Friday, 13 July 2012

GB Open Advance to the Final

Wow, just wow. 

GB vs Sweden was quite a game. Sweden had a big zone that really made GB O work hard for their points never the less approaching the half GB had worked their way into a 8-5 lead. But the Swedish zone was just getting going. Crushing the life out of the O line handlers and making 3 points of their own to tie it up at 8-8. 

GB scored their O point to take the half but it was very tense through the half with the game poised on a knife edge. 

Sweden made the best start to the second half taking an 11-10 lead. The game got a bit choppy with lots of calls. The instant replays were great for showing which one were good calls and which weren't. But GB held their nerve to pull back to 14-13 up Matt Parslow scoring points, 11,12, 13, and 14. Game to 15. 

GB had a real heart attack inducing point at 13-14, with the victory in sight the D line worked hard to get the blocks but then made crazy rushed decisions and gave the disc back to the Swedes enough for them work it in. 14-14 sudden death. 

We sat on the edge of our seats waiting for the solid Swedish zone to set themselves up again. But what's this, the Swedes go for a man D. GB adapt immediately for which they should be congratulated. GB displayed a very calm confidence in making 8 swift clean passes for the easiest looking score of the game the Swedes barely saw the disc. Parslow was involved again this time as the assist provider, a short pass to the fast cutting Matt McDowell, but it was a team point, a team victory. 

GB open exploded onto the pitch to celebrate as is their right.

The final will be played at 7am UK time on Saturday morning. Get some buddies over and enjoy.

Possibly the best $5 you'll ever spend. 

For those of us watching the game in the UK it was an interesting experience. The NGN coverage is technically brilliant, the pictures are sharp and stream well on any connection, you can pick the quality to match your connection speed. I was very impressed. The replays and graphics are also a professional effort. 

The commentary (and I might be biased here), while very knowledgeable, struggled to convey the emotion and passion of the action on the pitch. While the players were screaming, rejoicing, the fans and sideline bursting with delight, the commentary could have been reporting on golf. Also considering the number of people commenting on social media it was disappointing that there didn't seem to be any way of communicating with the men with the mics. 

One of the best parts of the experience was the virtual GB sideline which sprang up on the Blockstack TV Facebook page. Lots of people talking about the game but also offering practical technical advice to solve problems. The banter was exceptional and I look forward to doing it again during the final. is the place to go. 

For the twitter fans out there the pace and visibility of the facebook interaction made it more enjoyable in my view. 

Off to bed now. 


Thursday, 12 July 2012

GB Open Progress to Semi's at WUGC - Watch Live

If you haven't been following the action in Japan (it has been quite hard) then you'll be pleased to hear that our GB Open team is doing rather well. They are currently awaiting a semi final on Friday morning against European rivals Sweden.

You can watch the game live at

The game was originally scheduled for 3am (11am Japan time) but had been moved forward to 1am (9am Japan time)

Why not stay up and join in the banter and chat at

Myself (@tomstyles) and Steve Giguere (@stevegiguere) will be staying up and keeping the social media hot. Please join us online for what could be an historic evening - GB in a worlds final.

If they do win tonight's semi, the final is 3pm on Saturday Japan time which is 7am Saturday morning UK time. Keep up. 

Other Divisions

GB Women are in the 5-8 bracket and face Germany, then either New Zealand or Australia in their last games.
GB Mixed team are in the 5-8 bracket and face France, then either Philippines or Germany in their last games.
GB Open Masters team beat France to take 5th place after struggling in the group stages against the big guns of USA, Canada, Japan, and the Aussies
GB Women's Masters team face Germany in their final 5-6 placement game. 

Cheers for now

Tom Styles

Blockstack TV (department of just checking photos and stats)

Please forward  so we can get some support for the team online tonight.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

WCBU 2011, Hot and Streamy

When we were asked to lead/be the media team for WCBU 2011 we were a little bit...'Us?!'. I'm pretty sure we've said this before but Tom and I have no formal media training or experience beyond this BlockStack TV thing we do. It's a hobby like stamp collecting or lighting your farts. Still, we agreed and since early 2011 have been engaged in largely skyped based meetings about how to do it, what we needed, who should be involved and as a result, generally set our sights fairly lofty.

Facebook pages, promotions, news articles, competitions, the daily podcast, live streamed games FROM THE BEACH and a team to get all this done. Easy!

Skip the end, we hope you enjoyed when we brought to you! We attempted, as best we could, to bring you live streamed games direct from two different locations separately merely by a few thousand metres of golden sand. Additionally we filmed edited and released our usual daily podcasts featuring lots of interviews, perspectives, controversy and game highlights! The podcasts went really well as usual. They can still be seen along with all of our previous podcasts via our website ( The live streaming (our first ever attempt)...let's just say the hurdles were many.

The Hurdles
First we needed to get wired internet from the adjacent government buildings to the beach, and/or, get a strong enough wireless upload from the nearby GeTur sports facility that allowed us to stream the love, uninterrupted, and in something that resembled a resolution high enough that you wouldn't be expecting an ATARI logo on it. Let's not forget the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th hurdles. Hurdle #2: We needed a video camera with a good enough picture in a variety of light conditions that would stream the picture as it was filmed, via firewire, to a laptop. Hurdle #3: We needed a laptop that had enough balls under the hood and the software technology (and somebody who knew how to use it) to be able to connect to the internet and fire out the red hot streams of Ultimate pleasure. Hurdle #4: We needed a server that could keep up with the potentially millions of edge-of-their-seat live ultimate video consumers, anxiously waiting to watch every delicious moment of sandy caked frisbee porn from the comfort of the tiny hidden away corners of their offices/homes, hoping their bosses/co-workers/girlfriends/boyfriends don't catch them with their dirty pleasure. We know our audience. Hurdle #5: It was 35degC in the shade. Great for a beach holiday but a far stretch from an air conditioned server room. Tech + sand + pasty British flesh + heat ... you get the picture.

Bring it all together not forgetting the two idiots put in charge, and it's pretty much smooth sailing! We did hope that with so many things to go wrong it could only go right.

The Solution
The Tech: We contacted Tushar from IamUltimate ( Tushar is a technowizard. The kind of wizard there may someday be a feature film about starring that guy who played Anakin Skywalker as Tushar, a flippant yet somewhat loveable anti-hero. Tushar himself will catch the film on a plane on his way to the next big thing. Tushar was the only sure thing we had. He has experience streaming (CUC2010), the technology background, the powerhouse laptop, the sexy assistant/fiance Rose and no patience for f*ck-ups.

The Camera: Once we realised, two weeks before the event started, that none of the people involved actually had a camera that met the requirements, this was solved by me (Steve G) doing some research via the the usual methods of hoping somebody had already solved this and posted it in ridiculous detail on the web. This didn't so much happen but enough information was found to narrow the search to a few affordable options. The ebay stalking begin and £800 later we were ready to film. £800 kindly provided by Lookfly ( Hooray for bail out sponsorship!

The Voice(s): Since 2008 when Tom and I accidentally fell ass-backward into the laps of Ultivillage during the filming of WUGC and did some impromptu commentary for their DVD, we've started to get a bit of a name for it. Tom in particular. I don't know how he can come up with 20 different ways of saying same thing over and over and keep it jazzed. He does it on the podcast as well. In fact we used to have some fun spotting the times I would say something and Tom would simply repeat my point using different words. A man truly made for live commentary. Of course one man + me isn't enough. I had games to play, we both had editing for our daily podcast and we had to eat and sleep. Help was required. The natural choice was Tony Leonardo. He's written two books on the subject of Ultimate, has done commentary in the past, knows a shit-ton about USA Ultimate and a respectable amount (for an American) about International Ultimate to fit right in. He was also already going to be there. He also recently bought a wearable GoPro camera that was potentially was a great addition to the show! We needed one more person and it had to be from a new perspective. In short, we needed a woman. What we got was a short woman. Liz Garfinkle, captain of the now Silver Medal winning USA Mixed Masters team was on hand and as keen to help us as Patrick Van der Valk is to get naked. Add in our journo BlockStack newbie Sean Colfer, random camera man acquisition during the event, Patrick Fourcampre-Maye from UAE, and lastly the passion powered, beer loving, Ultimate media go-getter Matt Kass and the team was complete!

How did it all go right?
It didn't. That wasn't anything to do with the assembled team, all of which performed admirably and we would not hestitate to call upon each and every one of them again for such an undertaking. What happened, or didn't, was internet and sometimes light and power. Infrastructure basics for those looking to get into the live streaming of anything. Internet, light and power are important. Write that down. Our promised killer wired connection turned out to be a flakey shared uplink with half of the business end of Lignano Sabbiadoro (gotta love saying that name!). Who got that wrong? No idea. If we do find that guy who kept kicking the plug out again and again we're going to punch him in the jeans. Lack of essential services often meant that in spite of our killer camera, full staff, two commentators per game, heaps of techology ready to pump waves and waves of digital fris-bliss across the flood lit information super-highway straight into your face, we were too often spitting it through a candle lit, battery powered straw.

In retrospect we probably would have got a reliable source to check the internet in advance and verify the speed. Still, we did get lots of positive feedback from all over the world with regards to the games. The audio worked well, the video was at odd times quite good and the patience amongst the viewers was exceptional. We did still have the podcasts and we are uploading the recorded games to youtube.

Please do stayed tuned in to our streaming ventures in the future because, we have the technology and we have the team. If you've got the internet, if no one else can help, and if you can find us (facebook is good), maybe you can hire...BlockStack TV (and IamUltimate)!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Prague wrap up show - Now Live

For those who’ve just returned to daily life after the excitement and
sunshine of WUCC2010 in Prague. We offer you a little light relief. If
you weren't there then don't miss out.

Finals from WUCC Prague is a massive celebration of ultimate, lovingly
wrapped in the witty banter of your hosts Tom Styles and Steve
Giguere. Coverage of all the semis plus commentary of the Finals. Chad
Larson Experience vs ONXY, Revolver vs Sockeye and the epic battle of
Fury vs UNO.

Interviews with the big players and plenty of tournament atmosphere
from the party and the stands on finals day. Prague + Finals +
Blockstack TV = 1hr 10mins of quality.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of our show:- – Eco friendly and ethically sourced performance ultimate gear

and – Healthy, natural and nutritious snacks

We’d also like to thank for their help. Our commentary
of the finals will be on their DVD of the tournament and also
available through their website

Special mention must go to Chris “Aussie” White who worked hard all
week behind the camera, the shows would not have been possible without

Music on our shows was kindly provided by the Star Wars themed
pop-punk group Order66, check them out at The final montage was accompanied by a track by The Kyoto Connection Project

Subscribe in itunes, watch online, or visit “All our previous shows”
to view the shows in iPhone/Mobile browser friendly mp4 format.

Lastly we’d love to hear what you thought of our coverage. Positive or
negative our email address is

Friday, 9 July 2010

Bumper WUCC wrap up episode

Because of our commitments to Ultivillage and to the PARTY, we will be putting out one bumper episode covering all of Friday's and Saturday's WUCC 2010 Prague action. It should be a monster.

We hope that the wait will be worth it and that the anticipation won't seriously harm anyone.

Included in the episode will be coverage of all the Mixed, Women's and of course Open Semi finals along with the finals. Every interview, every perspective. Blockstack TV has it all.

Right now though there is a party and as you know there it ain't no party like a blockstack party.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Blockstack in Prague WUCC 2010

The first episode of Blockstack TV from WUCC in Prague is now up and online.

The first episode features, interviews with Chevron, LLLeeds, BAF,
Fury, Lotus, Eastern Greys, Magon, Jonathan Potts. The opening
ceremony and the opening show game.

Plus pay attention to the title sequence as it took me (Tom) nearly 4
hours to create it and I'd like to think that someone had noticed.

Cheers from hot and sunny Prague.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Paganello Day 2

Those of us who understand that Paganello is as much the parties as it is the play, were there last night when the winners of Paga Idol took to the stage for and extended set of tightly crafted versions of 60s and 70s hits to get the crowd into the mood for a boogie. Some of us were also lucky enough to catch the 2nd place finisher who opened the night with a loud Hendrix influenced series of head banging, face melting guitar rock!

After two nights and two days of Paga it's getting exciting. The Have made up for their shock loss yesterday to top their pool as planned by defeating Tequila Boom Boom today and ending the day with a Arena match point for point trade against Hot Beaches that nobody watching could have called until Hot Beaches managed to close the deal and leave the finals predictions for the Womens divisions completely up in the air.

The weekend saw it's largest spectator turnout in mid-afternoon as Inside Rakete turned a 2 point lead over tournament favourites UTI into a sudden death crowd pleaser with UTI needing the turn and score to deliver a defeat. One perfect huck to Justin Foord and what looked like the upset victory of the event was now another UTI Paganello sudden death win.

Willy & de Schellekes put in a very re-spectible performance and provided Los Tiger with an early wake up call punching through 8 points against the Americans, more than any competitor so far including Iznogood who topped their first round pool.
Huck 'n Sea came back from the tight loss to Iznogood brushing aside the Russian squad to chalk up their first win of the new pool structure. This was followed by a crushing defeat at the hands of upset kings CUSB La Fotta who are continuing to have a stellar Paganello XX.

Stinks have already shown that this may be their year by pressuring Scandal into their first defeat on the weekend in what looks to be the most difficult of the top open pools with Freespeed and Supermanschaft also competing for the top 8 in this group.

Some educated predictions can already be made in the Mixed and Junior divisions. The Swing Kings have not only won all of their matches in the Juniors division but have scored 70 points to only 15 against. That's 30 more goals than the nearest team in that Division. In the Mixed division the Horned Melons and CGNU have shown their comfort on sand in all conditions as the day ended with a chill sweeping through the Rimini, and the wind as always provided a levelling influence that truly separated the good the bad and the ugly today.

The day ended with an unfortunately almost deserted grandstand as SuperManschaft surprised everyone with a possessed performance against Stinks. The Swedes were kicking the sand, throwing hats and one even started digging in the sand like a dog in frustration as the ex-junior division squad scored two in succession to take the game to 6-6 and could only hang their heads in dismay as Manschaft turned and scored to take the lead 7-6. Stinks are the Paganello flavour of the experienced Skogs and are comfortable in pressure situations. Both teams traded the game out to 7-7 and then 8-8, each forcing turn-overs in spectacular fashion until, experience dominated over pure adrenaline and Stinks finished the day with a 9-8 sudden death win.

Tomorrow will bring the beginning of the quarter finals starting in the womens division at high noon across the 4 centre pitches. The finalists will be decided across the board only a few hours later with back to back semi finals in all divisions. We're hoping to see a Super Hot Pot vs Tequila Boom Boom final in the Arena to see if Hot Pot can withstand the enormous local support that Tequila will garner on the day.

Report by Steve Giguere - reproduced from "Roar of the Talking Fish"