Mark Versus

Blurring the line between self improvement and self punishment

Category: Challenges

NFL Fantasy Football Challenge 2011-12

NFL logoSo even though this is not an official MarkVersus Challenge, I do want as many people as possible to join in.

The excellent NFL UK site have started up their fantasy football contest for this season and I will be taking part. For those of you who might want to join in I have set up a mini-league of my own to compete directly with anyone who wants to get involved.

To pick  our team, go to the NFL UK site and sign up. Pick and name your team and once you are set up go into the ‘Leagues’ menu and use the code KJQ-YWM to join my mini-league the MFFL (I will let you guess what the ‘MF’ stands for ;)). I can also send you an invite email with instructions if you let me know who you are.

The NFL UK and Sky Sports are giving away their own prizes weekly which you will be in line for but I will also be handing out my own prize (details TBC and probably from my house) for the winner of the league.

If you feel like joining in go for it. The site has a bunch of really great resources about the players and the game and  (as I have learned) fairly friendly to those of us with little or no prior experience of the game. The season has only just started and is well worth a watch.

Good luck, y’all.


Mark Versus Oscar Sweepstake 2011 UPDATE

Those who were following the Oscar Sweepstakes will know that I kicked all sorts of arse in predicting the winners, beating every single entry but one. The estimable @karenlanjal managed to match my score, thus entitling her to a prize plucked from the bosom of my home.

After a reasonable (short) search I selected a prize which I hope she will find useful if only as a doorstop.

See below Karen delighted as she takes ownership of my nearly new copy of The Complete Film Production Handbook. Congratulations.

Karen holding her prize

It’s Alive!

Today I assembled the Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera that will act as my weapon of choice for the Mark Versus DIY Camera Contest.  It was a fairly straight forward process which I had intended on documenting fully. However, never seeing the point if duplicating effort, instead I shall link to this page and recommend you have it open should you attempt the build.  I would say the build took a couple of hours all-in.

There were a couple of moments that took some head scratching so, should it be of assistance, I shall list them here. I am aware that this may demonstrate a lack of skill on my part rather than any engineering errors on the part of whoever makes these kits.

  1. You will need a tiny screwdriver. The whole unit requires tightening up at the end (you need to keep the body loose in order to fit pieces in right up until the last minute) and access gets a little difficult once everything is in place.
  2. The Shutter: This was the most complex part of the process (as expected) and requires a bit of time spent tweaking and loosening and tightening and then re-loosening screws in order to get it working smoothly.  I found during this process that in order to keep the central part of the shutter mechanism in place I needed to fashion a small washer which I placed under it which did the job. For my washer I stripped a cable tie from some recent electronic gadget purchase and bent the wire into shape/width.
  3. The Viewfinder: attaching the viewfinder to the body felt like the point at which I was going to break some plastic and it would all end in tears.  Given that this is pretty far into the process it would have been a massive shame and I would be in a stinking mood for the rest of the day if I had muffed it up. So be careful.

Other that those bits, even the unintelligible Chinese instructions seemed to make sense. They are very well illustrated.

I have now loaded a roll of 35mm film I have had knocking around the flat and am about to head out for a test flight.  The film is nowhere near the recommended speed (ISO800 instead of the recommended 200) so I hold out little hope of any successful shots, but I will post anything that comes out OK.

As I imagined, holding the camera and looking down the viewfinder great fun. Focusing is a bit hit and miss (I blame my eyes as much as the camera) and it is a bit light, but I am really looking forward to mucking about with it.

And then, after August, perhaps I should try and mod it to be digital?

DIY Camera Photo Contest

I recently made a purchase of one of these bad boys:-

from here:-

It is an awesome, crappy plastic toy camera that you just happen to have to build yourself. While waiting for it to arrive (I still am) I was struck by the idea that this has the makings of an excellent MarkVersus challenge.  So, time to throw down. I am issuing the MarkVersus challenge to build your own camera and take a better picture than me.

The challenge shall work as follows:-

  1. Buy one of the camera kits from the site above (or the other stockists of the same/similar). It’s only £11 and if you know anyone else who wants to enter the competish there are literally pence to be saved if you buy them in bulk.
  2. Build the camera. Extra points if you document the construction.
  3. Buy some film. Remember film?
  4. Take photos. Get them developed. Get them scanned.
  5. Email them to They will be posted to
  6. The contest will run until 1 August 2011 (to give everyone a good bit of time and sunshine).
  7. I will come up with a way of picking the winner and a prize nearer then.

I understand if people are a little reserved about entering given my current winning form but I encourage everyone to join in and bring your friends. At worst we get some really awesome, crappy photographs.  See here for some examples.

And the Oscar goes too…

Oscar StatuetteCongratulations to all of the winners of Sunday night’s Oscars, particularly to team ‘King’s Speech’.  A classy film exemplified by some great speeches.

Congratulations too to the winner of the Mark Versus Oscar Sweepstake 2011. Or rather winners as it was a tie.  The first of the winners was, and you may have your doubts, Mark Versus himself.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I get paid the bug bucks. Suck it, losers!

All of you except the wonderful and intelligent Karen R. who, with a score of 14 matched my, up till now, peerless intellect and ability to guess things about films that I haven’t seen.  She has earned my respect and, as promised, a prize from my flat.  I am going to contact Karen directly and offer her a choice of a few film related items and will update with a photo of Karen and the prize.

Special mentions go out to the 3 people who came in joint second guessing 13 correctly Taig M., Sky M. and Dave G. You get nothing.

The MarkVersus Oscar Sweepstake 2011

So the magic of award season is upon us, and despite often getting angry at the whole process I always find myself a little fixated on the nominees. There is always the gap between who I would like to win and who I think will win to reconcile. Generally, I reconcile this by accepting that I am right and everyone else is wrong and perhaps next year they will learn.

So this year I have decided to employ the magic of internet technology to conduct a poll in the form of a sweepstake to find out just how far from the pulse my filmfinger (note: register actually is.

So, the link is here >>

Click on it, share it, fill out your choices and, come February, we’ll see whose filmfinger is up their shamenose.