Thursday, June 28, 2012

Retro chronograph

It's been a long time since I have had a new watch. I have an analog watch that I like to wear for work. But as far as digital watches go I haven't worn one for years. But a couple of weekends ago I was very glad to see that Casio still make a watch I wore for the first time probably when I was in my teens. The good old reliable F-91, what a functional classic! I'm glad I'm reunited with it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hit by Sugarcubes

When I began to buy compact disks instead of vinyl, this was probably my third or fourth new compact disk purchase. The whole album is good. Bjork has an interesting voice I think, never gets boring.

Jacket or shirt?

In the current climate of hot weather wearing thin summer clothes seems an obvious decision. BUT! The wind can suddenly pick up and be quite chilly, especially if you are in a shady place that doesn't really warm up. With air conditioning in public areas there isn't much temperature control we can exert and some places can be very chilled. It's worse when you know you will have to traverse very hot and very cold areas during the day. What would you decide: wear just a shirt and accept you might be cold or wear a jacket too, knowing you might get a bit hot and sweaty.
I know removing a jacket might be the obvious answer but you have then to carry it around with you and have to remember to pick it up again if you put it down anywhere. If you also carry a bag you have to decide whether to put it in the bag or perhaps its a smart jacket and putting it in a bag would crumple it. You know that carrying a jacket and a bag in the hot weather is just going to tie up your hands and make them sweaty.
Today, I'm wearing a shirt and trousers but even though the forecast is good I reckon I might be cold at some point. I have a long walk to and from the office though so that will probably negate the cold.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New family members

One of the promises we made the children was that after we moved we would get them cats. Well, it's been 11 months and we have finally sorted out the necessary and two new kittens are now installed.

They are both quite playful with each other, so much so that it's difficult to get a photo they move about so much. They like to climb the scratching post and jump onto the windowsill to get a view out to the garden but they're not allowed out yet. They're pretty adorable though, I didn't think I'd be quite as smitten as I am with them. I'd better get back to them actually, so more photos will no doubt follow, watch this space...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The predictability of chemicals

I've just eaten a lovely nectarine. It was very ripe and juicy and was one of the white flesh variety, I don't know which country they originate from. They are very very nice though, shame there is only 4 in the pack.
I was thinking that nearly all sweets have chemical flavourings to make them taste similar to the fruits we love. The advantage of chemical flavouring is that the flavour can be strong and predictable, which is as we all know, not exactly always the experience we get with real fruit. It is a shame that the taste isn't as important as the fibre and nutrients.
What's your favourite sweet that tastes like fruit?Probably worth a clarification here: by sweets I mean confectionary items.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

.com or ?

Hmmm, my domain seems to be now, I'm pretty sure it always used to be .com

I wonder why Blogger has made this change? Perhaps it's related to a lot of new domains coming out?

Father's day

Here in the UK today (Ed: and US as it turns out), it was Father's Day. I actually remembered the day for my father and sent him a card and gift. My kids came in to wake me this morning and deliver cards, gifts and chocolate. It was nice, I just wish I hadn't drunk a bottle of wine last night on my own. I was a little bit tired and probably still had alcohol going around my system. I went back to sleep for a bit after they had gone.
For lunch it was my treat to my family, so I took them to eat at the local Chinese buffet, my son loves the food there. I really enjoyed the duck pancakes with Hoisin sauce I started with today. You can easily eat too much when the food is help yourself, I managed to eat with some self control and left the place with some dignity. It was quite busy due to Father's Day, lots of folks eating with their fathers.
My wife worked out that I've been a dad for 4,382 days. That seems like a lot of days to me. It doesn't really feel that many. I don't think I'm a shining example of a dad, I do hope my kids remember me more for my good points than my bad ones. We learn from our own parents and I have some bad habits I picked up from my own parents, notably the ability to be fiercely annoyed one minute and fine with everything the next. My parents are loving and kind and were like that when I was young, I do remember some episodes when they got annoyed though. I suppose that can't be avoided. It's hard being a parent and difficult to analyse your own behaviour when you're trying to juggle lots of things at the same time.
Anyway, here's a shout out to all the good father's out there.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I don't currently buy a regular magazine. But I have done in the past. It's probably a habit I got from my brother because he used to buy a lot. They covered computing, music, photography, cycling, cars and camping/outdoors. Magazines I've bought regularly (more than 5 issues) in my past have included:

Crash (ZX Spectrum games)
Kerrang (heavy metal)
Select (alternative music)
Classic CD (classical music)
Xbox 360: The Official Magazine (gaming)
Q (music)
Metal Hammer (heavy metal)
Classic Rock (heavy rock)
Maxim (mens general fashion/style)
Linux Format
PC Plus
PC Advisor
Computer Arts
PC Answers
Photo Plus
Computer Arts
Digital Photographer

If I added up the cost over the years it would be a bit of an eye opener. The main reason I used to buy magazines for was to read reviews. I did read feature articles but they were not driving the purchasing decision. The second reason was to hear music or install some new software.

The niche that magazines fulfilled for me has largely been taken over now by the web. It's really a surprise that magazines are still being published today with so much free content available on the web. Reviews can be published instantly without having to wait. Software is widely available for download. Podcasts and vodcasts can be recorded and distributed with a few clicks. Feedback can be given instantly too through comments and liking and rating. No longer do we have to wait to see readers letters published.

Yes, magazines are having a hard time at the moment. I still enjoy the covers and the paper and the glossy photos though. Perhaps devices like the iPad can keep magazines alive in the digital world.

Can you imagine walking into a newsagent and instead of physical paper magazines seeing a wall of monitors where you can browse digital editions by touching the screens? Well, that could be done at home on the Smart TV screen I guess. My, how life is changing for us with technology that's out there now.

This started out as a post to say how much I used to like buying magazines and a lament that I don't feel I have to buy any now. But it has turned out to be a comment on the digital age

Friday, June 08, 2012

Breakfast favourite

If you had to name one favourite breakfast ingredient from The Full English breakfast, what would it be?

Mine would be hash browns, I love them.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Solitude vs Social

There are times when I need to be alone. Times like this are usually when I haven't had much break from either work or family duties and I'm tired of looking out for others. If I don't have the right balance I can get irritable, it sort of takes over and I spiral into a descent of feeling undervalued. Nothing I do is appreciated. I know now (in a relaxed, neutral state) that this is not true but when I've not had chance to relax and rest I get a bit paranoid.
I like company and I actually prefer it but I also need time on my own. I think that people like me can be hard to understand when compared with people who are social and like the company of others at all times. I like to just do my own thing sometimes and this might seem like withdrawing to those who are social. It's not a comment on others, it's just part of me. It can be difficult with a family, there are responsibilities that mean withdrawing completely is not possible.
On the spectrum of solitude to social, where do you think you are? I would be closer to solitude but some way in from the pole.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Jubilee Weekend

This weekend Britain celebrates 60 years of the Queen's reign. I imagine it will be quite a public spectacle of concerts and street parties and schools events up and down the country. It really is amazing how something like this draws the whole country in. We also have an extra national holiday day on Tuesday (Monday is a traditional public holiday too), so I'm grateful for that.
The monarchy probably doesn't feature much in the everyday lives of the majority of people, who go about their busy routines of work and family life. However, the Royal Family does play an important part in the psyche of the nation - if a whole nation can have something like that. I wonder if it is because they are a family and we each see something of our own family's journey reflected in this? They are not famous for what they do necessarily (although they seem to do a lot of things), I mean they aren't entertainers or wealthy entrepreneurs and they don't have a unique talent (as far as I know). And yet despite this, they do have influence and we hold great affection for them and so do other countries, America, other English speaking countries and the Commonwealth countries to name but a few.
So, here's a toast to the last 60 years and another for the next!