Archive for April, 2009

Swine flu. It had to start somewhere….

Like everyone across the globe I’m concerned about the outbreak of swine flu.

So concerned in fact that I am doing what I can to help, no I’m not a scientist but I do have some information that may help identify the source of the outbreak;

 

 

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No training wheels required; Danny Mac, Edinburgh

A friend pointed out this fantastic short compilation of Danny Mac attacking the streets of Edinburgh on his bike and accomplishing things that boggle my mind.  They say that riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike but I can’t see me ever attempting most of the stuff on here.  I should point out that I’m not ‘big into bikes’ I’ve not actually cycled a bike in years but I just thought that what he’s doing here is too good not to share.  3:12 Bike + Tree = WTF!?!

With my impending relocation now a week away I’ll be living on the door step of this monster of a bike park I think there is a chance I’ll get back on a bike, but in truth I’m going for the snowboarding so we’ll just have to see how it goes, if ever start somersaulting off trees I’ll make sure I put up a vid (hell I’d be selling t-shirts highlighting the fact).  Hope you like.

 

Sunrise in Nova Scotia

As mentioned in my “About me” section (in between the ramblings) is that I came to blogging having visited a bunch of great blogs by people with an interest in photography.  It dawned on me that in my short time blogging I have never put up a single photo so here are a few to brighten the place up.

I had gone to spend a few days in the rural and relaxed North shore of Nova Scotia, woken around 5am and looked out the window to see a great sunrise beginning, I grabbed my camera headed down to the beach and took some pics, the following are the results.

Hope you like.

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A couple of heron saw the camera and wanted to get in the mix

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A change of heart from the model

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Checking out the ripple effect

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“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails”

A great phrase for a wonderful part of the world.

Wanted. Not really.

I got round to watching “Wanted” the other night on DVD, I’d not really been that fussed for it when it was playing in the theatres but having become a fan of James McAvoy I thought I would give it a go.  I should point out that I have never actually watched “Last King of Scotland” the movie which seems to have boosted McAvoy into the spotlight; I did own a copy of the DVD but moved half way round the world before I got a chance to watch it. His roles in Atonement, Starter for 10, and Shameless were all superb. Ok and yes I watched Narnia and he plays a pretty mean fawn too.  Anyway I digress ….

The movie itself kinda sucked. I mean if you have nothing to do (and I mean nothing) then yeah give it a go but don’t rush. It seems they borrowed the Matrix textbook and skipped a few pages when putting the film together and to be honest you may as well watch that again rather than this. James McAvoy – Neo, Morgan Freeman – Morpheus, Angelina Jolie- Trinity if you don’t heed my advice and watch the movie you’ll see what I mean.

The film is based around violence, that may not come as a shock as its about assassins but there is not much more to it really.  There is some dodgy clutch at a storyline to do with secret messages in cloth and father abandonment issues, but really it’s obvious neither were really wanted in the movie by the makers.  They got in the way of fighting scenes.  By the time rats covered in peanut butter with little bombs strapped to them were running across the screen I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Turned out I laughed but it was AT not WITH. 

I would love to say that McAvoy shone brightly in this flick and it could be added to the previous list of performances I enjoyed but I have to be honest and say that his character never sat quite right with me, I don’t know if it was the accent or just that I wanted to see him do more than to be the geek turned badass that was required of him.

Morgan Freeman is in the movie.  Just.  His role is so unanimated that really he is more of a background narrator even though he is on screen from time to time; it’s not his fault he’s just never really required to do anything in this role.  

Angelina Jolie, what can you say.  Well “here have some cake, maybe a curry, no, hmmm is there something we can tempt you with” would be a start.  It’s my thoughts about the movie I’m putting down here not weight and size issues but Jesus she needs a decent meal.  If not for the sake of being hungry then for the simple fact that she is unconvincing as a cool, slick assassin when she looks malnourished.

There is not much more I can say other that I’m off to buy another copy of Last King of Scotland and reassure myself that James McAvoy is worth going to see movies for.

2/10 (giving me the opportunity to blog about rats smeared in peanut butter with bombs strapped to them won it an extra point….)

Amtrepreneur; Rise of the new business model

I recently read an article in the April edition of Arena magazine entitled “All hail the new amateur” which looked at the increase in a new breed of creative and talented people who are defying the credit crunch by taking something they do for pleasure, adding something contemporary (be it product, marketing strategy, technical knowhow) and building a business to take on the establishment within that field. 

Maybe its inventive eye catching design ideas, maybe it’s an inane gift to string words together in a way people love to read, perhaps it’s an ability to take the information at your fingertips, learn it, reproduce it and come out the other side with more than something that pays the bills but also receives recognition from your peers and envy from the structured corporations. 

The key to it all is that amateur doesn’t mean poor quality; it simple means you do it for the love of it and not the bottom dollar. Where these guys and gals come in however is in the gap between amateur and professional by doing something new; and in that gap the amtrepreneur is born. 

Ok so let’s say you like to take photographs, it’s not your job but one day you realize that what you do as your job leaves you feeling unfulfilled. 

You stop.

Then you embark on trying to turn taking photographs into your primary source of income.  For me the amtrepreneur is that one step further where the skills and drive of the entrepreneur step in, where you are delving into a niche somehow,  either doing something that’s not been done before, with a product that’s not been seen before or merely strategically building your business to create a solution in a new way.

 A couple of examples are; Paul Grifiths (or his business pseudonym Babycakes).  He has given up his day job in a call centre, created a business in his bedroom selling t-shirts and hoodies on the internet.  His initial run of 25 t-shirts is now a distant memory and his business has seen him shift over 500,000 units and open a store in Manchester.  Where is the unique angle? Paul created the company to meet the demands of his own club going peers and as such has exploited the rise in social networking to meet his market, with over 87,000 MySpace friends his customers come to him, a good position to be in during a credit crunch, especially as he’s only 21 years old.

My favorite though is two twenty something brothers who revamped their parent’s Italian restaurant (Casamia) by scouring the internet and teaching themselves the details of fine dining gastronomy from the likes of YouTube and other sites offering the chance to learn without stepping foot in the classroom to the point where they have become highly skilled in their own right.  They have even recently earned a Michelin star, no higher accolade can really be bestowed on a restaurant, and they didn’t even have to put up with the verbal abuse of Gordon Ramsay to get it. 

A fantastic contemporary tale for both home taught cooks who love to learn new dishes, tastes and techniques and also a result for anyone who shares their knowledge of what they do with the world via YouTube, their blog or whatever other medium they pick. 

The bottom line I take from the article is that even whilst the financial security blanket we have been holding on to so tightly suddenly appears to have a few holes in it, we can look at ourselves, what we are passionate about and do more than simple get by, we can excel. 

Heathrow moose man

So whilst I was on my trek through Heathrow Airport I spotted what looked like a half man half moose cross breed. It seems that the Heathrow powers that be have apparently enlisted the help of this image to direct passengers to their connecting flights. I guess this works as his antlers do look a bit like airplanes, however I have a suspicion that really it just because Heathrow management want to illustrate to the world their willingness to embrace diversity be it Moosemen, Minotaurs or centaurs.

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G20 protestors purposely sent the wrong way?

Sooooo 

Another wee transatlantic trip under the belt and a few more funny things along the way.

For those of you who have found your way to the world of blogging but somehow missed the world media the G20 summit has just taken place in London.  As I was there during the event and as it looked like it could be interesting on the streets I took a wander down to the financial district to see what was going on……..turns out not a lot.

 There were a helluva lot of police, even more photographers and then a couple of protestors too.  Whilst waiting to cross the road on King William Street I noticed this cunning bit of street signage. 

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Was it purposely painted this way to confuse protestors or is it just the case that London’s finest sign guys and gals are somewhat in need of training? 

 I’ll let you decide.