice, Evolution (2001). This is a Sci-Fi Comedy – and for the life of me I don’t know how the actors didn’t dissolve in a pool of laughter in every other scene. Fox Mulder eat your cold exterior and go watch this supreme masterpiece which I usually end up watching at least once a year! Laugh a minute with some very cute (and some damn right icky) aliens!

Evolution (2001) 1h 41min | Comedy, Sci-Fi | 22 June 2001 (UK) Summary: A fire-fighting cadet, two college professors, and a geeky but sexy government scientist work against an alien organism that has been rapidly evolving since its arrival on Earth inside a meteor.
Countries: USALanguages: English

In the middle of the pack, fifth place comes Flash Gordon (1980). Wow! What scummy list would miss out on this awesome work of genius! The soundtrack alone is famous enough to have an entry! Flash Gordon saves the day. Simply put – you should have seen this if you’ve been alive at least nine years, if you haven’t – go watch. If anyone re-makes this film they should be punished. Step away from the edit button!!!

Flash Gordon (1980) 1h 51min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 11 December 1980 (UK) Summary: A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.
Countries: UK, USALanguages: English

Paperhouse (1988) Is in 6th place, but has a special place in my movie loving heart. This was a film I viewed for the first time when I was around 18. Paperhouse stood out from the usual crop of movies at the time, and still does – it’s the whole set of feelings it projects, and the overall style which make it brilliant. An interesting point about this movie is that the mother’s part was dubbed over, giving it a unique sound, making this movie even more cut glass than it was originally. This is a movie which will make you think, for sure.

Paperhouse (1988) 1h 32min | Drama, Fantasy | 2 June 1989 (UK) Summary: A young girl lost in the loneliness and boredom of reality finds solace in an ill boy, whom she can visit in a surreal dream world that she drew in her school composition book.
Countries: UKLanguages: English

My Best Friend Is A Vampire (1987) in seventh place. This has been in my favourites list for a long time! I initially saw this on VHS back in the day, and it was many years later when I managed to find it again. Rewatching after 20 years, the film does show its age, but is just as good. It’s a very lite film, so does need the viewer to just relax and watch, easy to pick holes in, but why when it’s so enjoyable 🙂

My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1987) 1h 29min | Comedy, Horror, Romance | 6 May 1988 (USA) Summary: After a sexual encounter with a beautiful client, a teenage delivery boy finds himself being turned into a vampire.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Night Watch (Russian with eng subs) (2004) is in eighth place. This masterpiece should be filed in the dictionary under “Industrial Cool”. I’ve only watched this and Day Watch in terms of Russian Movies – gotta day I love the whole feel of the movie – it just has an essence and depth that is so different to all others I’ve seen. Dark, Brooding and brimming with purpose, plus a fleeting glimpse of a culture that I doubt I’ll ever know. If you watch this, don’t you dare do it dubbed, Russian with subtitles is the only way.

Night Watch (2004) 1h 54min | Action, Fantasy, Horror | 7 October 2005 (UK) Summary: A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.
Countries: RussiaLanguages: Russian, German

Barbarella (1968) – Barbarella Psychedelia coming in 9th place! What an amazing movie! It has everything from funky-cool-70s-porn-star-world – costumes, ships, bondage, a fallen angel who’s blind, and finally an Orgasmatron! The villians are villainous, and the heroes are straight from an even more camp Flash Gordon! What’s not to love… ❤❤❤ Barbarella & Jane Fonda!

Barbarella (1968) 1h 38min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy | 18 October 1968 (UK) Summary: Barbarella, an astronaut from the 41st century, sets out to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand, whose Positronic Ray threatens to bring evil back into the galaxy.
Countries: France, ItalyLanguages: English

The Ambushers (1967) comes in 10th place, but still a much loved memory of my early childhood! Dean Martin plays secret agent Matt Helm, and oh boy is he straight out of a whiskey-glass from the 60s! This movie is as sexist-funny as could be for the time it was produced, yet still manages to maintain an air of innocence – guess it was just that way back then. The scenery is cardboard, the special effects only spring to a sparkler or two, yet this low-grade 60’s scifi comedy hits all the right buttons. They just don’t make ’em like this any more!

The Ambushers (1967) 1h 42min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi | 22 December 1967 (USA) Summary: Secret agent Matt Helm must battle foreign spies and a rogue nation's exiled ruler in order to recover a hijacked U.S. government experimental flying saucer.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Now I know this was supposed to be a top ten, but I have a couple of mentions which I’d like to slip in some details for before the main list.

Explorers (1985) – For me, this was always one of my favourite movies, again this is from my childhood. Director Joe Dante manages to capture the feel of the 80s perfectly here, and I’d even go so far to say that the production is more like Spielbergs’. This is junior Sci-Fi at it’s finest – a bunch of kids are sent dreams of circuit designs, and manage to build a spaceship straight out of junk, taking the voyage of their lives! Just wow!

Explorers (1985) 1h 49min | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 19 December 1986 (UK) Summary: A boy obsessed with 50s sci-fi movies about aliens has a recurring dream about a blueprint of some kind, which he draws for his inventor friend. With the help of a third kid, they follow it and build themselves a spaceship. Now what?
Countries: USALanguages: English, German

Weird Science (1985) Is the last movie I’ll detail here – what Sci-Fi list would be complete without Weird Science? This is THE teenage Sci-Fi movie! Two nerds rebel against a bully, make a kick-arse girl who then goes on to turn their kitchen blue, and park an ICBM in their living room! Soooo cool – and I so missed out on the tech of that era!

Weird Science (1985) 1h 34min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi | 1 November 1985 (UK) Summary: Two high school nerds use a computer program to literally create the perfect woman, but she turns their lives upside down.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Click the “Continue Reading” link for the full list of 25 titles
Continue reading Spabbit’s Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies!

Top 10 Movies

Right… Getting to grips with a long list of posts I’ve been meaning to make for a while now! I begin with the top 10 General Movies – my personal favourites of all time, so far. The list isn’t static, but this is what I’ve boiled down at the moment! The full list does cover the top 49 I’m sure there will be more, but the old grey cells aren’t that good these days!), the full list is below the details of the top 10.

As stated these are the general movies, which cover Action / Drama / Comedy and anything else 🙂

I’m not a movie critic, and in many examples what I like has been routinely ripped apart by critics… but what the hell do they know? Just take a movie for what it is, with its limits, and just bloody well enjoy it 🙂 Some of the movies in the list you more than likely haven’t heard of, some of them certainly aren’t mainstream, but all of them are worthy of a viewing!

First of the crop is The Goonies (1985) – This has to be the top, honestly for me this is the one of the generation. The Goonies and their Goony adventures were the day-dreams of my early teenage years. It wasn’t just the movie, but the soundtrack is iconic too – genius!

The Goonies (1985) 1h 54min | Adventure, Comedy, Family | 29 November 1985 (UK) Summary: A group of young misfits who call themselves The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on a quest to find a legendary pirate's long-lost treasure.
Countries: USALanguages: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Italian

Shoot ’em Up (2007) comes in a close second. Clive Owen shooting everything in sight, including shooting Paul Giamatti using a carrot! What’s not to like in this blast of a comedy movie! I always like to settle down to watch this one when plot isn’t an issue, but action is 🙂

Shoot 'Em Up (2007) 1h 26min | Action, Comedy, Crime | 14 September 2007 (UK) Summary: A man named Mr. Smith delivers a woman's baby during a shootout, and is then called upon to protect the newborn from the army of gunmen.
Countries: USALanguages: English, Italian

Down Periscope (1996) is Third. Now I was never a fan of Kelsey Grammer in Frasier, but in this he’s amazing. “Welcome Aboard”. If you’ve not watched this one, and need a good belly laugh – it’s your ticket!

Down Periscope (1996) 1h 32min | Comedy | 28 June 1996 (UK) Summary: Lt. Cmdr. Tom Dodge is assigned as Captain to the USS Stingray, an old diesel driven submarine that has seen better days.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Heathers (1988) is one of the classics for the period and exemplified an entire age in movies of the genre. The ultimate American-high-school-clique movie. Did Americans really dress like that back then?

Heathers (1988) 1h 43min | Comedy, Crime | 17 November 1989 (UK) Summary: In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Sucker Punch (2011) is in fifth position. This is pure action, a fantastic soundtrack making use of the most unusual songs. This is one of my favourite high octane movies of all time, an easy watch, and definitely shiny!

Sucker Punch (2011) 1h 50min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 1 April 2011 (UK) Summary: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.
Countries: USA, CanadaLanguages: English, German

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) is in sixth place. Is there anyone who hasn’t seen this movie?! Love Samuel L. Jackson in this – does he even say “Motherfucker” once? 😉

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) 2h 1min | Action, Crime, Drama | 29 November 1996 (UK) Summary: A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Real Genius (1985) in solid seventh place – Wow. When I saw this as a teenager it was soooo fucking cool. The stiff, the party animal, and the guy in a secret bunker accessed through a closet! Someone had too many drugs to think of this – and I thank them for it 🙂

Real Genius (1985) 1h 48min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi | 7 August 1985 (USA) Summary: Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a high-powered laser for a university project. When their professor intends to turn their work into a military weapon, they decide to ruin his plans.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Idiocracy (2006) comes in eighth place. Is this a comedy, a drama, or a frightening portent of the near future? A must watch to make you think of the direction Humanity is heading in!

Idiocracy (2006) 1h 24min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi | 25 January 2007 (Germany) Summary: Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Malcolm (1986) for Ninth place. This amazing and often overlooked work by Nadia Tass and David Parker starred the amazing Colin Friels in a most challenging role as an idiot-savant. You just don’t get movies like this any more. Difficult subject portrayed with a a gentle slant of comedy. One of a kind.

Malcolm (1986) 1h 30min | Comedy, Crime, Sci-Fi | 2 October 1986 (Australia) Summary: Malcolm is a chronically shy mechanical genius who has just been fired for building his own tram. He gets Frank, who has just been released from jail, to move in to help pay the bills. ... See full summary »
Countries: AustraliaLanguages: English

The Breakfast Club (1985) is in tenth place. THE 80s movie. Long, boring in places, but it manages to keep your attention captured like a fly in amber. Captures the stereotypes of an entire generation with so much accuracy it hurts!

The Breakfast Club (1985) 1h 37min | Comedy, Drama | 7 June 1985 (UK) Summary: Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Now the article is a top 10… but, these two deserve special mentions!

Beetlejuice (1998) is number 11 on the list, and no top ten could miss Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice! No words for this – I’m sure it holds a place the memories of at least half the western world’s populace 🙂

Beetlejuice (1988) 1h 32min | Comedy, Fantasy | 19 August 1988 (UK) Summary: The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.
Countries: USALanguages: English

Twister (1996) is twelfth place, and has a special mention – this movie brought the world of storm-chasers to the public conciousness back in 1996 – Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton managed to blow you away with this fondly remembered movie!

Twister (1996) 1h 53min | Adventure, Thriller | 26 July 1996 (UK) Summary: Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.
Countries: USALanguages: English

The rest of the list is after the “Continue Reading link”
Continue reading Top 10 Movies

Review: Beaum Vape

imageOne word: AWESOME.

It’s not often that I’m inspired to go out and write a positive review for a retail store, however in this case, I’m not only inspired but actually compelled to do so. I’m new to vaping, this is only my fourth week in to my vaping journey, and a week ago, thanks to Beaum Vape, it changed massively for the better.

I’ve been in a few Vape Shops, but they’ve been staffed by kids, lax kids who couldn’t give a shit, sat behind a counter, wearing shell suits and backwards baseball caps, not paying attention, and generally not giving a shit – I was really put off going into the stores; however Beaum Vape was recommended to me by a few people, so I decided to give it a try. Completely the right choice, and something I’m so glad I did!

Beaum Vape will make you feel welcome. The retail environment is perfect for the subject and products. Beaum Vape will go out of their way to ensure you get the best possible products and service, and are passionate about it. It’s not often when you can walk into a place and be guided by people who actually know what they’re talking about, but this is one of those places. If you’re new or experienced, Beaum Vape will make you feel welcome, and enhance your vaping experience.

You can try a mind blowing range of different e-liquids, and get an amazing experience. The prices are awesome, often beating the online retailers for the same products. What is amazing is the personal service provided, nothing is too much trouble for the staff who go out of their way to ensure you’re taken care of to the best possible standards.

They also don’t let kids into their shop – this is important, and one of the many points which distinguish them, and put Beaum Vape, head and shoulders above others in the same retail environment.

They recommended a combo of the Asmodus – Ohmsmium mod with the Aspire Cleito tank, which has upped the vaping game for me, and I honestly think at this point in time, it’s to a standard which will be extremely hard to beat. The e-liquids on offer are all vetted by the staff, and smoothness isn’t even a consideration – you just know that anything in store is going to be silk dynamite.

In summary – if you’re in the South Wales area, or anywhere within travel distance, and you want to improve your vaping experience, go visit Beaum Vape. Go visit their website, they also trade online. In the physical world, you can find them in Ivor House, Bridge Street, Cardiff, CF10 2TH. I’ve added a perma-link to their website on Spabbit 🙂

Facebook Photo Syncing – the end!

0.1 FB Moments Article HeaderOr not! Facebook is moving the photo syncing feature which we all love, to an independent app called “Moments“.

0.2 FB Moments Article FeatureThe app replaces the in-built photo syncing feature of the Facebook App, moving it outside, and greatly enhancing the functionality, including undeniably creepy facial recognition features…

The blurb from the app store (With minor translation)…

Here’s the magic (Read: Creepy shit): The app groups your photos based on who’s in them, and when they were taken, which is ideal for the average stalker. In one tap, you can sync your photos to victims you choose. Then, the victims can add their photos to the creepy online virtual gathering. Now, all the stalkers and “authorities” have all the photos you took together, this will aid greatly in online-stalking and investigations.

  • Keep all your photos organised in one private place (My Precious!)
  • Sync multiple photos at once – no need to text or e-mail individual photos (Speed Victimisation!)
  • Easy stalking feature search to find photos of yourself and your victims
  • Save photos other victims sync to you on your phone’s stalking roll
  • Share victims directly on Facebook or Instagram, and send in Messenger if you want

OK… So I may have been a little harsh, but face it (No pun intended), this is the ideal tool for a bunch of stalkers (Not that Facebook isn’t already this!).

The app in itself isn’t bad – once you get past the initial setup, where you’re asked to identify some victims for the facial recognition, it’s very smooth. I’ve never really been a fan of the “moments” function, even when Apple introduced it, I stuck to the normal camera roll, or “All-Photos” as it’s currently know. If I want to group some photos together, I’ll use an album and do it manually. One tip, for when trying to install the app – if you click on the notification in the Facebook app, and get the spinning circle of doom, then go update your Facebook app first, then try again.

Not saying that the auto-stalking features aren’t good, but just not for me. It’s great that Facebook still provide the facility to auto-backup your photos (Read: Visual Memory) – after all, you can’t have too many backups, even if they aren’t the original quality you took (The iCloud can backup original quality photos, so can the Google Photos app, if that’s what you’re after).

So you know what to expect – here’s a gallery with some shots of the whole process, and using it to share a photo on Facebook:

TalkTalk: The Fibre Saga

TTFOfferWell… We recently decided to believe the advertising (Silly, I know), and upgrade our TalkTalk Broadband package to include the new ‘Fibre’ package, which claims to be 5x faster than the standard ADSL2 which we had.

Well… Fibre isn’t fibre, in this case it’s VDSL2, and whist there may be a fibre somewhere along the route, probably to a green box at the end of the street, there is no fibre to our house. Kind of misleading there, TalkTalk. To add insult to this, there is a £50 upgrade fee, now I’m not sure what this is covering… An Openreach engineer visiting the box at the end of the street and changing a cable over, or some other operation, OR the new ‘Super-Router’, either way the “Free” bit of the offer isn’t.

HG533So the upgrade went smoothly enough, the line speed is excellent, the VDSL2 speed is excellent and works as advertised (You can tell there’s a ‘but’ coming, right?)… BUT their ‘SuperRouter” isn’t super, well, apart from super-crap. Plugged this in ahead of the VDSL2 upgrade (Can’t really call it Fibre!), as it also functions fine on ADSL2… Problems:

To start with, it didn’t play with the rest of the network here, the rest of the network being 2 unmanaged gigabit switches, a wifi access point, and the usual devices. It wouldn’t connect using the existing cabling to the ‘core’ switch on the network, this being 30ft away along cat5e cable, the previous Netgear router connected just fine at 1gig. I actually had to go buy another unmanaged switch to sit next to this thing.

Secondly it has only 100mbs ports, not gigabit ports… Really I know, as this device sits on the periphery of the network, and isn’t in this case a core component, that it wouldn’t be too much of an issue – however it was a disappointment, especially when I knew the previous model given out by TalkTalk was a HG635 model, with gigabit ports. I really feel for those who use it as a network core without knowing how much it will knock their speed and capacity. Still, I tried to make it play nicely.

Daily reboots as it managed to kill the network, and I didn’t even give it any work to do, the work of the DHCP server and the Wifi access point already being handled flawlessly by the other devices on the network, ALL it had to do was provide an interweb connection via NAT. Somehow it managed to kill the network daily, and had to be rebooted before anything else would work.

It took me a week of the super-shit performance, and settling for a second (?) best device, plus reading countless horror stories of this device before getting to the point of spending money on another router. I didn’t even bother to contact TalkTalk, as most, if not all, of the horror stories make it perfectly clear that the only thing it would do is raise my blood-pressure.

D7000Enter the Netgear Nighthawk D7000 – I paid £130 for this router, and I have to say worth every single penny, and a lot more (In fact, upon checking, it’s now £170!). The D7000 is an amazing device, boot it up, connect with the details on a small sticker, and run through a connection wizard which asks what ISP you have, and it just works, perfectly.

There are ample configuration options, and of course the usual ones need to be changed from their defaults, including the wifi access point ssids, passwords etc. There are options to lock down the network with MAC filtering, the various encryption options etc. The router has gigabit ports and a USB3 socket if you wish to share a storage device with your network. Also, unlike the ‘SuperRouter’, it communicated just fine with the rest of the network, at gigabit speeds, and doesn’t need a switch of it’s own lol… The uptime is awesome, not a single reboot has been required in a month, and the rest of the network is rock steady.

The D7000 also boasts Quality Of Service features, both for ports, and devices. With the ports option, you can chose from a large list of predefined services, or input your own; the device options will allow you to set one of four priorities for the traffic – importantly both sets of rules can be live and functional at the same time.

The Wifi is excellent delivering on 2.4 and 5ghz, with separate IDs and passwords per network, both for a ‘core’ network and a ‘guest’ network. The device has three aerials, and it is capable of ‘beam forming’ where by it just doesn’t transmit blindly in a dome, but is able to focus the signals to the devices physical locations, which seems to work very well, for me at least. AND it looks like a space-ship 😉

Overall the TalkTalk ISP is great, IF all you want is a broadband wire – it is truly unlimited, the speed is excellent, we’re getting what we pay for. Don’t believe the hype of their ‘SuperRouter’, it’s anything but super. Do go buy a Netgear D7000, it’s worth every penny.


TalkTalk came back to me on Twitter today, no offer of an apology, no offer of a refund for supplying a piss poor device, only an offer to tell the team LMAO! This is the reason I didn’t contact them in the first place, would’ve been bashing my head against a wall by now!

Love the bit where they call the device ‘free’, bet you one way or another, we end up paying for it!

Don’t let me put you off TalkTalk as an ISP, they have a brilliant wire service, just supply shockingly bad devices, and don’t really do customer services, in my opinion…



Logitech Z533 2.1 Speaker System – Sleep problem solved!

Z533-1These Logitech Z533 Speakers are fantasic, got them on offer for £60 from PC world… One of the shop-peons kindly allowed me to plug in and have a demo, and from a minute of killing all conversation in the shop with some tastful music at volume, I was hooked and had to have ’em.

Installed and at home in their native environment, they’re even better, the sound from these 2.1 is crystal clear over the frequency range, and I can now take full advantage of the highest quality DSP I own at the moment, built into my PC Soundcard. However, there is a commonly reported issue / problem with these speakers, which is largly made up, from lack of understanding…

Sleep. These speakers, like cats, like to sleep; see, they’re smart, not just regular speakers, but smart speakers. When they don’t detect enough signal on input, they turn off. This is a good thing.

The way people tend to use PC speakers is to set the volume knob on the speakers at a standard level, and then use the PC volume control to vary the actual sound produced, with dumb speakers it works fine. These speakers need a minimum level of signal coming into them to realise they’re needed and stay awake, without this, like cats, they sleep.

The trick is to turn up the PC volume level (After all, in most instances, the PC-Out is designed for headphones, it’s not a line-out), and turn down the speaker’s control knob a little; it won’t hurt the amp on the sound-card to do a little extra work… Only increase the actual volume knob if you want loud, which the Z533 handles with the ease of a jet fighter thundering through the sound-barrier. 🙂

End of the line statement about these speakers: Super-Awesome, but don’t be an idiot when using ’em.

IKEA, a piss poor experience – no fucks given…

IKEAIKEA… It’s like Marmite, either love it or hate it, there is no middle of the road here – but either way IKEA is a necessary evil of the world, like Argos, and sometimes there’s no other way.

We’ve used IKEA (The Cardiff Store) many times over the years, and had varying degrees of service from the staff, but this latest visit has been the worst yet, and I sincerely hope that IKEA will not be a part of my future for as long as I can foresee. Normally when visiting IKEA, you can actually get away without interacting with the staff, completely if you use the self-service tills, but sometimes there is no avoiding the ordeal…

Counting the problems (Circles of Hell)…

First problem: Lack of staff – they’re like rocking-horse-shit, and when you do find one, they’re either in the wrong department, or some fucking idiot is taking up their time with pointless questions.

Second problem: When you do find an IKEA Peon, and they’re busy with an idiot asking idiot questions, there is no way they can call another peon over to save half hour of your life. No way at all, no fucks given.

Third problem: Some products, seemingly at random, don’t have an isle location, but have to be ordered via the IKEA Peons – no way to avoid them. Why?!

Fourth problem: They don’t give a fuck. That’s right, no fucks given in IKEA. How do I register for IKEA Family to get a discount – use that orange machine over there, no other help, no fucks given

Fifth problem: Orange machine is broken, not printing out… go find the peon, tell them, they reply “Go use another one”… Not the slightest sign of the peon moving to put a an “Out Of Order” sign on the machine, no fuck all. Roll on all the other poor bastards wasting their time. No fucks given.

Sixth problem: Broken discount system at the tills. Have to call a senior peon who can’t do anything, passing to yet another more senior peon – the senior peon takes an age to get the order processed.

Seventh problem (Read: “Gate of Hell”, but slightly less pleasant): After half hour waiting for my order to be picked, I’m still waiting.

Eighth problem (Read: “Wonder of IKEA-HELL”): After a half hour wait for the products to be picked, and a complaint to the senior-senior peon, they still can’t find my shit, the shit I’ve paid for, it’s mine, give it to me.

Ninth problem: (There are more circles of IKEA-HELL than any other hell): NO Offer of anything when complaining, no apology, no compensation for my wasted life-time they’d just used up being useless, NOTHING… IKEA: No Fucks Given.

… Just as a point, the above article details my own true-to-life experience, and my own opinions – don’t on any account be put off IKEA by the above review – google it for yourself 🙂

Movie Review: The Goonies

The Goonies - PosterThis review covers off The Goonies, from good old 1985, the year when everything was just shiny for my very much younger self. I know this movie has been reviewed thousands and thousands of times, but it is in my favourite movie collection, and still a movie I find enjoyable right into my 40s! Thank you, Richard Donner, Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, you crazy bunch of geniuses!

The Goonies was something we all wanted to go through in childhood, back then when I was the same age as the main characters in the film, I would have given just about everything to have had their lives, their adventures; I also think I’m not alone in my feelings 🙂 I mean they had such cool stuff, cool friends and cool adventures – if their characters had been any cooler, they’d have frozen solid!

The whole movie is simply iconic for my generation, we all dreamed of having those lives and adventures, not just the once either – with every viewing of The Goonies, you wanted just a little more. Right from the opening scene where you see one of the bad guys escape from custody by faking hanging in a cell, it sets the pace for a glorious adventure of epic proportions for young teens, and as said, it does stay with you as a favoured memory for life 🙂

The plot of the movie is basically a bunch of childhood friends who embark on the adventure of their lifetimes, running away from, and sometimes getting captured by the bad guys, and chasing pirate treasure with the help of an “X Marks the spot” treasure map! The adventure takes them deep underground through a hidden entrance in the basement of a creepy diner, occupied by the bad guys. Aside from the adventure and action elements of the film, there is plenty of character depth and development, well from a adolescent point of view. We see the characters in the movie slowly realise through their adventures that there are things bigger than them, their friends are truly valuable, and that history can be really cool.

Apart from the actors in the movie, who are all amazing, the shooting locations are stunning – I’ve have given anything to have gown up in such awesome surroundings! I believe the majority of the coat line filming was done on location in Oregon, however apparently this was actually some distance from the “location” of Astoria. The final outdoor scene where the ship is launched was an exception to Oregon and was actually filmed in California.

And the set… Wow! To this day the set still blows my mind, from the creepy diner, to the subterranean caves and passages, to the final high point in the film – the pirate ship and the cavern where it was berthed – they were all awesome settings, completely believable at the time, for the target demographic. The highlights for me were the bone-organ chamber, the water slides, and of course, of course… the pirate ship!

Here’s a trailer for The Goonies I found lying around on Youtube… If you spent the best parts of your childhood in the 80s go watch this movie again, and relive those childhood memories and feelings. Don’t delve too deeply though, the next thing you know you’ll be wanting a Sony-Walkman, complete with Hits 85, Huey Lewis and the News, and maybe Cyndi Lauper, after all We all just wanna have fun

Movie Review: The Ambushers (1967)

ambushersThis time around, I’m reviewing The Ambushers from 1967… Now (Not giving away too much), I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye when this was made, however in around 1984, when I was just an ahem-early-tean, this became one of my favourite movies. Many years after that, I’d lost the video copy I’d hoarded over the years, and had to import the movie on DVD from the USA.

Again, not giving away my age too closely, I’ve watched this movie multiple times over the most recent 30+ years, and have to say it stands the test of time without breaking a sweat.

This movie is, in one line – Imagine a James Bond film from the 60’s, Americanised, on a lower budget, through the lens of a whiskey glass, with more realistic sexist attitudes of the times.

Dean Martin takes the title role of Secret Agent Matt Helm, and I swear throughout this movie he’s drunker than the entire cast of Dallas; but that was him, and he’s at his best putting a serious yet comical face to the secret agent role.

Playing opposite Dean is Janice Rule, in the role of Shilea Sommers, his co-agent, and pretend wife for the duration of the mission. In the opening scenes Shiela is abducted (But not as you’d expect, Jim), and makes her first appearance running to Matt’s arms after going ‘insane’ – this soon changes to a more sensible role. Makes me wish I was around at the time this was released!

Janice is best know for some of her other roles, such as in 3 Women (1977), The Swimmer (1968), Bell, Book and Candle (1958)… Years later, she even made an appearance in Murder She Wrote (1989).

Moving on from the principle cast, the movie itself is a wonderfully 60’s sideways glancing, sexist, sexy, version of a spy film. It was, and I supposed is, a spoof movie, however I sometimes think the plot line (Complete with holes) rivals many attempts at serious espionage drama.

Not forgetting the sound-track, the 60’s band plays quietly, almost unnoticed in the background throughout the movie, some would say the sound-track resembles low-grade porno or elevator music, but well, it does set the comedy element of the movie off very well.

I mean… What other movie has female secret agents with guns built in to their bras, a gadget which dissolves metal at a distance (Demonstrated on a man’s belt buckle!), flying saucers, and an Alien-Ripley-Power-Suit (Get away from her, You Bitch!) 12/13 whole years before Aliens was made in 1979! Poisoned lipstick… I mean Poisoned Lipstick – awesome! To boot, the tent Matt and Shiela use in the movie, whilst this doesn’t exist even today, would put hotels out of business in a blink.

One thing you can’t get away from in this movie is girls / women. Everywhere and sexy as well – it’s like a fashion shoot, there are more good looking women in this then the entire run of House MD!

The special effects are quite laughable, sometimes even by the standards of the time, but they do get the point across easily enough, I have to keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be a spoof! Talking of the times, the one-liners are fantastic, “And you said you were a 38″… “Where are you from? – The Bar…” Really love this movie so much! … This movie even has another spy wearing a Fez!

Anyhow, go find a copy of this and sit down with a massive amount of popcorn, and possibly some whiskey, then enjoy this movie for what it is. I’ll leave you with a trailer I found knocking around on Youtube 🙂

If you’re still reading at this point, it’s worthy of a mention that Dean played Matt in another few movies, for example The Wrecking Crew, you can find out more information from the Wikipedia page

OK… 635 words later, you can tell I love this genius movie 🙂