Tuesday 30 November 2004

Poor Man's Steady-Cam

Excellent instructions by Johnny Lee on how to build your own steadycam on the cheap. Nice idea. Gotta see whether I can find all the components.

Monday 29 November 2004

Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock, 2004)

Finally got around to seeing Super Size Me (a film of epic portions). It's a low budget video documentary about obesity in America and one of its sources - fast food corporations. In particular, Morgan Spurlock (writer, director, producer, actor, blogger), takes it upon himself to eat solely at McDonalds for one month and document it's effects.

It's an entertaining and fun watch. Rated 92% on Rotten Tomatoes so that's not just my opinion. Mildly horrifying as he elaborates on the scope of the problem but it's no big surprise. Very interesting that McDonalds dropped their Super Size options two months after this movie was released.

My kids would love to go to McDonalds but they know they can't get me to step foot inside of one. It's out of the question. Not a chance. And I would prefer no one else take them there either. McDonalds is as evil as a tobacco company. Have a read at McSpotlight and the McLibel trial. The best thing I can say about McDonalds is that they provide the world with clean toilets.

Thursday 25 November 2004

Roadtrip Music Video

My talented buddy Sean put together this great little music video of our roadtrip to Germany. It's just a teaser for the travelogue. You'll need Quicktime to view it.

Tuesday 23 November 2004


Here's an interesting but rather scarey website: StrategyPage.

"StrategyPage strives to give you the best comprehensive bit-size summaries of military news and affairs on the Internet. You’ll find the inside data on how and why things happen here everyday."

Check out their Prediction Market and their databases, particularly Armed Forces of the World which ranks forces around the world. Do you really know who the big guns are?

BBC: EU approves rapid reaction force

It certainly makes sense to me that the EU should have it's own rapid reaction force. It should have a military independent of the United States which can react to situations faster than the UN. In fact, I don't see the point of NATO in a post-Soviet world. The EU should have a military structure of it's own as put forth in the draft EU constitution.

Friday 19 November 2004

Fallujah In Pictures

The pictures you won't get on television or probably any mainstream media. They're very disturbing and very graphic. Disfigured and fragmented human bodies from both sides. It's a stark difference from the sanitised war that's reported.

World Toilet Day

Well just in case you missed it, today is World Toilet Day according to the World Toilet Organisation. I kid you not. I don't think I'll describe how I celebrated!

On a related note, there's a fascinating read to be had at The Humanure Handbook (a guide to composting human manure). Well written, humourous and thorough as it tackles a rather taboo topic.

Monday 15 November 2004

Apologies Accepted

James Zetlen started this great little site called Sorry Everybody that allows American's to apologise for electing George Bush. Well, at least 49% are sorry. From the website:

Some of us — hopefully most of us — are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us — hopefully most of us — are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't.

The apologies are pictures mostly of people holding signs. Some are signs of support. Worth checking a few out if you want to participate in the grieving process or got nothing to do.

Meanwhile, the fight moves on. Visit Not A Mandate.

R* Turns Nine

birthday cakeWe celebrated R*'s birthday yesterday with a party for her and fourteen girls at a local bowling alley. It was a simple affair with them dividing into three groups and richocheting bowling balls for 45 minutes. Good thing there are guards which prevent the ball from going in the gutter! This was followed by 30 minutes in a party room for food and the birthday cake Jenny made.

R* was thrilled that her best friend gave her a Tamagotchi which is the big craze at her school at the moment. Every kid seems to have one in their pocket. I thought this horrible idea of virtual pets had died but, no, Bandai launched a new and vastly improved version last March. The original was launched in 1996 and sold 40 million units. Looks like virtual pets are here to stay; at least they're clean. They're popular enough to provoke an Anti-Tamagotchi category on Yahoo!

Thursday 11 November 2004

Two Guys, A Van and a Mobile Cinema

Cool idea. If you have a venue, call Ben or Chis on 07967 824 802 and there's a good chance they will drop by with their mobile cinema so you can see seven UK short films. It's a grass roots film festival on the road. Ends November 20th.

Nikon Coolpix 5400 Upgrade

Ran across a reference to an Oreilly book entitled Digital Photography: Expert Techniques. I'm always looking to improve my Photoshop skills so it caught my attention since Oreilly books are generally very good. Even better, you can download Chapter 3: Bringing Out the Best Picture. I learned a few things about using Photoshop to get levels, contrast and colour balance correct.

It also recommends always shooting in RAW mode to maximize the amount of detail and colour information you capture. If you also have a Nikon Coolpix 5400, you can upgrade to version 1.4 of the firmware to get this feature. Isn't it cool being able to upgrade a camera through an Internet download?

Monday 8 November 2004

Christmas Spending

Time to start thinking about Christmas. Ran across this article on average spends for Christmas gifts:

  • Wife: £114

  • Husband: £75

  • Mom: £47

  • Dad: £39

  • Grandparent: £21 

  • Grandchild £64

Back To The Cold

After two weeks enveloped in heat, we're back to soggy, cold, grey England. It seriously had me contemplating emmigration to Australia. According to a newspaper article I read on the flight back, it's the #1 emmigration choice with 50,000 Brits upping sticks and moving there each year.

Of course, we love Vancouver/Victoria but it's soggy, cold and grey there too. America is full of insular, paranoid Americans who vote for idiotic politicians so I don't want to go there. Of the English speaking world, that leaves Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand is a bit too rural for me and South Africa is still on the dangerous side. So to live in a warm country, it's either move to Australia or learn another language.

Anyway, we're quickly slipping back into our regular daily routine and we'll soon forget the sun exists. We had a great trip to Egypt and I've got lots to tell but you'll have to wait for the travelogue. Coming soon!