Day 365: The End… But The Moment Has Been Prepared For

Ha… ha… ha… ha… ha… happy new year for tomorrow!

December 31 main

There were doubters. There were cynics. There were multidimensional imps with pointy sticks (have I mentioned them?). But here we are. The last day. The 365th pair of trainers and over a grand and half raised for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Jan-1-riddler-ConverseThe Sole Of Sci-Fi ends as it began, back on January 1st 2014, with a pair of Batman villain Converse All-Stars. Then it was the Riddler (right) today it’s the Joker. There’s a definite feeling of having come full circle.

Donations from Clown Asylum and Lisa Wood propelled the total over the £1,500 barrier yesterday. Originally I set the total at £1,000, but when we crossed that before six months were up, I ambitiously re-set it to £2,000. Though donations have slowed down in the second half of the year, I still think £1,500 is a damned impressive result. But as I said, that’s no reason to stop donating! (Actually, halfway through writing this blog I got an email from the sponsorme.co.uk site saying my account had been closed; I thought when I put an end date of December 31st it’d stay open until the end of December 31st but apparently not. So I’m setting up a new page here for any stragglers…)

I’d like to thank everyone who has donated this year, and also everyone who has loaned me trainers. I would never have done it without you! I know if I name names I’ll insult someone by forgetting them, but I think I’m going to risk it, as the following people have been fundamental in their support (some people have retweeted or shared my social media posts nearly every day):

December 31 main 2Simon Withers, Richard Edwards, Steve Gotobed, Nicky Gotobed, Dom Carter, Pete Bayly, Ian Hepburn, Lisa Wood, Steven Ellis, Paula Miller, David Bradley, Emmaryal, Boo, Stacey Whittle, Dan Grenfell, Sarah Montrose, Zoë Gold, Deborah Bradley, Jayne Nelson, Fraser James, Mum, Dad, Rhian Drinkwater, Michael Molcher, John Edwards, Mrs Hirez, NurseDarry (the pun-master), Misty Lister, Toria, Rob Spedding, Nick Setchfield, Sarah Fones, Martin Fahey, Narin Flanders, Will Guyatt, Jodan Farley.

(There’s the possibility that I may have mentioned the same people twice as I don’t always connect Twitter handles with real names, as Dom Carter knows all to well – I was talking to him early this year about a Twitter follower for about five minutes before he went, “Yeah, that’s me.”)

I’m also painfully aware that I have seven pairs of trainers in the house that need to go back to their original owners. Don’t panic. This will happen soon.

Hmm, that’s a lot of words. Here are those Joker Cons again from another angle to break up the text.

December 31 inside joker

March 8 mainSo, at the end of the year, what are my main memories? Clambering over filing cabinets in the SFX office in the early days chiefly. I still love my Inception photo from Day 67 because it was done without any Photoshop, just me lying on my back on some shelves in the office stretching my legs to the ceiling.

July 7 mainIn those early days I had the naive ambition to try to do all the photos without using Photoshop trickery, but I’m glad I relented, as the blog began to much about five time the traffic when I started doing the movie and TV skits which eventually became the site’s defining MO. It’s now impossible to think back on Sole Of Sci-F without images like this Trasformers poster one coming to mind (actually one of my faves of the year in terms of getting the trainers – which belonged to Steven Ellis – to integrate convincingly with the image: somehow the colours and lighting just worked).

Finally, then, a few Sole Of Sci-Fi awards,  a few of them neither trainer nor sci-fi related, but things I just wanted to mention from 2014:

Favourite New Brand Of Trainers of 2014: Pearl Izumi

May 26 close-up

Trainers That Raised Most Money on ebay: These limited edition Nikes donated by Steve Goteobed

Jan 30 6

Sole Of Sci-Fi Blog With The Most Hits: Day 289: A Sneaker Peek At The Extended Desolation Of Smaug (I doubt this had much to do with the trainers/image)

October 16 b

Trainers I Really Didn’t Want To Give Back: Dan Grenfell’s Nike Lunarswift’s – loved the colours

June 23 main

My Favourite Sole Of Sci-Fi shot of the year: Loved the combination of quirky trainers, moody photo and subdued colours.

October 4 main 2

Unexpected TV Gem Of The Year: The Detectorists

TV Highlight Of The Year: Line Of Duty/Black Mirror “White Christmas” – a tie

TV Nadir Of The Year: Mark Wright winning The Apprentice – the world seriously needs NO MORE self-appointed SEO gurus

Film Of The Year: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Best Film I Watched This Year (but It Actually Came Out In 2o13): Only Lovers Left Alive

Stupid SF Online Furore Of The Year: A black stormtrooper

Best New Show Of The Year: The Flash

Worst Character Of The Year: Another tie – Rebecca Pine in Under The Dome/Barbara Gordon in Gotham. I’m not being misogynistic. One for being a walking plot device whose character changed every week the other for being so wimpy and whiny it’s impossible to believe she’ll ever be Batwoman/Batgirl/Battokenfemale. Good grief, surely TV evolved beyond creating such thin female characters years ago.

Graphic Novel Of The Year: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds

seconds bryan lee o'malley

Comic Of The Year: Moon Knight

Most Amazing Ability Of The Year: Either Halle Berry’s ability to scale elevator shafts wearing high heels shoes or the Flash’s ability to know exactly where to stand to be backlit when taking to Iris.

The Flash 105 Plastique new power copy

Villains Of The Year: The production designing and lighting team on Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD for making the show (which in terms of writing and characters is getting better an better) look so drab and uninteresting. They should be forced to watch Gotham with looks gorgeous even when the scripts are little iffy.

Freakiest Trainers I Had To Wear This Year: Crepe-soled running shoes? No thanks.

December 5

And that’s your lot. I’ll update the blog irregularly in the coming weeks with total updates (if there are any). I’ll be looking forward to getting an hour and a half of my life back every day. And I’ll try to work out what I should blog about next. By necessity, I need a new angle. But one thing’s for sure – it won’t be daily.

Thanks everybody. Keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

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• Current total: £1,525 

• Remember this is all for charity, so  PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE (this is now the extra donation site for latecomers)

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Day 359: The Nike For Christmas

(Once more, it’s a pun that works better if you say Nike the American way – Nikey)

December 25 main

Listening to the endless carols on TV last night it suddenly occurred to me how “Ding Dong Merrily On High” sounds less like something celebrating “the birth of our Lord” and more like the lyrics to some ’60s psychedelic pop song. I bet various members  of the Rolling Stones were extremely ding dong merrily on high on various Christmases over their careers.

Anyway, Christmas morning and no presents open yet, part from the ones above which I was given special dispensation of so I could do Sole of Sci-Fi. Present opening today is scheduled for post lunch, which is some form of mental torture frowned upon by the European Court Of Human Rights, surely?

Staying off the internet tonight, so that I don’t have to read the comments after my Doctor Who review. I loved it, and was very generous with the star rating, so I’m bound to be called all sorts of names when everyone else hates it. But I’m sticking to my guns; tonight is the third time I will have seen it and I’m looking forward to finally watching in HD with as much anticipation as a Christmas Special I haven’t seen at all. Especially the dance routine.

But I liked “Love And Monsters” so what do I know?

Dalek Christmas Card

Happy Christmas for tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,455 

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

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Day 355: Busy Sunday

Basically, today is a placeholder…

December 21 main

 

Right, today’s effort was a quick “go out in the garden and grab what you can” effort, for two reasons. First, I am very, very busy today. I have four reviews to write (Doctor Who Christmas special, Dominion season one plus this week’s UK episodes of The Flash and SHIELD) plus a sci-fi quiz for the SFX website. Admitted I did think of making life easier on myself by writing “crap” 250 times for Dominion, but I’m (slightly) more professional than that. I can’t write them tomorrow was I have a day of Christmas activities planned for tomorrow – not buying presents, but preparing some special as a kind of present for various people – and I’m going back to the parents the day after that.

Plus, I’ve been putting tons of effort into the blog over the past couple of weeks, and I think I’ve maxed out on donations. I hope not, but I’m not getting much response now (notably nothing from those thousands of Who fans who’ve visited the site over the past few days, the tight gits) so there’s not much reason to put much effort in. After 355 days of breaking my back ever day to fit this in I think I can write off the rest of the year as fulfilment of the promise. Staggering across the line, as it were.

But if you want to donate, please don’t let me stop you!

See you tomorrow!

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• Current total: £1,390 (I haven’t put it on the sponsorship page yet, but was given £30 in cash last night from various people in the pub)

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

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Day 354: Nike Air Maximilians

Okay, they’re not Air Maxes but let’s go with the flow…

Ready to launch!

So last night was another meeting of the writers’ group I belong to. The theme of the short stories we had to submit was “Christmas ghost stories”. I did one about a guy haunted by Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everbody”. You will know true horror!

Flushed with success after how well my last effort went down, I once again knocked out the story in a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. This time, though, my short story was the worst on offer, and that despite the fact that one of the others was only half written. I was genuinely in awe of the writing my group mates had produced. There was some simply glowing prose going on.

Oh the other hand, my story did feature the gag: “…so loud it became a WMD – weapon of musical destruction.”

Griffin keep out signThe pub also has the worst “Keep Out” sign I’ve even seen. It was almost guaranteed not to keep me out. Who wouldn’t want to open this door?

None of which has anything to do with today’s image, and that because it’s just an image and headline I’ve wanted to use for ages, and now seems as good a time as any.

I know it’s not a good time of year to nag, but you’re running out of time to sponsor me!

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,390 (I haven’t put it on the sponsorship page yet, but was given £30 in cash last night from various people in the pub)

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

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Day 352: Nyke Genisys

You have to ask, ‘Y’?

December 18 main

Yesterday was my last day of in-office work for 2014, and I’ve only got five reviews to write before Christmas, so it does feel a little like my festive holiday period has begun. So I suppose I’d better buy a few presents. To be fair, I have begun the Christmas shopping but there are still some major ones to go.

Today’s image blends Terminator Genisys with another pair of trainers borrowed from the Immediate cycling division. The well there has run dry now, but I still have a few pairs at the bottom of the stairs waiting to be used. I’ve worked out they’ll take me to December 27… so nearly got the whole year covered.

Anyone who’s been following the blog will not be surprised to hear I was getting very angry with The Apprentice last night. So some self-appointed SEO guru is through to the final. Great, just what the world needs. One day the internet will consist entirely of SEO companies trying to tell other SEO companies how to get better rankings.

Here’s an idea; any company that offering to improve SEO that doesn’t come up on the first page of results when you search for “improve my SEO” should just give up now.

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,360

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

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Day 348: One Pair Of Trainers To Rule Them All

Is this blog Hobbit-forming?

December 14

Nope, I haven’t seen battle of the five armies yet, and I suppose I should have left this blog until then, but to be honest, I’m just posting ideas now as I get them, just focused on the finishing line and wondering what I should wear on the last day!

Off Christmas shopping in a minute, but first, a quick word about last night astonishing dull episode of Atlantis. What didn’t help was how dark it all was; genuinely so gloomy you could barely see what was going on in any action scene.

A typical scene for Atlantis season two

A typical scene from Atlantis series two

The dialogue made matter worse. “What if they can see in the dark,” Pythagoras wondered about the zombies. “Lucky them,” was my instant response. “What can you see?” Hercules asks Jason. “Bugger all!” crossed my mind. “We need to watch her like a bat,” says Hercules. Pythagoras corrects him to, “like a hawk,” but I’m with Hercules. Echo location may have been a better way to work out what was going on.

It wasn’t just me. I asked on Twitter and many people agreed. There have been too many gloomy night-time and cave sequences already this season, but a whole episode of it was like some kind of mental attrition.

Not impressed.

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,360

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

• If you have any trainers you could donate (either on loan or old pairs you’re getting rid of) which are size 9 (ish – I can do anything  from 8 to 10) contact me at davegolderSFX@gmail.com so I can arrange collection.

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Day 347: Kree Runners

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD discover the truth behind Tahiti…

December 12 main

I thought that was another good episode of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD last night. I’ve been a little rough on the series in my reviews over on the SFX site previously, but it’s only because I don’t think the show is fulfilling it potential much of the time; but these last few episodes of 2014 are certainly moving in the right direction in terms of not falling back on TV action clichés. I still think it could do with finding a way of making its infodumps more exciting, though… far too many scenes of people sitting around nattering. Sometimes major revelations are thrown away because the characters deliver them like they’re reading the minutes from the last SHIELD finance meeting.

All of which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to make a list of my advice for sci-fi and fantasy in 2o15. So let’s kick off with…

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD writers should study the Aaron Sorkin book of how to make dialogue more scenes more exciting
Doctor Who should have more resolutions based on the Doctor coming up with a clever plan, rather then mere coincidence
Haven’s production team should stop relying on a Commodore 64 to provide the show’s GGI effects
Under The Dome and Extant should be put out of our misery
• Marvel should announce a Howard The Duck film, and do it right time, possibly with Darren Aronofsky as director
• JJ Abrams should stay off the internet in December
• The BBC should make a genre show that isn’t either a) a Saturday night family adventure or b) excruciatingly dull (actually, I have high hopes for this one)
• DC should try to avoid a reboot of its entire comics universe (I have little hope of this one)
The Leftovers should never have a big explanation of what’s going on (I’m actually really enjoying it, but the showrunner’s Damon Lindelof so any resolution is bound to be crap)
• More people should start watching Defiance. But to help this scenario, Defiance should stop polluting its wonderfully grungy, slightly pervy character-led plots, with preposterous epic fantasy-style arc plots.
• Some publisher should publish my book

See you tomorrow!

Donate buttonUsual Begging Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,360

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

• If you have any trainers you could donate (either on loan or old pairs you’re getting rid of) which are size 9 (ish – I can do anything  from 8 to 10) contact me at davegolderSFX@gmail.com so I can arrange collection.

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