Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The books I read in 2014….

February 19, 2015

I would normally post this first thing in the new year but time ran away with me, there were only 27 this year compared to 33 last year ! I blame The Gold Finch for taking up so much of my time, and alas I was somewhat disappointed with it. If I had to recommend any overall it would be The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling and Stoner by John Williams.

Listed in chronological order of having been read, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score. A few got close to the top marks, but again no 5 this year:

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt = 2 ½
  2. Spin by Martin Sixsmith = 3
  3. May we be Forgiven by A.M. Homes = 3 ½
  4. Present Danger by Stella Rimington = 4
  5. My Policeman by Bethan Roberts = 3 ½
  6. A Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling = 4 ½
  7. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter = 3
  8. A Song for Achilles by Madeline Miller = 3
  9. The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham = 4
  10. The Report by J.F Kane = 3
  11. Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid = 2 ½
  12. Jack by A.M Homes = 3 ½
  13. That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo = 3
  14. The Mistress’s Daughter by A.M Homes = 3
  15. Smut by Alan Bennett = 3
  16. Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham = 4
  17. The City of Devi by Manil Suri = 2 ½
  18. Stoner by John Williams = 4 ½
  19. Mr Mercedes by Stephen King = 4
  20. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent = 4
  21. Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham = 3 ½
  22. The Empress Lover by Linda Jaivin = 2
  23. TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
  24. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King = 4
  25. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes = 3
  26. Burr by Gore Vidal = 4
  27. Red Moon by Benjamin Percey = 3 ½
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The films I saw at the movies in 2014 and how I rated them…

January 13, 2015

So the Golden Globes are all over and the Oscars nominations are now just around the corner so what better time than to give a rundown of the movies I was last year. There 39 this year, that is 1 up on last year.

Listed in chronological order of having been watched, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score…

  1. August: Osage County = 5
  2. Philomena = 4
  3. The Book Thief = 3
  4. Saving Mr Banks = 5
  5. Twenty Feet From Stardom = 5
  6. Last Train to Lisbon = 2
  7. Her = 5
  8. 12 years a slave = 4
  9. Wolf of Wall Street = 4
  10. Dallas Buyers Club = 4 1/2
  11. Grand Budapest Hotel = 4
  12. Other Woman = 3 1/2
  13. Fading Gigolo = 3
  14. The Finishers = 4
  15. Belle = 3
  16. Bad Neighbors = 2
  17. Chef = 4
  18. Godzilla = 4
  19. The Edge of Tomorrow = 4
  20. Maleficent = 3 1/2
  21. Under the Skin = 3
  22. Grace of Monaco = 2 1/2
  23. Broken Circle Breakdown = 5
  24. The Two Faces of January = 3 1/2
  25. 22 Jump Street = 3 1/2
  26. Dawn of Planet of The Apes = 4 1/2
  27. A Most Wanted Man = 4 1/2
  28. Lucy = 4
  29. Calvary = 4
  30. The Keeper of Lost Causes = 4
  31. Begin Again = 5
  32. Equaliser = 4
  33. Gone Girl = 4
  34. Boyhood = 4 1/2
  35. Skeleton Twins = 5
  36. Pride = 3 1/2
  37. Interstellar = 4
  38. Whiplash = 5
  39. Hunger Games: Mockingjay = 3 1/2

Sober for a month and all for a good cause

June 12, 2014

I have decided tdj-logoo participate in Dry July again this year. No this is not as a consequence of all the alcohol I might be drinking over the next few days in celebration of my birthday (well maybe in a small way it is), it is far more meaningful than that, last year I lost 4k over the 4 weeks!

For those of you not in the know Dry July is an organisation that aims to improve the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community of likeminded individuals giving up booze for the month of July (and raising money as they do it). So for the 31 days of July, I am hoping to raise funds while abstaining.

I have again chosen The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA as my chosen beneficiary for all the money I raise. Professor Chris O’Brien was an incredible man who had tremendous vision and courage.  He was inspirational in both the work he did as a cancer specialist and through his own three year battle with an aggressive brain tumour, a battle that he sadly lost in 2009.

Chris’s vision was for an integrated cancer treatment center so that patients would no longer have to navigate their way through all the different elements of dealing with their illness alone. His vision was realised with the completion of The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA back in 2013, more of which you can read about here: http://www.lifehouserpa.org.au/The_Chris_O_Brien_Lifehouse_at_RPA.aspx

If you would like to sponsor me you can do so here or you could always take part yourself 😉

The films I saw at the movies in 2013…

January 8, 2014

Ok what with the Oscars nominations impending publication I thought I would jot down the movies I was last year. There were only 38 this year, that is 11 down on last year, well I have had a busy one!

Listed in chronological order of having been watched, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score… A good year for me a few 5s in there and even one 5*

  1. Life of Pi = 5
  2. Jack Reacher = 3 ½
  3. The Impossible = 5
  4. The Hobbit = 5
  5. Hitchcock = 4 ½
  6. Paris Manhattan = 3
  7. Zero Dark 30 = 4 ½
  8. Flight = 4
  9. Django Unchained = 4 ½
  10. Lincoln = 4
  11. Les Miserables = 3
  12. Amour = 4
  13. I Give It a Year = 4
  14. Oblivion = 4 ½
  15. Rust & Bone = 5
  16. The Company You Keep = 5
  17. Star Trek, Into Darkness = 5
  18. Dead Man Down = 4
  19. Place Beyond The Pines = 4
  20. World War Z = 5
  21. Man of Steel = 4
  22. Happiness Never Comes Alone = 5
  23. This Is The End = 3
  24. Before Midnight = 4
  25. Now You See Me = 3 ½
  26. Elysium = 4
  27. Red Obsession = 3 ½
  28. Behind The Candelabra = 3 ½
  29. We’re The Millers = 3
  30. Gravity = 5*
  31. The Family = 3 ½
  32. Blue Jasmine = 4
  33. The Butler = 3 ½
  34. About Time = 4
  35. The Councillor = 2 ½
  36. The Hunger Games (2) = 4 ½
  37. Enough Said = 4
  38. American Hassle = 4

The Books I Read In 2013….

January 1, 2014

33 of them all up, which is two more than in 2012. If I had to recommend any overall it would be the trilogy by Hugh Howey, starting with Wool. If you like a good thriller/crime book then the books bt Stella Rimington are well worth a go.

Listed in chronological order of having been read, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score. A few got close to the top marks, but no 5 this year:

  1. Wolf Hall by Hilary mantel = 4
  2. The Dinner by Herman Koch = 3
  3. Wool by Hugh Howey = 4
  4. No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by A.McCall-Smith = 3
  5. Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher = 3
  6. All That I Am by Anna Funder = 4
  7. Shift by Hugh Howey = 4
  8. Closure Limited by Max Brooks = 4
  9. By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham = 3
  10. Devil in Disguise by Julian Clary = 2 ½
  11. Since Tomorrow by Morgan Nyberg = 2
  12. The Rapture by Liz Jensen = 4
  13. The Rise and Fall of The House of Bo by John Garnaut = 3 ½
  14. Poppet by Mo Hayder = 4
  15. Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel = 4
  16. Secret Asset by Stella Rimington = 4
  17. Reclaiming Epicurus by Luke Slatergy = 3
  18. The City and The Pillar = Gore Vidal = 4
  19. The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz = 3
  20. Union Jack by Val McDermid = 3
  21. The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne = 3 ½
  22. At Risk by Stella Rimington = 4
  23. The Cuckoos’ Calling by Rpbert Gallbraith = 4 ½
  24. Dust by Hugh Howey = 4 ½
  25. Wrecked by Charlotte Roche = 3
  26. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green = 4
  27. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn = 4 ½
  28. Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas = 3
  29. Take Your Best Shot by Jacqueline Kent = 3
  30. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion = 4
  31. Dead Line by Stella Rimington = 4
  32. 1222 by Ann Holt = 3 ½
  33. Zoo by James Patterson = 2

The films I saw at the cinema in 2012…

January 17, 2013

Listed in chronological order of having been watched, and scored out of 5 where 5 is the highest score….

  1. Mission Impossible, Ghost Protocol = 3
  2. Sherlock Holmes = 3 ½
  3. Albert Nobbs = 2 ½
  4. Melancholia = 3 ½
  5. The Skin I Live In = 4
  6. The Decedents = 4
  7. Young Adult = 3 ½
  8. Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy = 3
  9. Chronicle = 4
  10. Weekend = 4
  11. Shame = 4
  12. The Artist = 4
  13. J.Edgar = 4
  14. Star Wars Phantom Menace = 5
  15. My Weekend With Marilyn = 3 ½
  16. Elles = 3 ½
  17. The Hunger Games = 4
  18. Margin Call = 3 ½
  19. Best Marigold Hotel = 3 ½
  20. A Separation = 4
  21. Titanic 3D = 5
  22. The Deep Blue Sea = 2 ½
  23. Romantics Anonymous = 3 ½
  24. Dark Shadows = 3
  25. The Avengers = 4
  26. W.E. = 3 ½
  27. Café de Flour = 4
  28. Prometheus = 4 ½
  29. Rock Of Ages = 2 ½
  30. Seeking Friends For The End Of The World = 4
  31. Take This Waltz = 4
  32. A Royal Affair = 4 ½
  33. Margaret = 3
  34. The Dark Knight Rises = 3 ½
  35. Magic Mike = 3
  36. Bourne Legacy = 4 ½
  37. Total Recall = 4
  38. The Sapphires = 4
  39. Your Sisters Sister = 4 ½
  40. Ruby Sparks =4
  41. Lore = 4
  42. Looper = 4
  43. Arbitrage = 4 ½
  44. Savages = 4
  45. Argo = 4
  46. The Sessions = 5
  47. Skyfall = 5
  48. Intouchables = 5
  49. Quartet = 4

Star Wars no Brand Wars…

November 14, 2012

Let me preface this post by saying I am a HUGE fan of Star Wars….

As you are no doubt aware Disney has purchased Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars films, from George Lucas for $4.05bn, that is one big price tag but will it be a good buy for all concerned, especially the fans (i.e. me) I wonder. Disney wasted no time incorporating the big brand into its plans, they released this video of Darth Vader enjoying a trip to Disneyland, I’m not sure seeing the dark lord riding a Dumbo ride is exactly in keeping with his character traits but it  has already had more than 3.3 million views on YouTube.

I guess this is an early indication of the potential return on investment for Disney, after all how much might it have cost them to partner up with LucasFilm and to make this before the purchase, and when was the last time a proportional video for Disneyland (or any of their parks) got such great viewing figures in such a short period of time? The clip of Goofy’s visit to Disneyland posted in April this year has only had 530,000 views.

Even before the Star Wars was added to the portfolio, Disney reported $42 billion in revenue for its last fiscal year (a rise of 3%) while its profits went up 18% to almost $5.7 billion, will be interesting to see what Star Wars adds to the bottom line come this time next year.

Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has the addition of Lucasfilm “will further fuel Disney’s creative engine across our company to create additional value for our shareholders”.  And how will this creative manifest itself, well for starters Star Wars merchandise will soon be in Disney stores and online, well that is creativity from a retail perspective maybe, but other than providing more figurines and toys, how does the fan benefit from all this? Well the proof is in the pudding so to speak, and with this in mind new movies will be coming to a screen near you in the not too distant future.  Michael Arndt, who wrote Toy Story 3 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and won and Oscar for his work on Little Miss Sunshine, has been pegged to work on the script for the next film in 2013. I only hope he does not turn Star Wars into too ‘family friendly a comedy’, it is after all serious stuff to us diehard fans.

I can see how the Disney brand benefits from this deal, but I am yet to be convinced about the benefit to the Star Wars brand or the original fans, but then I guess it’s not really about us, it is about talking to a new audience and ensuring the brands longevity, something George Lucas did very well.

May the force be with them…

This post was originally written for Jigsaw Research, click here  http://www.jigsawresearch.com.au/blog/index.php check out more interesting posts

Has the KFC Colonel come out of the closet?

August 7, 2012

“Yep, let it be known that Colonel Sanders loves the gays. Hell, I might even be gay” proclaims John Goodman as the famous KFC Colonel.

This is in a video that was made for funnyorDie.com in reaction to the storm sparked in the US by a competitor to KFC, Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay marriage stance.

KFC are obviously using this opportunity to win over some of those pink dollars that will have been lost by Chock-fil-A as a result of it having donated $4 million to right-wing groups that oppose the legalization of gay marriage. The company’s president said last month they are “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

Dressed in the Colonel’s signature white-suite, Goodman uses his exaggerated impression to clearly mock Chick-fil-A. “I love all gay people always have. And, we’re open on Sundays,” he says, Chick-fil-A is only open Monday through Saturday for religious reasons. And to impress his point of view on the audience he goes on to say, “The only church the Colonel attends on Sunday is the church of chicken”.

But what I find most refreshing is the fact that the “Colonel” says he doesn’t actually care about beliefs and that in the end it all comes to money.

Watch the video here: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/e86050c415/kfc-loves-gays-with-john-goodman

Me, Mickey and The All Knowing I…

May 28, 2012

In less than two weeks I shall be in the air heading to Florida for a three week holiday. A bit different to the trip I took to China the same time last year, but one I am looking forward to just as much. The All Knowing I and I are off to celebrate our birthdays and we intend to do it with the same enthusiasm that 14year old boys do (rather than the 40 year olds that we will be, well he is turning 40 while we are there and I will be 41).

People always seem to ask me if we will be going down to the Keys or Miami Beach, let me be very clear about this, NO WE WILL NOT. We shall not have enough time after all there are too many theme parks and water parks to go to and they are generally rather BIG.

Disneyworld itself is circa 27 square miles and has its own motorways and infrastructure separate from rest of Central Florida. It’s made up of 4 main theme parks, 3 water parks, a great big entertainment area called Downtown Disney (shops, restaurants, cinema, shows, etc) and loads of other smaller things with sports facilities, golf courses, and every type of resort you could imagine basically.

We have made sure that we are staying about 15 mins drive away from everything!

And here is a little synopsis of some of the parks we will be visiting:

The Magic Kingdom: This is what people imagine when they think of Disney, it has the castle in the middle. It’s the most like Disneyland in California (but much bigger) and has a lot of the stuff you associate with Disney parks such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and all the fairy-tale rides.

EPCOT: Always a favourite, the name stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was intended by Walt (as in THE Walt Disney) to be a sort of permanent World’s Fair demonstrating technology, education, and innovation. What it turned into is the biggest of the parks, you need at least 2 days to see it all. It’s divided into 2 distinct halves; there is the Future World and World Showcase.

Future World is a bunch of rides and attractions based around science and it’s a series of huge pavilions devoted to different elements, each containing rides, shows and attractions. Hard to describe, but the pavilions are things like Universe of Energy (all about different energy sources), The Land (all about agriculture), The Living Seas (all about the oceans), The  Body (all about the human body), so educational and fun all at the same time. It also includes a big ride where you get to simulate what it would be like to be a crash-test dummy (Test Track) and the big-ticket ride which is a simulation of a space launch (Mission Space).

World Showcase is 11 pavilions arranged around a massive lake. Each pavilion is operated by a different country and contains shops / buildings / architecture / restaurants / shows / film presentations that represent that country. So you get to go through France, Germany, Morocco, Japan, China, Canada, etc, etc all in the same day. Also some of the pavilions have rides so cultural and fun at the same time.

Oh and not forgetting Epcot has a celebrated night-time firework show, called Illuminations which is a must-see.

The Disney Studios: This place is really good fun, it has loads of adult rides here (and seeing as we will be sans kids this is a plus), lots of white-knuckle stuff, all based on movies, such as the beloved Star Wars, Toy Story and Indiana Jones. The one I am most excited about and also most frightened of doing is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, I get nervous just thinking about it.

There are also loads of shows and interactive stuff and a good studio tour, special FX demos.

The Animal Kingdom: The newest park and it is HUGE.  It is a sort of cross between a zoo and a theme park. Amazing state of the art animal exhibits, centrepiece being Kilimanjaro Safari, which is a complete replica of an African safari which you go around in an open-top vehicle through huge savannah, all plants from Africa, like the real thing (honest).

Oh and did I mention there are also some huge rides here, the biggest roller-coaster in Disney which I have yet to go on, getting nervous again.

And all that is just from Disney, outside of Disney, the main competitor is Universal Orland. This theme park is much bigger than Universal in LA. It’s made up of 2 big parks, there is Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure.

Universal is more grown-up than Disney, with wilder rides generally and it’s a bit more savvy and pop-culture-y. There are great rides such as huge coasters (nervous), great 3D simulators and amazing technology.

The studios, instead of being a tour like in LA is a series of separate rides devoted to big Universal movies (Jaws, ET, The Simpsons, The Mummy, Men in Black, Terminator, all the greats) all in a working movie backlot (you never know I might be spotted as the new talent on the block, I have done a spot of acting after all).

The Islands of Adventure park is VERY big (are you getting the idea that things are big there yet?). This park is basically a series of separate islands round a huge lake, each devoted to a different themed world. One being Jurassic Park (and it’s like going to Jurassic Park!) and one is devoted to Marvel Superheros and one is Dr Seuss stuff all with big rides in each. The hot ticket here is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which will be new to me. It is the most visited park in the USA and apparently astonishing.

We will also be visiting Sea World, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.  Oh and we might squeeze in a spot of shopping while we are at it, I need some new trainers, jeans and hell why not get some more t-shirts while I am at it…..

With the legendary Engelbert Humperdink it has to be in the bag…

May 16, 2012

Surely this has to be the year for the UK entry to the Eurovision Song Contest to win!

After all how can it not, what with the legendary Engelbert Humperdinck singing a ‘soaring ballad” entitled “Love Will Set You Free”.  The song has some string credentials as well, it was produced by Grammy award-winning Martin Terefe, who has worked with artists including Mary J Blige and James Morrison was co-written by Martin and Sacha Skarbek, who has worked with Adele, Lana Del Rey and James Blunt.

At 75 Mr Humperdinck is one of the oldest contestants in the competitions history, but is joined this year by some equally mature contestants from Russia, Buranovskiye Babushki, a band made up of by six traditionally-dressed grandmothers. Their song is called “Party For Everybody”, very Eurovision indeed…

It’s been a while since the UK took out the top prize, 1997 in fact when Katrina and the waves won with “Love shine a light”. 2009 was the last time we were in the top 10 when Jade came in 5th with her song, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “My Time”.

Some other  UK contestants “what woz robbed” (according to Adam Armstrong) of victory  include:

1996 Gina G – Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit (8th)

1993 Sonia – Better The Devil You Know (2nd)

1992 Michael Ball(s) – One Step Out of Time (2nd)

One of my most memorable years was back in 2001, when Anna Kirk and I watched Estonia win with the song “Everybody”, making them the first former USSR country to win the Contest.

So here is wishing Engelbert Humperdinck all the best of luck come 26th May at the final will be held on Saturday, May 26th in Baku, Azerbaijan

I have a wedding announcement to make…

September 19, 2011

I first wrote about Kevin, the first ever gay character in the Archie Comics, back in September 2010, he made a real splash back then and the issue in question sold out and they even issued a reprint which was the first time in Archie Comics history.  Well I have some more news about him for you, he is all set to get married.

He is back in town after having spent some time serving in the Army (a man after my own heart) and not only does he tell his fellow comic book friends that he meet Mr Right but he announces his wedding.

When he was first on the scene (no pun intended) it was Veronica that was trying to make a play for him, although I was hoping it would be Jughead that Kevin would make his move with, alas that will have to remain a fantasy of mine….

Kevin’s upcoming same-sex marriage (not civil partnership) is another first for the Archie Comics, and will be the first one depicted in mainstream comic books in general. We wished him well in his adventures back in September and it’s great to see the character, grow and be so well received.  In fact writer Dan Parent, was nominated for a GLAAD award for his creation. Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater said last year in relation to the creation of Archie’s first gay character: “The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive.” And it is great to see that they are continuing the good work.

Kevin’s wedding will appear in the January 2012 issue of Life With Archie, a spin-off series that follows the central characters as twenty-something adults, with his own solo series rumoured for a release early next year also. Watch this space….

RIP Dame Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth

March 24, 2011

Taylor has dies at the age of 79. It has been a while since she has been on the big screen but her presence could still be felt. In her prime she was, she was arguably one of the world’s greatest actresses and she was also probably one of the most beautiful women in her day.

Some of her most famous films were National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? As a teenager I watched Cleopatra over and over, it was this film that made me fall in love with her, I had a bit of a crush on both her and Richard Burton at the same time (they met and fell in love making this film). He was one of her seven husbands she had, and once was not enough, they married twice.

She also hold a rare distinction of having been nominated for an Oscar four in a row from 1958 to 1961, for Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer, only get the Oscar on her fourth nomination for Butterfield 8. She won her second Oscar in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Which was one of 12 films with Burton and is an absolute classic, if you do anything to remember her or mark her passing get this out on dvd and watch it.

She was also at the forefront of raising awareness (and funds) in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and was out there in public holding hands and cuddling AIDS patients long before Princess Diana. In more recent years she continued to campaign for her Aids charity, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation which she set up in 1991 after the death of her friend and co-star Rock Hudson.

See ya Liz

RIP Jane Russell

March 3, 2011

OK to be honest, I thought she was already dead! But having heard the news this week that Jane Russell had died I was sad and because over the years I have actually really enjoyed a couple of her movies. She was described as “mean, moody and magnificent” which is probably what attracted me to her.  Her debut was back in 1943 in The Outlaw and it was that magnificent cleavage that got all the attention, that and her acting of course. Joking asides, she was, in my opinion, a talented actress, however this talent was overshadowed a bit by her sex bomb image that she also played up to. The film I like her in the most is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe, from 1953.

Apparently she had a 38-inch bust line, and this is what got the attention of Howard Hughes, who as legend has it, used his knowledge of aerodynamics to design a bra her. Much later in life she appeared in television commercials promoting bras, most notably the ‘18-hour bra for Playtex’.

A less well known fact about her was that she adopted three children of her own, and as a result of the difficulties she faces, she set up an organisation called the World Adoption International Fund (WAIF), which has resulted in the adoptive placement of tens of thousands children.

China, Tibet and Nepal here I come…

January 10, 2011

For my next adventure, which is in June, I shall be trekking in the Himalayas and I can’t wait. I guess I will need to get a little fitter though beforehand. The trip kicks off in China’s capital Beijing where I shall be visiting both the Summer Palace and the Great Wall and will also be sure to roast duck Beijing style. Have a few days here before making the train journey to Lhasa in Tibet, this being the highest railway in the world, traversing some incredibly mountainous and remote terrain, very excited about it, I do love a good train journey. The remainder of the trip from Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal will be made overland, by bus and some walking where and there.

In Lhasa I’ll be visiting Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama and will try and practice some of the skills I hope to have learnt in the Tibetan lesson I will be doing there, if I manage to get a basic greeting correct I will be happy. Will also spend some time visiting Braille Without Borders (http://www.braillewithoutborders.org/ENGLISH/index_nov_07.html) an organisation that provides support, education and training to visually impaired Tibetans.

From Lhasa will be making my way to Nam Tso Lake which is meant to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world. After time at the lake will be making my way to Samye which is home to the oldest monastery in Tibet, will actually be staying in a monastery here. This is followed by travel to Gyantse and a climb on the way to the top of Hepo Ri for some “spectacular views” and some more climbing to view some glaciers and more peaks. From here will be heading to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, where I’ll visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery. Whilst here I shall be visiting another project of Braille Without Borders.

After this I head to the small town of Sakya to visit a monastery that was built medieval Mongolian style and staying id some rather ‘basic’ accommodation. Hopefully by now I’ll be fine with the altitude and not be sick, because from here will be trekking up Everest Base Camp, apparently I will be able to use my mobile phone here!! Will then be climbing through some mountain passes to get to the small village of Lao Tingri  and spend some time with the locals. Then head for the boarder town of Zhangmu that takes me into Nepal. From here head to my final destination which is the capital Kathmandu, how cool does that sound.