Weekly Ramble No. 15

I finished playing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week. I’m not one to crow (too much) about my own achievements, but I’ll make an exception as its only the third time I have 100% completed a game (the previous being the first Lego Harry Potter game and Lego Lord of the Rings). So that’s 180 mini kits, 250 gold bricks, 18 red bricks, 18 True Jedi, 35 carbonite blocks, 205 characters and 85 vehicles collected. I racked up 11,906,262,760 studs along the way thanks to the multipliers you can apply once you have bought the appropriate red bricks.

For completeness I also did 100% of the trophies available on PlayStation for the game. Whoopie doo! Does this make me any more or less of a person. Who knows… it was fun and that’s the main thing I guess. A lot more fun than watching the film.

On rental, Siggy and I watched Focus starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. It is a story of an expert confidence trickster (Smith) and his young apprentice (Robbie) and their emotional entanglement (despite Smith possibly being old enough to be Robbie’s dad). It’s a bit like a really good episode of Hustle the BBC television show. There were a few things we managed to guess ahead of time but it was still a satisfying watch.

We also watched Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg. It’s a pretty terrifying film to watch and exposes some pretty dodgy behaviour by an oil operator. If you don’t know the story then please take the time and Google it. The film does a very good job of portraying the events that led to the semi-submersible drill rig essentially blowing up and it was a surprise that so few people were killed in the accident that appeared to be wholly avoidable.

I have to be careful what I say I guess because I work for a technical consultant company serving the oil and gas industry – one of the companies brought in to investigate the root cause of the accident. It was quite an emotional experience to watch what we work so hard to stop happening in the industry being played out and knowing it was a true story. We should use it in our inductions.

We also enjoyed the four episode long Luther Season 2. Idris Elba’s character got caught up in some dodgy police work trying to play the knight in shining armour to a young sex worker while trying to solve two serial killer cases. Both cases were horrific and violent, but the violence was in no way glorified and the bad guys got their just desserts. Unfortunately the character of Alice didn’t feature much which was a shame as the show was lacking that Silence of the Lambs vibe.

I also watched a lot of episodes of The Last Kingdom that had been stacking up on my Sky Plus box. While it’s not a scratch on Vikings (or Game of Thrones) I have found this season more entertaining than the first and it’s surprising how authentic they can make it look with not much budget. There were some good action shots of a Danish raid on a camp using a handheld camera (maybe even a GoPro) which were just as good as the claustrophobic battle sequence from the recent season of GoT.

Biggles recommended that I watch Car Share with Siggy. I’m not a huge fan of Peter Kay, but I did find it very funny and we intend to watch the rest of season two off On Demand. It’s great that we have the technology these days to be able to catch up with shows that we’ve missed. I think the main problem these days is that there’s only so many hours in the day and so much good television to watch. I also watched the first episode of the OA on Netflix, but held off watching any more because I want to watch it with Siggy as i think she’ll enjoy it.

In terms of reading I got through another Philip K Dick book on my Kindle called Humpty Dumpty in Oakland. It is another one of those non-science fiction books and is the story of two men chasing the American dream – one is an elderly garage owner and the other runs a used car lot next door to the garage. When the old man sells up the garage and chases an investment opportunity Al, the car salesman, tries to change his fortunes too.

It is a story of old age (the Humpty Dumpty in the tale being the old man who has a chronic heart condition and a loose grasp on reality at times) and paranoia. Al is going through some sort of mental breakdown where his judgement of people and his actions are fuelled by a manic paranoia – he sees conspiracy where there is none and feels slighted by the old man when he really has no reason to feel that way.

There’s an interesting ending to the story where a black woman who has featured every now and again in the tale picks Al up in her car after he has lost his business, his wife and hit rock bottom. She tells him that she was going to a party but will take him home for a private party instead. To me she actually represents to the devil. You’ll have to read it to see if you agree. Looking back through the story it does appear that she has manipulated Al by feeding him malicious lies about the old man’s prospective investment partner.

I’ve been listening to David Bowie’s Blackstar quite a bit recently. It’s a great album, although I’m not a big fan of the saxophone. I’m not sure why. Also Adam Buxton’s podcast. He made some choice remarks about online reviewers in a recent podcast with Julian Barrat and Garth Jennings which I don’t agree with, but I generally find his stuff very agreeable. The interview he did with Steve Coogan was excellent.

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