Saturday, June 29, 2013


hello there

well, as per the post about Twin Peaks books, apologies once more as i foolishly used the iPod camera thing to get these pictures. other than the fact that one does not need to open iTwats software to get the pictures off the thing, there is nothing good i have to say about the iPod camera.

there is probably something in the petty, intrusive "terms and conditions" of iTwat devices that says that Apple or whoever own the rights to any and all pictures taken with their equipment. if that's the case, f*****g good luck to them arguing over the following images with those seen as the traditional owners of them. the posters are mine, so they can squabble as much as they like.

on to the point, and these pictures are of some posters (or similar) that might be of some interest. the first two were of particular interest to me as i had not seen them in nearly 8 years, hidden as they were behind some crendenza-like cupboards i have recently disposed of.

of those two, the first is really special. behold, mortals, a celerbation of the excellence that is the film Wild At Heart.

rather class, is it not? hopefully you can make out most of the details on it. that's an ace poster for an ace film, that is!

when i arrived in this country, i found this on my bedroom wall. Mum & Dad had put it up for me, which was a very nice touch indeed. whether they were aware of how much i love the film, or if Richard or Gillian had prompted them i do not know, but either way it was a fantastic gesture!

also, sadly, hidden away since we moved into this house has been this epic poster for a truly epic film.

i think in the store i got this i had the choice of the traditional, classic poster for Apocalypse Now, featuring the bright orange with helicopters and the river. i hadn't at that time ever seen this poster before, so just opted for it as it looked (and indeed to this day looks) stunning. looking at it you can almost hear The Doors, smell the napalm and see the decapitations.

i suspect the Apocalypse Now one got hidden away on the basis that it would proably be too scary for James, and indeed later too scary for William. although William does not scare with any great ease. perhaps one day it will be on proud display again.

certainly not hidden away, as the boys love it as much as i, is the next one. i can imagine, though, that a number of fanatical "fanboy" types would rather see this one hidden away, or just not exist at all.

Star Wars Episode III was a class film and all of the 'prequels' had some merits. the notorious "fanboy" brigade who keep badmouthing it would do well, and have less ulcers and heart problems, if they simply ignored them, since they don't like them.

granted, if i had a choice, i would probably prefer to have either the original Star Wars poster, or one for Empire Strikes Back, but this is one i got given free when i went to the cinema to see it. still, all the same, i rather like it.

i haven't taken an image of my massive, double-sized Italian poster for Taxi Driver. that's still a bit too well stashed away to get at for the moment. beyond that, i suspect the poster i have block-mounted and up on the wall that impresses people the most is this next one.

well, what's not to love about the above? i recall being very impressed when i found this one in a shop, since for the most part all you could find was a French or Italian poster for Blade Runner that looked like utter, utter rubbish. granted, the "man has met his match" tagline is utter rubbish, but look how class Harrison Ford and Sean Young look in the poster! i imagine any reissues of the above today would have Ms Young's cigarette airbrushed out, though.

the last one is not strictly speaking a poster, but it is one that i treasure and value above even the Blade Runner or Taxi Driver ones. which is quite a statement i guess.

many years ago, close to 20 in fact, i had a dear friend whose father i got on rather well with. he was interested to see that i had an interest in Che Guevara. you have to remember that this was long before it became trendy and hip to put images of him on practically everything in order to sell something to the kids. it was, as i recall, quite a struggle to find a t-shirt with him on back then, whereas today you cannot move for them.

a consequence of the above is that he gave me this.

impressive, is it not? now, i am quite prepared to state that i have absolutely no way of confirming the veracity or provenance of what i was told of the above but hopefully you will also accept that i have absolutely no reason to doubt what i was told, either. when i was given this by, let us call him Jon since that was and indeed remains his name, he told me that he got this during his journalist days in Paris in the 1960s. during the uprisings (google away, and you will see also why, if you do, The Stone Roses regularly feature a lemon logo), somebody tied the above to the Arc de Triomphe. as the crowds were dispersed (refer to the thing about lemons and The Stone Roses), this was left sort of half-hanging off that famous building, so Jon took it off and kept it.

whether the above is accurate or not does not really matter, i suppose, as the poster/flag is damned impressive in itself, and proudly goes on display wherever i am in the world. it is a great shame that i am no longer in touch with Jon, or indeed his daughter who was a very good friend, but having this is a great way to remember them.

as usual when i post things like this, super fantastic if these have been of any interest to anyone!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a partial Twin Peaks books collection

hi there

first off, apologies indeed for the ultra-low quality of the pictures. i noticed that the iPod thingie i bought a little while ago had a camera of some sort on it. i thought that as everyone bangs on and on about the brilliant ways of the iTwat, in particular how they can "iUpload" or whatever it is from their iTwat to that InstaTwat thing, it must be good. who knew that the pictures would be even more rubbish than what i took off my old blueberry phone thing?

getting on to the topic, and here's a look at some of my Twin Peaks books. erm, by some i kind of mean most, really. somewhere stashed away i have something called the Access Guide To The Town. it's not on the bookshelves as i think it's too big for them. this is not the case with either The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer or The Autobiography Of Dale Cooper, mind. further, it's not the case with either version of those two books!

the above shows, if you can make them out in the midst of the crapesque ways of an iPod camera, the USA editions on either side of the UK editions. slightly different, as you can see, mostly in size. although obviously the American market was not up to the joys of the dead Laura Palmer on the cover.

i understand that now it's really easy to have different versions of the same thing from around the world. the internet has made it so. these books, however, go back to 1991, when one did not have an "internet" to order things off. i ended up with the US set due to the generosity of my Dad. he was off on a business trip to the States and picked them up for me. i didn't ask him to, either, which shows that every now and then he pays attention to my likes and dislikes!

want to see the spines of the books? why not.

content-wise they are same difference inside. i think the UK versions feature the correct spelling of words like colour, at least. just what it is that the Americans have against the letter 'u', and saying the word "aluminium" properly, is something that i don't know but also don't spend too much time concerned about.

the back of the US version of the Laura Palmer book is all that red, diary-like (i suppose) pattern you see on the front, but for those keen to see what's on the back of the Dale Cooper one, this next picture is for you.

showing you the back of the UK editions is a little bit tricky. Blogger has done that thing again where it decides to rotate the pictures for me, no matter how i edit or save them. that little oddity plus the crap quality of iPod pictures might make the last two pictures here pointless, but here you go!

these books are in no way the end of my Twin Peaks collection. i have the DVD set, and the VHS copies somewhere too. yes, also the ill-received Fire Walk With Me film and the relevant soundtracks. on tape and CD. speaking of tape, a real gem somewhere is Diane.....The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Special Agent Dale Cooper. it features a load of stuff that Kyle recorded for the tape release, all of which is high quality. it also features bits from the TV series, which sound like they have been dubbed down very badly from a mono VHS of the show, all of which is of a low quality. and finally, i think at least finally, i've got the Twin Peaks boardgame stuck away somewhere. it is quite crap, to be honest, but it does have Twin Peaks written in large letters on the front.

a pretty decent collection, then, if i say so myself! i would not describe myself as obsessive about the show, mind. it might seem that i am or was based on the above, but believe me, take a wander through Twin Peaks forums and fan things on the internet and you get an interesting perspective on what "obsessive" can actually be.

here, on its side thanks to Blogger, is a look at the back of all four books for your entertainment.

why am i posting these now, by the way? well, there may or may not be some sort of anniversary for Twin Peaks around now - if you go past any of the sites i suggested above you soon learn that every day features some sort of anniversary for the show, according to some. i just happened to find them today as i was, as is usual, sorting out stuff and i recalled someone was asking about them. i think that person was connected to my "mate" Franny, but that is all i can remember.

anyway, for the benefit of whoever it was and indeed for you who are looking at this now, or indeed are one in the same, hope this has been of some interest to someone!

P to Q4.

Friday, June 28, 2013

of Bronco Johnny and the California Cowgirls

hi there

i was quite excited to see that such a thing as a webpage exists for California Cowgirls. this is a film, after all, truly worth celebrating in any form, so why not have a web page thing for it?

a quick click on it - - reveals that sadly it has nothing obvious that i can see to do with the film. Bronco Johnny certainly isn't even mentioned on the homepage. he might be mentioned somewhere else but i got bored so did not check.

here is the cover for the California Cowgirls i expected to see.

what is the film California Cowgirls about, you ask? with a cover like that, what do you think it is about, exactly? i cannot go into the specifics of the film, as i do my best to keep this blog as inoffensive as possible. it is a film intended for a somewhat mature audience, shall we say. adults only, that sort of thing.

the above limits images that i can show of the film, but here is a look at Bronco Johnny for you to admire.

i believe my mate Spiros finally found a copy of this film, and was delighted to see that Bronco Johnny, amongst other things, swigs just as much redeye as i promised he did in the film. he also has some really smart leather pant protector things on in the film, but i cannot show you them as he forgot to put the pants on under the leather pant protector things. well, as it turns out he left the pants off with good reason.

i can however show you him swigging some redeye, whatever the hell redeye is. probably some sort of illicit moonshine that gives the drinker red eyes?

just before i got bored with the web page i noticed that they had a contact us section. i have asked them if they are in any way at all affiliated with Bronco Johnny, and if it is at all possible to buy some leather pant protectors like his off them. i will let you know as soon as they reply, or at least as soon as Jonathan lets me know that they have replied, as i thought it better to use his email address than my own.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

advertising - days of future past

hi there

OK, here's the deal - it's Friday, i am somewhat worn out after some significant lifting (you wouldn't believe what you can fit on the roof of a truck and i can't show you as i took no pictures), so it's time for fun. i stumbled merrily across these as i wandered around the fields of the internets and found them quite funny, if not a touch disturbing. here's hoping that you do too!

it is highly likey, as was the case with a post i did a few Fridays ago of a similar nature, that you have seen some if not all of these before. hey ho, just go with the flow!

first off and it's one that is more disturbing than it is funny, but you never know, your sense of humour might be different to mine. i would suggest that usually i do not know that much about this whole "global warming" and "climate change" business to say if something is or is not an over-reaction, but in this case i think it is fair to say this ad is very much over the top. so to speak.

i see. so, if we do not stop the icbergs or polar caps melting, this little girl will be hanged or hung, will she? i am not sure if hanged or hung is correct, i am reasonably confident Schwirl will spin by and tell me which is correct, though. i am certain, however, that this advert is rather off by any standard. the worrying thing, i suppose, is that according to the text this is one of the best adverts on environmental matters? well, so be it - if anyone seeing this has instantly decided to get rid of their secret stash of CFC gas or similar, nice one.

moving on, and these days headphones are a common thing. you get at least one pair for free with any and all iTwat devices you buy. once upon a time, though, they were quite an expensive luxury and a rare thing to own. if you were fortunate enough to have a set of "cans", you valued and treasured them, and indeed used them frequently. no matter, it seems, whatever else was on on offer.

oh yes, the above is entirely plausible. if i had a set of Koss 'stereophones' i am certain i would also ignore the saucily dressed lady eating chocolates sat next to me. in fairness, though, that ad looks like it is from the 70s, so maybe he is getting well into one of the great albums of that decade. Rumours, perhaps, or even maybe Bat Out Of Hell. or maybe not anything that class and cool, now that i think about it having considered his dress sense.

hobbies such as eating chocolates in underwear or listening to some vibes whilst in a sensational brown suit are important. they are not the only hobbies out there, of course. my Auntie Susan, for a start, is quite a wizard with embroidery and other needlepoint work. it takes a patient and somewhat sensitive soul to do needlework. Rusey Grier is apparently one such sensitive type.

Rusey strikes me as being one of those sort of no-nonsense chaps, really. if he suggested that i do some needlepoint with him, i think i would be inclined to, no matter how bad my embroidery was or how many times i was likely to stab myself with the needle. Rusey looks like he would get quite cross with those who displease or defy him, and the mind boggles as to what he would do to you to attain satisfaction.

now, in days gone by you could openly advertise things without a care. not the case today. cigarette advertising has long since gone, and alcohol advertising seems to be the next one to face extinction. once they have banned that, who knows what will be next - probably tampons for being sexist or something.

as an example of banned things, here's one for something that you are unlikely to be able to advertise, or indeed sell with any ease, today.

yes, i bet that stuff really sorts any toothache you have out! i know of a few people that would be constantly taking hammers to their teeth if you could still buy the above. they should perhaps consider bringing the above back, it would be one way to win the war on drugs. imagine if all these coke smugglers and dealers were involved in producing medication to make people feel better, rather than shoving condoms full of cocaine up their bottoms and engaging in them drive by shooting things.

as Scarface taught us all, cocaine leads to power. a different kind of power would of course be electricity. the world at large seems to be struggling to work out how to keep the lights on, the country that i am in of course has more or less given up on the idea of constant electrical supplies being a given.

back in the 50s the Americans had a sense that power could be an issue. they wisely, then, decided to turn creating electricity into a "fun" thing to do for kids.

sending kids out to prospect for uranium does seem like a good idea. what harm could befall them, after all? the advert says that it is completely safe and harmless, so it must be fine. i am not that sure on the bit about watching radioactive material disintegrate, though - might be best to at least wear a pair of goggles for that.

right, our friends the Americans and guns. a good many Americans rather like guns, and they have a constitutional right to bear arms and form milita groups. understanding why this is the case or mindset is perhaps helped along by understanding that they were treated to adverts like this over the years.

it is rather good of them to mention that a revolver is not, as point of fact, a toy as such. stating that allows them to get on with the business of advertising it as one, it seems though! i for one would not like to be the person to test that "accidental discharge impossible" claim. i imagine someone did at some point, which is perhaps now why we have laws and regulations in place to prevent statements like that being made in adverts.

speaking of the law, there's this one to end with.

i know what you are thinking as you look at the above, and yes indeed it is a great shame that the national institution that was British Rail is no more, but good luck to all these privatised companies now doing the trains in the UK. presumably, and i could not state this as fact, the new companies doing the trains and that in the UK no longer use Gary Glitter to advertise child-related train fairs, what with him being obviously associated with British Rail and their campaign for similar. i am sure Mr Glitter is quite sad about that, as i believe he still to this day has a firm interest in helping the youth of the world.

well, there you go. hope the pause from the world you've taken to read this was satisfactory!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

JG + The King, Elvis Presley / Vic Reeves x NWA = this.

hi there

it's been a little while since my friend Jonathan Granville, as a talented friend as he is a good one, unleashed an interpretation of a famous song on the world. that little while ended this evening, in some style if i may say so myself.

before we go on, Jonathan would like me to point out that he is drinking alcohol in the below picture.

this is done to imply that he was under the influence of some hops and barley as he did this song. he has, then, diplomatic immunity against any and all insults or offence anyone may tale from his latest recording.

Jonathan rather unwisely said that he would do "any song in any style" that anyone suggested to him. the unwise part comes in as i happened to be around when he made this bold claim. the was only one suggestion that i could make of course, and that would be that he record something in the style of the much vaunted, highly celebrated Gospel era of The King, Elvis Presley.

vaunted and celebrated, i say? yes. i think if you have a look at a graph or one of them spreadsheet things, you will discover that church attendances have been on the decline ever since The King, Elvis Presley took the decision to move to China after faking his death. are the two linked?

now, paying the correct sort of homage to The King, Elvis Presley is a difficult business, even for someone as talented as the good JG. do it wrong and you may well discover that i have associates who saw nothing, or that i have associates that were with me the whole time and could not possibly have been at the violent incident, the details of which i would not know. JG mostly does it OK, but tends to sound a bit like this chap.

yes, to Jonathan it seems that "do a song in the style of Gospel era The King, Elvis Presley" translates as, as you will hear shortly if you click on the link and he hasn't deleted the song, "do a song in the style of Vic Reeves doing a country and western style for Pub Singer off of Shooting Stars". this, as it transpires, is no bad thing at all, as it sounds sensational.

what, want the link now? here it is then, it being called something along the lines of Please Do Leave Now, Member Of The Constabulary. although the actual title (and song) is not quite as polite and civil as that.

yes, that's right. as to what song i suggested JG record, the first thing that came to mind was that well known pop song by the celebrated band NWA. the song where they seem jolly cross with the state of law enforcement in what i am reliably informed is called their "hood". by all accounts it seems that when they composed this song, laced as it is with images evoking the mythology of Oedipus and numerous instances of them drive by shooting things on hears about on the news, they were right to be jolly cross with the constabulary. one would forgive them for being, indeed, mildly angry with them.

that's a great shame, really, as usually the band struck one as always being a happy go lucky, let's all just get along time of friendly brotherhood.

anyway, it should be stressed that they use the rather more modern, somewhat more offensive terminology when discussing Oedipus. caution is not so much advised as it is insisted upon when you play the song, the link for which is here once again for your pleasure.

if we are to conduct our business in honesty here, the cover version is not really suitable for anyone to listen to. i suggest you do, though, but not with children, the easily offended or former members of NWA within earshot of your PC speakers or whatever stag you play your vibes through.

recording this has, alas, taken its toll on the artist known as JG. i recently obtained this picture of him, taken not long after the sessions for this track were finished.

it would appear that the only thing missing is the massive pile of cheeseburgers.

if this cover version has entertained and indeed amused you as much as it has me, then splendid. if you are all upset, offended or troubled by it, well, what can i say other than the warning signs were all over the place before you clicked the link!

many thanks JG!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Amandla! imagine......

hi there

well, this is going to be one of those posts. if you don't like it, move along, skip onto the next one, but thank you so much for stopping by.

the internet and death are strange allies. in recent times, the sad, shocking news that James Gandolfini had passed away led to an outpouring of messages, declaring him "the greatest actor ever" and The Sopranos as being "the greatest TV show ever". the fact that The Sopranos wasn't even his finest ever work was neither here nor there. on a similar note, the equally sad passing of Ray Manzarek led to a "reverse" of the usual, with many trying to claim his death was a hoax, again using "the internet" as a conduit for this. usually one gets to see entirely fake death stories on the internet - i have lost count of how many actors and musicians have fallen to their death in New Zealand - but this was the first time i had seen a genuine death be attempted to be described as a hoax.

where is this kind of approach going? the psychology of it i leave in the hands of expensive psychological analysists who pocket an awful lot of money for stating the obvious in an authorative way. me, i just sit and stare in disbelief, disappointment and with a mild amount of anger at the below picture, one of those "viral" or "meme" things that is spreading at a shocking rate.

the arrogance and the folly of the "developed First World" is all right there for you to indulge. too much time to think and too little to do would be the best way i can find to describe the thinking above. the worst - and most likely to be the case - way i can think of to describe it is as being laced with racism, xenophobia and displaying colonialist thinking. people are presumably seeing it, noting that it is anti-Cameron at face value and just sharing it, not noticing that it is one white chap having the audacity and nerve to presume they can say which other white chaps may and may not grieve for Mr Mandela.

i would not describe myself as being either a supporter or an apologist of David Cameron, let me make that clear. the problem here is someone taking it upon themselves to say who can and cannot grieve for the death of someone, anyone in general, and in particular one of the most celebrated, admired people in the history of our little rock surfing around the sun. if you loathe, hate, despise and cannot stand Cameron and his politics, well then fine, go off and do something about it. sharing this offensive statement is not doing something about it.

i have no idea if this "Rocker Rosehip" is either the author of this or just one that has decided to share it, but the above is the most common being shared all over the place. here is a look at who seems to have become the spokesperson for who may and may not express support or thanks for Madiba.

hmn. i am not at all certain that either the family of Mr Mandela, the ANC or anyone from South Africa has opted to make a DJ from a provincial radio station either a spokesperson or the ideal person to determine who can and cannot express admiration for Madiba.

the single most offensive part of the sentiment expressed in this "viral meme" thing is that the thinking in it goes against all that Mr Mandela tried to do in this world. his expressed view was one of peace, unity and equality.  the struggle was for the quality of man, regardless of race, creed and colour, with a free and fair South Africa being the dream of Mr Mandela. i would not ever dare think i could speak on behalf of Madiba, but what i, and what the people of this land know is that the idea of someone taking it upon themselves to say who may and who may not comment on the man and all that he did would have horrified him. Mr Mandela extended the hand of friendship to all, no matter who they were or what they thought. perhaps Mr Cameron and many others who it is claimed were "pro-apartheid" in the 80s learned from that over the last 20 years.

i have considered it nothing but an honour and a privilege to be a guest of the home country of Mr Mandela for the last 20 or so years. this is a troubled land, make no mistake, but understand this - the overwhelming majority of people here share Mr Mandela's vision of a beautiful, free and equal country. they do not need nor want squabbling over who may or may not be sad when the father of this nation passes.

i suggest that "Rocket Rosehip" and similar stick to what they do best - mocking the likes of Princess Diana and Jade Goody in life, then celebrating them as saints when they pass away. leave things that you do not understand well alone.

for all the normal, well balanced people who have taken the time to read this, i can only suggest you carry on with the only thing any of us can do - be kind in your thoughts of this extraordinary man that this country and the world have been fortunate to know, and hope that Madiba is at peace with himself.

be excellent to each other.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

quality literature for my beloved Mother-In-Law

hi there

well, yes, OK, that should read "sort of" quality literature. and the "beloved" part is open to debate, if you like. but all the same, i have got her some new books.

with me having no more and no less that two of them e-reader things at my disposal i really have neither the business nor the need to look at actual books anymore. well, i do. the boys both love reading and holding books, so i am always on the lookout for quality titles for them. then there is also my mother-in-law, beloved or otherwise.

i have, honestly, given thought to getting her one of them e-reader things. i do not, however, wish to see her left confused and bewildered in the face of modern technology. i keep an eye out for the sort of thing she would quite like to read, then, and was delighted to spot these at a charity booksale today.

what amazing quality titles! well, OK, The Return Of The Rebel isn't all that exciting, but you had to buy them in sets of two. i just grabbed that, then, as there was no way that something called Welcome Home, Cowboy was staying on the stall!

regular readers he will no doubt recall that Monica, for that is the name of my mother-in-law, provided us with a rundown and a review of Cowboy Under Siege. since she liked that one so much, this one is bound to impress her. assuming, of course, that it was the "cowboy" part of that she liked, and not the "under siege" bit of it.

the blurb or premise thing on the back of the book looks and sounds nothing short of absolutely f*****g amazing. it seems it's about Emma, a pregnant widow struggling to raise her children on a debt ridden ranch. thankfully, a rugged musician with a dubious reputation called Cash is on hand to mend the fences for her. how can this book be anything other than ace?

i do not visit my mother-in-law as much as you might think, but i will be arranging a visit soon to give her these books. even if it means just driving by her home and throwing them out of the window in her general direction, "gangsta style". the sooner she has these, the sooner she can read and give us a review!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alien action figures, or if you will, toys....

hi there

Star Wars is responsible for this. no ifs, no buts. the huge success of toys from the original Star Wars film saw people tale movie merchandising seriously as big business. that meant that any film released was looked at as a possible inspiration for a series of toys.

one can only imagine that someone sat and looked at the details of the film Alien without watching the film itself and clocked "this will be a good way to sell toys to kids". whoever that person was saw the film at some point after designing the toys but well before they were ever manufactured and released. they never saw the shelves of a toy store in the 70s, but soon you will be able to own them!

someone called Super 7 Store are selling them, presumably on behalf of ReAction. they will be available, if i have read their web thing right, in October 2013. i would be very, very interested in getting them!

you will have, no doubt, like me noticed that Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto are missing. ho hum, nothing is perfect. as and when you or i get this set of figures, we will just have to pretend that they are already dead. or maybe just use some Star Wars figures as replacements for them.

the idea of making toys based on a film truly meant for adults only is bonkers. i know these days they make all sorts of similar things to these (except more artistic and accurate, i suppose) based on more mature audience films for collectors, but no such market existed in the 70s. or for much of the 80s, for that matter.

that the Alien toys idea existed will no doubt give a new lease on life to one of the great urban legends around this sort of thing. for years now there's been a story that He Man (and the Masters Of The Universe entire) was actually a "quick fix" to toys made for the film Conan The Barbarian but unusable due to the content of the film. as in, Conan knocks a camel out with one punch in it is considered one of the tamest moments. whereas it would be nice if true, i am led to believe that story is utter nonsense.

i wonder if they had been bonkers enough to go ahead and sell these if my Mum & Dad might have bought them for me for Christmas at the time? they would no doubt have spotted them and assumed they were something to do with Star Wars, so i might have got lucky!

awesome things like this, alas, tend to be for sale "in the USA only". i hope it's not the case here, as i would imagine the world is full of Alien fans, many of whom (like me) would not hesitate in buying these! excellent to you if you managed to get your hands on this impressive set!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

inserting or installing a SIM phone card into a HP ProBook 4540s notebook laptop thing

hi there

well, upfront, i dare say any IT or techno type reading this will pour scorn, laugh or shake their head in disbelief. that's fine, you do this sort of thing for a hobby or job, this info is not meant for you. it's meant for people who used google to work out just where, to quote a dear friend, in the blue blazes does a SIM card go on a HP "embedded 3G" laptop.

i was recently requested to source a new laptop for someone, or "NoteBook" as they are now called for some obscure reason. this i did. i selected, as the title suggests, the HP ProBook 4540s one for a number of reasons - the "specs" i believe they are called. what really sold it was an embedded slot thingie for a SIM card to allow you to do the internet and that. those USB "dongle" modems are often useless and easy to misplace, so having it built in to the machine was a bonus.

IMPORTANT NOTE - not all HP 4540s or other notebook / laptop things have the 3G modem "embedded" or installed on the machine. please DO NOT take your machine apart just to have a gander. check the hardware on the system if you are unsure, it will refer to it as a modem.

but where oh where does one put the SIM card? that's a very good question. the chap in the store was unsure, which was a warning sign. i am not surprised he did not know, as nothing in the manuals with the machine gave any indication as to where to put it. Dad, if you are reading this, the manuals that come with any sort of equipment are those books with writing on that you just discard.

i had a hunch that it was in or near the battery, and had seen similar PCs with a big sign saying SIM in that area. there was not, however, any such sign and no obvious slot.

a search of the internet - both the official HP site and those forum things - left me without an answer. i then, running out of ways to search for the info, clicked on a video on that youtube thing that showed one how to change the memory (whatever the hell that is) on the same machine. a-ha, i said, in a moment of revelation rather than in a moment of celebrating Nowegian pop.

here's how you do it, and sorry it is pictures and a guide rather than one of them youtube video things. i prefer reading and looking myself.

first off, flip her over and you will see this. you will know how to take the battery off, at the least, as you have probably put it in. i know i did to check the hardware system thing on the PC / laptop / notebook to check that the modem thingie was there! it's those two buttons below the battery if not, you push them inwards and the battery should be released.

there's the battery off, then. you can see that in the picture below. what you can't see is any evidence or indicator for where one puts the SIM card.

here is a picture of that, just for the sake of it.

although you can't see it yet, believe it or not we are nearly there.

what no one tells you - not the books with the machine, not the HP site, not any forums, is that if you, after taking the battery out, press those two buttons inwards a second time, the back or bottom panel comes off!

the buttons are circled here below for you for the sake of making this as straightforward as i can.

excuse my language and all that, but why the f*** do they not just state that on a guide or somewhere on the web? do they just take it as a given that everyone who buys a laptop / notebook will know exactly how it all works and how to take it apart?

my experience of laptops is limited to say the least, and i had no idea that they were now so robust that one could do a bit of self-maintenance. this would be why some IT people give all of them a bad name - they tend to be dicks about what they know, and assume that everyone else takes all of this knowledge as a given. well, we do not!

now that the back is off, here is a look at what is under this back / bottom panel. my best advice is do not touch a single thing you see.

but where is the SIM card port for the modem? well, not quite at the back or on the bottom, but on the side, just above the microphone and headphone ports. it is covered by the back case cover thing, there is no way to put the SIM in without taking the cover off.

here, see if you can spot it.

you did? great! if not, here it is with a red circle around it. well, not an actual circle, but a version of a circle that i did in MS Paint.

you install or insert the SIM card pretty much the same as you would do it in a cellular or mobile phone. writing up, chip thingie side facing down and at the bottom of the card. gently push it in and you should hear one of them "click" things, the sound that lets you know it is in the right place and in properly.

after that, put the cover on as fast and carefully as you can, and off you go! open up the HP Connect Manager thing (might be Connection Manager, frequently appears as HPCM). it should auto-detect the SIM and off you go; if not search out the details you need to connect from the service provider for the SIM and add the connection.

it does, with my limited experience, seem like an amazing machine. once the battle to find where the SIM goes was won, it was only one or two minutes after booting back up (or switching the machine back on if you want to get technical) that i had the internet thing working.

the above is nowhere near as bad an experience as the problems i had with a Samsung monitor and a PC running Windows 7 (search the blog for it, quite a few have and i am glad to hear it has helped one or two), but it is close. would it really kill HP to include a guide as to how to insert the SIM into this, if not in the manual with the machine then on their website?

if you got one of these laptop things, have been baffled by where the SIM goes and further confused by the lack of information from HP or anywhere else about where it goes, i truly hope this has assisted!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

why iTwat

hi there

regular readers of this blog will no doubt be all too aware that i refer to products from those darlings of the media, Apple, frequently as being iTwats. an opportunity has arisen to go into some detail on this, if you are interested, and show exactly why this is the case.

it is indeed partially, as you may well have guessed, down to the proclivity of a special kind of user to be an utter twat with the things. you know the ones i am talking about. the "status symbol" breed of owner. those that cannot go anywhere without the device, and indeed set it up wherever they are sat for the world to see. i have lost count of the amount of times i have seen people set up their iTwat in a meeting and have neither touched it or recorded anything on it.

mostly, though, it gets called an iTwat because of the utter, utter twat like way Apple behaves towards you, the person who has given an awful lot of money over for one of their items. yes, pictures to follow, be patient.

let me tell you a story, starting some 8 years ago. a company, who i won't name as such, had a demo sale, offering a "limited number" of iPods. my Dad for some reason was all of a sudden keen on getting one, and so took himself off to the store, well before opening time on the day of the sale.

imagine his surprise when, despite him being the first customer in, he was advised that they had somehow sold out of iPods. fancy! i am not sure how it works wherever you are in the world, but here whenever there's a sale, you can guarantee the staff have put aside practically everything for themselves, friends and family. i recall at one sale at what has to be one of the worst bookstores in the world i found an anthology of Emily Dickinson. when i went to buy it, the staffmember tried to sieze it and keep it for themselves, angry that they had not spotted it before the sale started!

anyway, after some brief and you would imagine tasty arguments with the store, my Dad got the 30GB iPod he intended to, at the listed price. for the sake of making this post pretty, here is a picture of it.

yes, that is Batman on a Bat-Bike. i left it in to look stylish.

anyway, my Dad looked after the iPod with all the care an attention he is known for. to clarify that, you have not seen a keyboard destroyed until you have seen my Dad, for want of a better word, 'type'. it somehow survived a fair bit of time with him, but for some reason 30GB of space was just nowhere near enough for his John Prine and Willie Nelson collection. off he went to get a new, bigger one and off the iPod went to me to get some use out of.

quite a smart one it was, too. 5th Generation, i think, and capable of playing video if for some reason you wished to watch video on a screen that size. it worked every night that Eskom granted us the electricity we paid them for. i like to listen to things on a night as i doze off, you see.

it survived several years of that, and indeed survived reformatting and restoring, in particular after James decided to add a security code to it and forgot what it was. it has, alas, recently died. despite, or perhaps as a consequence of, more or less living in a docking station, the battery just will not retain any sort of onboard power that it needs to do its thing.

look, even Batman and his Bat-Bike have abandoned it in its next picture.

time, then, for another one. despite all that i have said and will no doubt say here, the iPod was a fantastic invention. mp3 is no proper way to listen to music - the compression kills the sound of the greats, but i suppose it suits a generation that seems to think the new Daft Punk album is any good - but it is a very convenient way to. the iPod is the best way to listen to them - other mp3 players i have tried just do not match it.

as luck or fortune would have it, i noticed a sale of sorts on iPod equipment at a few stores. sadly, no "classic" models, like the one pictured above, were available. that meant that i ended up having to get this.

yep, an iPod "touch". no buttons bar the power one. all touch screen. i really do not like touch screens. i however like less the idea of nothing playing as i go to sleep, so i bought it. just the 16GB model, if you are interested, for i have no need for a large amount of space. my listening tastes on a night are somewhat limited, revolving usually around either Monty Python, The 12th Man or indeed George Carlin.

i have to confess that the "touch" is rather good. usually i am a disaster with touch screen things, but this one tends to respond only to what one pushes. i used it last night and it did not end up smashed against a wall. the journey to get it to play, however, sees some moaning and my complaints coming your way. you have been warned! 

yes, that is it displayed against a DVD box, so you can get an idea of the size. if for some reason you want an idea of the size. onwards, then, to the problems experienced.

i managed to get enough life out of the old iPod to get it open on the PC that i had installed the latest version of iTunes. it is not on my regular PC - iTunes is a memory and resource killer. i hate it. the hatred got more intense as i discovered that i could not, as had been the case in the past, now copy and paste tracks from my iPod to the PC. oh no, Apple is having none of that. to do this i now had to register an account at iTunes, which involved giving them my credit card details.

excuse me? i have just bought this device of you to use as i see fit. why is it that all of a sudden i have to have an iTunes account to use it?

as i mentioned above, mp3 is no decent way to listen to music properly. as a consequence, under no circumstances would i ever buy an mp3 album when the CD is available. i am quite capable of "ripping" it to an mp3 of my quality choice, thank you. an mp3 is probably fine for things recorded for the iGeneration of today, but proper music requires at least a properly recorded and mastered CD if the vinyl is not available. it's just how music is meant to be heard.

anyway, some faffing later and i have the account set up. tracks that i want are loaded to it, and off it goes to the docking station. at which point i get this. 

nice one Apple, cheers for that. why is this docking station not supported by this new iPod? a very good question. i did a search on the internet and found an alarming number of people have the same issue.

some suggested that it could be down to a "dirty docking socket". not the case with me - even the old dead one still lights up a bit and pretends to charge when plugged into it. i imagine, then, that it's down to the other reason i saw on the net - "firmware" and "iOperating system" have blocked the device from working with certain accessories and chargers. brilliant.

it seems, then, to be a ruse to get you to buy more wires, connectors, chargers and that sort of thing, only of course buy them featuring a bitten apple on the box. no thanks.

so, how to charge? well, plugging it in to the PC works, but that's not always a convenient thing to do. i decided to experiment a bit, and, well, check this out. 

yes, that's it charging! and just how am i getting it to charge? from an unlikely source, as it happens. here's a picture of my set up for it.

yep, that's a standard issue BlueBerry (or BlackBerry or whatever it is) charger. i just shoved the iPod cable into that, shoved it in to the mains and off it went. apparently those clever people at Apple could not work out a way to block this from being used. quite glad it worked, really, as otherwise i would have had to go off and buy one of the rather expensive Apple chargers.

i am sure my frustration with this is shared by many. the "we don't like our consumers very much" approach is really only challenged by Sony in regards of being kings of it. still, hats off to the brilliant strategy devised by Apple, which has seen their restrictive, insanely overpriced for the production costs and technology within it products become somehow in demand and sought after.

for many years, Apple did not even advertise. they didn't have to. offering "members of the media" generous discounts - and i do mean generous - meant that they seldom got a bad review, if at all. shiny things leads to journalists giving you more free, good publicity than you could ever wish for. if i got a non-iPod iTwat device for the kind of prices reviewers get them at i would probably think it's the best thing ever, too.

the other side of the strategy - midnight launches that we used to get for albums now being the reserve of the latest iTwat, oddly "limited" stock despite sensational mass production in China causing artificial scenes of over-demand and of course an interesting use of the illness of Mr Jobs in the media - all made the idea of owning an iTwat device essential and cool to those who care for appearance rather than use. fair enough, i suppose, but the mind boggles as to why we see angry, often aggressive reactions to any sort of restrictions or interference with any other electronic devices by anyone else, and yet all seem happy to bow to the ways that Apple do it. go figure.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

images from Mount Maunganui and beyond!

hi there

well, what can i say? i am delighted that the not entirely subtle hints i have dropped on his blog have led to, all of a sudden it seems, a few pictures coming in to my email from my Dad! and they are some pretty impressive pictures to, as you will see and hopefully agree.

Dad does keep himself rather busy, so the lack of mails and pictures sometimes does make sense, but it is nice to see and hear of what he has been up to. one of the more interesting things, it seems, is that he has taken to the skies in a helicopter to take pictures for a top secret assignment.

obviously i cannot show the images of the top secret assignment, but i can show off the amazing, unrelated ones he took whilst up in the sky!

or, mindful of the fact that i am reading the most recent of Dan Brown "efforts" right now (i cannot bring myself to call it a novel, for that implies some thought and effort went into the construction of it), maybe i am indeed showing you the top secret pictures, safe in the knowledge that you don't know what you are looking for or at. will leave you to think about that.

you are, however, just probably a good deal better off admiring the pictures for what they are!

next up are a few sensational pictures from his other travels - travels that do, it would seem, appear to be of a more conventional, land based approach. of the pictures sent,  i was in particular impressed with this wooden sculpture or if you will statue!

nice one Dad! i think mostly it's the case that when my Dad reads of things like my Texas Chainsaw 3D review he kind of shakes his head in puzzlement over the cost and time of my education. it's probably not the sort of thing he would wish for me to express an enthusiastic and healthy interest in, but at least he does think of me when he spots things like this.

do you wish for another look at this magnificent work of art of a chap with a chainsaw? of course you do.

leaving aside, for now, the class chainsaw dude, it's nice to at last get a picture of Mum & Dad to see how they are doing. very well, by the looks of it!

i am not sure that either my Dad's photography or Old Grumpy's Gallery are presently doing well enough to allow them to consider buying the Chateau thingie behind them, but you never know!

otherwise, it seems they have taken to following a bit of farming. no surprise there, since we herald from an agricultural background. with that background being an interesting blend of Wales and Yorkshire, our interest would be in "proper" farming with real equipment, with none of this fancy new technology being used, no matter how efficeent or easy it makes it.

that said, you would imagine this chap probably argued that adding a seat would not be cheating too much.

i would imagine that Stormin' Norman would be very impressed with this display of classic farming equipment, or if you will tractors. Gramps would no doubt too insist that farming was much better when things like this were used, and the world should return to this way. hard to disagree with him.

he would also go off on one about the current UK Government and indeed speculate that the next two or three Governments will be just as bad, so it's probably best to leave that aside and just admire the pictures.

now that one pictured above is quite smart, but my favourite is this next one! look at the tank like wheels at the back of it!

i would really like to have a go in that one, you would be the king of the road going about the streets on that, with the added bonus of being able to simply drive over any car which disagreed with your king status!

away from all things agriculture and one last proper picture for you, a magnificent view for you to enjoy!

if you would like to obtain some of these magnificent pictures, or indeed avail yourself of the services of my Dad and his impressive photographic skills, then you can go along to the Old Grumpys Gallery website for more information.

if you would like to do the above and show off how ace your smartphone is, you can also visit the website by hovering the camera scanner thing on your smartphone over this QR code i created for the webpage!

many thanks for the pictures Dad! i hope all visiting here have enjoyed them and follow the links to go and see more. best of luck with your next photographis assignment!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!