Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes on a plane

This weekend saw the release of Snakes on a Plane, a (probably) terrible film about the discovery of some snakes on a aeroplane. I can see there's a bit off B-movie kitsch going on there, but it does seem to be scraping the cinematic barrel. It's a bit like those TV programmes where the title tells you everything about its contents like "World's deadliest sharks".

Anyway, I can't see there being a "Snakes on a Plane 2: This time in business class" but I can suggest other animal/transport disaster movies:
  • Badgers on a boat
  • Ants in an Automobile
  • Mice on a minibus

Post-it Note Art #5 - Mice on a minibus

Post-it Note Art #5: Snakes on a Plane sequel - Mice on a minibus


Sunday, August 20, 2006

A shaving revolution

Shaving is a total bore. I hate it so I do it as infrequently as I can get away with. Today in Sainsburys, I came across a new shaving product: Somersets Shaving oils. You put three tiny drops of this stuff on your hand, rub it into your stubble, wait thirty seconds and start shaving. I thought I'd try it.

It was brilliant. So I'm going to shamelessly promote their product here. This is "The Ape" - a blog brought to you in association with Somersets Shaving Oil - A revolution in shaving.

Post-it Note Art #4 - Somersets Shaving Oil - A shaving revolution

Post-it Note Art #4 - A shaving revolution

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Middlesbrough under water

While browsing round Flickr this evening, I came across this computer-generated image of how Middlesbrough's coastline would change if the sea-level rose by six metres. [Credit to Flickr user "Norton"]
Middlesbrough under water after global warming on Flickr
It would seem that Hartlepool, anything North of the A66 and most of Stockton is done for. Executive flat in Middlehaven anyone?

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More from "Atonement" Redcar

I visited the Atonement film set in Redcar again this morning. Things have come on a bit. There are jeeps and other military vehicles on the beach, the big car park on the front is half blocked off with crew trailers and the road along the front is closed to the public. I took some pictures for posterity:

Atonement film set on Redcar beach #1Atonement film set Redcar#2Atonement film set on Redcar beach #3
These pensioners had set up camp on the piss-stained steps of Leo's nightclub to watch the tide come in. Even by Redcar's standards, this spot is an intriguing choice.

Pensioners enjoy a day on Redcar beach amongst the Grafitti

Keira Knightley [pictured] hasn't popped round to my house yet. I got some cream cakes in specially because I know she likes them.
Keira Knightley love cakes

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Filipino Judge consults mystic dwarves - sacked

The headline says it all. A Filipino judge has been sacked for consulting three mystic dwarves. The welfare of the dwarves is unknown at this time. The BBC News website reports this story without a picture of the judge or a dwarf, so I have illustrated the story for you on a Post-it note.

Post-it Note Art #3 - Thee Mystic Dwarves

Post-it Note Art #3 - Three Mystic Dwarves


Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Englishman in New York

Boy George was filmed serving his sentence for wasting police time in the U.S this week. His five-day community service order means that he has to clean the streets of New York after cocaine was found in his apartment in October 2005.

Post-it Note Art #2 - An Englishman in New York

Post-it Note Art #2 - An Englishman in New York


Downing stars in England win

Stewart Downing, England and Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing was prominent in setting up three of England's four goals against Greece last night. He showed composure, invention, pace and vision as he took ownership of the left wing place vacated by the injured Joe Cole. It was good to see a Middlesbrough player fitting into the England team so easily. McLaren threw off the shackles of league football with a confident display, unlike anything seen by the Middlesbrough fans who sat through years of dull, negative games.

I suspect that when the competitive games start, a more cautious approach will be adopted.


Post-it note art

After a discussion in the pub yesterday, I've decided to use artwork to express myself in this blog, as well as the written word. I think my unique drawing style will bring the stories to life. We begin with an article by Matthew Parris in the Times who argues that human sexuality is not as simple as most make out.

Post-it Note Art #1 - The Range of Human Sexuality

Post-it Note Art #1 - The range of human sexuality


Saturday, August 12, 2006

The West Wing Returns

Sam Seabourn a.k.a.Rob LoweThe nice people at More 4 have seen sense and have scheduled every episode of the West Wing running back to back starting from Episode 1, the pilot episode. This week the president rides his bicycle into a tree. In 2005, the real leader of the free world rode his bicycle into a Scottish policeman. Bizarre. [It turns out they aren't showing the pilot, but are starting at Episode 1]

The West Wing parade starts on Sunday 13th August at 8:00pm on More 4. More 4 is becoming quite a compelling channel with also resurrecting Alan Bleasdale's seminal G.B.H, unfortunately the very week it was bought for me on DVD.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Middlesbrough residents don't understand computers

Middlesbrough slobMiddlesbrough HoboA BBC news story reports on how access to "e" technology varies greatly around the country. The survey reveals what anyone with half a brain could have worked for themselves; that poorer areas are less endowed with computers and broadband connectivity. Conversely, the affluent metropolis has the highest density of computer literates in the country. Quelle suprise.

The story is based on study by UCL and the universities of Nottingham and Leicester. It's postcode lookup tool reveals that Middlesbrough is in the lowest grouping, reserved for the "E-unengaged" and "technology fantasists". This hopeless piece of spatial sociological stereo-typing characterises the Middlesbrough resident by pictures of a vest-wearing slob and a homeless man carrying a plastic bag [see pictures]. Thanks for that.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Apple previews OS X Leopard

Time machine logo from OS X Leopard
As I write, Steve Jobs is previewing the upcoming version of OS X, code-named Leopard. It will feature:
  • 64 Applications - Leopoard will be able to have 64-bit and 32-bit desktop applications running side-by-side.
  • Time Machine - a backup solution that tracks changes to files over time. It allows you to restore files from any point in the past or to search for things that have been deleted. A user wouldn't need to think about backup as it's handled by the operating system. Bit like a Subversion repository for your entire hard disk with a fabulous front-end.
  • Spaces - Sounds like the virtual desktops that Linux has had for years.
  • Spotlight extensions - It can be configured to search other computers as well as your local machine.
  • Core Animation - An Animation API built into the operating system. It should make Leopard full of eye-candy.
  • Better accessibility support
  • Improved text to speech
  • Improved Mail - To-do functions added to mail and rich mail stationery.
  • Dashcode - New application to help develop advanced Dashboard widgets.
  • iChat - Allows presentations to be delivered over the iChat session. Allows "green screen" backdrops to be added to stills and video.

Jobs also outlined new Mac Pro desktop and XServe servers based on the Woodcrest Core 2 Duo Xeon processor.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Redcar

Keira Knightley in Black and White
John Betjeman's poem "Slough" said:

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

This was paraphrased by Morrissey in "Everyday is like Sunday":

In the seaside town
That they forgot to bomb
Come, Come, Come - nuclear bomb

I was reminded of this as I strolled along Redcar seafront this morning. Film production crews have moved in to film Ian McEwan's "Atonement" starring Keira Knightley [pictured]. The Dunkirk action sequences are being filmed in Redcar which has had its modern trimmings removed for the duration. The special effects staff will be pleased to have found that Redcar doesn't need much work to make it look like it is in the middle of a war zone. See photographic evidence.
Redcar building on Atonement film set.
A wooden film set in Redcar for the filming of Atonement
Production notes on wooden shutters attached to Redcar building on Atonement film set


Friday, August 04, 2006

ELO are cool

A survey reveals that the Electric Light Orchestra are liked by many people, but no-one would admit it. I was a fan of ELO from the age of ten. I stopped liking them when I became a student and started liking them again in a "so-bad-it's-good" way in my mid-20s.
Jeff Lynne at work - Lead singer of the Electric Light OrchestraJeff Lynne has had the same haircut for thirty six years, a record only surpassed by Brian May and Prince Charles. Jeff knew how to fill the speakers with sound; he didn't do "minimal". He is expert at producing "a stomper"; a record so relentless, that you can't help but stamp your foot in time to it. Quintessential stompers are "Mr Blue Sky" and "Don't bring me down". Any record Jeff produced sounded like an ELO record. For evidence seek out the works of George Harrison and the Travelling Wilburys.

Key works include "Discovery" and "Out of the Blue". Jeff broke the first rule of pop: "No pop group needs a full time cellist, let alone two". No one has dared break this rule since. ELO played Middlesbrough in 1974.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eggs boiled to perfection

A nice box of eggsThe BBC reports that Hi-tech eggs are soon to go on the market. The eggs have heat-sensitive paint on their shells which will indicate when an egg is boiled to perfection. As a fan of eggs, this is good news. I haven't had a soft-boiled egg in ages and I think I'll have one for my tea tonight.

More interesting than that is that there is an organisation called The British Egg Information Service. They state that to poach an egg you simply tip it into a pan of boiling water. I have found that this results in bits of egg swirling around in the water. As I found out relatively recently, the best way to poach an egg is to use cling-film. Do the people at the British Egg Information Service know what they are talking about? The British public need to be told.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tony Blair meets Arnie

Arnie tells Blair his I'll be back jokeTony Blair visited California this week where he met up with film star turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnie presented Tony Blair with an iPod filled with Californian-themed music. When Arnie was asked if he had any career advice for the Prime Minister when he retires, he made a lame joke about "finding a role for him [Blair] in his new film, Terminator 4".

Schwarzenegger doesn't let a single public appearance go by without doing the Terminator 4 joke or saying "I'll be back". It's like Roger Moore becoming Prime Minister and going on about having the opposition "shaken but not stirred".