Friday 30 December 2011

A Christmas Century

Well it's not New Year yet , one more day left in 2011 so it's still Christmas time . This is the forst year I've done a hundred posts on this blog , though not sure if thats a cause for celebration, still it's a sort of milestone. I have a lot of friends who started blogs and posted some excellent stuff , but they got bored and the blogs are now just as they were a few years back.

A hundred posts , one every three point six five days, or two a week , roughly eight a month. You'd think it would be easy to keep that rate up , but even when blogging you can have nothing to write about, and this post is a case in point , it's all about the fact I'm writing my hundredth post and it's New year's Eve's Eve!!

Well it's the twefth post in December , suppose I could get to fourteen before this year plays out , but who knows.

My first post was February 18th 2007 and my 100th was about Apple autobuying music for me here on 7th July 2009 !!

Anyway Happy New Year!!

Six Point Eight Millon Phone Activations On Christmas Day

Thats more than one phone for every ten people in Britain , given the saturation of mobile phones in this country , that's quite amazing , obviously sales campaigns are being amazingly successful . Apple are the greatest marketers with the abiltity to create want and need in people , and their target market don't even know why they want the damned thing (iPhones and iPads especially) , hell I nearly bought an iPad so that's how good they are!

Anyway this must create a lot of disused handsets which companies like Boots will take off your hands and give you a couple of quid in return. Anyway I didn't get a mobile phone , my trusty San Francisco 1 still going strong and enabling me to make calls , text , surf the next and take bad pictures!!

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Christmas Resistability

Well I managed to resist the excellent Orange Christmas box offer  (free Angle & Curve Headphones worth £60 with any PAYG phone over £30)  , and am soldiering on with my first generation San Francisco that fulfils the main requirement of a phone , which is to make phone calls!! It also is fairly good for texts , and OK for internet access . Camera and processor are barely adequate but I can live with them

It seems to me that me are zooming to a point of no return with theese handheld devices . Unless there's another quantum leap in power storage , or distributed power becomes a reality mobile devices will become anything but that if they have to be plugged into a power source!!

No doubt Apple will come up with a marketing idea and Samsung will come up with an innovation , but I cant see for the life of me what it will be . We'll have iPhones 5s , iPad 4s , Galaxy IIIs and some new Blackberry , but we shall see .....

Tuesday 27 December 2011

A Playlist For Christmas

Am quite impressed with Grooveshark , not sure how exactly it works , but thought I would try this playlist I put together in "Crimbo Limbo". Hope you enjoy it , I certainly do!

If You Dont Listen To This , You Won't Ever Hear These Songs #1 by Mike Singleton on Grooveshark

Crimbo Limbo

A phrase I heard today on BBC Radio to by the excellent Craig Charles standing (or sitting) in for the entirely not excellent Steve Wright (as opposed to the very excellent Stephen Wright). Well Christmas day has gone , as has Boxing Day , present have been opened and we're now into that space where we are waiting to see what the New Year will bring .

Are you working (I am) , are you on Holidaday , will you get to a party , who knows.

Did you do the sales  (I didn't) ,

Any hope everyone had a great Christmas , and hope the "crimbo Limbo" has kept you on a high.

I nearly filled up my hard drive with films , and we still have Sky 1's Treasure Island to come!!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Ghost of Christmas Future

he world is improving and despite what the Dail Mail , Dail Express and most of the media tell us, life is getting better for most people . The progress of technology has been phenomenal , so you can watch what you want , when you want , where you want , how you want. Mobile phones these days are like something from Star Trek , but we still don't have hover boards and card or cities on Mars or under the sea.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!
The blot on the horizon is the continual erosion of the holiday for commercial concerns , I don't want shops open at Christmas , it gives us time to socialise , and enjoy stuff at a leisurely pace , but certain chains wont be happy until they're open 24/7 , 365 days a year in case someone wants a newspaper and they can chalk up another sale regardless of the cost.

Anyway there will always be Christmas films on at Christmas (most a variaton on Dickens' Christmas Carol) and business entrepreneurs will continue to try and remove the spirit of Christmas in the name of money!!

Friday 23 December 2011

Ghost of Christmas Present

It's amazing how much we have available to us today , how much we take for granted. Today I had lunch with my girls with a choice of excellent Sounth American food in pleasant surroundings at Las Iguanas in Newcastle . Within a stones throw of that are Pani's (Italian) , Dabbawal (Indian) , Hei Hei (Chinese) , The Bacchus (English) , Simply Greek (Greek) , Little Saigon (Vietnamese) , El Torrero (Spanish) and that's just for lunch , and by no means the only restaurants or cafes to eat at. As a kid yohurt and pizza were the height of exotica and if you were really adventurous you could try a Vesta Beef Curry or Paella!

As well as the food technology gives us things like catch up TV , mobile smart phones amd timy music players that will hold most normal people's music collections. Never has life been more convenient with such choice. Despite all the golom merchants predicting global coolapse , the reality is that we probably never had it so good. And it feels good at Christmas

Ghost of Christmas Past

The other night ran into Hazel Plater and Carl Taylor authors of a book reminiscing about the Riverside one of Newcastle's iconic music venues, second only to the magnificent Mayfair . Progress doesnt always mean better and we now have to make do with the  (Insert current brand name) Academy , although we do have the Cluney and The Sage is a good upmarket venue , but not a rock venue as such.

The City Hall is still there , as is The Tyne Theatre , and the aircraft hagar that is the (Insert current brand name) Academy.

I would happily bulldoze the Gate if it would bring back the Mayfair  , but now we have a multi screen cinema , various chain restaurants , and sticking out like a sore thumb the excellent Spice Cube Indian restaurant. The old Odeon lies derelict and listed so nothing can be done with that magnificent building.

Anyway we don't have these places anymore and it was interesting the read the comments from various friends in there . I remember seeing Rocket From The Crypt , supported by the Coyotemen on my birthday, and remember seeing loads of bands such as Faith No More , Stiff Little Fingers etc at The Mayfair  , the Academy seems to do its best to crush the life out of gigs , The Mayfair was just the most perfect  venue ever for concerts.

We humans have a penchant for progress and nostalgia and while both can be good , sometimes they can also be destructive!!

Sunday 18 December 2011

Christmas , 911 , The Gulf Wars and Good Will To All

On 10th September 2001 I landed in Mexico , on the 11th The World Trade Centre was demolished by suicidal hijacked jet airliners. These events precipitated the second Gulf War , and gave George Bush and Tony Blair and excuse to cause carnage in the gulgf and send our soldiers to their deaths in the name of freedom, which seemed to mean curtailing our own freedoms to keep us safe from the latest bogeyman Al Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

Anyway This caused me to take some notice , after all this war was played out on television for all to see and was scarily weird because all Bill Hick's routines about the first Gulf War were eerily pertinent to the second!

Q: How do you know they got weapons of mass destruction?
A: We got the receipts !!

Thanks for that one Bill

Also I didnt realise till that point that both Christians and Islam worship the same God!! Their main prophet was a different guy , Islam had Mohamed and the Christians have Jesus, so what the hell were the Crusades about.

These days it's the fundamentalist few who screw it up for everyone , at this time , well all the time you should "Be Nice" , "Love Your Fellow Man" and the world will be a better place . Look out for each other , stop worshipping power and trying to control others and the world will be a better place despite what the Dail Mail and Express tell us.

All my Muslim friends enjoy Christmas and join in , and if Diwali means I get nice stuff and get to enjoy myself with friends then thats a great thing!! All the restaurants have Christmas menus regardless of origins yet politically correct left wingers say we cant mention the "C" word for fear of offending others. Christmas offends no one but idiots

It's a week before Christmas but we who are Ok should enjoy ourselves , count ourselves lucky and help others if we can. Be of good cheer and may your God go with you , even if He is Richard Dawkins!!!

Sunday 11 December 2011

The Greatest Riff of All

Was just reading a review of the latest re-issue of Jethro Tull's Aqualung , which posited that the opening riff of the title track was the most arresting and best rock riff of the seventies , out riffing even Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water".

Once you start thinking of this lots of thinks start crawling out of the woodwork , such as "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes , "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin  , any number of Black Sabbath and Hawkwind songs.

Above is a carousel of albums and here is a Grooveshark playlist featuring ten great riffs (in my opinion).

RIP MOF - The Car Hits The End of the Road

MOF In Snow
This week our "M" Renault Clio "Mof" was scrapped . £500 was needed to get it through it's MOT , this was on top of the £320 service , £266 insurance and £130 tax that had been recently forked out to keep it legally on the road, and the insurance company gave it a write off value of £50 , the same value given to it by webuyanycar dot com.

A local car scrapper gave me £70 for the car so that was a bonus.

The DVLA was an online tax refund situation which will take six weeks and carries all sorts of threats on how I'll get nothing if I don't satisfy every condition , so we'll see in six weeks whether thats ok.

The worst was the RAC insurance , before I go any further RAC dis provide the cheapest insurance by about £75 , however ....

I rang up and explainened the situation , expecting to pay about £22 for the month I'd had insurance , plus the rather steep £35 cancellation fee (pic left in red on page 16 of my policy) . Not so - I was charged £22 plus £83 short term insurance fee. I thought this was steep and when I queried it was assured it was detailed on page four of my policy , which I found on further examination, (in blue left) .

Now I'm going back to car hire as Enterprise Car Rental give you a new Ford Ka or equivalent for £110 a week with pick up and drop off!!

Saturday 10 December 2011

December Starts Quietly

...or it has for me. A week in Cumbria was very relaxing , alogh driving past Ullswater was scary , butA mbleside was superb visiting the excellent Lucy On A Plate , seeing the actual first Lilliput Lane Cottage and going for a drink in the pub on the cover of Half Man Half Biscuit's CSI Ambleside.

Appleby was interesting veering from discussions on extreme violence , to excellent coffee shops and superb architecture . The village is wifi'd up as well but our cottage was just too far out to benefit.

Rheged was an interesting shopping centre with so quality stuff on sale , an excellent restaurant and an interesting art gallery , and it's all under grass!!!

I know this is a short post but needed to get December started . Holiday pictures are here.

By the way the Dail Mail and Express have been forecasting Armageddon again because it's a bit cold and windy!!