Friday, July 29, 2005

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record

My mixer arrived today in cracking condition and I've tried it out and it all works. It's a KAM BPM Junior and cost me £21 (+£10 postage) and seems to be a good mixer to start my DJing with. I also got the decks out of the loft but I can't find the styli, cartridges and headshells I had so I've had to order some more off the internet along with a couple of RCA phono leads.

I've also went on the hunt for my vinyl collection and I've got a few classics in there which remind me of the mid/late nineties (Industry Standard - Industry Standard Vol. 1 (What You Want) / Double 99 - Ripgroove). A bit chavvy now but I still like them.

Hopefully the bits and bobs will arrive by the end of the week so I can give the vinyl DJing a go at the weekend. I'm sure I'll be terrible at first but it'll fun to have a go.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bang bang you shot me down. Bang bang I hit the ground

A supposed suicide bomber was shot dead on Friday after being chased by 3 armed men and not stopping.

Call me stupid but I'd probably run if I was being chased by 3 strangers. Witnesses said that the man was chased, tripped whilst boarding a train, was pinned to the ground and received 5 shots to the head. The witnesses also commented that the man was of Asian origin, possibly Pakistani.

It now turns out that this was completely unconnected with the recent terrorist activity and Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair has apologised calling it "a tragedy".

Is it a reflection on our post-terrorism xenophobic attitudes that several of the witnesses assumed that the man was a Pakistani when he was actually a Brazilian? Are all Pakistanis going to be labeled as possible terrorists?

I don't know the amount of times I've had to run because I'm late for a train, running all the way to the platform. Anyone knows that train stations are busy loud places, and if I hear people shouting then I may give them a cursory glance but will usually choose to ignore them as they probably want to start an argument which will result in me getting a kicking.

I was questioning of Friday that maybe the man was just an innocent person late for a train, and it seems I was right.

Read the BBC article here.

If I die before I wake. At least in Heaven I can skate

Yesterday I went to the Sprite Urban Games at Clapham Common and it was quite nice to get away to the 'big smoke'. After parking a few train stops away from Clapham (we had been advised it'd be too busy to park in Clapham) and then travelling to Clapham we found that there were LOADS of spaces and we could've saved ourselves LOADS of time.

After our long journey we got to the common (advised Chris not to go for a pee in a bush as some people might get the wrong idea) and entered the fenced off area where the Urban Games were taking place. I must admit it was a lot smaller than I imagined and wassn't that busy but I still had a good time but after about 3 hours we'd seen all we could and made our journey home.

I must admit that all the stuff going on was pretty cool and makes me want to go out and buy a BMX and do some tricks, but I know I wouldn't be very good at it. I got quite a few photos but it was quite overcast so the colours didn't come out brilliantly.

My compromise is that I'll become really good at vinyl DJing and then my more adventurous mates can do all the tricks. Here are some photos from the day, I think they'll explain it better than I can:

P.S. We did see this cool thing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hey girls, hey boys, Superstar DJ's, here we go!

I have no musical talent but when I was at Uni I used to do a bit of DJing. The equipment I used was a Numark CD Mixer and Player, not as prestigious as vinyl, but I still got to learn mixing, got a crowd going, and got to listen and play a huge range of music. It widened my musical taste and although I've never played a musical instrument I could hear music in a completely different way and felt that I could understand it better.

Another thing I got to learn about was PA Systems, how they work, what goes where, specific types on cables, connections, and also general troubleshooting and making the audio sound good. I had a good time doing it and I was able to pass on my knowledge to a handful of other students whom I was able to teach how to mix and how to become an ok DJ.

When I left Uni I wasn't able to DJ because 1) I couldn't afford the equipment 2) I didn't really have the time 3) I couldn't be bothered DJing for anyone else as I wouldn't have the freedom to play a wide range of music that Uni provided.

I pretty much mastered CD mixing and I did get hold of some vinyl decks a few years back for free but I've never got around to actually using them. This is going to change and I'm going to be 'cool' 'cooler'. I've just bought a mixer on ebay and have got quite a few records so I'm going to start learning to mix vinyl as a new hobby, just for me.

In a response to my last post this is going to be my effort to make some 'real music'.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Music makes the people come together

Could you imagine a world without music?

It's amazing how music can reach you in ways that no other form can, and how it is constantly all around us. The only problem is that there is perhaps sometimes too much music that a lot of the 'real music' has been drowned out or polluted by polished, clean, manufactured, commercial music. I do enjoy a vast amount of music that is available in the mainstream on the radio, downloads, CD, or TV but as I've said they're too clean, tweaked in studios till they are considered as near perfect as they can be.

What I really enjoy is when the music is stripped down and reduced for the live gig, the freshness that comes from hearing a song that will never be heard the same again at anytime other than at that gig, added to this is the energy coming from a band on form and enjoying it, and also the unlimited possibility of where the track will go, the quips added by the vocalist, and most off all the thing I love is the audience interaction where you are truly involved in an almost tribal experience. This is something that cannot be achieved whilst sitting at home listening to a song that you know will always end on 3:34 and will always remain the same. Some songs are brilliantly recorded and I could listen to them again and again but just imagine hearing it live.....ooooh.

I feel that I've been deprived of my fix of 'real music' for quite a while now as I haven't been to a gig for quite a while and this is something I'm going to change (I did go to a Uni Ball which had cools bands but I didn't go specifically for them). I'm starting off with going to see my friend Andy's brother Ollie play an acoustic set in Brighton on the afternoon of August 5th, and then I'm going to see a funk band Ticklin The Pickle (I run their website by the way) play in the evening at the Casablanca Club. From small acorns they say, and so I'm planting my gig seed here and hope to add a few more over the summer, maybe even seeing a few bigger bands.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Out on a windy common, That night I ain’t forgotten

I'm off to the Sprite Urban Games on Saturday taking place at Clapham Common, which should be good. I've never been to one of these things before but I've seen some of it on TV, played Tony Hawkes on the PS2, and I had a BMX when I was about 7, so I'm pretty much an expert! I'm sure if I wanted to I could be "utterly bodacious" much like my friend Chris who has a skateboard (but can't ride it).
On show at the Urban Games will be skate, BMX, FMX, and Breakdancers. There's loads of other stuff going on too, and I can't wait to get my camera out and hopefully take some cracking photos. Hopefully they'll look a bit like these.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Preparedness makes us powerful. Butter merely makes us fat

Retro Boy posted this the other day:

"It starts slowly. A bad day. You didn't eat enough yesterday. Maybe you were working late. Maybe you had half a sandwich at your desk. Maybe you grabbed a bar of chocolate. Maybe you went to bed hungry last night. Maybe you forgot to cook. Power cut. So where's the harm. A bar of choclate. An extra slice of pizza. You sit at home, and you don't feel like exercising.

An extra sandwich. Nobody notices. Nobody minds. Middle-aged spread, they call it. Signs of natural aging, for others. But your clothes have a memory. They do not shrink in the wash. Steel expands in the heat, not humans. Clothes never forget.

It's how you become fat. Think of it as storage. Extra fuel for the lean times ahead. That's it. Yes. So maybe standing becomes difficult. Maybe you don't want to stand up for hours on end. Maybe you find the muscles in your legs have wekened. One day you go out onto the porch, and it's the last time you see the world with your naked eyes for 8 years. You can't leave the house. The doors have shrunk.

By the end, they need a crane to demolish the side of the wall so they can take you to hospital. Or the morgue.

Every journey starts with a small step. "

I've started making my small steps. I would say I really need to lose about 2 stone to be at a weight I'm happy with, but I haven't been that weight for around 6 years.

I've alway been 'big-boned' (not in the prison sense) and would say that I've got got quite a large frame... i.e. fat, but over those past 6 years it's got worse. Do you know what I did 6 years ago? I went to University.

I found beer, alcopops, irregular sleep patterns, fast food, women, the internet, etc. And it's been a slippery slope since then. I had always been an active person, riding my bike, playing sports, and generally enjoying doing stuff, but when this is replaced by meeting friends at the pub instead of the park there's bound to be an inevitable change in lifestyle and fitness.

When I was doing my A-levels I used to only have a saturday job at a local butchers and for working 8:30am till 5:30pm I got the handsome some of £20! With this I would go out on the saturday night over to the other nearest town on the "free train" (i.e. I didn't by a ticket) go to a pub (which isn't there anymore) and invest some of my money on a fair few pints of 'Toby Bitter' which cost £1 a pint...bargain and I'd maybe have a few shorts to finish off, play a few games of pool, and then get the "free train" home again. One night a week of doin stuff was all I could afford (and the bitter was like water anyway). My waist remained at a steady size.

When I was at Uni there wasn't just the weekend it was the whole week too and I'd probably go out on most nights and have a fair few beers, funded by my student loan. Eventually you are running on empty and the only food that really picks you up is junk food with its ready supply of fats and sugars. My exercise was cut down, my eating and drinking went up and that was the start of a slippery slope into fatness.

I've had several false starts into fitness, I've previously joined a couple of gyms, tried to cut down of indulgances, but ultimately they have been a failure.
Sice I moved back to my home town last year I'd got a more regular timetable in my life, and I was playing more sports than ever, and eating better food. I thought this would lead to a healthier lifestyle. Apparently it improves fitness but still doesn't get rid of the weight. I've finally accepted that the curse of my adulthood is ......wait for it......BEER!

I know it's not really much of a surprise but it seems that we British usually need to have a pint in our hand to be having a good time. It's the way our society has been built. Well I've eventually cottoned on to the evils of alcohol. I do like beer and I don't think I could give it up but I've realised that is is okay to say 'no' every so often. I used to feel pressure to always have a pint when out and I'd always have to keep up with the rounds, as it was the done thing.

I think the secret is not abstaining completely but only drinking when you actually want to. I'm now quite happy to have a pint (yummy) and if I think I don't really want anymore then I switch over to my drink of choice, a pint of orange squash and soda water. It's very refreshing and at 60p, compared to £2.80 a pint, very cheap (I've blogged a fair few times about how I haven't got much spare money now).

This regime has only been going on the past few weeks but it's great to wake up in the morning with a perfectly clear head anda wallet with money in!

Every so often it's good to get bolloxed but the need hasn't come yet so I'm still good. I think another reason is that I've now got over the initial stage where friends were joking about my squash drinking, and now they don't care about it.

Viva la revolution!

Don't you hate it when people are utter c**ts? i'm quite a good natured fellow most of the time but when people are rude and obnoxious I get very angry and a storm rages inside me. This happened yesterday when I was working at my local pub. this person walked in and I thought to myself "ok, he's been a c**t to me before but everyone deserves a second chance, I'll see how he acts today and reserve my judgement. He was still a c**t. No surprises, but it was worse because I had been willing to rethink about his c**ticity. This put me in a bad mood which I'm sure reflected onto other customers. I finished work at 8pm and guess what? I had to have a beer to relax me! first of all I wanted lot's of beers, but one seemed to do the trick and Istopped there. My journey into semi-abstaintion is still on the right tracks.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Good morning TV, You're looking so healthy

It seems that a few of you thought that was the end of "The Big Blog" but that was not the impression I was trying to give when I ended my last post with 'Au Revoir'. I must admit that if I was going to leave then that would've been a classic way to do it, in an homage to Reginald Perrin leaving his clothes on the beach and walking into the sea, or Captain Oates who left with a simple "I am just going outside and may be some time".

I don't give in that easily though and I'm sure I can cope with blogging for the foreseeable future. But how long for? I took the MIT Weblog Survey the other week and one of the questions asked was (I'm paraphrasing here) 'How long will you keep maintaining your weblog?' What a question! In the end I think I answered around 2 years, as a safe option (Thus outlasting my longest relationship)

I think the most endearing things about blogs are the personal nature surrounding them and the insight you get into people's lives. Sometimes I stumble upon a few blogs that are far too personal and I must say I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to things like that and I'd rather read a blog which I can read in a mate/mate style, topics and conversations I could chat about with close friends and not have too many uncomfortable silences [Pulp Fiction has just entered my head- Mia: "Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?"]

I do enjoy blogging though as it gives me a chance to talk about things that actually interest me, and I know I won't be boring anyone. If you want to read it then fine, if you don't then you can whizz off to someone else's blog, not like being stuck in the same room as the person. It's as easy as that and I'm sure I've read 100s of blogs, discarded the vast majority of them and only keep reading the ones that interest me and to which I have a affinity.

From reading the blogs I regularly visit I feel like I know quite a bit about their authors. The bloggers, who's lives I read about, are people who I believe I would probably get on with in "real life", and have a great deal in common with. I could probably meet up with them in a pub and have a great conversation, but would it be the same if I hadn't known so much about them before? I doubt it.

The serious relationships I've had in the past have always been with women I have been friends with and then it's developed into something else. I suppose it's like testing the waters. We enjoy each others company [we can stand each other], know a fair bit about each other's past and interests, and things have developed into something good.

The not so serious relationships [or acquaintances] I've had have never lasted more than a month, after which I realise that we are completely different [Paula Abdul was wrong] and that I don't really want to spend a great amount of time with this person. I'm sure there were boundaries that could be overcome but if it's that much effort then I'd rather not go with it.

It's good if you have some different interests but it's essential that you have quite a bit in common with each other. If I could read the blogs of prospective dates then I'm sure things would run a lot more smoothly and if I didn't like what I read then I could pick up the phone say "Sorry I just don't think it's going to work, it's not me, it's you" and not waste an evening.

It's just struck me that that's a bit like these dating agencies where you can view a video of a potential date and, like Andy, say "I want that one!". But I'm sure that people who use them lie about themselves or only talk about the positive aspects of them, having a 3 minute section to sell yourself, whereas a blog usually has a years worth on entries where the blogger isn't trying to sell themselves to anyone, only trying to express themselves to no-one.

So there it is, a more meaningful entry to "The Big Blog". I feel better for it.

[Watch this space for a great business idea I have, where I'd like your views. I'll update later with my plans.]

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I bore myself to sleep at night, I bore myself in broad daylight

If you've read a few of the previous posts then you'll know that I've been trying to spend little I have none. Well it seems to be working for the moment and I'v ebeen keeping myself busy by working and then doing DIY jobs around the house that I've been putting off.
These are a few of the reasond why I have momentarily dropped off the blogging circuit. I have been reading other peoples blogs though and left a few comments here and there.

I've got a few things I could do a post about but I don't think they'd be very interesting so I'll leave you with that.

Au Revoir

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Change Would Do You Good

On a lighter side of things I thought I'd tell you my two favourite jokes.

Q. What's E.T. short for?
A. Because he's only got little legs!

Q. Why does Noddy wear a hat with bells on?
A. Because he's a twat!

Boom! Boom! Classics, and ones that I can still remember when pissed.
If you've got any classics and you want to share some good humour then post a comment.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I know that there's gonna be a change, Better find your way out of your fear

I was watching the Edinburgh Final Push concert on BBC3 last night and I was greeted by the Sugababes singing 'Stronger'. It was an amazing version displaying brilliant harmonies and excellent voices by three young once young girls, and now young women. Here are the lyrics:
I'll make it through the rainy days
I'll be the one who stands here longer than the rest
When my landscape changes, rearranges
I'll be stronger than I've ever been
No more stillness,more sunlight,
Everything's gonna be alright

I know that there's gonna be a change
Better find your way out of your fear
If you wanna come with me
Then that's the way it's gotta be
I'm all alone and finally
I'm getting stronger
You'll come to see just what I can be
I'm getting stronger

Sometimes I feel so down and out
Like emotion that's been captured in a maze
I had my ups and downs
Trials and tribulations,
I overcome it day by day,
Feeling good and almost powerful
A new me, that's what I'm looking for


I didn't know what I had to do
I just knew I was alone
People around me
But they didn't care
So I searched into my soul
I'm not that type of girl that will let them see her cry
It's not my style
I'll get by
See I'm gonna do this for me

chorus x 2

The song really effected me and I was thinking back to things that have happened and things that are happening. Much of this had been brought on by the points raised by 'Live 8' and the 'Make Poverty History' campaign. I know that a few concerts and wristbands are not going to solve the problems but I'm a firm believer that once you recognise you have a problem it's the first step to overcoming it. I felt that we had finally brought a major injustice into the popular mainstream, and that the wheels were being set in motion to solve it.

It had been an emotional day following an emotional week, and after the jubilation surrounding London's successful Olympic bid, I felt we were turning a corner after what has been an awful start to the 21st century (September 11th, Iraq, the tsunami, continuing world famine, increased global warming, I could go on but it's too depressing) and 'Stronger' showed that we can all overcome adversity, pull together, and make a difference. It seemed everyone wanted the same thing. This feeling inside me only lasted till this morning.

I sat watching the news this morning and my optimism for the future was fading from me. I felt sick inside and was hoping (I can't believe I'm saying this) that it was just a tragic series of events that had occurred in our capital. It seems that this is not the case and terrorists have yet again had blatant disregard for human life and done something very bad.

I just wish it would stop. Sorry to all the victims and their families.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Olypics 2012 Update

The Results are going to be announced soon......
I've got the TV on and am blogging, and also doing some design work in Photoshop....busy, busy, busy. vidiprinter style text to time stamps though, I'm too lazy but all this is happening from 12:20.

The woman talking is quite fit.....I think she's a Singaporean to the bid now.
Now some drawn out images of Singapore (they are hosting this IOC session)
I'm watching on BBC News 24 by the way, only another 10 minutes to go.
They're showing all the candidate cities presentations in a montage stylee #. What a drawn out process.....I can't wait.8 minutes till the results.
The London bid video, with Heather Smalls in, is actually very good. I like.
Results time.......The President of the IOC,
Jacques Rogge, has stood up. A 14 year old sailor (from singapore) is going to bring the envelope
A bit of singing now! Hurry up! Whatever happened to a good drumroll?
They're giving thanks to Singapore. Now the 9 cities who initially bid..
The envelope's out!!!!!
The 2112 olympics has been awarded to the city of...........LONDON
LONDON HAS IT!!!!!!!!!!
I thought we might've lost it, but no, brilliant. I actually clapped whe nthe results came out. Roll on 2012!

2012 Olympics

I'm watching the vote for the 2012 Olymipics, and for a room full of old farts it's been very exciting but yet I've been left on a cliffhanger.

Initially the possible host countries were Madrid, New York, Paris, London, and Moscow.
After a series of votes (computerised), Moscow, New York and Madrid, were eliminated from each round of voting. That left just Paris and London in it, and there's just been the vote between them, but agony, the end result won't be announced till 12:46 BST.
There's really nothing between them and it will be a lottery to who gets it.

I'll update after the result........

Monday, July 04, 2005

I feel right, the music sounds better with you

I've resisted the urge for a long time but now I really want one......I want an i-pod!!!
I've got loads of mp3s and CDs and I almost bought a Creative Zen Touch around 6 months ago but I resisted and realised I didn't actually need an mp3 player. But now I need one!

From all the specs I've looked at and reviews I've seen, the Creative is actually better than the Apple i-pod, but then there's the whole style issue, and after checking out a few friends ones (i-pods that is) I'm gonna get the i-pod.

I've fallen upon a few problems though:
1) Money - always a big issue. I've checked and I've already got 20gig of mp3s and this is sure to keep going so I really need to think about getting the 60gig one which is a pound short of £300. Luckily as I work for a University I could be eligeble for an educational discount but that only brings it down to £274.95
I've had a look on ebay but nothing is really much of a bargain so I might as well get an official one from the Apple store
2) i-Tunes has just f**cked around with the /my music/ directory and has made loads of new folders! arghhh! Not what I want. Also it hasn't uploaded around 90% of my music, so I'll have to upload all the folders seperately.

If anyone knows where I can get a cheaper i-pod then leave a comment. Also if anyone knows how to undo the folder buggery then leave a comment.

That's all for now.

MIT Weblog Survey

After gettting my daily dose from SwissToni's blog I followed a link from there to the MIT Weblog Survey which is basically doing what it says on the tin. I can now proudly boast this banner.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Why not click on it and become a number too.

Friday, July 01, 2005

they're like buses

You wait for one, then three come along at the same time. No not buses as the title suggests, or women (I should coco), but in fact photo-uploading doobries. In the past I've been uploading pics to my site and directing my blog to get pictures from there. I did this as I have the space and there was nothing else that was that simple without signing up to loads of other things.

Then last month I decided to join flickr. I'd seen people, like SwissToni, had uploaded their pictures on to flickr and used them on their blog, so I jumped in and signed up (for free of course). All's very good there.

Then now blogger has launched a free photo upload service directly from the blog posting section. Easy Peasy.

So What do I go with???? I'm guessing I'll still use flickr and my own hosting, but I don't know if I'll use the actual blogger upload as I won't really know where the pictures are, as they'll be floating around in cyber space somewhere. Scary. I do wonder where all the crap goes on the internet, when people sign up to services or upload things and then completely forget about it.

Batman Begins

I went to the cinema last night with Jonny, Ant, and Ian, and I can say the at Batman has certainly Begun. Batman Begins has been out for a couple of weeks now and I only just got the chance to watch it.

It's usually the case that sequals get worse the further down the line they are, but I think that the time out from the Batman franchise has been good as there was a decline in the quality of the films, with the latter films resting on the laurels of Tim Burton's 1989 film.

1. Batman (1989) ...Great film, very dark, gothic Gotham is a masterpiece
2. Batman Returns (1992) ...Tim Burton and Michael Keaton return. Visually very pleasing, but the quality of script has slipped.
3. Batman Forever (1995) ...Robin is a pansy...a camp affair allround
4. Batman & Robin (1997) ...They didn't learn, crap villains
5. Batman Begins (2005) ...Starts back at the beginning, great cast, script, and visuals

In going back to the beginning of the whole Batman/Bruce Wayne saga the director, Christopher Nolan, of Memento fame, has a chance to start afresh from the series of films that slipped into mediocraty and campness.

The choice of cast is exceptional. Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson are great actors and fulfil their roles here.....anyone notice that they're all British actors.

In fact is was actually a bit like a game of spot the Britain - Other notable Brits included - Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy (ok Irish), Colin MacFarlane, Linus Roache, Larry Holden, and Gerard Murphy. These Brits actually take up 10 of the top 15 spaces on the bill. I suppose you get that when the director is british too!

The brits are showing the yanks how to do it. We do love a bit of drama, and always look on the dark side, so I guess Batman Begins is the perfect choice, as fear and darkness are underlying themes in the film.

I haven't gone too much into plot etc as I don't want to ruin the film for those of you who haven't watched it but I can assure you that you will be getting more than just a Summer Blockbuster.

Watch It!