Monday, 29 September 2008

Nick Brandt

The work of Nick Brandt is really interesting. He gives a really fresh look to wildlife photography that I really like. His pictures have a quality to them that gives them a look of paintings almost.



More examples of his work and a biog can be found here.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Geoffrey Laurence Hunt, 1916 - 2008

I lost my best friend yesterday. A huge proportion of the man I am today is due to my father. At the beginning of last week he suffered a severe stroke. Despite the fact that when I visited him the day before yesterday he had improved greatly, he lost the battle last night.

I have never checked but I am sure that he was the oldest member of the Discovery Owners Club. He was a very active man and a huge fan of Land Rovers, using his Disco to tow his caravan to Ireland at least once a year. A keen photographer (something I inherited from him) and gardener, he will be sadly missed.

Sleep well Dad!


Thursday, 25 September 2008

PostSecret

It seems to me that the best ideas are usually very simple ones. This is particularly true of a blog that I have been subscribed to for some time called PostSecret. A gentleman by the name of Frank Warren created a site and simply asked that people send him their secrets written on a post card, which he then posts to his blog.

The response has been so overwhelming that there are now several sites, a book and a lecture tour. The post cards are often very skilfully decorated and the secrets vary in theme considerably. Many are quite heart-breaking, some are quite funny, but all of them pique my interest and make me wish I could find out more. Frank made a short film to explain more.

PostSecret Mini-Movie


You can view some of the secrets yourself by visiting PostSecret's main site and his MySpace page. There is also a Facebook page if you'd like to try and get to one of Frank's lectures.

If you're wondering if I have sent him one of my secrets, well that would be telling wouldn't it. ;-)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Blogger's Choice Awards

For a bit of fun I decided to nominate my own blog (plus some of my friends') in the Blogger's Choice Awards. e-clecticism by nature doesn't easily "pigeonhole" but Best Geek Blog, Best Blog About Stuff and Best Blog of All Time seemed appropriate. :-)

Can I please urge you all to vote for me in any or all the categories by clicking on the image in the side bar.

Thank you.

Space Junk

Science News (a great website full of fascinating articles) ran a story at the weekend that really caught my eye. It was actually in the "For Kids" section but then many have said that I'm a big kid anyway. It was concerning the fact that NASA has to track millions of pieces of junk that are orbiting earth. This debris could have catastrophic effects on a future shuttle mission or worse still if even the smallest pieces fell to earth.


Each white dot in this picture apparently represents an individual piece of tracked orbital debris. This image shows the Low Earth Orbit, which is the region from the Earth’s surface to 1,240 miles and contains the most space junk.

According to the article...

There are some unusual things up there, like a camera that floated away from astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams in December 2006. Other astronauts have lost tools like wrenches and screwdrivers. In 1965 astronaut Ed White even lost a spare glove. Most of the junk, however, comes from large satellites and rockets that fell apart after they stopped working.

I always think of space as the last part of our world that us humans haven't managed to pollute. I guess I was wrong, we've made a huge start apparently. The original article can be found here and is well worth a read for the mind-boggling statistics alone.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A Change Of Mood

It's not that I want to sweep the events of last week aside, far from it. But I do feel like making a fresh start of sorts. It is early days but certain aspects of my life seem to be taking a turn for the better (although others are not) and I'd like to mark that in some small way.

So, you'll notice a new colour scheme today and a new game as well. Yeah I know, it's not anything to write home about, but I have learnt my lesson about trying to run before you can walk, I can tell you.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Iris

As part of "A Blog In Mourning" week. This post is dedicated to the memory of the Greshlets.

And I'd give up forever to touch you
Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
Cause sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know your alive

And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
By Goo Dolls (Rzeznik)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Empty Chairs

As part of "A Blog In Mourning" week. This post is dedicated to the memory of the Greshlets.

Morning comes and morning goes with no regret
And evening brings the memories I can't forget
Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs
And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs.
By Don McClean

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Fix You

As part of "A Blog In Mourning" week. This post is dedicated to the memory of the Greshlets.

When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you.
By Colplay

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Winter

As part of "A Blog In Mourning" week. This post is dedicated to the memory of the Greshlets.

I should know who I am by now
I walk the record stand somehow
Thinkin' of winter
The name is the splinter inside me
While I wait...

The walk has all been cleared by now
Your voice is all I hear somehow
Calling out winter
Your voice is the splinter inside me
While I wait...

I could have lost myself
In rough blue waters in your eyes
And I miss you still.

And I remember the sound
Of your November downtown
And I remember the truth
A warm December with you
But I don't have to make this mistake
And I don't have to stay this way
If only I would wake.
By Joshua Radin

Monday, 15 September 2008

Wish You Were Here

As part of "A Blog In Mourning" week. This post is dedicated to the memory of the Greshlets.

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.
by Pink Floyd. Waters/Gilmour

A Blog In Mourning

Out of respect for and in commemoration of the anniversary of the loss of the Greshlets, the blog has undergone a temporary colour change.

The posts this week are all dedicated to four beautiful children. They are all lyrics from songs that whose words hold resonance of some kind. I hope the authors will forgive me any copyright infringements.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A Corner Turned

It will all be OK now. I promise you. I know you don't believe me yet, but give me a chance and I will show you. I have sunk so low and it hurt more than I think you realise. But out of the terrible darkness has come light. I...No...We have a long way to go I know, but with you by my side I have strength. Stay with me and it will be better than it was before. I miss and love you.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Smart Ass Answers

As seen on various websites and emails recently...Hopefully this small collection of quick witted answers will make you smile.

Smart Ass Answer #5:
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opened his trench coat and flashed her. Without missing a beat she said, "Sir, I need to see your ticket not your stub."

Smart Ass Answer #4:
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

Smart Ass Answer #3:
The cop got out of his car and the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window. "I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said. The kid replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could." When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

Smart Ass Answer #2:
A truck driver was driving along on the freeway. A sign comes up that reads, "Low Bridge Ahead." Before he knows it, the bridge is right ahead of him and he gets stuck under the bridge. Cars are backed up for miles, Finally, a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says,"Got stuck, huh?" The truck driver says, "No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of gas."

Smart Ass Answer #1:
A college teacher reminds her class of tomorrow's final exam. "Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury or illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!" A smart ass guy in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?" The entire class is reduced to laughter and snickering. When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shaking her head and sweetly said "Well, I guess you'd have to write the exam with your other hand."

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

retrogeek

I came a cross a new blog this week which looks really promising. retrogeek is written by a chap who recently discovered a heap of 1980's computer magazines in his mother's garage and is now scanning the more interesting bits and sharing them. This is pure gold for me as although I appear to be slightly older than this chap, I too remember the excitement of the dawning of the home computer age. It is especially nice to see it from the UK perspective as well.

I have added retrogeek to my "Links" section on the right, and I urge you to subscribe.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Religious War

Who says that religion doesn't cause war? But this is one war I can get behind. The video below explains all. Originally seen on RGS.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Waterworld

Feeling a little claustrophobic yesterday afternoon I decided to take a walk down to the Teme (one of two rivers in Worcester) to see first hand how far this year's floods have reached. With more rain allegedly on the way, I can see that this year may well match the levels we saw last summer. My wife and I walked along Laugherne Brook then around to the newly refurbished Powick Bridge.

The first picture I took was of some swans making use of the new temporary waterline. This is usually a field that I played football on as a child. The bank of the normally gentle brook is marked by the bushes in the background.


Next we see "Old Road" that normally leads to the Powick Mill complex. It is around six inches deep here.


Here is a shot of Powick Mill from the bridge. You can just make out the old bridge as it looks like a low wall, when in fact it normally stands a good twenty feet above the waterline showing arches.


Finally, a shot looking the other way toward the Severn (Worcester's primary waterway).

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A Google Too Far?

Up until now, Google leased the images that you see in both Google Earth and Google Maps from third party imaging satellite owners and operators. But yesterday they allegedly launched their own satellite, which the makers say has the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system. According to the official press release, GeoEye-1 "can collect images from orbit with enough detail to show home plate on a baseball diamond". I had to check but that is about seventeen square inches.

The blogosphere has exploded with the news. Many like John Battelle are hailing this as the last straw and that Google are already too powerful with what they know. Many are posting articles concerning "Gait Recognition" software that can use human shadows to track individuals. Personally I think much of this is an over-reaction. A bit of digging reveals that Google don't actually own the satellite. Google is the exclusive online mapping site customer for GeoEye-1 data; it is not even the exclusive customer for the imagery.

I just hope that I can finally get some decent images of my house. Here is another press release from GeoEye themselves.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Aslan

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind of the therapeutic properties of music. I have had a lot of stuff going on recently that I don't want to write about just at the moment, but sufficed to say, things haven't been too easy of late. At times like this, I tend to retreat "in to myself" and I am often accompanied by music. The phrase "a soundtrack to life" is often used but it is certainly true that, occasionally, you hit upon a song or an album or just a piece of music that just seems to fit a particular point in your life.

This is true for me at the moment with the music of Aslan. You would be forgiven for not having heard of them. For some reason that escapes me (and probably them as well) they have been huge in Ireland for years, but have never had any real commercial success elsewhere...yet. I have recently re-discovered my love for their music and often find myself listening to a live unplugged album they did some time ago called "Made In Dublin". The lead singer, Christy Dignam, has a superb voice and his lyrics, possibly because of his battle with drug addiction, are so so evocative. That combined with tremendously hummable tunes makes them perfect listening for me at the moment.

I urge you to check them out and give them the recognition over here that they so deserve. Their official website can be found here, a Youtube channel here and the obligatory Wikipedia page is here.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Happy Birthday to GNU

Twenty five years ago this month, a man called Richard Stallman announced to the world his intention to create a complete operating system from the ground up. He called it, GNU, which stands for GNU’s Not Unix.

Stephen Fry who is an advocate of free software has made a video that tells you all about it. Matt Lee an, FSF campaigns manager and the producer of the film, said...

Stephen has generously donated his time to the cause of free software. His ability to communicate a technological and philosophical movement in terms of the basic principles of sharing and user freedom — ideas that everyone can understand — will introduce a new and broader audience to the benefits of free software



You can watch the video over at gnu.org, or download a copy of the video for posterity.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Where Have All The Buskers Gone?

There is something very appealing about walking around Worcester, especially when you don't actually have to be anywhere in particular. It is my hometown since birth, which probably has more than a little to do with it, but even still. For me, it is one of life's little pleasures that I relish when I have the chance. Last Saturday was made the sweeter still as I was able to spend some time with my wife and children.

Whilst out, we did come across a pleasant sight. A group of buskers in High Street that appeared from their dress to be of Native American origin (although I am open to correction on this) playing pan pipes of various types. The sound they made was simply stunning, despite the abundance of modern technology spoiling the effect somewhat.


Why is it we don't see as many buskers as we used to on our streets? Dublin always has an abundance of them, especially around the Grafton Street area. But not so many over here. To me, live music is always a good thing, whatever the style. So come on you budding musicians, get out there. There is no better way to hone your skills in my opinion and you might get some money out of it too.
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