Saturday, March 29, 2008

Giant Insects

What if? The human race might have had its time. There is worldwide panic over an insect as large as a house that attacked humans along the coast of Western Australia. 300 humans were killed by the bug that's been branded SuperBug. Experts are mystified about the predator but are warning that it might be a new species that has evolved and that it might not be the last we see or hear of this kind of attack. Some experts are arguing that if these super-sized insects breed as fast as other insects the entire world population of humans could be at risk. Military personnel on scene are trying to pinpoint the location of the SuperBug that appeared in Australia. People in the affected area have been warned to stay in their houses with their windows closed. Eye witness reports tell horrifying stories of people being sucked out of their cars and off the street by a pointed tube-like structure coming from the insect's mouth. One man said the insect came out of nowhere and attacked a group of children, seriously injuring three and leaving three in intensive care. Two more children are feared missing, unconfirmed reports say that they were in the area at the time. The world's entomological experts are in talks with military leaders at the UN Headquarters, we'll bring you more on this story as it comes in.

People of Substance

Do you think writers and artists either know or have some inkling that their body of work will survive after their death? On one level its a no brainer: of course a book or painting is not alive so it doesn't die when its creator dies but does it allow the creator to live on in other people? I mean, take Shakespeare or an artist like Monet: their work inspires new people in different generations to create art that draws upon the influence of their original work and so allow the originators to live on in an ethereal sense. Whatever it is that makes an artist or a writer (not necessarily just fiction) survive through generations must be some kind of substance, something substantial about them and their work. I think about this in the context of everyday life, these people must have led ordinary lives - had to complete daily functional tasks we all do like getting washed and dressed, shopping for food, eating etc. and yet they managed to surpass the ordinary somehow to produce great works (even if not recognised as such at the time). I worry sometimes about how I spend my time. I listen to the radio, watch the TV, read magazines, play videogames, plus all the necessary stuff as well as be a father, son and husband and frankly there is precious little time to create anything of substance. When I was in my youth I had lots of time to write - too much time and very little life experience. At times I was deeply lonely and unhappy but writing was something that I could always enjoy. My dilemma, if you want to call it that, is that I want to write but I have so little time to myself and there is so much entertainment out there to consume. I struggle with creative expression vs entertainment consumption.

Do you think that there are blogs that exist created by people who are now dead? I think there must be some out there. Some by people whose death was unexpected, some by people who knew they were dying. I just had a thought for the gap in the search engine market - a directory of blogs by dead people.

I wonder if anyone in the future will be remembered by their blog? Could a blog inspire other people creatively in the way a novel or a poem could? I don't see why not but I don't feel the Internet has any sense of permanence about it - we link to a lot of hosting sites and who knows how the Internet will change in future. Our content could get dissipated and deleted without warning at any time. The Internet will cease to exist as we know it now and it will become something else, I feel certain about this, the net at the moment is an embryo and I don't know what the adult will be.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter weekend

IEaster went by really quickly, the sleet and snow was a bit of a disappointment and stopped us going further afield on Sunday and Monday. But on Saturday, three of our families went into London to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play a concert for families at the Royal Albert Hall. This was the programme:

Rossini - William Tell Overture: Galop

Prokofiev - March of the Capulets from Romeo and Juliet

Elfman arr. Bankey - The Simpsons Main Theme

Tchaikovsky - Trepak from The Nutcracker

Khachaturian - Sabre Dance

Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure

Williams - Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter

Williams - Superman Main Theme

It sounded like a CD, the performance was perfect. We sat one row back from the front in the stalls and although we didn't have a view of the whole orchestra like a balcony seat would have given us, it was nice to see the faces of the musicians at the front as they played. We would not have been able to see their faces so clearly from another seat. It was just the right length for the children too and the choice of music was great: I have a new appreciation of The Simpsons theme - it was a really complicated piece of music.

Last time I posted I mentioned my new spectacles, well here is the photo of me wearing them at last.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter weekend

At last, some time off from work and family time beckons. It's been a very busy time for me at work and I have need of a good rest.

I don't have very much to say, just that I hope everyone has a great weekend this Easter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weather and other stuff

It's been stormy for the last few days here in the UK. Not snowing but its very cold, windy and has been raining. Severe weather warnings have been posted threatening of stormy winds and flooding. It's all a bit depressing really - and I have a sore throat.

I have some new spectacles, one of the chains was advertising 2 for 1 on designer frames and as I needed my eyes tested anyway I took advantage. The optician was very nice but my prescription hadn't changed enough to need new spectacles. However, I decided I needed a new pair of frames and went ahead anyway; I got a nice pair of spectacles for wearing "out" and a pair of sunglasses for the summer (well, for anytime really: except night!). I just need to find occasions to wear my smart new FCUK designer frames!

I'm staying late for work today, which means an overnighter in a hotel. I don't like to be separated from my family even just for 1 night. Oh well, I checked the travel times and can't get back in time so I'll just have to make it up to them by giving them more love when I get back.

I do have some days off in the remainder of this month, I think I'll do some exploring in London on Friday - that's something to look forward to and will take my mind off being away!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Britain's Eurovision Song Entry

Well, the die has been cast now - on Saturday evening the public voted for the British Eurovision song entry for 2008. It was a choice of two songs:

  • Woo Hoo Yeah (You Make Me) by Michelle Gayle (I'm not sure if this is the correct title but you get the idea)
  • Even If by Andy Abraham


Last year's entry was chosen entirely by the public and it was bad, even by Eurovision standards. This year they did things slightly differently and had some studio judges choosing the shortlist of 2 for the public vote out of a total of 4 acts. Well, it was only ever a choice of 2 wasn't it? Love Shy and The Revelations had catchy enough tunes but performance-wise it helps, I think, if you can actually sing!

So we have Andy Abraham representing Britain. He's got a great voice and is a lovely man I'm sure. He's clearly the most able vocalist out of the bunch and he wrote the song himself. I hope he wins it - he deserves the success. I preferred the song out of all of them and I don't have any reservations about packing him off to Serbia or wherever the competition is this year. However, I must confess to a strong feeling I have that none of the shortlisted songs I heard this week are competition winners: we just don't make 'em like we used to.

Alexander Graham Bell

I see from the Google logo today that it is the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell's birthday. Well, here's a short video in his honour by one of the best Glam Rock bands of the 1970s, The Sweet.


Alexander Graham Bell also invented the metal detector and had his finger in the pies of hydrofoils and aeronautics - see here for a more knowledgeable account of his life.