THE BLOGGY BIT... This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular, in the hope that something may strike a chord with you, whether it be graphic design, football or real ale.
Wednesday 31st March 2010 11:17
After months of being in excruciating pain, Tanya finally went into hospital to have her gall bladder removed. Having said that though, since we radically changed our diets some time ago, her gall stones had hardly given her any trouble whatsoever. Nevertheless, the scans she'd had clearly showed a collection of marble-like bile-infested intruders so it was best for her to go ahead and have the whole lot removed.
By the way, the side effects that Tanya had been suffering are a common occurrence with the drug, Domperidone and it's called Oculogyric Crisis... no-one had been able to determine what she was experiencing until now. Pathetic really.
We arrived with a good few minutes to spare, the Spire Hospital is literally up the road for us, less than a mile away. Even though we're both NHS patients, Tanya was incredibly fortunate that this particular hospital specialises in such operations so therefore she would be living the life of a private patient. Nice.
To visit the Spire Hospital website, please click on their creative logo above.
Anyway, I shall report about how the operation went and give you an insight as to just what gallstones are tomorrow, in the meantime, I also want to talk about our day out yesterday, before I went meeting John PFC Westwood.
Yesterday, we decided to explore parts of Hampshire that we'd never been to, particularly as it was going to be the only day of the ones we'd taken off this week where Tanya would still feel comfortable moving around.
First, we headed up to Greywell, a small village that lies on the west bank of the River Whitewater as well as having the recently restored Basingstoke Canal running through it. It actually has its own parish, the smallest in the district, which contains many buildings of special interest such as the Malt House, Greywell Mill and the thirteenth century church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Before looking around the tiny village, we were ravenous so popped into the Fox and Goose and ordered a substantial lunch of Home-cooked Ham, Egg and Chips. Since I was driving, I chose to accompany my meal with half a Best Bitter by the Ringwood Brewery.
For more information about the quaint pub, please click on the pub sign above, a studio painting by sign artist, Peter J Oldreive.
From there, we then drove further afield and ended up at Hartley Wintney, a very tranquil rural village located in north east Hampshire. The parish includes large wooded areas such as Yateley Heath Wood and part of Hazeley Heath as well as the large expanses of common land that feature the famous Mildmay Oaks as its centre that are overlooked by the parish church of St. John. The oaks were planted by Lady St. John Mildmay in 1807 after Admiral Collingwood made an appeal for landowners to plant trees that would provide timber for naval ships.
Tuesday 30th March 2010 18:09
Whilst surfing the net some weeks ago, I stumbled upon an image of John Westwood, the most famous football fan in Britain. Two days previous to that, the cameraman at the Portsmouth v Birmingham City Premiership match had zoomed in on him in the crowd, as he often is, when Pompey matches are televised. I decided it was time to conduct further investigations in the hope that I could track him down and hopefully take some shots of him. After trying to contact him, he returned my call a couple of days later and was more than willing to dress up in his Pompey regalia.
So tonight, I was privileged enough to meet the true eccentric, John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, also known as 'Big John'.
He's a co-owner of a bookshop in Petersfield and that's where we'd arranged to meet tonight. As soon as a blue transit van with 'Play Up Pompey' and Portsmouth Football Club flags pulled in, I knew it had to be John.
At 6' 3", he towered above me and I was met with a very firm handshake and a friendly smile. At the time I thought, "Thank fuck for that" because I have to say, I was incredibly nervous about meeting him.
I took shots of him both inside and outside his flat, just a stone's throw away from his bookshop. Inside his flat was just incredible, it literally is everything Pompey, from the wallpaper to the carpet and from duvet covers to cushion covers. It's almost like walking into a museum. There are framed newspaper clippings on the wall, along with signed photographs, including one of John shaking hands with the legendary late Alan Ball.
All this information was being absorbed whilst John was changing into his familiar attire, the one we all see him wearing at Pompey games. I also noticed numerous scarves pinned on the ceiling and two budgerigars were chirping away, ones that he'd had to order 'especially in blue and white'. He also owns two cats, 'Pompey' and 'Chimes'; the guy is absolutely fanatical, you cannot doubt it for one second.
After about ten minutes, John emerged from his bedroom and said, "Sorry for the wait, Ian, it takes time to make yourself look like a twat". You know what? Some may think he looks stupid, the thing is, there's not an ounce of pretense here, he just couldn't care less what people think of him, he's enjoying himself and that's all that matters. I have the ultimate respect for people like John.
He's a typical working class guy too, the only thing he's materialistic about is Pompey and his memorabilia. He smokes, he drinks and enjoys having a laugh with his mates. When John was 35, a mate of his was decorating his bedroom in Pompey wallpaper and asked John, "Do you realise I'm decorating a 35-year old's bedroom?" John replied, "Yes". His mate then said, "Fair enough" and carried on wallpapering. Now 46, John still has the same wallpaper up and admitted to me that although he was 46, he felt like he was 16.
Once I'd taken several shots within his flat, I suggested that I took a few outside as well, particularly as he'd shown me his garden which contained another Pompey pride and joy, one of the first blue turnstiles that used to be at Fratton Park.
As he was walking down the relatively steep set of stairs from his first-floor flat, I noticed how incredibly humorous it was watching how careful he took each step due to his huge chequered clown shoes. I remarked on how much of a struggle it seemed, only for him to retort, "You should try walking in them when you're fucking pissed".
He told me how he'd ordered these specific clown shoes from a store in America and ended up paying £40 just on the taxation of bringing them into the country, let alone the actual cost of the shoes. When John asked about the actual size of the shoes, the gentleman at the store in America asked, "How far away will you be from your audience?" John replied, "I AM the audience". The American didn't understand, that was until John suggested he 'Googled' him to see why he'd be wearing them which was then met with, "I see".
Originally the chequered shorts were actual chef's trousers but he ended up cutting them down because he wasn't showing all the tattoos he had on his legs. At Pompey's recent FA Cup third round replay tie at Coventry City's Ricoh Arena, the temperature had dropped to -5°C and someone asked John if he was cold. He said he was toasty warm, especially as he had his wig and hat on, and in any case, it was all "mind over matter"... he said, "I don't have a mind, so it doesn't matter".
After taking some shots outside, we then chatted about football and how both our clubs could easily be relegated, the ridiculous nine point deduction that Pompey suffered from going into administration will undoubtedly take them down and Bolton's remaining run of matches could well take them into the bottom three.
We both agreed that the Premiership has well and truly killed the true passion from the game and it's nothing more than a money-making treadmill these days. What really pisses us off is that half of the crowds who attend the matches of the clubs at the higher end of the table haven't a clue about football, and that owning a season ticket is nothing more than a status symbol.
Having spent two and half hours with John, it made me realise that in some ways he's fighting a diminishing cause, showing others that football is all about being passionate about your home town and being proud of your roots. Like John said, "It's great if your team wins, not so good if they lose. Either way, it's a good excuse to get pissed".
Please click on any one of the images to take you to the gallery.
Monday 29th March 2010 19:24
Going back to yesterday's blog, I ended up redrawing the Word Rage logo using shift-command-4, I captured a selection of the logo from my magnified dock and opened the .png via Illustrator and began to redraw.
I then realised I'd never tried to replicate a brushed silver effect in Illustrator and had a good idea that it would be possible. After a quick search on Google, I found a great site that I'd never spotted before, called 'Layers'. It's an online magazine/blog purposely created to include Adobe Creative Suite Tutorials (most of which are in video form, so they're incredibly easy to follow), reviews and resources for photographers, designers, illustrators and developers.
You can subscribe to the magazine which would undoubtedly include much more than what you can access via the website and there's also 'LayersTV', podcasts on Everything Adobe®, that can be launched via iTunes.
Please click on the logo above to find out much more, possibly answers to problems that have pissed you off for quite some time.
Sunday 28th March 2010 22:32
Live streams are great, yet you can encounter many problems with the connection, often losing it completely whilst frantically trying to locate another one. The problem with many is that you need extra software to combat this, usually because your proxy and IP address have been detected, therefore the stream is terminated.
There are many programs available to combat this, particularly if you use a PC, yet there are only a handful of software programs out there for Mac. Anyway, if you're a Mac user you can download Rayner Software's 'NetShade™'. You can run the program for free if you opt to use one of the many public proxies available, otherwise there is a small sign-up fee. Just in case you're not familiar with what I'm talking about, NetShade™ allows you to browse and surf the internet anonymously by routing your connection through a proxy server by fetching the webpage from a destination server and passing it back to you. Unlike normal connections, your IP address is logged thus jeopardising the potential security of your computer.
By clicking on the NetShade™ logo below, you can download the program or watch a short video all about how it works.
Rayner Software have other application programs available, they have given some of the them their own classification of 'old software'. Yes, it's a truly basic game compared with what you find on the market these days. 'Word Rage' is another free program available via the Rayner Software website and the objective of the game is to guess words by typing in letters you think it may contain. It's not all as telepathic as it may seem though, you are given the first letter of each five-letter word. You have five guesses in which to determine the word, if the letter square remains grey, the letter is not in the word, if the letter square is yellow, the letter is in the word, just not in the correct place and finally, if the letter square is green, it's in the correct place. Type in an obscure word or a word that just doesn't exist, the timer continues to count down. On level one, the time limit starts at 40 seconds whereas the higher levels only allow 10 seconds.
If it sounds like fun to you, and you own an Apple Mac, please click on the logo above to download the program.
Saturday 27th March 2010 17:30
Today's blog was hopefully going to highlight the great expectations I had of the much-improved Bolton Wanderers team who were facing the current Premiership champions, Manchester United, at the Reebok. Sadly, after a ridiculous Jlloyd Samuel own goal and then two goals by Dimitar Berbatov and a Darren Gibson goal, scored after only 95 seconds of being a substitute, there's no real point because a thrashing of 0-4 at home isn't really worth talking about.
Earlier in the day though, we sat down to watch a British Film that was made in 1998 and directed by Ken Loach. The film was voted as being one of the 100 best British films made and did win the best British Independent Film Award with its main actor, Peter Mullan (now of 'The Fixer' fame), winning awards for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival and an Empire Award for Best British Actor.
The film is classed as a drama romance but I'd go as far to say that that description is incredibly misleading. The other main stars in the film are Louise Goodall, Gary Lewis, Lorraine McIntosh, David McKay and Anne-Marie Kennedy. Rather than romance, the film concentrates on Joe Kavanagh's (Peter Mullan) recovery against alcoholism and his involvement as an amateur football manager. Joe falls for a health worker, Sarah Downie (Louise Goodall) who is trying to help Liam (David McKay), who happens to be Joe's nephew, and Sabine's marriage from falling apart, especially as their toddler child has been caught up their problems with drugs and the debts that came with it.
As the storyline is based within a tough Glaswegian neighbourhood, it comes with the obligatory slang, so much so, I struggled to understand some of the dialogue (as a matter of interest, it was subtitled in the US), particularly as the members of Joe's football team, excluding David McKay, had no previous acting experience and were local residents, some of whom had been drug users themselves.
Please click on the IMDB logo above to watch the trailer and listen to the dreadful American narration that makes the film sound all self-indulgently sentimental.
Friday 26th March 2010 18:36
Founded in 2002 by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit, UnderConsideration is one of those sites that you just love returning to, especially if you have a strong interest in graphic design and all that surrounds it. The couple were both born and raised in Mexico City and met through graphic design and have since devoted their lives to working, writing or just basically obsessing about it, although they did manage to have a child in that time.
Before establishing UnderConsideration, Bryony and Armin had worked in the industry for ten years, soaking up the knowledge and experience in various fields such as corporate and brand identity, web design, packaging, as well as magazine and book design. They currently run the 'Department of Design' as UnderConsideration's creative services outlet and Armin lectures on a range of topics that has taken him around the globe. They both regularly serve on design juries for a wide range of national competitions as well.
The website is a growing network that dedicates itself to the evolution of graphic design and is well worth a visit, plus there are many offshoots from the site that cover specific fields within design. Please click on the logo above to find out more.
The most popular division of UnderConstruction is 'Brand New', its sole purpose is to document and voice their opinions on corporate and brand identity work. Although the majority of their focus covers identity design, they do choose a modest amount of packaging as well. They cover both redesigns, showing before and afters and new designs. The site also acts as a true blog where you can voice your own opinion about a particular design, if you so wish. (A bit like here then? - Ed, who's feeling a little sarcastic).
Brand New is a spin-off from what used to be known as 'Speak Up' and has been published since October 2006. Back in those days, the site's most vehement debates happened to be based around the redesigns of logos and although the fire that sparked off those threads was popular, many had an aversion to it claiming they were merely bitch-fests. To me though, anything that changes leaves itself wide open to criticism and let's face it, they're only opinions anyway.
For more information and the likelihood of becoming totally hooked, click on the logo above.
Thursday 25th March 2010 16:50
There are many font foundries out there, each possessing that special ingredient when it comes to creating your own corporate identity or just choosing that special font that helps deliver your message.
PSY/OPS® is one of those font foundries, in fact, having only discovered it today, I'd say that it has to be one of the best around. Not only do their fonts set them apart from many other foundries, their website and ultra-cool logo are superbly designed.
The foundry showcases the work of type designers from their San Franciscan office and beyond, with the focus being on text and display systems which are deep-rooted yet provide something new and alternative.
So why the name, PSY/OPS? Well, it stands for Psychological Operations because type is a powerful modification tool and although the power of it may be somewhat transparent to the consumer, it's totally transcendent to the designer who knows typographical power.
For more information, please click on the logo above - by the way, the font for the logo is Reform Heavy and can be purchased via the website.
Wednesday 24th March 2010 07:43
So, if you had to choose the best British film ever made, what would it be? What exactly would you class as a British film? Well, the BFI (British Film Institute) established themselves back in 1933 in the hope to promote an appreciation of British film and television heritage. The BFI's National Archive is the largest archive of moving image material in the world and since the collection first started in 1935, it now includes over 275,000 films, 210,000 television programmes, seven million photographs and 15,000 posters.
Rather than deliberate for some time, in 1999 the British Film Institute surveyed 1000 people from the world of British film and television in order to compile the BFI Top 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Not all the films chosen were quintessentially British, yet they were classed as being 'culturally British' or had British involvement in some way.
The results were very interesting and revealed that the 1960s was the most popular decade, yet 1963 and 1971 proved to be the most popular years, each having four films made in those years. The earliest film chosen was 'The 39 Steps' from 1935, one of only three films chosen from the 1930s. Out of the 100 films, David Lean was the most popular director, with an impressive seven films and the most represented actor was none other than Sir Alec Guinness starring in nine films, although three of those were supporting roles. Julie Christie was the most represented actress with no fewer than six films to her credit.
As to just how many of the 100 films I've seen, it's difficult to say, especially as some of them are so old now. Top of the list was 'The Third Man', a 1949 film directed by Carol Reed, one that I can't say I've seen. At number ten it's Danny Boyle's 'Trainspotting', one that I know I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed. Others on the list include such classics as, 'The Killing Fields', 'Kes', 'Educating Rita', 'A Clockwork Orange', 'The Day of the Jackal', 'The Railway Children', 'The English Patient', 'Brazil', 'Dr. No', 'A Fish Called Wanda', 'The Commitments', 'Gregory's Girl', 'The Full Monty' and 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. I suspect that the odd Guy Ritchie film may well appear if the list was to be compiled again.
For more information about the British Film Institute, please click on their rather cheesy logo above - I much preferred the older one without the shitty lens flare. Yuk!
Tuesday 23rd March 2010 22:11
Havant Camera Club had their 4th and final competition of the season of PDI (Projected Digital Images). Once again, I'd entered two outrageously manipulated abstracts, created from two images of mine.
Despite the experience of the judge(s), most of them choose to give low marks because they "Don't get them", or "Cannot understand what it's meant to be". Now then, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't that the whole fucking point of abstract?
Anyway, I shouldn't rant because all eight of the images that I've entered this season were purely entered on nothing more than a fun and experimental basis. It was sheer luck that I managed a '10' with my 'Northern Lights' image earlier in the season.
Tonight's entries were manipulated from two images from within my galleries. The first, 'Sparks' was manipulated from this month's POTM, 'Pair' and gained a staggeringly high mark of 6½/10 (the lowest of the evening). The second, 'Autocolour' is a manipulation of my 'Autocurves' shot which was the rear end of a VW Beetle. This one did surprisingly well and gained an 8½/10, a very pleasing mark, even though I felt 'Sparks' had the edge.
Monday 22nd March 2010 22:16
Whilst buying a few things at Tesco yesterday, I also bought a handful of beer, two new real ales I hadn't tried, along with a foreign lager that I liked the look of, plus the name really appealed to me as well.
I'm not a particular fan of Stella Artois, yet when I was in Brussels over fifteen years ago, I had several pints of it and decided there and then that the Belgians certainly knew how to brew decent ale. It's the same with many lagers that are mass-produced, go back to the source and you realise just how much they've destroyed the taste of the majority of them. Anyway, I'll stop ranting like a grumpy old man and get on with telling you about the lager.
Brewed by Brouwery Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium, 'Kwak' is a rich copper-coloured ale, slightly sweet and distinctly malty. At 8.4% ABV, you soon realise the strength of this medium-bodied ale, yet the fruitiness and caramel taste come to the fore. The beer is named after Pauwel Kwak, an innkeeper who came up with the recipe and once brewed the beer that was allegedly held on the sides of stagecoaches in the stirrup cup. Incidentally, the translation of 'Kwak' into Flemish means 'fat'.
To find out more about Bosteels Brewery, please click on the logo above.
As a matter of interest, the 'Kwak' font was designed by Dave Rowland and published by Schizotype. The font is actually called 'Kwaktur' and was specifically designed for the beer. Regular and shadow versions of it are available for around $19.99 each.
If you're interested in purchasing it, please click on the logo above.
Sunday 21st March 2010 09:14
Woke up with the sun shining this morning so we made the most of it and went for a long walk around Havant. Ordinarily, we wouldn't choose Havant as being a place to have a walk, yet there are areas, particularly The Billy Track, Warblington, Langstone and Emsworth that are all part of the borough and are beautiful areas, although we'd chosen New Lane and the town centre itself because we were on a photography mission.
For our Summer Exhibition, Havant Camera Club committee have asked that we, the members, concentrate on the subject, 'The Heritage and History of Havant Borough'. We are able to interpret this theme as widely as we like, as long as the image was taken within the Borough of Havant. We have also been given a brief, highlighting possible subject matters.
I've included a couple of shots I took whilst we were out, and even though they fit the bill with regards to being taken with Havant, they're hardly selling the town for its beauty.
Havant has some very interesting history, much of it was playing a vital part in local commerce, parchment manufacturing and brewing. In 1760, the town suffered a major fire leaving just the church and its adjacent cottages, now known collectively as 'The Old House at Home', which is now a pub. Legend has it that the two main beams within the pub's longe bar were actually recovered from the Spanish Armada and that the 'Bear Post' within once had the last dancing bear chained to it.
The old centre of the town lies on a classic crossroad configuration, with the four streets being named North Street, East Street, South Street and, wait for it, West Street. St. Faith's Church is on the crossing and remarkably close to the hub of the town. South-west of the church, just a short distance away at the end of an area known as Homewell, lies one of several natural springs in the area. Up until 1936, Havant was the leading parchment manufacturer, and in actual fact, the Treaty of Versailles was written on Havant parchment.
To find out more about about Havant Borough Council or to find out about the businesses within the town, please click on the relevant logos.
Saturday 20th March 2010 19:58
Since the weather had decided to become completely shite, especially for the weekend, we'd pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to spend today indoors, doing next-to-nothing.
Just after 10am though, we were alerted to a seagull kerfuffle; they were less than impressed with something that was bothering them. Lo and behold, we found out the cause of the feathered angst... it was a Grey Heron. The lanky-legged bird had only landed on the roof of the house across from us. A remarkable site, for several reasons, one being the fact that Grey Herons are extremely diffident birds. I have since visited an internet haunt of mine, Wild About Britain, in the hope that I can get to the bottom of why the seagulls were so distressed.
Anyway, as you can see, I've included the series of six shots I took.
Later on in the day, we both sat down to enjoy a film, 'Harry Brown' starring the legendary Michael Caine. As British films go, this is one of the best, for it played with my emotions, most of which left me feeling angry and wanting to put the world to rights.
Set in modern-day Britain, the film follows one man's day-to-day life within a society of crime, drugs and guns. Harry Brown is a retired Marine who has always been on the right side of the law. Yet when his best mate, Leonard, is murdered by the gang of thugs that rule the depressed estate where he lives, he becomes driven to take the law into his own hands and put an end to the misery that they continue to cause.
For more information about the film, please click on the movie poster above.
Friday 19th March 2010 21:42
Sport Relief celebrated their fifth biennial charity event tonight, in association with BBC Sport. The three-day event brings the worlds of sport and entertainment together to raise money for the desperate needs of people both in the UK and the world's most deprived countries.
The Sport Relief mile still remains at the heart of the campaign, sponsored by Sainsbury's. A modest 81,000 people took part in the very first Sport Relief mile, originally built around the 50th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister's sub-four minute mile. Since then, the event has attracted more than 400,000 participants.
For more information about Sport Relief, please click on the logo above.
The televised event was incredibly entertaining, particularly 'Smithy' (James Corden) taking a huge chunk of the limelight when he received 'Coach of the Year' at the Sports Personality of the Year awards night. Obviously the whole thing had been scripted and brilliantly so too. A huge amount of admiration goes out to the many sportsmen and women who contributed to making it one of the funniest things I've seen. The commitment of David Beckham, Andy Murray, the Manchester United squad and many others, including those in the Sports Personality of the Year audience was outstanding.
I could go on, but I won't, so click on the SP09 logo above to watch it. There is an hour-long video that can be downloaded via iTunes on the Sport Relief website that includes the making of the whole sketch.
Thursday 18th March 2010 12:37
Whilst working on a visual today, I had to depict an area where a Velcro patch would be. 'Velcro' is actually a registered brand name, yet it's used as commonly as 'Hoover' because both have become genericised trademarks as the brand name has become the generic term. Any company producing 'Velcro' other than the company itself, has to call it 'Hook and Loop', or similar. For the moment though, I'm going to call it 'Velcro', purely because I just cannot be arsed having to type 'Hook and Loop' every time I mention it.
Velcro consists of two layers, a 'hook' side and a 'loop' side. Both sides are usually made of either Nylon or polyester, although the first samples to be produced were made of cotton and proved totally impractical. One side is covered with tiny hooks, the other looks hairier with loops of fabric (see my photograph below). When the two sides are pressed together, the loops catch on the hooks, forming a strong bond in the process, so much so, some Velcro fasteners are used on such things like the space shuttles. The product is actually strong enough for a 2" (approximately 25mm) square piece to support a 12½ stone (79 kg) person.
So, how did Velcro happen? Was it invented? What does the name mean? (Like anyone cares - Ed). Well, the name Velcro is actually a portmanteau of two French words, 'velours' and 'crochet', for they have reference to how it works. With that bit of trivia, you'd half expect it to have been invented by a Frenchman, yet this is not the case. You could argue that nature itself invented it, because if it wasn't for the burdock plant and a dog, it may never have been discovered.
Back in 1941, a Swiss Engineer, George de Mestral, who lived in Commugny, Switzerland, was out with his dog, returning from a hunting trip in the Alps. Once home, he noticed that the burrs (the seeds of a burdock) had become attached to both his clothing and his dog's fur. After examining them under a microscope, he noticed how the hundreds of 'hooks' on the burrs had caught on anything with a 'loop', such as clothing , animal fur, or hair. He then saw the possibility of binding two materials together in the same fashion, once he could work out how it could be produced.
Unfortunately, most refused to take his idea seriously and it wasn't until he took a trip to Lyon, a city well known for its weaving, where it eventually took over ten years to produce a product that efficiently worked. In between this time, he developed the idea, created bespoke looms that would manufacture it to perfection, although there were times where he almost gave up on the whole idea.
To find out much more about Velcro, please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 17th March 2010 07:39
It's hard to escape the fact that it's St. Patrick's Day today, probably because it has to be one of the most celebrated days of the year, although it may come a close second to how the English celebrate St. George's Day (Is that sarcasm? - Ed)
Worldwide, there are parades, fun runs, music festivals and, most importantly, a hell of a lot of Guinness drunk. Why though? Why is it celebrated the world over? Well obviously it wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the man himself and the fact that he spent six years of slavery in Ireland before he managed to escape and undertook religious training abroad. St. Patrick's Day is now associated with everything that is Irish, from anything green and gold to shamrocks and luck. The main reason that it is a traditional day, especially in Ireland, is for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries and loved ones overseas.
'Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig' is the Gaelic way of expressing a wish that you have all the blessings of St Patrick's Day and the 'luck of the Irish' to go with it. As to whether there is any truth in 'the luck of the Irish' is another story, in fact, it could be one of several stories. Some say that finding or catching a leprechaun was a lucky event because you would be given gold. Another theory is that the Irish are descendants of great Celtic and Viking warriors and invaders and their natural fighting skills often ensured survival, hence being lucky. There are many other theories as well.
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is more of a religious holiday, where many attend mass, and virtually all businesses, with the exception of pubs and restaurants, close for the day. As I said earlier, the day is celebrated across the globe, but why March 17th? Common folklore suggests that it was the day Saint Patrick died and from there, as the Irish spread out around the world, they took their history and celebrations with them.
There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. Another says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey.
Instead of any particular links today, mainly down to the fact that there are many websites devoted to St. Patrick's Day and Saint Patrick himself, I've included the Google graphics from the last five years, as well as the one from this year.
Tuesday 16th March 2010 13:46
Today I want to talk about FIFA, or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association as it's less commonly known. As all football fans will be aware, the World Cup is being hosted by South Africa this year, the first ever time that a country from that continent has done so.
When I say I want to talk about FIFA, it's not so much the subject of the World Cup or football, it's more about the total monopoly they have on copyright and branding issues. We're talking big here and we're talking major league lawyers, the lot.
Having read an awful lot about copyright laws, registered trademarks and ambush marketing, I can categorically say that there leaves little room for negotiation with regards to even contemplating 'ways around them'. Even if you feel that these can be by-passed, you also have South African laws to contend with, especially one where it is illegal to make, publish or display any kind of statement, communication or advertisement implying any association with FIFA or the World Cup.
FIFA owns all rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as with every World Cup that has preceded this one, this includes all media, marketing, branding, licensing and ticketing rights. Its main sponsors are then granted the appropriate licencing and broadcast rights. These rights cost millions of dollars for any global advertising, promotions and marketing that relate to the event, giving them exclusive association to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, particularly the use of official branding. In other words, unless you have the consent of FIFA, you are not entitled to use its logo or anything relating to the World Cup, such as 2010, FIFA, World Cup, soccer, football, South Africa or any combination of these words. Basically, T-shirts or other items of clothing, with the logo, a football, or anything alluding to the event will be illegal.
One of the most comprehensive websites detailing everything you wish to know about copyright laws is the UK Copyright Service. It is a well-established registration facility, protecting thousands of copyright owners all over the world.
If you have any doubts about where you may stand with your own designs, websites, photography, music, writing or even new ideas, please click on the logo above to find out much more.
Monday 15th March 2010 20:00
Tonight saw Pompey visit Anfield, home of Liverpool FC. Could the Blue Army do what Wigan Athletic did to them last, and that was to win 1-0.
After a fairly promising first 20 minutes, Pompey had defended quite well and shown some promise with their occasional counter-attacks, yet it felt that the players were suffering with a distinct lack of communication and also the prospect of having last won at Anfield in 1951.
Sure enough, in the 26th minute, Fernando Torres scores after an inexcusable blunder by Jamie Ashdown, who really only had himself to blame. In cases such as back passes, a goalkeeper has one chance, and one chance only of hoofing the ball as far upfield as he can. One touch too many, one goal down.
Just two minutes later, Ryan Babel scores a second for the home side as the Portsmouth defence were left in complete disarray, with his toe-poker finding the far corner of the net.
If that wasn't enough, Alberto Aquilani scored a third for Liverpool in the 32nd minute (yes, that's three goals in six minutes). Some nifty work by Torres, a dummy by Steven Gerrard (more about that arrogant twat later), allowed the Italian to sweep the ball firmly into the bottom corner and score his first goal in English football.
In the 35th minute, Torres struck the post with an almighty effort but the scoreline stayed at 3-0 as both teams went in for half-time.
Surprisingly, Pompey kept Liverpool at bay for much of the second half, although they were allowing Liverpool to get in behind them and really penetrate their defence, nevertheless, they held on well, plus they showed promise with some of their offensive play as well.
Just when Pompey felt like they'd steadied an already sinking ship, up pops Torres to score his second goal in the 77th minute, smashing a shot past Ricardo Rocha, who'd given him far too much time on the ball, allowing Torres to step inside the defender.
Pompey did manage (and deserve) a consolation goal in the 88th minute after some well-worked play between Danny Webber and Frederic Piquionne with Nadir Belhadj turning in from a few yards out.
So, that's how the game ended, 4-1, with Steven Gerrard hopefully facing an instant three-match ban after blatantly swinging his elbow and forearm right across Michael Brown's head. It's about time that arrogant, weasel-faced Scouse bully boy faced some discipline. He has a major attitude problem.
Sunday 14th March 2010 22:30
Tanya had become worse overnight with the Bronchitis I'd passed on to her. It basically meant that we could do nothing more than to sit down and enjoy two films we'd been wanting to watch for quite some time.
The first, winner of six Academy Awards, nominated in nine, was 'The Hurt Locker', directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. It stars an all man cast of the United States Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the Iraq War. The main stars of the cast are Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty as members of the EOD unit, following their tour together, contending with the defusing of bombs, threat of insurgency and the general tension and suspense that surrounds them.
Apart from the 'storyline' and the feeling of their suspense, I felt that it didn't really take me anywhere else. The footage was convincing enough though, and for good reason, the film was shot in Jordan, literally miles away from the Iraqi border.
The film did also make it very clear just how difficult it was for many of the soldiers to come to terms with either being situated in Iraq and losing fellow soldiers who'd become close friends and the other end of the scale, where the soldiers couldn't relate to anything but being a soldier. Poignant in places yet I feel there were many other films that deserved the high acclaim that this one received.
For more information about the film, please click on the movie poster below.
So, on to the next film, a science fiction epic, written and directed by James Cameron, set in the year 2154. Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Stephen Lang, 'Avatar' is all about humans who are determined to mine a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush Earth-like moon of the planet Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri star system. The humans have no regard whatsoever as to the implications of expanding the colony and the fact that it threatens the existence of the local Na'vi tribe, a sentient humanoid species that stand at 10ft tall and are indigenous to Pandora. The film takes its title from the genetically engineered Na'vi and human hybrid bodies that have been chosen to interact with the natives of Pandora.
The CGI within the film is excellent, although I'd hardly say it was realistic, more a case of being very well-constructed cartoon characters, if that makes sense. The storyline is typically American blockbuster, with little grit or conviction and it's difficult to work out whether the film has been made for kids or adults. There are parts of the film that annoyed the hell out of me, particularly the Martin Luther King-esque load of shitty bollocks towards the end. There's no need for it. Having slated it somewhat, I have to say that the animals in it are brilliant, particularly the Hammerhead Titanothere and I did like the idea of the floating 'Hallelujah Mountains', surreal stuff.
One last gripe I have about the film... having spent way over budget, Cameron hadn't accounted for the fact that the majority of films have a bespoke font designed and so opted for the groundbreaking 'Papyrus' as the film's font. What a load of turd-coated nipple clamps. I talked about that particular font on the 30th June 2009.
Anyway, without further ado, please click on the movie poster above to find out more about Avatar.
Saturday 13th March 2010 14:32
With Tanya having contracted my illness, it meant that another weekend had been somewhat jeopardised, nevertheless, she was determined to fit in a walk around Emsworth Mill Pond. Once back, she'd resigned herself to stay in for the rest of the day, much like I wanted to do last weekend.
I had told myself that I was due a visit to Southwick Brewhouse (more about what I bought soon), particularly as it had been over a month since my last visit. It also meant that I could do my bit for the environment and nip to our local bottle bank to recycle the nine empty bottles that had been sitting around for a week or more.
The government and local councils are making us more and more aware of just how important recycling is, to the point where household recycling bins have become an integral part of day-to-day life. Surprising though it may seem, the first ever bottle bank in the UK celebrated its 30th birthday on August 24th, 2007. Since the scheme was introduced by Stanley Race CBE and Ron England back in 1977, over 23 billion jars and bottles have been recycled, producing 752,000 tonnes of glass in the process.
A government-funded national week of action, called 'Recycle Now' coincided with the 30th anniversary and has since encouraged more and more people to recycle.
Before marching you off to learn more about bottle banks and glass recycling, the UK is actually rather good at it, currently recycling around 50% of container glass, such as bottles and jars and whilst this figure has doubled over the last five years, it's still some way behind other countries, particularly Switzerland and Finland, who manage to recycle more than 90%. However, domestic waste glass, known as cullet, is often overlooked by the UK business sector with bars, restaurants and pubs currently throwing away 600,000 tonnes of glass every year, with most of it ending up in landfill. Recycling just two bottles can save enough energy to boil enough water for five cups of tea!
Do your bit and visit the Recycle Now website, by clicking on the logo above, to find out much more about what you can do about your recycling habits.
Friday 12th March 2010 19:21
It's a while since I've talked about adverts I like... strangely enough, they're like buses tonight because I'm not just going to talk about one, there are two that have struck a chord with me recently and for very good reason. Not only are the 'soundtracks' brilliant, the filmography of both is just exceptional.
First up is the latest Guinness advert, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Ltd agency, directed by Johnny Green with Knucklehead being the production company with filming taking place in New Zealand, Canada and Fiji. In Canada, it took three months of preparation before any filming began, with five helicopters and 30 four-wheel drives being needed to manoeuvre cast and crew, even then, it still took 2½ hours to cover just 28 miles (45km) in vehicles, as driveable access was uninsurable.
It starts with a man lighting the fuse of a large Rocket firework; a 'Rocket' scientist was recruited to work with the SFX team, this then explodes with a starburst, producing a large brown swirling cloud, initiating a group of men to begin constructing a planet. From there, they then split the earth into ravines and populate the oceans with fish and sea fauna. The underwater shoot in Fiji took three days to film and four months to create the CGI for the darting fish. The advert then cuts to men carpeting the land with grass, although it seems somewhat ironic since it took 45 women six days to stitch the artificial grass together. When it came to filming the forests being raised, the temperature had dropped to -30° resulting in some of the trees snapping because it was too cold. Finally, after the birds are released into the sky... the swirling effect from a huge waterfall then transforms into a pint of Guinness.
To view the advert, please click on the Guinness logo above.
So, on to the second advert, set using a dark and moody sequence at night, accompanied with the brilliant 'Martha's Dream' by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, from the soundtrack of the film, 'The Proposition'.
It's narrated by Josh Brolin, star of Oscar-winning movie 'No Country For Old Men' with Brolin concentrating on the concept of 'presence', effortless and subtle with the message... at which point a Mercedes moves across the scene. Mercedes-Benz have launched this campaign in the hope to make their cars more appealing to a younger generation of drivers, this being the first of three films, the other two focussing on 'attraction' and 'ambition'.
To watch the stunning advert, please click on the logo above.
Thursday 11th March 2010 19:48
You may well have noticed that I've not talked about real ale for some time. It's quite some time since I tried something totally new, for the rotation of stock in our local supermarkets seems to have died a death. Having said that though, every now and again, I have started to sample some of the world's lagers.
Now then, I can see all you real ale drinkers cursing me, and in some respects, I don't blame you, yet there are some lager breweries out there that actually brew some incredibly decent-tasting lagers. The lager I'm going to review today is 'Tusker Lager', bottled and brewed by EABL (East African Breweries Ltd), based in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The lager has been brewed in East Africa since 1922 and is named after the elephant that killed George Hurst, one of the founders of the brewery. Now established as one of the first beers to be brewed in East Africa, this 4.2% ABV beer has become part of their culture. It's brewed with high quality malt, made from equatorial barley grown at the base of Mount Kneya, along with water that springs from the Aberdare mountain ranges.
To find out more about the gold medal winning lager, please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 10th March 2010 06:04
Aren't archives brilliant? I'm sure we all 'back-up' or have our very own archives of stuff on our computers. Apart from junk, for instance, I pretty much keep every email I receive, although since Apple introduced its wonderful 'Time Machine' application, I needn't worry about stuff like that any more.
Tenuously connected, yet true; I happened to be hunting around to find out the 'Strepsils' font and nobody on the WTF Forum seemed able to help, until someone came along who'd found the actual page via the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organisation that was founded to build an internet library, offering permanent access for researchers, historians scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public as a whole to historical collections that exist in digital format.
Founded in 1996, the San Franciscan outfit has received data donations from Alexa Internet and many more. Some three years later, they then started to expand further by including more well-rounded collections such as texts, audio, moving images and even software in some cases.
The section of the site that I want to talk about today is the 'Wayback Machine'. Here you're able to browse through over 150 billion pages (not in one night though) which have been archived from 1996 right through to a few months ago. All you have to do to start searching is type in the URL of a site or a specific page that you'd like to look at and then choose from the archived dates available (you can opt for a specific year or use the default setting of 'all'). The results then point to the archived page(s) of that site/page.
Click on the logo above and reminisce away!
I actually managed to find many pages from my old sites, as well as my animated logos, some of which are featured below! Brought a smile to my face... can't believe it's eight years ago since I first had my own website!
Tuesday 9th March 2010 11:09
Stumbled upon a rather interesting website this week, about a non-government organisation that strives to preserve our archaeological heritage. The Nautical Archaeological Society is dedicated to promoting and educating the archaeology at all levels and has funded ways of improving techniques, particularly in excavating. I'm sure that the first divers to visit wrecks such as The Mary Rose and The Titanic must have had feelings of both excitement and apprehension.
The NAS, based in Portsmouth, allows you to access a wealth of information that can be found beneath sea level. Membership with them also includes practical training in nautical archaeology within the Portsmouth area but also gives you the opportunity to join in with field projects both in the UK and on an international level.
Before clicking on the logo above, I want to explain that the image in the logo is one of a 7th century BC merchantman found on a bichrome Cypriot jug. The ship depicted within is carrying items rarely represented, but commonly found on Mediterranean seabed, namely amphora and stone anchors.
Monday 8th March 2010 08:13
Well blow me down with a Flymo, it wasn't a chest infection after all, it was Acute Bronchitis, an infection of the bronchial tree. The bronchial tree is comprised of the tubes that carry air into your lungs, and when these tubes become infected, they swell, and mucus forms inside them, making it difficult to breathe. Unlike Chronic Bronchitis, Acute Bronchitis lasts a short time (several weeks or less), whilst the Chronic form is long-lasting and often recurring, especially if irritated by smoking. Luckily, for me, it's almost two and a half years since I last smoked and I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to start again.
The website I'm going to provide a link to today is an American one and it won me over for two reasons, the first was that it appears to be incredibly comprehensive about most ailments, the second is that, unlike most of the medical websites, they've actually spent a little time on their logo as well. All the information provided on the website has been written and reviewed by physicians and patient education professionals at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Please click on the logo above to find out more, unless of course, you're a hypochondriac.
Sunday 7th March 2010 13:15
More about the two remaining FA Cup quarter final fixtures and me harping on about still being ill.
Exciting stuff, coming soon... Can't be arsed to talk about the the other two FA Cup quarter finals now... apart from sharing the results that is. The early kick off had Aston Villa visiting Reading and although Reading were 2-0 up at half time, Aston Villa somehow managed to turn the game around in the second half and win 2-4. Pissed off as well, for I wanted Reading to win. The other game which proceeded was the final game of the quarter finals between Chelsea v Stoke City, played at Stamford Bridge... Chelsea won 2-0 with goals from Frank Lampard and John Terry. (Thought you couldn't be arsed talking about them?! - Ed)
In the meantime, Strepsils have now joined my line of defence, so please feel free to click on the logo above and watch a strange cartoon character, who goes by the name, 'Mr T'. He has a permanently soothed throat, yet one of his eyes (depending on which way he's facing) seems to be perpetually hovering above his head.
On the Strepsils website, he explains how the throat runs from the back of the mouth to the top of the respiratory and digestive tracts and has three main parts - the tonsils, pharynx and larynx. It's the main highway for air, dust and food but with a filter lane for any bacteria, viruses and other irritants that may have got on the road. With this in mind, it can flare up from time to time.
To visit the rather funky Strepsils website, please click on the logo above.
Saturday 6th March 2010 02:23
Yes, look at the time of this blog... all down to the fact that my ailment became gradually worse over the course of yesterday evening and into the early hours, to the point where it felt like I was in a hallucinatory state. Since going to bed at about 10:30 last night, I'd been drifting in and out of sleep, sweating like a pig in bed and suffering with an intensely sore throat and an explosive nose.
Even though I thought I was on the mend on Friday afternoon, Tanya insisted that I made an appointment with my GP and I'm so thankful I did, particularly as I managed to grab a cancellation at 8am on Monday morning. I know I have a chest infection which will mean being treated with antibiotics, yet again; meaning the third course since the beginning of December. Not good.
Anyway, the fact that I felt so shit meant that it was a day spent watching television... two FA Cup quarter final matches... one of which was bordering on compellingly boring, the other being the complete opposite. In between the two matches, I also managed to watch the West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers Premiership tie, played at West Ham's home, Upton Park. The game was pretty much decided within the first 15 minutes with goals from Kevin Davies, a powerful header in the 10th minute and an acrobatic finish by Jack Wilshere in the 15th minute. The game ended 1-2 to Bolton, after Alessandro Diamanti curled in a superb strike in the 88th minute. Nevertheless, it was a priceless win for Bolton and steadies the boat somewhat in the relegation battle.
Back to the FA Cup, the midday kick-off between Portsmouth v Birmingham City was the first of the four quarter final matches to be played this weekend (Four quarter final matches? Spooky - Ed) With the ongoing administration problems at Pompey, the team desperately needed to win this tie, for self belief and dignity, as well as the obvious financial gain.
The first half left me with little to shout about, except, perhaps, something like, "wake up, you're all half asleep". Having said that though, Frederic Piquionne was by far the best player on the field. Sure enough, the second half started off lively and continued that way with both teams playing as if they actually wanted to win. Someone actually commented that Birmingham were playing for the draw, since they thought Portsmouth wouldn't be able to afford to travel to the replay. Harsh, yet quite funny all the same.
So, in the 67th minute, after a pathetic corner, John Utaka poked a weak shot towards goal. Joe Hart then tried to smother it, only for Scott Dann to slide in too, the ball was then forced upwards due to the collision which Hart then tried to kick out of the way, only it fell into the path of Piquionne to tap in from two yards out. A crap goal but a vital one nonetheless. Could Pompey do it?
Sure enough, just three minutes later, Jamie O'Hara picked out Piquionne with a superb pass, leaving him one and one with Liam Ridgewell, the striker dummied the defender by dropping a shoulder and leaving him standing. Well inside the area, he delayed his shot as Ridgewell returned, dummying him once again and then shot, with the ball going under Ridgewell and between the exasperated 'keeper's legs. Delightful finish.
In the 81st minute, Birmingham had a perfectly acceptable goal disallowed, which became a huge debate post-match. If it had been given, it may well have provided the impetus that Birmingham needed... who knows? So the quarter final tie finished Pompey 2-0 Birmingham City... a well-deserved result and the first of four clubs to reach the semi-finals that will be played at Wembley Stadium.
Friday 5th March 2010 10:32
There was a televised news article during the week that included a particular MP who happens to be the Shadow Schools Secretary. I usually avoid politics like the plague, for the majority of them are paid to talk utter bollocks, Michael Gove being the exception. Not only does he talk utter bollocks, he's a jumped-up prick with one of those faces that you'd be more than happy to pummel all day. Oh, and the hair either side of my arsehole has more style than the sad excuse he has for a haircut.
Not only did I take an instant dislike to him, his persona and aura made my blood boil. He's condemned lads' mags for a start, stating that they, 'encourage young men to think like primitive beasts'. Hey, I'm 42 and they encourage me to think that way as well, you ageist bastard. He also said that publications such as 'Zoo' and 'Nuts' were guilty of, 'reinforcing a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women'. What the fuck is wrong with you? Have you been sent from the Victorian times or something? These women choose, yes, choose to reveal their breasts, let them get on with it, and in the meantime, become a priest or something.
Delving into his past, it turns out that one of his antics in the past ended up with the vivid headline ‘Union hacks in five in a bed romp shocker’. It was an article published in the Oxford student newspaper Cherwell which claimed that in January 1988, when Michael Gove was just 20 years old and president of the Oxford Union debating society, was one of a group of student politicians who ended up in bed together after a ball. When the Daily Mail confronted him with it, he apparently muttered, "I had better get back to you on that one". Surprisingly, he was later unavailable for comment.
So, he looks like a prick, is a prick and has double standards. Typical MP if you ask me.
Thursday 4th March 2010 02:54
In the early hours of this morning, my body decided to let a virus into it. Take note of the time, that's when it eventually made it increasingly difficult to breathe without violently coughing. Fucking detest being ill, it's not that I cannot cope with the illness, it's just the lack of sleep and rawness of the throat and all its accessories.
The only other thing I detest more is when clever fuckers think you're making a meal of it... you long for nothing more than for them to become afflicted to it, in the hope that it may also be exacerbated in the process. Twats.
Click on any of the logos to find out what sort of shit I'm taking to alleviate it.
Wednesday 3rd March 2010 19:30
Tonight saw England's international friendly against Egypt at Wembley Stadium. Today was also World Maths Day (or Math Day, depending where you're from). All in all, I was hoping for a large accumulation of goals, obviously in England's favour.
Anyway, back to World Maths Day for the moment. The website can be accessed from all over the world, although it appears as if it's only available in English (not that numbers particularly change from language to language), nevertheless, the wording on the website is all in English, so I'd go as far to say as the results are determined by English-speaking foreigners.
What happens is that students aged between the brackets of 5-8, 9-13 and 14-18 take part in an online competition. Students can play at home or at school against other students around the world in live games of mental arithmetic. Each game lasts for a minute and students are able to play up to 500 games (that's if they have the time!), earning points for each correct answer. Obviously the students who answer the most questions correctly, appear in the Hall of Fame. Having looked at the final results, it was great to see an entry from the United Kingdom in amongst the top ten, although nine entries in the top one hundred is piss poor. As a matter of interest, the United States managed fourteen and Hong Kong had an impressive four just in the top twenty alone.
To find out more, please click on the logo above.
On to the football now. This would be England's last game of any kind until the World Cup finals begin in South Africa in a hundred day's time. The match started high tempo but it wasn't long before England were making schoolboy errors; short passes with no weight behind them, losing the connection they needed and generally looking confused and lacklustre. Sure enough, this is how England continued to play throughout the whole of the first half, giving Egypt the incentive, which they took with venom in the 22nd minute when Mohamed Zidan powered home a great strike.
In the second half, Fabio Capello made some strategic changes, the most effective being the change from Jermain Defoe's disappointing contribution with 6ft 7in Peter Crouch. Suddenly the hosts were actually playing as if they wanted to win, especially with the intorduction of James Milner, Michael Carrick and Shaun Wright-Phillips. It wasn't long before England penetrated Egypt's defence with nothing short of a superlative goal by Peter Crouch in the 55th minute, courtesy of some excellent build-up play from Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry.
Just short of twenty minutes later, Shaun Wright-Phillips managed to put away a great volley in the 74th minute after Egyptian 'keeper Essam El Hadary had parried out a stinging shot by James Milner. Crouch then went on to score his second goal in the 79th minute, albeit from what looked to be an offside position, lifting his current international tally to an impressive 20 goals in 37 internationals. The match ended 3-1 to England although I have my doubts as to whether they have a legitimately high expectations for their progression in the World Cup.
Tuesday 2nd March 2010 22:40
Tim Burton. A rather famous chap in many respects, especially within the film industry. Famous for directing such dark and peculiar films like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, he's also produced blockbusters including Batman, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The American director frequently works with his close friend, Johnny Depp and partner Helena Bonham Carter with his next film, Alice in Wonderland, due for release this month, stars both.
As well as being an incredibly successful film director and producer, he's also taken his had to writing, albeit on a much smaller scale and, quite surprisingly, he's an excellent artist as well, having said that though, he did attend the California Institute of the Arts.
He created 'Stainboy', of which there are a series of Flash animation shorts that were animated by Flinch Studios. The character originally appeared in two short poems in the book 'The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy' that he also created and illustrated. Stainboy works for the Burbank police where he is given a brief and then ordered to investigate and bring in social outcasts.
By clicking on Stainboy (pictured above), you can view some of the series.
Tim now has his own online art gallery, featuring Stainboy in an interactive section where you can walk him into a building and view a public gallery and a private gallery (you will need to provide an email address to access that one). There's some stunning work within, despite it being rather small to view, even when you do click on works within the gallery, the pop-up window is still on the small side.
Nevertheless, it's well worth a look and can be accessed by clicking on the logo above.
If you're more than impressed with the work you see, you can always buy it via Steeles Publishing. There are 430 pages, plus foldouts, as well as there being over 1000 of his illustrations, giving you the opportunity to have a comprehensive look at his personal and project artwork. With limited quantities, copies will not be sold in bookstores, they will only be available via steelespublishing.com.
Please click on the Steeles Publishing logo above to find out more.
Monday 1st March 2010 19:48
First of all, to the growing number of Welsh visitors, happy St. David's Day.
Hands up, how many of us at some point have Googled ourselves? Thought so. I suppose the weirder the name, the more chance you have of finding yourself, where you appear and maybe the websites you frequent. I'm sure some of my audience, particularly the Welsh, would rather that not be known, after all, how embarrassing would it be so see all those male voice choir hits?
I'm sure the results would be rather easy to find if say, you shared the same name as a girl that was in the same form as me at secondary school called Deandre Crank (I kid you not - strangely enough, getting married was one of the first things she did when she left) and, in my sister's year, the year below me, there was a lad called... Wayne King... seriously.
Anyway, where's all this going? Well, some weeks ago, I stumbled upon a website called 'Pipl' and have wanted an opportunity to talk about it.
The site works within what's commonly known as 'the deep web', which refers to the vast repository of cyberspace's underlying content, such as documents in online databases, those that the usual web crawlers cannot detect. Remarkably, or not so, as the case may be, the deep web content has been estimated at being 500 times the size of the 'surface web', mostly undiscovered due to the limitations of the more common search engines.
Pipl is one of those sites that explores 'the deep web', making it possible for you to search for lost relatives, ex-classmates, business contacts or even old flames.
Please click on the logo above to find out more.