Archive for September, 2004


September 25th, 2004

HERO movie A friend of mine got tickets for a preview showing of the new HERO movie at the UGC Haymarket, London, the other night. (I was going to say Premiere but there were no stars and no paparazzi there 😉 Even though my friend used to work in London, and even though he worked in that very same borough of town, he still managed to get us lost. Nice one, Al 😉

Anyway, being a fan of martial arts and foreign language movies, this historical flick from Zhang Yimou, of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, was a treat. Apparently it had been at number 1 in the US box office for 2 weeks prior to us Brits getting it and that puzzled me – is this the sort of stuff that Americans like to see, especially with its slightly convoluted story line and subtitles? (it does jump about a bit – but to good effect) So we had a debate about it – is it because Quentin Taranto is associate producer? Or is it because the Amercians liked “Kill Bill” and are now into Oriental flicks? Or something else? How will it do in the UK?

I digress, once again – It’s only 90 mins, so you’ll not get pins & needles or a numb bum and the story keeps you thinking, guessing, so its not just beautifully directed but good food for thought too. The martial arts, the scenery, the variety of settings, the magnificence of the whole film is just… well, Great. It’s a BIG movie.

The only thing that I’m not so keen on is the wire stunts, as were so prominent in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but don’t let that spoil it. Al’s mate, Chris, said it reminded him of Peter Pan *snigger*. The Matrix arial action was more my cup of tea, but hey…

It’s a good movie, go see it and enjoy the breathtaking scope of it all. Get comfortable, open your mind and marvel in the visuals whilst you read the cue, unless you know Cantonese of course. 9/10.


Go climb a mountain

September 21st, 2004

Don’t normally have holidays but this weekend I got away, first time away from work in months .

I’ve been pining to go walking and climbing mountains and get back that ‘on top of the world’ feeling again – and even a small 1100 foot climb was enough to get some temporary satisfaction.

It’s been quite some time since I last sat on top of a really big hill, looking down on a great view, and Loughrigg Fell, just west of Ambleside at the Northern shore of Lake Windermere in Cumbria, was a good place to get back into the swing of things again. The top of Loughrigg itself seemed to be too far from the lake to get a decent view so I took a detour to take in a couple of crags before hitting the top. That was a clever move because the view over Windermere was brilliant.

The weather was supposed to be bad all weekend with storms and high winds coming in from the west. As always, luck was with me and it stayed pretty clear with a few clouds skimming the peaks, the occasional bit of rainfall and some beautiful clear patches of sky to make me smile. The wind was still hitting 50-70 mph on the peaks and I managed to get across to look at Grasmere and Rydal Water before heading back down to Ambleside.

Back at the car the heavens opened. Good timing :)

The Central FellsIf you need a book to guide you through this part of the Lake District you’d do well to get a copy of Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells – Book 3 – “The Central Fells” – these books are pretty much unchanged since their first publication some 50 years ago and they’re well worthwhile.

Gotta go back sometime soon and do some more of that, looking forward to climbing Helvelyn again, one of my favourites (and England’s third highest peak). Maybe next time I’ll take the bikes too – who’s coming?

PS – If you’re looking for a place to stay the Applegarth Hotel, Windermere is recommended – a great base to start from and has its own car park too. As for a decent pint the Watermill Inn, Ings is a real pub with 16 real ales on tap at any one time. For walking and climbing gear Gaynor Sports, Ambleside had the best selection of stuff.


Hurricane Ivan (the Terrible)

September 14th, 2004

Click for live satellite pics of hurricane IvanI’m just sitting here at some daft time of the morning (back to 2 hours sleep a night again) and the lightning’s been arcing for a few minutes, then all of a sudden the heavens opened and down came a torrent of rain. It only lasted a few minutes but was quite impressive, and yet it reminded me of how insiginificant that must be compared to Hurricane Ivan, currently spinning its way west of Havana right now and working its way toward the United States coastline.

That sparked me into looking up some Hurricane tracking info and Hurricane pics and I found some good data at the National Hurricane Center

I’ve got a client with interests in Florida and we were even talking about the possibility of me being over there right now. In a way that would be rather dumb but all the same pretty interesting too. So if I can wangle my first holiday in over 3 years I’ll have to think hard about whether to visit that part of the world during the storm season or not.


Buy into my headline and you’ll be The Greatest…

September 7th, 2004

…Sucker of all time.

NO, NOT YOU. But you know what I mean.

I woke up to grey skies on Tuesday morning and saw the headline on one of the numerous design/IT magazines I subscribe to. I know they have to sell titles in the newstands and grab the publics attention, so they put BUY ME NOW lines on the magazine covers, and this one was something like “Give up the Day job” with the promise of easy riches and bumming around on the beach by becoming a freelance web designer. Whatever.

This isn't the Mag, I just made this up for a laugh<-- This isn’t the mag BTW, I just knocked it up for fun

It still makes me laugh – I’ve seen plenty of headline-grabbers and titles like “Create Professional Logos in just minutes”, “become a coding guru” and “you too can churn out designs like this” and it makes me wonder where this leads us all.

OK, so products don’t sell on promises of doom (apart from all the gas masks they sold after the UK Government’s ’45 minute’ statement regarding Saddam’s WMD (page 4 para 1)) and we’re probably all guilty of selling stuff and selling ourselves (we’re all hypocrites, it’s whether we admit it and the degree of our hypocrisy) but shouldn’t we all just be a bit more honest?

I get emails once in a while from people asking for work experience, jobs etc. This guy writes to me the other day that he’s setting up a web design company though he has no portfolio, no experience and asks are there any pointers?

So I respond with some brief detail about his business plan, the status of his business, his projections and forecasts, registration with the tax man, keeping his accounts etc. etc. and that I hope this is all in order before we get to the fun of designing. Needless to say he hasn’t come back, poor guy.

So, to the point of where does this lead us…

The popular press build it all up, everything is easy, you can have it all…

…then realists like me bring people back down to earth with a bump.

That’s what grey skies do to a man 😉


Flying slugs are go…

September 5th, 2004

slugWe’ve got a few slugs in our garden that come out and eat our vegetables, fruit and other good-looking foliage and, try as we may, every reasonable method of detering them has failed so far.

I know that slug pellets work but they’re very nasty and not a nice way for the poor slug to go, so I had a brainwave last week and bought a ‘black widow’ style slingshot (catapault) on and used it to launch a few of our friends into orbit, aiming for a nice patch of green grass by the woods.

The slugs will either go on to (eat) pastures new or tell their friends about this great free ride and come back for more…


I love those little safety stickers…

September 2nd, 2004

Just got a new bike frame today and on the top tube there’s a little sticker that says, and I quote…

WARNING. Do not ride this bicycle until you have read and thoroughly understood the owner’s manual. If you have any questions about this bicycle, you should consult your GT Bicycles dealer.”

Now, I know this is to cover the manufacturers incase of mishaps, but it did make me chuckle. What should I do now, ring up the manufacturers and say…

“Hey Dudes, nice frame – just one question though – where’s the wheels and stuff?”

Shouldn’t it say something like “Do not ride this bicylce until you have put it together, numbnut”

GT Performer 2000 frame