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.

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Monday 28th February 2011 21:56

Whether it's to do with age, diet, or a mixture of both, it seems to be more and more apparent that Tanya and I have slight intolerances to certain food types, to the point where it can actually make us feel very ill.
It appears (although I'm no expert) that we both may well have problems with Gluten and Sulphite… we'll have to see if there's any credence in that statement though.

allergy UK

There are several food allergy sites out there, namely the Food Standards Agency that has an awful lot of information devoted to every kind you can think of. Nevertheless, I want to talk about the leading medical charity for people with allergies, food intolerances and chemical sensitivities, and that's Allergy UK.
The charity is led by group of leading medical specialists determined to improve awareness, management, and treatment of allergy formed the British Allergy Foundation as a registered charity in 1991 and in May 2002, the operational name of the Foundation was changed to Allergy UK.

Allergy UK is governed by the Board of Trustees who deals with all the business aspects of the organisation. All decisions on medical and scientific matters in which the Foundation is involved are made by the Health Advisory Panel. Members of this panel include leading allergists, dermatologists, immunologists, paediatricians, GPs, nurses and dieticians.
To find out more, please click on the logo above.

Sunday 27th February 2011 18:17

Do you know what? Even for someone like me, in their forties, it seems hard to comprehend when the last time something of any significance was achieved outside of my lifetime. That's not meant to sound old and wise with a hint of arrogance, it's meant in a surprised sense.
So, what the hell am I talking about? Well, I'm talking about this afternoon's Carling Cup Final between Premier League teams, Arsenal and Birmingham City. Kick-off was around 4pm, if I'm not mistaken, and the match was played at Wembley… no surprises so far, I admit.

After 28 minutes of play, and some wonderful passing by Arsenal, it was Birmingham City who broke the deadlock, with a very well taken header by 6' 8" striker, Nikola Zigic… the Arsenal defence just couldn't handle him. Not only that, the odds-on favourite team to win were playing as if they had Sunday League opposition… complacency at its most ridiculous. The best play from Arsenal came after the 39th minute when Robin van Persie somehow managed to score a superlative goal from what looked to be an impossible angle… the teams went into the break at 1-1.

carling cup

It became even more apparent that Arsenal thought they could breeze through this and win the Carling Cup, yet Birmingham had other scripts and eventualities on their minds and, I must say, it appeared as if the two sides would battle it out in extra time, with the possibility of it going to penalties… that was until centre-half, Laurent Koscielny who looked as if he was going to clear a long ball from Birmingham's 'keeper, Ben Foster, only to be distracted by his own 'keeper, Wojciech Szczesny… both somehow let the ball spill out, without either making any decisive move… the ball eventually falling to Obafemi Martins, the Nigerian striker on loan from Russian club, Rubin Kazan… he scored the winner in the 89th minute, leaving Arsenal absolutely no chance of a comeback.

(So, what's the significant detail then? - Ed) Yes, sorry… the last time Birmingham City had won any sort of trophy was in 1963, four years or more before I was born, which, when you think about how long ago that was, and the fact that Birmingham City have been in and around top flight football for some years, it's quite astonishing.
To find out more about the Carling Cup, please click on the logo above.

Saturday 26th February 2011 10:03

Some weeks ago, we (Tanya, myself, Damien and Jamie) had all expressed an interest in going to the Winchester Real Ale & Cider Festival towards the end of next month. Since then, we'd had every intention to book some tickets online, yet when we finally came to doing so, the demand had been that high, tickets had only been made available at certain pubs and off-licences within Hampshire.
To find out more about the festival, please click on the festival logo below.

winchester real ale and cider festival

Seeing that Tanya and Abbi had arranged to go to London to sort out Abbi's passport (long story), I'd 'phoned one of the pubs in Southampton, only to be told that they'd completely sold out of the Saturday afternoon session, has had the other pub nearby, although there was every chance that an off-licence called 'Bitter Virtue' still had some left. After a quick 'phone call, they did have enough left for us, so I'd arranged to go and collect them today. Last night, Damien had agreed to come along for the ride, especially as the thought of undiscovered beers played a major factor.

bitter virtue

SatNav helped make it incredibly easy finding the place, although it's at the top end of what appears to be nothing more than a residential street in an area of Southampton called St. Denys. So there we were, about to enter what was another heaven… rows upon rows of shelves filled with real ales… the first section full of ones that neither of us had seen before. After careful consideration (we really couldn't have afforded every single new one there), I chose eight new ones, whilst Damien chose four.
I shall try and spend some time reviewing several we tried later in the day, but for now, please click on the logo above (which I've redrawn somewhat), to find out more...

Friday 25th February 2011 20:48

Friday night is a great night for television, although two of my favourite programmes, 'Question of Sport' and 'Hustle' have ended their current series. Nevertheless, there was still 'QI' and 'Fast and Loose' to watch, as well as Graham Norton later on, with Scouse comedian, John Bishop, being one of his guests.
Anyway, I rewind back to my mention of 'QI'… even though it was a repeat, it had to be one of the funniest from the last series, with guests, Jimmy Carr, Jack Dee, Sue Perkins and, of course, Alan Davies.
The main reason for talking about QI tonight however, is a website that was mentioned, called 'SeeMeRot.com', which has a disturbing strapline of 'Being dead and buried doesn't mean you can't have friends over!' Now then, I have to question the authenticity of this site… yes, there's what appears to be a webcam image on there, which 'refreshes' every ten seconds, and although I think the whole site is a fake, I shall be making regular checks on it to see if there is any change.


Not that this has ever entered my mind to 'Google' before, but I decided to ask the question, "How long does it take the human body to decompose", and the answer all depended on where the body was, i.e. buried or just left for nature to run its course. It also depended on what part of the world the body was in, the Amazonian Rainforest being the quickest. I also found out some very interesting information about how the brain is the first to decompose, whereas tendons and ligaments take an awful long time, with the skeleton and teeth being the only parts left. These can take 40 to 50 years to become dry and brittle in a coffin and, if the soil in and around the coffin is acidic, this would gradually dissolve the bones.
If intrigue gets the better of you, please click on the 'SeeMeRot' logo above...

Thursday 24th February 2011 21:30

At about half past nine, six years ago, my son Ben was born. Spookily, his birthday has tied in with my 300th shot of 365, and although I had every intention of avoiding talking about Ben, it all just seemed to be the right thing to do. I haven't seen him for five years now, so other than being a biological fact, I know nothing about him. I have no idea what he looks like or sounds like, although, by law, the school he attends have to send me his school reports, so at least I have some idea of how well he's doing.


I don't really have the energy to go into why I haven't seen him, it's just one of those facts of life I guess… the mother always ends up better off, despite the angst and despondency that fathers are subjected to. It seems that some mothers use their children as weapons in situations like this… sad really, especially when it's the children who end up missing out on having their other parent in their lives… the fathers are labelled as the ones who don't care, rather than the mother being somewhat spiteful and awkward.
My 300th 365 shot (seen above) is based on Ben, my son.

Wednesday 23rd February 2011 12:26

I have a rant to get off my chest. In fact, it's a pet hate… it basically involves the pistol-grip handheld tape dispenser… or as we call it here, a tape gun. Now then, I have nothing against the implement itself, after all, it's a quick and easy way to dispense tape, saving a huge amount of time, especially trying to locate the end of the tape, after some inconsiderate person hasn't folded the end over, ready for the next time the tape is used. So yes, the 1932 invention of the tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge is a hit with me; well done, John A. Borden, who was a 3M employee at the time. (How is that a rant? -Ed)


Okay… so here's where the rant starts… why do the operators of such a device have to become an complete and utter imbecile? The bugbear I have with tape guns is the noise they generate… it's on a par with the likes of hoovers and washing machines, spawning an unnecessary amount of decibels. The implement is loud enough as it is, so why, oh why, do their operators think that by using it slowly, it becomes quieter? It doesn't, it stays just as loud but for three times fucking longer! The noise generates such an anger inside me, I get to the point where I want to tape dispense the annoying bastard to a gory and adhesive-related death. Here ends the rant.
If you want to become equally as annoying, please click on the logo above to order one of the twits yourself.

Tuesday 22nd February 2011 09:32

Discovered yet another site to do with fonts today, this one uses quite a snazzy font for their logo called Arista, ironically not available from their site (It is from dafont.com though - Ed)
It's much the same any other font site I guess, and it also gives you the option of uploading your own. Within the margins of the pages, it has a tag section as well as including the most popular fonts, the hot fonts and the site's top uploaders.


They also have partnering sites; All Free Logo, Raw Tutorial, Logozu, SchematicX and Drivers Bay. At the foot of the page, there are some very interesting links (albeit some totally PC-related) which are also worth looking at. Other than that, nothing particularly different, but still interesting enough to provide a link to.
For more information, please click on the logo above.

Monday 21st February 2011 21:02

Since it was half term, it meant that my two nieces, Jenny and Hannah, were staying over at my parents house tonight, and a lengthy chat on Skype would be inevitable. There is almost a difference of four years between the two, Jenny soon to be 13, whilst Hannah has just celebrated her ninth birthday. I know I may said ridiculously old but time really has flown.

Both have similar interests, although Jenny expressed an interest at studying to become an architect when she leaves school which surprised me in some respects, but it isn't half good money if you're willing to put in the time and effort. On the other hand, Hannah is probably a little too young to be thinking about career moves, nevertheless, her command of the English language, both oral or written, is exceptional for a person of her age, plus her knowledge of books and reading puts me to shame.

Whilst chatting away, Hannah talked about one of my favourite authors of all time, Roald Dahl. Despite the unusual-sounding name, Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, to Norwegian parents, on the 13th September 1916. Despite being one of top British writers of all time, he was also a fighter pilot, serving for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Remarkably, he became a flying ace and intelligence agent, rising to the rank of Wing Commander.

roald dahl

His list of inspirational works include some of the best-written novels and short stories of all time, as far as I'm concerned; such classics as, 'James and the Giant Peach', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'The BFG', 'Fantastic Mr Fox', 'The Gremlins', 'The Twits' and 'Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator', most of which have had blockbuster film adaptations. On 23rd November 1990, Dahl sadly died of a blood disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, in Oxford and was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. In his honour, the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery was opened in November 1996, at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in nearby Aylesbury.
To find out more about the exceptional man, please click on his logo above (the font, by the way, is called Quentin Blake regular and was created especially).

Sunday 20th February 2011 15:00

This date has always been special to me, despite me never really talking about it before. My Grandma, originally from Thomigsdorf, Czechoslovakia was born on this day in 1915, well before Hitler decided that this part of the world was his. After losing her first husband in the war, she literally fled to England with my Grandad, an English ex-prisoner of war.
Having done some fairly extensive research on the internet, it seems that the village of Thomigsdorf, or Tamichsdorf as it was once called, is now known as Damníkov; once again in the rightful hands of the Czech Republic. During Hitler's reign, it appears as if the town's name was changed to Zkrocení.
With around 700 inhabitants today, Damníkov is a village that lies south west of the city of Lanskroun, in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. It has existence of settlements within the village that date back to 1304 including a documented visit to the Cistercian monastery of King Hall, Zbraslav, by King Wenceslas II.


In 1349 it became a diocese when the fortified Gothic church of St. Procopius was built. However, in 1845, the church was demolished and the dominating Neo-Gothic style St. John the Baptist church was built in its place. The construction was completed in 1898 and parts of the old church were included within the walls of the cemetery. The 33-mile long Moravian Sázava river flows through the village, its source beginning high up in the Eagle Mountains that stand at just over 2500ft.
Today, it would have been my Oma's 96th birthday, sadly though, she passed away in the July of 1999, after struggling with Parkinson's Disease for around ten years of her life. R.I.P. Oma.
To visit the Damníkov village website, please click on the village coat of arms above.

It had been gloomy for most of the day today, yet we decided to venture out to Emsworth once again, particularly as it brightened up a little during the afternoon. It was a pleasant walk and there were an awful lot of people out and about; we both suspected that this was down to it being absolutely horrible yesterday. We spent quite some time taking photographs, mainly because the late afternoon sky had developed a golden glow on the horizon, and the outgoing tide was virtually still, creating a beautiful glassiness. A favourite shot I took can be seen below…


Whilst we were out, I had an idea that the fifth-round tie between Fulham and Bolton was being played, or about to be played, yet my faith in them achieving anything at Craven Cottage was almost non-existent, especially as they'd thumped Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the fourth round. As we arrived back from Emsworth, I quickly turned on my computer to check the latest score and it was 0-1 to Bolton, with about ten minutes to play… I thought about trying to find a live stream but decided it a bad idea, especially as they were winning… I continually checked back to 'flashscores' and, after much apprehension, the game finally flashed up as a result, with yet another Ivan Klasnic goal, scored in the 19th minute, deciding the match… the result meant that Bolton are now through to the sixth round (Don't you mean the quarter finals? - Ed), with a match against Birmingham City which, if they win, will take them through to the semi-finals… we shall see.

Saturday 19th February 2011 17:15

The weather was unpleasant today, however we did manage to get out and have a walk around Emsworth before it got really bad. During the rest of the day, we both spent quite a bit of time on our computers, working on various things.

world lingo

One thing I did want to find out was what some Chinese lettering meant that I'd seen. It looked like four separate letters and I'd been told that it meant, 'Gold, Full, Door, Happiness' and was some sort of Chinese New Year greeting. Having searched on several sites, particularly the free Google translations that are available, I finally found an exceptional translation site, called WorldLingo… plus I rather liked their fairly wacky logo.
Las Vegas-based WorldLingo is a leading innovator and provider of translation and localisation services and technology. Founded in 1998, the company was inspired by an international group of experienced IT and translation professionals and continues to advance Internet translation, providing a seamless conversion for its visitors. The word 'Lingo' by the way, is taken from lingo, a Portuguese descendant of Latin 'lingua', meaning an unintelligible or unfamiliar language… there, who says you don't learn something from this blog?
To find out more, please click on the logo above or, 'pour découvrir plus, cliquez svp sur le logo ci-dessus.'

manchester united v crawley town

Later in the day, I sat down to watch an FA Cup fifth-round tie between Premier League leaders, Manchester United, versus Blue Square Premier League's Crawley Town. Based in West Sussex, literally north of Brighton, Crawley Town had been making the news all week on BBC's 'South Today', and since they were well and truly the underdogs and having to make the journey to 'The Theatre of Dreams', it was a must to watch.
Despite Ferguson fielding a relatively inexperienced squad, I still expected a rout, yet Crawley did give it their all, and although you knew there wasn't going to be any other outcome, you did wonder at times. The game was decided by just one goal and it came from an unlikely source, Wes Brown, in the 28th minute. Other than that, there was little else to report on, apart from Crawley's substitute, Richard Brodie, hitting the bar in the 92nd minute… how brilliant would it have been for a replay at Broadfield Stadium… although I very much doubt it would have been played there since it has a capacity of just 4,996!
Since the Red Devils did so well (yes, they ironically have the same nickname as Manchester United), please click on the club crests above to view Crawley Town's website.

Friday 18th February 2011 22:00

So, yet another weekend was upon us… mad how quickly they come around.
Once home today, Tanya showed me a magazine that had been posted, all about Iceland… when we can eventually afford to get married, it would be an amazing place to spend our honeymoon. A lottery win or substantial windfall would help that along nicely… not unless any of my readers care to contribute around £10K (it can be a joint effort, we really don't mind).

doodles by liz

Anyway, this magazine is called 'Cloud Nine' and as much as the stunning images of landscapes and the like caught my eye, there was an article all about a woman called Liz Lunnon in there. For a number of years, she's been creating her 'doodles' mainly for fun or often as gifts for her friends and family. Recently though, along with some encouragement, she's started to share her doodles with a much wider audience… and I'm so glad she did!
To see how great her artwork is, please click on the image above.

fast and loose

Later on that evening, we sat down to watch our usual montage of entertaining television, including a relatively new improvised comedy series over on BBC2 called, 'Fast and Loose', hosted by Hugh Dennis. Produced by Dan Patterson, the style and format is very similar to that of Channel 4's 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', also produced by him.
The series will consist of eight episodes in total, just two remaining now, and the guests include, Greg Davies, Justin Edwards, Pippa Evans, Humphrey Ker, Marek Larwood (weird, funny man), Jonathan Mangum, Laura Solon and Wayne Brady. For me, there are two very funny regular improvisations… 'Sideways Scene', where the guests lie down on a mat, whilst the studio camera is directed down, making them appear as if they're stood up… very funny indeed, yet the funniest part of the show has to be when David Armand performs his 'Interpretive Dance' by hilariously miming out the words to popular songs. Brilliant… there are many on YouTube, Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' being total genius.
To view the latest episode, please click on the programme's logo above.

Thursday 17th February 2011 07:23

Over the course of the past few days, I'd been working on a new logo design for a new venture called, 'Folding Bikes UK'… the logo also needed to be adapted for EU as well, so I had to bear that in mind. As with every logo design I do, they all start as sketches on various pieces of paper. I like to 'feel the flow' of the letters I'm using, often trying both capital and lowercase letters, as well as incorporating some element of what the company is selling… in this case it's bikes, and they fold.


Bikes have many features to them, wheels, pedals, spokes, gears and so on… so I chose the two main letters of the company name, the 'F' of Folding and the 'B' of Bikes and started to see what I could with them… I ended up with a very rough sketch… as shown above.


Since I knew that it may not be immediately apparent to someone who isn't in tune with graphic design, I decided to incorporate the two 'letters' of the logo into the actual namestyle of the font, hopefully making it immediately apparent to someone who may not have seen the connection in the first place. Having submitted the design, I then collaborated with my client (who, I have to say, has an excellent understanding of graphic design) and it was finally transformed into the finished article, as seen above.
At present, the website is being worked on, so once complete, I shall provide a link.

Wednesday 16th February 2011 19:45

Bolton were playing Wigan once more in a fourth round replay, this time at the DW Stadium, to decide who was going through to the next stage of the FA Cup… the winners of tonight's match, guaranteed a fifth round tie against Fulham, at Craven Cottage. Anyway, to cut a long story short, particularly as I have seemed to cover numerous football matches this month, Bolton managed a slim 0-1 victory, the goal coming from Ivan Klasnic in the 66th minute. Result!


During the match, I was frantically trying to find a live stream of it, to no avail… nor did the BBC seem to be covering the live score on their website. Eventually, after some hunting around, I found a website that was quite amazing… if you're a sports fan that is. It's called FlashScores.co.uk and seems to cover any comprehendible result on the planet!
I've managed to find out little information about the site, although I can tell you it offers live scores and results for over 100 football leagues, cups and tournaments, including (obviously) football fixtures, goal scorers, half time scores and goal sound alerts… and it does all this with a twenty-second refresh.
Please click on the logo above, if you're wanting a full round-up just on one page.

national book tokens

Earlier on, I'd had confirmation that my National Book Tokens order was on its way… yes, a per usual, I totally forgot one of my niece's birthdays. Having built up such a good relationship with them over the past year (online and on the 'phone), I was mortified to find I'd forgotten Hannah's yesterday. So, an National Book Token was on the cards… especially as they're the only gift cards and vouchers accepted in all major bookselling chains and independents across the UK… namely WHSmith, Waterstone's, Blackwell, Easons, John Smith, Hughes & Hughes, to name a few.
If you're planning on not forgetting someone's birthday but do, a book token is a great gift so please click on the logo above to find out more.

Tuesday 15th February 2011 21:16

Whilst catching up with my blog tonight, I wanted to find the exact wording for the line I very much liked in 'The Hangover' movie. In the process of doing so, I stumbled upon yet another great site called 'Hark'.
Hark is an internet media company that allows people to express themselves through creating, sharing and listening to entertaining, informative and timely soundclips either via a computer or a mobile. It has one of the largest collections on the internet and allows users to upload an original soundclip in any format and distribute it to millions of people around the world.


CEO and founder, David Aronchick now has a team of people working at Hark, with two other counterparts, Wes Maldonado, Director of Engineering and Louise ElNaggar, Director of Content. With their expertise, people can now stay up-to-date on recent news snippets or be entertained by humorous outtakes from both the famous and not yet famous. Definitely a site well worth the visit. Look out for the, "I do, it's at the corner of get a map and fuck off." sound clip.
For loads of sound clips, please click on the logo and fuck off to find out more.

Monday 14th February 2011 12:22

Valentine's Day… had a meeting where I freelance that totally clashed with me wanting to 'phone up our local florists to organise a delivery of flowers to Tanya at work. Arse.
Speaking of Tanya's work, I received an email from her boss, Dave, today, which tickled me immensely. It directed me to a website called the 'Daily Mail-o-matic' which is a page that creates random headlines, every time you refresh it (there's a refresh button right underneath each headline).


The one I'm looking at right now says, 'Has your local council burgled your house?' and another reads, 'Has teenage sex stolen the identity of your mortgage?' Chris Applegate, the site's owner, says that he was going to give the generator sophisticated grammar for more varied sentences, until he realised that the Mail's grammar is nearly always the same. Brilliant! What's even better is that he has called his website 'qwghlm.co.uk', because all the other domain names were taken. Even more brilliant!
Please click on the 'logo' above to check out a few random headlines… you won't be disappointed.

Speaking of not being disappointed, I managed to get out in the afternoon and buy Tanya a lovely bouquet of flowers… she was absolutely delighted with them.

Sunday 13th February 2011 16:00

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to cancel my subscription to the Sky Sports channels and Setanta, as it was costing too much money, especially as my team, Bolton Wanderers, had been rarely televised. Just as I had, they were on about a week later. Sod's Law, I believe.
So, when I found out earlier in the week that the Bolton v Everton Premier League clash was being televised today, it left me no option but to reinstate the damn package. Bollocks to Setanta though, it costs too much for the exceedingly small amount of matches of interest they have on there.

bolton wanderers v everton

I have to admit, I really wasn't looking forward to today's match though, and did think twice about whether I should ask for Sky Sports to be put back on, nevertheless, it would beat sitting at my computer, watching a pixellated and somewhat jerky live stream that can often be unpredictable with reception.

Rather than go into the ins and outs of the match, I can say that Bolton started the better team, despite their lull in form and Everton's excellent track record against them. After just 10 minutes, defender Gary Cahill put the whites in front with a deflected header from a Stuart Holden free-kick. There were moments where Everton looked as if they were going to equalise, only they just didn't seem to be getting their finishing right. Bolton went into the break with a one-goal cushion.
Everton then pushed much more in the second half, gaining an extra 8% worth of possession throughout the whole game, although Bolton had more attempts both on and off target. Following another free-kick where Gary Cahill seemed to be in the midst of, Lee Chung-yong managed to head the ball out at an angle, only for recent local hero, Daniel Sturridge to smash in a superb goal from a tight angle in the 67th minute. This sealed the game for Bolton, winning 2-0, gaining three valuable points and retaining their 8th-placed position within the Premier League.

the promise

Later on that evening, we sat down to watch some television, namely 'The Promise' a drama that's being televised on Channel 4. Written and directed by Peter Kosminsky, the film is set in two time-frames, one following a gutsy 18-year-old, Erin, whilst the other is set within the 1940s and covers the footsteps of her grandfather during the British peacekeeping within Palestine. It all stems from when Erin finds her terminally ill grandfather's diary in his neglected home, and learns about his position as sergeant during the unstable times. From there, she decides to retrace his footsteps in and around the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv, only to uncover a heartbreaking secret.
To catch up on the last two episodes of this four-part drama, please click on the graphic above.

Saturday 12th February 2011 12:40

Since it had been so miserable for the best part of the week, we both though it a good idea to go for a walk today. I was thinking of somewhere really local… Tanya, on the other hand, was thinking the Millennium Walk in Portsmouth… I wonder why? I twigged straight away… shops at Gunwharf Quays. Luckily, for me, Gunwharf Quays is actually a very nice area, as is the Millennium Walk, so I decided to endure the trip, knowing parts of it would be worthwhile.

First thing on the agenda was to get something to eat, we were both flagging and there's a great little stall within the shopping area that sells Bratwursts in a fresh baguette; they're delicious, so we devoured those in no time at all and went on the much-awaited shopping trip. Puzzlingly, Tanya only seemed interested in two shops, (Don't complain! - Ed) Fat Face and White Stuff, yet neither had anything she was particularly interested in… bargain. (For you, yes - Ed)
Actually, they're two shops that I can actually cope with, mainly because they sell interesting fashion and their stores are kitted out in a way that appeals to me. Plus they're very much influenced by graphic design and interior design, not just a case of, "Yes, we have clothes, stack as much as possible into a confined space, as random as you can."

white stuff

Anyway, as I said, White Stuff is one of those shops that's enjoyable to visit, not that I want to visit it every day, but once in a while is acceptable. As a matter of interest, White Stuff was established in 1985 when two college students, Sean Thomas and George Treves who were living in the French Alps, and rather than have to return to University, they set up a venture, selling 'Boys from the White Stuff' sweatshirts in bars around the ski resort of Val d'Isère.
To find out more, please click on their logo above (by the way, the Chinese character in the circular part of the logo is slang for clothes). I hunted high and low for a vector-based version of their logo, to no avail, so I redrew it and it can be seen here.

the hangover

Later that night, we sat down to watch a film (the main reason being, there's jack shit on television on a Saturday night). Tonight's viewing was none other than 'The Hangover', directed by Todd Philips and stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha. It's a completely off-the-wall film centred around three groomsmen who wake up the morning after the night before, only to find they've lost the groom. As they retrace their steps, they slowly piece together where they were and what they did. Although it's relatively slow at first, the storyline soon becomes funnier and funnier… the real life tiger in the bathroom had me laughing out loud, as did one part when they're asking the doctor for some directions… his reply, "It's on the corner of get a map and fuck off." Classic.
To visit the official site, please click on the movie poster above.

Friday 11th February 2011 06:54

Today, Thomas Edison celebrated his 164th birthday… that's according to Google anyway. Why they don't say, "164 years since the birth of Edison", I don't know… like anyone could be 164, apart from a Giant Tortoise maybe.
Anyway, who is he then? Well, he was an American inventor, a scientist and a businessman. A very successful one at that. Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11th 1847 and shares his birthday withe the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Burt Reynolds and Sheryl Crow… oh, and Glenn, a bloke at the place I freelance at.

thomas edison

He was probably most famous for inventing the light bulb, yet he had a whole string of other things he was famous for inventing, including the phonograph and the motion picture camera. He is also associated with and credited with numerous other inventions that contributed to mass communication, telecommunications in particular, such as a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power and recorded music. It doesn't sound surprising when you learn that he held 1093 US Patents in his name, as well as many others in the UK, France and Germany.
To visit the Edison Museum website (probably the best of the bunch devoted to him), please click on the rather clever Google animated GIF above.

Thursday 10th February 2011 15:12

Having had a successful meeting with a potential client yesterday afternoon, I sat down and started to think of some logo designs for him. Whilst in our meeting, I'd already had visions of how his logo might look, particularly as he'd given a clear indication of what he liked, both colour and style-wise.
It wasn't long before I'd determined which fonts worked and which ones didn't. I've always like a font called 'Penumbra' which comes in several different weights, and several different styles, ranging from Penumbra Sans, Half Serif, Serif and Flare. Designed by Lance Hidy in 1994, the font is all-capital in design and derived from his poster lettering with a blend of contemporary and traditional qualities, which evolved from the 1970s.

wood flooring solutions ltd

Since the company name 'Wood Flooring Solutions Ltd' was a little on the long side, I decided that the word 'Limited' really needed to be separated from the rest, and preferably in a different font, just to break up the possible monotony. Bizarrely enough, I opted to use a script font, since he suggested that he wanted a classy look. I despise most script fonts, particularly Brush Script, Mistral and, I hate to say it, Zapfino (You just did - Ed). Out of those three, there is a little bit of room for Zapfino, but not very much. Anyway, I chose something flowing, contemporary and not over-used (as yet)… 'Corinthia Pro'. Designed by Rob Leuschke and published by TypeSETit, the Corinthia font family is an elegant script which flows with beautiful curves and perfect connections.
Anyway, rather than me babble on about fonts and my design, take a look at my first proposal above.

Wednesday 9th February 2011 19:15

Tonight saw a friendly international between Denmark and England, held at the Parken Stadion in Copenhagen. With only 25,235 spectators in attendance, it was hardly a headliner, yet it was a match that Fabio Capello and the England squad really needed to win.
It started quite badly for England, with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger getting on the end of a superb cross from Erikson, scoring after just 8 minutes. Yet England somehow managed to keep their cool with Darren Bent slotting home an equaliser two minutes later. Not only did England show sheer guts and determination, they also held Denmark at bay until half time, with the two teams leaving the field at 1-1 for the break.

denmark v england

Now let's not get carried away, Denmark aren't difficult opposition but nor are they pushovers. England started the second half with three changes, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and James Milner off, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry and Scott Parker on. The match took on a different feel with the substitutes, although nothing seemed to be transpiring… that was until the 68th minute when Glenn Johnson played a perfectly weighted pass through to Ashley Young, who steered a powerful drive home on his instep.
The game ended 1-2 in England's favour and it proved worthwhile sitting down and watching it.

Tuesday 8th February 2011 22:31

I was asked whether I'd be able to develop the 'Wayne's World' logo into a bespoke design for someone, and although I could identify the font used, for the life of me, I couldn't remember its name… and then it suddenly dawned on me… 'Dynamo'.
The original versions of the Dynamo typeface were released by the Ludwig & Mayer type foundry in Frankfurt/Main, which closed in 1984. Designed and developed by Von K. Sommer in 1930, Dynamo was an attempt to capture the new, motorised spirit that dominated the western world during the roaring 20s. A bold, forward thrusting face, it exudes confidence, speed, stability, and has the engineered appearance that one associates with early racing cars and hot rods. As a headline face, the Dynamo font enjoyed popularity during the seventies and eighties due to availability as a Letraset transfer font.


Earlier, I mentioned the Ludwig & Mayer type foundry and decided to delve into its history, although because it closed in 1984, there is very little to come by. What I do know, however, is that their logo is made up of two fonts, Kollos, originally designed by Jakob Erbar in 1923. Erbar was trained as a type compositor in Düsseldorf and took courses in type and lettering with Fritz Helmut Ehmcke and Anna Simons and is best known for the Erbar typeface.
The other font, which I haven't included, mainly because it doesn't exist as a digitised format, is Rasse. After doing extensive internet research, I know it was designed by Albert Auspurg in 1924 and was released by Ludwig & Mayer. Auspurg also designed the Mona Lisa font.
Anyway, if you like the 'Dynamo' font, please click on the rollover above.

Monday 7th February 2011 15:22

This afternoon, I went to Little Peoples Nursery again, for I'd been asked to take some shots of the new members of staff… another six in all. Having gained an 'Outstanding' from a recent Ofsted visit, the nursery is just going from strength to strength. A remarkable achievement, especially as it's less than a year old; just shows what determination and devotion can do.


As with any job where minors are involved, everyone must be CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checked. Basically, a minor in the United Kingdom is anyone aged between 0-17 years old. I had to apply for one when I taught at Priestley College in Warrington about five or six years ago. I haven't a clue how regularly they need to be updated, although I'd imagine it's absolutely essential for someone whose job involves children under 5 years old.
To find out more about the Criminal Records Bureau, please click on the logo above.

Sunday 6th February 2011 11:39

It was another Sunday of doing very little really, although I did make my usual trip to Morrisons to buy the a few bits and pieces, as well as buying the necessary ingredients to try and make my own shortbread. Yesterday, I'd finally had success with making my own fudge (third time turned out to be lucky, and it was near on perfection too).

Once home, I managed to follow the incredibly easy recipe for the shortbread, make biscuit-sized shapes from the 'dough' and bung them into the oven, before sitting down to watch the eagerly awaited Premier League clash between Chelsea v Liverpool. Normally, this match would be billed as one of the big games, yet it came with an added interest… the fact that Fernando Torres had completed a record £50m switch from Liverpool to Chelsea during the transfer market, and there was every likelihood he'd be playing in today's fixture.


The only slight downside to the fact that he may be picked in today's match was that it was being played at the home of Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, and not at Anfield… now that would have been compromising, to say the least. So, after all the build up, was it a good match? No, not really, Chelsea didn't really turn up and Liverpool ended up winning 0-1, with a well-taken goal by Raul Meireles in the 69th minute.

Saturday 5th February 2011 11:58

With gale force winds sweeping and swirling up and down the country, Tanya suggested we head down to Southsea sea front to see if we could capture the waves crashing against the sea wall. I suddenly occurred to me that she had another motive, which was to go to Debenhams so she could have a look around the women's clothing, and that there may be lunch out involved… sold to the bald-headed northern geezer at the back.

tide times

We arrived at the sea front just before midday, which was perfect, especially as high tide was at 12:30pm. The weather didn't disappoint (But it was cold and wet with gale force winds?! - Ed) and sure enough, the waves were crashing in with some vigour, to the point where they were being thrown right across the road. It was incredibly choppy, so much so, the sea catamaran and hovercraft were not running to and from the Isle of Wight.
As luck would have it, high tide happened at exactly the right time of day for us today, yet there are times when it's essential to check before setting out anywhere. The following website includes tide tides the length and breadth of the United Kingdom; please click on the logo above to find out more.

After spending over an hour taking shots and nipping back to the car to warm up and dry off, we went into Southsea centre, parked up and made our way to Debenhams. I hate shopping, it's just as well there had been the mention of food. I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything more boring than traipsing around shops.


The plus point with Debenhams though is that it encapsulates several designer brands, all under one roof, that roof being a big fuck off cactus plant garden roof. What is it with department stores and shops in general? Here's how it is… there are gale force winds outside, and it's raining. My inkling would be that most people, no wait, ALL people would be wearing suitable clothing, either to keep them warm or dry, with the added potential of it being a combination of the two. Now then… these customers are wrapped up ready for a trip to Antarctica, the last thing they want to be doing is entering a building that's hotter than a glassblower's arse, yet it seems as if they're expecting an influx of Hawaiian people, all kitted out in their grass skirts and shit. And the government are sat there, scratching their arses as to how we can be more ecological. Idiots.
Anyway, doesn't take much to get me spouting off about something that irritates me, so rather than carry on, please click on one of Tanya's favourite designer brands, Mantaray (they do some exceptionally cool stuff actually).

Friday 4th February 2011 05:23

Having announced the imminent release of Elbow's new single, explaining the rigmarole of converting it into an mp3, my mate Lee, who resides in North Carolina, sent me an email in the early hours of the morning, explaining how he goes about converting media files into mp3s. Had I known that an easier way existed, I'd have never contemplated the ordeal that I occasionally go through.

download helper

DownloadHelper™ is a Firefox extension that allows you to download and convert media with ease and this can be done across the Mac OSX, Windows and Linux platforms. Once you install the 'add-on', an icon will appear in your internet browser bar, making you aware of any files that can be converted, by becoming a colour animated icon as thus…
download helper
As a matter of interest, there is also a disclaimer on the DownloadHelper™ website, stating that downloaded videos must be kept on your disk for personal use and cannot be shown on other weskits, which is fair enough.
Please click on the diabolically crap logo above to download your add-on.

Thursday 3rd February 2011 07:49

Found out about a new acronym today, one that made me LMAO (laugh my arse off). It's simply known as the 7Ps (seven Ps) and it stands for 'Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance'. To me, as a lover of words, grammar and acronyms, it's brilliant. I've had a strange fascination with acronyms for some time now, and although chat room/forum talk, along with sending text messages, have made them far more popular, they've been around far longer than that. You only need to refer to the lonely hearts columns to know that GSOH is 'good sense of humour', NS is non-smoker and so on.

acronym finder

As much as I think acronyms are great, I love the ones that make me laugh out loud (LOL), for example FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition), DDSOS (Different Day, Same Old Shit) and PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard). There are many others of course, most of which are sensible, many of which play a day to day part in our lives.
Please click on the logo above to visit the best acronym site on the internet.

Wednesday 2nd February 2011 21:53

You may well have noticed that I've avoided mentioning my football team, Bolton Wanderers, as frequently as I was doing. This was totally to do with their unbelievably bad dip in form. Up until tonight, they'd lost four of their last five matches, the other being a draw. Tonight, they were meeting bottom of the table Wanderers namesakes, Wolverhampton, who had lost three of their last five, only they'd won the other two, meaning their form was superior to Bolton's. The match was at the Reebok, where Bolton had only lost one of their last five matches at, so at least their home form was something to shout about.

bolton wanderers v wolverhampton wanderers

So, was it a good match? Well, as a supporter, it was tense and frustrating and Wolves could have so easily gone in front in the first half, only Matt Jarvis drove a low shot wide of the post, despite having an almost open net to aim at. Wayne Hennessey, Wolves' goalkeeper made excellent blocks to twice deny Johan Elmander, as well as Matt Taylor.
In the 68th minute, Owen Coyle made two substitutions, bringing on Moreno for Chung Yong Lee and on-loan Chelsea striker, Daniel Sturridge for Matt Taylor. Substitutes played by both sides made very little difference to what appeared as if it was going to be a lacklustre 0-0 draw, that was until the third minute of time added on when Wolves' defender Ronald Zubar made a diabolical error, placing a back pass across the face of his own penalty area. Sturridge, almost like lightning, latched on it, delivering what turned out to be the dramatic winner. At last, The Whites had finally sealed a victory, after gaining just one point from their last possible fifteen. I was ecstatic.

Tuesday 1st February 2011 09:22

Today, or tomorrow, depending on when a leap year falls, is Imbolc Day, an Irish festival marking the beginning of Spring. The day falls halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere. It's also known as St. Brigid's Day, originally being a festival associated with the Goddess Brigid, who was later Christianised as St. Brigid. St. Brigid (450-520) is the only one of the three patron saints of Ireland, native to her country, although she's often considered a pious legend due to slight historical information about her.

st brigid cross

Making a St. Brigid's cross is one of the traditional rituals in Ireland to celebrate the beginning of Spring. The crosses are made of rushes that are pulled rather than cut and are hung by the door and in the rafters to protect the house from fire and evil. Although the cross is predominantly a Christian symbol, it possibly derives from the Pagan sunwheel. In Christian mythology, St. Brigid and her cross are linked together by a story about her weaving this form of cross at the death bed of her father, or a Pagan lord, who, upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptised.
As a matter of interest, Imbolc was one of the four cross-quarter days referred to in Irish mythology, the others being Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The name Imbolc derives from the Old Irish i mbold, 'in the belly', which refers to the pregnancy of ewes.


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