Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Aren't they gorgeous?
Thankyou Anne! They are lovely!
And the reason for goodies flying in both directions? (see Anne's blog for pics of the scarf I made for her) It was Anne's birthday yesterday, and it will be mine on Saturday, so this was a joint birthday treat.
We had a smashing time at the Golden Banana (Firstsite Art Gallery), once we found a parking spot in town. Glory, the car park was full to bursting today. :-) It took all Anne's expertise, (and the loan of a shoehorn) to get her car into the only space we could find.
The current exhibition at the gallery has the themes of food and bodies running through it, and some sections were inspired by a book called Wild Food. All the fresh veg scattered about was certainly making me feel hungry! :-) Good job we were there to eat as well!
So we had a whale of a time discussing the art, trying to bribe one of the staff into letting us buy some of the pics for peanuts seeing as it was our birthdays (he could not be swayed, unfortunately), and speculating about the placement of certain items, and their possible uses in a kitchen (and elsewhere). Still curious about that leather strap and buckle ensemble, Anne! *grin*
Then we made our way to the Musa Cafe, and had a very tasty, and not too calorific lunch. Weren't we good! :-) We both had baked potatoes, and the toppings were in pots on the side, rather than on the top, plus the coleslaw and side salads are actually tasty, not just a bit of sad lettuce and a slice of tomato. Everything about the place is arty, even the food and the bathrooms!
Much as I'd have loved to continue our afternoon, a broken central heating boiler was calling Anne home, so we headed back to the car park, where (thankfully) large gaps had opened up, so we wouldn't be needing the tin opener I borrowed from the Cafe to get us back out of the parking spot.
I hope it won't be too long before we get the chance to meet-up again. :-)
Enjoy Halloween! I'm off to prepare the local virgin for tonights sacrifice!
TRICK OR TREAT!!!
Saturday, October 27, 2012
You have been goosed!
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Seriously, I've been awake for an hour and a half, and we are already on our third shower and our fourth bit of blue sky and sunshine approaching!
EDIT five mins later: Make that the FOURTH shower! LOL
Seriously, Five minutes is all it takes...
I woke and opened the curtain - sunshine!
I am downstairs ten mins later and go out to feed the birds - clouded over!
Five minutes after that - raining!
ten minutes later - blue sky and sunshine!
And so it goes on....
I sit here, facing South, while on my computer. If I look to the left, out of the kitchen window (small house) I see one type of weather, and if I look to my right out of the sitting room window, it is completely different!
Right now: grey and threatening the next shower in the back garden, but blue sky and sunshine in the front garden. LOL
I do love the vagaries of the British weather! :-)
Have a lovely (if a chilly) weekend!
I'm off to play with the Wii to try and warm up a bit.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Well, I've been playing Just Dance 4 for well over a week now – nearly two, actually, and I know some of my friends here at SP are curious about the game, or planning to buy a copy of their own, so I thought I'd review it. :-)
In three simple words...
So, what does Just Dance 4 have that the others don't?
Well, different songs, obviously. (Full list at the bottom of this review). Some of the ones that are somewhat iconic – Time Warp, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (Blues Brothers), and the Ketchup Song, for example – use recognisable moves from the films/pop videos, which is important to me. Another Wii game - Dance on Broadway – has a version of Time Warp, and it is AWFUL!
Anyone familiar with the IT Crowd will recognise the characters dancing to Barry White's You're The First, The Last, My Everything. :-)
Incidentally, I can say with some certainty, thanks to this game, that I do NOT have the 'Moves Like Jagger'. More like the moves like Carlton (Fresh Prince fans will get this reference, LOL)
I recognised at least half the songs on the playlist straightaway, and most of the rest I liked as soon as I heard them.
Were there any disappointments with the song choices? Yes, a couple. Oops I Did It Again has a boring narrative halfway through that spoils the flow of the dance, and The Final Countdown has gone all wrestling-stylee, and not in a good way to my mind.
That aside, they are good dances, with interesting, and fun routines.
What else does JD4 do that is new?
Just Dance-Off!: Challenge your friends in 6 rounds of dance battles with the all-new Battle mode! Go head to head to unique choreographies and music to be crowned the dance battle champion!
Have to say that this is my least favourite part of the game. You can play it alone, against AI, if you don't have a real opponent, which at least means it is accessible to everyone, but for me it is a manic, unfathomable, waste of disc space! I can't even figure out how to adequately describe what happens … but I'll try.
Two songs are pitted together. For example – Beauty and a Beat Vs Call Me Maybe
You choose which song to battle with, and there are five rounds. During the first round you seem to dance a combo of the two songs, with each person being 'hit' when their opponent performs the moves better than them. The winner of that round has their song as the one to battle with in the next round, and so on, the winner being the one who wins the most rounds. Each round lasts about a minute or less.
Try it yourself. You may like it.
It may be one of those elements of the game that is more fun to use once you have mastered the routines of the dances involved. I will revisit it at some point, and see whether it improves my enjoyment. I have my doubts, though.
Just Sweat Mode – Now that has had a massive makeover! It also seems to be the part of the game that people either loathe or love!
Personally, I love it! :-)
When the game starts you have a choice of going into Just Dance, or Just Sweat.
Just Sweat has 4 sections initially (you open at least one more as you accumulate Mojo which opens up extras) The ones I have open are:
Aerobics in Space - Dynamic Fitness Steps/80's Pop Music
Sweat Around the World - Latin Dance Practice/World Music
Electro Body Combat Cardio - Fighting Exercise/Electro Music
Cheerleaders Boot Camp Extreme - Training/Punk Rock Music
Swinging 60's Workout - Funny Health Conditioning/Classy Pop Music
Each section has the choice of a 10 minute, 25 minute or 45 minute workout.
How does it work?
Well, let's take a ten minute Aerobics in Space workout as an example:
You start off with a 2 minute warm-up with an aerobics instructor, to 80s style music. At the top of the screen is a meter that gauges how active you are being as you warm-up. At the end of the warm-up, the meter will tell you if you have been 'Intense' or 'Cool', and this will dictate which song the programme will choose for your first song. (You get warm-up, song 1, exercise routine, song 2, cool down in a ten-minute workout). How energetic you are during the first song thus dictates whether you then get a Cool, or an Intense workout with the aerobics instructor, and so on through the second song. The workout is completed with a two minute cool down.
During your workout, there is a calorie counter in the top left corner (which is a wonderful addition to the game in my view), and at the end of the workout it tells you how many calories you have burned and how many sweat points you have accumulated.
A word to the Spark-Wise on the calorie counter...
I checked the exercise I had done, by comparing the calorie count to the same number of minutes according to the Sparkpeople Fitness Tracker – 'Dancing: disco, ballroom, square'. Turns out the game vastly underestimates the calories you burn. I would suggest that whatever total it tells you - double it!
The other workouts are also fun. You have the option of 80s Music, Latin Dance, Kick Boxing, Cheerleading, and some bizarre version of the Sixties! LOL
The main issue some people have with the Just Sweat is that you don't get to choose which songs you get to dance to. I can understand why that would irritate if you have particular favourites. I tend to find, though, that being freed from having to choose which songs to use actually helps me just concentrate on the exercise. JD4 is certainly the most exercise-oriented game of the collection so far.
I will also say that I have tried all the ten minute options, and they got me moving. I also tried the 25 minute Aerobics option, and proved it has the right to call itself Just SWEAT! LOL Can't wait to find the oomph for a 45 minute workout! Oh boy!
So, what else is there?
Well, there are duets and dance crews like earlier games, and there are dance mash-ups, which are unlocked by accumulating 'mojo' as you play. Added to this a few songs have 'extreme versions' to unlock. Anyone who has tried the Extreme Barbra Streisand from JD3 will have no trouble guessing how manic these routines can be!
There are also 16 little black and white icons to choose as your avatars for personalising your Dance Card – which is also a new addition to JD4. Your Dance Card contains your total dance time, your star average and your dance style – smooth, energetic, wild, etc, and your favourite dances. I don't know if there is a limit to the number you can create, but we have six already on our game, and there are 16 avatars, after all.
Another new addition is that there is a score card beneath each song, and it records the top five scores for each dance. I wish they had thought of this idea in earlier games.
Finally, each song has six Dance Quests attached – these are based on things like accumulating specific numbers of stars, getting all gold moves, dance styles etc
So, that is about it, I think. The game has plenty of variety. There is something for everyone (except my s-i-l who won't under any circumstances try the game at all). Well, we can't all be dance fans. :-)
It will never be the only JD game I use from now on, but it and JD3 are most definitely the two I will use the most. Until they produce JD5 anyway!
Full Song List for the Just Dance 4 Wii Game (Slight variations exist for Wii U, X Box etc)
Asereje (The Ketchup Song) - Las Ketchup
Beauty and a Beat - Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj
Beware Of The Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke) - Panjabi MC
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Boys Town Gang
Cercavo Amore - Emma
Crazy Little Thing - Anja
Crucified - Army Of Lovers
Diggin' In The Dirt - Stefanie Heinzmann
Disturbia - Rihanna
Everybody Needs Somebody To Love - Dancing Bros.
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!) - Blu Cantrell
Hot For Me - A.K.A
I Like It - The Blackout Allstars
(I've Had) The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
Istanbul - They Might Be Giants
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
Love You Like A Love Song - Selena Gomez and the Scene
Make The Party (Don't Stop) - Bunny Beatz
Maneater - Nelly Furtado
Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes feat. The Black Eyed Peas
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
Oh No! - Marina and The Diamonds
On The Floor - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull
Oops!... I Did It Again - The Girly Team
Rock Lobster - B-52's
Rock N' Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain) - Skrillex
Run The Show - Kat DeLuna feat. Busta Rhymes
So What - P!nk
Some Catchin' Up To Do - Sammy
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
The Final Countdown - Europe
Time Warp - Halloween Thrills
Tribal Dance - 2 Unlimited
Umbrella - Rihanna (bonus song not on all editions)
We No Speak Americano - Hit The Electro Beat
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Wild Wild West - Will Smith
You're The First, The Last, My Everything - Barry White
When you get it, if you get it, have fun with it! :-)
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