Almost Human – New Series

Fox Almost Human Cast PhotoBeing an avid “X-Files” fan and still not being happy that it came to an end (and has never been renewed either), I was more than happy to come across another sci-fi series called “Fringe” by the director J.J. Abrams. Like most good things, that too came to an end and I was once again left without a good, iconic sci-fi series to get hooked on.

I watch “Warehouse 13” with interest but I must say it lacks that spark or, as the French say, “Je Ne Sais Pas”. The last series has been deplorable, outright silly and boring in my opinion and I fee that so much more could have been done with it but alas, I digress.

Imagine my surprise and joy to hear that JJ is bringing out a new series called “Almost Human” this November. It is a sci-fi police series and features Karl Urban (“Bones” from the new Star Trek films) & Mackenzie Crook (Gareth Keenan from “The Office”). Cutting a long story short (you can read the full official version at the end of my Blog post), it’s set in the nearish future when the police work with androids on the force but Karl’s character is not comfortable working with them after losing his partner and ends up with an artificial robotic implant in his leg (hints of “I Robot” there). He then gets to work with a ‘not 100% with it’ android who seems to have human qualities. There you have it: “Cagney & Lacey” for the 2010s.

I have high hopes for the series as I was a big fan of “Alias” with Jennifer Garner, even though I felt that said series lacked impetus towards the end. I’m hoping that it will focus on individual storyline episodes and strong leading characters rather than dragging the series out with a common thread throughout all episodes. Plus, if JJ wants to renew the “X-Files” franchise and bring back the original “Mulder & Scully”, that would also bring a smile to my face.

I leave you with the official spiel from the FOX Network site for those of who are too lazy to visit the OFFICIAL “ALMOST HUMAN” SITE:

Karl-Urban-AHThe year is 2048. Meet JOHN KENNEX (Urban), a cop who survived one of the most catastrophic attacks ever made against the police department. After waking up from a 17-month coma, he can’t remember much – except that his partner was killed; his girlfriend, ANNA MOORE (guest star Mekia Cox, “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” “Undercovers”), left him after the attack; and he lost one of his legs and is now outfitted with a highly sophisticated synthetic appendage.

Michael-Ealy-AHSuffering from depression, mental atrophy, trauma-onset OCD, PTSD and the “psychological rejection of his synthetic body part,” John returns to work at the behest of longtime ally Captain SANDRA MALDONADO (Emmy Award nominee Lili Taylor, ” Six Feet Under,” “Ransom”). By mandate, every cop must partner with a robot. And despite his passionate aversion to androids, John is paired up with a battle-ready MX-43. But he abruptly terminates his partnership after the robot discovers incriminating information about him.

Mackenzie-Crook-AHSo technician RUDY LOM (Mackenzie Crook, “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise) introduces John to DORIAN (Ealy), a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses. Although such responses were deemed flaws, it is in these “flaws” that John relates to Dorian most. After all, John is part-machine now, and Dorian is part-human. John and Dorian’s understanding of each other not only complements them, it connects them.

Minka-Kelly-AHAs he adjusts to working with his new partner, John also must learn to get along with his new colleagues, including the eager and somewhat starstruck Detective VALERIE STAHL (Minka Kelly, “Friday Night Lights,” “(500) Days of Summer”) and the distrustful Detective RICHARD PAUL (Michael Irby, “Law Abiding Citizen,” “The Unit”), who does not welcome John back with open arms.

ALMOST HUMAN will follow the week-to-week missions of John and Dorian, as they fight crime across this futuristic landscape, while the mysteries surrounding his attack and the larger mythology of this new world unfold.

Mike Dawes Debut Album

If you’ve not heard of Mike Dawes then you’re either not really into guitar music, you don’t browse the Internet much (so how come you’re reading this?) or…. well those two reasons are bad enough! Anyway, the aforementioned talented musician sent me a copy of his debut CD and it arrived this morning, signed as well. This is a photo of my contained reaction:

Mike Dawes CD & Me
CLICK PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE (not advisable as I look even scarier close up!)

I’d heard most of his songs before via the Internet but I think it’s important to support emerging artists, especially when the price is reasonable and the artist has a good rapport with their fans (as in Mike’s case).

Mike is a fingerstyle guitarist from the UK and before you start wondering if it’s worth visiting his Website (lazy moos that you are) at MIKE DAWES OFFICIAL SITE, I have left you a video of him performing his own unique version of Gotye’s hit “Somebody That I Used To Know”, which is the one taht first captivated my attention. Enjoy!

Speaker Problems at the Corte Inglés

Ever had speaker problems? I’ll get to that. First, I’d like to say: “Hello world…again!” My last two Blogs were hacked & ruined by scum-of-the-earth-with-nothing-better-to-do but eventually I will be putting my showcase of photos on here, taken on my “travels”. I will be sharing my insights on the world & life in general so basically, if you’re reading this, you’re either a friend or just incredibly bored; in either case you have my sympathies!

Here’s me kicking off my new Blog with a true story from late last year and with a photo of a Guinness I recently enjoyed during my lunchbreak across the road from my work.

Guinness Break

Only in Spain: Christopher’s epic true story of the day (18th November 2012 – MADRID)

Speaker Problems Even At High-End Stores

Went into El Corte Inglés (Spain’s equivalent of Harrods) this evening and headed straight for the electronics dept (nowt new there then). I spot a thing called “Sonos Wireless Speaker System” (wireless as in no wires and not as in the radio). There are two smallish trendy speakers separated by an information card with instructions as to how to use it on your mobile device. I download the App and follow the on-screen instructions to connect my iPhone to the Sonos Wireless Speaker system. With me so far? Now comes the tricky part. First of all I get a screen with music files that are not mine – they belong to the store’s music server. OK I suppose but I wanted to rest the speakers with my own (80s decent) music. I press play aaaand… nothing! OK so I press the volume buttons on both speakers and still nothing. I’m pretty impressed at this point…NOT! Then I see a volume slider button on my phone and put it up to maximum. I hear a faint sound of music but nothing outstanding – certainly not worth the price tag on those speakers.

speaker sonos wireless systemOK so I’ll select another track, one that’s a bit more upbeat and I press play again. Still nothing so I start messing with the settings and moving the volume slider (sort of like what you do with the mouse when you want your PC to go faster!). Whilst I’m doing this, some idiot at the other end of the store starts playing some music that keeps starting and stopping and really distracting me, further adding to my frustration of not being able to manage a supposedly simple technological task.

Then one of the young, snobbish, underpaid, overworked staff, dressed in a suit and with an ego the size of the entire 9 floors of the store comes over screaming and shouting at me, flaring his arms. I’ve of course, got my “what the heck is this guy’s problem?” face on, which apparently didn’t help his mood. Treating me like a 3-year old, he proceeds to tell me that he and his important clients can’t hear a thing as I’ve got the music on full blast over in his section where the speakers are and would I turn it off NOW!

Turning my gaze to the other side of the store (a good 30 second walk away) I see quite a few people with fingers in there ears, staff scrambling around the audio section trying to turn all the speakers off amidst miffed customers hurrying away from the racket! After my initial embarrassment and feeling bad for those customers whose hearing I may personally have permanently damaged, albeit unwittingly due to 5 minutes of intermittent dance music, I then realise that after all I AM still a customer and as such, I have rights (and one of them isn’t being spoken to like a dog).

As it happens, three chief executives walk onto the shop floor (probably wondering what all the commotion is) and I make a beeline for them. I ask them to follow me to this amazing little Wireless speaker stand in the electronic section. When they point out that I need to speak to a member of sales staff, I mention that it is precisely due to the conduct of one of their elite staff that I am making a complaint that has to do with this marvellous new piece of technology. Suddenly, they come to attention (bad customer service in El Corte Inglés? Never!) and quickly follow me to the stand where I point out the current setup. (Remember the two speakers and info card?)

Coming To America SaulAsking them to put themselves in my position I asked them which speakers one would expect to control remotely from one’s phone? All three pointed to the ones in front of us. I then emitted the “ah-haaa” of Saul, the Jewish client in the barber shop in the film “Coming To America” when he tells joke about asking the waiter to taste the soup (if you don’t know it just ask; I will be happy to oblige). I then take out my phone, turn on my newly downloaded App, select the crappy modern dance track from their server and put the volume on max. “Not very loud, is it?” says one of them to which I reply, “that’s because it’s coming from the other end of the store, right from where your employee is running toward us over there!” At this point I stop the music (as I don’t want to cause any more collateral damage) and mention that he is the employee that treated me like a dog and told me off.

cartoon-man-runningHalfway through his jog, the twit sees the three suits with me, does an impressive turn mid-run and darts behind an isle of DVDs. At this point I ask the three execs to read the instructions on the info card in front of us and then ask them if it is by any chance normal or logical to have two speakers in front of you that have nothing to do with the system but rather have a server that controls speakers at the other end of the store. Also, did such a situation want my being treated in such a deplorable manner by an employee if such a reputable company? Oh and by the way, I am now not going to buy the speaker system nor the 4.000€ 65″ TV from them!

This bit I loved: the three of them couldn’t apologise enough but I wasn’t having any of it. Shouting over to my wife in a very formal manner (she saw everything too) I said “Come on dear, we’re leaving!” in my best spoken posh Spanish accent, then walked briskly off round a corner where we watched the three suits give the snobby twit the telling-off of his career!

Moral of the story? I’ve no idea other than don’t buy a Sonos Wireless System as it’s crap – unless you want to control your neighbours speakers down the road!