Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The past month - October 2012

On James Bond's 50th anniversary, I had to make a comment about the art and music of Bond films.  We also watched Skyfall and enjoyed it immensely.
I really thought that someone would figure out what the strange item I found actually was. I still have no takers and may have to resort to taking it to Bagpuss. What other option do I have?
I got down and dirty in the streets of London yoinking some street names from a site I cant recall the name of.
The longest blog entry of the month centred on the boring new logos that Ebay and Microsoft have launched. I still cant find much enthusiasm for these dull idents and I would still like to know if they paid for them!
Call me obsessed if you want, but I cant help but stare in awe at the beauty of Francisco Lachowski and managed to post about him twice!
And even more semi-naked flesh just had to feature with the fit and posh Harry Judd. It's such a shame he's in such a bland pop group as McFly.
You would need a heart of stone not to find my brothers video of one of the 8 puppies very cute. They are currently growing at a fast rate in Northwest Kent.

Saturday, 27 October 2012


Last night Pete and I went to the cinema to see Skyfall on it's opening night.  The 23rd James Bond has received some great reviews, but I had worked hard to avoid listening to any of them and entered the cinema with little knowledge of the plot.
Daniel Craig is back for his third Bond film.  Although I liked his first film Casino Royale a lot, the last outing for Quantum Of Solice lacked any humour, a good storyline and the cut/cut/cut action scenes did my head in.  Despite that, it did have some good points.
A night out at the cinema is a rare event for us and our local independent cinema had two showings at 8pm and both were sold out. This is great news. We were in the biggest of the auditoriums and the atmosphere was thick with anticipation.
I wont spoil the film for you, but I can say that this stands as a fine spy drama on its own. When you add in the Bond humour (glad it's back), some great direction and the wonderful locations, it makes for a very good movie.
I enjoyed it throughout, with some classic lines and action scenes. The only downside were the liberal location errors on the Underground - but I'm being picky.
Easily 8/10 from me.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Mr Chairman

In our team of 9 (we are the South team and there are 12 in the North), we have regular meetings in London at the iconic Gherkin to discuss relevant topics and obtain some training.  Yesterday was my turn to chair the meeting and this involves not only making sure the meeting flows well but also coming up with most of the content.
I started the day with an "energiser" to get the brains working; which my manager loves. I had a look around the net for ideas, but wasn't that impressed.  So instead I made up a game myself!  It didn't quite work how I planned, but it was fun all the same and I will be developing it further, selling it to ITV and retiring on the proceeds.
The rest of the day was work related items, but I structured it in such a way to make the day highly interactive and enjoyable... I hope. The team seemed to enjoy it and we all learned some new things which has to be good.  I also presented on a completely new topic including an online demo - relying on technology can be dangerous!
Despite being a shy guy, I quite like the presenting and control when I get to chair a meeting. It goes against all my natural instincts, but I don't suffer fools gladly and always share an opinion - but we are a close team, despite working remotely from each other, so we should all feel free to be honest.  My behavior goes to show how we can all be a bit chameleon like.
The team is due for some expansion soon and I wonder how the dynamic will alter...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Rude streets in London

Just for the hell of it...
Laycock Street, Islington
Penistone Road, Streatham
Cock Lane, City
Cock Pond, Clapham Common
Bellenden Road, Peckham
White Knobs Way, Caterham
Back Passage, City of London
The Ring, Hyde Park
The Butts, Brentford
Cold Blow Lane, New Cross
Cumming Street, Islington

Monday, 22 October 2012

October 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.
The Darkest Hour (2011) 6
A film about Aliens attacking earth and the survivors trying to get away - CGI led storyline. OK way to spend 90 minutes... but no longer.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012) 7
Not as good as the other Aardman films - despite the animation being sublime, the story wasn't as gripping or funny as the wonderful Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.
The Godfather: Part II* (1974) 8
The best of the trilogy. Great acting and you get two stories running side by side.
The Godfather* (1972) 8
Classic movie - well worth a view.
The Girl on the Bridge (1999) 5
Weird film that was trying to be both a drama and funny, but it failed on both levels.
2 Days in New York (2012) 5
I being generous with 5/10, an unfunny "comedy" with some insulting French stereotypes. It also has solo scenes with Chris Rock talking to a cardboard cutout of Obama that made no sense and didn't fit (I assume he was ad-libbing and insisted the scenes were left in).
Jackie Brown* (1997) 9
A complex story that confuses some people, but it's very cool and full of wonderful performances. Certainly one of my favourite films.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) 5
A not-very-good horror film.
Avengers Assemble (2012) 6
Despite the hype, I thought this was lacking a story, most scenes were just people fighting and there was far too much CGI action. Fine throwaway action film, but it really wasn't the classic that some reviewers had announced.
Margaret (2011) 5
This film about a teenager that witnesses the death of a woman was soooo long - could have been "OK" with an hour cut out - and you wouldn't have missed much anyway. The characters lacked consistency and there were some amazingly annoying scenes where music played very loudly drowning out the dialogue. Very strange.
* previously viewed

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Harry in bondage

Yoinked from Gari's blog, here is the gorgeous Harry Judd - oh those pecs!  

Friday, 19 October 2012


Two major corporations recently launched new branding and both have been accused of lacking imagination.  My view is that the new logos for Ebay and Microsoft are just bland and dull. You have to wonder how many millions were spent producing something that a 5 year old could have made accidentally on Word in a minute.

Is this a new trend... boring and amateurish corporate designs?  Is the simplicity meant to show that the company is easy to deal with?   Or does it just say that they couldn't be bothered?
A logo is the entrance to a company's branding and if you get that wrong, you have already closed the door to potential new interest. Sub-consciously, we make judgements just by considering a logo. These new designs are so dull, that you wonder if the business has given up being innovative.
When you have countless websites saying that your new logo is just boring, you have certainly done something wrong. Business Insider even offers alternative suggestions and the mighty Microsoft were criticised on dozens of renowned sites.
A couple of years ago, clothing shop 'Gap' launched a new logo and although their existing one wasn't too impressive, the backlash was severe enough for them to cancel the rebrand completely within days... at huge cost!
The mighty Apple don't escape either. Although their main logo is simple and effective, many said that their iTunes logo was generic and forgettable - not good press for one of your most important assets.  I love a well designed logo, iTunes isn't one.
Despite 2012 being possible the best year ever in London (and further afield I am sure) due to the Jubilee celebrations and the amazing spectical of the Olympics, I never warmed to the London 2012 logo.  It's certainly not boring... I just didn't like it.  It grated with me every time I saw it and still does!  And I still don't understand how it cost £400,000 to design.
But some companies get it really wrong however...

Locum obviously didn't test theirs with the public first:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How cute?!

He's 6 days old and has found his voice...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

More Francisco Lachowski

Call me shallow, but this guy is perfect (to me anyway)!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

What is it?

Last week I was driving from an appointment through some pleasant country lanes and stopped at a layby to make a couple of phone calls (while there was the briefest of signal) and on the ground was a strange wooden item.
So I picked it up, examined it, was confused and so I brought it home. I have no idea why it was there and don't know what it is.  See the video below for a demonstration... you twist the middle and the two layers of 'petals' open up. It's more than an ornament, it actually does something.

Any ideas?!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Go Eric!

You know when you take old wallpaper off a wall and there is a history underneath and other wallpapers and paints showing through?  Well a painting that looks like that to me has sold for a record amount for a living artist... a staggering £21 million!
I like abstract art and this is just "OK" in my eyes, but it's really nothing special I think.  I don't understand how there could be so much excitement - but in a way, I quite like that.  Art is so subjective and the fact that somebody loves this artwork is fascinating in itself, even if I think it looks a bit ordinary.
Perhaps someone will pay crazy money for my attempts at art?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Scrabble pups

My brother's dog, called Scrabble had her first litter of EIGHT puppies last night.  I watched the drama unfold on Facebook as each puppy was born and had a photo posted. There was a scare for number 7 as it looked like they lost her, but she's now fine.
And the news to share is that Pete and I will be getting one of these babies!  Pete wants two, but that's not going to happen.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Big and bold

As I work in Financial Services, I am aware that there is a lot of "noise" when it comes to good financial planning. That could mean jargon, complexity, perception and even lies. So anything that can lead to some clarity has to be a good thing and Carl Richards, a financial planner in the US has published a couple of books that aim to break down financial planning into easy to eat chunks.
And the main way to do this is to draw a picture...
A good example is the one below. Do you recall how experts said that the FTSE 100 index would break 8000 in a specific year?  Or how house prices would fall 20% over a set period?  We want to believe the "experts" don't we... they are experts after all. But we also want to believe our friend, who heard from the guy at the garage who has a mate in-the-know, about the next big thing in investments or technology or sport or whatever.
Sometimes however, you have to have some healthy scepticism over everything and learn from failures and mistakes. You can apply this thinking to every part of your life. I'm not talking about being negative, just make sure you don't rely on information 100% and learn why it was wrong or right.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Love and War

Reblogged from Soundtrack to my day


Two sailors sometime during 1940-1945. An image featured in the “Love and War” exhibit at the Kinsey Institute Gallery. More info on the exhibit can be found here.

Monday, 8 October 2012


So the news has been full of Sir Jimmy Saville child abuse claims this weekend. I remember him as a slightly bonkers DJ and TV entertainer who raised millions for charity...
But luckily for us, the media has tried and convicted Jimmy so we don't have to question the facts. It will save the Police so much time and money! Now I don't know if the accusations are true, but neither does the press. Yet here they are using fractions of statements by unnamed women to convict someone who can't defend himself.
None of the women came forward publicly at the time (though its useful they came forward at the same time now) and therefore something doesn't seem right to me about the whole thing.  And for some people to now say that they SAW him abusing children and did nothing about it staggers me and the Trust in his name is considering changing its name! All based on rumours and gossip.
If the women are right, then the Police must deal with it and his legacy will be rightfully in tatters - he will deserve to be convicted after the event. But until that happens, I expect more from the BBC at least. I have to admit at being pretty disgusted at the Kangeroo media court. Where has the journalistic balance gone?!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Nothing to see here

This week has been a busy one at work and there is little share. Pete and I walked into town in heavy rain for a meal in the week. We decided a while ago to eat out once in the week and haven't always done that. One restaurant in town is a Mexican with very random opening times and we ate there. We are lucky that our little town has a stupidly high proportion of restaurants and bars.
The roads have been appalling all week, so I've spent far too many hours going nowhere fast on the M1 and M25. The single good thing was crawling along in traffic on the M25 at Kings Walden one morning where the motorway sits on a viaduct - the valley below was filled with fog like a giant grey snake.  It was an impressive site and I just couldn't get a photo.
My ankle has been playing up for about 6 weeks so I haven't been running, instead I have trekked to the garage and sat on the exercise bike for an hour. We have a very old TV in there and an old DVD player and I am rewatching some films.  I watched favourites including 'Jackie Brown' and 'The Godfather' over 4 or 5 sessions.  I'm now on 'The Godfather part 2'.  You have to love the boxsets in Fopp that are a bargain!
The young Al Pacino looked so cool in the first film.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Happy James Bond day!

50 years and counting... Pete and I will be watching Skyfall on the day of release - partly due to the fact that I love a good Bond film and partly Pete's obsession with Daniel Craig.
Along with the film comes the music and the art of course.  The best Bond themes kickstart the film beautifully.  My favourite theme is either Goldfinger or Live And Let Die.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

So true

Monday, 1 October 2012

Francisco Lachowski

I'm in love...!