Stuff :-)

Firstly, hurricane Sandy…. Wow!!

Hope most people are ok, I guess NYC will be building some new infrastructure over the coming weeks and months to minimise this kind of thing again. Web buddy and owner of Rocketboom.com Andrew Baron managed to get out and about and take some pics of the aftermath. Click on the image to go and see

All things “Sandy” aside, it was Halloween and a quick look at this site called TMZ made me realise that at least 90% of the so-called celebs they talk about, I’ve not in fact heard of lol. Most of which didn’t come close to @gabsatrucker’s Halloween cozzy which was based on a pirate wench – less sword, belt and hat. But in all of this, something strange appeared. [***Segue***] I’ve been looking into “E-Cigarettes” and so far I have found that many rave about the “Apollo” brand for being so like the real thing – yet DONT smell, DONT kill you and DONT affect the people around you… But who knew that come all things Halloween you can “Mod” them and make them look Kewl?! This pic is care of @gypsyhooker or better known as Shannon to the good ladies of the US trucking fraternity.

But… I’m about to embark on a trial of these e-cigs and see if they work where on 4 occasions everything else (patches, a punch in the mouth etc) have failed. But while doing my research I have come across some disturbing things.

1. There is no enforced safety standard or Govt. Regulation

2. There is no guidance regarding public places and mass transit.

3. If these things work, then they are in everyone’s interest to allow and to help stop smoking widely

4. The cost of these things are targeted at the price of a pack of cigarettes – whereas most people in the UK at least, hand-roll – so moving to e-cigs is a far more expensive consideration than the cost to remain smoking…

5 What I do disagree with is that they are made to look like real cigarettes! As such there have been instances on flights where one person has seen someone smoking an e-ciggy and just assumed it was ok to smoke – and lit up a real one… So, they should ban the use of Red or Orange LED’s in them and the outer colour should not be white.

Talking of planes though…

Air New Zealand have brought out a new flight safety video… Think Hobbits!! It’s great lol

In other news

As I mention in an earlier post, this blog’s and my buddy Sue Black was raising pledges for a BOOK publication… Well not only did she raise them, she far exceeded them and in doing so she halved the record time it takes to raise them!! Great work Sue and everyone who pledged – rocking, just rocking!!

More news…

Dell, who class themselves not as a manufacturer but as a Solutions provider have been making steps forward into the digital home. Work, office, media, study, play, photography, design, interact; you name it, dell has drawn it all together for the home in a realistic way and far beyond any other company to date. The new Tech Inspiration site is now up and running with tons of know-how, and cool stuff HERE or click the pic.

SXSW 2013 Austin, Texas… Yer know…. as far as music and film goes – SXSW still has it, but the “Interactive” part? I think 2012 was its death knell… You see, the Interactive part was a meeting place of ideas, conceptual minds to share and conceive of next-tech etc. Now it’s basically a highly sponsored group of events to flog the attendee something.

Even Toby Daniels the CEO of Crowdcentric and the Founder and Executive Director of Social Media Week said the format is old and stale. But the worse parts of SXSW are:

The Ticket Prices!! For an event so highly sponsored they’re unreasonable, unrealistic in the present climate and just money grabbing!

Transport!! Austin really needs to address its transport for such major events. Especially from the Airport – which for the most part you can’t fly internationally to from any country other than Mexico… But would desperately benefit from direct flights to London, Tokyo, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney and Shanghai.

Yet Austin feels it has a place on the world stage – I happen to agree, but it will soon be looked over due to the inability to get people to the city and around it in a reliable and at a reasonable rate… The Taxi’s are just too expensive.

And Finally: Accommodation… Often booked up, too many tickets than hotel rooms available and of course – the premium prices for the accommodation…

The only thing killing SXSW is – SXSW and Austin itself and it pains me to say that. But Austin will learn this the hard way if F1 finds fault with transport and accommodation that is for sure.

Personally, I like Austin!! In fact I believe Austin has a massive opportunity to make itself one of the best City’s in not only the USA, but culturally and in a cosmopolitan sense – one of the finest in the World!! But there is much to do, and little time to waste.

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Dr Sue Black : Saving Bletchley Park

One of Gabsatrucker and my coolest and greatest friends is Sue Black. I met her via the web years ago when talking about Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park wasn’t only the home of the Code Breakers, and the worlds first digital programmable computers – in fact it was one of British Telecoms most studious of technical training centres and a place where I first learned about technology, telecommunications and much more. But that was 1989 and at that time only a very few people knew of Bletchley Park’s real history. I certainly didn’t before I went there.

Today we all know about Bletchley Park; its impact and ultimately what freedoms together with the vast sacrifice of that time gave us in Europe, UK, the USA and in many countries around the world.

Yet it hasn’t been without a vast amount of work by the team at Bletchley Park and the unbelievable amount of input and some hard work by Sue Black.

Sue is a mom, is funny, zany and probably one of the most intelligent women you could meet. She runs to raise awareness and to raise money for things she believes in and has given herself completely to Saving Bletchley Park as well as supporting women in tech, and pioneering a new approach to teaching tech to children.

Sue has been approached to write about Saving Bletchley Park and Unbound.co.uk has asked her to do a full pitch of her forthcoming release.

Unbound is a unique new-ish system for publishing where you get to participate at various levels.

Please visit HERE or click on the image below to go to the page and video to give it a look. You can’t miss her – she is the one with the pink hair :-)  She’s growing it now – for charity i.e. I’ll give her £5 if she does ;-)

You can learn more about Sue here WikipediaLinkedInFacebookGoogle+Carpool Google Scholar and SueBlack.co.uk

Music: the theme tune to your life

I sometimes use a quote that I took from a TV show; I was sitting in my villa on Ranco Village compound, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2000, hiding in the comfort of air conditioning from the extreme heat outside and flicking through the channels as you do. I started watching something I’d term “brain mulch”, I find if you let yourself go with this stuff sometimes you can actually enjoy it (which explains why I don’t own a TV). Anyway, the quote was “If ain’t coming out of a thing called Marshall, then it ain’t music”. I smiled at this, looked over at a recently purchased cheap Epiphone Strat copy that I’d bought locally (for reason of its amazing setup – not the sh*te pickups).  I thought “true! – to a point…”

A year later and living in London I enrolled in the Guitar Institute, the reason was that while I love much about the guitar (albeit, I was more a drummer), I never ever understood it, nor did I ever understand the part when an individual crossed the line from being about to play every note or chord in any key and suddenly find the whole lot as an extension to the player’s emotional creativity. Sure, I did basic music in my first year of high school, they had weird acronyms and stuff, like “good boys don’t burn their toes in the morning”, (nah, that wasn’t actually a saying)  and I did retain the knowledge of what treble and bass clef was and what the tempo looked like. The music bit was about letters, but really the thing to “note” was that as the dots went up the ladder thing, so did the pitch… Then someone showed me piano music, I accused them of taking the piss and that was the end of that – go figure ;-)

The Guitar Institute course did my head in, and for the most part it killed my enjoyment of the guitar for a long while. But in that sentence is an answer to my overall question – if it’s a passion, just how passionate are you and where is your thirst for learning it? Or more over, how did I let someone else kill it…

This isn’t so easy to answer unless you’ve ever tried to play an instrument and spent many hours forcing your body, fingers and mind to keep going until you’ve made the sound or tune do as it should. In fact modern music styles, and even modern house music is constructed completely differently, by this I mean different instruments. I won’t belittle it, but some tunes have just come about by nothing more than just tapping a key repeatedly on a keyboard.

The one thing I took away from the Guitar Institute was a pro-session by a well-known guitarist who did an incredible demonstration of multiple finger tapping… they were a guest at another well-known (but now sadly deceased) performer’s concert later that day. They came on, the guest did their amazing finger tapping, the audience was stunned at the skill – then the person whose concert it was walked on and finished the segment with a single power chord… and the crowd went wild…(Yay!). The lesson (as pointed out by my tutor) was simple… Are you playing for your own benefit, or to teach? or for entertaining a cash paying crowd? and if for the crowd – which bit made them go wild? Because that bit was the entertainment!   Yup, the single “A” chord rocked out the crowd… but then I thought – the power of that single chord would not have had its effect without the finger-tapping before it.

This is what I think of as 2nd gen music theory or the true ballodial (think I just made that word up) effect of the overall music – whether in one piece of over the course of many pieces of music together. It’s like that great live concert opening that explodes in front of you – that can fall like a damp firework if the wrong song is chosen to follow it by.

But you see, main music theory is either the most obvious key to life to some, or it reads like an incomprehensible dark art to everyone else – albeit based in complete logic. Then there are the instruments, some consider the guitar as not a true instrument; I understand this, it has frets on the neck making it the equivalent of paint by numbers when compared to the violin and cello. If you don’t know what I mean, the moment I place my finger on the guitar string, it pulls it down and locks its movement against the fret before it. At the point of the fret is the location of the note – BUT what if that fret wasn’t there? The note would be exactly where my finger on the fret board is – so what note would that be? Damned if I know… but a cellist and violinist would know as they have to know where they’re at without references and get it right every time. Move the finger only a millimeter or two out and – boom! It’s a different note altogether. Heck, a cello is tuned in “5ths”(?!) and I eat with a spanner :-?

In fact, I know a bloke who can knock out a tune or two on a Cello, not only that – his wife can also knock out a fair old tune on a violin… Now, when a “youth” (pron. Yoof) and after my time at boarding school this guy was by far one my best mates, then one day, in amongst the long hair, rock playing in the background and the scent of joss-sticks courtesy of shops like Pippy’s or “Bringing it all back home”  he whips out (wait for it) a cello… at the time I thought “wtf you doing with that?!” (in fact knowing me, I might have actually said it thinking I’m about to be blown away by a classical Lemmy) right up until the point he did like Robin Hood and took a bow to it… Strangely the cello stayed in one place and what followed was (to me) stunning… At 15 I was at the point where I could only wish to make a coherent noise on a shocking guitar I had that had a neck on it that actually could have been put to good use by Robin Hood… heck he coulda hit Fr**ce from here with the arrows if he’d used it – and give them something back on behalf of our Harold!  But right there and then I saw a guy, who was as good and bad at everything as the rest of us were, completely change, the music, the indulgence of passion, the feedback of instant (to me) perfection was not only instant, but totally consuming to him.

I watched as well as listened to something that while today I understand, but have never experienced – true passion for the creation of music by feeling, still keeping it artful while I was trying to get me head around it by typically being annoying.

Now…. I’m an old-ish kinda bloke, heck Sue Black simply calls me pregnant (and that is on a good day) and I understand all sorts of technologies – my mind: a sponge… Yet no matter how young or old you are, you’re moved, excited and revitalized by a lot of music, yet we are ALL moved by classical… I’ve never been to a classical concert in my life and yet there isn’t a movie we watch that doesn’t have an element of classical that hits an audience with power… Heck even at my own mother’s funeral I was fine, except for the bit when they played Nimrod as they brought the coffin in and I totally lost it – mother, the music really didn’t help!! (vengeance huh?)

Like all of us, we have our musical heroes, they could be great blues players, drummers – pop artists with astounding voices, but artists with a blind passion completely draw me, whether it is Stevie Ray Vaughan, Alison Goldfrapp or yes, my old buddy… These people truly have something few others have and I certainly admire someone who truly follows that passion throughout their whole life. They’re consumed by it, it is to them as common as the air they breathe and yet they know they’re nothing without supreme excellence – heck, they don’t demand it of others, but they work hard persistently to hear the right note at the right time with the right accent reverberate through their entire bodies. In this I know I’m not a musician in any classical sense, nor will I ever be, but we need music’s classical heritage to keep alive the passion and all musical styles thrive on those who will experiment, improvise and have a go at crossing the divide of classical and modern styles and my old buddy does this in the most staggering way.

Also, as I mentioned before; after leaving the hell hole that was my boarding school which is becoming more and more well documented, this guy was the first kid to even try to talk to me. As an adult and with the recent processes regarding the school I have come to realise just how important he was in my adjustment to life after. I won’t mention it all here – as it can go in the book. What I will say is this; He gave me something that even today 32 years on and while during this time it has taken him on to  perform in over 50 countries, with him and his wife playing with just about every Orchestra in the world of note at some point – his way still holds true as he showed me that not only thinking differently was ok – but was the way to go.

Nevertheless, while I have a passion, I accept I’m simply not gifted with the passion that others have. To my old buddy, all I can say is “dude, what’s with the hair?” ;-) and to everyone else, wherever you are in the world, if you ever want to hear true passion in musical form, to see and feel it, and like me, not fully understand but really see a person whose life truly does have a theme tune running all the way through it – then do look up the name Matthew Barley and his awesome wife Viktoria Mullova as they will be coming to a country or town near you at some point… and let’s be honest here, if you come to my read my blog – then you could probably do with the culcha! ;-)

Matthew Barley.com

To Matthew, you’ll probably never know why, but thankyou!

Published in: on 20 August, 2012 at 17:48  Comments Off  
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So……………………. Alan Turing

Who is he? Some may ask, who was he, or what did he do? Well let my good friend Dr Sue Black tell you and further more – lets get his ass (ok, his head) on the £10 note. And then get the others on it too…

Click on the image below to read the article

Published in: on 14 June, 2012 at 23:05  Comments Off  
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March : In like a Lion and out like a Lamb

Or so they say…

Today I decided to sign up to Adobe’s Pre-launch software program in the vain of Photoshop CS6. You see, pre-launch software is vital and works for 12 months. As you can see on and around this blog, shop etc I use Photoshop CS2 a lot. I have tried trail software, but feel it rarely lasts long enough to be able to achieve enough of an understanding to commit to purchasing. At the same time Adobe, the number 1 graphics, audio, publishing and movie software company needs to get a real feel of how user friendly new things are and if there is anything wrong anywhere. I hope I’m accepted and of course if I am, there will be much Adobe talk in the future :-)
I must add that this in no way will improve my artwork on the grounds that my mind is apparently a dangerous thing, or place ;-)

This months and of course this week sees the beginning or South By South West (SXSW) over in Austin, Texas and I certainly wanted to be there this year.
The reason I’m not is the shear cost of the tickets!!
Austin makes a lot of money from SXSW, in fact it’s becoming the major source of income for the city, after of course, companies like Dell etc.
SXSW is the only event of it’s type in the world covering Tech through what it calls “Interactive”, and since its integration with the music and film, parts of sxsw it has been a place of real action, it was after all where Twitter got its hold on the world.

There are many that say the event is now losing it’s brilliance, innovation and energy to advertisers and end user tourism “CES with entertainment” was one quote.
I can’t comment personally because I haven’t been to it and with new knowledge that next year Sue Black and Gabsatrucker will be going together in 2013, it will leave sxsw uncharted territory (albeit, so help Austin ;-) )
There is more on this and the ever evolving sxsw on a post by Rocketboom’s Andrew Baron HERE
If you’re at or going to SXSW this year, I’d certainly love to hear your thoughts on all of the above. I feel it would be a great shame if it has become too commercialised and would love to know if there are ways to prevent it from becoming so.

Buddy Kevin down in Devon sent me an eBay link to something a little unusual.. a 6×6 Discovery – yep, they did make them and here it is.

[UPDATED] Next week will see the repatriation of 5 members of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment family (3Yorks) and a member of The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment (1 Lancs) to the UK after their sad loss in Afghanistan – a war that needs now to drawing to a close.
For those interested  Tuesday 20th March 2012 The plane will land at approx 1:30pm and the cortege will pass by the Memorial Garden at between 4:30pm and 5:00pm, reaching the John Radcliffe Hospital at around 6:00pm

I recently watched a fantastic interview with CBS Correspondent and native S.African Lara Logan at the Washington DC Press Club.
Lara has been in the press a lot over the last year due to her being attacked and almost killed in Cairo in 2011.
She has been in every major hotspot around the world for more than 10yrs and it becomes very apparent that she has a real insight, knowledge and a firm grip on the pulse of what is going on in the world, especially with regards Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa.
I respect this journalist very much and kinda wish she had her own “no holds barred” tv news channel that shows just how bad things really are in places. As for her personal life, the media seem to have taken a great interest in this – yet private lives are always kinda awkward and I certainly have no interest in that.
She is a very serious person, I certainly doubt she’d ever come by this blog, but if she did – I’d give anything to sit down and have a conversation with her.
Here is the interview/talk.

Whoooaaa!!

I know, it’s a catchy post title, but that was the point ;-)
So, in a week that brought us my buddy Dr Sue Black asking her other half to marry her on Facebook, the sad news that Davy Jones of the Monkees has died, Gabsatrucker looking on in disbelief as a locksmith offered to unlock her friends car with a lump hammer, Angelina Jolie proved that she has finer legs than any table and I made my own cup of Tea for the first time in years – yer gotta ask “what’s next?”

Well I’m getting drawn more into Adobe art things and think I’d like to qualify properly in it at some point, so much so I bought a Wacom drawing tablet, and for those whom know me – me actually spending anything is kinda rare (especially on myself). So it was to the finest market in the world (eBay) to acquire said item for 1/3 its RRP. :-)
This my friends also means you’re gonna have to put up with more of my crazy artwork at some point :D

Now… The Argies..
On my birthday, it will be the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War… I remember this war well, a few friends of mine fought in it, most notably in South Georgia,  Goose Green, and the other, after establishing the Beach Head at San Carlos, walked 70+ miles to battle.
The reason I mention this isn’t because I have some benign rhetoric on this issue – just that simply, the UK isn’t shouting about this, there is no dispute here. Argentina on the other hand is running around screaming blue murder everywhere and even getting famous folk like Sean Penn and now Roger Waters of Pink Floyd harping on about it…
JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR… The Falkland Islands are NOT under UK control, they no longer belong to the UK – they belong to the people of the Falkland Islands…
WE on that basis (and that they wish to remain British) will defend their right to do so…
Basically the freedom of the people of the Falklands is our priority… as it should be for any free and fair society on earth.
The military strength on the Falklands is simply at a level to repel another illegal invasion of the islands and incarceration of its people. People failing to understand this have a serious flaw in their over all ability to be intelligent – I should know, I’ve met a few flawed folks in my time (and you should see me when I’m drunk).

Moving on:
I was grimacing about some fashiony type things while being shown a website on Skype the other day, this led to Gabsatrucker falling about laughing and suggesting I should create a fashion blog or website with my point blank point of view (i.e. as rude as hell). This I could see strangely working because my opinion is often very straight, blunt and clear – when you look like sh*te, I’ll tell yer. This is based of course on a lifetime’s practice of looking this way, which I believe (as do others) puts me squarely in the ballpark of being ever correct and on the ball… But it will of course be funny, very rude and probably get me sued :D

This blog’s very own culinary expert in all things of where is best to eat wherever you are in the world (Dom Joly) [ok, I say "this blog's", but I simply tweet him and he tells me where to go] is drawing his epic global monster hunting expedition to a close as he looks for real life source material for his book due to be released later this year.
As I write this, Dom is in Tibet and due to return to Blighty tomorrow. As such he has been filling the columns of The Independent newspaper and you can read about his exploits HERE and check out some of his pics HERE. If you want a fun read though, Dom’s other great book “The Dark Tourist”, and you can find it at Amazon by simply clicking this book cover.

Finally…
Now I know I mentioned the new life brought into this world by Gabriela and of course Dad; Alex Elwood… but how can I go without posting a pic?
Ladies and Gentlemen from whatever country you reside, whatever language, faith, creed or other things you hold dear, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to:

Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and better known to you as

Benjamin Elwood

A lot has happened in the past year…

So yup… a lot has…
Just over a year ago I attended the Riphay Scuffle, it was an enlightening experience too, even after just under 4 hrs sleep (boy did I look rough lol)… A truly fun event! I met wonderful people too and yet went on my way. I was certainly thinking about running in this years event but for two things – the ladies on this blog would undoubtedly have removed me from the vehicle and taken it over completely!!
And yes, I did indeed move away completely too, as such I have relied on this blogs very own White Knuckle Driver a.k.a WKD to keep me up to speed on events.
Now WKD, like Gabsatrucker is a trucker… and they have a disturbing amount in common – trucks, both are women, cycling, being jolly and very, VERY sharp witted!! Thankfully they both are used to the fact that when I ‘think’ I’m saying something in a particular way – it *never* comes out the way I think it does and therefore sound callous and arrogant… oh wait……. So when I try to sound callous and – nevermind ;-)
WKD informed me that the event did happen but wasn’t anywhere near as good as the last few years on account they were not allowed a beer tent.. This is because last year two young lads decided to drive home totally pissed and died in the process…
This is where the whole thing fell down badly… and I must thank someone whom I often refer to as Lady K and/or Kate McAndersen (neither are her real name)for bringing this event to my attention when she did – I saw it for real and it’ll never be the same again now sadly.

Yes I moved away a few months ago and there are things I miss and things I seriously don’t – but above all in Devon, I miss the people… and the odd pint of old Otter… Hell, Honiton even has a Costa Coffee now :-/ But I will say my time there was somewhat of a rejuvenation of my spirit and while I’m still a bit of a beast in the eyes of most, everyone I met added another layer to this onion I call my life.

In this past 12 months twitter star and crazy friend @CareyLouisa actually went through the whole torturous process of buying her first home and while I know she had support from a most excellent person in the field, she did come through the process quite triumphantly I must say – and very good for her (even if she did start breeding pigeons in the process). In fact I’d go as far to say that Carey is a changed person since then and has her feet firmly planted on the ground.

Gabsatrucker came to the UK and promptly left again – straight to Malta!! Malta is of course a small island in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Libya – and guess what – as she arrived war broke out! Then after kicking the life out of the Land Rover Maltese Marathon, she promptly legged it back to Arkansas after a total of 10 flights!!

Further more, this blog and my friend Sue Black aka Mustang Sue, went off to South by South West in Austin, Texas… and we managed to get her hooked up with Gabsatrucker who gave her a ride around Austin in her big-rig aka Lola… along with Elsie the dog.

My mother had a lung out and they removed the right one ;-)

Buddy Kev took his first ever flight and spent his time making the other passengers nervous through his perpetual knowledge of air crashes etc – rocking ! :-)

I caught up with six of the best guys in the form of Hammy, Dean, Charlie, Squeezy, Gary and Ray. Then there was bumping in to old buddy Alan Shearer by total accident… A story I should tell when I eventually get around to writing up the Google Garden Party post.

Basically there is a hell of a lot more to write here and I seriously could turn this into a very long post – but needless to say the year has been short but very interesting indeed!
For those I offended when I wasn’t joking, tough – to those I offended when I was joking, chin up :-) oh… and tough also :D

So… what enlightening thing should I leave you all with…. Hmmmm tough one this…
I know, an informative video on looking after and maintaining your guitar by Taylor Guitars
No, I’m not kidding :p

General things

I have been writing something that’s not of this blog (shock!) though it will take the name sake and hopefully be the first of many things in that vein, it is designed to be an easy read, with typical TWBrit humour etc and typically stuff with out the fluff…

This Blog’s (and her own blog) Gabsatrucker has given up on iPhone and opted for the Motorola Atrix… A dual core processed phone with a kicking 1 gig of ram and fully Flash enabled. Now while this 4G super phone is pretty smart and cool, it totally leaves iPhone back in the dark ages AND has a replaceable battery, memory and other commonsense things the iPhone (as all Apple products) will NOT let the owner tamper with – I say owner very loosely when referring to Apple…. This all causes many problems when trying to get your information out of an iPhone because technically you no longer own it. Nevertheless, with the aid of Google Apps (of which some are astounding) she was able to finally suck her information from the iPhone in part and get up and running again.  Oh and the best part… she left the WiFi, Flash video and GPS switched on and 12 hrs later the phone still had life!!!  On top of all this is the complete Webtop…. if you’re wanting to do some everyday computing, this little sucker is all you need!! It’s a complete desktop if you want it to be…. No I’m not saying you’re going to be playing high-end games and making a 14 foot Photoshop image, but it’s all here in this package and it’s a damn fine bundle if I say so myself!

While in London last Tuesday to deal with things regarding the old St.George’s and Finborough School saga, I was walking along and after having a smoke thought to have one of those extra strong mint things. I don’t know quite what possessed me to do it, but I crunched it up…. And as I did so I thought – hmmm, interesting crunch…. As two large chunks of tooth fell from my mouth… bugger!!

Funny thing about anything to do with the school, I felt blank before I went, strange during and knocked sideways after…

Anyway, I met and had lunch with the ever smiling and great buddy Sue Black (the now known name sake of Mustang Sue’s Wreckin Crew) at a place called Planet Organic… who knew that growing things that way would be so popular!!

In other news and leading straight on from Sue is that HM the Queen visited Bletchley Park yesterday. She came to offer her thanks to the Code Breakers themselves, to unveil a plaque and said the following:

The papers and hacking scandal has gone as far as Mr Murdoch wants it to as Rebekah Brooks finally leaves his side… You see, Murdock wanted to capitalise on this and refused her resignation twice… Now with share prices plummeting and as much money from it all he could muster… Rebekah leaves and Mr Murdoch starts giving out “sincere” apologies… the obvious concept is that the news machine with then move on… Not So as the FBI start investigating the hacking of 911 victims families..
It’s possibly going to end in the downfall of the worlds largest media operation and if these accusations do hold true, then what questions of integrity will land on the shoulders of people in these News Corp companies.. The plot thickens :-)

Fenny aka Hooloovoo42 heads out stateside this coming week, so at last I can rest from all the loud music, wild parties and general ruckus that she doesn’t make, though I maybe taking her to Heathrow on Tuesday.

Managed to spend a good while talking the guys in the Asia Pacific region this week which was great! Emailed with Gary up on Nth Island NZ and Skyped for a good few hours with both Hammy and Dean, respectively Sth Island NZ and of course Dean in Australia… who is due to send me a photo of something (hint) so I can sort him a web logo and icon/avatar like most other people. That said, I’m at a loss what to do for some of them, but i’m sure imagination will eventually come up with something…

Finally, this Monday….  I’m getting my eyes checked, I have squinted long enough and it’s time to go four-eyed… so we’ll see how this sucker pans out. It wont improve my looks, but may in turn help to mask them.

Mustang Sue…

While strolling through the grounds of Bletchley Park with Sue Black last month, she mentioned she was off to New York to the #140 Conference… Yes, you guessed it – something to do with Social Media and the amount of characters you can pop into a “tweet”.
She’s there right now, infact as she was boarding her Virgin Atlantic 747 to New York she took a pic and mentioned the name of the aircraft was “Mustang Sally”… I just thought – oh, that name’s gonna stick…
As we speak, the conference has been going on and is very exhausting and a short while ago she changed her profile pic to this one;

Now, not wanting to be too ruthless with photoshop… But with the best humour at heart, for which I pale next to the humour of good people like Sue – I played a little before finally deciding (as it’s her birthday this weekend) to also knock her a logo together.


The first, which I sent to her – I wasn’t happy with and with the news her bf was kinda lost in NYC after tab’ing across the Atlantic to spend a special weekend with her – I did another…

To a brilliant friend and all round great person Dr (Mustang) Sue Black

Happy Birthday and to you both – have a great weekend!! :-)

Published in: on 18 June, 2011 at 15:05  Comments (3)  
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Bletchley Park and there’s more to Bletchley…

Sunday and I’m back in Bletchley Park… and what a complete difference to just a few days previously!!
There was so much more going on, more things open, the weather was great and furthermore blog commenter Fenny was with me as we pottered about the place.

Now… there was something else going on too… a book launch and signing by old Bletchley inmate and illustrious author and life peer Baron Asa Briggs…
As such there really was a full house at the Manor and after being there only a few minutes I came face to face with Lord Heseltine, former Secretary of State for Defense under Margaret Thatcher and Deputy Prime Minister with John Major. We both gave a polite nod, and he went over to Lord Briggs to say his goodbyes.

Now, one of my kewl friends was also there, but sadly I missed her, this of course would be Dr. Sue Black. Sue is the most rocking evangelist of all things Bletchley Park, it’s kinda how we met and have gone on to share tons of information.
The one thing I totally adore and respect in Sue is her willingness to share, encourage and inspire the want and will to learn and do better in everyone no matter of their personal intellect or social status.
She has also been an outstanding Ambassador for Bletchley Park and the United Kingdom when traveling and promoting Bletchley around the world – hey, this is not to mention what she does and has done for promoting Women in IT…
She has roped in a great many people, appeared on the BBC News and worked tirelessly for years to get Bletchley the recognition it deserves.
So, while pottering about on the web today I ended up reading her BLOG, and there, right there…. They and she have completed the initial goal… In a meeting with Simon Greenish of Bletchley Park she asked him where they were with regards saving the site… the answer?? Bletchley Park has now, with the help of so many and Google…….

Now all that remains is the not so simple task of rebuilding the entire site, and believe me – they now need to raise a lot of money!!
Please, I don’t  mind if you don’t like my blog, I’m not offended if you wish to never return here, but before you go – PLEASE give this post by Dr Sue Black a read HERE.

As a final note : Be Advised… Tea and Coffee in the Bletchley Park  cafe is pretty rancid……….

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The other cool bit of Bletchley…. The Home Of Loud…


Now, on my way back I had to pop by a place close to my heart, a place where customer service rules supreme and while the first users of this company’s products had the names Townsend and Hendrix.  I am of course talking about…


I first communicated with Marshall back in 2000 and frankly they’re the most helpful people ever…
Back then I was invited to visit the factory,  it took a long time but eventually I did. While there I met a great many people, toured the place and looked at the most historic collection of amps I could have imagined, nothing prepared me for the Who’s Who wall of photo’s running down the corridor wall towards the service centre.
When I left, I did so with arms laden with shirts, mugs and all manner of merchandise.
So why would I go past on a Sunday when the place is shut you ask (or not) am I “that” sad??
Well actually no, I stopped by because of a follower, commenter, poster on this blog and thief of 1 x  Marshall Hoodie and lover of anything SO loud, it could wake the dead – mentioning no names….
So here are some pics of the this hallowed ground of Rock just for her  :-)

Published in: on 17 May, 2011 at 04:28  Comments Off  
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Business as usual

Well apart from having to be at a meeting on Friday, things are returning to some form of normality I guess.
That said, there is still pretty much nothing happening in the way of work – and this is annoying the hell out of me.
So, while I finally fix a laptop today (soldering not being my strongest point) I will now be looking at either changing agencies, signing on or simply doing something new entirely with the mindset that you can teach this old dog new tricks.
I’ve been fairly active on Twitter since getting the @twbrit account back and I will be relaxing this somewhat as while some old friends are still missing from the pack, school stuff and a personal issue will take precedence in the coming days and weeks.
Of course today is Armistice day here in the UK and most of the world, but once over, we run straight at Christmas again :(
I have worked through most Christmases over the last 10 yrs and really wished this one to be different and in a different location – possibly with my feet officially up.
However, unless there is a full on miracle – then I will probably work through this one also.
The New Year brings many things and least of all another BCS talk/discussion organised by Dr Sue Black.  Sue has had a hard time thinking up next years talk, and while I may grumble about the outcome of last years, Sue is a formidable intelligence in the IT world and I trust that she’ll no doubt come up with a good if not hot discussion.

 

Other than that, it is business as usual, and this blog seeks to return to it’s status quo. No pun intended, but it is an excuse for some music I guess lol…

Published in: on 11 November, 2010 at 13:00  Comments (1)  
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