Tuesday 30th September 21:00
Some time in the early 90s, I was lucky enough to watch 'Smith and Jones' in concert at King George's Hall in Blackburn. They were possibly one of the funniest double-acts on television at the time and were superb live.
Over fifteen years on, they both still make me laugh, particularly Griff Rhys Jones. When Tanya told me that he was starting a new series on BBC2 tonight called 'Losing It', I just had to sit down and watch it. The show was subtitled, 'Griff Rhys Jones on Anger', so we knew it was a 'must watch'.
Whilst reading up on the reviews of it, I noticed that someone on the Telegraph website had posted a message... it read as follows:
I am laughing this morning! I tried to watch the programme through the BBC iPlayer and it kept on stalling due to my appalling broadband connection....therefore I 'lost it' during a programme about 'losing it'.
Anyway, please click on the accompanying image, in the hope that you will access the BBC iPlayer website without any hiccups!
Monday 29th September 18:15
Another manic day at work... it always seems to be that way, particularly being the end of the month. I spent quite a chunk of the day working on an HTML email autumn promotion for Montague/SwissBike.
For more information, please click on the promotional graphic below and if temptation gets the better of you, indicate that you found the advert here when making your purchase.
Sunday 28th September 07:07
Tanya reached the ripe young age of 44 today but I've decided to keep that quiet... I don't want the whole world knowing how old she is.
I'd had to keep my plans for her present quiet on here until now, not that she particularly reads my blog but it would've been rather foolish of me had I announced anything prior to today.
She must've felt quite excited about receiving her birthday presents because it's quite rare for her to surface before 08:00 on a weekend day (not only am I announcing her age but her sleeping habits as well), so I made us both a cup of tea and she opened her presents, leaving mine until last.
Some years ago, I'd designed a logo for Tanya's photographic website and she'd made a few hints that her logo would look really cool as a piece of silver jewellery. It just so happened that Daisychain Jewellery (whose stall we'd visited last weekend) specifically made silver pieces so I contacted Joanne on Thursday morning (yes, I left it incredibly late!) and asked whether she'd be able to make something and send it off in Friday night's post so that I'd be able to give it to Tanya this morning.
I have to give all the praise and thanks that I possibly can to Joanne, for she pulled out all the stops and created an absolutely beautiful piece of jewellery - photos to come.
Tanya was over-the-moon and it was amazing to see my design in the flesh, so to speak. As well as using her logo, I'd also asked that a sapphire be set in the centre of it, for that is Tanya's birthstone. I must also add that the price was incredibly reasonable, just take a look at the Daisychain website to give you an idea.
It was another incredible day weather-wise so we took a trip down to Southsea sea front and had a lovely relaxing walk along the promenade, stopping off a couple of times for a snack or two. Whilst walking along, we stopped off at South Parade Pier, one of two piers within Portsmouth city centre. It has a long hall down its centre which houses both a small seating area and restaurant. On the outside of the hall runs the pier which connects the entrance of the building and a small funfair at the southern end. As with the majority of piers, part of it was removed during the Second World War to hinder the possibility of any invasion and it has also caught fire on several occasions, the most famous was during the filming of Ken Russell's, 'Tommy'.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Whilst on our walk, we noticed that Portsmouth Voluntary Lifeguards were in full force, due to it being a beautifully warm day with every chance of the brave swimmers running into potential hazards.
Any voluntary organisation deserves a mention and a plug...
We finished off the day by watching 'Men of Honor' (not a spelling error - it's an American film), a military drama starring Cuba Gooding Jnr and Robert De Niro. It tells the true story of Carl Brashear who managed to combat severe racism to become the US Navy's first ever African-American deep-sea diver. For more information, please click the poster that accompanied the movie.
Saturday 27th September 14:17
Quite a hectic, yet somewhat relaxing day today, if there's such a thing - I guess it was relaxing due to the amazing weather we were having.
Having been disappointed with trying to locate a 60th present for my Mum, Tanya and I opted for 'Plan B' which meant a lot of patience and travelling.
We headed off to Gunwharf Quays, it lies under the shadow of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth and, for a shopping area, I think it's great. I have little or no time for shopping yet there's something very appealing about Gunwharf Quays - maybe it's the way it's laid out or the fact that the majority of the shops are actually quite interesting, I don't know.
For more information, please click on the logo below.
From there, we then headed east to Chichester. I'm not a big fan of city centres either, I start to feel slightly claustrophobic, particularly if there are a lot of people about. The thing I love about Chichester is that it isn't a typical city centre, it's quite compact yet it's spread out over what can only be described as a crossroads with North, South, East and West Streets all converging at the Market Cross, one of the many focal points within the centre.
For more information about Chichester, please click on the logo below.
Our quest was complete so before heading off back to the car, we sat outside the Swallow Bakery, one of the many cafés within the centre. We both had a Boston Brownie and a cooling glass of Coke and watched the world go by. Although their food is on the pricey side, the café is probably one of the most popular within the centre.
For more information, please click on their very simple and effective logo.
We then headed home and chilled out doing very little (although I did keep a check on the score between Manchester United v Bolton, hoping that they may beat them... alas, it wasn't to be with a 2-0 defeat).
Later on, Abbi, Tanya's daughter, treated us to a Chinese from New China Takeaway in Emsworth and I had an accompanying bottle of Hobgoblin beer, made by the Wychwood Brewery.
It's the first time I'd tried Hobgoblin beer and I've got to say, it's a fantastic beer. At 5.2%, it's described as a traditionally crafted legendary ruby beer and it certainly is what is says on the bottle. It's quite a strong, yet very smooth beer and it really did leave me wanting more.
For more information, please click on the beer label above.
We finished a perfect day off by watching a DVD that a work colleague had kindly lent me for the weekend called 'Dogma'.
It's a funny film, we enjoyed it very much, even though it's intentionally over-the-top and silly. Every cast member plays a great part, I just struggle with Chris Rock, I find him immensely annoying. Before the advent of Friends, Fraser, Cheers, Third Rock etc, American humour used to pass me by, yet I'd go as far to say as they're some of the funniest television shows ever made... Chris Rock however, passes me by.
Anyway, don't let my opinion of him put you off, it's still a great film and look out for a cameo appearance by someone who plays God towards the end.
Please click on the logo above to find out more.
Friday 26th September 11:58
Been incredibly busy at work these past few days, although I did manage to 'phone a local florists in Emsworth and order a bouquet of flowers for Tanya, as the start of her birthday weekend. With the sapphire being her birthstone, I opted for blues and asked for creams/white to be added. They're a beautiful arrangement and I'm hoping Tanya will take a few photographs...
If you're local and need a good florist recommending, Emsworth Flowers it is - please click on the logo below to access their site...
Thursday 25th September 22:02
StumbleUpon... what an amazing idea, and so simple. For the life of me, I cannot really remember how I 'stumbled upon' it - it may well have been when I was checking my web stats one day and noticed that many of the visitors had come from there.
Well, what is it exactly? It's an internet community whereby its users can either discover or recommend webpages, photographs or videos. In other words rather than be a straight-forward search engine like Google, it's a personalised recommendation engine whose principles are based on social-networking.
When you download the StumbleUpon freeware, it slots a tiny 'Stumble!' button within your browser's toolbar and depending on which subjects you choose as your favourite ones, it will almost 'channel-surf' the net, finding sites related to your interests. Clever eh?
Click on the logo above to access the site.
As you 'channel-surf', you're able to rate the websites with a thumbs up or thumbs down and you can obviously add your favourite sites as well, just in case they haven't been 'discovered' yet! If you have your own website and you've only just gone live with it, it's a great way of giving yourself a plug!
StumbleUpon was founded in December 2001 by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance, and Eric Boyd and by July 2006, it had 1 million users. In May 2007 eBay acquired it for some $75,000,000 and before the end of May just a year later, StumbleUpon collected its five-billionth 'Stumble', more than one billion of which have been added in 2008 alone.
Click here for a PDF of the StumbleUpon logo.
Wednesday 24th September 20:41
I could be accused of using some rather tenuous links for today's blog but all will become apparent...
At the beginning of August, I had my car MOT'd and there was an advice note attached stating that my two front tyres were within the legal limit, tread-wise, but I should keep a regular check on them. Today I'd decided that it was time to replace them and 'phoned up a garage close to where I work, called 2 U Tyres. Not only do they supply and fit tyres on their premises, they'll even come out to your home or work and replace them there.
For more information about them and other services they provide, please click on their logo above.
Great stuff, they were able to fit me in, even though they were absolutely snowed under. I thought about changing like for like but opted to take their advice and go with the slightly dearer ones, particularly as they were the front tyres being replaced.
They were being replaced with a Hi-Trac Vredestein tyre, a company whose head office is based in The Netherlands. For more information, please visit their excellent website by clicking on their logo above.
Anyway, whilst I was waiting for the tyres to be fitted, I sat down in their reception area and found myself listening to Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 2. He's still as zany now as he was back in the days of when Radio 1 used to be half-decent... I guess it's just another memory to add to my list which categorically confirms that I'm an old git who officially has the right to refer back to 'The Good Old Days'.
To access the BBC Radio 2 website, please click on the logo below.
I have to say, the radio's volume must have been on the lowest possible setting but my ears somehow managed to 'tune in' to a song that was incredibly familiar... a song that had to have driven my parents insane whilst I was in my early teens...
Up until November 1980 (I can vouch for this, for the video link below is actually dated), I can honestly say that although I liked music, nothing had ever really made me go, 'Wow!'... however, on this particular episode of Top of the Pops, a new group made my ears prick up... that group were Stray Cats... and the song was their debut single, 'Runaway Boys'... and this was the song that Steve Wright happened to be playing at around 14:40 this afternoon...
Click on the Stray Cats logo that featured on the Runaway Boys single sleeve to listen to, what still is, a mega debut track. Check out some of the manic dancers in the crowd...
Tuesday 23rd September 22:13
A little late in the day, yet I must say, "Happy Birthday" to my Mum, who's 60 today... whether she'll appreciate me announcing it on my blog is another matter!
One other announcement I'd like to make is that Bolton Camera Club's Autumn Exhibition, in conjunction with Bolton Art Circle and Bolton Museum, opened Saturday last and runs right up until the 22nd November. It's being held at the Bolton Museum on Le Mans Crescent (directly behind the Town Hall) and the exhibition will include 60 framed photographic prints and a digital display of slides. Open from Monday to Saturday, 9am - 5pm, admission is free.
For further information, telephone: 01204 332211 or email: email@example.com... alternatively, click on any of the logos featured below to find out more about each organisation.
Monday 22nd September 21:32
As any regular visitor to my blog knows, I love graphic design... and it's an added bonus when your job just happens to be one of your hobbies.
I particularly love designing logos and seeing other logo designs, the simpler the better for me. If a logo can be simple and clever, even better.
I remember reading an article on the internet some time ago, where someone had commented about the FedEx logo being very clever. At first, I thought, "Well, I suppose I like the colour combination of orange and purple but there's little else that excites me". I then read on and it all became apparent... there's a 'hidden' graphic in there which indicates a company aiming to go forward, a company with direction... hover your mouse over the FedEx logo below and you'll see what I mean.
Click on the logo to visit the FedEx website.
Anyway, the reason why I chose this subject was due to me doing some work for Fat Face today.
Fat Face are now a big brand clothing company, yet back in 1988 it was all about two friends, Tim and Jules. They were both desperately trying to avoid a 9 to 5 lifestyle and wanting to spend the rest of their lives skiing on the French Alps. However, money was running desperately short and a cunning plan was needed... Tim reluctantly sold his Camper Van so that they could fund the designing and printing of some sweatshirts, sell them at night, ski during the day, stick around until Spring and then head for the beach.
A year later, they were selling even more designer clothes, this time in Australia, funding further skiing at Thredbo Ski Resort and surfing at Bondi Beach. Before long, they'd literally sold billions of T-shirts across Australia, to the point where they were able to head back to the Alps...
Yes, Fat Face had been born in Val d'Isere, France and was named after their favourite ski slope.
So, why spend so long talking about the whole history of Fat Face, I hear you ask. Well, whilst working with a large version of their logo, I discovered something incredibly clever about it... rather than explain, take a look yourself...
As usual, click on the main Fat Face logo to visit their website.
Sunday 21st September 12:59
Had a fantastic day in Bosham today, with the addition of some glorious autumnal sunshine making it all the more enjoyable.
We arrived there quite early on and had a good mooch around Bosham Walk art and craft centre which is a collection of 19 little shops on two floors in an old world setting. You have the choice of either watching the artists and craftsmen at work, painting your own ceramics and glazing them in the kiln on site or making your own jewellery at Beadazzle Beads. The range of items on sale here are distinctive from those found for miles around. Courses are frequently held in the Studio at Bosham Walk and some shops offer both adults and children an opportunity to try new crafts.
For more information about Bosham Walk, please click on the logo above.
I have done a little research about some of the shops within Bosham Walk and have provided links to a handful of their main websites (they can also be accessed via the Bosham Walk website). Please click on any of the logos below to be taken directly to them.
After spending some time in there, we opted to have a walk through the main village of Bosham and sit on one of the many benches that are dotted along the coastline just to watch the world go by. I'd say that it's one of our favourite places to visit, mainly because it's a well-kept sleepy little village with some idyllic old fisherman's cottages and a stunning church which can be seen for miles around.
We were about to head off and have some lunch when Tanya spotted what appeared to be a public footpath near to the church, and after further investigation, it turned out it was. What made it even better was that neither of us had ever walked along it and it took us past some incredible properties... some of them huge, most having large gardens and most importantly, all of them possessing views to die for.
Eventually, our rumbling stomachs got the better of us so we decided to have our lunch at the Mariners café. Strangely enough, after plenty of visits to Bosham, we'd never eaten there before. It wasn't a case of not liking the look of the place, it's just that it had always been packed every time we'd walked by. Today we were fortunate, there were a couple of free places so we sat ourselves down, placed our order and then watched the world go by until our food arrived. The café is very tastefully decorated, echoing the tranquillity of Bosham with the use of soothing marine colours. The food was excellent quality for a busy café, even though the more-than-reasonable prices suggested that it may be any old greasy spoon.
Once we'd paid our bill, we spent a good hour or so taking in the views across Furzefield Creek whilst enjoying an icecream and watching the tide come in...
Saturday 20th September 11:31
During one of our walks around Emsworth this week, we noticed several posters advertising a craft fair to be held in the International Hall within the village. I've got to say that 'International' and 'Emsworth' made us both laugh. As you're no doubt aware, we love Emsworth but we'd hardly class it as large enough to have anything 'International' associated with it. Having said that though, Nicholas Lyndhurst was born in the village which is a huge accolade.
Since neither of us had ever stepped foot in the International Hall, visiting the craft fair seemed a good idea for something to do this morning. We were expecting the event to be much larger but there were still a handful of stalls that were interesting, particularly the ones that we were able to take details from and provide links to, two of which are featured above.
Later on, having nipped home for some lunch, we then went to the garden centre for a few things, most of which was for Timmy (yes, he's 100% fit now). There's a section within Wyevale Garden Centre, called Pets Corner, and this is where we've been buying his hay and food (as recommended by the vet).
For more information about Pets Corner, please click on the groovy logo below.
We'd made absolutely sure (well, I had) that we were back home in time for an early evening Premier League match being shown on Setanta Sports 1, Bolton versus Arsenal at the Reebok. Bolton opened up the scoreline with a Kevin Davies header, only 14 minutes into the game. Bolton worked hard to keep their lead, only to be denied an equaliser in the 25th minute by Eboue, which was clearly offside. No sooner had they equalised, Arsenal then went in front less than two minutes later with a goal from Bendtner.
After the break, Bolton held on throughout the second half and, at times, looked the stronger of the two teams wanting to earn a deserved point, however, just as they looked likely to equalise, Arsenal caught them on the break with Denilson directing a shot goalward from an Adebayor cross. Game over.
To find out more about Setanta Sports, please click on the logo above.
Much later on, Tanya and I sat down and watched a video (remember them?!) that a colleague of mine at work had lent me.
Filmed in 2002, it won three Oscars and was directed by Roman Polanski. It's a harrowing true story of a Polish Jewish musician who struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. The main structure of the film was written by Wladyslaw Szpilman (who sadly passed away in 2000), the actual musician who survived all these ordeals and the screenplay was later written by Ronald Harwood.
The film stars Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay and Maureen Lipman, to name just a few and is a must to watch... yet another one that escaped our radars!
Please click on The Pianist film poster above to access the official website of the film.
Friday 19th September 16:19
And now for something completely different... yes, it's the International Talk Like a Pirate Day today and it's held every year on this date. The whole idea was dreamt up on June 6th 1995 when two guys, John Baur and Mark Summers, were playing racquetball. They suspect that one of them may have been lunging for a particularly low shot, which may well have bounced off the wall at some velocity, to the point where an "Arrr!" came out...
One thing led to another and before long, phrases such as "That be a fine cannonade" and "Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm" were being brandished about. Remarkably, such lingo had helped the game to be far more fun and the time pass quickly. It was then that they decided to use Mark's ex-wife's birthday, September 19th as the Talk Like A Pirate Day, for it was the only date that he could readily recall which wasn't taken up with Christmas or the Superbowl or something.
Click on the logo above to find out more...
Thursday 18th September 21:19
After a light-hearted joke yesterday, I thought I'd put my serious head back on today.
For some time now, I've been meaning to talk about the company that actually hosts my site, 1&1.
Back in 2002 (I cannot believe it's been six years since I've had my own website), my ex-colleague and I were both looking for suitable hosts that were specifically compatible with Mac users and Nick found 1&1. I've been with them ever since and have bought several domain names through them over the years.
1&1 are one of the largest web hosting companies and have many regular offers to entice both existing and prospective customers. At the moment, they have a special offer of a .co.uk domain at only 99p for the first year and they also offer fantastic deals for anyone who becomes an affiliate with potential new business for them.
For more information, please click on their logo above.
Wednesday 17th September 17:07
Thought I'd share a great joke that was emailed to me today - it's a little chauvinist, nevertheless it's funny!
I received a phone call from a gorgeous ex-girlfriend the other day.
We lost track of time, chatting about the wild, romantic nights we used to enjoy together. I couldn't believe it when she asked if I'd be interested in meeting up and rekindling a little of that "magic".
"Wow!" I said. "I don't know if I could keep pace with you now. I'm a bit older and a bit balder than when you last saw me."
She just giggled and said she was sure I'd "rise" to the challenge.
"Yeah." I said. "Just so long as you don't mind a man with a waistline that's a few inches wider these days!"
She laughed and told me to stop being so silly. She teased me, saying that tubby bald men were cute, and she was sure I would still be a great lover.
Anyway, she giggled and said, "I've put on a few pounds myself!"
So I told her to fuck off.
Tuesday 16th September 15:18
Hampshire, the county where I live, probably has the highest percentage of horse owners in the United Kingdom. As to whether I have predicted this statistic correctly is another matter, although I'd imagine it to be in the top five with regards to the sizes of counties, so I bet I'm not that far out.
I reckon you could ask any woman here whether or not she's owned a horse, or know someone who's owned a horse, and the answer would be "yes".
Anyway, I received an email today, asking to sign a petition and thought that my blog would be a great way of promoting it, in the hope that something may be done about it. Although I'm neither here nor there about horses, I do feel very strongly indeed about any form of cruelty to animals.
There are many inhumane and unnecessary journeys for approximately 100,000 horses every year, to the point where one collapsed on a lorry after 18 hours of travelling. It was in an overcrowded metal lorry with no food or water, in temperatures of around 40°C. There were another 25 horses on the same overcrowded lorry that were dehydrated, exhausted and frightened. Their journey would last at least another two days.
For more information about the World Horse Welfare, please click on the logo above.
By clicking on the logo above, you are able to download the Make A Noise petition.
It asks the European Commission to stop this cruelty by:
• Introducing short journey limits for horses travelling to slaughter in Europe
• Ensuring that rigorous enforcement of the current Regulation will be implemented in all EU member States.
Monday 15th September 22:12
Whilst we were sat outside Flintstones Tearooms yesterday, I noticed (not for the first time) a font on a Lichfields demerara sugar sachet. For months and months, I've been wondering what the font was and therefore decided to take one so that I could scan it in and have it identified via MyFonts 'What The Font' facility.
Anyway, I can rest easy because 'What The Font' identified it as being Ottomat Bold, whose original name was Tomazooma but this had to be changed for legal reasons. The font is licensed by California-based digital type foundry, Emigre, who are publishers and distributors of graphic design related software and printed materials and hold exclusive licenses to over 300 original fonts.
This specific font was designed by Claudio Piccinini, an Italian who was born and lives in Modena. Since being passionate about comics as a child, he always had an interest in letterforms and eventually ended up as a self-taught type designer.
He's also famous for designing these two superb fonts, Ogilve and Squatront.
I've hunted absolutely everywhere on the internet in the hope that I'd be able to locate (and plug) Lichfields but there's absolutely nothing about them, anywhere. Seems rather strange when it appears as if they have the monopoly of supplying sugar sachets to cafés around the country.
Sunday 14th September 20:11
Started the day in quite a lethargic way really - may have had something to do with all the exercise from yesterday's walk. Managed to get some Sunday chores out of the way and then made Tanya and I some poached egg on toast. Okay, so that doesn't sound all that exciting, I beg to differ though...
© The British Egg Information Service
For one, I just love eggs... poached, boiled, scrambled or fried, they're fantastic. It's essential that salt and pepper are used for fine perfection, without overdosing on the salt, for we all know how bad it is for us. Having sang the praises of eggs, I thought I'd do my usual bit of research into them and found all kinds of information out about them, some of which I've decided to include above.
For more details about British eggs, please cluck on the logo below.
By early afternoon, we'd made our way to Emsworth (this time by car) and had a walk around the Mill Pond and treating ourselves to an icecream from Flintstones Tearooms. Even though we'd been out for a short while, I felt that we needed to stay out and make the most of the good weather, rather than go home and vegetate. Tanya suggested that we take a trip to Stansted Park and have a walk around the grounds... lucky we did! It was remarkably coincidental that we'd picked the one day of the year that just happened to be a Heritage Open Day hosted by the Historic Houses Association... the whole house and grounds were free to look around, rather than pay £7.00 each to get in! That's as cool beans as it gets.
It was very interesting to see the stately home, both inside and out. It stands on the borders of both Hampshire and Sussex and began as a hunting estate in the 12th Century. With a succession of interesting owners, it's also had its fair share of both Royal and distinguished guests, from the fleeing Charles II to Daniel Defoe.
For more information about Stansted Park, please click on the logo above or alternatively, if you're wanting to find out more about Heritage Open Days or the Historic Houses Association and other privately owned houses and gardens, click on either of the relevant logos.
Saturday 13th September 23:41
Tanya and I were up and out of the house well before noon, for it was a beautiful late summer's morning. The weather forecast predicted temperatures of 21°C which, for this time of year, is on the warm side. Rather than spend time (and money) driving anywhere, I'd suggested that we go for a fair old yomp* for a change.
* Royal Marines slang describing a long distance march carrying full kit.
Our route took us from home down towards Green Pond Corner, under the subway and on towards Warblington Church which is approximately two miles. From there, you can join Wayfarer's Walk, a coastal path which takes you to either Langstone or Emsworth, we'd chosen the latter as our destination. Wayfarers Walk spans some 70 miles in total, starting at Walbury Hill, Berkshire and actually finishing in Emsworth, Hampshire.
To find out more, please click on the logo below.
Roughly half way between these two points, you enter an area called Nore Barn Woods which possesses a wide range of trees, plants and shrubs. It's quite a surreal area in some respects because it's where woodland meets shoreline. For more information, please click the logo above to visit the website (there's a great ariel photograph showing their location).
I'd say that the distance between Warblington Church and Emsworth could well be a further two miles or so, either way, the mileage we were covering wasn't something that we'd be used to of late - so once we'd arrived at Emsworth, we obviously had to reward ourselves with a healthy lunch in the Greenhouse Café. Now that we'd refreshed ourselves, we walked to the train station at Emsworth and caught the train back to Warblington and then walked home.
We watched ITV1's 'All Star Family Fortunes' later in the evening, it's one of those shows that's entertaining enough to keep you occupied, plus I think that fellow Boltonian Vernon Kay is a funny chap... however, there was a reason for watching this specific show and that's because two SwissBikes (part of the Montague branding) were being giving away as a spot prize.
To find out more about either the programme or SwissBike, please click on the relevant logos. As a matter of interest, I ended up totally redrawing the Family Fortunes logo as a vector artwork - not the easiest logo I've redrawn, I can tell you!
Friday 12th September 22:48
An absolutely manic day all round really and it's been great to just relax in front of my computer and find something interesting to include on today's blog. Since I've not mentioned music for some time, I thought it would be a great idea to discuss a rather cool website.
Some time ago, I happened to stumble upon a great website called Pandora Radio. The whole idea of it was that you'd key in some of your favourite bands and then create your own radio station. It would play many of your favourite songs and slot other songs by bands of a similar genre. All was well for some time and I'd escaped the detection of keying in a NY zip code, until the day they found out and suddenly, as an overseas listener, they took the privilege away from me.
The plus side is that there is now Last FM, very similar in many ways, only it seems that there's far more to this, particularly as you're able to download it as an application program and, as each track plays, it shows the CD sleeve, links to where you're able to buy the song from and then a whole load of band history to keep you entertained - not only that, you're able to add your own snippets of information.
An absolutely great website and free download... check it out...
Thursday 11th September 22:35
Having been through the trauma of possibly being vacuumed into a black hole yesterday, the world's thoughts went to the 9/11 tragedy which stunned the planet some seven years ago. I remember the whole incident affecting me emotionally. I'm not talking tears as such, more a case of me thinking that if this country was targeted, I'd be the one in the thick of it. Pessimism, I believe.
Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom, let's take a look at a couple of rather nifty websites, one of which I discovered by accident tonight, whilst trying to locate a vector-based logo of the one I'd decided to feature! This is what I love about the internet, how it's all intertwined and there are still some incredible sites to discover.
By clicking on the logo above, you'll find a site that's very interesting indeed, sort of Alamy-esque, yet you can upload all forms of art, whether it be photography or even some poem that you'd like to share with others.
Red Bubble is an open and inclusive website where you can share your creative genius with the world and receive encouragement and positive feedback on your work. Over the last 12 months they have shipped over 73,500 items of art to 71 different countries (including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu). You simply upload your file and they will turn it into the finished product, deliver it to your customer and even take care of any customer service problems.
The next site says exactly what it is. This is quality vectorisation made easy. Convert bitmap images to vector images with a few simple clicks. Just upload your image, configure the vectorisation settings, vectorise it, preview it and finally download it. It's that simple!
Rather than me spend hours singing its praises, either vectorise something online or download the program to your desktop - works on both Mac and PC platforms.
Wednesday 10th September 17:58
After all the speculation of the entire World being sucked into a vast black hole today, it turns out that my blog lives on.
The reason I mention this is because the World's largest machine was switched on today with a simple click of a mouse. I'm talking about the Large Hadron Collider, an energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons. It's a machine that deserves to be labelled ‘large’, it not only weighs more than 38,000 tonnes, but runs for 27km (16.5 miles) in a circular tunnel 100 metres beneath the Swiss/French border at Geneva.
Working in multinational teams at CERN (the Central European Research Network), the LHC literally encircles the globe, because the project is supported by 111 nations in designing, building and testing equipment and software, participating in experiments and analysing data from them.
For more information about CERN, please click on the link above.
The UK plays a major role in leading the project and has scientists and engineers working on all the main experiments with prominent roles in construction, management and experimental teams making a significant contribution to the LHC budget.
To visit the LHC UK website, please click on the logo below.
All of this research has been in conjunction with The Science and Technology Facilities Council, an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). It is a science-driven organisation who make it possible for a broad range of scientists to do the highest quality research tackling some of the most fundamental scientific questions.
More information about the council can be found be clicking the logo below.
Tuesday 9th September 08:51
This morning, I overheard the girls at work talking about something that I would class as strange (not that that's out of the ordinary!) I kept hearing words like, 'weeing' and 'stood up', this meant one thing... I had to investigate...
It turns out that they were talking about an 'implement' that you can buy online and at a good number of stockists around the country, called a 'Shewee'. It literally says what it is, a device that enables women to stand up and wee. Whatever next?!
Samantha Fountain created the revolutionary Shewee while studying towards her BA Hons Product Design course at De Montfort University in Leicester. Her university tutors were taken aback by the simplicity and functionality of the design and encouraging her to push the product further than the plywood prototype which was the focal point her dissertation. In the July of 1999 Samantha was awarded the James Dyson Product Design Award for the design of Shewee.
For more information about the product, please click on the graphic above.
Monday 8th September 22:51
Timmy came home today, much better than he was, although he's still not out of the woods yet. The vets at Pets at Home are uncertain as to what caused his illness but have had him on a drip and a strict diet. It appears as if he's had kidney failure which may have been caused by a parasite - whatever it was, it just doesn't sound pleasant at all. It sounds totally crazy but I've grown very fond of the little chap and would've been very upset, had he passed away.
To find out more about Pets at Home, please click on the logo below to visit their website.
Later on in the evening, I completed a logo for the Chichester City Club which will be being used on a website that Tanya is designing. More about this to follow...
Sunday 7th September 09:34
Rather than spend the entire morning checking emails and the like, Tanya and I decided to head off out before 10:00 this morning.
I'd suggested going to Botley, for it's been well-documented as being a beautiful place. It's not too far a drive (same junction as Manor Farm Country Park which we visited back in July). It's a lovely place, full of history, with a very intriguing church and an even more intriguing signpost... part of it reads, St Jean Brevelay 360kms. Both Tanya and I found this rather odd, so I decided to find out more. It turns out that it's Botley's twin town in France, which is why it's in kilometres rather than miles.
For more information about the town, please click on the town's logo below.
Even though we'd spent some time there, we felt it was too early to head off home so decided to drive back a different way to that of the M27. Our route took us through the lovely village of Wickham and as we were heading towards Portsdown Hill, Tanya noticed a sign for Boarhunt Flower Mill.
It turned out to be a huge mill, full of both dried and silk flowers. I'm not a big fan of places like this, and not meaning to sound sexist in any way, they're more for women than men. Having said that though, it was quite an enjoyable experience and the whole place is very tastefully kitted out. The mill does have some history attached to it, if flowers aren't your thing - it was a working mill for hundreds of years, recorded in the Doomsday Book and the only Mill in use up until 1928. Not only that, most of the actual drive machinery and the cast iron frame-work of the mills wheel still exists. The Mill has English bond brickwork with cambered arches and many other fine examples of architecture details expected in an early c19 listed building.
From there we stopped off at the famous burger van on Portsdown Hill and ordered some lovely greasy food and then sat in the car locating all the famous landmarks. We were then content enough to head off home.
Later on that evening, we sat and watched a very entertaining Soccer Aid football match in aid of UNICEF and its partners on ITV1. World cup legends, along with celebrities went head-to-head in an England v ROW (Rest of the World) clash with Portsmouth's boss Harry Redknapp managing the England squad whilst Kenny Dalglish took charge of the Rest of the World squad.
The match was actually more entertaining than watching a proper England match with ROW's Brian Lara (former West Indies cricketer) and England's Danny Jones (McFly guitarist) both playing a superb match. The final score ended 4-3 in England's favour with some excellent goals to boot.
For more information about Soccer Aid, click on the logo above.
Saturday 6th September 19:03
Tanya's daughter Abbi owns a rabbit, he's called Timmy. I've never known a rabbit to be so similar to a dog. He's very territorial and even chases birds away. He's climbed trees in order to escape - on more than one occasion; and greets you as if he were man's best friend.
However, today, he was distinctly under the weather, so much so that we contacted Abbi and suggested that she took him to see the vet. It turns out that he had a temperature, was dehydrated, constipated and had a bloated stomach, which, for anyone who knows about rabbits, is not a good sign at all. They had to put him on a drip and said that he'd need an operation but he was too weak to undergo any surgery until his health improved, which meant he'd have to stay overnight so that they could monitor his progress.
Once Tanya and Abbi returned from the vets, we all decided that we needed cheering up and went for a late breakfast at our favourite haunt, The Greenhouse Café.
We did very little else until later on in the evening where Tanya and I had planned to attend a Country and Western evening at the City Club in Chichester. We're not C&W fans particularly, we were there because I'd agreed to take some photographs of the club whilst an act was on and they could then be included on the website that Tanya is designing.
Luckily, for me, Tanya was driving and Dave, her boss, who's a member of the club, is a real ale fan. Tonight, we were drinking Palmers IPA, a very nice pint indeed, just what you'd expect of a quality session beer. For more about the brewery, please click on the image above.
During the evening, Dave started to chat about a BBC radio station, London 94.9FM and in particular, a show called 'Guilty Pleasures' which is broadcast on-line from 8pm on Friday nights. As they state, it's your chance to 'fess up. It's a chance to share your secret music indulgences from disco stompers to soft rock ballads and everything inbetween! Check the website out and listen to the latest podcast by clicking on the logo below.
And here's a photo of Dave 'smashing into the pack' which is going to be one of the photos featured on the City Club website. Getting the exposure and shutter speed for these kind of shots is rather tricky - I found that shooting 1 second on ISO400 with an aperture of f11 was near-on perfection.
A larger version of this shot will feature in the main gallery, once I do a major update of all August's additions.
Friday 5th September 21:26
Having worked a full day (and some) yesterday, I had booked today off in lieu so that Tanya and I could go to the Emsworth Food Festival - although it isn't called that any more, neither is it in Emsworth.
It's a relatively long story but I'll try and cut it short... unfortunately, since the approximated 55,000 visitors to last year's event, the committee made the decision to postpone the event due to concerns expressed by residents and businesses over the size of the festival.
Had it been held in Emsworth this year, it would have celebrated its seventh consecutive year - to see coverage of last year's festival, please click on the logo below.
At the moment, the organising committee is hard at work preparing for 2009. Building on the success of the festival in previous years they are developing a completely different “shape” to the food event.
The old once a year format is to be is to be replaced by four smaller events spread throughout the year. The events will be called 'festival markets' and will have up to 40 stalls selling goods in South Street car park, with the first of these markets taking place on Sunday December 14, having a Christmas theme.
Anyway, this year it has been rebranded and relocated... 'A Thought For Food' held at Stansted Park.
Today was the opening day of the three days that it's held over and they couldn't have asked for the weather to be any worse! Tanya and I made one attempt at around 1 o'clock and abandoned it before we parted with the rather pricey admission fee of £6.00 each.
The weather cleared for a short enough spell to have a second attempt a couple of hours later and, luckily for us, we both only paid £3.00 each which was far more reasonable. Once 'inside', Tanya and I were disappointed with the event, for it didn't possess the atmosphere we'd become accustomed to at Emsworth and because of the weather, a fairly large percentage of stalls had decided to wrap it up for the day.
The whole point of the Festival (as explained in the video) was to generate life into, what was, a dying village. I appreciate the concerns of the residents for it must be quite disrupting for the majority who just want a quiet life but we're only talking about three days out of 365!
As the Food Festival has been so eloquently described, it's without doubt, the south coast's best kept culinary secret and the village undoubtedly has more quality restaurants, public houses, not to mention independent food retailers, per square mile than any other comparable village in England.
Ah well, I could rant on and on about how strongly I feel that such a success has been the death of itself but let's just hope that 'A Thought For Food' might one day be as big a hit. Instead, I shall include links to some of the people who deserved medals for braving the storms today and stood by their stalls...
Three more stall logos (and write-ups) to follow...
Thursday 4th September 21:13
Today, we had an important event at work, which meant that my services were required for a special evening visitation by members of CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) an international organisation, based in the UK, which serves the purchasing and supply profession. Members of the organisation were shown around the company whereby we were all asked to explain our particular role within the company and what it entailed.
For more information about CIPS, please click on the logo below.
The guests from CIPS were also joined by individuals from several different companies, and to show my skills, I chose to redraw their logos whilst they were being shown around - some of which are featured below.
We had also arranged cheese and wine for the evening.
RKdia catering were responsible for providing the excellent variety of cheeses, Black Bomber being the most scrumptious - click on their logo below to find out more about their rates and what they can offer.
Hampshire Wine Shippers supplied a variety of wines for all tastes, which was unfortunate for me, for I was driving so just stuck to coffee, nevertheless, click on their logo below for further information.
Wednesday 3rd September 21:59
As you must have realised by now, I love fonts and some time ago, I stumbled upon a very interesting drawing that showed the various parts of letter characters and the name of each part. Some you may have heard of before actually studying the image below, others you may/may not find very interesting - either way, I think it's well worth showing...
Tuesday 2nd September 13:03
The people I work with are truly a great bunch of people, all down to Earth with great senses of humour. There's a guy who works in the same office as me, a few years older (around twenty to be precise) and luckily, he shares the same sense of humour as me - as to whether my humour can be classed as humour is another story - all I can say is that we make each other laugh.
Trouble is, he received some bad news whilst I was off the other week - he has Lymphoma which is currently the sixth most common cancer diagnosed in the UK and is the most common cancer that affects the 15-30 age group. What is even more alarming is that there is an estimated 60,000 people who are currently living with the disease and these figures are increasing year on year with no explanation as yet.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Monday 1st September 14:00
Just as I was about to finish work today, I was introduced to Jack Hutton-Potts who, along with a mate of his, Tim Gauntlett, plan to become the youngest people ever to free climb El Capitan (Yosemite National Park, California). The climb will take place in Spring 2009 and they hope to raise £10,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Unfortunately, Jack’s father suffers from MS and provided some of the primary motivation for this trip.
For more information about the climb or Multiple Sclerosis, please click on either of the logos below.