31 March 2010

Help Find A Missing Girl: Laura Palmer. Posters All Around London

I've just passed a phonebox with a picture of an attractive young girl who went missing some time ago.  Unfortunately I was in a cab and couldn't take a picture of the phonebox near Whitehall but some kind soul (normko) has already done so in Hammersmith.  If you know anything at all about Laura Palmer I urge you to share that information with the world.  I certainly will...

My Favourite School Teacher Was Nicknamed 'Mr. Turtle'...

...we called him that because he taught us very well!

30 March 2010

Who Said It Couldn't Snow Again?!


Maybe it'll be a happy and snowy birthday for you Mike...
Either way, have a wonderful birthday,
from...

28 March 2010

(Almost) 10 Years of Bedroom-based Broadband Browsing

Apparently today is the 10th anniversary of Broadband in the UK, specifically for just one man.  He managed to convince NTL install his cable connection whilst they were still un-going extra test.  The rest of us had to wait a few more months and it was in June '00 that we had our lovely ADSL connection turned on by BT as one of the first flats to do so in Edinburgh.  What do I remember the most about that first day? Surprisingly there was so little out there that needed a fast connection it was hard to find things to download to stretch our new capabilities. So we did what any would do with a new media, we went off to the dark side of the 'net and looked up the videos of people's early careers...

26 March 2010

Don't Opt-Out of Junk Text Messages from Real Numbers!

This may seem a bizarre piece of advice but (as always) bear with me (grrr).  It seems a recent trend is spammers acquiring a load of sim cards and texting out some drivel such as " FREEMSG: Our records indicate you may be entitled to 3750 pounds for an accident you had.  To claim for free reply with YES to this msg.  To opt out text STOP".  My one (despite my mobile being registered with the TPF) on arrived from +44 7515... which is a real mobile phone number. The temptation is to "opt out" so you don't receive any costly text messages.  Of course, as I didn't sign up for them, I know I'm safe and quite confident my mobile provider will be able to verify that.  The interesting thing is as it's come from a normal mobile number they are not trying to charge you anything, they are just looking for mobile numbers that are real.  So replying with STOP (or heaven forbid YES!) will mean they've found someone they can send more crap to.  Just think the very early days of email spam where clicking on the 'un-subscribe' link just verified you email address as real.  Best option, do nothing!

24 March 2010

Mensa UK Are Stupid and Unobservant!

Bold statement, can I back it up?  Yes.  Each week Mensa publish their free puzzle and it's usually not too difficult.  The number-based one usually take a few seconds, the word-based ones a little bit longer (and vice versa for a former colleague of mine who shall remain Charlie, I mean nameless).  So let's take a look at this week's puzzle...
"You have £5.84 in change and it's made up of four different denominations of coins, the largest being 50p. You have exactly the same number of each coin.  Which coins do you have and how many of each coin?"
Now you may think that's a good puzzle, it should keep you going for a little bit.  That's true.  The answer will apparently be revealed next week (29th), also fine.  I want to know why they decided to put some stock images of British coins to brighten up the web page...?

23 March 2010

Tesco "Helps" Thick People. Every Little Helps!

I personally don't think you should take advantage of thick people by marketing exclusively to the so they buy your great deals.  Walking around Tesco yesterday to get some bread I was appalled at this shameless marketing to the aforementioned thick people:


"My" Hovis loaf is £1.00 and on the same SEL (shelf edge label for those who didn't work in a supermarket as a student) they have a bargain offer, 2 for £2.00.  Also right next to it there is a large hanging advert saying that for certain Hovis loaves, you can buy 3 for £3.00.  Great multi-buy deals there and I'm glad Tesco are spending their money making those adverts and paying someone to put them out.  Sadly this isn't the worst exploitation of easily tricked people.


Here is a special offer on Milky Bars (which will certainly not be on my given the deal).  28p each or (on the same ticket),  2 for 70p.  Fine, I know some of you will still be able to nitpick that they are offer with other items, so if you wanted some Smarties and a Milky Bar you might save money, but what if you do want just two Milky Bars?  Fine, let me put forward my closing argument...


Just Doritos on a great offer with a well calculated saving:

Every Little Helps...

PS:  I know some people my take offence at the phrase "thick people" but let me assure you, thick people were involved somewhere in making this story happen...

22 March 2010

Jon Stewart's Moment of Zen Is Sheer Heaven!

Jon Stewart is incredible.  Great host of the Oscars (mostly the second time that no-one watched), star of the latter series of The Larry Sanders Show and of course anchor for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Last week they ended the show with their Moment of Xen which was a local news piece about the flooding in New Jersey and how these tough guys can't get across the street without a dingy.  Click on the clip but be warned, I had to pause it whilst watching because I was laughing so hard!  What a great way to start last week.
Topping this great observation, Jon ended the week by going full-speed at Glenn Beck and managed to draw some pretty unbelievable conclusions.  Now I'm sure to a lot of people the name Glenn Beck won't mean anything, to others he will always be the guy who sang Hi Ho Silver Lining or sister of the singer of First Time, First Kiss.  However anyone who has seen any non-fictional American TV will realise that Glenn has his own TV and radio show were he puts out, erm, fiction!  Well, to be technically accurate, his show is a right wing op-ed piece that spouts numerous conspiracy theories against the left / centre and how America is under seige.  Each show seems to have Glenn getting maniac and questioning whether he is the only crazy one (yes) or in fact is he the only sane one (definitely not).  He also has a penchant for getting tearful, pressing his fingers against his lips and saying "I'm sorry, I just love my country, and I fear for it".  You are well advised to watch Jon best Glenn at madness and brilliant reasoning.  Thanks Jon for being a shinning light from across the pond!
[Sadly although More4 screens The Daily Show here in the UK we can't watch the clips directly on The Daily Show's website.  Instead we have to go to Channel 4's VOD section which is only up for a week :(  Hurry hurry!]

21 March 2010

I Love You I Love You Phillip Morris!

Nine months I've been waiting for this baby!  Okay that's the opening to a whole other post by a whole other person (and probably whole other sex too)...  But seriously, I naively believed that an independent film that stars Jim Carrey (big name but he does the odd independent such as Yes Man) and co-stars hometown hero Ewan McGregor (whose films are sometimes introduced by his mum if he has scheduling conflicts) would definitely be part of last year's EIFF.  Nope.  But it would be out soon after that though, it's going to be a big film!  How wrong I was.  Most of Europe got a release date by conservative Britain still did not have an announced distributor.  Finally, at very short notice, I Love You Phillip Morris has a release date which has now arrived and the title says it all!  I love you I Love You Phillip Morris!  In case you have no idea what this film is about, basically Jim Carrey is gay and goes to gaol (or jail as it is set in Texas) and falls in love with his one true love, Ewan McGregor.  It's funny, has a great plot, based on a real story, good acting and is very fresh.  So why has it taken so long to be released and why are the US only getting it for the start of May on a very limited release?   Could it have anything to do with Ewan and Jim making out with each other, plus a couple of gay sex scenes (one that is relatively graphic)?  Nah, that can't be the reason for Liberal America...  I'm actually a little surprised there hasn't been a mini-whinge about it here by the usual suspects.  Oh well, I don't care because I've seen it and it's fabulous and you should do the same darlings...!

20 March 2010

What A Beautiful Sky This Evening... Summer Is Coming!

After a lovely evening we are now being treated by a soft and velvety sky with gorgeous emerald and sapphire tones.  I could stand here looking at this all night long...

Key Is Locked Out Of Chortle Nominees - Quite Rightly!

On Monday Chortle announce the winners of their 2010 awards (for 2009) and guess who doesn't make the list even once...  That's right, Perrier Award (erm, Edinburgh Comedy Award) Winner Tim Key.  At the awards highlight show he did not go down very well with the 750-strong crowd, although it was after midnight and his show is not suited to a big crowd.  That of course is irrelevant as the scandal from Edinburgh last year was the complete omission of the stunning Pajama Men and their show Last Stand To Reason.  Did they make a shortlist in the Chortle Awards?  No, they made two.  Best Sketch or Character Act (along with Idiots of Ants) and more importantly, Best Show!  
So who are my predictions for these awards?  Best Headliner will be Phil Nichol (sorry Andrew Lawrence), Best Sketch or Character Act will be Pajama Men (sorry Idiots of Ants), I'd be surprised if Tim Minchin won Best Music or Variety Act as his last show was the weakest of his three so far, Best Show has to be Pajama Men: Last Stand To Reason (although it's good Tom Wrigglesworth got a nod) and the Best DVD is another sure thing for 2008's best show (even though the If.com Eddie went to David O'Doherty) Rhod Gilbert's Award-Winning Mince Pie.  Let's see how do in a couple of days...
UPDATED:  Yes Rhod won Best DVD (no shock there) although The Pajama Men lost out to the two acts I said sorry to, Idiots of Ants (say their name quickly) as best sketch group (with Stefan in last year's show!) and Tom Wrigglesworth for Best Show.  Sarah Millican won Best Headliner which on the basis of last year's Edinburgh shows makes no sense.  However, a headliner on has about 30 minutes on stage and Phil is definitely appreciated over the full hour so she could be going down a treat.  Roll on Edinburgh Fringe 2010, only 20 weeks to go!

17 March 2010

Oh-No! I Haven't Posted My St. Patrick's Day Cards... ):-|

A few years ago I was "bothered" when I received a "Happy Easter" card from my mother (although I appreciated the sentiment).  You send cards for birthdays, at a push Christmas and whatever Hallmark-Holiday you are rail-roaded into (e.g. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day...).
But seriously!  St. Patrick's Day cards?  This is shameless exploitation by card companies (I can't believe they have managed to shock me).  If you want to do something for someone so they have a "Happy St. Patrick's Day" then light a candle for them in church or help out a religious charity.  Please don't buy them a godless greeting card from the altar of capitalism...
[Wow, with this much lyrical venom I could be part Irish...  incidentally I am!]

16 March 2010

Put Your Money Where My Mouth Is On Dave's Landslide!

This is your last chance!  Not Gordon Brown, I'm talking to you!  The poll trackers are putting Labour and Conservatives neck and neck, whilst all the media is whispering "hung parliament".  Utter rubbish!  Three months before the American elections last year and McCain and Obama were "neck and neck".  It always happens, the underdog creeps up well before the election as people shy away from the inevitable winner so far away from the election.  People are still in a wait-and-see, non-committal, not wanting to be seen as a die-hard Tory.

However the last straw was last night when Gordon said 'I will carry on without a majority' and 'if I lose I will remain Labour leader' (a position he was unelected to, he was anointed). Come polling day, they will duly go in and vote for "Call me" Dave Cameron and he'll start our new Government with a majority of at least 50 seats (so over 348 Conservative MPs).  You should still have good odds on this right now, so put your money where my mouth is on Dave's landslide!

14 March 2010

Le Temps Détruit Tout? Or, Things, Can Only Get Better!

Yes the first part of this subject is a very powerful line that really moved me when I first read it*.  It translates as "Time Destroys Everything" and whilst it is not summarising the second law of thermodynamics, it is very true:  Things decay and everything ends.  However, thanks to superstar keyboardist and modest physics genius Brian Cox (no, not Hannibal Lecter, the younger one), we have the line from the D:Ream song (okay, he was an occasional keyboardist whilst at university and then went on to be a superstar physicist).  So which is true?  Well, lots of things decay over time but fortunately PhillG.com is not one of them!  A brand new theme with a great shot of Little Scotland, a nice slideshow of one of my Picasa Albums and, wait for it, all previous posts from Wordpress imported over to Blogger so the whole site is together again!  450 posts and counting over four and a half years!  Woo-hoo!  Now to end on a sad note, if you do want to depress yourself more than you were at the end of A Single Man or The Wrestler, rent Gaspar Noé's masterpiece, Irréversible and find out why Time Destroys Everything.

13 March 2010

The Stand Offers Booby Prize As Bizarre Incentive!

As a long standing visitor to Edinburgh's only dedicated live Comedy venue, The Stand (although to be honest almost all of those visits happen during the Festival), I am naturally on their mailing list.  So this morning I awoke to see the subject line "Update your account information and win tickets to see Jimmy Carr".  What incentive is that?  Why don't The Stand offer true comedy fans the chance to 'win' tickets to see other cutting-edge live comic legends such as Ricky Gervais or Joe Pasquale?  I'm sure the likes of Stewart Lee would have something to say on that, let alone the top talent who frequent The Stand each year including Daniel Kitson, Mark Thomas and Phil Nichol (certainly the first one anyway).  So to conclude, you are offering a booby prize as an incentive to live comedy fans...?  The only thing that makes this more entertaining, is that I've never managed to grasp that idea.  In this male dominated society, why is the a bad thing called the booby prize?  Isn't that what (almost) all men want to get their hands on?  So shouldn't that the the top prize?  Or at least, prize in the top-half...

12 March 2010

A Newbie's Experiences of Match.com

As it's been eight years since I've had so much free time on my hands I decided to visit Match.com to see what it is like.  I have to admit I was very surprised as to what I saw there.  It is very similar to Facebook in many ways and there is a lot of ways to interact with other users which can only be a good thing.  Probably the biggest surprise was what wasn't there.  No mention of the likes of Torres or Rooney, and certainly no 'Roy of the Rovers' cartoons.  Things really have changed since they made the move from paper to electronic media.  The one link to the past is that I did see several of profiles of wannabe footballer's wives...

11 March 2010

Is It Time To Come Out On Facebook That I'm Single?

I have been contemplating finally "coming out" on Facebook with the "news" that I am single and have been few a few months now... :(  I know one of PhillG.com's earliest fans recently did it and got a friendly and supportive response, well until she tried to rent a flat from someone who had some rather perverted fashion requests!
Anyway I clicked the updates and released the news, but was suddenly overcome with a feeling that it was not right and would probably scare away any potential mates.  It has now been removed but here's the cathartic announcement.  At least only 50% of the information I briefly posted was new...  Somethings never change!  :D


Krispy Kreme Kafé Is Here! Called It 4 Years Ago!

Ah, smugness...!  In October 2006 I suggested re-naming Krispy Kreme Doughnuts who are incidentally the best doughnuteers in the world (and yes I say that confidently having been in the shops in the Americas, Europe *and* Asia), to a name that reflects the fact that they sell a lot of coffee.  Back in October 2006 I suggested that they go with Krispy Kreme Kafé as my friend was served by someone in a funny white hat.  I don't believe anyone took my idea too seriously...
So imagine my surprise when going through Victoria Station I saw this A-Frame that seems to be advertising solely on their Koffee side of the business.  Life imitates art and there is nothing funnier than real life.  I wonder if these blog entries will help me get an audience with their HR Director...

Marketing Angle: Irish People Like To Drink!

It may not be the most original angle, but it is the angle that Wetherspoons are going with for their bar in London Heathrow Terminal One! It is also the last bar before New York and Edinburgh and Warsaw (ignoring those 'toy' bars during the flight) but clearly the believe this fear marketing will only work on the Irish! But it did work on me... :)

10 March 2010

WARNING About People You Chat With Online

Warning - Do NOT meet people you chat with online in person. They could be weird or freaks.

In other news, I'm now single so please chat with me online and then we can arrange to meet in person!

9 March 2010

Who Is The Talented Arty-One In My Family?

As a kid (yes, I am now a goat), my brother and I used to love watching "scary" movies although they were usually cheap tacky nonsense.  We did like the original Fright Night (the sequel was hopeless) and in fact used the closing line and theme in a "video" that some of my school friends would be shocked to know still exists!  Anyway, it seems Fright Night is being "re-envisioned" or "re-imagined" or whatever term is the most popular for "we can't be bothered taking chances any more so we'll just re-make old films".  And the news that came out yesterday, is that they now have a director attached, a certain Craig Gillespie!  WTF?!  At least I can take solace in the fact that when you Google me the first couple of pages are all me baby!  [And yes, I sometimes Google myself when I'm feeling lonely, doesn't everyone..?]

New Social Networking Site For Party Pictures

I've got this idea for a new Social Networking site where people can post drunken pictures of themselves and their friends that they really should not let prospective employers see (but they do). I'm going to call it 'Off-Your-Facebook' (dot com).

8 March 2010

Edinburgh Has Secret Express Bus Service

On the bus into town and I've just discovered I'm on a 'secret' express bus - man they are quick! It rarely stops and no one tries to get on... As a result I've travelled 2 miles in exactly 8 minutes, that's almost as quick as a taxi!
The key to distinguishing the 'express' buses are their different blue and white colours and the pink 'First Bus' logo, as opposed to the more common marron and white 'Lothian Buses'. I must admit though that the people waiting at each stop we pass look very dis-pleased when this bus comes aroud the corner, but I can't understand why... :)

7 March 2010

Wow! Wonderus Alice Already Usurps Avatar

At the very end of 2009 a massive deal was made about the first full-3D live-action movie, Avatar.  It's a decent romp but the 3D and graphical effects contribute a lot to making it enjoyable.  Now barely 3 months later, the genius of Tim Burton brings a full 3D film to life with much better effects and imagination (think seriously heavy trip), plus previously absent things like a script and reasonable acting.  To quote Stephen Colbert (talking 'Empire State of Mind' as the new king compared to the previous top dog 'New York, New York'), "you can take that thing [Avatar] and throw it in the trash".  Avatar is not a great movie by any means.  It is entertaining primarily due to its stunning visuals and unique technology.  It has been truly bested on all levels by Alice In Wonderland.  The only tiny issue is a personal one, as near the beginning of the film other characters question 'who is Alice?' and I kept having a non-PG lyric running through my head...  Anyway, it is stunning and why Disney would want this be released on DVD in 12 weeks and so prevent it being on the big screen (and not in Odeons!) for less than the normal 17 week run is baffling, it would not be as much of a must-see in normal 2D (although still probably a little bit better than 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus').

Sky 3D Football Is Better Than Being There!

What was I thinking?  At the end of January I read a leak of the 9 pubs across the UK that were going to show the Man Utd - Arsenal game on Sunday afternoon in 3D, complete with polarising glasses.  I did have an appointment I had to keep and, guessing that it could be duff information, I opted not to go.  Damn.  It turns out it was Belushi's on Market Street that showed the game, apparently on one 42" LG 3D TV.  Anyway, that was then and it completely went out of my mind, even despite recent talk that Sky are launching their 3D channel this Autumn (yep, I know it says April there but the advert I'm getting on to said Autumn).  So, whilst waiting for Alice In Wonderland to start, Sky run (what I believe to be their first 3D adverts) showing Everton in 3D and OMG!  It was incredible!  Better than being in the stands (not that I've ever been to Goodison) as you are so close to the action and as the ball was lofted into the penalty area you became so much more aware of the opportunity as if you had crossed it yourself!  Forget sports in HD, 3D is the only way to go!  Now the only question is can I justify £6,000 for a 42" TV...? :(

6 March 2010

Baileys Gold Is New Cream Of Cream Liqueurs

Last night I got to try the "new" Baileys Gold version of the classic Irish Cream.  It was exclusively sold in airports for a trial period last year and I have to say it is actually quite nice and an improvement on the original.  Each of the different 'premium' flavours in it stand out and it has a far more complex taste that the 'classic' edition.  This could signify Diaego concentrating on the classic elements of Baileys, rather than experimenting with awful variations that just don't work, such as with Mint Chocolate and Crème Caramel.
Let's hope this doesn't become another Malibu Lime (where it tests really well and is a great product but gets discontinued!).  On that subject ... Bring Back Malibu Lime!

3 March 2010

Helloes Ladies (once) of SNIPEF!

Lock up your daughters (and lock down your IT Systems)... The boys are back in town!  Sadly, the SNIPEF 2010 reunion has a lower turn out than expected!

1 March 2010

If Only We Had A Word For 'One In Ten'...

Sadly The Metro has had to go with a wordy headline today, 'Tenth of council jobs on the line'. I guess they needed a word that everyone knew that meant 'one in ten lost' or axed (or killed!). As I've heard it and read it many times, I always thought everyone recognised the word 'decimate'... Hmm, maybe I'm literally a million miles away from the answer!