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the substitute (a tom berenger classic…)

Okay, this might seem like I’m pouring venom on it straight away, with a shady title like that, but let’s not forget that Berenger, at the height of his powers, was a very watchable actor.

And 1996’s The Substitute is showing those powers in the ascendant.

Here’s the deal; Jonathan Shale (Berenger) is a mercenary whose fortunes have turned. His team have returned to the U.S. after a botched mission in Cuba. Anyway, his girlfriend teaches at an incredibly rough high school in Miami, she’s pissed off the gang who runs wild in the school. She gets badly beaten up and Shale manages to set himself up as the substitute teacher of the title.

It’s a brilliant action / thriller with high quality performances from everyone. It’s brilliant. Brilliant.

The sequel, The Substitute 2: School’s Out, isn’t. It’s direct to video trash, despite being led by Treat Williams. Treat Williams is always watchable, but not even he can save the sequel.

(I mean, really, it sucks so hard from the first moment. It is the absence of subtlety in movie form. I’ve rarely seen a film so bad, and I’l watched a LOAD of shitty films. And there’s even a third and fourth film. What?)

Back to the first film, Ernie Hudson is the school principal, Luiz Guzman is one of Shale’s mercs, and the rest of the cast – none of whom I recognize – are reasonably above-average.

I know that the “white man rescuing the inner city school from itself” film isn’t a new genre, but The Substitute is still worth a watch.

It’s 2020!

Congratulations!

As the Earth survives another successful orbit of its celestial master we can look over the last year, or decade, and see what we’ve achieved and what we’ve learned.

But let’s not bother with that. I’m actually in a good mood and I don’t want to spoil it. 😀

Three things of note though:

  1. The wife is a teacher now, half-way through her probation year. She loves it and I’m really chuffed for her.
  2. My mental health is still improving despite a rocky few weeks of backsliding. I’m still hear and breathing. Sometimes it’s enough just to have that. 🙂
  3. My little girl turned 10 last week and she’s a great kid. She helps light the darkness up.

So, let’s march into the next 10 years with a touch of optimism. Who knows, it might actually work out.

doctor who : the aztecs

Episode One : Right out the gate Barbara and Susan are dicking around with Aztec stuff in some kind of temple. Then they’re rumbled! We didn’t see that coming did we, boy and girls?

As Susan runs back to the TARDIS to get the lads, Barbara is marched off! But it’s not long before our intrepid threesome are picked up by the same Aztecs (with incredibly historically accurate BBC English accents) and are shown some kindness?

Babs, is that you? A reincarnation of the priest in the tomb? That’s handy.

“Reincarnations can come out but human beings can’t go in!” I love you, Doc. I really do. Your chat is awesome.

There’s a point to be made here. This TARDIS crew – The Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian – are brilliant. They work so well together.

Also, the character of the High Priest of Sacrifice is magnificent.

Back in the temple… It had better rain, Barbara.

Bloody hell, Chesterton. What have you got yourself into this time.

And the Doctor is chilling with the other high priest, who has the best hat ever, and the local retirees.

And a moral quandary for the Gang. To sacrifice or not to sacrifice?

Ep 2 : An interrupted sacrifice and an angry High Priest of the same. That can’t end well.

Ian. The man with greatest thumb in history! I feel sorry for Ixta, though.

And The Doctor is quite the charming old rogue in this episode, if easily conned.

Ep 3 : Can Barbara stop Ian from being scrobbled?

Can Ian stop Barbara from being scrobbled?

Where the hell is Susan in all this?

And let’s count this as The Doctor’s first romance. “Yes, I made some cocoa and got engaged.”

Ep 4 : It’s all to play for. Will Ian escape the tunnel? Will The Doctor escape his fiancee? Will Susan escape her punishment? Will Barbara survive the eclipse?

And here comes the final battle between Ian and Ixta.

Verdict : The Aztecs is an example of Doctor Who at it’s very best. Everyone shines and the script is perfect. The story is funny, tragic, thrilling and, at the end, very sad.

battle ready – pastor niles

Okay, as promised, an actual model that’s been painted. 🙂

Everyone, say hello to Pastor Niles.

Pastor Niles is one of the Ministorum Priests assigned to Major Emerson’s Fighting 27th, a motley collection of soldiers trying to stay alive on the nightmare world of Planet Nine.

He’s shinier than expected when seen close up. That must be something to do with the light of the God-Emperor, or something…

battle ready – windmaster oh

I’ve had this model kicking around, unpainted, for years. A couple of editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle ago.

Now we’re in the brave new world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, version 2.0 no less, and maybe it’s time to splash some paint on the old fella. Also, I’ve been inspired by the recent chat over at Warhammer Community and Citadel Colour of getting models, units and armies “Battle Ready”.

And, let’s face it, it’s something else to do with my amazing website of no content.

Windmaster Oh, all green and keen.

Windmaster Oh, for want of a better name, has a base coat of Loren Forest here. I’m just about to splash some Biel-Tan Green over him. Once that dries I’ll start working on him from the base up.

the most adjective thing in the world

My wife is training to be a teacher this year. And tomorrow, on her placement, she is teaching a lesson on variables for a 3rd year class. Oh, it’s Computing Science she’s teaching.

She has asked me to throw together a story which she, and the class, can use for plugging data into.

The variables, if you’re interested, are name, place, adjective, object, number, comment.

And here it is, just for fun.

Travelling /Name/, the salesman, approached the door. The box almost slipped out of his grasp as he used his elbow to push the doorbell. /Name/ held his breath. Was anyone home? It was the first house he had tried since leaving /Place/.

A light flickered on through the frosted glass.

He could hear muttering, two voices arguing. He tried his best salesman smile.

The door opened.

“Have I got a bargain for you,” /Name/ said.

“Please, go away,” said the man whose house it was. “I don’t want any trouble.”

“I don’t bring trouble, friend,” said /Name/. “I bring opportunity!” He patted the box. “This.”

“I don’t…” began the man.

“This,” repeated /Name/, louder this time, “is the most /Adjective/ thing in the world. And it can be all yours.”

“I’m really not…” stammered the man.

“Interested?” finished the salesman. “You haven’t even seen it yet…” And before the man could say another word he opened the lid of the box. A golden glow shone from within.

“It’s so /Adjective/,” said the man. “/Adjective/ /Object/. I’ve never seen so many.”

“I’ve /Number/ of them.”

“How did you fit them all in?”

“Well, /Comment/,” he said with a wink.

bullet journals, and other things

First things first:

bulletjournal.com

That’s where you’ll find the main info behind it. Bullet Journals are part diary, part journal, part calendar. And the way it’s done means you’re in control of how the information is saved, with an indexing system that’s quite adaptable.

I got a new notebook today. That’ll serve as my new journal for 2019.

My last one covered October 2017 to June 2018. This was the period of increasingly poor mental health leading up to my wee visit to hospital. And the last message in the journal? My suicide note. Yikes.

Anyway, the plan is to see how I can use it to improve myself rather than chart my slow deterioration into madness and self-destruction.

Let’s end on a happier note.

I picked up the film Species the other day. Once the child has settled down to bed I’ll enjoy the delights of a H.R. Giger designed Natasha Henstridge.

Lovely.

little plastic unpainted faces

No, not a sermon on the devilry of over-used plastic surgery but a few thoughts on that other scourge of our times… Warhammer!

I had a long term strategy where I wouldn’t use any model that wasn’t fully painted. Problem is my painting speed is glacial. So I have a number of boxes of wee plastic men who haven’t seen any tactical game action.

The last few games, however, I’ve brought out a few tanks that aren’t quite finished. Then a squad that haven’t seen anything other than undercoat.

And that got me thinking, why am I doing this to myself?

This week I’m going to unbox as much as possible and glue it up so that it’s usable for a game. I wonder how much I’ll have ready by the end of the week?