South America Cruise Videos
May09

South America Cruise Videos

A companion post to the two articles that I recently posted outlining our recent cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile on board the Princess Cruises ship Star Princess, containg the videos that I’ve subsequently uploaded to YouTube along with some brief notes. To read a review of the cruise see: Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1) Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2) A quick pan around the admittedly not terribly photogenic dockside area in Buenos Aires from our mini-suite stateroom balcony. We boarded a steam train in order to get to the winery at Juanico in Uruguay. This is a few minutes of the countryside and small towns rolling past which sadly doesn’t capture many of the happy, waving, or just plain gobsmacked locals who stopped to stare at our mode of travel. A zumba session taking place out on deck. People who know me will not be surprised to learn that not only did I not partake I also didn’t even consider partaking. The Star Princess outside the influence of the River Plate and on the South Atlantic, as seen from our balcony once again. A Magellanic penguin wandering past us as we strolled through its rookery at Punta Tombo reserve in Argentina. Two dancers showing off some Argentina Tango moves in the piazza to the enjoyment of three decks of viewers. The dancers were very good but they weren’t as good as the Uruguayans who danced for us as the winery and with whom I “danced” in front of everyone. And nobody was as good as the dancers who put on the tango show in Buenos Aires. But still good, as you can see. You’re probably looking at this and thinking “nice filters” or “nice processing” or something along those lines. Well, stop that. The sunset that you see here was exactly as it appeared as the ship made its way southwards from Argentina towards the Falkland Islands. We’d been sitting down in one of the bars (shock) when we noticed the sudden colour of the sky outside so, along with a great many other passengers, headed out onto the promenade deck to stare at it and take some photos and video. A quick pan around on our Falklands War Battlefields tour that we took on the Falkland Islands. As you probably could have guessed. Fascinating tour that you can read more about on the first article I wrote about the cruise. The next three videos are from our cruising around Cape Horn. The theme of these videos is “grey”. Now for three videos shot on a catamaran trip out onto the Beagle...

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Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2)
May08

Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2)

This is the second part of the article outlining a holiday with Princess Cruises on the Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our first date and the fact we’d managed to save up long enough to afford it. The first part of this article can be found here: Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1). The Beagle Channel One of my favourite sights on our trip was waking up to discover the cruise ship was docked in Ushuaia and surrounded on three sides by towering mountains made more ominous and oppressive by the dim pre-dawn light of day. What can I say? I like the sea and I like mountain ranges; put them together and you’ve got yourself something I like twice. Now, unlike the Falkland Islands where we’d been told it could be cold and wet but it wasn’t, in Ushuaia we’d been told it would be cold and wet and it certainly was. It was very cold. And it was very wet. Fortunately, the wet part eased off early but the cold part persisted. How cold was it? It was long-sleeved top and thick hoodie and wool hat and waterproof coat, with hoodie done up and hood raised, and coat done up and hood raised, and gloves on cold. And we’d booked an excursion on a catamaran out onto the Beagle Channel to look for wildlife so it was all that type of cold plus out on an exposed stretch of water cold. Still, only one mad, mad person decided to ignore the spray and biting wind and spend the entire catamaran venture out on the deck of the boat rather than taking in the views from inside. That was me. So, sure, I was cold. Frozen, you might say. But I knew I’d recover and I got some wonderful views and fabulous shots of mountains, birds, sea lions, and a lighthouse, as well as the fond memory that there was probably at least one person on board other than my wife thinking “What is that loony doing out there?” Cruise Tip Maybe two pairs of gloves next time I head out onto the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia Now, we’d been told on the Falkland Islands that the majority of people who were really a little bit, er, antsy where it came to that place’s sovereignty were the Argentinians in and around Ushuaia; whether this was because the harsh living and economic conditions there simply brewed anger couldn’t be said with absolute certainty but most other people in that area of the world had a more liberal live-and-let-live attitude. We’d also...

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Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1)
Apr25

Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1)

This March, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our first date and to celebrate the fact we’d managed to save up long enough to afford it, my wife and I took a holiday with Princess Cruises on the Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. This post forms the first of two long parts documenting the holiday’s highlights as well as giving some hints and tips about cruising in general and cruising with Princess in particular. Some tips will probably update those presented when I wrote about our first Princess Cruise around Asia in 2008. The Air France Experience To say we were a little worried in the lead up to our cruise would be an understatement. Do we need visas? Have we got travel insurance? Did we arrange the parking for the right day? Are our passports valid? Did we really get travel insurance or have I mistaken that for the Iceland trip last year? And so on. One of the major concerns was that we’d arranged to fly out to Buenos Aires through Princess (there are flight protection benefits doing it that way) and this meant we had to fly Air France from Heathrow with a change at Paris Charles de Gaulle. Yes, we’d be risking the entire vacation on French air traffic controllers being at work. As it was, the air traffic control worry never materialised. Instead, after a short hop to France we settled into our seats for the 13+ hour flight to Argentina. Settled into our uncomfortable seats. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to those hard plastic chairs you used to sit on at school then I can tell you now that someone put a tea towel over them and installed them on Air France planes. Painful seats, equally painful food. I know that airplane food doesn’t have a good reputation, but French food does so we had high hopes they’d cancel out into something average. But no. It’s something when you and your wife disagree what something is before you eat it – I thought potato, my wife thought egg – then both change your minds to “Is this some genetically-engineered tasteless fish? Is this entire trip a psychological test or TV prank?” We still don’t know what we ate on Air France and were too scared to ask in case someone told us. Arrival: Buenos Aires, Argentina We picked up our luggage, got through security, spotted some Princess Cruises representatives, and were directed to the end of the airport where someone would take our luggage and put us on a coach to the ship. The representatives in the airport were having...

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American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion
Jan02

American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion

You know what it’s like. You’re following some random links on random Tumblr sites looking for 1980s-style neon gorgeousness (don’t ask me why) when you find yourself somewhere called Sleazeburger and during the scrolling you notice a comment from someone asking about a film. And then you follow the link in the answer. And then you spend a little over 14 minutes gawping at something mesmerising and distressing, captivating, and mind-reeling. American Reflexxx is a movie featuring that Tumblr site’s owner, performance artist Signe Pierce, and filmed by Alli Coates in 2013. It was supposed to be a short film featuring Signe in stripper gear, neon shoes, and a reflective mask strolling along Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; something pretty, something futuristic cyborg-like, in a tourist destination in the heart of conservative America; it was probably expected there’d be stares, maybe some comments, photos from phones; it was probably not expected that a crowd would form and that both verbal and physical assault would take place. Oh, so naive. There’s some interesting time-dilation editing in the movie which helps to make Signe Pierce’s cyborg seem that much more alien amongst the humans. And, interestingly, it’s very difficult to come away from this video with anything other than bad feelings towards those humans as their behaviour to the alien is distressingly… well, human. The initial interest in the sexy giant very quickly gives way to uncertainty over gender. Unable to truly know whether Signe is male or female or something else entirely the instinct becomes to assume she is wrong, and therefore bad, and therefore a threat, and therefore scary. Adrenalin’s a hell of a drug and it will either trigger a fight or flight instinct but when you’ve got the safety of the herd around you and the threat has no obvious weapons a fight with the protection of numbers in the mob is probably the result you’re going to get. I mean, you’d like to think people could think rationally, perhaps think it’s a model doing a photoshoot or even the art piece it is, show some interest maybe, then go about whatever it was they were doing before, but forming into a mass of bullies is certainly an option too. The video features Signe getting sprayed with water, someone trying to trip her, and someone cowardly pushing her from behind to the floor where she suffers a cut. In each case the person assaulting the alien is a woman. A raised reaction to a perceived raised threat from a potential rival perhaps? Or women are just naturally violent in South Carolina? I’ve not been so I don’t...

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Dec22

Neil deGrasse Tyson Talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It’s become something of a tradition that famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson – how famous? He’s about 0.85 on the Professor Brian Cox scale level of famous – will take to Twitter to discuss elements of some current big thing and describe the science behind it, what’s right, and what’s wrong. Deflategate? He talked about it. Eurovision Song Contest? He talked about it. Proposed acquisition of 99p Stores Ltd by Poundland? He talked about it after converting the currency to those quaint dollars and cents they have over there. As you probably know unless you’ve been in a cave following a terrible spelunkung adventure (in which case thanks for popping by this site first on your escape from the darkness) the Star Wars universe just added a new movie to the collection in the form of The Force Awakens. I wrote a review about it. Recently. Here it is: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Review. It’s a big thing – the movie, not my review – and that means Neil deGrasse Tyson popped up on Twitter and told anyone who would listen about the film. The scientist’s remarks about the new Star Wars film are...

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Review
Dec18

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Review

Like many people I’ve been to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and like many people you’ve probably seen it too even if you haven’t because you’ve probably seen the original Star Wars and without wanting to spoil the film too much this new release is almost exactly the same. In much the same way that J. J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek you can more-or-less consider Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be a reboot of A New Hope with a splash of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi thrown in for good measure. Did I like The Force Awakens? Yes. It was a big sci-fi spectacular, it had good action, good characters, and it all felt warm and familiar. It’s a good film because the original Star Wars trilogy was good. That said, there was nothing new in it at all and I’m really hoping that this is addressed in the following two; I’m going to be mightily disappointed if all we can look forward to is ghost Jedi, swamps, and muppets in forests again. So, let’s see what The Force Awakens is like. The desert planet Tattooine still features, only this time it’s called Jakku. The person on that desert planet with the notably absent parents who dreams of fighting for the rebels and who has the Force flowing within them, originally Luke Skywalker, of course, this time is Rey. An aside here: I really liked her. She’s a tougher character than Luke ever was, handy in a fight, taking no nonsense, and only grudgingly accepting help. I approved of Rey a lot. The evil Empire is now the evil First Order. The evil Emperor is now the evil Supreme Leader Snoke. It will be interesting to see if any back story of Snoke appears in the upcoming movies as I understand he became truly evil because his parents Snufflywubs Giblets and Jar Jar Jumblybum didn’t give him a cute enough name. The Darth Vader character – the Sith Lord, all in black, with a family connection to one of the main characters – is now Kylo Ren. With his helmet removed he reveals himself to be Young Sherlock Holmes. The pipe is truly evil and explains the husky voice. The bit where the Millenium Falcon is captured, boarded, and the pilots are hiding below the deck plating is there. Han and Luke dressed as stormtroopers pretending to take a captured Chewbacca through the evil base is now an actual stormtrooper – Finn – pretending to take a captured Poe Dameron through the evil base. The Death Star is now Starkiller Base. Nobody thinks...

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