Monday, January 31, 2005


I was listening to the Queens Of The Stone Age album Songs for the Deaf a couple of days ago, its a really strong album and one that sticks in the head. What a cool band! I'd love to check out some of their earlier material. I see there is a new album called Little Sister.

Child Trust Fund

We've got some money from the government for one of our children because of a political election move to encourage parents to start saving for their children. Well, we're saving anyway but the extra income is welcome. We do have to decide where we put the money and what sort of account. There are two types: cash saving where ROI is lower but guaranteed or a stakeholder account where money is invested in stocks and shares of large industries. Now I don't really have a clue about financial risk. But as this is extra money I'm tempted to try the stakeholder account, however I do have some reservations.
The CTF website is I think biased towards this kind of account and as its a government owned website makes me slightly suspicious. It mentions a large number of times that over the past forty years the stock market has grown, even when some years have been lean. There is a compelling argument for investment BUT the downside is that nobody can predict the future and it might lose money for my child. I'll wait to see what Motley Fool says in its round-up of providers in April.

Try to remember...

I had it in my head a few hours ago, now I can't remember what I was going to post!

Zora Suleman

To take my mind off my troubles. Think about Zora Suleman. Ex-RISE presenter of the news. I read somewhere that she thought that the BBC News would never employ her because of her large breasts. I wouldn't mind--it would make even the bad news worth watching.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Yesterday and today we bought our kids buckets of Lego to get them started. How I loved Lego when I was a kid. It was a very integral part of my childhood. I loved it. I rarely stuck to the models though - always wanting to make my own things up. I made lots of different sorts of guns, tricorders, planes and spaceships with it.

Colin McRae 2.0

I bought this old PlayStation game today. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the WRC this year. I start each new racing year with a little bit of excitement that usually fades as the same drivers keep winning - not as predictably as F1 though :-(

Oh no, not Nicolas Cage!

These were my words when I saw he was in The Rock, a film I watched last night. He plays all his roles in the same wide eyed, shouty and mental way. I've never liked any performance by this guy.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Jim Capaldi

I was saddened today to see the obituary for Jim Capaldi, most famous for drumming/songwriting work in the group Traffic. My brother led me to his solo work by recording one of his albums (Firece Heart) on a tape for me. I later bought an LP of it myself. If you get the chance, check out Tonight Your Mine and Living On The Edge from this album, absolutely fantastic!

Wine List

Here's the wine I bought yesterday:

  1. Marc Ducournau Rouge 2003

  2. Ch Guiot Costieres Nimes 2003

  3. Les Fontanelles Merlot 2003

  4. Dragon Tempranillo 2001/2

  5. Kumala Merlot Pinotage 2003

  6. Griffin Vineyards Shiraz 2003

2 bottles of each, all red. Started a bottle of Kumala yesterday, lovely.

Iraq Elections

It seems strange to me that people from Iraq all over the world can vote in the Iraq elections. I haven't read all the news on this, so I might be wrong about the facts - but if they are as I believe now it's all just a bit strange. Surely if you don't live permanently in Iraq then you should not have a vote?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Today's Journey

Not a bad morning journey, got to Cambridge earlier than I thought. The rain all day was a bit depressing, juist when I thought it had stopped it would lash down again. It's a bit warmer, except for the wind which is pretty cold and makes it seem worse because of the rain. That's the meteorological message over! I didn't know this was just going to be about the weather!

Didn't get much of a chance to look around Cambridge - except I did visit a Maplin store.

I bought a load of wine this evening - I'll be revealing my choices over the course of time and what I think of the wines. I know, it just gets better and better doesn't it!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cliff Richard

Cliff's career is quite interesting. His output is of varying quality but he shouldn't be dismissed easily. For me personally, the songs Devil Woman (1976), Carrie (1980), Wired for Sound (1981) and Lean on Me (1989) are the ones I enjoy. I much prefer his secular pop songs to the Christmas/Christian brand. The songs I mentioned punched quite a whole in my musical psyche and that's why I can't dismiss Cliff, although I find him difficult to like individually.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Nadia Sawalha

Nadia is one hot babe. In my imaginary hareem, she is one of my brides. I'll be introducing you to other girls who occupy my imaginary hareem over the course of time. I like feisty intelligent girls who know what they want. I also adore breasts.

Emerson Lake & Plamer

I just watched a programme about prog rock on BBC4 tonight. I've listened to ELP albums over the years. My main conclusion about ELP is that I prefer Greg Lake to Emerson and Palmer, Lake's voice is quite pure and works really well with some songs. Infact, the songs of his I really still enjoy hearing are Take A Pebble, Lucky Man and I Believe In Father Christmas. The rest I could leave without any great effort.

I suppose prog rock is part of the heritage of popular music - bands like Radiohead owe something to the prog rock bands, though I'm not clear what. Perhaps just a widening of our senses to appreciate experimentation in sounds.

I've always liked the band Yes funnily enough, even though the lyrics mean nothing! There are a few Yes albums I haven't heard - particularly a double album concept thing they did called Tales From The Topographic Ocean, which I'm not in a hurry to hear! I like Yes best when they rock out with great basslines and complicated guitar changes woven with virtuoso keyboards.

Raymond Williams

A documentary on BBC4 tonight looks at Raymond Williams who has written numerous books on culture and art. The info for the programme introduces it with:

Raymond Williams was among the first to contend that "culture" is as much about ordinary life as the highbrow arts.

Kids Are Great

Just a quick observation but small kids are just so great. They make life so enjoyable. Its great fun playing and learning with them. They're so funny and cute!

w.Bloggar Now Working

My last test post used some new software called w.bloggar to post a blog entry. So is this one. I installed the software yesterday and it worked for a couple of posts and then I got a strange message about an invalid tool set. So I had to Repair the installation (it reinstalls it with all its original components) and that seemed to do the trick - as you can see from this entry.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My evening so far...

Here's a short run down of what I've been up to lately (this evening to be more precise). I listened to Basement Jaxx'z CD Kish Kash. I've been drinking Kalico Bay Merlot red wine mixed with lemonade (I am a philistine I know). I've downloaded Hello and w.bloggar for testing. Later on I will probably play on my PS2. Oh the excitement of my life...

Anatomy for beginners starts tonight

This series is going to repulse me. I don't know if I have the stomach to watch it or not.

Girls Aloud v Sugababes

Before looking these up on web today, my knowledge was a bit limited. I liked the Round Round single but had no idea who performed it (answer: Sugababes). I don't know if I remember anything that Girls Aloud have done, except I have heard Jump (for my love) whilst watching Love Actually (an apalling film). The use of the song in the film made me so uncomfortable I practically writhed in my cinema seat. BUT, listening to the single again on its own I have decided its not a bad version.

Both groups include beautiful women but GA number 5 and the 'Babes just 3. Both can be voted for to receive a Brit Award, 'Babes were nominated for Best British Single (In The Middle, against Keane) and GA were nominated for Best Pop Act (against Avril Lavigne, who would get my vote).

I don't want to start a fight but my favourite of the two is Sugababes.

Rumsfeld's Personal CIA...

I was interested to read that Donald Rumsfeld has actually created a secret (not any more!) organisation to rival the CIA called the Strategic Support Branch. Tom Clancy territory I feel. I wonder if Clancy has already created a fictional version?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Review: Pieces Of Me by Ashlee Simpson

Mainstream trying to do indie pop. Is Ashlee Australian? Reminiscent of an aussie band I liked once called Frente (whose female lead was actually much better than Ashlee). This is fairly pleasant and listenable and sing-a-long-able. Listen from the official site here.

Shock: Bez Wins CBB

Last night I was surprised that Bez won Celebrity Big Brother. The bookies may have been surprised too, Ladbrokes had him as a 5-1 outsider. The Sun's story is amusing, especially Bez's quotes like "I can be a bit of a drug addict"! Let's face it, he went through Cold Turkey in the house and there were strong rumours he had smuggled drugs in up his bottom!

Most annoying house person: Lisa I'Anson.

I thought Jeremy Edward's toilet log laying antics were very funny - if you're going to lay a log best let someone else take the blame I say!

PJ Harvey

I've been listening to Stories From The City Stories From The Sea recently, I like it a lot. Polly is so beautiful but is unlike any other woman I've ever fancied physically.

Two PJ Harvey sites 1 2

Hello, this is the Googlephone....

Is Google branching out to offer a telephone service?

Making the Tsunami worse

An appalling story. What kind of a world do we live in? Depressing...

Smaller & slimmer PS2

I bought a PS2 after Christmas - the smaller, slimmer version and I am very happy with it. Not having owned a PlayStation or PSOne before I bought it and 3 older Playstation games. Since then I have bought some PlayStation 2 games as well in various sales. The PS2 came with an 8MB memory card and I also bought 2 4 MB PS1 memory cards at the weekend (cost less than a fiver from Argos).

The gaming experience is different to one I'm used to with PC games - mainly the screen is farther away and much lower resolution however I think the games feel more playable. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are apparently going to be launching new consoles this year so I wonder how different the new gaming experience will be using these?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Stan Lee: one battle won

Interesting to see Stan Lee winning a battle to a share of the profits from the rights to the Marvel hero's translation to the big screen. The war is still on, with some big issues still to resolve.

Pictures from Abu Ghrahib

An interesting alternative perspective in Spiked on the images of British soldiers standing over bound Iraq prisoners - referencing work by Susan Sontag in the late seventies.

Media Centre PC

I just saw Bill Gates talking to the Click Online programme on the BBC. Asked what he had been doing for the last three years he concentrated on the Media PC. Controlling video, pictures and music with one remote. Sales are less than 2 million at the moment but I think they're likely to increase as costs come down and ordinary people get wind of it - it seems to be the avant gard homes with one at the moment. I'm not convinced I'd want to replace my PC with such a device though.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Thomas & The Magic Railroad

I just watched the film Thomas & The Magic Railroad with my children. I bought it today from HMV for 5.99 and I have to say I wish I'd rented it! Alec Baldwin is cast as a tiny figure called "Mr Conductor" - not that he conducts anything at all. Peter Fonda plays a grandfather and I can't think of a film with an actor less committed to the role. What a come-down from Easy Rider! "Tripe" seems to sum it all up for me.
The engines have American accents but use the models from Britt Allcroft TV series. IT'S ALL WRONG and feels unpleasant actually. The story is REALLY CONVOLUTED and involves a gateway between the island of Sodor and a US railroad station called Shining Time. I ASK YOU!!

Internet Movie Database link.

Inauguration of President Bush's 2nd Term

Amusing commentary on the inauguration by the Daily Show both available as a video or sound file from this post on Lisa Rein's Radar.