30 January, 2009

Fink's Links #49

Looking forward to the weekend? ;) Lets do some links (in case you are having trouble thinking further than Hotmail, Facebook and BBC News sat there with a quivering lower lip), to help you burn the time until yipeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

We'll kick things off this Friday with a couple of felines - silly cat (early reports of feline intelligence greatly exaggerated)...and "Suddenly, Muffin's laughter began to seem unsettling"...

Dive into an incredible 1474 megapixel picture of Obamas inaugural address (zoom right in and check out the snipers on the dome)..! Absolutely staggering work...

Worried about being hit by a car when cycling home? How about a nice bicycle lane that follows you around (courtesy of the power of frikkin' laser beams)...!

Playing with shapes ;)

A (largely HDR) photoset called "The Beauty of Urban Decay"...

Take a look back at "The Making of Doom"...(and if that has made you want to shoot some things, go here to play it in your browser...WASD!)... ;)

Watch a 500kv switch opening up (Whooooah!!!!!!!)...!

...and we think we have it bad in the UK, check out the Newfoundland & Labrador highway in Winter (bet their buses and trains are still on time too)... ;)

A fantastic interactive map by National Geographic showing the last 50 years of space exploration (hit "hide article" to get to the nav), the dotted lines show projected routes...

Watch - "I love alaska" - a heartbreaking "minimovie" tracing the search queries from an unknown individual that were accidentally published (along with many other people's) by Yahoo - picked up by a pair of artists and turned into film)...

Check out the SQUID - an incredible new way to immobolize speeding vehicles (very quickly) without using spikes (and thus risking an accident), it's tentacular...!

Giggle at an ipod of yesteryear...

Find out how to re-program your nearest electronic road sign (BUT *DON'T*)!

Building a highly accurate Lego Mario using a laser-scanner...

Awwww! Wook at the cute picture of that little girl cuddling her doggie, let's take a peek through the othe...WTF???!!

Phew...! Almost at the end, but there is always time for a good "Actual working machine fail" and a deeply dodgy water fountain fail...

There we go then, hopefully that's helped at least some of your day fly by in a happy way! Of course there will be some more links next week (to keep you amused) and if you like this sort of thing, my previous link posts are this way...!

Have Fun!

29 January, 2009

Cringe-worthy office sign

Funny Sign Water Foutain
I know, I know...I write a lot, and I am damn sure I make a huge number of mistakes, so it's awfully "people in glass houses" of me...but this sign that has materialised on the office water fountain has so *many* errors in it (not to mention the fact that it doesn't even sit on carpet), it makes me want to go all "school teacher" on it's ass with a red marking pen...

Click it and cringe...reframe(sic) ye not... ;)

27 January, 2009

I can successfully manipulate time...

I'm not joking, and it's actually rather easy - you may doubt me, so let's first off just consider the facts - we all know that time (albeit in a very small way) can be sped up by moving reasonably quickly (through the experimentally proven fact of "time dilation" - it's not a tricky read, but to summarise) - travel fast and time actually (for you) passes more slowly (this is compared to everyone at rest, or moving more slowly than you)...it's a tiny *weeny* effect (0 mph compared to 600 mph makes a difference only if you are able to measure billionths of a second) unless, that is, you start to approach the speed of light, when it all suddenly becomes deeply serious (mere minutes with the foot on the light speed pedal - a quick nip around the solar system - and when you land your shiny space ship you may find that everyone you ever knew has died of old age!  A big trip and you may return to a new civilization (a few bits of your old life might lay smashed up in a museum somewhere - if you are lucky), or take a wrong turn and the next geological age may await  (i.e. everything you ever knew is gone and the Insect Overlords now rule the Earth)...

Anyway, back to my point, my level of manipulation (while not being as puny as to almost evade an atomic clock, nor as powerful as the Tardis) sits somewhere inbetween - and it's simple and documented too, even though it wasn't penned by Einstein - just borrowed from the long handed-down saying "Time flies when you are having fun"...my theory of perceptual time dilation is flexible too, allowing both speeding up and slowing down of time, and the rates by which they are chained are extremely reliable...

I do it like this - if I want time to *really* slow down then I pick up a book and read (30 minutes of perception then regularly equals about 10 minutes of actual time)...if I want time to be *deleted* (almost immediately), then all I need to do is pick up a game - PSP or DS if I'm on the move, 360 when I'm at home (20 minutes of perception equals (usually) 57 minutes of actual time) and if I want time to run just about normally?  All I do is stick on TV or a movie and time ticks along pleasantly and normally (10 minutes equals 10 minutes)...

So I can (very) effectively control my perception of time just the same as if I had a little temporal remote control, just by varying my behaviour... ;)  I'm sure I'm not the only one, but it's been interesting to measure it... ;)

London Street Life 1900's - Video

Well, this is an interesting little gem - take a glimpse back at how things were in London in the early 1900s...Things have changed so much...!

Luckily we still have Bovril though (and don't have to use Izal toilet paper - the shiny stuff they used to have in School)...yik... ;)

26 January, 2009

Grease the Musical, Piccadilly Theatre - review

So in a final salute to Flyingpops' birthday, Saturday saw us taking (an extremely rare) weekend trip up into town (it's hard to do the commute when you don't *have* to), starting with a bus journey (as Flyingpops wasn't sure how much cash she had on her Oyster card, the queue to top it up was about 300 people long, and buses take small change) which seemed to take about 40 minutes to cover the same distance as the 10 minute tube journey (thanks to the huge amounts of traffic) -
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Soho
- we got off the bus by Foyles (just opposite Denmark Street on Charing Cross Road) and worked our way through the alleys to Frith Street where our (pre-planned) venue for lunch was located - The Gourmet Burger Kitchen -
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Soho
- we got a seat quite easily (it being out of the way a little bit) but considering that - it did fill up rather quickly thereafter (which was lucky!)-
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Soho
- Flyingpops went for the Butternut Squash burger, her mum (Nanjan) opted for the BBQ Burger (well done) and I really couldn't decide between the Blue Cheese and the BBQ (so I had both!) cooked medium rare -
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Soho
- and to quote Samuel L Jackson "Mmmmmmm! This is a tasty burger"! After a brief pause to consider options - Flyingpops took hers to bits to reduce it's height, Nanjan used her knife and fork, and I got Blue cheese and BBQ relish all over my face...delicious! ;)

That done, we started walking towards the Theatre, first through Chinatown -
Soho/Chinatown London Chinese New Year
- all decked out with (festival) lanterns for the Chinese New Year celebrations (which is actually today! Happy Year of the Ox everyone!) -
Soho/Chinatown London Chinese New Year
- (which makes the people hugging guys in cow costumes seem a lot more sensible)
<Soho/Chinatown London Chinese New Year
- we struggled through the crowds across Picadilly Circus, stopping only briefly to goggle at the new flagship Barclays store opening where Wimpy/Burger King used to be -
Grease the Musical
- where I waited outside (staring at the guys squirming with embarrasment dressed in blue Grenadier Guard uniforms)-
Grease the Musical
- while Flyingpops and Nanjan fought (successfully) to grab a few free goodie bags they were giving away (containing flyers and a pocket-sized London street atlas (quite useful)...!

And then (many pedestrian collisions later) we made it to our destination, the Piccadilly Theatre-
Grease the Musical
- we had pre-ordered tickets (just to make sure I had enough leg room - Chicago had been so bad I had to move seats!) - had a quick drink in the pub opposite (as we were there about half an hour early) watching others arrive - this lot were part of a Hen do, all dressed up as Pink Ladies (really good idea by the bridemaid there!) -
Grease the Musical
- and then in!
Grease the Musical
It was a really good show (as I said to Flyingpops, it was never going to be able to compete with the Beauty and the Beasts or Josephs of the Musical world, but) the cast was great (the winners of the related ITV talent show were playing the leads) and *Jimmy Osmond* was playing the Teen Angel (he got the loudest applause of all)! If I were to have booked it up again I probably would have sat a bit further back - a lot of the characters smoke herbal cigarettes on stage (and they honk!), when the pyrotechnics going off it was a bit like being Ross Kemp in Afganistan and the smoke machine made it a bit hard to see at times but overall it did what it said on the tin, and Flyingpops loved it (and that's all that matters)... ;)

I want to go and see Oliver (with Rowan Atkinson) next, Flyingpops is voting for Billy Elliot (which I will point-blank refuse to go to), so we'll just have to see what happens... ;)

23 January, 2009

Fink's Links #48

It's Friday again, so let's sneak in and knock over the Internet's bin with our paws, then pull everything inside all over the lawn to see if anything in there is worthy of our attention (and then guiltily hide from the owner), ah yes! Some tasty morsels were disgarded rather prematurely! Here (eat while looking over your shoulder) -

Lets make a start with the (very good) reason why you just refer to your cousin/s as "my cousin"...

A very accurately titled picture called "HOLY LEG ROOM!" (that would just be my dream seat)... ;)

One look at the Jell-O clown and he will haunt your dreams forevermore...(he is actually rather unintentionally freaky, be warned if you are even remotely coulrophobic)...!

Mmmm...Denture ice cubes, it seems there really is no end to the shapes of frozen H2O one can use to cool one's drink these days!

Smile because happy Spider is happy...

Earn 10,000 Nerd points if you can touch type (or are confident with your "tlhIngan Hol"), impress geeks the world over with an awesome Klingon language keyboard...

A funny picture entitled "I got a bad feeling about this"...and you thought spotting traffic cops unexpectedly was bad! "I'd like to see your documentation"... ;)

Discover "Trongs" if you like eating sticky pork ribs or insanely zingy sticky hot wings anything like as much as I do, they actually seem like a really rather good idea (especially if washable - a *mountain* of lemon handy wipes and napkins could be saved every day)!

Guy builds his own futuristic space ship (not working, just a life-sized model for an exhibition)...amazing pictures of the process from start to finish...

Now watch Star Wars being retold by someone who admits they haven't actually seen much of it (complete with amusing animation to accompany it)...

Weapons of Mass Destruction, a Visual Perspective (some awesome black and white photography)...

...and last (but certainly not least) a face+palmingly good Geometry Fail...

Uh oh...Quick! The Internet has spotted the mess and is coming out with a broom all annoyed...Scarper! More next week (if it doesn't learn to keep the lid shut with a bungee cord) you can find previous round-ups (if you are still hungry) buried under this hedge...!

22 January, 2009

Amazing Xbox 360 line up for 2009!

So after the awesome Christmas line-up we have just enjoyed for the Xbox 360 (which I am working my way through as quickly as I can), what do we have to look forward to in 2009? There has been some suggestion that there is going to be a bit of a drought of talent, but I've done some digging and it really looks like there is a *huge* amount to get excited about!!

For convenience I've broken them down into three categories, starting with titles that I am very, *very* excited about (and why) -

Bioshock 2 - Sea of Dreams - Need I actually say any more? The continuation (although there is some speculation that it is likely to be a prequel) of this "spiritual successor" to the System Shock series has already got me shuddering with anticipation (and fear)...oh and Bioshock 3 has been announced too, timed to be released at the same time as the upcoming Bioshock movie, so lots to look forward to!

Ghostbusters - Even though it was pretty terrible by today's standards, back in the 8-bit era one of my favorite games was Ghostbusters (even with it's attribute clash and almost indistinguishable digitised speech) and that is probably the real reason why I'm so excited by this prospect (i.e. actually seeing some justice done to the franchise)...Despite the project being juggled like a hot potato, it does finally have a distributer (Atari at last check) and features members of the original cast including Ramis, Aykroyd, Murray and Ernie Hudson who have reunited to do the voice acting...equal measures of humor and scares are promised, as well as (familiar and new) weapons and gadgets to try and save New York City once again, and yes, you do get to set fire to Mr Stay Puft and that's got to be worth the price of admission alone...!

Beyond Good and Evil 2 - Very little information has emerged about this sequel to one of the most incredible games ever made (and sadly overlooked by most people), but the name alone is enough to justify extreme excitement for me...If you never played the first one, I can't recommend it strongly enough...incredible storytelling, one of the most believable worlds ever created inside a video game, genuinely compelling puzzles, clever and satisfying combat...if this game is anything like the first one, we are in for one hell of a ride!

Banjo-Tooie - An odd inclusion you might think, as this is penciled in at the moment as an Xbox Live Arcade title, but it seems to be shaping up into what I was really after from "Nuts and Bolts", i.e. a true sequel to the original N64 titles...Gruntilda is back (blah blah blah) and you still solve problems, do time challenges and jump around a lot collecting jiggies, however it's little exciting twist (there had to be one) being the ability to play as various other characters (including Mumbo, a submarine, a washing machine and even a dinosaur)...so let's all cross our fingers and hope it's a RARE hit (rather than miss... ;)

Just Cause 2 - Even though I never actually managed to liberate *all* the settlements on the original (it was *huge*) I'm still looking forward to seeing exactly what completely ridiculous acrobatics Rico Rodriguez is going to be capable of this time (my favorite of the first game being to drive at 100mph then jump out onto the car roof and deploy my parachute, soaring into the air over the jungle...that was just awesome)...hopefully some of the annoyances of the previous game will have been ironed out (less grinding would have been nice - I got royally sick of stealing shipments of cigars), and a better story line pumped into place (they have Far Cry 2 as a benchmark now, so the stakes have been well and truly raised)...oh and it's set in South East Asia this time (so that's the last time you have to hear that annoying "Policia!" sound bite (thank God)... ;)

Chronicles of Riddick: The Assault on Dark Athena - If you ever played the first Chronicles of Riddick game, you will *know* why this one is in this section - Vin Diesel *GETS*games - it's as simple as that...he understands exactly what is going to work, what is going to excite and surprise and he works his arse off to make sure that any project he is involved in is immersive, feels realistic and is extremely engaging. The movies were a bit...odd (IMHO, no matter how much I tried to like them)...the games (if the second one is anything like the first) are classics...

Alan Wake - Last, but not least, a game where the hype engine has certainly been cranked up to 11...You play a horror novelist (of the same name) who finds himself trapped in the nightmarish town of Bright Falls and in order to escape must solve a terrible mystery. It's a go anywhere/any time affair, as you uncover a story of suspense, with outrageous plot twists and fascinating NPCs, take care exploring during the hours of darkness though, as the demonic foe are more powerful at night! I want to say "Hurry up", but actually guys, don't...just take your time and release the game when it's *perfect*...

- next, we'll check out a few titles that stand a very good chance of being "must have" titles (and certainly merit keeping a careful eye upon) -

Splinter Cell - Conviction - The last time we saw Sam Fisher he was on the run from Third Echelon, a changed man...quite how this one is going to shape up is unclear, the levels I liked the least of the previous games were the ones where you were stripped of your equipment, and guess what? Being a fugitive means all that kit got put on ice...the key to survival now is improvisation, your environment becomes your inventory...In a nod to the "Hitman" series it's going to be possible to blend in with crowds to avoid detection or cause panic to distract enemies, multiplayer features too with players able to take opposing sides in the battle rather than facing AI enemies...I'm watching with interest!

APB - Right, this one is in here for one reason only - Back in the days of GTA I and GTA:London (on the PC at least, oddly there was no option on the PSOne even though it had a link cable) it was possible to link together loads of computers and play GTA with all your mates - and it was *extremely* fun...! What on earth the developers thought they were doing when they lost sight of that leaves me feeling stunned and slightly hurt every time I think about it...This game seeks to fix that blatant -if you will forgive me-
crime...So pick a side, be it Cops or Gangs, and do your thing in a world full of human opposition, it's even got a (background) skill matching system to keep things fair and interesting (well, we'll see how well that works in practice)...no word yet on a single player mode, but it doesn't sound likely...

Street Fighter IV - The original Street Fighter cast is dragged kicking and screaming out of retirement (yet again) but this time not for a super-duper turbo special edition of an existing engine...this is a "from scratch" sequel, which you can't ignore - not only is it
*gasp* -3D- (with dynamic camera), it's also adopted an extremely stylish cel-shaded look (a la Jet Set Radio, although a little less stylised), it hasn't abandoned the classic side scrolling gameplay though, never fear...There are a light dusting of new characters (including an MMA expert) and there are the obligatory new special moves which include focus attacks, super combos, and (with a nod of the head towards Nintendo) Ultraaaaaaa! Combos...it certainly *looks* amazing, we'll see if the gameplay is still as accessible and fun as it used to be...

Resident Evil 5 - Chris Redfield (how is he still alive?) goes to Africa! Combine the classic T-Virus zombie/mutant zombie threat with an army of Resi 4's Ganados, expect constant swarms of infected, including foe larger than ever seen before in the series...thankfully, in order to combat this imbalance, Chris is not alone - in a new twist, local or online co-op is the order of the day (although single player is still an option) player two taking control of newcomer companion Sheva Alomar (who is thankfully just as handy with firearms as Mr Redfield)...This is also the game that is supposed to tie up all the loose ends from the complicated ongoing story that began with Resi 1...so could we actually be looking at the end of the Umbrella Corporation? Don't hold your breath (while the series is still making money)... ;)

Wolfenstein - Raven (the development house) are back in action (which is a good thing), coding the latest run-and-gun adventure set in the world of Wolfenstein...so it's back to that scary vision of Germany where Hitler successfully harnessed the power of the supernatural to give the Nazis an unfair advantage in World War 2...very much looking forward to that, but a nice plot this time will be required to get me really frothing at the mouth... ;)

Aliens - Colonial Marines - Single player or co-op (with up to three pals) don the body amour Players take on the role of a member of the United States Colonial Marine squad in a terrifying new chapter of the Aliens story. Arm up with classic franchise weapons - pulse rifles/flamethrowers etc., as well as brand new technology against the Alien hive...bring it on!

- and finally, the ones that could be awesome or could be lame -

Dungeon Hero - Co-op or single player dungeon slash, smash and zzap(!) - it's just too hard to say at the moment, but this might be the kind of thing that really floats my boat, certainly looks like it allows a lot of enemies on the screen at once (so you can practice your big fireballs)... ;)

Blood Bowl - Well, this takes me back! Set your wayback machine to 1987, when in a leap sideways from traditional table top wargaming (specifically the Warhammer/40K/Epic series) the partners in battle "Games Workshop" and the model makers "Citadel Miniatures" collaborated to put out an interesting twist on Rugby/American Football featuring Elves, Orcs and Dwarves who will do literally anything to get the ball into the scoring zone at the other end of the field (including wiping out the opposition)...the dice-and-paper game did actually get turned into a DOS title in 1995 (maintaining the turn-based nature of the original board game)...this remake could go one of two ways, I'm not into sports titles myself, but I might be tempted to if I were able to tear an opponents head off...we shall see!

Alpha Protocol - Fable II-type flexible character development based on moral decisions meets Splinter Cell -looking very pretty at the moment, could be a winner in the making when agent Michael Thornton steps up to the plate to stop an international crisis escalating out of control, his every action having consequences for both his and the world’s future...a mashup of a couple of good ideas, it
could result in something special...

- so that's actually about as far away from a drought of good titles that you could possibly get! In fact, it's rapidly shaping up into another financial severe dilemma! Bah... ;)

21 January, 2009

Free Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissues

Free Kleenex Anti-viral tissues
Just in time...still got a few of the last lot of free tissues, but really only a couple...my nose starts to run and - behold - a bunch of guys (dressed up like they belong in Spamalot) materialise at London Bridge station and hand me a load more tissues! I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it does seem rather...convenient... ;)

In other news, one of the colonies has sworn in a new leader...(congratulations Mr Obama)...it's just rather a shame that British troops imprisoned and tortured his grandfather during an uprising in Kenya in the 1950s (leaving his family with an understandably bitter taste in their mouths)...so what "special relationship" was that then Mr Brown?

20 January, 2009

Sainsburys Redhill, Trolley Deposit "theft"?

The guy that ties Sainsbury's trolleys up in knots in Redhill
Well, well, well...look what we have here...!

While I was waiting for the 100 bus yesterday (new train times mean I am always going to miss the 435 that drops me practically on my doorstep *grinds teeth*) when I actually happened to catch sight of the person that ties Sainsbury's trolleys up in knots in central Redhill...they are often to be found in the early hours littering the pedestrian areas in various amusing and devilishly clever unintended arrangements of stretched chain and balancing metal before the young lads from the store yomp out to search car park and alleyway to find/disentangle and return them to store...as they cost quite a lot of money, apparently...

He actually isn't what I imagined at all (and may, of course, not be the only culprit) but I had (for some reason) pictured a black bin liner carrying, dog-on-a-string, carrier bag covering leaky shoe sort of fellow, with a large beard...this chap was a well-to-do, slightly overweight, middle-aged, posh-ski jacketed gentleman of Asian origin, which for some reason surprised me a great deal (especially the fact that he was brazenly collecting people's abandoned deposits at about twenty to seven in the evening, while the store was still open)...in times like these though, who knows what kind of lengths people will be prepared to go to for a few extra quid... :(

His technique was actually quite a clever one, to block off the chain installed by the taxi rank and then collect the abandoned ones as people frankly couldn't be bothered to walk all the way back to store and then try and stagger back with all the bags in their hands (or risk leaving them unattended while they ran the trolley back to claim their quid...I estimate (if he kept up the rate that I observed) he would have easily cleared £6 an hour, maybe as much as £12 during peak shopping times (tax free), not as much as the ludicrously lucrative Thameslink Tramp...but certainly not a bad salary, considering the work involved...

19 January, 2009

Happy Birthday to Flyingpops!

Flyingpops was 30 years young yesterday, took loads of photos of the cracking party we had to celebrate (my desktop machine had to be unplugged and the laptop was busy providing all the music so I couldn't post actually on the day) so they will follow in due course, but for now (a slightly belated, official blog - ) HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART!!


Update, a few of the pictures -
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday
Flyingpops Birthday

Boscastle at Christmas

So that afternoon (back to Christmas) we decided we would pop over and see what progress has been made in Boscastle after the terrible flood in 2004 that devastated the town a few years ago...

Not a huge amount has changed, it somehow felt like the car park was higher up (although it could have been my imagination), but there was a perfectly tangible new huge chunky wall on the river bank -
- (next to a brand spanking new toilet block) -
- flood defences have been drastically improved before the original bridge -
- (comparison shot from 2006) -
Cornwall 2006 #15
- and the channel past the bridge has been significantly widened and deepened -
- (comparison) -
Cornwall 2006 #8
- there is a brand new visitors centre -
- and a nice new bridge (which is extremely low profile) to help prevent build up, as the old one acted something like a dam when 14 floating cars got caught up under it -
- everything (largely) appears to be back to normality in the village (still one or two buildings under construction, incredibly) -
- and the odd paranoid sandbag lingers (as there was a mini repeat performance in June 2007) -
- but, as I noted before, there is simply no going back to the well matured, charmingly scruffy feel of the Boscastle of yore...a shame, especially as this was very far from the first time such an event has taken place (records date back to 1847)...it almost feels like securing the portal when the quadruped has already scarpered... :(

16 January, 2009

Fink's Links #47

Merry Friday! So as the world starts to get back into "normal" mode after all the fun of Christmas (which seemed to zip past all too quickly this year), lets take a little look at all the cool new things that popped up through the tubes -

Lets make a start with an interesting journey inside the mind of an autistic savant...(he's actually written a book which would probably be worth a read)...

OMG! My teacher attaches McDonalds job application forms to failed tests! Genius... ;)

Bathe in the awesomeness of The Ultimate Geek Weapon...

A one-use only electric bath duck (please make sure you have made the right decision)...

MS Paint competition - best gaming moments of 2008 (some amazingly good, others amazingly funny)... ;)

Suck on some tasty Absinthe lollipops...

Some really awesome light painting shots...

Learn a little about the pneumatic tube system employed for postal delivery that was in use in late 19th Paris...

Legend of Zelda medley - A Capella Voices and Violin

See a Victorian flea circus chariot in action...

Rejection letter from Disney, circa 1938 "Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparting the cartoons for the screen"...

Some urban exploration now, an abandoned mansion in Beirut and some looted Soviet nuclear lighthouses...

Hack your brain - how to hallucinate (legally)...

...and to finish up with a Flavour fail and an amusing Restaurant name fail...

That's your lot! There will be more next week and you can find previous round-ups through this tube...!

15 January, 2009

Police abuse anti-terror laws to detain innocent photographers

This is starting to get really rather annoying, more stories of photographers being criminalised by police who are blatantly abusing anti-terror legislation, even going so far as to lock some photographers up (although not for terribly long, admittedly)...! 

I've only had one brush with the authorities personally, which was when I was through customs and approaching my gate at Gatwick airport, I took a very quick snap of the doorway and ramp to the plane (on a small point and shoot) and then got surrounded by officials demanding that I actually delete the picture from my camera...not really having a leg to stand on (as they could detain me or stop me getting on my flight), I yielded and wiped the shot (but not all the others I had taken in the airport ;) and was allowed to proceed, but hearing the Association of Chief Police Officers saying "Police officers may not prevent someone from taking a photograph in public unless they suspect criminal or terrorist intent. Their powers are strictly regulated by law and once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order"...

This makes me a little angry, as they obviously used their position to bully me into doing something even a police officer has no right to do without lawyers locking horns before a wigged gentleman...

However, it looks like we are (while not actually having a list of defined rights at the moment) at least starting to be able to guess where the invisible line is drawn...and about time too...

Now if someone could just tell all the police officers what their own Chiefs think about the matter we can all get on with our enjoyable, harmless hobby (or full-time job as the case may be)...

14 January, 2009

Widemouth Bay and Bude at Christmas

Hedley Wood
Back to the break now, we spent ten minutes or so defrosting Poppy the Beetle and letting the engine warm up a little bit and then (extremely cautiously) picked our way along the ice covered roads towards Widemouth bay, which looked astonishing (normally only being privvy to it in clement conditions) with the thick covering of ice -
Widemouth Bay
Widemouth Bay
- nothing was stopping Flyingpops though, so we splashed on down to the sea -
Widemouth Bay
- where I got a nice shot of the beach -
Widemouth Bay
- it was (however) a little on the chilly side, so our stay was reasonably brief...next stop was Bude (just a few minutes drive away), as we left we spotted this guy running along the beach with his dog carrying a skull and crossbones and an anarchists flag -
Widemouth Bay
- (a little odd), he looked like he was going to carry on all the way up the cliffs before we left him in our dust...
Bude was much the same as last time I was here (for Tim's Stag do) -
- we checked out the shops (Flyingpops buying a very posh new knitted hat for a couple of quid) and found a gift shop we had been told about which had everything (except the fudge) discounted by 75%, so Flyingpops went a bit mad buying model Campers and Beetles, Cream Tea themed mugs and other touristy bits that had obviously not been selling too well over the summer...and laden down with carrier bags we popped into a little pasty shop -
- for a spot of lunch -
- before heading back to the site to show off our pirate booty and get ready for our trip out in the afternoon... ;)

13 January, 2009

Easy Tilt Shift Photography

Wow, check out tiltshiftmaker.com, it basically lets you convert any picture (with very little effort) into a tilt shift image (i.e. makes it look like it is actually a shot of a tiny scale model, rather than a real scene) - there is one caveat though - you need to view the pictures large for it to *really* work, so click the below and take a look (if you hit the "all sizes" icon above the image you can view larger versions), the original pictures are linked to from Flickr if you want to compare them with the tilt shift conversions -
Hedley Wood Tilt shift
Coba Tilt Shift
- a bit of fun, anyway...there are, of course, some much better examples on their flickr stream (if you like this sort of thing)...looks like good targets are shots with a large depth of field...

Have a go! ;)

12 January, 2009

Static 19 at Hedley Wood

So after our very pleasant stop in Okehampton (I think we'll be going back in the summer time to explore the touristy things properly) we headed off for Hedley Wood, only about an hour away...
A30 Setting Sun
...where we took posession of our new home for the next (almost a) week, the rather frosty static number 19 -
Hedley Wood
- immediately closing all the doors and windows (goodness only knows why they were wide open!) and lighting both the gas fire and the oven (which we left both open and on until the whole place was warm enough to allow us to stop seeing our breath and remove our coats)...I did a quick ninja mission to swap the TV in our static over with the (unoccupied) one next door, as the one we had was missing a SCART slot (and I had all these new games burning a hole in my Xbox), then we settled in (dumped most of our stuff in the second bedroom, filled up the fridge) and then nipped down to the clubhouse for some supper (deep fried scampi and chips) -
Hedley Wood
- which was looking every bit as festive as ever, quite the most wonderfully garish display! That night we shunned the bedroom (as the heater in there was woefully inadequate at combating the distinct lack of heat outside in the darkness) instead snuggling up with a sleeping bag, hot water bottle and 4 blankets on the sofa-bed in front of the gas fire in the living room...(Flyingpops even kept her wooly hat on)... ;)

The next morning we discovered that the hot water didn't work (never got above tepid), so abandoned any thought of showers (and put in an emergency call with the owners via Flyingpops' dad), boiled the kettle made hot tea and coffee and contemplated how we were going to spend the day...it was so icy outside that it actually looked like it had snowed, so we decided to make a start with the most logical place to go in such circumstances...yes - the beach -(obviously)! :)

11 January, 2009

OMG! It is COLD!

Whitebushes Deep Freeze
Seriously, -6.5C in daylight...that is pretty cold! I took a little walk around the place (wrapped up very warm indeed) -
Whitebushes Deep Freeze
Whitebushes Deep Freeze
Whitebushes Deep Freeze
Whitebushes Deep Freeze
Whitebushes Deep Freeze