Thursday, 31 May 2012

Day 2 - 31 May 2012

The combination of our usual poor sleeping pattern and time difference meant that we both woke up around 4.30am today.  We watched some TV and ended up having an early breakfast and heading into Boston at 7am.
We walked along the beach to the end of the subway line at Wonderland.  This was once a huge amusement park but nothing is left.  The weather was hot (though it's not expected to last) and we headed to Bunker Hill to follow the Freedom Trail - a route through historic Boston and plenty of anti-British stories! 
After walking a few miles and seeing plenty of sights, we walked through Boston Common and had a beer at Cheers.  One pricey beer later, we walked through the city, pretty much at random.  We heard that the Red Sox baseball team were playing in the evening and (sort of) decided to go.  Before that, we headed to Harvard.  It's a cool area and we had a great burger at Mr Bartleys, a famous Harvard eatery.
We didn't make it to the baseball - too hot and exhausted.  So we headed back to the hotel before flaking out relatively early.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Day 1 - 30th May 2012

A couple of months ago, Pete was 40 and as part of the "celebration" we had planned a special holiday.  So here we are in Boston, USA at the start of a busy couple of weeks.
After a couple of days in Boston, we get to explore Cape Cod and New England before entering New York.
The flight from Heathrow was very pleasant and I watched two movies and ate and drank... and drank.  On arrival it was really warm and humidbut we got through customs really quickly and was at our hotel, on the edge of the city within an hour.
The hotel is very nice, within reach of the beach as well, but the area close by isn't that nice!  In fact, I think that English is not spoken much.   One thing I notice straight away is that the Americans love signs telling you not to do things... they are everywhere!
We had a beer in a local bar near the beach at Revere (which I read was the first public beach in America), a very spicy Mexican meal and now, having been awake for more hours than I can count, it's bedtime.


The house sitter has been prepped, the plants laid out for easy watering, cases packed, bookings confirmed etc etc.
The next time I blog, I will be in the USA!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The past month - May 2012

Here is a selection of the best bits from my blog over the past month:  
I started the month with the gratuitous gift of a shirtless picture of Pasha from Strictly Come Dancing.  There's something about him...
A work trip to Edinburgh included a presentation by Team GB Women's Basketball coach Tom Maher who informed us how he had aimed to have sex with a woman in his younger days.  
We celebrated Christmas (again) with a stupidly expensive, but enjoyable trip to London to eat cow.
I gave a rare review of an album, just because I was so disappointed with it - the Barenaked Ladies rarities collection.  I am fan, so this really did come from the heart.
Midway through the month, I came clean to explain how I had been taking a photo-a-day for the past year and had just compiled them into a very thick photobook.  I need a new challenge now!
Good looking guys (Tom and Charlie) featured.  Yes, you could have someones eye out with that bulge Tom!
A modern artform that I like is the company logo and I picked a few that have hidden meanings here.
And finally, we said goodbye to a Bee Gee

Around the Gherkin

Here are a few images from my day in London, working of course...
Heron Tower
Gooners stadium
Cricket pitch in the City (Artillery Ground it's called)
The Olympic stadium... ready for action!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Dear teachers

I note that several treaching unions are set to encourage their members to strike over pay and pensions...
Dear Teacher
In the late 1980's, I was at school in Kent during several teaching strikes.  One Union in particular decided to strike every Tuesday for a prolonged period that clashed with my final two years at school.
On a Tuesday, I had Physics followed by Chemistry followed by English.  No replacement teachers were available for the science topics and the English replacement was abysmal.
I failed the science exams and obtained an unflatteral pass in English. The strike action caused me to fail two subjects and I hold the selfish Unions responsible.  In addition, all school trips were cancelled so I missed out on the benefits that would have helped these and other subjects.  This was not a time when private "top up" classes were available and my parents did not have the skills required, therefore your actions directly caused problems that meant I had to rethink further education.  I was not alone in this.
Blackmail in the form is strikes has been something I have hated ever since.  For educated people, I am surprised that teachers cant see that the current pension arrangements are unsustainable and frankly, wanting them to stay is greedy.  You should also remember that the parents of your children are not getting payrises and many are struggling to keep their jobs.

Think again Mr Teacher.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Eurovision and out

So Eurovision is over for another year.  Our song was completely wrong for the event and being first was a hinderance too it seems.  Englebert sang well, but it was overshadowed by more memorable songs. The performances seemed higher quality than in previous years (apart from the Russian Grannies and there was a Bjork lookalike in there somewhere).  As always, the political viting ruined the end - Greece/Cyprus 12 point swap for example and every region voting for it's neighbours.  It's very annoying.
On a serious note, the brutal regeme in Azerbaijan that has anti-gay laws, limits free speech and imprisons journalists on a whim should not be in the European Broadcasting Union. A fundamental rule of the EBU is press freedom, yet the country is allowed to be a member and flaunt the oil wealth that is kept from the people.
Yesterday Pete and I dog-sat his brothers dog.  It was a hot day in North Herts and Max was suffering a bit, so he found a cool spot and lay there for a while...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hidden Symbolism in logos

I found a long list of logos on a site the other day and a couple really impressed me. In each one, part of the design features a hidden "something"...

You will have seen the FedEx logo many times, but you may not have seen the white space between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’ that forms a perfect arrow, suggesting a company moving forward and looking ahead. Subtle eh?!

The Pittsburgh zoo features another clever logo. On either side of the tree, the faces of a gorilla and lion appear in white. In many of these examples of hidden symbolism, the ‘secondary’ imagery is often found by looking at the ‘negative space’ of the logo

We all know the Amazon logo. Some see a smile under the lettering. However, have you ever noticed the arrow shows how Amazon take items from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.
The British Rail logo has been around for decades. This "double arrow" logo is formed of two interlocked arrows showing the direction of travel on a double track railway and was nicknamed "the arrow of indecision".

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


It's coming!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly #4

The good:
We were once driving in France behind a white Ford transit... I said "You know what that is?... Vin Blanc". I am a genius.
The Bad:
Fernando Torres, you may be gorgeous, but you're paid 5 million euros a year to kick a ball... stop complaining about sometimes being a substitute you spoilt immature twat.

The Ugly:

The Olympic torch relay has begun in the UK and a number of people have been selling their torches after their run on eBay.  It is an honour to be picked for this event and the torches are a gift to be cherished; to sell them minutes after running is shocking and those involved should look at themselves closely.  I don't care about their reasons - in fact, I believe most are lying about the reasons they listed the torch on eBay. These are such scummy people.

Monday, 21 May 2012

RIP Robin Gibb

I can't say I was a huge Bee Gees fan but there is no way that anyone can argue that they made some great songs and did so over many decades.  Poor Robin had some really bad health in recent years.

Two things come to mind when I think about the Brothers Gibb... one is a clip from the Kenny Everett show in which he buys a 'Do It Yourself Bee Gees Kit' and the other is a great tune.  I was going to post You Win Again, but I think that this song is rather good and starts with the late man himself...

Happy birthday Tom

It's Tom Daley's 18th birthday today.  He seems to have been around for years representing the UK in diving competitions.  He is a very confident and focused young man who has strived to be the best professional he can be, as well as studying and trying to live a 'normal' life.
As a potential Olympic star, I hope he gets a chance to shine in 2012.
He is also very very fit and has bulges in all the right places...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Oh Charlie!

Last night I attended my first proper classical concert in a huge church on Piccadilly.  The orchestra was very impressive and the lack of microphones and speakers made them sound more real, if that makes sense.  The guest of the night was a guy who Pete has been following for the past year, Charlie Siem and he had met a couple of German ladies at previous concerts who have since become friends and then our weekend guests.
Charlie has played violin since the age of 3 and still practices 5-6 hours a day!  He flies around the world playing with orchestras and musicians and and he's also a model for Dunhill!
He played at the very front of the pews, about a metre from me!  The violin was lent to him by some wealthy friend and was valued at a modest £10 million.  To see him on TV is one thing, but to see him in the flesh just showed how he is absolutely stunningly sickening gorgeous!
I was told not to take photo's due to the shutter on my camera making noise.  However, at the break, Pete went to say hello and got one of our guests to take a photo...

Friday, 18 May 2012

R U Coming Out

I came across a website via Twitter called 'R U Coming Out'.  It helps guys come out, if they want to - it's not about pushing guys to come out of the closet, it's all about support and shared experiences.

Coming Out can be a hard thing to do.  It's a complicated process which can cause feelings of confusion, doubt, guilt, shame, excitement, fear, relief and anxiety.  There is no rule book explaining the best way and time to tell your loved ones that you are gay, lesbian or bisexual.  That's because there is no 'right' way or time.  The rucomingout project hopes to become a valuable resource for those who are living life in the closet.  

Take a look - they are providing a worthwhile service.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The truth

On my birthday on the 24th of April 2006, I started a project to take a photo every day and post them online. The project was tough but I now have a wonderful collection of memories. On the 24th of April 2011, I decided to repeat the challenge... but I kept it quiet.
I can now reveal that the Blurb book has arrived, complete with 367 photographs (one leap year and a day!).

I decided not to mention this challenge on my blog as I wasn't entirely sure I had enough variety in my life to carry it off.  The first time round I was living in London and the daily options were many.  But I pulled it off, so welcome to 'A year and one day... part 2' and you can see all 367 images at this alternative blog.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A few London pics

Here are a few images from recent trip to London... And tomorrow I will post a blog entry explaining how and why I have not been fully open with you for the past year!


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Barenaked review

I rarely review music on this blog.  I tend to think that music is so individual, that whatever I say will annoy someone!  However, I feel that I need to talk about a new album by Barenaked Ladies to rid myself of this nagging bad feeling...
I am a Barenaked Ladies fan - I own every album and many official live "bootlegs".  When I heard that the band was to release a rarities collection, I was genuinely excited.  I thought to myself, "I know that there are a few unreleased songs, many b-sides, some charity songs, many many acoustic versions, hundreds of live tracks and ad-libbed songs and probably dozens of demos".  However, what has been released is a lazy collection that has missed a massive opportunity.
So "Stop Us If You've Heard This Before" came out last week and I downloaded it, even knowing that the track listing was lacking.  There are a few interesting unreleased songs, an unnecessary remix of "One Week" and one demo.  I am not sure what the band was thinking - this is a poor CD and they have clearly missed  out on sharing many more interesting tracks.
For example, there is a lovely song called "The Sound Of Your Voice" that was written by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn but sung on an album by Steven Page. I have heard Kevin sing the song accompanied by an acoustic guitar and it's stunning.
Another example is their version of the John Lennon track "Oh Yoko" that appeared on a charity album.  And what about songs that were bonus tracks for specific websites, the b-sides that have never been available as downloads and alternative mixes, let alone the reworked "Brian Wilson".  They have recorded acoustic versions of tracks for radio stations, so they would have been available and you cant tell me that demos do not exist.
I just don't get it!  With so many options available to them, they didn't just take the easy route, they didn't even decide on a route.  And so I will wait for the next release, but in the meantime, I will scour the net to find the true rarities along with many other fans.

Friday, 11 May 2012

May movie update

Here are the films that Pete and I have received from and watched on TV and DVD over the past few months in reverse order, with my ratings out of ten from my movie list on the IMDB.
Stupid story, stupid action, stupid acting.
Lifeboat (1944) 7
Classic Hitchcock with the whole film set on a lifeboat during WW2. Gripping stuff!
Beautiful Lies (2010) 6
Disappointing film with Amelie star Audrey Tautou.
Puss in Boots (2011) 6
Not as good as Shrek, but OK story and wonderful animation.
Annoying... really annoying.
The Help (2011) 8
A touching film showing how the USA was openly racist.
Moneyball (2011) 7
Close to being an 8 - the story of how a Manager re-wrote the rulebook on selecting players for a baseball team.
Silly re-writing of history - great action movie! 
Las acacias (2011) 6
Very slow road movie. Fine for late Sunday night.
True Romance (1993) 6
Violent and not as good as I had expected.
A film that really touched me. I reviewed it here.
Kaboom* (2010) 7
Crazy movie starring the sexy Thomas Dekker.
The Awakening (2011) 8
Scary horror drama - great movie!
Long film about the life of the quiet one. Seemed to dwell on some areas and zip through others which meant it didn't quite work for me.
* Previously viewed.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Good day Tuesday

It's been a very pleasant day so far.  I have been off work, using up some holiday and had lots planned for the day.
I started with a lay in before going into the garage and painting for an hour. The canvass I am working on is a larger and more vibrant version of this painting.
I got a freebie at a local gym so I went along after dropping Pete at the station as he made his way to London for a meeting. It turned out to be the biggest gym I have seen and rather classier than previous places I have been to.  I don't intend attending a gym again though - I don't usually enjoy it, but today was great.  The place was virtually empty, so I did some cardiovascular work and some weights before having a sauna, a swim, visit to the steamroom and then home for lunch.
After playing with Garage Band on the Mac (I am working on a new song), I ventured to the garden centre to buy some seed potatoes - all half price as they were sprouting... bargain!  I got back and planted them in the vege plot. We do have an issue with a really invasive weed, so I can only use half of the plot which is a shame.
I then made a curry from scratch (Chicken and lentil Thai curry) before enjoying a nice cuppa when Pete got home.
All in all, a fine day and it's only 5 o'clock!  It's worth noting that I just typed o'cock by mistake!  I believe that's a Irish porn site :-).

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Happy Christmas!

Yesterday, Pete and I, his brother and Vicki, (his girlfriend) went to London for a Christmas meal. We had decided to have a fancy meal, but it's taken longer to arrange than it really should.
We started out at Louis Vuitton in Bond Street which is Vicki's favourite shop.  Then on to Armani and Ralph Lauren. There were so many wealthy people there!
We saw a troop of Hollister models, around 40 of them, marching through the streets to hand out leaflets. I disliked this for several reasons. Firstly, they looked like a Hilter Youth rally - all dressed the same (red tops, turned up jeans and flip-flops). It looked badly judged to me with their cocky attitude eyeing girls and constant cheering. Secondly, they were all good looking 18-20 year old guys with the overall aim of saying to customers "I am better looking that you, therefore I am better than you.  I get sex when I want it, I am confident, I will earn more than you because I am good on the eye and I wont have to try as hard to be successful".  OK, I am exaggerating a lot, but the Hollister and A&F models/staff really wind me up with this elitist attitude, which is why I wouldn't shop there.  I don't think they miss my custom.
After a few cocktails in Brownes, we headed for lunch as Goodmans restaurant - a fine dining steak establishment. The huge steak was tasty, perfectly cooked and extremely expensive. It's one of the most expensive meals I have ever had.
Then on to more shops, where I bought a suit, some walking and then to St Pancras station for more alcohol in the Champagne bar. It has warming fans under the table and heated seats!  This is not my picture by the way...

Friday, 4 May 2012

Try and try again

I have been in Edinburgh for a couple of days for a national conference.  It was held at Murrayfield stadium, home of Scottish rugby.  I had not been to the stadium before so it was interesting to see the structure up close and in the evening, before dinner, we had champagne next to the pitch.  Despite being freezing cold, it was impressive to see this huge empty space. Many of my Scottish colleagues were excited to be there and wanted to go on the grass, but were not allowed!

During the day, we had the usual business speakers, but we also had a presentation by Team GB Women's Basketball coach Tom Maher.  He gave his views on what makes a winning team and used his sports knowledge to compare with business teams.  I liked his style and the content of his speech - particularly when he said that he first saw his wife of many years when she was playing basketball in Australia.  He said that "I saw her and thought to himself 'I want to have sex with that woman!'" and everyone laughed.  And then he added, "And I did have sex with her... twice!...  We have two kids"

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Zen master

Yoinked from Mark...
1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just leave me the Hell alone.

2. Sex is like air. It's not that important unless you aren't getting any.

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

6. If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of payments.

7. Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
8. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you are the dog, some days you are the tree.

13. Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience ... and most of that comes from bad judgment.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

19. We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our ass... then things just keep getting worse.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Random shirtless

Pete has a thing for Pasha, one of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing (the show that 'Dancing With The Stars' is based on making the BBC oodles of money).  Well Pasha is fit, strangley cute and so here's a nice random(ish) photo for you...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Those gays...