Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Your help please

I have two things to ask you, both related to my monthly "5 on the fifth" posting (see advert at the bottom of this entry) which returns on Bank holiday Monday, in one weeks time.

Firstly, whether you take part or not, I'd like to hear your suggestions for the next "5 on the fifth" topic. It can be anything and your views are very welcome.

And secondly, I would be truly grateful if you would tell every person you know, who ever takes a photograph, about "5 on the fifth" and to check my blog on the 1st of the month for details of the month's topic. I know it's an imposition, but your help will mean the difference between continuing with this monthly post or mothballing it.

A description that you can copy and paste:

5 on the fifth: You take 5 photographs on the 5th of the month (or the days leading up to the 5th) - post a comment on Stephen's blog with your name, location and link to the site containing your photos and Stephen updates the blog entry with your information. Remember to mention his blog on your own site so that your visitors get to see the other contributions.

A link to all past months postings:

Sunday, 28 March 2010

PG hits?

Last night Pete and I were at the O2 in London to see Peter Gabriel in concert.  PG is one of my all times favourite artists (I recommended track that you are unlikely to know on this blog posting) - he is a musical genius in my book and has produced some outstanding and innovative music.

Last night was clearly an experiment.  He has just released an album of cover versions called Scratch My Back (and the covered artists will be returning the complement).  Rather than opt for a normal band, he has used full orchestral arrangements... no drums, no guitars.  The experiment did not work.

The evening did not start well.  Ticket holders had received an email stating that "Peter Gabriel will be on stage at 7.30pm".  This seemed a bit early, but we took our seats at 7.15 and waited... and waited.  At 7.45, Peter appears and explains the concept of the evening and then introduces a support act!   Thankfully she only sang 3 songs.

The first half of the show was the Scratch My Back album in its entirety.  Most of the songs are very slow and I was praying for something up tempo and it didn't come.  The light show, complete with stunning animation and the overall sound were perfect, but the music itself seemed completely out of place.  Perhaps it could have worked at the Royal Albert Hall, but I was bored - something I thought I would never be at a Peter Gabriel show.

Then there was an atmosphere killing interval and then some of his own music, also in the same style.  He chose some obscure tracks, again many that were too slow.  The audience only perked up when they played Solsbury Hill.  A disappointing evening with many people around us looking confused and not "concert happy".

Anyway... here are some pictures I took yesterday.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Compare the adverts

Remember I had a rant recently about a couple of rubbish adverts on TV? Well, I thought I would balance it up with a couple of adverts for competing companies that I think are cleverly memorable. I appreciate that some people may not like the adverts as they can be annoying, but I defy you not to remember the companies after seeing them.

The first is for "Go Compare", the insurance and things comparison site. The Opera singer (who is actually a real Opera singer) singing Go Compare to the tune of Over There gets in your head.

The second is "Compare The Market", another comparison website. It features Aleksandr Orlov the Meerkat complaining that people are visiting his "Compare the Meerkat" site by mistake. Compare the Meerkat has entered the English vocabulary and I've heard people say, "I am going to the supermeerkat" and "simples", Aleksandr's sort-of-catchphrase. They even have some outtakes here!

Both ad's are using humour very well to achieve their aim. This is proven to work well in the UK as opposed of being sold to. Just look at the most memorable adverts and many will be either humourous or epic (like the Guinness ones).

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


I am pre-posting this Blog entry as I will be in Edinburgh.

As the ski season draws to an end and unfortunately, I didn't make it abroad this year, here are some reasons why I like skiing:

- it's the only sport I have ever been good at
- the feeling of skiing on a crisp sunny morning on virgin snow is amazing
- the air is pure
- holidays are always a good thing
- you get fit while eating and drinking too much
- ski instructors are cool and usually good to look at

and it gives me an excuse to publish a nice picture...

Monday, 22 March 2010

Gone to the dogs

On Saturday night Pete and I took a trip to the local dog track in Henlow. I had been promising to go for over 2 years!

Henlow dogs is a typical local track, with both new and old buildings and some portacabins. They have tried hard to make it work by diversifying and therefore dozens of people were enjoying a nice meal as the races happened - complete with betting at the table. Apart from the nice people in the restaurant, several hundred people had turned out to cheer on a Greyhound or two. It did occur to me that a good proportion of Greyhounds were not grey - what's all that about then?!

Many years ago, I went to the dogs in Canterbury with my friend Sonny quite a few times and last night brought back some good memories. My "skill" at picking the winner has not improved and I was nowhere near to making a profit at the end of the night. But that's wasn't the point, it was just a fun evening. I would have loved a beer, but I have promised to abstain from alcohol until after my first 10k race on the first Saturday in April.

The dog track was on the kitchen list and so I can tick that off now. As mentioned before, the list will be amended over time, but currently has the following entries:

  • Visit the local comedy club
  • Go to the dog track DONE
  • Cycle into London
  • Watch the local non-league football team
  • Visit Pete's Uncle and Aunt in Oakham DONE
  • Go to both local theatres
  • Have more dinner parties
  • Arrange the next poker night
  • Go on a photo treasure hunt in London

So the week ahead sees a trip to Edinburgh for a team meeting and hopefully the conclusion of some stressful work that I have been enduring since January.

Have a fine week y'all.

And I almost forgot... the garage wall I built is not painted and just waiting for a door!

Saturday, 20 March 2010


On Thursday night, Pete and I watched a documentary film called Religulous. It was made by comedian Bill Maher about how ludicrous religion is. I did a post about that a while back and despite saying I would never post about religion again...

The film is very funny and although I appreciate that the arguments were selective, it does show religion makes very little sense on so many levels and is something probably just invented by man.

I loved that a lot of the religious followers believe that certain events were fact even though there is no real proof, the Bible has stories that contradict each other and that many beliefs are not in the Bible at all, especially Catholic ones.

I learnt many new things, including: Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, Mormons are loopy and most of the Bible was written decades after Jesus had supposed to have lived and can only therefore be rumours.

I also didn't know that there were a number of prophets before Jesus that had an almost identical life (virgin birth, walking on water, rising from the dead etc). It seems that Jesus just a good story based on older fables.

If you have any doubts about religion, watch this film - if only to laugh at how seemingly clever people can believe in talking snakes and things that simply couldn't happen. This small conversation about how God hears everything everybody says demonstrates this...

Bill Maher: If Santa Claus can hit every house in the world.
Steve Berg: No, we don't believe in Santa Claus.
Bill Maher: Of course not, that's one man flying all around the world and dropping presents down a chimney. One man hearing everybody murmur at him at the same time, that I get.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Runway and beach

I caught this clip on Youtube and it's scary! The island of Saint Martin is quite small, so the runway had to fit in where it could - so planes touch down almost on the beach. This clip may look like the pilot made an error, but the landing is correct and all controlled by computer. Take a look at this image too.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sexy rugby players

The Six nations rugby has been on for a few weeks. The English quality has been lacking so the only thing to do is to check out the sexy guys playing in the tournament. A few of the really cute ones are missing due to injury, which is a shame. There are some strange looking guys in the squads, so the good looking ones tend to stand out anyway - here is a selection!

Alexandre Lapandry
Clement Poitrenaudd
Morgan Parra
Luke McLean
Danny Care

Monday, 15 March 2010

Spring cometh

It's been a busy few days hence no blog entry.

On Friday night, Pete and I met a few people and went to the local beer festival. If you have never been to a British beer festival, you haven't lived! It brings out the weirdo's of society (us not included of course). There were many bald men with ponytails and guts hanging over their trousers and people with no fashion sense at all! Saying that, (mostly) men of all ages attended and the town hall was packed.

There were around 60 local ales and plenty more foreign beers and ciders. The only way to tackle the vast choice is to pick at random or choose one of the crazy names that some ales have. After that we wall went for a meal at Prezzo (sans voucher!).

On Saturday, Pete and I got the train to Cambridge to look around the shops and take in the sites. It's always a fun place to visit and this weekend the city was heaving with people. We can only assume that the Universities had an open day. It did mean that the posh totty was out and it was a pleasure to see them!

In the evening we went out for another meal at a local restaurant that had been recommended to us for Pete's "official" birthday meal. We have decided to just buy each other a nice meal rather than presents from now on. It was £95 for the two of us and the food was amazing. Who would have thought that a provincial town would have such a high class restaurant.

On Sunday, I went for a run, did some more work in the garage and then watched some of the first Grand Prix of the season. What a dull race! Taking away the refueling seems to have ruined part of the race action.

In the afternoon yet another meal out, this time at Pete's mums house. Far too much food over the weekend you will agree!

No more alcohol for 3 weeks is my plan...

Friday, 12 March 2010

What If?

This questionnaire was yoinked and amended a little from Mind Of Mine...

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?

Bin Laden or Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas that demonstrates at US soldiers funerals. He is a very sick man.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?

Only one?! Let's start with Natasha Bedingfield as she's one annoying person.

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?

George W Bush.

4. What is your favorite cheese?

What a dull question!

5. You have the opportunity to sleep with a celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

Easy... Fernando Torres.

6. You have the opportunity to sleep with another celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick?

Easy... Ben Barnes.

7. Now that you’ve slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred pound note on the sidewalk. Holy shit, a hundred pounds! How are you gonna spend it?

On a really nice meal with Pete, to partially make up for just having sex with two famous guys.

8. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Let's give Australia a go as I have never been there.

9. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. It is…?

An expensive red Bordeaux.

10. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the past. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?

I think New York in the late 1920's would have been interesting.

11. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?

Glee would be banned from TV.

12. You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it called and what’s the premise?

It's called Celebrity Shoot 'em up - you get to fire real bullets at people like Jordan and you will never be prosecuted.

13.What is your favourite curse word?


14. Your house is on fire, holy shit! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. So what’s the item?

Pete. OK, he's not an item, I would go for my backup hard drive.

15. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?

Being invisible.

16. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

I am 14 years old... and that's enough detail I think.

17.You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

You learn from your mistakes, so probably nothing.

18. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But you can move to anywhere else in the world! Bitchin’! What country are you going to live in now?


19. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be?

No bars have banned me, though I was asked to leave one once. I'll keep my Mum and Dads local pub, a 14th century inn called The Angel.

20. The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?

John Lennon.

21. What’s your theme song?

The Pearl and Dean tune from the cinema.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March movie update

Here are the films that Pete and I have received from Lovefilm.com and watched on TV and DVD over the past month or so, in reverse order, with my ratings out of ten from my movie list on IMDB.

Looking for Eric 8
Gripping comedy drama with a football subtext.

District 9 7
Would have got an 8 but I had to keep looking away due to things like finger nails falling out!

Million Dollar Baby 6

The Way of the Gun 6
Violent and overlong, but does star the yummy Ryan Phillippe.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 7
Again, a bit long but pretty good. So close to getting an 8.

4: Rise of the Silver Surfer 6

The Hottest State 7
Sagged at the end, but worth a watch - a love story of sorts.

Up 9
One of the best films I have seen in a long time and could be my film of the year. Perfect animation.

Get Smart 8
Silly and very funny.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 8
Another fantastic animation overshadowed by Up I think.

Dorian Gray 7
The classic Wilde story starring the gorgeous Ben Barnes.

Slumdog Millionaire 8
Took us a while to get round to seeing this. Great entertainment and brilliantly filmed.

Home 5

Fish Tank 7
New actors in a hard hitting view of a run down Essex estate.

Bottle Shock 5
Prententious crap full of awful cliches.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Let them sing it for you

Now here's a clever little site that kept me amused for minutes!

You type in a sentence and things wizz around in the background and then it plays back your text using words from well known songs. Brilliantly simples!

When I showed Pete, he looked more bored than when we watch football together and that's saying something. But I still think it's worth blogging about.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday things

I have spent the day on some DIY. I am on stage 1 of a building plan.

We have a garage that is detached from the house and the people who owned the house before extended it. To date, this area has been a bit of a junk space. The plan has been to build a wall to make a room and then plasterboard the walls. While doing this, I also intend to add insulation. This "new" room will be the gym and perhaps in the longer term a home cinema!

So stage 1 started today with me building a stud wall. It has taken all day to build the wall and I still have the hardboard to put up. It has been bloody hard work! I'll keep you up-to-date as I am sure you are so excited to know about my expensive and amateur project... that I have been putting off for 2 years.

In other news...

The last "5 on the fifth" had some great pictures, but was low on participants. Next month I intend to do some serious promotion and also ask every reader to help promote my little monthly bit of fun, even if they don't take part themselves.

Last night Pete and I went into the local town with our neighbours. Had a good meal at Prezzo (complete with voucher) and a good few drinks. We got a taxi home and the driver decided that the speed limit was a basic minimum and he was clearly in training for a Formula One team. I was lucky to get away with a very mild hangover.

And one other thing. A major event happened on Thursday night; I slept right through the night for the first time in around a year

Friday, 5 March 2010

Five on the fifth #9

Welcome to "5 on the fifth", a monthly posting that benefits from audience participation. You take 5 photographs on the 5th of the month (or the days leading up to the 5th) - post a comment here with your name, location and link to the site containing your photos and I will update the blog entry with your information. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors get to see the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme, which this month is: People

My own pictures are below the links of those who kindly contributed:


My Time, Dublin
Andrew, Somerset

David, Brighton
James, UK
Mark, Washington

Mike, California
I am witness
Howard, USA

As I am working from home today and Pete is away working, the only person I have seen today is the postman. So here are some "people" from around my home!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


For no other reason than I found these funny...

My uncle Cleetus is illiterate and ambidextrous. Which is a double tragedy. He is unable to write, with both hands"

I had a great business plan ... I was going to build bungalows for dwarves ... there was only one tiny flaw ...

If Harry Potter's so magical, why cant he cure his own eyesight and get laid.

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.

I've often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming

I was reading in the paper today about this dwarf that got pick pocketed. How could anyone stoop so low?

A man on a date wonders if he’ll get lucky. The woman knows.
(not sure what the gay version is)

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Goodbye Kristian

Sad news. TV presenter, Kristian Digby was found dead this morning, aged only 32.

I always liked his presenting style and his winning attitude and his lovely dark eyes. He had so much going for him - it's very sad to read this news.

I assume that the Daily Mail will now want to insult his family and friends with an evil tirade.