Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UK yellow vs NZ yellow

hello there.

yellow, or if you like yellow. it is, like, totes and full on the colour of the year. that year, of course, being 2015, or whichever year it happens to be that yellow is the colour of the year, look you see.

in accordance with this, i thought, or if you will presumed, quite like to see how different countries around the world interpret yellow. well, two, or at a push three. you will see.

i have, as some of you are all too aware, been issuing easter cards all over the place. i have been getting very good deals on them, as i am sure i mentioned in a post recently, and have found myself to be quite taken with the yellow ways of the envelopes they come with.

one of the cards - one of several - i have sent went to my sister. she was kind enough to reciprocate, and her easter card arrived today. before this conversation goes any further, i think a visual point of reference is required, so here it is.

at the forefront of this image is a sample of the yellow envelopes that i got all excited about and thus promptly bought 20 or so of the cards that go with them. in the background is the envelope that my sister used to send us her card in.

inside, or within, her card she made the comment that what New Zealand believes to be yellow, for she was given assurances that the envelope was yellow, is not quite what the rest of the world, or at the least England, have come to accept as being yellow.  it certainly does, at a glance, seem to be a dull, dour, almost sh!tty version of yellow that they accept in New Zealand.

how much, you ask, does it cost to buy one of these cards and to post it around the world? well, let's have a look at that, shall we. be prepared, however, to be horrified by the profiteering on the go. here, you people like charts and stats, don't you, have a look at this.

no, you are not being tricked or fooled, those figures above are correct. i used a calculator and everything.

some form of modest profit is, i think, acceptable. everyone, after all, needs to make a living, do they not, and ventures such as postage are only worthwhile if coins of money can be made as a consequence. the question then becomes one of just how much is enough. for Royal Mail of the UK, it would seem, there is never, ever, enough.

New Zealand's mail service puts the cost of postage at being 125% of the cost of the card. this is reasonable and fair, considering the base cost. this pricing would, you imagine, cover costs and allow for a few cents of profit per item. not so with Royal Mail, who charge a staggering 512% to post an item in relation to the cost of the actual item.

are Royal Mail ashamed of this? do they consider themselves disgraced on the international stage of post offices of the planet? probably not. i suspect they may wear this high relative percentage as a badge of honour, to be quite frank.

still, the matter of importance is that i got my smart card off of my sister, and she got the equally smart, in a much more yellow envelope card off of me.

i suppose that for the 512% factor you at least get to issue proper yellow to the world, which is a very nice thing to be able to do. at the moment my thinking is that the New Zealand interpretation of yellow is quite deliberate, and is intended as a slight (if that's how you spell it) or dig  at their neighbours. pure yellow, or if you like canary yellow, is of course associated with sports people off of Australia. they wear the colour with pride. it is understandable, then, from a sporting rivalry perspective, that they would not wish to promote the purer shade of yellow. the idea that they would do this is, to me, exciting.

for a neutral comparison of the two yellow envelopes, here they are contrasted against what is considered the benchmark of yellow. it is an unspecified item from an unspecified nation, but there is no doubt at all that it is the item of yellow which all other items of yellow are graded against.

the UK, you would say, has got yellow right where NZ seems to have got it not quite as right as it could have.

is it important for a nation to promote and present the right shade of yellow? perhaps, but maybe not. it's not really my place to go right ahead and condemn all of New Zealand just because of what they think is a yellow envelope. i would totally include them films about the midgets in the field with a ring too in such an act.

if for some reason you are interested in how yellow is presented, perceived and ultimately accepted around the world, i trust that this has been of some interest to you.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

the random factor

hello there

well, i am somewhat bored, and not as tired as i should be for 9:11pm. probably because prior to the time space continuum change of today, look you see, it would now be 8:11pm. i guess i just need to adjust, which one suspects i will - with some comfort - as and when the alarm clock does its thing in the morning.

i have pulled some random images from magazines uploaded around the web. 19, to be specific. they represent something of a flashback in time, for the internet at this stage is unable to provide magazines which will be published in the future.

regular readers of these random features will know the drill; pictures in no specific order other than however blogger uploads them, with my comments provided to be indulged or ignored. off we go, then.

one for the musicians to start with then, with this most usefull of music making devices from 1986.

the sampler, ladies and gentlemen. it is hard to believe now, but then this was an actual proper music making device. you had, after all, to make the actual music first before you could load it into the sampler and mess around with it. now, of course, the 'musicians' simply shove music that other people made into a similar device and pretend that they are making music. some say the new way is sad and depressing, but the kids like it, so hey ho, there you go.

Barbara Streisand is not someone who you would normally find mentioned on my blog, but here, have a look, here she is for a nice change!

actually, yeah, i forgot, i have recently got two CD & DVD sets of her and i intended to do a post on them. whoops, will get around to it.

this is, as you can more or less see, a TV guide from March 1975. it was a time when we only had three channels to choose from, and they did not broadcast around the clock. yeah, will let that one sink in.

i am indeed quite taken by the way Barbs appears in this picture, and i trust that you are too. look at the elegant, sophisticated way she holds the cigarette that she is smoking. as it has, at some point, been decided that smoking is the worst thing in the world, and responsible for everything that goes wrong, ever, you will of course not in this day and age see an image of someone smoking on the front cover of a magazine. it is increasingly rare that one sees someone smoking in a TV show or film, too. Midnight Run, off the top of my head, will look all crap and silly when they inevitably release a version with all the smoking scenes cut out.

oh yes, indeed, Barbs has a lovely hat on there, nicely off-setting her magnificent suit. and she has fantastic hair, and fantastic nails. i may well use this as inspiration to reference Barbs more on this blog, actually.
memories of a mostly fond nature came along when i saw this magazine cover on my travels around the web. that would be because indeed, in my youth, i did once own this very edition.

the tape stuck on the front of it was nothing short of revolutionary. a free tape for the computer? nice one!

"demo versions" of games, in which you got to play a level or two, were not something at all common - in fact i am not sure they even existed before this tape. there was no "downloading" or "CDs"; such a thing would have had to be, as was the case here, pressed on to cassettes that you loaded games off of.

were the games any good? i do not remember Flying Shark at all. Buggy Boy was all right, i guess. 720 was a smart idea, and encapsulated the idea of a skateboard emulation game just about as well as you could do with what the Commodore 64 offered up in terms of technology.

i have not, now that i think on, done any Commodore 64 mode pictures for a while, have i? mostly that's because it would mean me needing to take my iPod thing somewhere with me to take the pictures. i will see what i can sort out in that regard sometime soon, maybe.

next up a picture i just love. it goes back to an era now sadly long since gone, with pop stars of today unable to do this. why not? because they either look like a sad unoriginal parody or they look like the are indulging in excess that the fans and their talent seem not prepared to allow.

oh yes, indeed that is the great, sadly late, Freddie Mercury. indeed he is getting his hair done. and yes, indeed he really does have 4 - four! - hair stylists employed to make sure that it looks most smart!

there are a fair few classic rock and pop stars coming up in this post, as it happens. the world really, really misses flamboyant, mega-massive pop and rock stars. or, at the least, the illusion of them. it would be nice to have all that back, but in this day and age of rolling media and constant social network updates, where everyone knows what everyone is doing, i suppose it is just not going to happen.

more Commodore 64 stuff? sure, why not. here's a review of a very smart game based on a very, very smart book indeed.

the book, as it happens, landed me in the headmaster's office. some of the content met with the disapproval of my form master, who i saw in the village this weekend. all of the content, from start to finish, met with the disapproval of our headmaster. i wasn't allowed to take it back into school.

yes, i still have the book. it is sat in storage. looking forward to one day getting it out, so to speak, and reading it again. as funny now as it was in 1987, i will wager.

i would be uncertain that anyone comes to this blog looking for advice, and i am positive that people should not come to this blog looking for advice. if i am wrong in this regard, here you go.

is that advice any good or valid? i have absolutely no idea whatsoever. maybe, possibly not.

anyway, moving on and i stumbled upon a catalogue for music, film and tv memorabilia. as The Italian Job was an ace film, this item naturally caught my eye.

smart, that is, and apparently worth quite a lot of money. no, alas, i do not have this Japanese poster for the film or, as far as i am aware, any Japanese posters. i am reading a Japanese novel at the moment, if that counts, but it is apparently in English, so i guess not.
some more music stuff, pop pickers? sure, why not. here's a double bill advert for two smart albums from the year 1982.

indeed these were two bands off of the New Romantics revolution before the New Romantics revolution had really kicked off into overdrive. not long after these albums came Duran Duran, who took the phenomenon from a new wave thing with minor hits to a global, dominating stage.

A Flock Of Seagulls took their name from a lyric by The Stranglers; the song Toiler On The Sea as i recall. sorry, no idea where Haircut One Hundred got their name off of.

an advert for specialist racquetball shoes from 1982? doable.

what is racquetball, you ask? well i assume you do, since the spell check thing does not seem to recognize it as a real world. perhaps it does not exist in this modern world, which is a shame. no, i am not sure what it is, or was, but going on that picture it looks like it was some sort of mentalist, violent version of squash.

at some stage this year it would be very nice indeed to get away for a bit of a holiday. for all our extensive travels, exploits and adventures, it is the case that our family has not been "away" on a holiday proper for some three years now.

granted, i know many families and people never get the luxury to go away on holiday or some sort of break. whereas i am sorry for that, i don't believe that constitutes as moral grounds for us not doing so.

is Rockley Sands a likely destination? i do not know, to be honest. we certainly wish to stay within the realm of the kingdom on our travels, as and when they happen, but as i have not heard of this place prior to seeing this advert, i cannot say whether or not we want to go there. it does look really, really smart, though. perhaps i will phone the listed number, or send off for a free brochure, and have a look and then decide on it.

if for some reason you are sat with a Sinclair ZX 81 and cannot get it working, then have i got some good news for you! the first bit of advice, i suppose, should be "don't bother to get it working", in truth. if, however, you are determined to do so, well then here you go, here is a guide as to how to plug it in.

although i am not sure that TV sets can even be tuned in to non-digital signals anymore?

the thing that gets me is that there's apparently a port on the ZX81 for both a microphone and earphones. it has been some 30 years since i had one of these smart machines, but from what i recall of the 1KB technology it offered (no, that's not a typo, 1KB), they did not do much in the way of making a sound, and you certainly couldn't record anything on them.

some more stuff from that class auction catalogue i saw? well, sure. it would be worth uploading pretty much all 130 or so pages of it, but rather let me leave you to find it for yourself. for now, though, here is what, according to the world of the auctioneer, bundles of 7" singles are currently worth.

there are, of course, some 7" singles that are worth considerable amounts. they would just seem not to be part of the auction above, unless a few rarities slipped into the bundles. that, i suppose, would be the gamble or, if you like, punt anyone buying those records would be taking.

now then, this was a very nice find on my strolls around the net.

i, like everyone else who ever saw it, really loved the TV series V. i think it was first broadcast in 1983 or 1984, i seem to be of a mind that it was on at the same time as some major sports event was on the go - possibly the 84 Olympics.

i had no idea at all that there was a comic book adaptation of it. i should have just assumed, i suppose, if i had ever stopped to think about it. back then most films and TV shows that had a science fiction spin to them had some sort of comic book release with them. i have nothing but fond memories of the Superman III one for a start, would love to get that again.

i think, or at least i seem to remember, that they had a go at a remake of V not so long ago, and it failed quite miserably. as, i believe, did the attempt to make a TV series of Flash Gordon. there's a lesson here, dear reader, for all those people excited about the imminent return of X Files and Twin Peaks to TV. i loved both of those series, but they came to an end. i am not at all sure how well it will work out, bringing them back.

Abba, oddly, offer wisdom in this regard. they have always refused any overtures or offers to reform. why? because the nostalgia for the band gets mined to the extent of about US$1billion every year. that is some serious coins of money. why risk that income by shattering people's images of the past with the now?

wondering what was in one of the first editions of Smash Hits to be published in 1984? of course you are, and here you go, here's what they had for the kids.

an interesting start to the year. by the end of it, of course, it was all Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Live Aid. quite a year in music, 1984 was. a very, very smart one.

it very nearly goes all music for the rest of this blog post, people, so if you have no interest at all in that, you may want to opt out now. for those of you who find that interesting, appealing and indeed exciting, here's a celebrity endorsement of blank tapes.

nice one Stevie. i did use TDK tapes back in the 80s and 90s, and was in fact using them as recently as 2013. i look forward to the day that i can access them and use them again, to be honest. i did all of this with no idea at all that they were giving money to Stevie Wonder, who does a pretty good Lionel Richie impression in this picture now that i look. now that i do know, i feel nothing but pride about the fact that i used them. and will use again, one day.

now, then, odd nostalgia. this is a poster for a film i have not seen, and one that i am unlikely ever to see, as the reviews all suggest it was awful.

i just recall that we were living in Australia when this film came out, and one could not move for adverts promoting it. by that i mean the radio, the television, comics, magazines and newspapers were all beautified with advertising this film, declaring it to be the best thing ever.

that does seem to be the Australian way, really. whenever something is released, published or made available there, it gets presented as the best, the greatest and the most important thing ever. whether it is or, as was the case here i believe, is not.

just what the hell are The Stone Roses up to? they got back together in 2011, did some amazing gigs in 2012, did a couple more in 2013, then back to silence. there was a report a few months ago that they had split once more, but there was something of a denial of this from the band, unofficially released.

anyway, here's an image of the band from 89 or 90, out of one of them "poster magazine" things.

do the kids of today still put posters on their wall? i would presume or hope so. probably all that One Directions stuff, or them Jedward lot.

the above image of The Stone Roses is not one i recall seeing before. it looks like it is off of the session where they did their legendary "victory" pose, where they were stood, hand in hand, raising their arms up high in declaration of being regarded as the single most important band in the world. they were that, if only for a brief time. better to be that for a moment rather than not at all, i guess.

i have no idea at all who this dude is and, considering the source of the image, i am not sure he is even the focus of the picture, it's possible that the lady is one of them adult film stars of the 70s and 80s.

 i do, however, know that this dude is total, full on awesome. look at the way he is dressed, man. that's smart, that is.

obviously his style is heavily influenced by The King, Elvis Presley, but he gets away with it. he doesn't look like a sad or pathetic imitation or poor tribute act. he looks smart, he does.

this in many ways rejuvenates my own hopes, ideals and aspirations to dress like this one day. i am aware that i will look awful in it, but now exists the vision of this look actually working on someone else who happens to not be The King, Elvis Presley. looking at that, other than finding a shop that does strides with sequins in them and sells belts with massive buckles on, i think i need to work on my chest hair. i mean i have some, but nowhere near as much as that dude. my own chest hair count, if you are interest, is probably measured as being somewhere in between that dude and his lady friend.

and speaking of dudes, here is arguably the king of dudes, stood with Eddie Van Halen.

how the hell Eddie Van Halen - great guitarist but an apparently dull and quiet guy - ever managed to get the great rock legend awesome ways of David Lee Roth to join his band is a mystery. Roth is, or at least was, awesome, man. just solid, all out rock and roll lifestyle. lucky man.

yes, we are at an end. to finish off, then, a look at some of the smart devices you could get to play them TDK tapes on, after you had recorded the Top 40 on one of them or possibly an album off of a mate.

my first ever copy of The Joshua Tree was on a tape. i mean, i had bought the 7" of With Or Without You, but not the album off the bat. i think it was Nicky Sinclair i borrowed it off and recorded it. no doubt i recorded it on to a TDK tape, and played it on one of these devices. no doubt with that device attached to my belt as i walked or rode my bike somewhere.

phew. right, that really will do. hope these random things have been of interest somewhere, and no doubt more like this will come along here sooner or later. in the mean time, then,

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

discs and Bowen

hello there

i have, as this text stands testament to (or at least as i write it), survived the great time space continuum shift that saw all of us across the UK leap forward an hour in the early hours of the morning. travelling forward in time is a pretty peculiar thing, really. if we all did it, as we did, then no one did is the only true statement i can think to put here which is mildly profound, look you see.

what did i do with my own time travel exploits? mostly weekly grocery shopping, as it happens, although i did make something of a departure to non-grocery shopping. what did i purchase? shiny things, mostly. well, presumably there are shiny things inside the boxes.

but the headline, i am guessing kind of gave this away some.

yes it is true that usually i would only purchase a DVD for £1 if it was Poundland, or world, offering it for that price. i made an exception today, however, as the store that offered these for £1 each has the name 'Yorkshire' as part of their trading name. so if they want me to have these discs for that price then it was meant to be, thanks.

what was the logic behind these purchases? nothing too intelligent, but at points maybe it has something to do with insight and thoughtfulness. links to follow, but as is the case with book reviews, the links are for convenience, and not endorsement, affiliation or suggestion.

on a very base, basic and straightforward level, that set of episodes of The Outer Limits was purchased as it promises a blend of sex and science fiction. nice one, man. i think that the TV show itself was always something of a "poor man's Twilight Zone", i really don't remember it. sex and sexy things tend not to happen on UK release discs, so i am keen to see what this has on offer. if it's anything really exciting, i will be sure to make a reference to it here. as and when i get to watch it.

X Files coming up, but first, someone has very kindly sent me a picture of that most legendary of vehicles, the Jim Bowen tribute car.

yes, a Jim Bowen tribute speedboat or caravan would be more apt, but this is somewhat more of a practical and accessible tribute to the great man. yes, i know that you can see the tribute element, but no, we are not discussing that now. just be patient, or scroll down.

i bought The X Files - Nothing Important Happened Today partially as the title has for some reason been popping in my mind of late, but mostly as it has a purple box. i do not think i have seen a purple box before, and my (considerably) better half likes both purple and all this X Files stuff.

is this X Files episode any good? not sure, i don't remember. i mean, i have the whole lot of it in box sets sat away in storage, not watched for ages. i do know that it stars Agent T1000 out of Wayne's World, which upsets some people. 
and so, then, Psych Out. basically, what the proprietor of the shop was saying, albeit via tacit means by having it on the shelf, was "dear customer, would you like to throw £1 at this item which holds within it the promise of Jack Nicholson being whacked on acid for 90 minutes?". the answer could not be anything other than "yes, thank you very much, i will give you £1 in return for the chance to see that".

cor, blimey! i see that, at time of going to print, amazon are flogging this disc for £30 new or nearly £19 used. if i had known then i may well have stocked up. but it depends how much demand there is for it out there.

i have not heard of this film before. quite strange that this one somehow slipped by me. i mean, i have heard of The Trip, but just about everyone has.same with Performance, i suppose. and it's not like this film is under the radar because it is bad or rubbish - in their infinite, collective wisdom, users of that whole imdb thing have given this an average review of 6.0, which is pretty good going.

yes, i appreciate that Dean Stockwell is in it too. the idea of watching him whacked out of it on acid is also, to me, exciting, but then again i have already seen Blue Velvet. many times.

did i buy anything else that was also a disc but not available for £1/ yes i did.

James has discovered all of this WWE / WWF business, and so when i saw a film available that had the king of all that stuff in it, Hulk Hogan, i thought i had better get it. the certificate on it suggests that it is not for his eyes just yet, but i will have a gander and see if this isn't just usual UK censors getting carried away.
what, exactly, is this No Holds Barred film?  a slice of cinematic history, apparently, as it rewrites history. the claim is that this motion picture, from 1989, marks the film debut of Hulk Hogan. this is interesting as he was in fact in the class, bonzer film Rocky III, playing the pivotal role of Thunderlips. which was released some 7 years before this one. oh.

also, it seems that this film is a "classic" in a very "cult" sense, according to what the back of the blu-ray box says.

what's the film about? as far as i can work out, mostly it would seem to be about Hulk Hogan being Hulk Hogan, doing all sorts of smart and class Hulk Hogan things, predominantly limited to boss wrestling moves. except he is not actually Hulk Hogan, he plays a character that is a bit like him that has the name Rip.

i am trying to remember if i have ever watched any Hulk Hogan adventure in motion picture beyond Rocky III and i think the answer is no, except for the fact that i think he was in one of the Muppets movies at some stage in his illustrious career. i will probably have watched that at some point, then. i will have a bit of a watch of it at some point, although i would be fairly sure i could give you a pretty good review right now, really, as i am guessing that the Hulkster, or Hulkamania, wins out in the end, what with him being an all real American and that.

David Paymer, one of the few actors to survive the calamitous trainwreck of a film called Amistad, is in this one too. he plays someone called Unger, which sounds like an amazing name, man. 

yeah, go on then, back to the sensational Jim Bowen tribute car.

the presence of a statue of Jim Bowen on the dashboard, dressed in traditional Bullseye attire and apparently throwing a dart, is what of course makes this vehicle the tribute that it is.

many might be baffled by the emphasis on white clothing for a Bowen tribute. the man was, is, and always will be, after all, best remembered for his outrageous, convention defying and generation defining combination of many, many colours in his day to day attire.

the white is used here to symbolise not so much a level of purity - although the Bowen is pure - but rather a level of clarity of focus not usually seen in hosts of tv gameshows based, for the most part, on the sport of hobby of darts. where others tried and fell short, Bowen of course flourished and thrived, which is why he is so celebrated and tribute vehicles like this exist.

i don't, as those of you who have endured my tales of bus rides are aware, use a car on a regular basis anymore. and i am very happy about that. if, however, i decided to return to using a car on a frequent basis, i believe that yes, i would drive around in one of these Bowen tribute ones.

that will do, then. hope you all had a most smart weekend!

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

ah, or that went well

hi there

regular readers, or those who simply click here, will be aware that fate dealt the blow of my blueberry phone case being all knacked up recently.

i took a decision, look you see, to order a new one. purple, as was the shade that i had, seemed unavailable, so i ordered something called 'light purple' as the designated colour for the new one. when it landed, it turned out to be rather light purple indeed.

erm, yeah. that's the old purple one next to it, and the new one is indeed as lightly lilac purple as it looks there. ah. oh dear. as comfortable as i am with my sexuality, and i do so dearly cling to the universal ideal of let everyone be what they want to be so long as it doesn't impose on others, i am simply not sure this is the style or shade of phone cover i wish to wander around with.

i'm somewhat undecided, really. actually, the shade of it does not annoy me so much as the fact that, as you can pretty much make out there, it is the reverse of the one i had in terms of the flap and the magnetic sealing strap mechanism thing. it's actually bloody annoying to use.

i will probably order another one instead, then, but in the mean time here is our friends the cows, in their usual field, but only taken from a slightly different angle for you. yeah, i be the shadow.

what were the cows up to this time? wandering and eating, for the most part. a little later, however, there was a touch of jousting between the three of them, followed by what seemed to me to be the cow variation on the art of dogging. no, dear reader, although you will not be prone to believe my denial, i would still all the same like to make it clear that i did not join in with their dogging ventures. if that is what they were doing.

do i, as per numerous posts here this year, still believe the cows are mounting some sort of revolutionary, evolutionary strike against us? yes. but i am too tired to elaborate here, rather just look through my older posts and see it all for yourself.

moving on, as indeed the cows will be towards conquest, and here is one of those 'oh wow' or 'ah' or, if you are some sort of teenager thing, "OMG! LOOK!" type of images for you. here's an advert from 1991 for a place called Radio Shack which is, so the advert informs us, an American concern that got very excited when it was President Bush I's birthday.

the punchline, or the 'oh wow' element, here of course is that now you can for the most part get all of the above on a single device, far cheaper than the singular versions of most and, for the most part, in a wya that delivers a far superior level of performance. i, frankly, do not want to know what a $1600 Tandy PC with a 20MB 'Super Drive' is like to work on.

except, of course, not all of the things above exist anymore. i am thinking, in particular, of AM/MW radio. is it still used? here in England it is all FM, with an awful lot of this DAB too. DAB is brilliant, and i hope my friends in Africa get to hear it soon. i do, however, miss that somewhat soothing, low frequency, bass like sound of an AM/MW transmission. American radio on it in particular always sounded wonderful.

also, i am not at all sure that CB exists still? i know they got rid of morse code off of ships, which was just a stupid thing to do. i mean, surely morse code machines did not take up all that much space, and it would be a very nice backup to have if all the fancy new means of technology broke?

a look at the cows in their apparent dogging hot spot? yeah, i thought you would want to see that. here they are, and you will note they are slightly more inland than their usual place of choice. they are on the move, ladies and gents, and they are coming to get us.

that picture, as is the case with the one above, was taken free of the new pouch. that is why there is none of that class curved like border to them. i kind of miss that curve, so even if i don't use the pouch pictured above, i can, like totes, see me getting another pouch case thing that adds it on.

pretty much ignore this picture to the side, please. it was a bit of a doodle, or if you like codex, that an unspecified person left behind in an unspecified location. this might seem to be all secretive and shady to you, but don't let it worry you - those that need to know what this is do so very well, and are aware of the actions they need to take.

on a practical level, i am led to believe that the clocks change here at some point overnight, or if you want to be all Australian and specific about it, at 1am we will all be magically transported to 3am instead of 2am. most devices, wired as they are into some sort of network, affect the change automatically. which is nice. as far as i know, however, the clock in our kitchen is not wifi enhanced, so i will give it a little bit of a fiddle in the morning.

the clocks changing, of course, means that spring should at last be here. whereas we are getting, as the above pictures reveal, some sun and lovely skies, the temperature has not elevated itself quite so much as i would have liked it to by this stage.

one of them selfie things of me with the blueberry phone in the lovely, delicate lilac case? i have no problem with that, here you go.

as you can see, it adds a reasonable amount of a curved border to it, since the holes in the pouch and holding section do not quite align with the lens of the camera. it's not bad, as far as curved borders go, but to me it seems to lack the spontaneous conformity of the old one.

did i by any chance take a video of them cows doing dogging or whatever it is they were actually doing? why, as it happens, yes i did, and yes you can see it if you so wish.

i find that the sexual liberation and freedom the cows have to be most refreshing, really. i mean, there they are, unashamed and proud, dogging away in view of the world at 7:20am on a weekday. if it were a bunch of people doing that, you can be sure the constabulary would get involved, and the morals of it would be debated by local politicians, journalists, provincial broadcasters and the like, saying it's a sign of "broken britain" and confirmation of the decline of modern society.

what would i do if i saw a bunch of people dogging in the field over from the bus stop at 7:20am? well for starters i believe in honouring commitment and expectations, so first i would be sending a message to verk saying it would be very unlikely that i would be on my usual bus and thus would be a bit late.

if, like me, your weekend is about to become one hour shorter than usual, i hope you made the very most in the best way possible of the time you had.

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

denise to add link

hello there

well, yeah. i could be accused of all sorts of pot and kettle things with this one. me pointing out mistakes and errors on another webpage is a little bit rich, considering my own blog here is hardly a bastion of polished professionalism. doe snot, instead of does not, is a particularly frequent trick of mine.

that said, i am not a big sized fancy newspaper with a whole load of staff, and i also, as far as i know, do not come up on page one of any google news search results. the Telegraph does, however.

i was reading some news, as i am so inclined to do, in respect of the automotive industry. it was then that i discovered this bit of a clanger in their text.

oh dear. it seems that someone assumed that 'DENISE TO ADD LINK' was part of the story, rather than a memo or note to the editor, or the sub-editor, or assistant to them, to get Denise to do this.

this mistake, if we can take it as a given that it was a mistake, was there today, two days after the story had been published or, if you like, posted. is the error still there? not sure, if you so wish do please go and have a look to see by clicking here, look you see.

actually, i think Private Eye give you ten quid if you send in a mistake like this. i can't be bothered to do that, but do by all means feel free to have a go at that yourself.

the interesting part, for me, was that this bit of editing error also comes up in the 'meta text' or description or whatever it is on the google search for news.

this is somewhat bafflingly at odds with the new standards that google proclaims it has, in which it says natural, good and 'organic' text will be rewarded with higher rankings. hard to see how the phrase 'denise to add link' meets that criteria to the extent of a page one ranking, considering i searched for 'motor industry jobs'.

for what reason was i searching? mostly classified. although no, i am not seeking a position or employment in the motor industry, or any other place for that matter, for i am perfectly happy with my current verk. i have, however, always harboured a desire to have a set of overalls with a patch on them that says "Mr Clutch", like what Fat Bob wore in Paul Calf when he got married.

hope this has been of some mild amusement to some of you.

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

inside the easter cracker

hello there

as those of you who know me to any sort of extent beyond happening upon this blog at random will know, i carry with me certain expectations of standards whenever i visit the store they call Poundland. and it is, dear reader, Poundland - i have discovered that the other shop that i do not frequent is the "world" variation on the pound, look you see.

today was a day that my somewhat medium range expectations of standards were not met as such, but my interest levels were piqued, if not tickled, by an item they had on display in the hope that it would tempt both me and my fellow patrons into purchasing.

yes, you are seeing what you think you are seeing. no, this is not some exercise or voyage into the world of photoshop, this is all really quite real. Poundland are selling, for the modest price of a pound a box, something called easter crackers. six of them per box, no less.

i am, as you are, quite used to seeing crackers as being part of christmas festivities. this idea of easter crackers, then, took me somewhat by surprise. i guess i should choose my words wisely here, for whereas i don't particularly care if anything i say upsets of (*sigh*) 'offends' anyone, i do not set out to deliberately cause offence. there is some considerable difference between the two; a point some people out there might wish to bear in mind, but hey ho.

it can only be assumed, or concluded, that someone somewhere decided that just as the birth of Jesus is commemorated in the modern, possibly mostly first, world, so too the recalling of the resurrection should be celebrated by people pulling, or if you like breaking, crackers.

so did i purchase some of these easter crackers, then? but of course.

having bought them - somehow with a straight face, helped by the fact that the lady on the till at Poundland considered this to be a normal, routine transaction - i took them home and presented them, with some sort of semblance of pride, to my family. which is the point at which several dilemmas kicked in.

the first was, of course, where to put these easter crackers. we do no not, alas, have an "easter tree". whereas christmas crackers are traditionally stored on a christmas tree, no one has yet thought to sell an easter tree. oh dear. perhaps next year. 

also, despite the child-like, or if you like child appealing, style and design of the pictures on the crackers and the concept of easter crackers in general, the warnings about them and children were somewhat ferocious.

this picture is not so great, granted, but i think you can see just how  serious the makers of easter crackers take warnings and precautions.

for a start, right, anyone between the age of 0 and 3 will instantly choke on them. there goes my grand plan of gesture to visit the nearby maternity ward with them, then.

also, children under the age of 12 should not be allowed to operate, handle or if you like detonate these easter crackers, due to the high octane, weapons grade level of explosives stored in them. this, i think is my favourite element of warning on the easter crackers packaging. have a look, if you will, at the images and style of them. now consider your average 13 year old. if you were to go up to a 13 year old with these, right, and tell them "congratulations, you are now old enough to operate one of these easter crackers", they are going to look at you blankly for a bit, tell you to "p!ss off" and storm off, presumably to sniff glue, paint their bedroom black, or indeed both.

did i, with all these warnings in place, hesitate in allowing a 5 year old and a 9 year old operate them? not, at the risk of having the constabulary visit, in the slightest. well, ok, my (considerably) better half and i tried one first to be safe. it turned out that they are somewhat tame and perhaps not quite as explosive as the manufacturers might have hoped.

and just what do you get in easter crackers? here you go, have a look.

can't quite make out the explosive, or instant choke elements in the picture? well then, let me help you out. a full rundown of each cracker - and all were the same - is as follows :

* a novelty hat (colours vary)
* a sticker, resembling the image on the cracker (nice touch)
* a joke
* that's it

the jokes were of particular interest. we seem, dear reader, to be getting it all wrong with easter, according to the jokes. the jokes all made reference to things like penguins, polar bears, ice and snow. very winter, sort of northern hemisphere timed christmas jokes. are we celebrating easter at the wrong time? or is it that they just bunged christmas themed jokes in easter crackers, figuring that it was same difference between birth and resurrection?

yeah, we probably should have waited until good friday, easter sunday or easter monday to detonate the crackers. unfortunately there were no instructions as to when to set them off, so we just went for it.

if for some reason you were considering buying easter crackers but were concerned about what you would get if you did so, well, i trust this has been of some use to you in your purchasing decisions.

i may well buy another box or two during the week.

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

bus book review

hi there

well, here we go - two more books read upon the bus. two quick read books, as it turns out, for it does not feel all that long since the last reviews.

the next two might come along fast too, as the one i have selected next has less than 200 pages, but also could be in incomprehensible Japanese. let us leave that aside, look you see, and worry about the two i have already read.

quick, spoiler free review? Exposed was a fast and OK read, nothing special, and The Nemesis Program was just plain ridiculous. but also a fast and entertaining read.

right. as these are fairly predictable, pedestrian novels, there are *** MASSIVE SPOILER WARNINGS *** in place for the rest of this post.  as usual, links to books are there purely for ease and convenience; they are not an endorsement, affiliation or recommendation of where you should buy. if, for some reason, you buy.

if i, by some strange quirk of fate, turned out to be Alex Kava, the author of Exposed, and a quick shove my my hand down my strides confirms that pretty much i am not Ms Alex Kava, i would give my lawyer a call and get them to have a word with the creators and writers of an episode of that CSI thing which was called Bad Blood. it is dangerous to throw such an allegation or accusation about, perhaps, but i cannot but help suspect that the writers of that episode had read this novel before coming up with an entirely original, almost exact copy of this storyline.

plot? the FBI get called out to a potential crime scene, expecting a bomb or car explosion. instead they find a virus thing has been unleashed. whoops.

as a consequence of this, the two FBI agents who were closest to the person infected with the virus are thrown in some sort of hardcore quarantine thing, which is where they spend most of the novel trying to solve the crime. which is pretty much, basically exactly like, the episode of CSI linked to above, only from what i can recall Special Agent Sam Malone off of Cheers is not in the book.

the virus unleashed is an extraordinarily rare strain of ebola - a bit of a tame version of the ebola i currently have with my manflu, but pretty lethal all the same. there are only 3, maybe 4 people in the whole of the USA that could possibly have access to it. the FBI work this out as soon as just over halfway through the book.

the virus dude could pretty much get away with it, too. only, in a very James Bond move, instead of legging it, he decides to rather invite the FBI to his class lab (not, sadly, a hollowed out volcano), lock them in a room full of monkeys and tell them his masterplan. guess what happens next.

Exposed was very light, disposable and very forgettable reading. it was, however, pretty entertaining. it also features none of the (very) bad acting associated with the episode of CSI i seem to keep mentioning. 

onwards, then, to The Nemesis Program, which is book 9 in the increasingly stupid series of novels featuring Ben Hope. i say increasingly, but i suspect this is the zenith, it surely cannot get any more stupid than this.

plot? how about the whole novel? you saw the spoiler warning, so read on at your own concern.

Ben Hope has given up being an ex-SAS dude that trains people to rescue kidnap victims whilst sorting out world threatening incidents. he is hanging around a vicarage when we find him, knacking trees with his recently discovered son. he is planning on being a vicar, and is about to get married to some lass that has had the hots for him for quite some time. Brooke, or something.

alas, an ex-girlfriend turns up in a fat panic about a friend being killed in France. she is sat telling Ben all about it when some dudes in an Audi turn up and start shooting. this makes Ben quite cross. so cross, in fact, that he gives up on the idea of being a vicar, postpones the wedding (to the distress of the bride to be) and goes off on a jolly crusade with the ex to find out who was shooting at them and twat them one.

keeping up with this? good. the two discover that behind the shooting is (groan, sigh away) a shady, secret organization that really rules the world. they have made a classy Tesla Death Ray, that can oscillate things like earthquakes into being, capable of destroying countries. this makes Ben even more mad, and so he sets out to destroy them all.

the best bit is probably towards the end. they know that the (you saw the spoilers, yeah?) Tesla Death Ray is hidden on a commercial container ship. they know the name of commercial container ship. as this is a perfectly valid, legal, registered and visible on radar ship, they could have gone along to a smart website called marine traffic to locate it. instead, though, Ben and his merry band of partially alcoholic former soldiers decide to launch an assault on a highly protected building and offer to set some dude on fire - with vodka, no less - if they don't tell them where the ship is.

i think i have read 5 or 6 of these Ben Hope adventures. however many it is, there will be no more. i have every confidence that a 10th will be out soon, with Ben going "sorry i ran off with an ex to twat people, please still marry me" just before going off to twat people. enough, now.

if you are looking, then, for something that's not quite trashy but also not in any danger of being serious or heavy literature, these books would fit the bill. if i had to chose one of them to say "yeah, that was worthwhile", it would be Exposed. sorry, Ben Hope fans.

well, on to the next books, then. hope these have been of some use to some of you!

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

stamps, recall and playground

hi there

yes, indeed it is quite a surprise that i am still here writing this as i wrestle with the ways of manflu (with ebola, sarin gas, etc). also a bad back too, look you see, as there was no fancy bus today as there was yesterday. no, it was back to running late spinebreakers.

anyway, a few things have cropped up which warranted a bit of a random post. and where better to start that with things related to proper post, as in stuff that comes through your letterbox.

Royal Mail, an otherwise reputable company that i am pretty much falling out with lately, has in their wisdom decided to issue some comedy stamps, somewhat in an appropriate way on April 1 of this year.  you can see most of the ten on the stamps right there.

it's a bit of a tough one, this. up front, whether i like them or not - and in the "not" camp i am looking mostly at Victoria Wood - there is no question of the genius and love for the ten comedians selected. it's just that this is something of a golden, missed opportunity.

the most startling, bizarre exclusion is arguably one of the greatest and much loved comedians we have ever produced - Peter Sellers. further than that, would this not have been a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to celebrate the much missed man that was the face of modern British comedy? yes, as THE KIDS know, i speak of one Rik Mayall.

would it really have been too much trouble to make it a set of 12 stamps?

since we seem to be on something of a serious note, here's one of them public service things i do from time to time. there has been a product recall issued for a top choice for a Mother's Day present, the 2015 Boofle Mum Mug/Chocolate Set.

if you have one, bought one as a gift or know of someone that has one, please note the above, in particular the link in green, and make sure it is returned and/or replaced.

since we are on a serious note, i was somewhat shocked to see this image from my old route to verk in another land. i took it off that whole twerker / snappy book chat thing, so my thanks to whoever took it.

yes, what you are seeing is an elevated highway, or if you like motorway, bridge separating and causing a gap. i am no engineer or expert bridge man sort of thing, but that looks f*****g dangerous to me, and it's not like i have all that good a track record in terms of road safety.

if they close that bridge down to repair it, which i think they will have to do, the already nightmare Johannesburg roads will get an awful lot worse. oh dear. i just hope none of my friends or colleagues have had harm befall them as a consequence of this.

another look at the Royal Mail comedy stamps thing, then, and a baffling element of it.

i, right, once - once - placed an order on the Royal Mail website. it was for some Thatcher stamps, and they were purchased to annoy people with. which they did. and, ever since, Royal Mail has annoyed me with catalogue and promo cards like this one for every sort of stamp going.

what's the gripe? Royal Mail charge you a delivery fee for stamps you order. that is the one single element which has prevented me from ordering more - it just seems silly to pay to have stamps delivered. Royal Mail make it look all the more silly, too, with the amount of catalogues and promo cards they post. they are, after all, the f*****g mail service. why are they charging me to deliver stamps?

but i might well order some of these comedy ones.

anyway, that will do.

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