Who is this Jonathan Mortimer of which you speak?
It's me, isn't it? Who else would it be?
This is a page about me, it's not meant to be thrilling nor exciting;
anyone who is already excited should leave now, you're too scary.
Anyway, on with the freak show.
Where would we be without TV? No cult TV, no Star Trek, no tots' TV, no Fifteen To One and Countdown late in the afternoon..... no Richard Whitely!
Those who recognise Mr Claypole up there at the top of the page will know what I'm talking about - that is those who saw it first time around (any other way is not the same!) Here's some more programmes which shaped my very psyche from an early age......
I used to watch
Monkey without fail every time it was on, and revelled in the amazing
antics, the fast paced and ludicrously silly fight scenes - perhaps
fitting background material to the recent Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
which had similarly impossible movement and fight scenes. Every kid my
age wanted their own pink cloud and extending staff, but no doubt was
never too sure of Tripitakas' masculinity.
Somehow it just wouldn't be the same without those dubbed voices we all came to know and recognise so well....
Other shows I used to watch included CHIPS, Columbo, Cagny & Lacey,
Faulty Towers, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, The Adventure
Game, Animal Magic, Jim'll Fix It (of course!) The Hitch Hikers Guide
To The Galaxy
Sure I used to
watch cartoons too, but you don't see stuff like this any more! Jamie
and His Magic Torch, Sport Billy, Dungeons & Dragons, Battle of the
Planets, Wombles, The Flumps, Ivor the Engine, Camberwick Green,
Trumpton, Bagpuss, Willo The Wisp, Roobarb & Custard
These are just a few of the images I've collected, I've never seen them all in the same place before. Check out my list of sites for details of where to get more stuff like this.
Arguably an even bigger influence on me than television were films. Old favourites that few seem to have heard of include The Big Bus, Silent Running, Capricorn One, Yellow Submarine, Gumball Rally, and other more popular ones like Star Wars, Star Trek The Motion Picture, Tron, The Black Hole, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Live And Let Die, War Games, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Flash Gordon, Where Eagles Dare, Time Bandits, Alien..... the list goes on. For the most part I like sci-fi, comedy and the odd musical (like Grease). Strangely enough I also find that I enjoy watching old British black & white films, Ice Cold In Alex possibly being the favourite.
Other less heard of short films also linger in my memory, such as Glitterball - a cheaply made kids sci-fi about two teenagers who discover an alien in the form of a small shiny ball which feeds off anything to get energy, including an electricity pylon; the kids and the ball help to stop the local thief (called "Filthy Potter", who is called Filthy "because he is") from stealing the weeks' takings from the local supermarket.
Of course these days I own quite a number of my favourite films on video, many were bought second hand for next to no money but would be otherwise very difficult to get hold of - videos tend to get deleted a lot in the UK (not making enough money, obviously), the limited edition The Black Hole boxed set (pictured below) is only available in America, so I'm told. And before you ask, yes it is in widescreen (2.35:1) NTSC format. If you like The Black Hole, then go out of your way to get this - it's really worth while!
Original video packaging - except for far right, a friend kindly gave me the new boxed set!
Games have always been important to me, and still are. Whether it is for the challenge, excitement, or interaction, I'll jump at the opportunity to play, so long as it doesn't involve expending much energy - I prefer the type where you sit down for the duration (perhaps because I'm lazy) such as strategy board games or computer games.
On the subject of games, one should not forget the humble beginnings of home arcade games and the wonderful creations of Grandstand; I refer of course to the Grandstand arcade games which came in a silver cabinet with a screen, a small joystick and a fire button. Astro Wars was always my favourite but there were others which were equally amazing at the time.
Among my favourite board games are ones made by Games Workshop, Space Hulk being the most exciting to play in my opinion - the game is played on a map made out of corridor sections which join rooms together, you take control of one or two squads of five Space Marines each, the objective is to complete the mission while avoiding being ripped to shreds by the evil alien-esque Genestealers, which are 'controlled' by the other player ('controlled' usually means running at the Space Marines in large numbers!). Part of the gaming experience with Games Worshop products is painting the models, which I also spend quite some time doing.
I've played a lot of computer games, ever since our first computer which was a Commodore Vic 20. I tried my hand at programming (or, rather, copying programs from a magazine) but they invariably didn't work so I just bought them instead. Who could forget old classics like Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Starship Escape, or those cartridge based text adventures - The Count, Pirates - and Gorf. Thus started my interest in computers.....
Many a happy afternoon was spent playing computer games when I should
have been outside enjoying the sunshine, but I did get some sun
as it shone in through the window! I played too many games to remember
and owned several different computers, some of which I still have and
get out now and again for a play; for reference, I owned the following
computers: Commodore Vic 20, Commodore 64, Atari STe, Atari STFM, Atari
Falcon. I also own an Atari Jaguar, Atari 2600, and an N64.
These days I'm interested less in playing games and more in the creation of them, or at least the graphics for them; I've always tried my hand at computer graphics no matter what computer I had at the time but my most recent computers are much more interesting to play with....
The Silicon Graphics and "Powered by Silicon Graphics" logos, and Silicon Graphics, are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Silicon Graphics workstations are what I use now, and although the number of games available for them is absolutely minimal there's a heck of a lot of freeware utilities and software that enables you to do just about anything you want with them, and if the software doesn't exist it's a small matter to make use of the existing libraries and online books to write it (knowledge of C or C++ recommended) but considering the number of years that the core OS (UNIX) has been around and the number of people who've used it it's unlikely that someone hasn't already at least tried to write any program you might require. This web page, for example, was created using Cosmo Create, a freebie WYSIWYG web page creation tool, running on a Silicon Graphics Indy.
As an example of some of the things I use my SGs for, you could check out my Virtual World Online page elsewhere on this website, and the following stills:
Cosmo Worlds and a VRML scene. Why is one of the trees not reflected in the pool then, eh?
Media Recorder - used to capture images, movies or sound from a variety of sources including the digital Indy Cam and composite AV
Showcase - a presentation tool which can be used to produce
anything from slideshows to certificates,
I often use it to print letters and envelopes.
I have also been investigating 3D graphics programming using libraries, which for those who do not understand anything about programming is a set of prewritten functions that are designed to be used many times in a program and which often make use of specific hardware or software capabilities of the computer it is designed to be used on; some libraries are standard and exist on most computer platforms, but others (such as the Open Inventor and Performer libraries for Silicon Graphics workstations) are unique to the platform they exist on. For anyone interested in programming, this is certainly the most interesting way I can think of learning and of expanding ones knowledge, seeing how professional simulations are programmed and learning all the neat little graphics tricks you maybe don't notice in games and such. I find myself playing games now and saying 'Oi! That's a flat texture!' or 'Look! A billboard!' (See a book on 3D graphics or Ian Maplesons' graphics web pages for an explanation)
As a bonus while I am learning about 3D graphics I am also learning unix fundamentals and important administration stuff. I created my 'SGI Indy on the internet' guide after the necessity for me to get my own SGI on the internet taught me how to do it, and a friend persuaded me that others would benefit from my research. It is this kind of sharing of information that makes the unix community so much stronger and easier to be a part of than that of any other current computer system.
I've always been fascinated by all things miniature. Toy cars are a common interest amongst younger kids, but I was encouraged by my father to make plastic kits and balsa wood planes. As I built model after model my skills and eye for detail improved, so that today when I paint a model it is done to quite a high standard. I have recently finished off a model of the Starship Enterprise which is a little over two feet long and very detailed. I also have an X-Wing and Battlestar Pegasus hanging around the place.
As well as physical models I am also interested in computer generated models, i.e. 3D models, and with my SGs I can make almost any model I like if I am prepared to sit down and do it. Making 3D models takes preparation, time, patience and skill; some models only get as far as the preparation stage. Often I will get so far with a model then stall because I am unsure of how something should look, when I finally knuckle down I am rarely disappointed in the results.
My latest creation (finished!!):
My list of sites
Got bored already? Here's some links to keep you amused....
Ian Maplesons Futuretech and SGI Advice web site
BBC Online Cult home page
This page is likely to change without notice (hopefully for the better) but does anyone care? Or will anyone even notice? Probably not. I'm rambling now so I'd better stop.
Some legal stuff :
"Silicon Graphics, Inc. is not responsible for or affiliated with, and does not endorse, this Web site's sponsor, operation, products, services, viewpoints, or content, and shall not be liable for any acts, omissions, use and/or misuse thereof"
Games Workshop, Space Hulk, Space Marine, Genestealer are trademarks of Games Workshop Limited. Used without permission. No challenge to their status is intended