Sunday, November 29, 2015

does anyone know what this "song" is?

hey there

yeah, that figures. as soon as i suspect that i shall not be posting much of anything for the remainder of this month, i get a request, look you see, to post an appeal from James. he's found some sort of "proper banging" song on a video and he is keen to know what the title and/or name of "artist" is.

we will get to that in a moment, but just so it is not the case of it being a video clip alone here, here we go, one of them selfie things of me from a moment before i started typing this.

quite, i agree, that's pretty smart that is. but now, onwards to this clip.

apparently it is on something called a "FIFA vine" video, and if that means something to you then it means a good deal more to you than it does to me. here's a video clip with the song in question playing away.

no, i certainly do not have the faintest idea or clue what that is. i am not convinced, in truth, that it is something which should be called a song, but each to their own.

so, anyway, if you happen to know what that tune is, please leave a note here. you can do that by clicking on the title of this blog post and scrolling down to the bottom.

nice one, cheers in advance!

UPDATE : it is of course the magnificence of Booyah by, it says here, Showtek Feat. We Are Loud & Sonny Wilson. cheers Sharpie.

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

meat, shampoo and base

hi there

wow, we are rather close to the end of November, look you see, and the post count for the month is well low. proper low, if you like. if only it were a case of this being quality over quantity.

i have, as i am prone if not compelled to do, been engaged in some activities in the realm of commerce this weekend. with very little else of consequence or interest to share with you at the moment i thought i'd throw some selected highlights out here for those of a mind that is interested in such things.

quite a bit of this is off of Tesco, where strangely i have ended up twice this weekend. first up, another bag off of them, but not the Space Wars one from earlier in the week. one that does, however, nail some colours quite firmly to a particular mast.

we live in a world where Tesco bashing is very popular. whether it's doing mentalist sandwiches featuring cherries, chocolate and cinnamon or discontinuing their range of tablet computers, basically anything they do attracts criticism and lambasting. i can so see that happening with this very smart bag.

forming the word "meat" out of images of the various animals which they have slaughtered to feed their customers is very special in itself, but calling it glorious is something of a magic touch. i am guessing that the above bag is why one cannot easily buy CDs or Morrissey or The Smiths at Tesco. whilst i have no issue or quarrel with the bag, one can surely see the more militant wing of the vegetarians having a go about it sooner rather than later.

away from controversial statements on bags, and indeed away from Tesco for a moment. here, in the glory of Commodore 64 mode, is some smart new shampoo which i got off of Pound Land.

it is, as you will possibly see later, purple. it seems to be constructed from mulberry, which i have heard of, and acai berry, which i've not heard of. blogger hasn't heard of acai berry either, for the spell checker thing is telling me that whatever it is i was trying to write is wrong.

this marks a whole new exciting direction for me in shampoo. up to now i have, as regular readers are surely tired of being aware, i have had a preference for shampoo that has predominantly tree based things shoved in it, be it lemon or apple. to delve into the world of bushes and plants that offer berries is something of an adventure.

i've heard of this alberto balsam lot before, too, which is a good thing. as i have heard of it i shall take it as a given that they are a most smart hair product brand, and this shampoo will make my hair like totes awesome.

back to Tesco for now, then, and a rather smart looking pair of headphones. headphones that i probably didn't have any urgent need for, but they were half price at £2.50 so i thought why not.

there would seem to be an interesting typo on the packaging, which might explain why they are being offered so cheap. i am not at all sure what "rich base" is in respect of high quality sound, but i suspect the word they were looking for was in fact "bass".

where and when will i use these? i am of a mind to shove them in my bag so they are handy to grab at verk from time to time. every now and then, you see, our resident DJ at verk goes off on one and plays a whole load of rubbish. headphones and a selection of finer music are very handy at such times.

a closer look at the bag with the word "meat" made of the animals they kill to produce cuts of meat for people to buy? sure.

i now have 2 or 3 of these bags. they are smart, they are. sorry if you are a vegetarian and that upsets you, like, but it is quite class how they have made the word "meat" up. it will have taken some working out to do, that will.

an absolutely massive picture of my smart new shampoo to finish? sure.

right, that will do for this post, for posts today and quite possibly for posts for the month. let us see if more of them come along in December, then.

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

black friday frolics

hello there

well, look you see, i think it would be fair to say that this is the last we see of all this "black friday" business here in England. after the theatrics and fights of last year we English, it would seem, have decided that's quite enough of that. there has - some may say thankfully - been no crowds, no masses of people arguing and fighting over stuff and no real interest of consequence.

did i engage in any sort of black friday purchase? accidentally, yes. i bought an item at a toy shop (we do have birthdays and of course Christmas coming up) that was heavily discounted. it was, however, an item i would have paid full price for, had it been on the shelf and marked as such. but then, as it happens, also i ended up with this

yeah, nice one. that is the double disc blu ray set of Zombie Flesh Eaters, also known (and i know it as) Zombi 2. what's it about? pretty much what the name of it suggests, in truth. a film that very much does what it says on the box, if you like, in particular if you pay close attention to what the box says.

but first, as in before we get to that bit on the box you should pay attention to, a video clip of me watching the countdown clock prior to being able to order this.

i hope watching that was as exciting for you as it was for me. actually, i didn't watch it all that much; i wisely went off for a cigarette and so forth until it was closer to the time that i could buy.

for some reason, as you can make out in the above and in the next image (which blogger has placed sideways), amazon elected to make this deal exclusively available to their "Prime" customers for 30 minutes before "normal" customers (such as i) could buy it. only some 24% of the stock they had available at the special price was snapped up by these elite clients, which reflects very poorly on their taste.

will i ever become a "Prime" member? no. it's just not worth it. i don't order enough stuff from them annually to justify the fee (£80 a year), and all the stuff they have on this "instant video" business is stuff you wouldn't watch for free.

i imagine Amazon are banking on people throwing huge money at them so that they may watch whatever TV show it is that Clarkson and the two lesser ones have made. a lot of shops today, on a similar note, banked on thousands of people in England wanting to be part of all this "black friday" business this year, hence them having midnight or 6am openings, getting in extra staff, installing security measures and so on. one can hardly blame them for getting prepared after last year's farcical scenes, but in retrospect it's difficult not to say that they've, for the most part, totes overestimated demand an interest. oh dear.

another look at the countdown clock? it is decidedly so. this one, i think, shows the last few seconds that "Prime" members could get it, before us "Peasants" were able to do so.

and got it i did, dear reader. there was no last second mental rush from the elite Prime members to buy this set. actually, i think the percentage of people who had grabbed the deal had fallen from 24% to 22% by the time i got it.

a reverse of earlier in the week (for black friday now runs for at least 5 days) when i wasn't able to grab Lifeforce as a 2 blu ray set on account of the fact that it had gotten its 100% take up before i discovered it. oh bother. at least i didn't miss out on this deal.

oh yeah, all of that "does what it says on the box" business for you.

if you look carefully and closely you can see on the front a scene that depicts a naked lady and a zombie fighting a shark. that is indeed a scene from the movie - one that i suspect i've posted about here on this blog before. it's an epic, mega, boss scene, and pretty much the only thing i remember of it. that in itself, however, makes it worth having on blu ray. well, that and the awesome festival of bass song that plays as the shark gets knacked off the zombie and the naked lady.

i do already have a perfectly serviceable 2 DVD set of this film, in a very fancy box no less. i probably don't really need it upgraded to blu ray, but it's done now.

yes, i am thinking of things to write here so that text may wrap around the picture, for the benefit of those who are reading this on a PC or one of them tablet things. i think in another scene someone gets a nail rammed through their eye or something, but that bit wasn't as good as the bit with the shark.

i do believe us English far prefer our more civilised New Year's Day and Boxing Day sales, to tell the truth. this "Black Friday" thing is simply the American equivalent, and in truth should remain as a concern for the Americans alone.

should you have engaged or indulged in some black friday business, well, may it have been a most splendid success for you all. this is all the more the case if you happen to be an American.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

all is touched by the force

hello there

i did sort of promise, look you see, only to write something here as and when i had a matter of interest to inspire me to do so. well, that's not really happened as such, but all the same some of you might like this. and by like it, i mean as in you'll wish to go and get one, or you will see it as ample grounds for complaint.

it could well be the case that you have heard, in passing, that there is a new Space Wars film coming out, titled Episode VII : Mission To Moscow. there has been, it would perhaps be fair to say, more marketing of this film that is usual for a two hour space movie. the advertising and promotion of it has been so prolific that, so far as i am aware, the only Star Wars branded items that you cannot buy are tampons and condoms. but, then, i've not looked.

Tesco have whole-heartedly got in on this act. here, have a look, you see what i got today for £1.

yes, indeed. that is a reusable shopping bag, or if you like a "bag for life". an interesting element to it is that it only has copyright attributed to George Lucas on it, rather than Disney. perhaps this is some old stock they have dug out to opportunistically sell. and no bad thing if so, for it's smart looking and probably would encourage the people to use them rather than badger killing plastic bags.

did i actually need a bag? no. i just couldn't help myself. that's a smart bit of artwork, that is, for £1. besides, i fancy i will look quite class going off and shopping with it.

i'm not so sure about you, but i'd not noticed just how priapic the placement of the lightsabre on Luke is in this image. very well done and sneaked in, arty type person.

this is, if i recall, the poster for the film that was used when it was first released, hence the lack of any Episode Whatever subtitle on it. it's interesting to remember just how pivotal and essential Peter Cushing's character was to the film - Grand Moff Tarkin or something like that. weirdly he only got a brief cameo in the prequels. if they are really going to do a whole load of "anthology" films about characters, it would be smart if they did one of him. he was, after all, someone who could boss Darth Vader around, yet had no special Vulcan force powers.

indeed, for your viewing pleasure, here is the bag in Commodore 64 mode. scan lines on, of course. is it interesting to note that the power of a Commodore 64 was something people using computers could only dream of having access to one day when this first Space Wars film was made? yes, it probably is if you like the history of computer power and stuff like that.

well, if you want one of these bags and you live somewhere within the realm of the United Kingdom i would imagine any fair to middling sized Tesco will sell you one. i, as mentioned, paid £1, but they probably charge more down in London for them.

live long and prosper!

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

snow ties

hi there

apologies, if required, for less updates this month. it is, as i have moaned before look you see, rather cold up on this elevated shed of mine. also, i don't have all that much of interest to write speaks about these days, it seems. for sure, you could say that i've not ever had too much of interest, but now it seems to be acting like some sort of barrier.

anyway, snow. we haven't got any at the moment. there were hints of it over the weekend, but it did not lay as such. it tried, bless it.

the above is very much the view off of, or out of, my windscreen. when? approaching midday on Sunday. i was for the most part inside some shops when the sleet like snow fell, so alas didn't suffer in it or get wet from it. so yes, much of any possible entertainment for you from this has gone, i suppose.

how's the weather here? peculiar, somewhat. whilst the air is chilled, very cold and what some may well describe as crisp (hello, Faye), we oddly have a lack of iced over puddles or frost glazing the grass. just as well, i suppose, for if we did this snow would fall and very much lay where it landed.

has Spiros sent on anything of interest lately? why yes, he has. knowing how many keen enthusiasts for his exploits there are that read this blog, he felt that some of you for some reason might want a bit of a gander at his wardrobe; specifically the tie section.

is there any sort of bind to these ties? some common thread which weaves them all together? as it happens, yes, and that is one beyond all being owned by Spiros. it's about how and why he came to own them.

on those instances when Spiros is not starting fights with taxi drivers, or seeing what he can get vagrants to do for £1 a pop, he is as point of fact one of the most keenly sought after financial brains in the land. several parties consult with him to get his wisdom on matters, and they pay a hefty, suitable and most agreeable fee for this honour. which is just as well, considering how much he spends on ties.

each of these ties was purchased off of some sort of Waitrose Express store near that poncy flash place where all the b(w)ankers meet to discuss interest rates and things. he keeps turning up for meetings without a tie, which is something of a social faux pas, apparently. thus, he buys one which, normally for £50 or so a go. and then forgets it for the next meeting and has to buy another.

it's weird that they are so insistent on the tie thing, to be honest. i have yet to see any job done any better just because someone is wearing one, but there you go. what is particularly curious is that usually it's Scandinavian concerns which like to contract Spiros, and what i can work out from their film suggests that traditionally they wear very few clothes indeed.

a picture of sleety snow, or if you like snowy sleet, clouds gathering in the sky? surely. please note that this is a photo thingie taken at around 3pm one afternoon over the weekend, i forget if it was Saturday or Sunday.

yeah, it's off of my blueberry phone camera thing, so the quality is not so good. you can, however, at the least see how the slight blue sky of a mid-afternoon is desperately trying its best to break on through past the black clouds bringing forth icy rain like stuff.

well, with nothing much of consequence to write about at the moment i've padded this all out quite nicely, i believe. far too much, perhaps, so i shall leave it there.

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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

convoy conversations

hey there

indeed, dear reader, i am presently sat in my elevated shed dressed in a beanie and, look you see, a jumper. i do appreciate that i am rather overdressed, by Yorkshire standards, for the central elements of the barmy weather associated with November. the reasons for this over-dress of mine shall all become clear as you read on.

before today, and why i am being such a fanny and dressed as a nancy boy would in cold weather, last night. as i sat in this very elevated shed, or if you like loft, i had the pleasure of chatting to my brother via the electronic means of app of whats. we were, on our respective sides of the equator, both monitoring the same thing.

if you are looking at the above and thinking "that's from Middlesbrough vs QPR, one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated matches of any given football season", you would be correct. whereas i sat and listened to the match on the radio Richard, in 28°C heat, had it on the tele over there. we don't have any of that pay tv stuff, thanks, so no i could not watch it on the tele myself.

but could i not have gone to the actual ground and watch? why yes, i could have done that. if, for some reason, i was of the same mind that the 20,000 at the game were and felt that the 0°C (as in zero, freezing, etc) conditions were no barrier to being outside.

how did the match go? Boro won 1-0, thanks to a penalty in the 93rd minute of a match which, by tradition, is normally if not nominally usually 90 minutes in length. i bet that somewhat annoyed the QPR fans who had made the journey.

after the match i happened to flick through the tv channels and look what i discovered was being broadcast on free to air television on our side of the equator.


that most certainly is a picture of a broadcast of Convoy, a film that Richard maintains is the greatest film ever made. this is not a view he has ever wavered or deviated from at all.

do i like the film? i would be sure this has been discussed on the blog before, but in terms of delivering an immediate answer, yes. i was at the forefront of us watching the film on repeat off of VHS when we lived in Australia, something which means i suppose i must shoulder some of the responsibility for Richard loving the film as much as he does. and there is a lot to love within the film. 

that, or this if it formats differently on the device which you are using to look at this, is indeed a recent picture of Richard. current, as of last night, as point of fact.

i have little doubt that Richard enthusiasts will be delighted with this to an equal measure to the amount by which they have been disappointed in the lack of pictures of him in recent times. the fact is that he's a very busy man indeed, and does not have as much time as he would perhaps like to twat around with selfies.

no, the moustache look is not one that he normally has. i believe he is doing all of that "Movember" stuff once more, in which some gents elect to grow a beard, or moustache, for the month in order to raise funds for an assortment of good causes. gents such as i, who have a beard on the go around the clock of every day of the year, are of course precluded from such festivities. i get left out of a lot, really - that one where you don't drink alcohol for a month, for instance, is something i kind of do anyway. much to the disgust, you would think, of pubs.

anyway, why am i dressed as a fanny today, in a jumper and beanie and what have you? because today we had the first snow of this winter season.

yeah, that's a few specks of the stuff landing upon the bird table. it has not laid upon the ground as such as yet, but there was quite a flurry of it for most of the morning. it made my usual stroll around the village all the more of a challenge, that i can tell you.

we've had icy winds since yesterday and the snow has been something of a natural element to this. snow in November is something which usually means we are in for a long, cold winter which will very much have snow at the forefront of its characteristics. more of the stuff is forecast for today and tomorrow, which shall make my further travels all the more fun.

a video of the snow falling? sure, if you wish for it then it is decidedly so.

snow is something which i have a peculiar if not strange relationship with. when living off in warmer climates it was something i missed, yet when i live with it i kind of find myself wondering why exactly i gave up the warmer climates of the planet which do not get troubled by snow. ultimately it's something which is part and parcel of being at home. still, it gives me something to take pictures and videos of to post here. 

yes, here's a picture of me if you want it, being a partial fanny in the snow. i went outside for a cigarette and wearing a smart jumper jersey warm jacket sort of thing seemed like a good idea. many thanks to my (considerably) better half for taking this picture.

would i not, you might ask, be better off simply not smoking if all i am going to do is be a complete fanny about it and wear warm clothes when i step outside for one? perhaps, but it is still something i really rather enjoy.

my (considerably) better half, who yes i know and understand that you all like far, far more than me, has not had a cigarette for two weeks now. exceptionally well done to her, and may it continue. i shall get around to stopping or cutting down considerably one day, possibly on the basis of earnest medical advice.

if this all seems far more poorly written than usual it could well be because presently my fingers feel frozen. i appreciate that this makes me sound like even more of a fanny and a nancy boy, but it really is that cold here. i think i am going to have to get one of them radiator things, or heater like product, up here in the elevated shed. it's either that or simply not come up here and do blog posts until Spring, since i am not going to get one of them laptop things just so i can do this in a part of the house that is warm.

how is Richard doing? good, really. i mean, sure, he's living with bridges collapsing, lengthy power cuts and now the added fun of them stopping water supplies across the Africa of the South at random, but otherwise all sounded good. nice one.

a further image of Convoy as broadcast on the tele last night to finish this off? certainly.

it would seem that very little of this post has been an actual conversation about Convoy. sorry. i can say that after noticing it on the tele i opted to have a browse around for the price of it on DVD or blu ray, and was stunned to find that it commands a rather high price. a price that means, alas, i shall rather stick to screenings of it on the tele rather than purchasing it.

right, i am off to find a warm corner of the house and defrost some.

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

Friday, November 20, 2015


hey there

so, there was a big music release today. no, not that Adele and her 25 business, look you see. we had, for some reason, a new Derek Bowie single come out. yes, i saw the mistake there. i used the word "single". sadly, alas, it was only made available as one of them "digital download" things.

i was very much looking forward to going to HMV and handing over £3 or £4 to buy the CD single, but alas no, not to be. instead, i had to do this :

the only positive thing i can say about having to buy this as a digital download is that it is at least the case that it wasn't an "Apple exclusive", and thus i was not compelled or obliged to throw money at the wretched iTunes store. no, Google probably are not much better, but at least they're a bit more honest about it.

anyway, enough of digital stores. if you are reading this then for some reason you are quite interested in hearing about the new Derek Bowie single off of me rather than listening to it for yourself, possibly by watching the bonkers video for it.  cheers for the vote of confidence, i will do my best.

is this song any good? yes and no. in the past when Derek Bowie has done a song north of 7 minutes it has been all brilliant. i'm thinking Width Of A Circle and Station To Station. this time, with a tune clocking in at just over nine minutes, not so much.

the first half is what some would have you believe as being "experimental" in nature, and a "challenge" to his conventional audience. alas, no. it's just dull, monotonous, unimaginative stuff, featuring Derek altering his voice so it's all tinny, squeaky and frankly crap.

a sample of all of that, if you dare.......

hugely disappointing. i believe in part this was inspired or done for a TV show. the last time he did this (if we pretend that little diddy he did for that unfunny, rude twat Gervais does not exist) was for The Buddha Of Suburbia, and it delivered one of his all time greatest albums of all time. fingers crossed, then, that the rest of the album sounds better than this does.

in fairness, Where Are We Now was very much the dullest, weakest track on The Next Day, and that's what he put out as a single first. we can but hope the same happens again.

a picture of the song "playing" on the "stereo"? sure.

after some four minutes of the above sample i was getting very, very bored. i was very much on the stage of switching it off and avoiding critics telling me how brilliant and iconoclastic it was when the second half came in. the far better, very impressive and frankly excellent second half. a sample? surely.

now why couldn't the whole song have been mixed and sounded like that? i don't particularly care if you think it means i am not a "proper fan", i just think he has an amazing voice and there's no reason for him not to have shown it off at its beautiful best across the whole song.

hey ho, bought, downloaded and now to work out how to edit out the first 4 or so minutes of it before i put it on a cd to play in the car.

the album is out on the day of the birthday of The King, Elvis Presley. and Derek's birthday, but i am sure it is being done on that day as a tribute to Him. yes, i will be going to HMV that day to buy it, even if it sounds worse than the first four minutes of this lead single.

did i buy the Adele album? no.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

further disc adventures

hi there

the apparent widespread rejection of the optical disc, look you see, continues to baffle me somewhat. whereas i am quite aware of how much "easier" all this streaming business is, legal or otherwise, i don't get how it has devalued films to the point which it has, and nor do i understand why exactly people have been so keen to give up choice.

what is it, regular readers might be asking at this stage, that Pound Land has sold me for £1 this week? well, two things so far, as it happens (yes, £1 each) but i hold out hope that the other three shall follow.

yes indeed, or if you like yipee-kai-yay (or whatever), that's the first two of them Die Hard films. on blu ray. brand new and sealed. for £1 each. the first was one i picked up on Monday, i think, and the 2nd was on the shelves today. fingers crossed that the third, or if you like With A Vengeance, is on the shelf soon, for that was my all time favourite of them.

granted they are not new films (the first film is closer to its 30th anniversary than any of us who saw it on its original release may care to admit), but really? 2 disc blu ray special editions of massive films going for £1 each? wow. sure, i have a fancy 8 disc DVD box set of the first four films, but thanks to Pound Land, for £2 my Die Hard blu ray collection has gone from 0% to 40% this week.

oddly, as much as i love the third one, it's hard to say anything other than the first was the best of the lot. it is brilliant. weirdly, whilst it's still pretty good, the second one that i now have here was my least favourite. it's very pedestrian, and the only scenes of interest really were when him who played Death in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey does some fancy kung fu naked, and that bit where him off of Ghostbusters gets punched in the face off of a lass.

i know i've said this before, but it makes little sense that so many are going for "streaming" instead of owning discs. why would you do that? i once heard Net Flix (or if you are in New Zealand Nit Flux) being described as being "a huge fridge full of food, none of which is anything you want to eat". these services give the illusion of choice, but in reality all they offer are the cheapest titles they could licence. i quite like discs - other than the extra features and better quality, having them means i can watch whatever i want whenever i feel like it, and that is not dependant on if it was cheap for someone to licence.

but still, no complaints from me if it means that i can get classic movies like these two to watch for £1 a pop. i suspect the model is not sustainable, but let me collect them whilst i can.

right, let me prepare to return to Pound Land tomorrow, on the off chance that i will find number 3 on the shelf. and yes, i will most certainly be getting 4 & 5. 4 was brilliant, for it featured a helicopter getting a car catapulted at it, and 5, for all of its faults, was fun.

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


hello there

no, alas, dear reader. i know that some of you will have, look you see, assumed that this post was something to do with either my current car or one of my previous ones. why? well, as legend has it, any car that i drive becomes, by default, something of a fanny magnet. what can i say, it's the way that i was born and i don't like to go on about it. instead, then, this post is about magnification rather than magnetic qualities, fanny or otherwise.

Gramps has, of late, being struggling to read the newspapers. this is as a result of a combination of things. that he is 87 certainly plays a part, and that he has only had the one eye for close to 70 of them has some bearing. also, and mostly, however, i believe it's because them b@stards darn sarf that make the papers deliberately do so in a way that the print is smaller for the editions printed in proper England (Yorkshire, which should be totes obs) because they are jealous.

potential solutions to this problem included making Gramps younger, magically conjuring up a second eye, petitioning the b@stards darn sarf that make the papers to increase the print size or purchase some sort of device which magnifies that which you read. the title of this post, and my ace introduction paragraph, has probably already told you the winner.

no, you're not wrong - the perspective i have accidentally got on that picture really rather does look like i am about to set upon Gramps with one of them mentalist light and magnifier things like what dentists use as an integral part of their assault on you. an assault, lest we forget, that they expect you to not only pay them for, but also to thank them.

that's the finished product, but i am sure you want to have a gander at the assembly process, for i had to build this magnifier. you can indeed partially see images of the assembly process here, in as far as the points at which i remembered to take pictures.

like, for instance, this one of the bits in their styrofoam tray; a tray which was in itself inside a perfectly serviceable brown cardboard box.

at this junction it has occurred to me that you may well want to know details of exactly what magnifier was purchased. it is possible, after all, that you are reading this not out of any interest in me, but because you are looking for a similar device yourself. to this end, i can tell you firstly that you are not wrong at all to have little or no interest in me as such, and on the box it says this is a 9666 magnifying LED lamp, from Coopers of Storford. wherever the hell that is. if it helps further, their postcode (for i am guessing that this is what this next bit is) is CM23 2JU.

how did i get on assembling the above? very well, as point of fact. there's not many bits to it, and it all slotted together so quickly that i forgot to take pictures. well, except for this one of the pole for the magnifier in the base, and a look at the point at which you connect the leccy.

how did this compare to other building projects i have engaged in with Gramps? pretty good. our greatest triumph together was of course a water slide, in which i got to mix concrete manually on the hottest day of a very hot African summer. why? because it saved on the R35 rental fee for a concrete mixer. R35 translates into, roughly, US$2, or if you like £1.75. yeah, i thought it was wise too for my Mum & Dad not to waste such an amount of money when they could get me and a shovel to just do it all.

also, in putting this magnifier together, it was only the one curtain that i trod upon and pulled down. it's cool, though - i managed to re-attach everything and no one would ever know. 

does the magnifier work? yes. if that's all you wished to know of it, sorry it took so long to answer that, there's the info you want, bye.

still here? excellent, for you i shall hand over further information that may or may not be of use or interest to you. if not, well, that's your problem for reading.

the main problem, or if you like drawback, with it is the same problem which exists for all magnifying glasses. this is to say that what is being magnified underneath the glass is not done so to the same size across the whole of the glass. i think it's because you are focusing on a specific point or something, i don't know i am not a biologist. it takes you a little while to concentrate and focus on the part you want to.

after that, and indeed beyond that, it's really all rather good, to be honest. assembly was, as hinted, pretty easy, with only the absolute mildest of electric shocks possible from the wiring you have to do. the flexible, bendy stem for the magnifier "gives" with ease and can be adjusted simply, yet retains the qualities of stability required to stand where you want it to. the power cord is of a refreshingly decent length, allowing you to plug in and position in a mostly fuss free way.

cost? no idea at all i am afraid. my Aunty (no, the other one) bought it. i cannot imagine they are all that expensive, however. and my experience says that they are very smart anyway. the gent for whom it was purchased and it was built for is happy, anyhow.

indeed that is The Sun he is reading. i know several of my friends - with very good reason - do not like this "newspaper" at all (to put it mildly) and have boycotted it. whereas i don't disagree with them at all and personally stand by them, this is my Gramps - he can read whatever he wishes to, and to question what he does is to cross me. which, you know, you're welcome to do if you feel that strongly.

from my perspective, it's just a bloody great shame that, now that i have the means to magnify it to, i believe, the power of five or if you like x5, The Sun no longer seems to do all that Page 3 thing. hey ho.

right, that will do for now. hopefully this has been of some use to anyone who was for some reason looking for a magnifying glass on a bendy pole.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

book reviews

hey there

yes indeed, look you see, it's been a while since i've done some book reviews. losing that time which i had on the bus to read has significantly cut into the amount of time i have to do so. this i still consider a great shame, but hey ho, what can i do - Arriva now seem to run more "not in service" buses each day than they do actual buses. nope, makes no sense to me either.

anyway, a look at the books under review and something of a spoiler-free overview of them all? i can certainly do that, and let's see if blogger and apple between them let me post the pictures the right way around. which, of course, would be nice.

but of course not - i had to open the images, copy into paint and edit to get them the right way around.

quick, at a glance review as indicated? surely. After The Crash is a lesson in how a fantastic, brilliant idea for a premise which could be resolved very quickly does not turn into a good novel. Bad Boy is more of Inspector banks doing his thing. Skipping Christmas is a quick, neat and mostly funny novel that in no way lends itself to an American film - i believe they tried and failed. more on that later.

yes, back to three. i thought i'd squeeze in the Christmas related one, what with us being so close to Thanksgiving and all that. i will try not to give too much away, but to be safe, please note that *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS LIE AHEAD *** and so if you don't want to know a thing more about the books, off you go to another point of the internet. there's loads. 

as usual, any and all links are there for your convenience, and are absolutely no indication of any paid for advertising, endorsement or affiliation.

i bought After The Crash on a complete whim at the same time that i bought the ill-fated Morrissey novel. the chap in Waterstones reckoned that this one was the best book he had read all year. up front, to that, he said that he hadn't read The Girl On The Train.

plot? in 1980 (or maybe 1981) there's a terrible plane crash, involving a flight from Turkey to France. all aboard are feared dead, yet by some miracle there is a survivor - a weeks old baby. who is the baby? difficult to say, as there were two babies of more or less the same age on the flight. which one the survivor is becomes a matter only resolved on the 18th birthday of the baby.....

...yeah. you in your mind are telling yourself the problem here. even if there was no such thing as DNA testing or similar in 1980 (or 1981) there was most decidedly so a long time before 1998 (or 1999), the date at which point the true identity of the baby is discovered, revealed or what have you. although the plot kinds of twists and turns in a way that sort of makes it plausible as to why this wasn't all done by the, at best, early 90s, as a reader i never quite got over the preposterous hurdle that saw matters of identity not being established for so very long.

is it any good despite that? sort of yes, sort of no. i mean, i am sure they do loads of books in France each year; why this one made it into an English translation is curious. it is, at best, average. the trail to identity gets tedious, and the various sub-plots are not engaging at all. and yet it's an unchallenging, not complicated and for the most part enjoyable read. i wasn't really ever dazzled by it, but also i was seldom tempted to just put it down and forget all about it. does that help you decide whether to read it or not? probably not. i'd say if you found the premise as interesting as i did, then go for it, but don't expect the explanation of why the delay in establishing the identity took so long.

back, then, to the world of solving crimes via sitting in a pub with Bad Boy, the 5th, 6th or 7th Peter Robinson novel i have read this year (lost count, sorry)

plot? actually the copper Banks is in America, on some sort of holiday. this is problematic when an old friend pops in the cop shop to ask for him in the hope that he would sort out the matter of their daughter having a gun by the English way of doing things. with him gone it has to rather be done officially, and it all goes very messy. it gets even messier when Banks' daughter ends up kind of on the run with a very bad boy, who may or may not be a murderer.

Banks comes home to this mess, and interestingly doesn't spend too much time in the pub. does it all get resolved in the end via the English way of doing things? why, partially yes, but also - presumably as a nod to his holiday - it also partially gets sorted by the American way of doing things, which you don't need me to tell you involves a cop bending the rules to get results and some very fancy shooting. but who shoots who, and if it got the right result, is something you can find out if you elect to have a read of this particular novel.

should you read it? sure if you've enjoyed the others off of the same writer, and certainly if you like to see how English coppers resolve crimes without doing so down the pub, for the most part. yes, of course a pub visit or two happens, but not as much as in other books featuring Banks.

a quick break, then, to see how the BBC made a valiant effort to go viral today. "hot" news in the world of music is the rumours that Slash (and all them others) are going to rejoin Axl for a reunion of the "classic" Guns N Roses line up. so the BBC decide to run a picture of Slash playing guitar with Bill Gates to illustrate the story, just so we know it is all about money.

yeah, that's right, they decided in the caption or "tag" that it was not Slash, but in fact Axl Rose. i don't for one minute think that the BBC are that stupid. this is deliberate, surely? the idea is to use it as a sort of "clickbait" thing, have people click on the story to see how stupid they are and watch the read count rise.
finally, then, Skipping Christmas, a rare John Grisham novel which does not feature lawyers or the law, and read just in time to see if it's worth suggesting for Christmas reading.

plot? a couple, the Kranks, wave bye bye to their daughter, who is off to work for the Peace Corps in Peru (or similar) for a year. that means they are home alone for Christmas. Mr Krank does the maths, and works out that for less than they spend on Christmas they could go on a really smart, warm cruise. so, they decide to skip Christmas.

the (brief) novel then sees the social difficulties they face in doing so, for friends, neighbours, colleagues, members of the church and charities cannot understand how or why anyone would wish to skip Christmas. will the Kranks in fact be allowed to?

as a novel this is mostly fun and amusing, as indeed is the case with a few other things off of Grisham from time to time. he does regularly inject humour in his more celebrated law books, you just have to watch out for it. as a film, based on an as-is adaptation, i would imagine it would be quite depressing and tiresome to watch, as i believe is the case with the film they did make.  weirdly, reading it my thoughts were that the story would, as point of fact, actually make a really, really good classical British farce comedy. most of the elements suggest English comedy than they do American. and i do not mean to imply one is superior to the other; for i love both.

worth reading? yes. short, fun, engaging stuff. nice one, John Grisham. and that's that for these reviews, and in all likelihood book reviews for the year, since all i have on the shelf to read are really long ones.

i don't really have a lot else to say, sorry. normally i just put a picture of the back of the books at the end and do have something to write, but not this time around.

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

lager top - taboo and myth

hi there

no indeed i am not, look you see, all that much of a drinker these days. whilst i am not in any way, shape or form anti-alcohol, i just tend not to have the margin to have a drink or two, and when i do invariably i wish to go and have a nice nap. this does not, of course stop me from passing opinionated comment on the subject. doing so is the right of everyone on the internet, just as it is obliged to disagree with everyone.

the lager top, then. never, arguably, as such a humble, simple drink caused such controversy. despite the fact that i do indeed have better things to write of here, i thought i'd try and set the record straight on this one.

first off, i suppose, just what is a lager top? i mean, i suppose there are some people around the world - everyone outside of England, for instance - that have never heard of one. the answer to that question is relatively straightforward - it's a pint of lager with a dash of lemonade in it.

how much of a dash? ah. that's where the great controversy and debate come into the realm of a lager top. the exact level of a dash is something many have fought over.

do i have any clarification or a definitive answer on that? no, not really. the best i can do for you is suggest that the amount should be about a shot glass worth, or a measure of some sort of spirit. if you are in one of them fancy pubs, a less than a second squirt of one of them sophisticated soft drink spray guns would suffice.

 basically, it is well known, and apparently accepted, that when you go to a pub and order a pint of lager, you will never ever be served it in a pint glass that is filled all the way to the top. that small percentage of space that the bar staff leave at the top of the glass - presumably as part of some long term money recouping strategy, like when McDonald's fail to put an apple pie or similar that you have paid for in your bag - is all the space you really need to turn your pint of lager into a lager top.

in this respect, that's how the lager top is totally different from a shandy. a shandy has a far, far higher percentage of lemonade in it - at least 25%, but a minimum of 33% would be standard. a shandy sees the limited alcohol level of lager diluted to an all but entire state, and makes it taste sweeter too.

why, then, would you go for this apparently slight middle ground between a pint of lager and a shandy? this is a fair question, in particular as legend has it that you will have your face smashed in if you order one.

the greatest single stigma attached to the lager top is the apparent or perceived ill judgement of fellow patrons in the pub that you order it. many who wish to taste the lager top do not do so for fear of people in the pub taking exception, commenting on it and, indeed, in some instances, violently remonstrating displeasure with the person ordering. it is not uncommon for people to believe that they will be called "gayboy", "queer" or similar if they were to order a lager top.

what does one say to this? well, mostly it's the case that the sort of patron who would react to an order for a lager top being placed in such a way is pretty much going to react to anything in a similar way. for some reason that sort of person considers themselves to be the "alpha" of the pub; the one who drinks the best and they expect everyone else to accept that what they drink is the best and they should for some reason emulate them. yes, that's right, they are twats. twats with no social life to speak of and are entirely bereft of any interesting characteristics or personality traits of consequence. they, sadly, tend to make this problem of theirs the problem of absolutely everyone else, as they try to cling to some sort of semblance of meaning in regard of their life.

getting back to why you would have a lager top, mostly it's to make the lager drinkable. lager, as most will be aware, naturally has a rancid, putrid, acidic, chemical and generally unpleasant taste to it. a dash of lemonade - a lager top - retards this horrid sense as you drink the wretched stuff. it would be better not to drink lager, but sometimes it is all that is available. making it a lager top makes it taste better.

is it really worth having one, causing as it does all of the disdain and contempt it does amongst the less educated patrons of a pub? quite so.

a lager top doesn't just make lager a proper drink, it also transforms it into a sophisticated one; the sort of thing that the refined, the educated and the artistically elite have. if a member of the aristocracy, such as Bryan Ferry or Nigel Davenport, found themselves in a pub which was beneath their social stature - and you have to remember that any pub would be below their social stature - they would order a lager top, for that is the only drink which could possibly not caused displeasure to their higher class of palette.

am i endorsing or encouraging people to go out and drink a lager top? not overtly or directly, no. i just get quite tired of reading and seeing how so-called "proper" drinkers are all judgemental about it, and so decided to speak up for the silent majority who think "actually, that sounds quite nice that does", but are too scared and frightened to vocalise such thoughts.

so, there you have it. if you find yourself in a pub and for some reason are obliged to drink a pint of lager even though you don't wish to, asking for a lager top instead addresses many, if not all, of the issue associated with it. don't allow the narrow minded judgemental prejudices of people who should mind their own business and fix what's wrong with their lives put you off.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

box twenty seven


i have this very afternoon, indeed early evening. spent some time going through boxes which were in storage but are now stored at home, diligently waiting to be unpacked. a dear friend had made a request for something, so i went to dig it out.

after consulting my lists and spreadsheets which featured certain aspects and elements of what was in boxes (i did indeed get to a stage where i could not be bothered to list them any more), i established that the thing i was requested for was, as you may well have guessed by this point, in box 27.

oh. good. blogger and apple are once again fighting, and so the rotation of these pictures is not always going to be as i intended. sorry. to save you squinting or turning your device around, basically that's a cardboard box with a sticker on it which says A027, or something like that.

actually, my chum did not ask me for what was in this box as such. at least, so to speak, not in a direct way. the request was more one of did i still have the capability to convert something off of VHS to a DVD. the answer to that, of course is yes, and no, and maybe. yes as i have a standalone DVD recorder that you can wire a VHS into, no because i don't think i have a VHS player any more and maybe as it's entirely possible that a VHS player is packed up somewhere in my boxes.

anyway, my response was that it didn't matter if i could or not, because that which they wanted to be transformed from VHS to DVD had been done by someone else, and i did as point of fact have the DVD version of it. i suggested it might be easier for me to just dig out the already done DVD versions than it would be to source a VHS player, get him to ship video tapes to me and see what i could do.

no, not any of them ones. they are the discs that just happened to be visible at the top of box twenty seven when i opened it. i thought that for some reason you may well wish to see these three (superb) films at the top so that you might have a sort of "unboxing" experience with all of this.
has, at this stage you might be wondering, Spiros made any new friends on the tube? ones that could be Indian, Pakistani or possibly Sri Lankan? ones that could not care one jot for Mayor Boris banning ale on public transport? why yes, he has.

Spiros took this image as he was off to some place where loads and loads of bankers meet, greet and basically do whatever it is that bankers do. banking, i suppose. why? he wanted to get a smart new tie off of that Waitrose place.

i say this is a new friend that Spiros has, but that's not true. whilst Sprios does really, really like meeting new men in public places and forming short but intense friendships with them, Spiros did not want to wake this chap up. he reckons that the scent and general appearance of the chap said that this bloke had recently had a fight with the ale, and that the ale had won with some considerable comfort.

should i be posting this picture? maybe. i am not sure what the law and that is, really. i suspect, however, that if a chap takes to public transport and is all aled up, then all bets are off, as this wasn't taken in a private location and was not taken in any sort of covert way. unless, of course, the fella owned that particular tube train, and Spiros has sneaked on to it to do a crafty picture. if that's the case, well sorry, and no it would not be the first such time that this had happened.

anyway, you probably want me to just get to whatever it is i spent several hours seeking out box twenty seven for. or you may well have just scrolled down to this point to see, so here you go.

yes, the Star Wars trilogy from the 70s and indeed 80s. as in, very much the versions from the 70s and indeed 80s. or some reason a lot of people have argued with me that these did not ever exist on DVD, and yet here they are. explain? sure.

when Star Wars got released on DVD, and indeed Blu Ray, the versions were "special editions". they featured some updated effects and a few extra scenes added. as with absolutely anything to do with Star Wars, a very small but exceptionally loud group of fans went off on one about this, demanding that "their" Star Wars be released on discs in the form and way it was as they saw it at the cinema.

depending on how you wish to look at it, George Lucas decided to either give them what they wanted or just simply wished for them to shut up, and so issued the original theatrical cuts on limited edition discs.

were the fans happy with this? of course not, don't be so foolish, they are Star Wars fans and thus are never happy. the films, as requested/demanded, did indeed get released exactly as they were in the 70s and 80s. that meant they featured the original release soundtracks too. the fans, look you see, said that they in fact wanted the original versions of the films, but only with the improved sound from the 90s versions.

a look at my smart Sledge Hammer! box sets? of course, my pleasure.

Sledge Hammer! was one of the funniest TV shows ever made, man. not a great many people saw it, but those who did invariably absolutely love it and have nothing but fond memories of it. yes, i did indeed have a pile of VHS tapes of it, taped off of the tele, but these discs do me just fine. i am glad, some two years later, to see them again now that they are out of their boxing.

here's a close up of the back of one of the Star Wars boxes to show that they do indeed feature the original theatrical version, plus some other extras.

a thing that has baffled me is the number of people who, when i have told them that i have these versions on discs, have said to me "no you do not as they have never been released on DVD". well, yes they were, and here you go. when were they put out, exactly? i think it was not much more than a year or so after the DVD box set of the special editions was released. 2004 or 2005, maybe, so that's 10 years they have been available.

am i one of the ones that insist the "original theatrical editions" are in some way superior, and should be the only versions of Star Wars that people watch? not really. i never really had any problems or issues with the changes made to the special edition versions. beyond the very, very tiresome "Han shoots first" argument, and that thing where they changed the ghost of one of the characters from one actor to another, the changes are subtle and do not really make all that much difference. except, you know, they are changes that the man that created and made the films, and indeed until recently owned them, wanted to make. a sort of "it is his train set" sort of thing.

if that's the case, why did i buy the limited editions? sheer curiosity. they looked like nice things to have, and they had Star Wars written on them. as it has turned out or indeed transpired, it is just as well that i did, for now my chum shall soon be able to watch them in the way he wants.

anyway, i've also bought all the released alternate cuts of things like Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now and the Kubrick films (the US version of The Shining for example, is vastly different to the one the rest of the world got). it just made sense to get these.

what am i listening to as i write this? this. 

no, it was not also in box twenty seven. it was in another box that i got something else out of, but i was none the less thrilled to find this at the same time. i am quite happily listening to The King, Elvis Presley doing what only He did the best.

did, by any chance, some boxes fall on me as i looked for box twenty seven? yes, indeed they did, and one full of cups and mugs smashed me square in the nose. don't worry, though, for as far as i can tell none of the cups or mugs got broken.

to finish, a look at the actual discs inside these limited edition sets of the Star Wars films? surely.

why two discs? because you get the "special edition" on one, and the theatrical edition on the other. you are, then, free to choose whatever version of it that you would like to watch and do not need to cry to George Lucas, or anyone else on the internet, about it.

so, there you go. if you want to watch the original versions of them Star Wars films on DVD, it's still pretty easy to find these limited edition sets of them. enjoy, have fun.

i do indeed have a few other things to do posts on here, but later.

excellente à l'autre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

a glimpse of wednesday

hey there

a post, look you see, that's not quite random, but also not one which is overloaded with either rhyme nor reason. it just is, and if it amuses or entertains then it has in itself explained why it is.

that went a bit philosophical there, somewhat. at the least, i suspect it went far too philosophical for the first picture what i have here for you, which features brand McDonalds, or if you like McDonald's. spell checker most decidedly prefers the latter.

i am led to believe that them Starbucks people are in a spot of bother; something to do with their Christmas cup. i haven't looked, and to be honest i am not interested. Starbucks make terrible "coffee", a taste which starts off bad and is made worse by the total spaz flavouring sauces they stick in them. let's instead, then, look at the McDonalds McCafe cup for the festive season.

yes, that's a penguin. wearing a bobble beanie and a scarf. yeah, think about that. appreciating that some penguins do indeed live in warmer climates, for i have seen them myself along the coast of the Town of Cape of the Africa of the South, traditionally it could be said that a penguin's natural habitat is the more colder sort of cold place. as in, evolution has done its thing and a penguin has no need for such warmth generating garments as a scarf or a beanie.

that McDonalds McCafe coffee tastes far better than anything Starbucks can muster should set alarms off for them. i mean, McDonald's do coffee as an accidental afterthought. by chance they somehow, then, make coffee better than some people who profess to be experts.

yes, the picture you see is indeed some of them items for e-cigarettes. no, the picture you are seeing is not a sign of the tide turning in my valiant efforts to quit / cut down considerably on the smoking front. these items are the preserve of my (considerably) better half, who requested that i get them for her.

how is she doing with all of that? exceptionally well. set aside the fact that she shames me for not following her fine example; it has been three days and counting since she has had a cigarette. well, had a real one. may she continue on this path.

me? these e-cigarette things are ok, but i take exception to the claim you can see here on the packaging which states they are "like smoking, only better". i really rather do prefer - and enjoy, whether you believe that or not - the real thing.

weirdly, Even Better Than The Real Thing by U2 was on the stereo as i wrote that. i am not sure if i typed it subconsciously then, or my stereo somehow managed to get that track to play as i wrote. boss if the latter, in all likelihood the former.

yeah, that is another picture of me presented to you without warning, sorry. i was just messing about with the camera phone thingie off of Apple, took this and sort of didn't hate it without being all that taken with the image.

i'm not sure much of this post has been a glimpse of today, although i suppose it has. i mean, for whatever reason that you may want to know such things, you now know that i at some stage had McDonald's, and indeed that i went to a shop of some description which sells all them fancy e-fag things.

and also listened to some U2, he says knowing a one sentence paragraph will pad the wraparound text on this picture quite nicely.

weirdly, although happily, i also conducted business with the post office today. twice actually. i posted something this morning, then bought something, then packaged that which i bought up and went and posted it. i suppose if i had managed my time a bit better, or thought on the subject some more, i could have just arranged to only go to the post office once, in the afternoon, and conducted my affairs in one shot. going twice, however, made my life seem marginally more exciting and interesting than it perhaps is. if, as point of fact, one considers visits to the post office as a suitable measurement for excitement and interest.  few, i suspect, do.

in terms of majority thinking, i would suggest that if a survey was taken which asked people which they found the more interesting out of me and my washing machine, my washing machine would be quite thrilled by the high percentage it pulled. to that end, i happened to be near it with my phone as it came to the end of its running cycle, so i have made you a video of the smart song it does.

electrical appliances which do a little song when they are finished doing that which they were built to do is, to me, exciting. when my age group was growing up we were assured that by the year 2000 machines would be doing all our jobs, right, and we would have this class life of utopian leisure. this has turned out to be total and utter bullsh!t, for us humans remain cheaper than machines and a good deal easier to replace. but that our machines now sing whilst only partially doing everything for us means that it is not all bad.

a picture off of Spiros to finish off? why yes. he is supposed to be sending me a picture of someone he saw that quite badly lost a fight to some cans of red stripe or similar, but for now here's one of that ZX Spectrum "re-created" machine they've made and are now selling.

he hasn't said as much, but i would take a guess that the finances of Spiros are now £99 lighter as a consequence of him buying one of these. me? no thanks. there were one or two decent Spectrum games, like one where you played as Vikings, but there were hundreds of excellent games for the Commodore 64. i will wait for the C64 version of this, then.

anyway, that will do for now. hopefully some of this has been of passing interest!

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