Archive for July, 2011

Please don’t read if you have not seen episode 3 of the new series of Torchwood: Miracle day yet….Spoiler alert.

Well at the start of the episode the Torchwood team are on the run from the CIA, FBI and Police; and go into hiding.

The Torchwood team then begin to investigate the causes of Miracle day and what is behind it and come across Phicorp, the large pharmaceutical company that Kitzinger works for.  On investigation of a warehouse owned by Phicorp they discover tons and tons of painkillers and other drugs, all made by Phicorp. Then they discover that there is more than they first thought as they discover an entire sub section full of them (“It’s bigger on the inside,” comments Jack).  Well, it appears that PhiCorp appeared to know that Miracle Day was coming, and had, thus, stocked up accordingly. Well, last week I hinted it might be something to do with drug companies and pain management.  Am I right or is there something else behind Phicorp. I really do hope it is some sort of alien interference :).

Every body tries to cope with the crisis as best as they can.  Even Captain Jack copes in his own way by getting drunk and with some good, hard sex with a stranger he meets in a bar, showing the new audience another side to him. As he has no real friends to unload his problems he has to seek solace with a stranger.

In addition Dr Juarez is continuing to try to sort out things on her end, giving us another view of what’s happening.  She attends another meeting where there’s talk of birth control being put into the water supplies of India and China, bringing up something I’d wondered about last week. We also learn that normal miscarriages aren’t happening, so babies that would normally die are born malformed with severe disabilities.  And then she attends a conference arranged by Phicorp where it is revealed that pain killers and other drugs can now be sold over the counter without the need for a prescription.

Meanwhile, Oswald Danes is continuing the chat show circuit and has a secret meeting with Phicorp followed by a confrontation with Jack, I wonder what that is all about.? And finally we see the beginning of a new cult forming, called the soulless, who march along holding candles and wearing masks.

So, what did I think? To be honest I really did not like this episode of Torchwood what so ever.  I really struggled with it and found it painfully slow.  There was very little action and the episode seemed to be concentrating on character/story development rather than anything else. Although there were some remnants of the old Torchwood, for example we got some hints as to some of Jack’s adventures through time and space and some mentions of what happened with Torchwood before, but that’s it, it just doesn’t feel like Torchwood.  I don’t feel satisfied at the moment and am eagerly waiting for something exciting to occur.  Maybe after all this story development things will start to happen and we will get back the old Torchwood, I hope :).

What do you think? Do you agree?

Here is a quick look at the next weeks episode:-

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Watch this trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

I am huge fan of the original “planet of the apes” films so I am intrigued by the upcoming film. This looks pretty good, what do you think?

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for more news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Please don’t read if you have not seen episode 2 of the new series of Torchwood: Miracle day yet….Spoiler alert.

So at the end of episode 1 we see Captain Jack, Gwen, Rhys and their new baby being extradited, by CIA agent Rex Matherson, to the good old USA. One quick question, Would the CIA be allowed to kidnap British citizens on UK soil?

Anyway, back in America, Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins), gets more to do as she continues her investigations and tries to help out Rex. Her supervisor, Brian Friedkin (Wayne Knight), appears at first to want to help the investigation, but then seems to have a different agenda.

And in the meantime, Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), is out of prison and doing the talk show circuit with a police officer in tow just waiting for him to screw up. After an apologetic break-down during his first interview, he’s approached by Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), a PR agent who
thinks he could be doing much better for himself.

We have Doctor Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur). She’d treated Rex when he came into the emergency room and now is working on revamping hospital procedures and changing medicine as we know it, while also providing Rex with a bit of over-the-phone assistance when “you know who” gets poisoned. She also crashes a medical conference and, interestingly, gets a visit of her own from Jilly Kitzinger

And finally then there is the continuation of examining the logistics of exactly what would happen in a situation like this. Mandatory birth control has not been discussed, but we do see discussions about the fact that the entire medical industry would have to change from a life-saving  position to one that’s more about pain management.

And we are still left with the question of what will happen when this is solved. Will everyone who was supposed to die just suddenly die.

To be honest I really did not like this episode. In my opinion, it was slow, boring and wasn’t exactly action-packed or anything like the “old” Torchwood.  And at times it felt as this episode was just a little filler to make up the episodes.  Im still yet to be convinced whether this series of Torchwood is any good yet. I really hope to proved wrong in future episodes.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Here is a quick look at the next weeks episode:-

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Hi all,

Please don’t read if you have not seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2  …. Major Spoiler alert.

Yesterday (19th July) I went to the cinema and saw the Harry Potter finale. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and was so looking forward to watching the end of the series. I have read the all the books and could not wait to see this finale on the big screen.

Before I tell you if it was any good I will just tell you briefly about the story.

In this final film it’s time for heroic teen wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) to face his ultimate destiny in a battle with the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). But he is not alone. Harry’s loyal friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) back him all the way. As does most of the wizarding world, including Harry’s classmates and teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I don’t know if you remember but at the end of the last film we see Lord Voldemort steel the most powerful wand from the tomb of Harry’s protector, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon.  And this is where this film picks up, with a shot of the dark lord Voldemort’s noseless  face in triumph as he steals the most powerful magic wand in the world from  the tomb of Professor Dumbledore and with it he will become invincible.

In the very next scene, we find Harry Potter, Hermione Granger  and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), looking vulnerable and young, as they struggle with the vast responsibility of stopping Voldemort in his tracks.

The trio discover that one of the horcruxes is in the vaults of Gringotts Bank.  With Hermione disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange the trio find the horcrux but find themselves trapped. But after escaping on a dragons back it is then revealed that the final horcrux is back at Hogwarts and so trio head off back to  Hogwarts to track it down.  Voldemort is none too pleased and so the scene is set for the final battle.

But what chance do these adolescents have against the powers of darkness? We soon find out. And so this is where most of the film takes place, in the concluding battle at Hogwarts.

So was it any good?? I hear you ask.  OH YES, it was bloody brilliant. I was blown away. Awesome, Excellent, Fantastic, Amazing are some of the words I would describe it.  This film ties up every single loose end of the whole saga. And in between quests for hidden horcruxes and duals with Lord Voldermort, Harry finds time for a little romance.

Believe me the battle at Hogwarts it is a genuinely terrifying spectacle. As bloodied students fight desperately against a horde of screaming black-robed Death Eaters. Hogwarts itself comes to life to defend itself. This gives Maggie Smith, as prim professor McGonagall, a lovely comic turn as she sends off an army of stone knights.  “I’ve always wanted to do that” she is heard to say.

Our central threesome, did not disappoint. Radcliffe’s is amazing in this film and has been transformed into quiet a heroic character.  My favourite line from Harry has to be after Harry enters Hogwarts and confronts professor Snape in the great hall and says “It appears you have a security problem”. The doors then open to reveal Harry’s closest allies as he finishes “And it is quiet extensive”.  Great stuff.  Emma Watson and Grint ars awesome too and have portrayed a vast range of acting skills. Grint pulled off a particularly emotional scene in which one of his brothers is slain.

In fact there are many deaths on both sides but I am afraid the death scene that got me the most was when Professer Snape croaked after bearing his soul.  And we finally find out that he has been on Harry’s side from the start. Very emotional stuff.

In addition, there is superb acting from Helena Bonham Carter as the raving black witch Bellatrix Lestrange.  Her death at the hand of Mama Weasley was particularly pleasing.

But special mention has to go to the weedy Neville Longbottom (Matthew David Lewis) who is in element here and has some of the best lines of the film, in my opinion.  One of which was after nearly fallen to his death, after blowing up the bridge, he pops up with a cheery, “Well that went well”.

I could go on as there are so many positives in this film. This remarkable franchise has certainly been given, in my opinion, the thrilling conclusion it deserves.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster of tear-jerking tragedy, rousing heroics and long-awaited closure. it’s impossible not to be hugely moved by their final acts of courage and love in the face of an ultimate evil.

I cannot express how brilliant I thought this film was. And I cannot recommend this film enough. In my opinion you will not be disappointed :).

What do you think? Have you seen the Harry Potter finale? Let me know your thoughts…

And if not then take a look at this awesome trailer…..

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for more news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the SFHDominion monthly Newsletter.

Please don’t read if you have not seen episode 1 of the new series of Torchwood: Miracle day yet….Spoiler alert.

I was really looking forward to this as it has been a very long time since I have had my last Torchwood fix. I am a huge fan of Torchwood and, like my wife (although possibly for different reasons), I love John Barrowman in it. I think its a shame he hasnt been in the new series of doctor who, but that’s just a minor gripe. Anyway where was I :), Oh yes Torchwood. I don’t know if you remember but at the end the last series of Torchwood a powerful and emotionally wrenching storyline left the ranks of our Cardiff-based alien-hunting Torchwood Institute decimated. They were left so battered that Torchwood could do nothing but disband and Captain Jack (john barrowman) was seen to disappear into space to roam through the galaxy and find a new life for himself.

And this is where exciting new series , “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” starts.  But for some strange reason the action has (unfortunately in my opinion) moved to the United States, where Torchwood is just a rumor and the world, has Something Big to worry about. Anyway this series begins with the botched execution of child murderer Oswald Danes, and soon it becomes clear that death has taken a permanent holiday. And no matter how dire the disease or gruesome the accident  no one on the planet can die. For example, in a particular gruesome scene, the remains of a body is examined after an explosion has blown him to loads of pieces and he appears to still alive.  Captain Jack innocently asks “Will he still be alive if you cut off his head” and the answer, we gruesomely find out, is YES.

What at first appears to be a blessing soon becomes a numerical nightmare. Because we find out as the population increases exponentially, the planet’s resources will dwindle and we are told that everything will be gone in about 4 months.

The only group equipped to find the cause, and thus the solution, is …Torchwood. But is there a connection Torchwood and this phenomenon!

So The CIA attempt to track down Torchwood with the aid of CIA agent Rex Matherson, who has spent most of the episode in hospital after a fatal car crash.  Well, it should be fatal as he had a hug pole in him but, like every one else on the planet, he survives. So, whilst badly injured, he goes off to Wales to track down Gwen (the last remaining survivor of Torchwood). In the meantime Captain Jack comes from his self-imposed exile.

So we  end the episode with Captain Jack, Gwen, Rhys and their new baby being extradited, by CIA agent Rex Matherson, to the good old USA.

There is twist….Captain Jack, who has been indestructible for much of his character’s span, can suddenly be injured and killed; while everyone else has gained mortality, he has lost it. But with this twist it does open up another question for me. If Jack’s suddenly not immortal, despite being a “fixed point in time.”  according to the Doctor how does he become the Face of Boe now?.  Did the makers think the new american viewers would be too confused so they just removed it with no explanation. This isn’t the only twist. Pullman’s Danes, having technically served his sentence, is released from jail and looks as though he is going to become a major character in the series.

Miracle Day seems to race past with big and impressive action sequences.  There are some funny moments too.  Gwen holding the baby, who is wearing ear muffs, whilst shooting at the helicopter was particularly amusing.  In addition, Miracle Day has already begun to explore the  philosophical questions regarding its premise.  How does a person deal with not  dying?  Is an impossibly-alive person still a “victim”?  Is he even still a “person,” and, if so, does he still warrant the same rights and care as a  healthy person?  Does he heal or will he continue to feel pain forever?  The fighting in Somalia  stops because the army cannot bear to continue a pointless fight against an  unkillable opponent;  meanwhile North Korea sees its population as immortal  soldiers and takes up arms.  What will happen when food stores are depleted?   And, most importantly, what happens when the “miracle” stops?

But I have to say I am bit annoyed that most of the action has moved from Wales to the USA. I’m just worried it will lose touch with its roots and turn into an american action series. It seems, in my opinion, far too americanised.  The American cast members seem to be outnumbering the British first of all. So, at this moment I am really not sure I am going to enjoy it as I fear it is going to move too far from the original Torchwood series. And finally why isn’t the Doctor (Dr Who)  involved to save the planet? There is no mention of him at all.

Overall I did feel that Miracle day has tried to make an effort to remain faithful to the original series. But failed.  The tone and pacing appeared similar to the previous series and I think there were several moments in the episode that are sure to make current fans of the series smile.  Even viewers who have never seen the series should be able to jump right into the episode and enjoy it. But I think the die-hard Dr Who/Torchwood fans, like me, will be left a bit disappointed.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Here is a quick look at the next weeks episode:-

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Hi all,

Time for something completely different 🙂

As I was doing my weekly accounts the other day I thought I would write about something a bit different and that’s my personal thoughts of when I think a hobby turns into a business and the differences between the two.

I think there is a fine line between a hobby and business, and sometimes it is difficult to understand which you are doing.  I would imagine there are a lot people (like me) who have a hobby and want make it into a business. Not too long ago I finally made the transition from hobby to business and so I thought I would share my views/personal experience on what I think is the way to differentiate a hobby to running a business.

So, what is the difference between a business and a hobby? I hear you ask.

Well I think the main difference is that a business is structured to make a profit, while a hobby is just done for your own enjoyment. Although don’t get me wrong running a business is still enjoyable. But ultimately its main goal is to make money.

I’m guessing that for some of you reading this post, you view yourselves as having a hobby or running a business.  (Or aspiring to run a business.)  But are you really?  Because in addition to the goal of profitability, I think there is another very important factor in the difference between business and hobby.  And that’s Perception.

There are three areas where I think perception comes into play in your business:

  1. How you view yourself and your business.
  2. How you present yourself and your business to others.
  3. How others perceive you and your business.

What do I mean? Well let’s look at each of these areas in a little more detail.

1. How you view yourself and your business.

In some ways, I think this one seems like the easiest.  You tell yourself, “Hey, I run my own business.”  You sell your products, so that must be true, right?  But as I have learned from past experiences, many of us struggle with the idea of seeing ourselves as running a business.  Namely that part about how businesses exist to make a profit and are entitled to do so.

So before you can even begin to scrutinize the other two areas of perception, you need to make sure you are giving yourself credit.  You have to get comfortable with the idea that you are a business owner.  An entrepreneur.  A creative empire builder.  And someone who is in it to make a profit.  And you have to make a profit/make money to live on, otherwise you can’t live.

2. How you present yourself and your business to others.

Ok, so you’ve come to view yourself as a creative entrepreneur.  Fantastic.  But do you present yourself as a business owner to those around you?

When someone asks you what you do, how do you respond?  Maybe you say, “I make/sell jewelry,” or “I’m a jewelry designer.”  But statements like that actually don’t help with the perception that you run a business and not just make jewelry as a hobby.  Instead, I think it helps if you change that response to promote the idea that you own and run a business and not just selling stuff? In my case, my hobby was my interest in science fiction and horror and I collected comics.  Now I say something like “I am self employed and I have an online business called the world of science fiction and horror. I buy and sell science fiction and horror collectables (mainly comics and books) from my online shop. I also offer a monthly newsletter, games and trailers on my website”.  I think it sounds more professional than just “I sell comics”.

I think your actions go a long way towards projecting your persona as a savvy business owner.  Do you make your business a priority, or do you try to squeeze it in between the other parts of your life?  Do you designate certain hours as “business time” or do you let yourself get interrupted by shopping trips and lunches out?

I used to be totally guilty of this.  My office is in the living room and I would sit at my computer and try to plan my day to work, and then my wife would ask me if I wanted to go shopping.  I’d usually say yes.  Or I would turn the tv on and watch Jeremy Kyle for a couple of hours. Or my son would want me to play with him, so I would. Or something else would distract me. Let me tell you, I don’t think that communicated the idea that I was really serious about running my business to my family.  (Especially to my wife, who was probably very frustrated that I was on the computer doing whatever (and not looking for a proper job) while she was at work.).  Now I am much more strict with my time.  And so now when I’m at my desk/office on the computer then “I’m working.” and so I want to be left alone.

Ultimately, my point is this.  If you’re going to talk the talk (“I run my own business”) then you need to walk the walk.

3. How others perceive you and your business.

I think this is essential and is really important to running a business. Sometimes in the past I struggled with the way I was perceived by certain members of my family and other people I encounter in my geographic community.  And it was very hard convincing some people that I was running a business and not pursuing a hobby.

My brother for instance, last year when I told him I was thinking about starting a business, gave me no moral support at all and just told me to get off my arse, stop pissing around and get a “proper job”.   Fortunately I ignored him but it didn’t install me with confidence at the time.  I think these people (in my opinion) are just jealous because they havent got the bottle to try their own business and prefer to just moan about how unhappy they are in their stressful 9 to 5 job, but thats just my opinion :).

But then again it might not be your friends or family.  Look around at everyone you interact with.  Do your vendors and suppliers view you as running a business?  What about your customers?

In order for your business to be successful, I think it’s important that the people you surround yourself with understand that you are, in fact, running a business. For example join/start a networking group.

Regardless of your background, I think many craft and design businesses (especially those based out of the home) struggle with the perception of what you do as a glorified hobby.  Even if this was never your hobby, I think it’s still worth exploring how to make it clear to everyone that you are running a business.

But how do you shift that perception from one of hobbyist to one of business owner I hear you ask?  Well, the main thing you need to go from hobby to business is that you need to get serious. And I don’t mean serious in suit and tie kind of way.  I very rarely wear and shirt and tie.  And I don’t mean that you should never have fun.  Far from it.  you want to enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise whats the point.  What I mean by get serious is that you need to make a commitment to doing those things that make your business into, well, a business.  And so now every day I’m working on ways to present myself to change that perception by changing how I feel about myself.

How do I do this?

  • Well I think first you need to get serious about the numbers.

If you truly want to run a successful business, you need to get serious about the numbers.  Numbers give you so much information – your income versus expenses tells you profit, sales data tells you what’s working and what isn’t, and cash flow projections tell you if you’re going to have any money in the bank next month. Therefore, make a business plan and keep track of your accounts.  And make time to update it. I have made a business plan and continually update it.

When it comes down to it, the cold hard truth is that businesses track their profits.  Until you do, you really aren’t running a business. I make a point of doing my accounts at least once a week, usually friday, so that I know exactly where I am in any month. In addition, keeping your accounts up to date has the additional benefit of making your tax return at the end of the year much easier to do.

  • And then I think you need to get serious about your time.

I stop saying “I didn’t have time for something,” and switch to “I didn’t make it a priority.”  Because often, lack of time is really lack of prioritization.

In order to run a successful business, you need to carve out time to run your business.  And if that means you need to set a schedule for business hours, then by all means do so. Which is what I do.  I set out time which I am working and time that I can spend with family and do other pursuits. I normally start at around 9am and work most of the day. I then have a break between 3 and 6.30pm so I can spend time with my son.  I spend most my evenings (after my little boy has gone to bed) focusing on my business.  I do focus a lot of my time on my business now and sometimes I really have to force myself to take the odd day off or 2 so I can relax and spend more time with my family.

Running a successful business takes either time or money.  If you have one, you can make do without the other.  But you can’t run a successful business without investing significant amounts of one of those two things.

The next time you find yourself moaning about your lack of time to run your business, then ask yourself how you can reorder priorities to have time for your business.  Can you watch less TV?  Can your spouse help with kids or housework?  Can you cut out needless shopping trips?  Can you focus on taking your business to the next level? I have been very lucky in that my wife is very supportive and tries to make sure that I am not disturbed when I am working.

If you never carve out some serious time for your business, you’ll find it hard to convince others (and eventually yourself) that you’re actually running a business.

  • And finally I think you need to get serious about the realities of running a business.

Running a business is hard.  Sometimes you lose money.  Sometimes customers don’t pay on time.  Sometimes customers complain. Sometimes you want to bang your head against the wall.  Sometimes you’re filled with an overwhelming sense of panic about how you’ll pay your bills this month.  Sometimes you’ll stress over whether or not you’re making the right choices or heading in the right direction. And sometimes you think “I don’t want to do this anymore”.

And in order to run a business, you have to understand and accept all of this.  I think you have to be brave, resillient and adaptable. You have to accept that some days it might not be fun. Some days you will have to do tasks you don’t really want to do.  Or figure out ways to delegate those tasks to others. But either way, they have to get done.

It’s much happier to pretend all that other stuff doesn’t exist.  To just make and try to sell your products.  But ignoring the fact that running a business is hard doesn’t make that reality go away.  It just means that you aren’t really running a business.

But I think there is definitely an upside to this.  And that is once you accept that reality that running a business is hard you then open yourself up to the possibility that running a business can also be really, really great and very rewarding.  As a result you give yourself a chance to create something bigger than yourself.  Something that can provide a great life for you and your family.

But only if you commit to the fact that running a business is not the same as a pursuing a hobby.

I know running my business is going to be hard work. But I think it has the potential to be so much more rewarding (both financially and emotionally).   But it won’t happen over night, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, patience and some luck to succeed.  I know I still have a long long way to go but, in my opinion, the rewards are going to be a lot better than working in a 9 to 5 job for some body else.  Even Lord Sugar started with nothing and took a long time to get to where he is now.

But at the end of the day its going to be me that is rewarded instead of some manager who doesn’t know what he/she is doing……

Well, that’s what I think anyway. I hope reading this blog has proved interesting for you. So, do you have a hobby that you want to turn/have turned into a business.  What are your experiences? Do you agree/disagree? Let me know?

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Watch this trailer for Final Destination 5 which is out at the cinema later this year.

It looks ok, but do we need another Final destination film??

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for more news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.

Watch this trailer for Torchwood: Miracle Day which is on BBC1 on the 14th July 2011.

I am a huge fan of Torchwood and have been looking forward to this new series for a long time but unfortunately it will be airing in the UK almost a week behind not only the US, but also Canada and Australia.  Why? To keep US networks happy. And because it’s aimed for the US market I just hope it hasn’t become too americanised…..

What do you think?

If you want to purchase second hand Comics and books please look at the science fiction and horror online shop. And for more news and reviews of upcoming science fiction and horror films please look at the free Science fiction and horror monthly Newsletter.