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Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year

hny.jpg

Enjoy the transition from 2007 into 2008 an' tak' a right good-will draught!

There is fun going forward.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

sugar plum

Nutcracker!
As we wend our way through the twisting narrow alleys known as Camden Passage, we were on our way from The Living Room to Sadler's Wells Theatre, to partake of the Christmas evening tradition to watch pantomime or ballet. This year it was Nutcracker, which usually features orphans and toy soldiers springing to life.

But this was Matthew Bourne's version, which manages to be extremely pink. Bourne is well known for the version of Swan Lake which also featured in the film of Billy Elliot. If you don't know what I'm talking about then just assume its, well, alternative.

And this version uses the traditional Tschaikowsky score, and does indeed start in an orphan's home. But fairly rapidly the settings diverge as well as some of the moves which twist from the choreography that Bourne applies to this dream sequence of a story. So by the sugar rush of the second half, when the cast are visiting sweetie land, it is, indeed, pantomime mixed with ballet. Packed house playing to the seasonal spirits.

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Thursday, 27 December 2007

smooth

DSC_0519
After a while, everything starts to be capable of being covered in chocolate, if you have one of these things. It arrived under the Christmas tree along with some bars of chocolate, so what else but to give it a spin? Instructions are for wimps, so the first attempt created an interesting jamming of the equipment, before eventually the chocolate started to flow. As you can see in the picture, the earlier dipping of strawberries, pineapple and other fruit gradually deteriorated to whatever was available, such as the salted mini-pretzel getting the treatment in the picture.

Any suggestions for imaginative uses for a half kilo of very smooth chocolate?

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

buzzin'

buzz
Boxing Day became the day for quizzes and general frivolity. In between the earnest music quiz with some 45 tracks crammed into 15 minutes there were other rounds including the buzzer based movie questions and not forgetting the later turn towards karaoke...wait for it...RnB style.

So no need for Amy Winehouse today because we'd decided to make our own equivalently intoxicating music.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

evidence

DSC_0423.jpg
My little trick worked.

The combination of a mince pie, some sherry and a carrot was too much for Santa. I have photographed the after effects from the next morning. Clearly someone had descended through the chimney (I'd made sure the fire was out). They'd eaten the mince pie, drank the sherry and the entire carrot was gone. There were also some new mystery parcels under the tree. We must have been more nice than naughty.

Monday, 24 December 2007

xmas music quiz

xmas-record-quiz.jpg
In between the quaffing, turkey, mince pies and general revelry, there will be the statutory rashbre xmas music quiz. If you are a physical visitor to rashbre acres over the festive season, please don't cheat and listen. Anyone else is free to take a peek and even guess the tracks. They start slow and easy and get faster and more tricky, including a few mashups and some obligatory WIll Young tracks demanded for inclusion by Julie. One click on the picture is all it takes to be transported to quiz-land.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

party games

partyperfect.jpg
Survivors of rashbre central's previous seasonal festivities will know that there's a certain point when the silly hats and party games make an appearance. Not the Nintendo / X-Box360 / Playstation variety, but games involving old wrapping paper, sticky tape, fruit and the like. For the convenience of others, here's a few sure fire winners, which can be played at everything from amateur through to full Pro standard.

Required items: Wrapping paper, sticky tape, magazines, newspapers, highlighter pen, pins

1) Guess the name : Yes - simply providing the guests with paper hats or pin on labels which they can't see with the name of a sleb (celebrity) on it. They have to guess with the Yes/No answers. Classed as an icebreaker. Marilyn Monroe, George Bush, Frankenstein, Albert Einstein, Babe Ruth, Jason Bourne, 007, Mickey Mouse, Madonna, Britney Spears, Alesha. You get the idea.
2) Dress the person : Kinetic Game, two teams: 2-5 minutes. Select someone to be dressed using either old wrapping paper or a couple of recent magazines or newspapers.
3) Kipper racing : multiple teams. needs a long clear indoor space. cut or tear a largish fish shape from a sheet of wrapping paper or anything similar to hand. Add detail such as a hole for the eye, maybe a dorsal fin. Lie them flat on the floor and give other team members further sheets of paper/magazines to use to create air currents to propel the fish from a start line to a distant improvised finishing line.
4) Tell a tale : Pre select some groups of 7 unusual words from a magazine or newspaper article. Hand them to each team and and ask each team member in turn to tell a story using the seven words. Other teams have to try to guess the words.
(Example words from random article today : luckier; heterosexual; chevrolet; banana; promoted; quitter; eggs. and from another page: emissions; cruise; leisurely; overcome; scoop; howling; endurance...you get the idea.)
5) Pass the orange : Why wait until after the dinner has finished to play this game? goes great with coffee.
6) Pictionary: drawing fast pictures based upon words. The boxed set is best for this one.
7) GrEEn GlaSS dOOr : The person in charge suggests playing this and that everyone else can try to be selected to go through the green glass door by suggesting appropriate pairs of things. Things that get in are a pOOl but no water; glaSS but no picture; MiRRor but no reflection (ie the first thing needs a double letter in it.. Play till last person gets it)
8) GGD variants : Play GGD (7) where instead of double letters, each sentence said by the next person has to start with a vowel "...and blah blah bla; ...or blah blah blah ...obviously" and another variant vowel/then consonant and another variant is start with next letter of alphabet.
9) Alphabet Game : Choose topic (Animals, Cars, Candy Bars, Popstars, Drinks). Start at A and round robin through to Z.
10) Stirring the Mush : Announce you are stirring the mush and (eg stand up, sit down, scratch your ear etc). Then start stirring the mush by ay hand/body gesture you like. The invite someone to copy. the trick is thay have to do what you did BEFORE you started stirring the mush (eg scratch ear etc). Tell them whether they have passed or not then select next 'victim'. Repeat until all have worked it out.
11) Erect-a-pup : More newspaper for this two in -oner. Part one. Teams. who can make the longest tube in 2 minutes from rolled up paper? Sounds easy. Just watch what happens. Part Two. Now, in another three minutes make a model life sized puppy out of tubes of newspaper. Warning that some puppies will have 3, 5 legs at the end of this.

I think thats enough to get started. No animals harmed in the testing of these entertainments. You'll have to email me for the (ahem) rules of the frying pan and wooden spoon game...and don't forget charades!

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Saturday, 22 December 2007

shopping strategy

MandS.jpg
Other than midnight, I suspect that, for non followers, this evening whilst "Strictly Come Dancing" is on television is an ideal time to visit M&S for Christmas Shopping.

C'mon Alesha.
alesha dixon lipstick remix
alesha's lofi lipstick and agent x'd

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gas

xmas-gas.jpg
I stopped for some F-yu-ooo-el yesterday and overheard a rather intriguing conversation in the filling station. It went along the lines:

"How many boxes?"
"Six thousand I think"
"Already?"
"Yeah, I know, but I think they got a deal on them"
"What - and they say 'easter' on them?
"Yep"
"We'll have to store them in the car wash".

cue an xmas tune

Friday, 21 December 2007

yule

gf.jpg
I started today pretty early with a multi national conference meeting and call at about 0800 and then a morning of what I call 'hurdles' which is lots of short meetings one after another. There was one 'water jump' when one of the hurdle meetings was cancelled about five minutes before the start and thet gave me a few moments to recover my pace. The other amusing thing today was that everyone had thoughtfully provided breakfasts with their meetings, so the first one at 08:00 has bacon-filled baps with brown sauce, the next one had a trolley of fruit and pastries and then the third meeting (it was nine o'clock' by this time) has a combination of rolls, pastries, fruit, juices as well as the usual coffees and teas. To be honest I refrained from all of these options because at lunch time I had a team Christmas Lunch at a posh tudor building.

I was getting peckish by 12:00 and we set off in convoys of one sort or another to the venue where we had a champagne reception followed by a glorious lunch for our fairly diverse gang of people. Lots of talk, and even a short out break of carols, before we started to drift away in the late afternoon. I had one more meeting with Italy, but was able to do this as a conference call on my way home, so pleasingly, for me, the Holiday starts...
robin.jpg
Here.

So

"Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas" and any other variants according to your nature and custom.

rashbre

office party time

not the office party 1
nuff said.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

scooby snacks

commute
By the end of this week, the combination of work, extra errands, shopping, evening drinks and the occasional party mean that it will be quite good to be able to flop for a few minutes during the main Christmas period.

In addition to family time and further entertaining events, it will also be good to have a few quiet minutes to pause and think anew about the forthcoming year. There's been that inevitable acceleration from mid November towards Christmas and from having seemingly oodles of time to prepare and be organised, suddenly its almost upon us.

So as I speed around London on foot, in cars, on the tube and trains for the next few days, I know that I then have a few days at home to at least partially unwind. That's before the New Year starts and all the counters get reset for another dash. I'm already getting double booked during January.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

claret

ballsbrothers.jpgIn the City, the week before the Christmas holidays and it is extremely noticeable that many folk are extending their lunch times. My rendezvous before a meeting was difficult to reach because of the sheer number of people walking along the street, all intent on shopping or lunchtime revelry.

Our purpose was more sober although afterwards we pitched out into the busy streets and headed for a nearby wine-bar. Most areas of the city are well provided often with large subterranean bars, like the numerous Balls Brothers (described as a Wicked Club in one guide to London) and Davy's with sawdust floors and "Wallop" served in large metal jugs.

In London tradition, we wanted the finest wines available to humanity, we wanted them here, and we wanted them now. In the end we settled for a simple claret in the Lime Street Balls Bros still thoroughly in keeping with the ambiance of the area. Later, and suitably lubricated we wandered the few steps back to Bank station before heading our separate ways home.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

pogued

As a footnote to my recent post about the song "Fairy Tale of New York", which is the well known (in Britain) Christmas song about (amongst other things) the 'drunk tank' featuring a few choice words, it seems that a mere two or three days later the original song has been back in the news because of BBC censorship.

For politically correct reasons the BBC decided to fade down a few of the words in the lyrics but it all seems to have backfired and consequently the song has now been featured on the News, Newsnight and various other programmes intacto.

Considering only a couple of years ago, the BBC actually used it as a charity item sung by the cast of EastEnders (part of my previous post), then it does all seem somewhat volte-face to remonstrate about the lyrics.

L Plate Government?

learner driver
Oops. After the recent loss of 23 million names and addresses by one government department, we seem to have another slightly similar situation. This is 'only' three million missing UK records which have been lost on a hard drive in Iowa in the mid-West of the USA.

Hmm. So we put the disaster recovery for UK driving test records near des Moines so that if something goes wrong with the system in the UK we still have a backup of everyone's names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Lucky the British main system is still working, so the 'safety copy' isn't needed at the moment. Iowa is the Hawkeye State so with a bit of luck someone will spot the missing records and return them.

Its easy enough to fix though, just pop another copy in the post.

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Monday, 17 December 2007

corny holiday movies

Christmas Carol
I just have to watch a couple of 'holiday movies' during the season. This is probably the prime week. They are great in the build up but somehow don't seem as good after Christmas Day.

So 'scuse me tonight, I'm watching something with snow in it.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Santa Claus, North Pole and NORAD tracking

north pole
Looking for Santa info...Here's the 2010 link

A family occasion yesterday and amongst other topics we touched briefly upon Santa Claus and I was explaining about the NORAD Santa tracking system. I'll be honest, not everyone believed me and I had to spend some time explaining that both Santa and Rudolph are real and that the North Pole is quite a cool place to hang out at this time of year.

An ideal gift this year is, of course, this.

NORAD uses 47 radar installations to track Santa once he has lifted off and then uses geo-synchronous satellites with infra-red sensors to detect Rudolph's nose's unique I/R signature. Santa Cams were added a few years ago and capture images of Santa and the Reindeer as they make their journey around the world. And a particularly fast plane takes off out of Newfoundland to escorts Santa. Of course the reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph are pretty used to all of this nowadays.

Check out how things are shaping up via the 2009 post here.

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Saturday, 15 December 2007

tree time

tree-lights.gifTo my slight surprise, rashbre central is gradually becoming ready for the festive season. No great day of decorating, but rather more small movements which add together to create the effect.

The little red christmas trees along the top of the fireplace (and in the blog header) started the process and a couple of nights ago I threw a bundle of lights across the outdoor foliage to start the illuminations. I did forget to check them before I threw them into position and had to retrieve one set which was somehow multi coloured and looked a little out of place with the rest.

I've even managed to get the tree which is still wrapped in that netting at the moment (took me two attempts though because the normal place has somehow closed down without me noticing) and the boxes of decorations have been waiting to be opened for a couple of weeks.
kitkat.jpg
I have a feeling that the full effect will be in place by the end of the weekend after I've gathered together some presents and maybe wrapped the wine flavoured Kit-Kats.

fun with Qlympic trademarks

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I noticed diamond geezer is trying to get some folk to help raise a bid about the upgrade of the area leading to the Olympic&trade site for 2012&trade. Unfortunately, the name for the road was to be Olympic&trade something but it can't be because the Olympic&trade Committee have Trademarked the word Olympic&trade and the use of London 2012&trade.

I thought it would be fun to trademark the common mis-spellings so we now have a selection of rashbre central&trade reserved words too...

Qlympic&trade Oljmpic&trade Olympjc&trade Qlympjc&trade Olympac&trade Olymp.c&trade Olimpic&trade Olimpjc&trade and a couple more which I'll keep secret until I see if anyone uses them.

Some of this legal stuff is all greek to me.

xmas tunes

We're approaching the period when all of the XMAS singles get promoted into the pop charts (whats left of them). The X-Factor machine is doing its very best to get a number one for Christmas, having already seen the Spice Girls tune slip quietly into charity record oblivion.

Keeping with yesterday's 'Waterloo' train station theme, I was musing on seasonal tunes reflecting the late evening scenes around popular London train termini in the week leading to the start of the Christmas holidays.

After the shoppers have left by around nine thirty pm, its best to stay away, unless you wish to become involved in the mini dramatic scenes that play out as a result of too much celebration in the earlier part of the evening.

So as wel as the original well sung and well filmed 'Fairy Tale of New York', about Christmas in the drunk tank I've added the Eastenders' soap opera version set in a betting shop and then rounded off with the 2007 anti X factor Xmas song entry about a drunken Santa in Oxford Street entitled 'We're all going to die'.

I must really try to find something more upbeat. Perhaps thats why Simon Cowell's tunesters get to number one.

Fairy Tale of New York

Fairy Tale of Walford Betting Shop

London Shopping with Drunken Santa

Friday, 14 December 2007

truth beauty freedom love

moulinrouge.jpg
I borrowed the Baz Luhrman Moulin Rouge video a few days ago and decided I'd spend part of the evening to watch it again. Its quite evocative of the Masque of the Red Death party I attended last week, with red curtains, tragedy, drama and so forth along with that surprisingly good musical soundtrack.

Still an entertaining one to watch, bursting with colour and 'hope' despite the sadness of the main storyline.

bourne (again)

bourneU
I'm probably the last person in England to see this film, but I vegged out tonight on the sofa to watch it. Great fun with a cut every 1-2 seconds for the first 35 minutes then one 'plot explanation scene' and then back into the action. Interesting approach to the direction with clever editing. Even unlocking a door has about four camera angles and if there's a hint of fumbling a key then theres another jump cut in the scene.

The CIA or whoever they are keep talking about 'Assets' and have impossibly reliable satellite links and GSM tapping systems. It would be good if American cellular was as reliable as the interception systems portrayed.

Naturally I enjoyed all the running about around Waterloo (which got its own caption like Tangier), yet I notice some of the aerial vistas of New York were without titles. Slight sign of American production values. Formula is similar to the other films and there are various homage moments such as the hair dying scene with the girl.

I expect I will watch it again, which is a good sign.

blue christmas

sloanesquare.jpg
Visitor Pat (PI) commented about the blue lighting of this year's Christmas and I have to agree. Around Sloane Square (previously featured here) its blue, but has been for prior years and that somehow looks magical and right. The blue lights outside the Queen's residence at Windsor Castle just look plain wrong and whoever put them there was having a laugh.

But I also noticed today that getting lights in a particular colour varies from year to year. This year, the yellow-white of normal tree bulbs has been replaces by a halogen style of white and the only way to use yellow bulbs is if there's still a set working from last year. Here at rashbre central we can't even locate last year's bulbs and if we find them then 'dollar to a dime' they won't work.

I suppose I'll be braving the weekend shopping lines to try to get some the right colour. Judging from the busy state of the shopping areas over the last few days, everyone will have already 'thrown a sickie' to go to do their shopping in the theoretically less busy mid-week period. I noticed the 'XMAS Park and Rides' are already working today and town centre car parks are full.

one for pat

Thursday, 13 December 2007

blurry santa

santa.jpg
Its absolutely true that I was overtaken by Santa's sleigh on the way home last night. I'd been out with some friends at a restaurant and had to leave to take a late evening telephone conference call. I'd stopped the car and then suddenly a santa sleigh sped past.

I assumed it was one of those prototypes like you see with cars sometimes where they have black tape to hide the shape of new models. Santa disappeared off along a side road a few moments later so perhaps was also on a practice run around some wiggly roads.

Lots of people have previously calculated Santa's speed to cover the world, famously Joel Potischman and Bruce Handy who did the physics of the speed and payload performance criteria for Santa's sleigh. Like most, I'm respectful of this but also know about some of the assumption errors in the original sums.

The most notable corrections to be applied are:

- Santa delivers no gifts to naughty children (not even coal)
- Naughty to nice ration is 1:9
- As confirmed by NORAD, one Santa distributes all of the gifts.
- There is only one family per household.
- Santa bypasses non Santa belief system houses.

Calculation Assumptions:

- World population = 6 billion
- Children under 18 = 2 billion
- Global Santa based belief systems: 33%
- Max children requiring delivery therefore 667 million
- Children per household: 3.5 (may seem high?)
- Number of households requiring distribution 189 million
- Eastern orthodox using Jan 5 instead of Dec 25 = 16 Million
- Target Households = 173 million on Dec 25
- Target Households after naughty to nice = 156 million
- Estimated child bed time 21:00 (9pm) with 7 hours sleep.

Gives circa 31 hours (24+7) for all deliveries
Time is 1860 mins or 111,600 seconds

Average number of homes to visit per second = circa 1400.
So average delivery per household is 715 microseconds, which is why Santa normally appears a bit blurry (I previously thought it was the sherry)

Land surface minus Antarctica is around 79 million square miles. Distribute destinations evenly = 0.7 miles between households creating a total distance of circa 110 million miles.

So 110 million miles in 31 hours = 3.6 million miles an hour or circa 1000 miles per second or Mach 4770 at a linear speed.

This explains Rudolph's red nose because of air resistance creating around 20 quintillion Joules of energy per second, which would convert a non reindeer nose to charcoal at such energy levels.

Luckily Santa has lots of special powers so these mere physics facts are no problem to such a superhero.

And ps. my list is in the chimney awaiting collection.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

hole

DSC_2725
Amongst the stories of genetically modified mice not afraid of cats is the news about the world's major central banks getting together to throw a heap of money into the global economy. Its supposed to stabilise interest rates and keep credit liquidity.

I think this is the first time the Fed, BoE and others have worked like this in concert and probably indicates the scale of the problem as a result of the sub-prime lending and oil price inflation. Another way to put it is that banks are trusting one another less because of the amount of dodgy loans in the system and now intervention is being used to try to fix it.

Somewhere there must still be a large hole in the global ecomony created by aIl the missing money and I can't help wondering how that hole will ultimately get filled.

britney's massive hole

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Sat Lav In Convenience 80097

sat lav pilotThe 'shopper friendly' Westminster Sat Lav pilot is supposed to text back the location of the nearest loo in central London. Although the system seems to know where I am, it doesn't seem to find the loos.

Text 'toilet' to 80097 to try it.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

talk about sunset

sunset
Three forty in the afternoon and already sunset. The birdies are already getting ready to settle for the evening and I'm on a phone conference wandering around the house when I notice the tree against the skyline.

This is one of those 'take for granted' views that we all have, in this case a distant tree from an upstairs window. I'll still be in conference calls when the birds are fully cloaked in darkness.
same pic magnified

Monday, 10 December 2007

twinkle

sloane-square-2a.jpg
Through the twinkling lights of Sloane Square today. Waiting for the traffic lights and sneaking a quick photograph. At this time of year, the square looks magical, with a signature blue and white glow as you approach and pretty fir trees lit in the adjacent Sloane Street.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

masque of the red death

red death
The Havanan party on Friday was all black tux and cocktail gowns, at least until the Cubans hit the floor and things became very salsa, with added limbo and lots of pink feathery fans. By one o' clock there was a certain amount of wreckage from a party that was hot, hot, hot.

So transport that thought to the next evening's party and this time start after the first party has already ended. Into a huge dark house, through a side door and immediately into a black curtained area where I was asked to wear a white face mask along with my companions. Then somewhere so dark that we soon became separated and facing the experiences of the night alone or with strangers.

Up dimly lit stairs, along impossible corridors with no signage and then pushing gingerly and randomly at any available door, not even sure whether I was somewhere I was meant to be.

And into a small shop; deserted, strange artifacts sprawled across the table. Birds feet, musty jars of who knows what, a sense of foreboding. And another room, a wine cellar filled with ancient dusty bottles. I lifted one, they were real, although again the area appeared deserted. A third room with a tailor in it. He beckoned to provide me a cloak. I gestured to the hats on the wall. He gave me a hooded cloak and I realised my transformation was now to a white, beak faced shadow, as I took off towards another part of the venue. Others following me in were now startled by my appearance and I think considered me part of the action. I realized that I was - and that we all were.

Then to a den, where opium could have been smoked, but at present was making tea the middle eastern way. I was offered a drink. Just as a lover of the proprietor appeared and some emotional moments passed. There were others around me now. Similarly attired, although I had no idea where my companions had gone.

This is the Masque of the Red Death, an installation based theatre piece in London and it should be the talk of the town. The entire and huge Battersea Arts Centre has been converted into a twisting, dark, opulent, gothic installation, with tiny rooms with maybe one player, hidden alcoves featuring lovers trysts, epic stairways, huge halls, ghosts, doctors, murderers and generally the stuff of Edgar Allen Poe.

Part way along, I found the backstage area of a play and could see a music hall vaudeville in progress. Then I was in the changing rooms, then I was in a forest of twisted trees. I found the club where drinking, singing and revelry occurred and sat for a while, being briefly the focus of a singer's attention.

In another I was clutched at by actors trying to prove that there was another world parallel to the one where they argued about literature whilst drinking soup.

Around a corner, to an area behind a stairwell, where, almost hidden, a white faced woman was whispering intensely to another caped figure. And then alone to an attic where something terrible had rent the walls in two, with pictures askew and signs of an argument. There was a banquet with writhing dancers and another woman dragged down a marble stairway by a raffish vagabond.

Maybe this was sensory bombardment, maybe the deep musical tones creaking through much of the venue did add to the feeling of suspense. Discernable threads of Poe's story were present, but it didn't matter about the sequencing.

I loved it, my fellow intrepid spirits loved it. We didn't meet until we had been all Ushered along another dark corridor into another intense area where a finale generated huge applause from the several hundred of us that had made each a unique journey through this place.

And blam, before there was time to think, the band kicked in and the place evolved into a night club, with gothic walls, with tented soft cushioned areas and with many of the characters from the earlier evening now part of the immediately lively dance floor.

If you live in London and like performing arts, go to this total sensory experience - Friday or Saturday to get the full party as well. I'll give this fifteen out of ten.

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Saturday, 8 December 2007

up the creek canal without a canoe

john anne panama mirror storyThe intriguing story about the missing fifty-something year old canoeist who returned after five years with an apparent memory lapse continues to unfold (unravel) with a fair amount of speed.

Allegedly, John (the canoeist) originally re-appeared on his wife's doorstep after only one year away and then took up living back at home as well as in a next door bedsit - wait for it - with a secret door in the wardrobe back to the main house. Somehow this was kept from his son, family and friends.

Apparently, along the way, the major debts he had created were resolved (presumably from life assurance) and more recently a planned move of his wife (and then him) to Panama took place.

Then in the last few days the famous detective work where someone typed "John Anne Panama" into Google and immediately found a picture of them together on the relocation website as a publicity shot. My almost Wordless Wednesday post featured this and I was slightly surprised at the number of non sticky hits based on the 'John Anne Panama' title I gave to the post (tee-hee)...

What I also noticed though, were the number of news-reporter sites set up to trace extra stories about the couple; there is clearly short term money to be made for people who know the couple if they want to sell stories to the Sun, Mirror and even the BBC has a news gathering addition to its blog entries about this story.

Is this another sign of the times, where the media set up fake websites to attract googlers who may know something about a story? I suppose its easier than chasing people along the street with microphones and cameras.

Having said that, Terry McAnish took a tiny 4cm square picture which is on Sky, and I've rendered into a painting summarising the occasion. Here's John, again in hiding under a blanket, being driven by police.
iconic-canoiest.jpg


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Friday, 7 December 2007

salsa

hot salsa
Dancin' days are here again, as the song goes and tonight (tonite?) its Cuban which means mohito fuelled Salsa.

So instead of putting the dancing shoes on, I think the idea is to kick them off and dance in bare feet.

En Nueva York y Chicago
En San Francisco también
En Los Ángeles querido
Y en Miami que pasa
Hey!

Canto a la salsa
Es el ritmo que me hace
Me hace mover
Me hace gozar
Me hace levantar para bailar

or words to that effect.

Here's my gentle iZotope remix to set the scene.
El Cuarto de Tula

britney & rashbre piece of me - brig remix



Yes, from the holodeck and then through the bars of the brig of JLP's Enterprise, Ensign Britney and I decided we'd better make a video as part of our collaboration before we both blasted back off into our own separate news stories.

The video on here is suitably squished for web loading. A slightly better fidelity version is over on MTV here.

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Thursday, 6 December 2007

party time

britney-holodeck.jpg
I've been pretty busy at work recently, but I did manage to get along to the Enterprise Christmas Party over at JLP's on Wednesday. My date was Ensign Britney and we decided even with the theme being Las Vegas, that it would be fun to go along dressed as Pirates.

I managed to take one picture of Brit on the Holodeck, but I'm afraid it came out a bit blurry. The party was a blast and actually its still going on, but I have a couple more this week and need to save myself for Cuba on Friday and then the Masque of the Red Death Ball on Saturday (and probably Sunday as well).

That will be four parties in a week, if I count the impromptu Birthday party for Britney,too.
britney birthday.jpg

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

the long and short of it

london overground
The new London Overground which is like the Underground, but runs at ground level - (similar to railways) - has had a problem surface. Actually its quite a long flat problem surface. But not a very wide one.

The new train service was due to start on 11th November, but has been having a bit of bother with Shepherd's Bush train station. Its the platforms. They've some how been made too narrow to stand upon to wait for the trains.

Apparently measurements of ABCs (Average British Citizens) were taken when the line was first being designed back in the late 1990s. A combination of increases in shopping bag size and some side effects from genetically modified carrots mean that the widths of the platforms are now insufficient for modern commuters.
short platforms at shepherd's bush
The station cost around £65 million to create and now a fairly substantial retaining wall needs to be dismantled and moved back before it can be declared fit for purpose. This is not news to London Connections which alonng with Private Eye reported something was awry back in October.

Part of the problem is the lamp-posts on the already narrow platform that can only be passed by crossing onto the yellow safety zone part of the platform, which is supposed to be kept clear except when boarding a train.

I gather moving the retaining wall back a minimum half metre to widen the platform is estimated to cost £7million. I'm not sure whether sawing down the lamp-posts and putting lights on the wall would do the trick.

Monday, 3 December 2007

iPhone Oyster hack for London

iPhone Oyster Hack for Londoners
Live in London? Use the tube and buses? Then you've got an Oyster card. There's an experiment at the moment to integrate them with phones and Nokia are trying it out with a pilot.

Here's the rashbre central unofficial pilot for iPhone users, but it works fine for other phone makes too.

The iPhone is great. It looks fabulous but in regular use its a bit slippy. So I bought a 'tight fittlng rubberised case' from incase.. Oooh, I hear you cry.

So as an experiment, I've added extra functionality to the phone by inserting my Oyster card into the case before putting it around the phone.

Then simply wave the phone by the Oyster touch-points.

Works brilliantly and makes me smile.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

(b) log

choclog2.jpg
I seem to have spent most the weekend working, apart from our little excursion to Windsor yesterday afternoon.

Aside from the upward vertical rain and fighting through mad shoppers trying to buy scented candles and single pyramid shaped tea-bags for £2.50 each, the main reason was to visit the theatre.

To be honest, it was disappointing. I've seen the same play with different direction and thought a lot of clever allusions in the previous version were not expressed in this equivalent. I suppose it was a late afternoon performance, so perhaps the cast were saving themselves for the evening, but I doubt they would be able to pull a lot more from the hat.

Then time for an early evening bite to eat and we scrambled between various busy venues along by the Windsor Castle until we reached the brasserie by the oddly festooned Christmas tree outside the castle entrance. Here a pleasant supper with jazzy saxophone accompaniment before home to more work until about 23:30.

And more work today, from the start of the day until about four thirty in the afternoon. A short ten minute shopping expedition to buy milk, and my first outdoor sighting of Santa this year, parked with his sleigh outside Tescos.

So mysteriously, a chocolate yule log fell into my shopping basket along with the milk. And that's what I'm eating a slice of right now.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

rashbre radio 2



I'm working again this morning, but hope to be 'let out' this afternoon to head over to Windsor for a while. My 'big project' continues and is still consuming nearly all available time. I seem to have adapted back to a no sleep/little sleep model again at the moment, but I also know when that stops working is when I start to get 'sense of humour' failures - although that has not quite occurred yet.

In other news, 24 hour non-stop rashbre radio now has an overhaul to the new look. Never listened? Its always been there in the little tab at the top of the blog and it can be undocked to be a continuing companion on the desktop. And if you get fed up with my choices you can (a) skip forwardto the next track or (b) change channels!

And now back to the project.