31 October 2006

Phill at Night is Very Distracting

The nights are drawing in and I'm standing out more and more. You see I have these rather wonder headphones from Jabra that I use to listen to my music from my phone (with 1gb storage card). The magical thing is that they are bluetooth enabled so no messy wires between my phone and my ears. The down side is Jabra have set the circles to flash blue, no doubt to draw attention to them. You can turn this off, but you have to do it everytime you turn them on. This evening I forgot and while waiting at the bus stop I saw the driver pull away starring not at the road but my flashing profile. Friday night I was asked by a 50 year old couple about them as I came home from work (via the pub)!

25 October 2006

Two Weeks Away From Bush Being Neutered

In two week's time, on Tuesday 7th November, Americans will go to the polls to vote in their Mid-Term Elections for the entire of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. With Dubya's approval rating at an all time low of below 40%, there is a very real possibility that the Republicans may lose one, if not both, of the houses. If that happens Dubya will become a lame duck, ready for the slaughter. A vote could be taken to withdraw troops immediately from Iraq or Afghanistan or even for an inquiry into the Iraq war to be called, the possibilities are almost endless!
The BBC has a very good blog from their various reporters tracking the progress as well as their microsite. The blog is worth a read, not least of all to find out that so far the two parties have spent over $1bn combined campaigning for these elections. That pails into insignificance when you then read that the 300 million people living in the US will spend just shy of $5bn kitting themselves out for All Hallows' Eve.

14 October 2006

This Isn't the Original Magners, It's a Poor Imitation!

Standing at the Pleasance Bar this year on the opening night I asked the bar man if they had any Magners. They had sponsored several venues in 2005 and they have four big adverts at Haymarket stating "Time dedicated to the Festival". The bar man replied, "er, no. We have Bulmers which is the same thing, just a different name". "Noooo!", I screamed. Magners is called 'Bulmers Original Irish Cider' only within Ireland. For 12 years the English Bulmers and Irish Bulmers were a partnership. That ended over fifty years ago. The 'Bulmers Original Cider' sold in the UK, notice the lack of the word 'Irish', is a nasty chemically tasting cider made by 'our friends' at Scottish & Newcastle (long story, ask Sean Olivier or Steve Lorriman about it one day). It's from the same makers of Strongbow and Scrumy Jack, both poor ciders (although Strongbow Sirrus is actually quite respectable). So when you see Tesco's finally selling Bulmers - don't buy it! It's not the original Magners it's just a cheap imitation. Likewise when you see adverts on the tube trying to push "the original" you will no longer be fooled. It's Magners everywhere on Earth, except in Ireland.

10 October 2006

Ice is Back with a Brand New Invention

What am I taking about? Ice. Ice. (Baby). We spent the weekend in London with some very good friends. As an enticement for me to visit him, Donald suggested we go to drink in the Ice Bar. It worked. I was down their like a flash. Saturday afternoon, £12 per head in cash, we were queueing up for the Absolut Icebar London. With a refill cocktail at £6, a soft cocktail at £3 and a replacement glass at £4, you could be forgiven for thinking I would be shocked by the costs (£48 for four of us to get in but we did get a free Absolut cocktail each). Be prepared to be shocked. It is the most impressive bar I've ever been in! I even resisted the gag of saying it was the coolest bar I've ever been in. Everything in the bar, except the menu; metal floor; projector & screen and of course Absolut Vodka, was made out of ice! The first page of pictures gives you a good feel for the place, now just imagine being there at a constant -5°ree;C. The second page of pictures however is not for the faint-hearted. You find Donald getting rather cosy with an ice bust; me getting my tongue stuck to the wall; Donald doing a damn good impersonation of the scary 'monk' from Da Vinci Code posters; me getting encased in an ice tomb and most importantly, me as chief warlock/priest presiding over my cult. If you are ever in London, make sure you experience it too.

9 October 2006

London In Irractic Pieces

Living out on the DLR in Limehouse is pretty cool. There is a nice waterside bar called Narrow Street that has apparently been purchased by Gordon Ramsay. They sell Indian wine in there and you know what, it's actually pretty good. Very reminiscent of a light Portugese wine. It tastes even better when the give you a second bottle free for messing up your food order! It must be nice living near the canal with barges drifting by through locks. Then again, maybe not. I wonder if you can spot the tourist in this picture? If only those gates could speak, they'd probably say 'why is there an Irish chain pub in the middle of China Town'? At least the ducks seem happy (and the Canadian Geese). Did you know there are only mallards in this picture? Behold, an honest representation of everything else going on in London.

8 October 2006

Two Dozen Doughnuts Not For My Caped Colleagues

What a guy I am! 24 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts bought for my coleagues back in Edinburgh, from Harrods, out of the kindness out of my heart. What's that Donald? I can't carry these on the plane in case I use them to take over the plane (will the huge sugar intake give me super human powers or can I force feed them to the pilot until he throws up?). Hmmm. Oh well, no doughnuts for my colleagues. You can't buy these north of Birmingham. I was impressed at the american company for having 'doughnuts' everywhere rather than 'do'nuts'. I did have one thought though. As you can see here, Donald is currently ordering and is tempted by their coffee sign above his head. Why not re-brand themselves Krispy Kreme Kafe? I think I'll write to their head-office and suggest that...

7 October 2006

Flying Pigs Spread Diseases And Shouldn't Be Fed.

We are all aware of the pig-eon aren't we? Otherwise known as the feather rat (otherwise known as the un-feathered pigeon). Most people, except for tourists and the mentally unstable (maybe they are one and the same), adhere to the mantra 'do not feed the pigeons'. I have however learnt that the council actually feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square to keep large numbers coming back. Why? The tourists like them. What the hell, I'll take a few shots of a naive young boy trying to do what Dick Dastardly and Muttley could never do; catch a few in flight a la The Matrix and finally so one of the earlier mentioned people letting one eat out his hand and sit on his head. If you are squeamish and afraid of disease then don't look at the pictures (that means you Eve Fraser).

6 October 2006

The Last Thing You Want To See Before Flying - A Coffin

What are Edinburgh Airport thinking? Three coffin lids in a row where people are sitting waiting to board a plane. It's enough to drive you to drink! Fortunately there is a Whetherspoons in the back of the shot. Damn it, I've spilled my drink on my shoes. Where can I get my shoes cleaned and polished in an airport...

5 October 2006

An Extra 10 - No 5% - off, Then 23% On!

Don't you just love sales in big fashionable department stores. Just like this one starting today in the Scottish Harrod's, Jenner's. Well it was until it was bought by the House of Fraser. Let me break down these figures for you. 50% off - well, the normal selling price is far from a bargain is it? An extra 10% for account card holders - good deal, no? No. You see, that is an extra 10% off the sale price, which is half of what it originally was (at best). So that is an extra 5% off the item for 'store card' holders. That phrase sends shivers down my spine. Surely the reputable House of Fraser wouldn't try to screw over their fashion friendly followers would they? Think again: 23.1% interest. How do the people behind this sleep at night? In large expensive beds *not* bought on credit cards no doubt.

2 October 2006

A Red Hot Sale, Like A Match - I Hope

You know when a match is struck and and the flames bursts into life around it? You could use that imagery as the L in 'sale' to symbolise that you have a red hot sale on. That's exactly what Ann Summers did in the window of their Princes Street store. At least I hope it was a match ... what else could it be?