May 2 2009


Mr Stuff

I was happily watching some TV when I got bored and started channel surfing. That’s when I came across the show ‘More Industrial Revelations Europe’ on Discovery, to be honest the show is a bit dull but that’s not what made me sit up. I recognised the guy presenting the show and it took me a minute or so to realise he’s the Grolsch Schtop guy, whose name is Ronald Top in case you were wondering. After some looking around I can’t seem to find the excellent Grolsch porn advert (“where is his moustache?”) but found this one instead, which is almost as good.

May 1 2009

Incompetent Eco-Warriors make for good TV

Mr Stuff

I’ve watched a lot of TV in the last few months, especially the documentary channels Discovery and National Geographic, I really like Deadliest Catch. So when Discovery started a new show Whale Wars I thought I’d give it a watch. It is a reality show following some eco-warriors trying to stop the Japanese whaling fleet, the Japanese say it’s for research but everyone knows that it is in reality commercial whaling for the domestic market.

So we get to meet our volunteers and the captain, who was a founder of Greenpeace but was asked to leave. A few of the volunteers have some experience on a ship but most seem to have none, which isn’t a great idea when you’re in the antarctic and can die within minutes if you fall overboard. Let the fun begin.

Before reaching the fleet they have to run some drills to make sure that everything goes well when needed, and one of their first drills is to launch one of the speedboats that are used to hassle the whaling ships. For an experienced crew this would be no effort, but as previously stated there is little experience here. The launch starts off well with 4 people getting into the boat before it is lowered into the water. But as soon as it hits the water the trouble begins, for some reason the boat is at an angle when it hits the water, about 30° so they say, and it only gets worse. The drag from the water turns the boat sideways and then flips it, putting the 4 people into the cold water, and the cables holding the boat all snap leaving it behind as the ship powers on. A lot of panicking starts on deck with people throwing hooks after the boat, some suggesting launching another boat to get it, before someone decides that launching a rocket line is the best plan. This works and all are brought back to the ship where they are dealt with by the resident doctor. So it ended well, but the most shocking thing about this bit of action was the reaction from the captain. Once the boat flipped he did little but stand on the deck watching what was happening and looking confused, surely his job at this point should be to manage the rescue of his crew, but no not this captain. He did eventually decide that backing the ship up would be better than trying to turn it around, but didn’t instill any confidence.

In the aftermath there was a lot of blame being pointed at the first mate, who many believe is incompetent and only there because he’s a friend of the captain, he was holding the rope at the front of the boat that should have kept it steady and pointing forwards. The captain blamed the crew on the seedboat because only 1 should have been in it when it was lowered, but surely he should have pointed this out at the time, it is after all his responsibility to ensure the safety of the crew and the smooth running of operations.

It also turned out that while people were frantically throwing hooks at the flipped boat one of them managed to hit the rotors of their helicopter which dented one of the blades. The pilot wasn’t happy about this because it could cause the blade to snap during flight, but he had some test flights and it seemed OK. But he has to make sure his flights stay within view of the ship so that if it does ditch he has a good chance of being rescued.

So you have an incompetent captain, a gormless first mate and a ship full of inexperienced crew in some of the most dangerous waters in the world. How can I not want to watch it.

Nov 20 2008

Burn baby burn

Mr Stuff

Since I’ve had my Sky+ box I will often record new shows and series link it just to see if they are worth it, sometimes I win and a lot of the time I lose but since there is little effort involved it doesn’t matter if the programme isn’t very good.

While watching FX a few weeks ago I saw an advert for a new show called Burn Notice, it’s about a spy who gets burned which is apparently the same as getting fired but for spies. It sounded OK so I set up the series link and last weekend finally got round to watching it, the good thing being I had a lot of episodes recorded if I liked it.

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