Favourite blogs for Merialc : Life in Reverse

My favourites » All entries

August 13, 2011

A blogging good wedding

So, yesterday Sam and Lisa got married. I would post pictures but I forgot my camera. They met through Warwick blogs, and it is also how I met them, my boyfriend and a load of other friends that were there too.
Anyway as nobody else has blogged about it on here I thought I should.
Blogtastic.


October 28, 2010

A bit of a change

I’m in the middle of big changes in my life. I’m buying a house with my best beloved boyfriend half way across the country. I haven’t blogged in a while but have decided to rejuvenate this forum for keeping a diary of the things I enjoy doing so people can keep up with me etc. It’s also a way for me to keep track of how my house and garden develop over time.
I’ve made most of my old entries not publiclly viewable but all the old stuff is still here. I’ve left out my walking routes (which I hope to be adding to) and my PGCE statement which people seem to find useful.

Here’s to more blogging!


August 24, 2009

Ashes to Ashes, Memories to Dust

So we won the Ashes. Yay. Awesome. Etc.

Can’t help but wonder how many people actually saw it happen though. There were several thousand in the stadium, but the best that the bulk of the country could do was hope to catch it on the radio.

Given how much press the series has generated on both back and front covers, isn’t it a bit wrong that so few had the opportunity to see it happen? Isn’t it time to move the Ashes – home and away – to the protected list of events that have to be on terrestrial?


July 17, 2009

Some cool–looking Star Wars toys and action figures

As a lowly webmonkey I rarely get to see the actual physical products we sell. I could buy them, but I’m not rich enough for that. So unfortunately I can only really go based on the lovely pictures that get loaded onto the website.

Since we’re supposed to be well-known for selling Star Wars things, and that we rank pretty badly for it, I’ve decided to find what I think are the best-looking upcoming Star Wars toys. This is all part of the experiment.

I’ll start with my personal favourite, this is the one that caught my eye and made me decide to make this post.

Imperial Shock Trooper

Technically this is related to the prequels (or clone wars cartoons) so by rights it should be rubbish. However, it looks bloody cool. The design is somewhere between clonetroopers and stormtroopers so I imagine it’s supposed to be a gradual progressions. But apparently this guy is a Shock Trooper, that sounds pretty impressive so I like to pretend he shoots lightning (rather than going with the boring conventional definition of shock trooper). The red colouring is what makes this figure stand out, and apparently he’s fully articulated. That’s right, not just partially articulated, but fully. Is there some sort of quality assurance board that governs whether an action figure can be considered fully articulated? I ask because I very much doubt he has a completely accurate human skeletal frame with all joints and motions.

He’s not cheap (about £70), but if you’re the kind of person who’s inclined to buy this kind of stuff, he’s worth a look.

Deluxe Imperial Shock Trooper at Forbidden Planet

Next up it’s the….

Sandtrooper

Quite similar to the Shock Trooper, but it’s a true original trilogy style Storm Trooper, who happens to be a bit dirty, this makes him into a Sandtrooper apparently. Since this stuff is all made up anyway, I guess I can accept that a Sandtrooper is different to a Stormtrooper and this isn’t just an attempt to cash in by making numerious variations of exactly the same model.

He’s more expensive than the Shock Trooper (coming in at a hefty £75) and doesn’t look quite as cool, but still worth a look if you have more money than sense.

Deluxe Imperial Sandtrooper at Forbidden Planet

Ultimate Quarter Scale Figure: Mace Windu

Yeah that’s right, it’s Mace “I’m going to crash your party, bitches” Windu. The guy who made purple lightsabers the height of manly fashion is apparently now available as an “Ultimate Quarter Scale Figure”, whatever the hell that means. I can only assume it means he’s quarter the size of ol’ Samuel L himself, which would make this figure pretty big. By the looks of things he’s trying to force persuade you into buying his action figure, I guess he’d have to since it costs £75. Apparently he also has 25 points of articulation…

It looks like he also come with real cloth for clothing, this basically means you’re paying £75 for a Barbie.

Ultimate Quarter Scale Figure: Mace Windu at Forbidden Planet

Challenge time

Find me the highest number of points of articulation that an action figure has ever had, you are not limited to humanoids. I guess some sort of giant worm or dragon action figure might be the winner here.

There’s lots of other things, but frankly these were the ones that looked the best to me. If you’re really interested in seeing everything else, I guess you could always visit this convenient link that lists all of the Star Wars toys that we sell on the interwebs

Not everything costs as much as £70, though some of it a lot more. £50-70 seems to be the sweet spot for things that look good but are also in the realm of affordability.

I was serious about the points of articulation thing, I want to know.


Pondering Ponderousness

I’ve been wondering what to do with this blog for a while, mostly because I have a proper site (that happens to be being rebuilt) as well.

I’m thinking I might start using this blog for general rants, whilst keeping my main site as a more professional gubbins. I’m also thinking I could use it to highlight any cool stuff I spy my company selling. We sell all sorts of cool action figures, statues and comics, some of which look pretty cool – even if I can’t actually afford any of it myself :(

I’ve been trying to push the idea of a more community-oriented section of our site for over 2 years now. The main argument being that by providing valuable content, you are going to encourage a lot more inbound links as well as a positive attitude towards the company. When you compare this with sending our numerous newsletters per week which just list products, and have a site with over 20,000 products but no opinion… the benefits are obvious. In this day and age, transparency and a human face are going to do a lot more for boosting traffic than wearing out your existing customers.

My previous 2 posts here were largely to prove a point (though the results are obviously skewed due to the obscenely high scoring that Google seems to give .ac.uk domains). Permitting for different Google servers (each server has different rankings for pages because changes take a long time to propogate across them all), I’ve managed to boost us from page 4 to 1 of UK searches and from virtually unranked to page 1 of worldwide. Obviously this is only for a very specific set of keywords and I had to write some very targetted content (and links), but I hope it’s proved my point – inbound links are everything, and if you provide content that people want to link to, you’re on to a winner.

So I’m tempted to keep using this blog to push certain parts of the site, but only to the stuff I genuinely think is cool. I have no intention of turning this into a marketing portal and I would kind of like to return to the entertaining kind of posts that used to be so common across Warwick Blogs.

BYE THEN.


July 08, 2009

Uh oh, I did it again :( (more Urban Vinyl and Art Toys)

Follow-up to Designer Toys / Urban Vinyl / Art Toys are expensive and look cool from Andy's Dumb Ramblings

...I bought 3 more Monskeys

Monskey Army

Apparently the red one loves nature and hates waste. The diver one loves diving and hates sharks. Personally I think he picked the wrong sport if he hates sharks.

I’ll try not to buy any more, 4 is enough methinks…

I also have a secret agenda here, I’m testing the effect a blog post has on google rankings. Trying to encourage my employer to interact with the internets a little more proactively. Though to be honest, I think it would be worthwhile even if it didn’t affect our rankings in any meaningful way.

I’m curious as to whether Warwick Blogs are still as powerful in Google as they used to be, I remember when I was the number one search result for Threats to Global Peace.

So here’s the rest of our Urban Vinyl


July 06, 2009

Designer Toys / Urban Vinyl / Art Toys are expensive and look cool

Hello, it’s me again.

Why am I posting here and not on my real site? Because I’m redeveloping it. And when it’s finally launched, you too will be able to see that it should never have taken as long as it has.

Anywho, in the last couple of years I’ve been slowly exposed to the scary world of Designer Toys / Urban Vinyl / Art Toys (whatever the hell you want to call them). No, I’m not talking about edgy urban music ‘records’. I’m talking about the odd craze where artists take a prefabricated vinyl (plastic) figure and art the shit out of them (yes, that is a technical term). Sometimes they’ll even design their own vinyl figure first, and sometimes they won’t even use vinyl, they’ll make plush toys. What a crazy world.

Anyway, I finally took the plunge and bought one of the cheapest vinyl figures I could find. It’s a “Monskey” and his name is “Teakia”. According the packaging he likes fire and hates noise. He also believes we all have psychic powers. In many ways he’s a lot like me.

Here’s a picture of him:

Unfortunately there’s also a boatload of almost identical monskeys with different designs, this is why I’m going to be very poor. Even more poor than I am thanks to living in London and earning a non-London wage.

Here’s a link to a whole bunch of other urban vinyl monskeys

There’s an unbelievable amount of urban vinyl, so it’s lucky I’m not one of those guys who gets hooked on collecting stuff. No wait, you’re the one who doesn’t get hooked, I’m the one who does… Unfortunately most of it costs a fortune. You can even get a 18 inch tall white monkey thing that you can doodle all over designer toys, art toys, and urban vinyl 18 inch Mega Munny at Forbidden Planet) ... seriously, who comes up with these ideas?

Also, it’s my birthday soon so buy me lots of nice things. Yes Mannion and Widge, I mean you.


July 01, 2009

Watching black and white paint dry…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/8124105.stm

No. This is not fair.

The BBC have a grand total of ten Championship matches last season. That’s ten between a league of 24 teams, so already four teams won’t be making an appearance. So in the interests of fairness… they give Newcastle the first two games.

How can this be fair to the myriad of quality sides in the division that some team, who at the back-end of last season played some pathetically soulless football, can be guaranteed two appearances on terrestrial television when unfashionable sides like Doncaster who play a decent hard-working probably won’t be shown at all? Would it really have been that difficult for the BBC to, if unable to at least pick up a couple more games, structure things so only four clubs miss out rather than immediately focus on a club which claims to be big yet continues to achieve nothing?

Oh wait, I forgot – Newcastle are going to be the Man Utd/Chelsea/Liverpool/Arsenal of the Championship, getting far more TV exposure than the rest of their division. Difference is, in Newcastle’s case I think it’s going to be 1 from 24 rather than 4 from 20.


June 16, 2009

Don't tax my phone line

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8102756.stm

So the latest great completely stupid idea of the government is for all of us with phone lines to pay £6 a year to make Britain “the digital capital of the world”.

Wonderful. By 2017, our internet speed will have caught up with where Japan and South Korea are… um… well, where they are in 2009.

Something doesn’t seem quite right with this deal…


May 04, 2009

What if…

Last week, Britain’s only world champion boxer (Carl Froch) beat American Jermian Taylor in the final round with seconds remaining. Of course, nobody in this country could watch it, as due to the senselessness of boxing politics no TV channel would screen it. So of course, it was off to YouTube if you want to see any coverage of any of the fight.

Once you remove the anti-American/British/English/Welsh/disestablishmenterialism rubbish, you are left with two strong opinions:

  1. If you disagree with me, you are gay. In fact, the only place where you are more likely to be gay is Xbox Live. Not even Gay Pride has as many people who are gay, if the comments are to be believed.
  1. Taylor “deserved” to win because he was winning most/all the earlier rounds.

Of course, the latter was largely the thoughts of bitter Americans and/or Taylor fans who couldn’t accept their man had lost, let alone the circumstances. Their case was that Taylor had been so dominant in the fight, that he was clearly the superior fighter. Moreover, because Froch was just a punchbag until the end, the fact that Froch had fought so well in the 12th and forced the referee to end the contest in his favour was irrelevant, as Taylor was ahead on the scorecards.

So let’s put this logic into other sports…

  • Pretty much any team sport on the planet, but let’s stick with football: Man Utd go 4-1 on Liverpool. Liverpool score 4 in the last six minutes. However, Man Utd were better for the first 84 minutes, so they should win the fight.
  • Golf: Tiger Woods leads by six shots with two par 4 holes to go. He finishes bogey-double bogey, Ernie Els finishes eagle-eagle and takes one shot less for the competition. But Tiger was better for 16 holes, therefore he deserves to win.
  • Motor Racing: Jenson Button is six laps clear of Lewis Hamilton in second place, before his engine blows up and he stops at the last corner. Hamilton crosses the line first, but because Button led until the last corner he should be the winner.
  • Rowing: Oxford have rowed ten lengths clear of Cambridge with metres to go before the end of the race, but the stroke violently sneezes and tips the crew into the water. Cambridge row past and cross the line in first place, but Oxford led for all that way so they should be the winners.
  • Diving: Tom Daley executes a whole series brilliant dives to leave him miles ahead of Blake Aldridge. Unfortunately, on his last dive Daley gets it wrong, smacks his head on the diving board, the crowd watches his brains splatter across the pool, and he scores nothing. Aldridge dives into the pool, avoiding the bits of broken skull, and does enough to make up the deficit on the final dive. However, Daley was better before that dive, so he should win.

These farcical examples should go a long way to proving three things. Firstly, that the winner is the one who is in front at the end of the competition, not some arbitrary point in the middle. Secondly, that the internet gives a very powerful voice to very stupid people. And thirdly, I am supposed to call your sexual orientation into question if you do not agree with this entry. According to YouTube, anyway.

As an aside, Ricky Hatton got beaten by Manny Pacquiao, and said that the winner deserved it. Just like Jermain Taylor did, as a matter fact. Wonder how long it is before Mancunians claim Filipinos are homosexual?


April 24, 2009

Star Trek is a good reboot, if slightly inconsistent

Title:
Star Trek
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Woo, first entry in over 2 years!

This Wednesday I saw the new Star Trek film, having seen the trailers and casting choices I had high hopes, thankfully I wasn’t disappointed.

The film does its best to be a logical reboot, basically it is designed to transition from the time period (and events) of the TNG/DS9/Voyager era to the date of Kirk’s birth. It’s not a huge spoiler (since it happens in the first 5 minutes), but basically the circumstances surrounding Kirk’s birth change significantly creating a whole new Trek universe without the heavy-handed erasure that happens with most reboots.

There are a few inconsistencies that can’t be explained by the reboot, like why the standard starfleet insignia is the enterprise one before the events of TOS, or why Spock is now the creator of the Kobayashi Maru test when Wrath of Kahn implies he didn’t (debatable though). The way Kirk wins it is changed too, he still cheats but the approach taken demonstrates the difference in his upbringing, and the consequences are very different.

The casting is for the most part excellent, Spock and Kirk in particular. Characters like Uhura, Checkov and Sulu are fleshed out in such a way to demonstrate that they really are the best at what they do – something that never really featured heavily in TOS or the old movies. Leonard Nimoy’s appearance as Old Spock isn’t just fan service, he is fairly integral to the plot. Scotty is very much just Simon Pegg playing a stereotype. Despite being entertaining, he’s character who’s played furthest from the original.

The main issue with the plot is that it basically exists as a method of justifying the reboot, if the events of the film didn’t happen there would be no reboot universe to speak of. What unfolds during the film significantly changes the balance of the Federation to the degree that future films (and even televion series) can be made without the feeling that you’re just rewatching the story you’ve already seen on TV years ago.

Despite the dark events of the film, it’s very lighthearted in tone. It’s very much an entertaining (and humorous) action-adventure that doesn’t really touch on the heavy political issues and serious plotlines of the later shows.

Summary: Watch it, even if you’ve never seen or don’t like previous Star Treks.


November 18, 2008

Correction

Follow-up to Restructuring from The Man From O.N.K.E.N.

We would like to apologise for earlier this week suggesting that former members of the Magic Department of the Amnesia Party threw their toys out of the pram and walked on us. If I remember correctly, they actually went to do some research on the physics of animal projectiles launched from a near-horizontal position.

In other news, the Amnesia Party would like to express its disgust at how Haringey Council forgot what they’d learnt from Victoria Climbie. You wouldn’t catch us forgetting important details like that.


November 13, 2008

Restructuring

We at the Amnesia Party would like to apologise for the delay to this entry. This was caused by us forgetting to write something.

It is with regret that the have to announce some restructuring, which means we have to make substantial cuts to our paid staff. Hopefully in this time of recession, our adjustments will allow us not to waste money on trivial causes that aren’t important.

Next to go was the Department for the Colour Blind, but that’s because the returned the red form instead of the green form. In any case, most of the members of that group are now in Switzerland living as tax exiles so they don’t have to remember to fill in self-assessment forms. We’ll put them into the Department for Foreigners for now.

Unfortunately the Department for Rugs also had to be cut. To be honest it’s not like we even wanted them in the first place, but they just kept coming and coming. It was enough effort just to get them to accepting new members. They accepted the end a bit better than we expected though.

We also cut the Department for Magic, as we realised they were just creating an illusion of being worth something. Thankfully we managed to get some of the staff in other areas of the party, but when those who weren’t invited found out, they got in a huff and quit the party entirely.

Finally, we had to ditch the Department for the Colour Blind, as they filled out the wrong colour form. For similar reasons, we decided to keep them away from the Department for Electrical Engineers.

Hopefully in this time of recession, our adjustments will allow us not to waste money on trivial causes that aren’t important.


November 06, 2008

Amnesia Party welcomes the new President of Americashire

Hey Jahn,

Can you get Luke to stick this up some time on Wednesday morning?

Cheers,

Mike


Mike,

Please edit as applicable and send on to Jahn for release.

Cheers,

Pat


People of Britain,

We at the Amnesia Party would like to congratulate Senator McCain/Obama on becoming President of Americashire. It is in times like this, where [stuff] is happening, where we need a bold leader who can do [stuff].

As a forward-thinking political party, we believe that the appointment of Senator McCain/Obama will be good for Americashire, because [reason]. We therefore congratulate him on taking up this post, and look forward to engaging in dialogue on the critical issues of today in due course.

Let us look forward now to an era of [something], where our great nation can work together with Americashire on the critical issues of today.


July 22, 2008

Today's walk

Distance: 10 miles


July 21, 2008

Stoneleigh, Bubbenhall and Cubbington

Distance: 13 miles give or take
Ascent:?


July 19, 2008

Uni to stoneleigh and baginton

Distance:12.5 miles
Ascent: To be calculated


July 13, 2008

Kenilworth Circular

Finished this one off with watching the carvival on Saturday last week and a trip to the fair on abbey fields
Distance: 8.8 miles
Ascent: 120m

That puts me at 60 miles out of the 250 I’m aiming for this year. And the summer hols haven’t even started.


Around Burton Green

I’ll be honest upfront and say that I got lost on this one. But even without a compass I managed to get back on the right track pretty quickly.
Distance: 10.4 miles
Ascent: 125m


Dof E walk 16th May

Walked along with a group of Y10s – they were leading and didn’t get lost once!
Distance: 12.6 miles
Ascent:100m approx


July 02, 2008

Wine for Windows?!

Writing about web page http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=6241&package_id=112520

Probably nothing new to a lot of people, but I just spotted that the wine website has binary downloads for Windows.

Admittedly I can think of a couple of uses for this, but that doesn't really take away from the initial "wtf?" I got when I found out.

I wonder if it runs cygwin... :-)

(For anyone wondering what I'm blathering about, wine is a compatibility layer used for running Windows programs on Unix - or in this case, running Windows programs on Windows)


May 29, 2008

Play–offs: it's just cricket

So I hear that the ECB is again looking to revamp the county game. It was only in 200 that the long game was changed from 1 division of 18 sides playing home OR away to 2 divisions of 9 sides playing home AND away. (This conveniently removed the extra game in the season which Durham added by joining the league in 1992.) Of course, you could say this prompt review has been caused by the Indian Premier League, a fairly apt title in that it too is making millionaires of its sportsmen thanks to hefty TV funding (and a fanatic Indian fanbase) but that would be oversimplifying the issue.

As well as the County Championship (16×4-day games), you also have the dreadfully named Pro40, which is the 40-overs a side league competition also in two divisions from 1998 (so 16×1-day games), the Friends Provident Trophy, currently a 50-overs a side round-robin which knockout competition that again features the major counties plus Ireland and Scotland (although before 2006 it also featured a lot of minor counties) and then of course the Twenty20 knockabout thingy that gets 108% of the revenue of the sport in each year.

Now for those of you who have also been keeping up with rugby (be it union or league), not to mention several other sports like basketball and ice hockey, you’ll know that the end of the league season has this completely pointless play-offs thing, where the top four of the regular league season compete in a stupid end-of-season tournament to decide the “winners”. Why do they do it? TV money. It serves absolutely no use whatsoever, as the whole point of the league structure is to decide who is the best over a long series of games, not in an end-of-season PPV rushabout.

Play-offs, of course, are an American idea, both in their execution and the fact that’s where the big money comes in from the advertisers. Yet in America, it works. America is a big country, it has a limited number of franchises in each sport (for simplicity let’s assume American Football, Baseball and Ice Hockey) which don’t change from year to year that ideally need grouping by geography. Not only do they bring in a ton of extra money (because the sports aren’t awash with enough already) but they provide the ideal scenario to combine the geographical results of the season past without making everyone play each other every season and trawl all over the country.

Fixed group of teams, spread over the country, pressed for time. What sport does that remind you of… no, not rugby. It’s cricket. From the day they introduced the two-tier system I couldn’t see the point of it. Suddenly, you make the county game based upon geography and play-offs and it’s perfectly balanced: split the 18 into three leagues of six, play 10 games (H+A) against the other five in your “league” and three games against other teams, and lo and behold you’re set for top 2 from each league plus two others in an end-of-season knockout. 13-16 4-day games a season, a money-spinner at the end of the run, and more time for the slogfests during the year.

Granted it’s not quite as straightforward as just shoving the idea into play (What if the play-off games get rained off, for instance? Where would they take place?) but as far as British sport goes it’s by far the most useful implementation of the end-of-season knockout tourney there could be.

Far better than doing it in rugby, at least.


May 09, 2008

We <3 England

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7391776.stm

According to the latest Rough Guide to England, we are a nation of “overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex- and celebrity-obsessed TV addicts”, and a “insular, self-important and irritating” nation.

Wow, they know us so well!


May 05, 2008

Berkswell and Carol Green

27/4
Walked with Dan, weather fine.
5.2 miles, 150m ascent
Covloop2


Cycle Path or car park?

Please don’t block the cycle paths!

library road