jafwords

@jafwords (On TWITTER)

The Art Work of Frank To

I like to try and dabble in art but it is nothing more than dabble. I have been fortunate enough to encounter artists who are the "REAL DEAL". I want to recommend the art work of one such person. Frank is friends with my wife's cousin and I am delighted to say I have befriended him on facebook and further more had a cracking day away with him to Liverpool for a stag do. Furthermore, he is just a nice guy!

Frank To's art work shows just what talent there actually is in Scotland and he is a real rising star in the art community. Go to his facebook page, hit the "like" button and be part of his world!

Frank To on FACEBOOK

Me in some interesting art.

Well maybe it's not that interesting but its a nice way to relax a bit on what is #SciFiSunday.

Happy Art Loving my friends.

Jafwords

More of Jafart - Benjamin Sisko

Another one of my exciting (NOT) artworks. This is of course Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: DS9.

Star Wars - The Return of Something Special

I have remained somewhat quiet in regards to Friday's release of the trailer that has set the internet a buzz. Let me first of all start off with my thoughts before I give an opinion in what is the usual for the Jafwords blog.
Okay I must be honest. JJ Abrams was never my first choice of director. There were several options that I would have liked to have seen. Joss Whedon would have been a good choice, yet on reflection that would never have happened as Disney would never have risked their Avengers films as I am sure Age of Ultron is likely to be Disney's highest grossing film from the Marvel Universe. My next choice was Guillermo Del Toro. Imagine a man with his his artistic and creative vision at the helm of it...well again probably would never have happened. Then there was my number one choice - Kevin Smith , a three hour film of characters just talking and nothing actually happening. I still reckon that Disney should just toss him $5 million and say - right okay Kevin, go away make a film in the universe and try not to swear too much...the film would be an incredible money spinner. You wouldn't even need driods - Jay and Silent Bob could fill those roles perfectly (I AM ACTUALLY SERIOUS - A KEVIN SMITH STAR WARS FILM WOULD MAKE MY LIFE COMPLETE!)
So as you can see JJ Abrams was not on my list. Don't get me wrong; the Star Trek films, as films, were good...but I am not a huge fan as I am a die hard original series enthusiast. However, give him credit where credit is due, he has saved the Star Trek name.
So move forward to the trailer.

Its something I have been wanting to see since the announcement that the saga would continue. The desert appears and then the head of John Boyega appears. I don't know exactly what part he is to play in this new trilogy, I don't need to know...because the instant his head appeared on screen, this young 22 year old actor just saved the future of Star Wars. In that few brief moments I was instantly hooked beyond all belief. I played the part of the doubting Thomas. I did not believe until I seen. Happy are those who believed who did not have to see.
My faith in Star Wars had been rattled a bit after the prequel trilogy. I don't want to get stuck into George Lucas - the man after all created the film franchise that has impacted me the most in my life but nevertheless, Episode 1,2 and 3 left me feeling a little blahhhhhhh. I kept praying each Episode would find an ingenious way of killing off Jar Jar ...perhaps the reason I was so anti J J as it was too close to Jar Jar for my comfort.
All I want to do now is have the trailer repeated constantly until it matches in length to Episode 1,2 and 3 and then I can erase the start from my mind. I was wrong to doubt JJ and as I have watched every actor added to the growing list participating I have not come across any I would be disappointed with.
I am left feeling angry though...angry as I now need to wait over a year to see the finished product. The trailer has left me with so many exciting questions and I can't wait to see the next one. Exciting times ahead!
If you haven't seen the trailer yet then find it...as far as I can see for Star Wars the future of the Galaxy far, far away is very bright indeed. May the force be with you!
Happy watching my friends,
Jafwords.

Interstellar (or What?)

I've read several reviews so far and the negativity for this film I think is a bit unfair. My wife and I had our usual trip to the cinema. Thankfully, with film timings not working out for her we were forced to take my choice and head into to watch Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

So the history of this film seems a bit all over the place, initially a Spielberg project I believe with Jonathan Nolan drafted in to write the script and learn some physics on the way. The film was eventually passed to the writer's brother and then we are presented with what I saw on the big screen.

First off there can be no denying what you get with a Nolan film - its Big! Its very big and its just shot perfectly on formats to meet the need of the IMAX cinema.

Let's hit the negatives then - the film does dart about here and there and the sequence of events and the passage of time becomes slightly hard to engage with. Time plays a key role in the story's development, after all travelling out into the final frontier (sorry couldn't resist a Star Trek reference) isn't just a regular walk in the park. It takes months to years to travel these vast distances. There was times though I just didn't now how much time had passed - sometimes that wee bit of text in the corner saying "3 months later" can actually be beneficial.

Okay, I class myself as a scientists, I am a Chemist so I'd like to think I was up to date on some aspects of physics...I enjoyed the science, but at times it goes into a depth that I can imagine a non-scientific audience would be put off by.

I've taken my time thinking about this film, trying decided if it is a cinematic masterpiece or just a flop. I know it sounds like the distinction between the two should be clear but at times I think it can be splitting hairs. No doubt there would be others far more intelligent than myself that can easily make the decision and I think this film will polarise an audience. I know there are those who love it and those who hate it. So where am I? Do I take the side of my electrons and hit a purely negativity in my thinking or am I going with my nucleus on this one and staying positive...

At the end of the day I make the decision based on my final thought - would I go back and see it or buy the DVD. The answer is YES. I am back to see it. The film ideas grow on me and I simply can't ignore that acting. The cast was truly brilliant and the plot, although wavy and distorted works for me. Its kind of like 2001, with a bit more explanation. That's not necessary a bad thing because let's be honest, we all watch 2001 and claim to find it a jaw dropping experience but at the back of our minds we are saying "What the hell is going on here?"

Then the soundtrack...it again is powerful and it also makes the film special. I've always liked Hans Zimmer. You can't watch Pirates of the Caribbean without humming that tune (da... da.... da da da da da) - yeah I know that is just text but I bet you were singing it to the Pirate's theme. You won't leave Interstellar humming a tune, but the score will have played with your emotions all the way through the film.

What I do find sad though is that  I think Nolan will not get the recognition for this one which I think he deserves. People will just judge it on their first sitting, and sometimes true art has to be looked at, studied and absorbed not only through the eyes but through the heart as well. No one really likes Guinness on their first pint but suddenly it creeps up on you and with noticing it, your ordering it at the bar every time.

Yes Interstellar will be an acquired taste, but I promise it will grow on you.

This film gets another one of my **** rating.

It has so much to offer and if you like the films I do, this one will sit nicely in your SciFi collection.
Happy watching my friends,

Jafwords.

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Old Luke Skywalker

Just a quick drawing of Luke with a beard. Enjoy the art people.
Happy Art Loving
Jafwords.

Genealogy - Learning about my family

I have spent the last few weeks researching my family tree. There are various reasons why I had taken an interest in my roots but it all came down to the simple reason that I wanted to know more about where I came from. Through the joys of various websites I managed to encounter relatives living in Australia and was able to add detail which they had discovered. However, we had reached a problem when it came to my Great Grandfather Duncan Joseph Ferguson.

Tonight, I solved the mystery (or the lack of mystery it seemed). What follows is the short story I have generated on the family tree to add to Duncan's permanent record for other members of the family.

Until the 21st September 2014 it was thought that Duncan Joseph Ferguson had abandoned his family and the location of his death and burial were unknown.
The mystery continued until Duncan's granddaughter, Ann Marie Boyle (née Ferguson), recounted the story remembering that Duncan actually died in the family home located in the South Side of Glasgow in the area of Govanhill.

With this information Duncan's great grandson and his wife were able to locate the records of his birth and finally solve the mystery. After some research it was discovered that Duncan was born on 3rd of May 1887. His birth was registered in the District of Plantation in Glasgow. Despite being known as Duncan Joseph Ferguson, Duncan is in fact registered as Duncan Turner Fergus Ferguson. (The name Turner was at first odd until further investigation revealed that Duncan's Grandmother would have been a Turner herself and so the family name from the maternal side was passed on). It is unknown when, where and why Duncan started to use the middle name Joseph.

There are various records of Duncan working as a ship painter and several census records shows his birth in the Govan area and eventually moving to Bridgeton then back to Govan. At some point, either through his job or some other reason, Duncan finds himself living in Belfast where he meets his future wife Catherine McKeown. Duncan and Catherine go on to have four children - Francis, John, James and Catherine.

It would seem that Duncan and Catherine's marriage was not approved of by locals as a result of Duncan being Protestant and Catherine being Catholic. The story goes that in the middle of the night Duncan was visited by both the Protestant and Catholic communities and told to leave Ireland or they would be killed. This led Duncan to take his family and relocate to Scotland.
Although Duncan's grandchildren thought that he had left the family, the truth is that he died in the family home on the 1st of May 1946, 2 days before his 59th birthday. The record of death indicates that Duncan had been a house painter (obviously following on from his younger days as a ship painter), and he died of Lung Cancer.

I will add some more information on other family members if I find out anything interesting. Duncan interested me as he had been given a bit of a bad reputation, but as it turns out it seems he was just a straight forward honest working guy who sadly died too young.

Happy reading my friends,

Jafwords

House for Sale

I wouldn't normally use my blog as a method of advertising, but a very close friend of mine (someone who has helped me out for as long as I can remember) is selling their home in Blackridge, West Lothian.

Check out the artificial lawn in the garden - I helped lay that (your very own chance to own something that jafwords has worked on).

If you are looking for a house in that area then this one is a gem - Have a look here on "rightmove".

Happy house hunting my friends

Jafwords

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For - review

The inhabitants of Basin City are back once again with a vengeance!


In 2005 I remember visiting the cinema and being completely blown away by this new style of film which was presented to me in the form of Sin City. Classed as "neo-noir", Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller had pretty much created a new breed of film. The still pages on Frank Miller's graphic novel suddenly found life with some truly brilliant performances from Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis. I am sure there must have been a leap of faith from those actors but it was one worth taking. 

So jump forward to 2014 and we are presented with a second look at this crime filled world. Once again we are delivered several different story lines with subtle and not so subtle overlaps. We are presented with some old characters but with different faces, Josh Brolin takes over the mantle from Clive Owen and there some other new faces introduced with recasts (there are always reasons for these sort of things and in some cases out of the hands of the directors). With the introduction of Eva Green, more fresh blood is injected into the film (Eva does seen to have an inability to remain dressed in this film) but what she does add is a character you just want to hate! Eva manages to take the character of Ava and make her just pure evil. Hats off to Eva Green as she has churned out a brilliant performance here.

Next we have Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Another actor who can seem to do no wrong and taking on the mantle of Johnny he once again shows just how clever and versatile an actor her really is. If you have seen the film you will know what I mean when I say he just brings a bone breaking quality to the role.

Of course there are other roles I could highlight but what about the film itself. Okay, truth be told, this film did not impact me in the same way the first did and there was a full overload of blood and violence. This was the same as its predecessor yet in the first film I felt it was handled with far more "style". This style was in this film but hadn't really matured or grown in seven years. The story was good, but you know it is going to be as its drawn from the wealth of background Frank Miller had already created in his graphic novel series. The acting is brilliant – no one fails in this film and the film has left me with wanting more. So on that aspect it has done the trick – but I do hope the a little more attention is made to the production of the next one (if there is to be a next one).

This film gets a **** rating.

Get out there and watch it!
Happy watching my friends,

Jafwords.

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Lucy - Review

When you examine Luc Besson writing credentials you throw up a CV which is impressive to say the least. Add to that his expertise behind the camera as a film director and you end up with the mix for what should be an incredible film.

So does Lucy hit the mark or is it off by a mile? (Potential spoiler alert...read on at your own risk)

For some reason I had expected our protagonist, Lucy, to be the type of Black Widow character Scarlet Johannson has played in the past. The character turns out to be far more interesting than I had anticipated.  Faced with a life altering situation Scarlett Johansson gets under the ski, so to speak, of a woman evolving past the limitations of the human condition while trying desperately to retain her humanity as she seeks a purpose to her new existance. Johannson gives a brilliant performance in this one and its impossible to see where she can go wrong with her career turning out solid performances time and time again.

Lucy eventually finds an inspirational guide in the form of Morgan Freeman who sets up the conclusion for Lucy's story. All the while this goes on, Lucy is being chased by a drug lord and he is not happy.

The story is more than a little far fetched but what good science fiction story isn't? The set up of the story is very real and more than a little uncomfortable when you see how easily someone can become a drug mule.

I couldn't help but think that more could be made of the story and I did think the plot was rushed through. Don't get me wrong its a great story and a must see for cinema goers but there was potential here for something epic and we were simply left with just a decent film. Like me its easy to see Besson's Influence's shinning through in this one with some of the sequences reminiscent of Kubrick's work on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I'm giving this one a **** rating. To be honest I am being a little hard on Luc Besson. I am not sure how he could have made it better but I was just left feeling that I wanted more.

Happy watching my friends,

Jafwords

The Jafwords rating system.

***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Available on Authonomy

So I have added a selected few chapters from my most recent novel OUTRiDERS onto the authonomy website. Please feel free to have a look, read, review and add some comments.

OUTRiDERS on Athonomy.com

Into The Storm - Review

The weather forecast is not set to be sunny, in fact there is a storm approaching. 

Sadly, not all reviews can sing the praises for every single film I've watched. I usually try and find some postive value to even the worst things I've seen. Steven Quale's 'Into The Storm' left me a little underwhelmed. To be honest it was not my first choice of film to watch...Disaster style films never really rock my boat. However, I did leave the film feeling slightly better about than I did before I went in. 

The director clearly had his job cut out for him with a script that just felt a little tired and a bit contrived but from what I can see this was his first serious cinematic outing at the helm (apart from his bash at one of the final destination mvies). Visually, it's perfect in my book. Cracking cinematography and the epic scale of those tornadoes fill the screen with a mighty thud that even some major works of Hollywood are lacking at times. The slick combination of a disaster movie tied in with documentary and home move style footage really adds to the positive aspects of the film.

But...ultimately you are let down with the cast. Apart from a steady perforance from The Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies the rest of the character portrayal left you feeling disappointed. I wouldn't GI as far as saying it was bad acting- I just think they were in a position of delivering lines from a script that ultimately didn't grab you as an audience and take you on a journey.

The film is average at best and gets *** from me.

Happy watching folks,

Jafwords

The Jafwords rating system.

***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Superman vs Digital Art

On the odd occasion I like to move past my normal creative work and explore other avenues of creativity. So I've been upgrading my art work and progressed onto a digital medium.

I am sure there are art crtitics out there who would argue that this is not art...and they are probably right... Nevertheless, this will not deter me from continuing to at least try.

So here is my Superman interpretation. Hope you enjoy it. 

Happy reading,

Jafwords.

48hr film Challenge 2014

I am delighted to confirm that Rampant Film Production will once again participate in the Glasgow 48hr film challenge in October.

It always proves to be a hard and challenging weekend but such a worthwhile and creative venture. Now we must begin to build a team once again.

My cousin (John P. Boyle - Eromnim3) and I will once again tackle the writing part together. Then I will take over the helm as director while John leads the way as producer and musical director.

It's sure  to be an incredible weekend in October. So stay tuned for further updates.

Happy reading.

Jafwords.

The City of Glagsow

I decided to be a little creative as I walked around Glasgow today.

The city has an incredible atmosphere as we host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

It is amazing to see so many visitors from all over the world check out our dear green place. Let Glasgow flourish.

Happy reading my friends...
Jafwords


Sent from Samsung Mobile

Over and Over again - and will I write this again tomorrow.

I have returned for some Sunday random thoughts before I set about doing other stuff for the day.
Last night my wife and I found ourselves in our usual Saturday night spot, our Cinema. Since I selected the last film it was her turn...which is never really a problem as we both have very similar tastes, and she does follow a set of rules laid down during our initial dating phase - basically I don't go to horror films and she doesn't go to science fiction films. Okay I have to admit it - I hate horror films. I have just never been overly keen on them. Anyways, I am going off on a tangent as usual. So the choice of film was to be made by her and to my surprise we she opted for "Edge of Tomorrow".
The film itself was based on the Japanese Military Science Fiction Novel - "All You Need is Kill". Now I have to admit I have not read this but absolutely delighted by the fact that Hollywood is adapting novels into films instead of jumping through their usual brand of remakes.
Okay the themes in this film are certainly similar to what we have seen before - think of Billy Murray learning to play the Piano in Groundhogs Day add in some aliens, machine guns and a massive Hollywood budget and you have what I saw last night. I might be sounding like I am taking a stab at this film but actually I was left impressed. Not only that but I jumped into the film in 3D and with the visual work done on the film it was certainly worth it. What has saddened me about the film is that it hasn't had the same media coverage as Godzilla. 
Although I really liked the most recent display of Godzilla, I have to say that Edge of Tomorrow was a far better film yet I think it is a film that has been put out there with little hope of making its money back. I hope that I am wrong on that one.  
I wonder if perhaps Tom Cruise and the Science Fiction genre are not seen as a major investment as they might have been in the past - I thought Cruise was excellent in this film and the script/story concept was brilliant.
There does appear to be some good SciFi films approaching. I am keeping the old fingers crossed that Transformers will improve upon its last cinematic release. We will also have Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jupiter Ascending and of course Guardians of the Galaxy. Looks like summer at the cinema will take care of itself.
Anyways, happy reading my friends...I am off to do something a little more productive than share my random thoughts.


Jafwords.

Up a hill and down a mountain

Today I climbed up a hill and walked down a mountain. Well, at least that is what my legs felt it was like. My verdict is simple...I am incredibly unfit. Today I wondered up Tinto Hill, 707 meters high apparently and the highest hill in Lanarkshire . There is also an interesting past relating to a druid cairn at the top. During the summer solstice there is alignment between the cairn on Tinto and a smaller cairn on Walston Hill a few miles to the north of Biggar.

The view was amazing and quite inspirational. Residents of Scotland are truly blessed to have access to such surroundings and scenery. 

The good thing toy get when walking is a chance for the mind to have that inner dialogue and craft some stories. I suppose I need to be grateful that my mind keeps coming up with ideas... Just wish I was fast enough to write them all down.

Anyway the point of the walk was a sponsorship for St. Andrews Hospice. 
http://www.st-andrews-hospice.com/fundraising

There would be few places and things I would use this website to promote but this place is the exception. Anyone local to me well know the good work the hospice does. For those of your futher away. Please go and have a look.

Happy reading (and walking my friends).

Jafwords

In the cinema ... so just a few words

Hello my friends. Time to break the silence once again and speak some words of wisdom... our just randomly, non-coherent sentences. I'm currently sitting in the cinema awaiting Godzilla to start. I remain ever hopeful that his outing this time will be somewhat better than his last. 

Writing wise things are slow. However, the summer holidays approach and I have few scripts that will get finished. So I shall be happy with that. 

I will write some more in the next week or so but for just now. It's Godzilla!!!!!!!!!

Happy reading my friends, 

Jafwords

Sent from Samsung Mobile

What on Eltheran?

So with a digital publication of the Star Fantasy, available now on Amazon Kindle and through their KDP select programme, I now have to give consideration to my next step with the Universe I have created and what will happen to the world of Eltheran - Not sure what I am talking about? Well this would be an opportunity for you to click on the LINK and find out a little bit more.

So added to the ever growing list of the things I want to write about. Although, Star Fantasy: The Voice of Darkness exists as a standalone novel - I have already given some thought to the next possible phase of the story and I strongly suspect this will become the focus of my next work once I have concluded the writing of Walsh Mackenzie.

The last few weeks I have been thinking about the angle of Self-Promotion. Not one of the easiest things to accomplish, especially when operating in a shoestring budget. I will trying any possible angle I can, and after the 90 days of the KDP select programme is up I will have the book available on as many different platforms as possible.

I have also submitted my short story LIFELESS to a science fiction magazine and so we shall see if any of that works to my advantage.

Its a short update - especially as my Netbook has just shown the "battery nearly empty sign" and I am too lazy to get up plug it in haha...

Happy reading my friends,

Jafwords

The Sunday Update

Remaining focussed in a digital world is challenging. 

I am sure I have mentioned this before I tend not to look back at old posts. Perhaps I should so I am not going over old ground and boring even more than I already do...Actually, no...I love boring you all with old stories. HAHA.

I sat down this morning to continue on with some of my writing. I am still busy working my way through the Adventures of Captain Walsh Mackenzie. This one has been on the go for some time now...I think a sad reflection of how busy my life is at the moment; yet the joy of being a writer is that you can do it for your entire life and not have to worry about climbing up that promotional ladder. Walsh's original story started and then I deleted it, not in a fit of rage, but recognising that it had another more complex avenue to travel than the route I initially set out to write. In fact, as I reflect on the writing I have done so far, I realises that I have spent more time developing the other characters that Walsh himself as been a bit neglected. 

However, as I sit down to write I still find myself research various things on the old internet and allowing myself to go off on so many tangents. Remaining focused when there is so much information at your fingertips is really rather hard. It brings up an interesting thought that myself and others explored this week - are we hooked/addicted to our mobile devices...the mobile phone has become less of a handy wee tool to have in your pocket, to a more permanent fixture in your hand. Our online digital environment has become more real to us than the conversations and social interactions that we are gifted to have right before our eyes. (Sadly, I do recognise the fact that I am saying this on an online blog). So what am I actually saying? Ditch the phone? Well no...kind of like mine and I am a gadget man through and through. But I do think its important that we look up...engage with the real world...that way we might even manage to stay focused on one particular task---and I might actually manage to finish writing a book.

Happy reading my friends. 

Jafwords    

Star Fantasy: The Finally Released Version!!!!!!

I am delighted to announce that my first novel - Star Fantasy: The Voice of Darkness has been released on Amazon Kindle. Just Click on this LINK, to take you to the page. 

The book has also been released on Smashwords and as a result will be available on a number of other ebook readers in the coming month.  


Happy Reading my friends.


Jafwords. 

the new home of www.johnaferguson.co.uk


The days of treating this page as just a blog are over. The jafwords blog page will now be the first stop for www.johnaferguson.co.uk - This is now also the author webpage ... Everything you need to known about me and my books will be found on here.

Although there was nothing wrong with the old page - l just felt the need to streamline  my online presence. Bringing the blog and website together just makes more sense to me~ rather then sending people to the four corners of the interweb. 

So welcome one and all . And of course -- Happy Reading

Jafwords

Sent from Samsung Mobile

What he, that guy, I mean me is up to!

30th of July 2013 - wow that was a long time ago. Fear not I am still here and still writing. Sadly, I allow myself to become distracted with various side projects but fortunately I keep returning to my writing.

My creative detours make me, I hope, a more creative story teller and so I hope the distractions prove useful in my hopes and dreams.

I am still plodding my way through book number three. The working title is still Walsh Mackenzie, the name of my sort of messed up hero.

Book number one "Star Fantasy: The Voice of Darkness" still remains out there trying to get an agent and representation to find a way to inject life into it for others to read. Book two "Outriders" is still very much a first draft. I really do need to give that a proper going over to make it ready for submissions. Along the way I have also written a few short stories - I have currently submitted one to Tor.com for consideration for publication. We can only hope and keep the fingers crossed.

I am aware though that some more time needs to be spend completing draft one of Novel three. This will be my focus for next few months. Wish me luck and happy reading my friends.

Jafwords