Sunday 30th November 16:57
Now that the birthday celebrations have finished (hangover-free I might add), it's down to the nitty-gritty of sustaining the huge media interest that this blog has developed (whatever - Ed).
There are still oodles of subjects I want to cover, like why do half of the fucking population not know how to drive around roundabouts?! Apologies for the outburst there, I do try and dampen my language on here, however, you'll see why it was necessary when I do cover The Highway Code soon.
On to today's interesting link... ever since I first realised I'd become very interested in photography, I wanted to publish a book all about my home town of Bolton. The town boasts an awful lot of history and has some fabulous architecture, particularly the Town Hall, Le Mans Crescent and the Parish Church. Back in 1993, when I first bought a Canon Megazoom 105, I focussed on taking photographs of nothing but Bolton and its surrounding area, quite often visiting certain locations on numerous occasions, in the hope that I'd capture the essence of a particular building or landmark. It also seemed a great idea because my Dad was a copywriter and between us both, I felt it would have made a great read, especially as Bolton's tourism board had limited publications.
As with most of my ideas, it gathered dust and hasn't been polished since, until now... maybe!
Blurb is both a company and community that shares the passion and enjoyment of books, so much so, it allows you to make them, share them and sell them. The site offers a downloadable program which allows you to create your own book and it's compatible on both Mac and PC platforms, which is good news for everyone.
Rather than me go into immense detail about the site, just click on the Blurb logo above.
Saturday 29th November 00:01
Happy Birthday Blog, you're officially one year old today!
I have to admit, I wasn't sure if the whole idea of having a blog was a faddish one, particularly as I'm usually crap at keeping up-to-date with anything really.
Anyway, the fact is I did it, I made my blog a year old. I've thoroughly enjoyed compiling it, doing an immense amount of research and expanding my knowledge through gathering information for it. I guess much of it has been very laddish, particularly the football match reports and the beer reviews but I do hope that there's been something for everyone. What I do know is that it has a good number of daily hits, with people finding it in obscure ways!
I can also tell you that practically EVERY logo has been located as a vector-based file or I've spent minutes, sometimes hours, redrawing the whole thing. At times, I've emailed the various companies I've mentioned asking for either a high resolution jpeg or vector-based artwork. The return is around half, with the other half not even acknowledging my emails. Let's face it, any publicity is good publicity, you'd have thought!
I want to finish off today's blog by saying that I'm open to suggestions about a favourite site you may have (within reason) so please feel free to contact me by clicking here and letting me know.
Friday 28th November 13:58
Whilst at work today, Stan (crazy American dude) gave me a brainteaser to work out - he'd taken it from a book he's reading called, 'A Whack on the Side of the Head' (ISBN: 9780446674553) by Roger von Oech. Not only is Roger an author, he's also an inventor and speaker with his seminars and products enriching the creativity of many millions around the world.
For more information about him, please click on the book cover below.
Anyway, here's the brainteaser that Stan asked me to solve: Cross out six letters to find a common English word:
The answer can be found at the bottom of today's blog*.
As I own a Sony DSLR, I receive their regular email newsletters from Sony Digital Imaging. Today I had one informing me about the Sony World Photography Awards that will be held in Cannes next year. The competition is open to everyone, with classes for both amateurs and professionals. An exhibition of the best work submitted will take place at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes from the 15-19 April 2009, with the awards ceremony taking place on Thursday 16 April.
For more details, please click on the logo above.
* You actually needed to cross out the whole word 'SIX LETTERS', which would then leave you with 'BANANA'.
Thursday 27th November 20:05
Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth Football Club, made history tonight because one of the biggest clubs in European Football were to play there in the UEFA Cup. Group E is made up of Portsmouth, Wolfsburg (Germany), Braga (Portugal), Heerenveen (Netherlands) and AC Milan (Italy), the latter being tonight's visitors. If you were a better, you'd put your money on Portsmouth being on the receiving end of a scalping, particularly given their most recent form. The match was being televised on Channel Five so we watched it from the comfort of our sofa.
For more information about channel five, please click on the logo below.
The first half certainly had its incidents with Portsmouth being the the more lively of the two sides although they almost went 0-1 behind after a shot from striker Inzaghi slipped past Portsmouth goalkeeper, David James, only to hit the inside of the post and somehow direct itself into a relieved 'keeper's hands, evading simple tap-ins from Milan's players.
Around the half hour mark, a pass from Kakà put Inzaghi through, only for his lob to clear James and clip the topside of the bar - although Portsmouth were playing with conviction, they just couldn't seem to finish the visiting side off.
The mood and pace of the game changed significantly in the second half with Shevchenko putting two shots just wide and at the other end of the field, Glen Little smashed a shot into the side-netting. This could only mean one thing, someone was going to score. Sure enough, minutes after the hour mark, Kanu passed the ball back to Johnson and he looped a cross in from the right and neither Gianluca Zambrotta nor Philippe Senderos could prevent a perfectly-placed header by Kaboul.
It didn't end there either, in the 73rd minute Fratton Park was electric because although Johnson almost lost the ball on a couple of occasions, he stuck at it and managed to find his way past two defenders and then whipped in a low cross, only for Kanu to score Pompey's second. Was this real, Pompey beating AC Milan 2-0?!
A dubious decision by the referee gave AC Milan a free-kick in the 84th minute and now that Ronaldinho was on the pitch, he was candidate to take it. It was perfectly placed in the top right corner and gave David James had no chance of saving it. The scoreline now stood at 2-1 with six minutes of play plus any stoppage time - these were tense moments.
They survived the six minutes but in the second minute of the three that were added, Zambrotta's long pass fell perfectly into the 18 yard box only for Inzaghi to score his record 65th UEFA club competition goal. It ended 2-2 and we were absolutely stunned that AC Milan had managed to claw two goals back. Gutted.
For more information about the UEFA Cup, please click on their logo above.
Wednesday 26th November 22:37
Three bits of shocking news today, the first two being that two large businesses that have been around 'since I were a lad', have suffered with Britain's ongoing economic slump.
The first was founded in London in 1964 by Noel Lister and Donald Searle and was originally called Mullard Furniture Industries. Recent years had seen the company experiencing recurring financial problems with several changes of ownership and it was announced today that MFI had been placed into administration.
For more information about MFI's administration, please click on their logo above.
The second, a British icon, was founded in 1909 with the first of the 800-strong stores being opened in Liverpool. The store was famously known for focusing on the sale of Ladybird books, Chad Valley toys and a leading supplier of 'pick 'n' mix' sweets. Once again, it was announced that high-street retail chain, Woolworths, had gone into administration.
At the moment, their website is undergoing essential maintenance, please click on their logo above and check back for possible updates.
Okay, on to the third bit of shocking news... yes, Facebook has a lot to answer for... the photo above is of me taken twenty years ago and a so-called friend tagged me to it. It's THAT bad, I just had to share it with you... enjoy the laugh.
For more information about Facebook, please click on the logo below.
Due to the three shocks I had, I wouldn't have ordinarily cracked open a bottle of real ale, but I'm sure you can understand the necessity to do so. Tonight's real ale, Roaring Meg is brewed by Springhead Brewery, based in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Their most popular beer is named after a cannon which had been smelted at a furnace in the Forest of Dean, the 5.5% ABV 'Big Blonde' ale is smooth, sweet with a dry finish and a citrus honey aroma.
For more information, please click on the excellent graphic below.
Tuesday 25th November 11:42
Did you, or have you ever wondered how incredibly convincing some of the people with body parts missing in films such as 'Saving Private Ryan' are?
Well, you needn't look any further. A good number of years ago, in the midst of the Irish countryside, several amputees were used on the set of 'Saving Private Ryan' to add extra shock to the film. At the time, these amputees discussed setting up an agency but nothing ever came of it.
Months went by and it seemed that the same amputees met on other productions such as 'Gladiator' and 'Band of Brothers'. The agency idea was talked about again and this time they decided to go ahead with it but they had the small matter of being part of the cast for 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Troy'.
Eventually, in March 2004, the agency was finally set up and since then they've gone from strength to strength with appearances in Doctor Who, 28 Weeks Later, Lilies and Ocean of Fear.
Further information can be found by clicking the logo above.
Tonight I sampled a beer called 'Rosey Nosey', a 4.9% alc. vol. seasonal beer by Bateman's Brewery, based in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. It's a vegan-friendly ale and due to its rich fruitiness, it's an ideal accompaniment to poultry dishes (bang goes the vegan aspect!)
To find out more about 'Rosey Nosey', please click on the animated graphic above.
As a matter of interest, Batemans is one of the few remaining family-ran breweries and has been established since 1874. Based in an old windmill on the banks of the River Steeping, the brewery put their all into not encroaching on the quality of their ales.
To find out more about Batemans Brewery, please click on the link below.
Monday 24th November 20:29
For those of you who know me, although I have no time for reading, I do love the English language and everything that surrounds it. I love learning or stumbling upon new words and then taking the time to find out what they mean and in which context they can be used. To me, the most interesting books I own are the Oxford English Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus. With 2008 being the year of reading, I thought it be a good enough reason to share my enthusiasm with you...
Please click on the logo below to find out more.
Words can be fun, and the way the English language branches off into other areas makes it even more interesting. The word nomenclature is actually the word given to devising or choosing names for things and it covers acronyms, initialisms and alphabetisms, all of which are abbreviations in one way or another.
The word scuba, as in scuba diving is an initialism; Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Then there are shortcut acronyms like the company 3M, originally known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.
I also think palindromes are fun, one of the longest English ones being rotavator - although the longest one listed in the Oxford English Dictionary is 'tattarrattat', a word coined by James Joyce in his book 'Ulysses', describing the sound of someone knocking on a door. Palindromes are words that are spelt the same whether they be read forwards or backwards like; madam, level, noon, repaper, civic, to name a few.
Finally, (until my next installment about the English Language) I'll share an new word I learned today, 'diacritic'. Diacritics are small additions that are added to letters to alter the pronunciation of them, or to distinguish between similar words. The English Language is one of the few European languages that does not have regular use of these, unless the specific word is frequently used within it, such as 'café'.
Here's a list of frequently used ones... ( ´ ) acute accent, ( ` ) grave accent, ( ˆ ) circumflex accent, ( ¨ ) trema, diaeresis, or umlaut sign and ( ˜ ) tilde.
You learn something new every day... both the books I have talked about can be found in the majority of good bookshops, either that or click on the Waterstones logo above to find out more.
Sunday 23rd November 13:53
Today was a bit of a nonentity, nevertheless, it did provide some entertainment just before noon. Midway through the morning, we were very pleased for having made the most of the day yesterday because the weather had taken a major U-turn, the only slight downside to this was we desperately needed several things from the supermarket.
There are several supermarkets within a 10 mile radius to us, yet you wouldn't class any as being 'on the doorstep' except either Tesco or Waitrose in Havant - both of which are relatively small stores in comparison to the others.
The plus side with Waitrose is that it has an underground car park, and since it was literally pissing it down, this seemed the safe, comfortable and warm option... so off we went.
We had practically filled our trolley with everything we needed and were almost ready to go to the checkout when Tanya suddenly piped up with, "This store doesn't have half the stuff we need" and made the decision to abandon the trolley that was practically full and proceeded to walk out of the store, followed by a guilt-ridden balding gentleman (namely me).
Anyway, you can either click on the logo above to access the Waitrose website and plan your trolley abandonment in advance OR you can click on the logo below to find out more about Custom Fonts, a branch of Linotype who specifically design bespoke fonts for major companies.
Finished the evening by sampling another real ale, this time it was 'Black Sheep Ale' made by the Black Sheep Brewery. I first remember sampling this ale whilst on a walking weekend in the Lake District with a mate of mine. I distinctly remember getting larruped (technical beer term) off it with us both waking up the whole dormitory at one of the Youth Hostels at Coniston. Needless to say, it's another great tasting ale.
For more information, please click on the logo below.
Saturday 22nd November 11:58
Today was one of those unplanned days which turned out to be really enjoyable. We'd originally decided to have a 'slobby day in' but in the end I suggested that we get a loaf of bread from Westbourne Bakery and some bacon from the village Co-op and have a nice fry up. Whilst we were there, we could have a good walk around the village as way of some exercise. Although Westbourne is a relatively small village compared to that of Emsworth, the length of walk was surprising and in the end we ended up stopping at Rosie's Tea Rooms and had an early lunch there instead. I have to say that the staff are very friendly and the prices are very reasonable indeed.
Whilst driving, I noticed a bus in front of us that was advertising 'The Big Tidy Up' (sponsored by Disney-Pixar's film, WALL·E, a computer animated fiction-romance film that follows the story of a robot called WALL·E who has been designed the clean up a polluted Earth).
The campaign was launched in September of this year and is encouraging people to help with country's biggest ever litter tidy up. Obviously these tidy-ups need to continue throughout the year for it to make any significant difference.
For more information, please click on the logo above, or if you would like to know more about the film, WALL·E, please click on the logo below.
Later on in the afternoon, I was delighted to find out that Bolton Wanderers had beaten Middlebrough (at the Riverside Stadium) by 1-3. In fact, I was that delighted, I cracked open a bottle of Summer Lightning, an award-winning golden ale by Hopback Brewery, and what an exceedingly refreshing ale it is too. Having won over 70 separate awards, there's no mistaking just how fine it is.
For more information, please click on the Summer Lightning logo below.
Friday 21st November 22:00
Tonight, whilst enjoying a chippy tea from Mother Kelly's in Emsworth, I thought I'd crack open another real ale, this one being 'Spitfire' a Kentish Ale from Shepherd Neame. I have to say that Shepherd Neame are possibly one of my favourite breweries, yet I wasn't as taken with Spitfire as I was with Master Brew and Bishop's Finger, nevertheless, it's still a distinguished ale.
For more information, please visit the Spitfire website.
Later on, ITV hosted 'Now That's What I Call 1983', presented by Denise Van Outen and it was a one-off show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 'Now' compilations. Back in 1983, the very first one was released on 25 years on, the 71st CD is now available.
Some of the artists that featured on the very first CD were invited to perform on tonight's show and the line-up was as follows... Heaven 17 'Temptation', Howard Jones 'New Song', Nik Kershaw 'I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me'*, Nick Heyward ' Whistle Down The Wind'*, Kajagoogoo 'Too Shy', Paul Young 'Wherever I Lay My Hat', Ali Campbell (from UB40) 'Red Red Wine' and finally Tony Hadley (from Spandau Ballet) 'True'.
* These two tracks didn't feature on the very first 'Now' CD.
The show was quite entertaining, particularly seeing how much most of the star's hairlines had receded! Everyone sang live, except for Paul Young, who obviously mimed, which was a great shame because out of the lot of them, I'd say he had the strongest and most distinctive voice of the line-up tonight.
For more information about the 'Now' compilation CDs, please click on the logo above.
Thursday 20th November 14:57
A local photographer, Grantly Lynch, has been working on a fantastic time-lapse video for Montague Bikes. This whole video has been created with stills that were shot with a Nikon D-300 mounted to the handlebars of a SwissBike LX.
Please click on the image below to watch the whole video.
Later on, whilst we were in Emsworth's Co-op today, I noticed a hanging banner promoting a charity called The Point Foundation. The Foundation first became established after its founding members had visited some of the poorest areas of both South Africa and Rwanda, where HIV is still rife. Many children are left orphaned and this is where The Foundation has already raised enough money to make a difference and provide a better life for the unfortunate ones.
Their work has included the supply of medicines, clothing, school desks, playground furniture, toys and educational equipment. These projects have been carefully selected where a particular school or orphanage has no major sponsor or seriously lacks the funding and help that others are receiving.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 19th November 12:41
"What's so special about today?" I hear you ask. Well, it's World Toilet Day... seriously.
Believe it or not, although the likes of you and me have never known life within a toilet, there is a global sanitation crisis. Remarkably, there is an estimated 2.6 billion people globally, of which there are 980 million children, who do not have a toilet. Imagine life without one, both at home and at work, no public toliets, no toilets anywhere. Imagine the mess, imagine the smell and imagine the disease.
Just one gram of faeces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs. The safe disposal of children's faeces alone can make a reduction of almost 40% of childhood diarrhoea cases, as can the simple act of washing hands with soap and water having been to the toilet.
For more information about the organisation, please click on the logo above.
Later on in the night, Tanya and I both sat down to watch an International Friendly football match between Germany and England, played at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
England started the match much stronger than Germany and the home side were under pressure. Agabonlahor, Barry and Wright-Phillips were causing all sorts of problems for Germany and, in the 23 minute, some diabolical goalkeeping by Adler meant that Upson poked the first goal for England from just four yards out. It seemed as if it might be a walk in the park for England but Germany began a vigorous retaliation and put them on the back foot, yet England went into the break at 0-1 to the good.
It appeared as if England were happy with their 0-1 lead although they did start off with some determination in the second half but couldn't finish the home side off. In the 62nd minute, Bent had an incredible chance yet somehow managed to put the ball wide! Minutes later, the German's managed to make the most of an absolutely appalling 64th minute blunder, courtesy of defender John Terry and 'keeper Scott Carson. It was bad, really bad - the scoreline was now 1-1.
England's midfield and back four were being peppered with German attacks until England were awarded a free-kick. Terry managed to soar far higher than anyone around him to score a fantastic header from Downing's pin-point free-kick in the 84th minute and make amends for his dreadful defending. The match ended with England winning 1-2.
Tuesday 18th November 13:55
Due to the nature of my job, I continually need access to the internet to research what particular companies produce or offer, and more importantly, their corporate branding. Today, I was asked to locate the 'Burn' logo, a high energy drink produced by Coca-Cola. I've heard of most drinks, but not this one. In my quest, I stumbled upon the Scribd website, for someone had written a short piece about the drink, which is why it ranked high in my Google search for it.
Scribd is a document sharing website which was launched in March 2007 by Trip Adler, Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstam. It can be compared to that of a huge online library where original content may be published by anyone. Since becoming one of the top 300 websites on the internet, it receives over 20 million monthly visitors and has accumulated over 17 billion words in its library, making it five times the size of Wikipedia. The San Franciscan startup company was initially funded with $12,000 from Y Combinator and has received a further $3.7m from Redpoint Ventures and The Kinsey Hills Group.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Monday 17th November 20:00
Last night saw the launch of ITV1's 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'. The show, presented by Ant and Dec is in its eighth series and still draws in the viewing public, particularly the humiliation that the celebrities go through during the Bushtucker Trials.
The previous seven winners from the show, set in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia, have been (in chronological order); Tony Blackburn, Phil Tufnell, Kerry Katona, Joe Pasquale, Carol Thatcher, Matt Willis and Christopher Biggins.
This year, the ten contestants who went 'into the jungle' are Esther Rantzen, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Carly Zucker, Joe Swash, Martina Navratilova, Simon Webbe, Dani Behr, George Takei, Brian Paddick, Nicola McLean, with two more celebrities joining them on Thursday.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Sunday 16th November 06:48
Having had two outings to Emsworth yesterday, we decided be up and out ultra-early this morning. Whilst walking around the Mill Pond and the Slipper Pond, we'd noticed the abundance of bird life and thought it a good idea to see what photographs we could take before the hustle and bustle of the town started.
Due to Emsworth's coastal location, it means that there are several different reasons for various species of bird to visit the location. The other plus point is that Havant Borough Council show a good deal of interest and have a selection of informative signs dotted around the town. On the Mill Pond alone, there is a large population of Mute Swans, Mallards, Black-headed Gulls and Coots and infrequent visitors such as Cormorants, Tufted Ducks and the one Muscovy Duck that somehow found its way there some months ago.
On the other side of the Mill Pond wall is the open sea and when it's low tide, the bird population is significantly different for it attracts many of the wading birds. This morning we spotted Canada Geese, Cormorants, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlews.
The Slipper Pond, on the other hand, has a far longer list of visitors, probably down to the fact that it's slightly more secluded and doesn't have the same appeal as the Mill Pond. This statement isn't meant to put it down in any way, it's just a fact. Whilst walking around and taking photographs, we saw the usual suspects, Mute Swans, Mallards, Black-headed Gulls and Coots. Others that we added to that list were Moorhens, Little Egrets and, I am extremely pleased to say, a Kingfisher! I have seen many of them before but it's the first time I've seen one since moving down here.
Please click on the image above to access the Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association.
Saturday 15th November 12:45
We managed to go out for a walk this morning around Emsworth Mill Pond, buy a loaf of bread from Westbourne Bakery and some bacon from Co-op in Southbourne before heading back home to watch the Premiership match between Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool, being played at the Reebok. It also meant that we could enjoy the match with a bacon and egg sarnie!
I have to say, I wasn't looking forward to this tie in any way, shape or form. As expected, Liverpool dominated the first half and sure enough, after a 21 pass build-up, Dirk Kuyt scored an impressive header in the 28th minute. Just before the break, Bolton's Gary Cahill headed home a set piece, yet it was ruled out by referee Rob Styles. I personally feel that Bolton were robbed of the equaliser for I've seen similar goals given week in, week out for such innocuous challenges.
After the break, Bolton pressed Liverpool, managing to win a handful of free-kicks, putting the visiting side under considerable pressure. It seemed their persistence would eventually pay off until Liverpool caught them with a counter-attack with Torres clipping in a superb cross with the outside of his foot, only for Steven Gerrard to put Liverpool's second goal in the net with a superb diving header.
The Merseyside team may well have made it three or four but for Bolton's goalkeeper saving shots from both Torres and Xabi Alonso.
Friday 14th November 19:03
On Christmas Day 1927, BBC radio broadcast an appeal for children and the donations of £1,143 18s 3d were shared with four prominent children's charities. Nearly thirty years later, the first televised appeal was presented by Harry Corbett and his puppet Sooty, in 1955. Back then, it was called the 'Children's Hour Christmas Appeal' and was televised on Christmas Day. These appeals became an annual event and continued right through to 1979 where it raised a total of £625, 836.
There have been many presenters over the years and Sir Terry Wogan KBE, a Trustee of the charity, made his first appearance in 1978 and has since remained one of its main presenters.
In 1980, the appeal took on a new telethon format, spearheaded by Mark Patterson who became the show's Executive Producer for nine years. The first telethon, hosted by Terry, along with Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen, was such a huge success and it was the first time that donations had exceeded one million pounds in the appeal's history.
Pudsey, the official logo and mascot of Children In Need was designed by Joanna Ball, a BBC graphic designer. The cuddly character made his debut in 1985 as a brown teddy bear and was named after a town in West Yorkshire where Joanna was born. His appearance has altered since then and he's now bright yellow with a colourful spotted bandage.
For more information about the charity, please click on the Children In Need logo above.
Thursday 13th November 08:33
Whilst at work today, a client of ours had some rather large files that he wanted to send to us, the trouble was, the files exceeded what most mail boxes can cope with - most providers will allow anything up to around 10MB, after that, you've no chance, unless you send some form of memory stick or card in the post.
There are several sites out there that allow you to upload documents or images that are phenomenal file sizes, one of which is called You Send it. The company, founded by Khalid Shaikh back in 2004 was set up with the main aim of finding a way to manage the sending, receiving, tracking and organising of large files. It's a web-based digital content delivery service where the recipients receive an email notification, along with a URL from which they can download the file. It now has more than five million registered users from over 200 different countries and deals with over 40,000 GB of files per day having already dealt with 500 million files to date!
To send your large files, click on their logo above.
Tried another real ale tonight, Hambledon Bitter. The golden ale is brewed with honey and elderflower, has a distinct elderflower nose and is light with a sweet taste. Interestingly, it derives its name from the birthplace of cricket next to the Bat & Ball pub around 1750.
For more information about the Itchen Valley Brewery, please click on their logo above.
Wednesday 12th November 13:43
I have to say that I've been one of the fortunate ones when it came to dental hygiene for my Mum worked in dental practices for many years, this of course meant that we all had regular six-monthly check-ups and generally looked after our gnashers.
Since moving down south though, finding an NHS Dentist is as likely as finding rocking horse shit. So, for the past three years or more, I haven't been making those regular visits and I totally resent going private, particularly with the extortionate prices they charge, I'd expect major brain surgery for that.
Why the rant? Well one of my molars split in two whilst chomping on a biscuit today. It's rather disconcerting trying to 'chew' on bits of your own tooth! Luckily this happened just before I finished work for the day so, once home, I was straight on the 'phone to NHS Direct in the hope of being able to book an appointment with an emergency dentist.
To find out more about NHS Direct, please click on the logo above.
Later on, we tried the second of the four bottled ales we bought at the weekend - this time it was 'Waggle Dance' by Wells brewers. The ale is brewed with their own natural mineral water and real honey and has an alcohol volume of 5.0%. It really is a great-tasting ale and was named after th ceremonial performance a bee gives to alert the hive to a source of nectar.
I too shall now perform my very own Waggle Dance by providing a link to their website, just pollenate the image above and away you go!
Tuesday 11th November 21:36
Of late, it seems as if I've been working constantly, which is a good thing. Every now and again though, it's as well to take a break and chill out. Now then, I have to say that I'm just not a big lover of games - I think I was in my mid-teens when the first arcade games came out; things like Space Invaders, Pac Man, Tetris and Pole Position are ones that stick in my mind.
Back then, most of my school mates have opted to take Computer Studies (now commonly known as Information Technology or IT for short). With me being heavily into art, particularly graphics, I didn't deem it necessary to go down that route - why on Earth would knowing about computers ever be of any benefit to me? Little did I know!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, one of the few addictions I have to computer games is Solitaire - I cannot believe how quickly an hour or so can pass by, just because you have to win!
I'm sure there are many free downloads for PC out there, however, free Mac games are incredibly thin on the ground so click on the graphic above and download your free copy!
Monday 10th November 14:35
Either it's an age thing or my hearing isn't what it used to be... I needed to sign for a package that was being sent to me, so the only way of doing so was by having it delivered at work.
Out of courtesy, I asked permission to which Jim, my boss, replied, "Yes of course, Ian. Everyone has Amazon stuff delivered here."
I replied, "hammers and stuff?"
Maybe you had to be there, although reading it back, it's still very funny.
Since it's been mentioned, click on the Amazon logo to access their site, not that you'll need any introductions!
Later on in the day I worked on an advert that will be featuring in 'The Skip' magazine (I kid you not!) for Tanya's boss, Dave. I'd imagine that it's the sort of publication that would feature on the BBC's 'Have I Got News For You'. Dave assures me that for a trade magazine, it's easily the best he receives, and I'm not going to be the one who challenges that declaration.
More information about the 'The Skip' can be found by clicking on the logo.
As mentioned yesterday, we sampled one of the bottled beers that we purchased yesterday, this one being 'Tangle Foot' by Badger Ales. It's a very light golden-coloured, refreshing ale, full-bodied with hints of fruitiness. Out of 230 beers from around the world, judges by a panel of 40 experts, it received a bronze award in the OLN International Beer and Cider Competition (2000). It has also won other prestigious awards over the years. Legend has it that it acquired its name after the head brewer had been involved with the consumption of several tankards - whilst on his way home, he experienced a distinct loss of steering, and so the name stuck...
For more information, please click on the image below.
Sunday 9th November 11:01
With it being the closest Sunday to November 11th, the commemoration of the 90th year for those who fought and lost their lives in the First World War was held today, with a minute's silence being acknowledged at 11am. Even though both Tanya and I had been aware of this, we still managed to drive past a silent congregation outside St. Mary's Church in Buriton. At first, we both wondered why everyone was stood outside, rather than in the church, and why some of the people were looking at us in a disparaging way. It suddenly dawned on me as we were about to drive past a second time... oops!
For more information about the Royal British Legion, please click on the logo below.
From Buriton we drove up to Petersfield, had a walk around Heath Pond and then nipped into Tesco for a hot chicken (roast dinner) and I'd decided to sample a few more bottled beers, including a couple more of the Morrissey Fox Blonde Ale (yes, it's very nice).
We then took the scenic route home, taking photographs along the way and got back in time to watch the FA Cup tie between local football club, Havant and Waterlooville versus Brentford which was being televised on ITV1. Havant and Waterlooville, affectionately known as The Hawks, progressed to the fourth round last year having beaten Swansea City along the way and meeting Liverpool at Anfield. The team's home ground is at Westleigh Park in Havant and play in the Blue Square South's League.
Unfortunately, the game ended 1-3 in Brentford's favour and the result certainly didn't reflect Havant and Waterlooville's passion to win, particularly as it could have easily gone to a replay.
For more information about Havant and Waterlooville Football Club, please click on their crest above.
Saturday 8th November 10:31
With the weather being so unpredictable of late, we decided to take the plunge and do our weekly shop at our local Sainsbury's. Sundays are bad enough to face the sheep-like crowds so, I have to be honest, a Saturday morning at a busy supermarket wasn't on the top of my 'To Do' list.
One of the main reasons to do our shop here was because Tanya had spotted some mouth-watering recipes via the store's website.
We actually finished quite quickly and there wasn't a single occasion where I felt the need to obliterate every other person in the store, which was a bonus for me, and particularly them.
For more information about Sainsbury's, please click on the logo above.
Once we'd fed and watered ourselves, we chose to have a walk around the Mill Pond and managed to do so in between some heavy cloudbursts. Rather than go home after our walk, we had a drive up to Broadmarsh and fed the seagulls, well, that was our intention, yet a couple of Magpies seemed to be the bravest, much to the seagulls' annoyance!
Later on in the evening, we witnessed the shock departure of Laura White from The X Factor.
I really despise reality shows and yet we're continually drawn to this one, for some reason. In actual fact, I find the auditions the most entertaining part of the show, especially the totally disillusioned people who come along, thinking they 'have' the X factor. They may be total imbeciles but nevertheless, they're entertaining.
Anyway, the reason why I have brought up Laura's departure is because she was one of the hot favourites and, for the life of me, I just cannot understand why Louis Walsh even contemplated voting her off - it's just plain ridiculous, plus she's from Bolton.
For more information about the ITV1 show, please click on the logo above (which I ended up redrawing as a vector-based file).
Friday 7th November 16:51
It's Friday and what better way to end a busy week by having a cool, refreshing beer. Abbi, Tanya's daughter had nipped into town (Portsmouth) to do some shopping so, with her being near a Tesco, I asked her if she could pick up a couple of bottles of 'Blonde Ale', the ale developed by Neil Morrissey and Richard Fox (see Tuesday's blog for more information).
First impressions? Well, I love the labelling, regardless of the fact that it's not your traditional ale branding. There's a description underneath the name of the beer - it reads: Light and refreshing with a full body and flowery nose.
Now then, I'm not big on descriptions of drinks, particularly some of the shite that wine tasters come out with, however, this description is spot on. It is light and it certainly is refreshing, especially if you serve the drink chilled; at room temperature, it's still very enjoyable. Unlike most real ales, this is on the gassy side which adds to its distinctiveness and doesn't leave you feeling bloated like the majority of lagers. It has quite a tangy and fruity taste and it certainly leaves you wanting more.
Tanya and I both agreed that it was the perfect drink for a sunny summer's afternoon. We've ended up buying more.
Click on the beer label above (which I redrew as a vector drawing) to find out where the ale is sold.
Thursday 6th November 19:28
Every now and again, I stumble upon websites that are brilliant, and the one I'm about to share with you today is no exception. It's a regular occurrence for me, where I'm asked to design something and use an existing logo... the client quite often supplies either a PDF or an EPS file, only it's a JPEG within a PDF or EPS which deems it useless, particularly as I work with vector-based drawings.
Not only that, I'm dealing with someone who has little or no experience within graphic design, so my explanations of what I require means diddly-squat to them. This isn't meant to make these people sound inadequate or inferior, for I wouldn't have a clue about their job either.
With these points in mind, it usually leaves me with no alternative but to 'search' either the internet or their specific website, in the hope that I may trip over a perfect vector-based PDF, hidden away in some corner of their site that some webmaster had left there and it's been gathering dust ever since... until now!
Click on the logo above, type in a brand name or even a company name and it will track down all the PDFs (or near enough all) contained within your website and even ones that may have your company name included on them, yet they're found elsewhere on the net! A very cool website.
Wednesday 5th November 08:34
The United States of America made history overnight, for the first 'black' president was elected. I say this loosely because his father is black African, yet his mother is white, nevertheless, it's still a milestone in race relations in a country that has been fraught with racism.
To think that just short of the new President-elect celebrating his second birthday, came one of the most famous speeches ever given by Martin Luther King on August 28th 1963. Within the transcript of his speech came those immortal lines, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."
Sadly, less than five years after giving such a dramatic speech, the 39 year old was assassinated on April 4th 1968 on the balcony of room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
Forty years on from King's tragic death, Barack Obama, is the first African American to be elected. The 44th President-elect will be taking office on January 20th 2009.
For more information about Barack Obama, please click on the logo above.
His new home, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, was designed by James Hoban and constructed started on October 13th, 1792. That famous address is of course, The White House. It is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The white-painted Aquia sandstone building was completed in 1800 and has been the executive residence of every U.S. President since John Adams.
For more information about The White House, please click on the logo above.
Tuesday 4th November 17:57
Over the past couple of weeks, we've been watching 'Neil Morrissey's Risky Business' which is aired at 10pm, Tuesday nights, Channel 4. The whole series is about ex-Men Behaving Badly star and his best mate, chef Richard Fox. For some time now, they've had a dream which is to open up their own pub and have an on-site microbrewery so that they're able to produce their own beer - not only that, they want it to be sold by every supermarket in the country.
They own their own pub now, in the heart of Yorkshire. Found in the little village of Marton Cun Grafton, it's the 'Ye Olde Punch Bowl', it's surrounded by beautiful countryside and has a substantial beer garden to boot. The interior was refurbished in May of this year with the whole feel of the pub being brought into the 21st Century, yet maintaining its traditional feel.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
'Blonde Ale', their proto-type beer has also been very successful with Tesco stocking it in over 500 stores as of October.
For more information, please click on the Morrissey Fox logo.
Finally, I've made up two jokes recently and I want to put a claim to both of them, before they become all-time classics.
Why don't restaurants have finance departments?
Because there's no accounting for taste.
I'd say I'm very open-minded about sex, yet I find motorway exits a turn-off.
Monday 3rd November 06:07
Woke up this morning knowing that I'd been a year 'smoke free'. I don't condemn smoking, particularly as I am an ex-smoker. In the past I've managed to stop for two lengthy stints; the first being three years, the second being four. This time I want it to be for good. Each time I've managed to stop, it's been sheer willpower and nothing else. If you want to stop, you can.
If you're wanting to quit, please click on the 'smoke free' logo above to find out more.
Later on in the day, 20:00 to be precise, the SwissBike LX made by Montague Bikes was featured on Channel Five's, 'The Gadget Show'. Click on The Gadget Show logo above to see how it faired.
Sunday 2nd November 18:03
With yesterday being so gloomy and end-of-the-world like, we didn't have much hope for today's weather however, it was beautiful again, and very warm with it too.
I suggested walking along the Billy Track in Havant to The Royal Oak in Langstone, so that's what we did. We were both slightly disappointed in some respects, for autumn seems to have missed the Billy Track out with most of the trees still having their summer plumage, so to speak.
Later on in the day, I had major apprehension about the Premier League clash between local rivals Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City at the Reebok. Yesterday, Harry Redknapp had spurred Tottenham on to their second win within a week, which meant that they'd leapfrogged Bolton and sent them crashing to the bottom of the table.
The match was televised on Sky Sports 1, the only Premier League match to be played today.
Up until midway through the second half, Bolton hadn't tested City's 'keeper, Joe Hart, once, whereas at the other end of the field, Jaaskelainen was proving his worth and celebrating his 400th appearance for the Mighty Whites.
With an inspired pass by Kevin Nolan and a ferocious low cross by Gretar Steinsson, Jamaican international, Ricardo Gardner managed to open the scoring in the 77th minute. Worryingly, it was Bolton's first goal for almost six hours of play. It was a very tense affair after that for City pressed and Bolton withstood the pressure until one minute from time, Ricardo Gardner whipped in a low cross from the left flank, only for City's own Richard Dunne to inadvertently turn into his own net. The match ended 2-0 to the Trotters and, for the time-being, they weren't rock bottom.
Saturday 1st November 19:58
I have to say that there's something incredibly satisfying about taking a day off work, particularly when one of the weekend days is a total washout. Today was of those days. It was that bad, neither of us even attempted to venture outdoors.
This meant that quite a lot of television was watched and because of this, I just had to share the latest Barclaycard advert with you. The extended 90 second advert shows an office worker taking off his clothes and getting into a waterslide, which he uses to commute home. During his journey, the commuter, actor Robert Wilfort (of Gavin and Stacey fame), uses a Barclaycard to swipe his way through subway system gates and to also buy groceries.
To watch the advert, please click on the logo above or click here to find out more information about Barclaycard.
Finally, just in case you were itching to know what the music is, it's called, 'Let Your Love Flow' by the American pop and country music duo, The Bellamy Brothers. The duo reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 with this track in 1976.
Please click on the Bellamy Brothers logo to find out more about the duo.