The other day, while checking the channels for anything interesting that was coming up, I saw, on Syfy, a film titled Battle of Los Angeles. My initial thought was, wait, that can’t be the film that’s just been out in the cinema already? Or maybe they had a special deal. Unusual for a channel like Syfy to get that.
Nonetheless, I recorded it and sat down to watch what turned out not to be Battle: Los Angeles as released in the cinema this year, but Battle of Los Angeles as released on Syfy with apparently no other purpose than to cash in on a random sci-fi film on the market.
Now, sometimes you might get a film like this that isn’t actually too bad, but not often. However, it really comes to something when you find a truly bad film. I’ll admit that, like the atrocity to film making that is Vampires vs Zombies, I did not watch more than 15 minutes of it, but in film making this is the golden time during which most film watchers will decide whether or not to keep watching. In 15 minutes I expect to know who the key characters are, why shit is happening and give me a reason to keep watching. Every time I flicked over to the abysmal Megashark vs Giant Octopus there seemed to be a cast of completely new characters with a scene setting up their demise by one of the titular beasties. Within the first 15 minutes of Battle of Los Angeles, I’d already seen at least three scenes like this. An aerial combat which served no real purpose than to introduce the aliens in a blatantly ripped off from Independence Day scene containing the worst special effects I’ve seen in a science fiction film since the turn of the century. This was followed by a forgettable scene between two soldiers who completely failed to leave any impression on me, so much so that I only barely remembered the scene while writing this review. Finally, followed by another apparently pointless and needlessly prolonged scene introducing even less charismatic characters with the obligatory sexy Asian bad-ass-talking fighter pilot and the frightened white-kid with an atrociously badly acted drill-sergeant-esque general trying to get him in the air by threatening to shoot him. This went on forever until the aliens and some more bad special effects put the scene out of its misery. By the commercial break I had already deleted the recording from my V+ box.
For the past few years, I have been integrating my blog with my website by means of a paid Livejournal account. However, Livejournal has been frustrating me recently. I’ve been repeatedly hit by spam commenters. To deal with this I’ve had to repeatedly lock down the accessibility of my LJ blog to a point that I found it unsatisfactory for me to be paying for my account, even though it really only added up to a few quid a month, I really felt that it wasn’t worth it.
With an aim to enhance my own web designer knowledge-base with WordPress, I decided to install a WordPress blog into my site. The first task I set myself was to create a WordPress Theme that identically matched my existing site so the initial transition would be seamless. This was successful in my initial tests and to my delight I found that WordPress has a plugin that imports all posts from Livejournal. It’s not perfect. Locked posts are simply passworded (so may as well be deleted) and not all embedded material remains intact (namely embedded YouTube). So at some point, when I’m bored, I might go through five years of blog categorising posts and re-embedding videos. Then again, I might have better things to do.
For now, however, I’m happy with this move. It means that my site and blog has far better integration the way I would prefer it to be. Since finally joining Facebook, integrating my blog with Facebook also gives me the cross-site integration that makes my inner web designer happy. I might not be up to some pro standards, but I enjoy doing websites and I count myself as at least pretty damned competent for the most part.
For now I’ve very much crippled a lot of what a WordPress site is capable of achieving. This is mostly because my current website design did not take into consideration the integration of WordPress widgets. As such, I probably need to revisit my design at some point and create some new image elements to allow for inclusion of such features as a calendar archive, etc. Basically, all the stuff associated with blogs in general, let alone WordPress blogs. The process of making the theme wasn’t so bad, but a little tricksy in places. However, I intend (when I next have a bit of time when I should probably be doing something else) to keep tinkering and adding to my site. WordPress is very powerful and my site does not properly exploit its potential by virtue of the fact that I’m overlaying my blog onto an existing bespoke site.
Having not really blogged much, or at all since the end of last year, I intend to become more active again. To what end, I really have no idea… I find it more fun to improvise!
I generally hate Xmas music with a passion of which you can only dream. However, Carol of the Bells is a tune I really like. Of course, it was originally intended as a Ukrainian song for the Ukrainian New Year/Spring (April), but was later adapted to a Christmas song.