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June 25, 2008

If you go down to the woods today…

...You are certainly in for a big surprise. But I feel I should clear a few things up:
1. Don’t go to the woods, go to Barton under Needwood
2. Don’t go today. You should have gone last weekend
3. “Every bear that ever there was” did not gather, because it was raining, so there were only a few
4. It is not the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic. No, this is something far greater.

It’s a Teddy Bear Extravaganza! Hooray! It’s like Alton Towers for Teddies. Allow me to explain.

On Saturday 21st June, Dan and I went to Barton under Needwood along with my trusted companions, Camembert (a golden bear) and Woofay (a brown and white dog). Upon arrival, they had to undergo a “tedical examination” and a security check to see if they were eligible to receive passports and boarding passes for a few “teddy rides”. Fortunately, they were, and we set off on a rather enjoyable but slightly bizarre adventure.

Ride 1: Teddy Oblivion
Essentially, this is a bunji jump for teddies, where they’re strapped onto a little platform, winched all the way up to the top of the church tower, and released, to freefall all the way into “Oblivion”. Great stuff. It’s a good thing teddies don’t eat, or there would’ve been teddy vomit everywhere.

Woofay being strapped in
Woofay getting strapped in by the friendly staff

Winched up
Woofay getting winched all the way to the top of the tower

Got down safely
Woofay finally emerging from Oblivion

Ride 2: Boat a Bear
As an engineer, I have to say this machine is blooming marvellous! It’s a boat race for teddies, “nothing like the Oxford and Cambridge boat race” according to the inventor. The teddies are placed in their boats that are then placed in a channel, and their human counterparts have to spin a wheel that winches water up from a vat below. Once enough water reaches the channel, the boat moves, until one teddy is declared the winner. Woofay lost this one miserably, as he is considerably fatter and heavier. He also lost because Dan was his human teammate, and I’m just better.

Boat a Bear
Starting blocks

Ride 3: Ballistic Bear
As if dropping your teddy from the top of the church tower wasn’t enough, the next ride was none other than a teddy trebuchet. Awesome. I love trebuchets, ever since working with one at Warwick Castle, so finding a place to combine a trebuchet with teddies was like a dream come true. Obviously no-one would be horrible enough to just fling a teddy through the air (no matter how many times Dan threatens to do so), so the teddies have to get into their rockets first. Surprisingly, these rockets bear a passing resemblance to drinks bottles with tennis balls on the top, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence. Woofay was made to go first after his dismal attempt at the boat race, and so was loaded into his rocket (wow, he looked awesome) placed on the trebuchet and… wooosh, he was off! Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, flying towards the safety net that would catch him, and… whack! He missed the net. Oops.

The “Paratedics” ran over as quickly as they could, bandaged him up a bit (you think I’m kidding… he’s still got the bandage on) and checked he didn’t have concussion. He was ok, but I don’t think he’ll do it again. Camembert, however, was not deterred, and took to flying with the greatest of ease… although he only just made it into the net.

The trebuchet
The trebuchet

Woofay in his rocket
A little squished, but still looking good…

Flying
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Woofay… about to crash land.

Ride 4: Teddy Skywire
Ah zeppelins. Another favourite. This time the teddies were strapped to a carriage hanging under a mini zeppelin, which in turn was attached to a zip line. Camembert went first, with Woofay being the one to release the safety switch to send Camembert zooming off into the distance, once again to the top of the church tower where he crashed head first into a gong to signify he had got up there safely. Well done Camembert. Unfortunately, on Woofay’s turn, the sound of the gong made him pass out as he travelled back down again, poor thing.

Strapped in
Strapped in, waiting to go

Flying off
A lovely silhouette shot

Weigh in
Checking how heavy Woofay is for the counterweights

Ride 5: Teddy Hi-Wire
The final ride was by no means the most strenuous, for both teddies were physically and mentally exhausted by this point, and Woofay was still nursing his hurt leg. However, the teddies faced a bit of a challenge, as they had to balance on a tightrope (with the help of a cunning contraption, of course). The man who was in charge of this ride was possibly the most friendly of the lot, giving both Camembert and Woofay a friendly kiss as he sent them on their way.

balancing act
Camembert concentrating hard

more balancing
Woofay concentrating harder

All in all, it was an absolutely fanatstic day, and for a good cause too – as I understand it, some of the money went to the upkeep of the 475 year old church, and some went to charities. And seeing as I will probably never see the wonderful people who ran it again, I want to take this opportunity to say “thank you, it was brilliant”, on the off chance that they google themselves :P


May 25, 2008

Notes on the Eurovision Song Contest

So, another Eurovision has passed, and we all slink back to our hidey holes, shame-faced at only receiving 14 points (8 of them from Ireland, who, quite frankly, deserved a place in the final with Irelande Douze Points. It was much more entertaining than the Russian Ice Skating thing, even though the Turkey puppet made me feel slightly sick).

It was nice to look out over Warwick SU’s marketplace during the show (I was the person up in Grumpy John’s, doing revision). There was a very nice feel, with friendly rivalries, International Students going mad waving flags about (it really made me appreciate having a large international community), and the whole thing was light hearted and enjoyable. Just what Eurovision should be about. I can’t help but feel the Russians knew they were going to win, because they were out in droves, and seemed to be celebrating before any results had even been announced. Maybe they knew in their heart of hearts that a camp ice skater and, quite frankly, dull song was just what Europe needed.

So what can we do to boost our chances next year? Well perhaps we need to look at how we view Eurovision. It was set up to be a contest between countries, showcasing the state of music between nations. And so why have our recent entries been nothing like what we would usually have in the charts? On the cheese front (glossing over the embarrassment that was Jemini), we’ve had Scooch. This is a band that used to be in the charts, but disappeared along with Steps once everyone lost interest in the novelty. Everyone gained interest in them again when the girls were in Nuts or Zoo, but they’ve once again disappeared into obscurity. This year we’ve had whats-his-face, a man with a forgetable name and a forgetable tune, that never in a million years would have captured people’s hearts without the help of X Factor and now Eurovision. It seems the nation played it safe, voting in someone who was nothing but inoffensive (no personality, no wow factor, and certainly no display of what the British can do). In the interest of fairness, in his defense, I thought he made the most of what he was given last night, and no country has ever won Eurovision when they were second in the line-up.

That gives us option number 1 – change the views of the music industry into thinking that Eurovision could actually be a little bit cool. After all, it did completely revive the career of Sandy Shaw, and gave us treasures like Lulu and Celine Dion (we’ll pretend Sir Cliff never happened). It’ll allow anyone who actually has a shred of credibility to enter the competition, providing a better example of why our music has gone from strength to strength over the last few years (even though it did manage to destroy Top of the Pops).

Option number 2 requires an entirely different take on Eurovision. It is, after all, the strangest, campest, and craziest competition that has ever graced my television screen (one presenter yesterday declared “Welcome to Belgrave, the city where you can’t sit down”. Did someone nick all the chairs or something?). Maybe we should really start pandering up to it all. Granted, that approach didn’t work for Ireland this year, but there’s camp and then just plain bizarre. Take, for example, the genius of Lordi. Hard Rock, yes, but accessable to all because of the sheer campness of it all (“It’s the a-rock-alypse”, anyone? Or how about “on this day of rockening…”?). That year also brought us the delights of “We are the winners” from Lithuania, made even more funny by the fact that their accents made it sound like “We are the weiners”.

So option number 2 would, in fact, be the direct opposite of option number 1. We should ignore the music that we normally listen to, and bring back some of that 90’s trite, like Lolly, or The Cartoons (were they British? I forget). We could have had an amazing trio that reminded me of the dolly girls who entertained the troops during the war, instead of Blandy McBlandy the singing binman. However, it is worth noting that not many of the countries in the final this year actually went for this approach, except Spain (which I’m sure would’ve made more sense if I had put the translating subtitles on, because I could not understand why that dancer kept falling over and looking like she was going to die). The result made for a very bland Eurovision, with most of the women looking like clones of each other, wearing pretty much exactly the same dress. Where were the costume changes of old, where the singers got progressively more naked? Perhaps Bucks Fizz have had their day…

There is another option, which I personally find too hard to consider. And that is to bring back the cheesy “we love everybody” style of Katrina and the Waves. “Love shine a light in every corner of the world”, indeed. Pile of tosh, and even Katrina thought so, as I seem to remember her saying “A lot of people will lap this crap up”, or something along those lines. However, it seemed to work. Maybe what we need is a catchy, heartfelt song all about loving thy neighbour, that can hopefully overcome the hate that everyone else in the World feels towards us, due to all our war-mongering ways. Perhaps it can be called “We’re Sorry About Iraq; The Musical”.

Failing that, we can throw a hissy fit and threaten to pull our funding if we don’t make the top five. Who pays for it anyway? I’ve never been sure. Is it the BBC? Am I right in thinking Eurovision is, in fact, organised by the national Broadcasting Associations? I seem to remember the excuse used not to allow Leichtenstein to compete one year being due to them not having an equivalent of the BBC. It is, after all, only our funding that means we make it to the final every year, along with a few others (I think Germany and France might be in there?), implying we do spend an awful lot. Maybe a bit of blackmail is the only way we have a shot, although that’s not very British. And I don’t think that such a threat would work. The other nations would probably think “Awesome, now we don’t have to listen to their rubbish songs, and don’t have to broadcast in English any more”. Maybe it’s best if we just keep to our tried and tested stiff-upper-lip approach, and clap politely when Sweden, surprisingly, votes for Denmark.

Well, I suppose this isn’t something we have to consider for another year, but it would be nice to enter something that truely does have “Eurovision” stamped all over it: Either an awesome display of modern British style (including all the cosmopolitan influences we’ve got) or camping it up big time, in the style of the Village People. I, personally, prefer the latter idea, but then, it’s not up to me.


May 02, 2008

Quick note before I get back to my baguette…

How brilliant is South Central? Best brie and bacon baguettes ever. Yum.


April 29, 2008

Attempt to keep an up–to–date blog #3

You know those days when you realise you have nothing at all to do? Well, you know when it’s made even worse because everyone else seems to be busy, so you find yourself drinking an entire bottle of Pepsi, playing online Scrabble for hours on end, watching the whole series of the Big Bang Theory, and then to top it all, your fingers inexplicably type your own name into Google? ... No? ... Just me? Oh dear…

Well that’s the day I’m having today. I had to wake up extraordinarily early because of a presentation on my Final Year Engineering Project (High Resolution Particle Image Velocimetry, if anyone’s interested). It finished at about 11, leaving me to my own devices for an entire day. This is especially hard after a couple of weeks of hyperactivity trying to hand coursework in on time, so I did end up doing the forementioned inevitable: Googling my own name.

And so, I stumbled across my Warwick Blog. I started it in my first year, mainly due to the pressure of the overactive IT staff who were incredibly motivated to introduce campus dwellers into the world of blogging. Then it was left in the depths of cyberspace until I remembered it a year and a half later, when I managed 3 posts and then, once again, forgot about it.

So this is my third attempt. I’m not sure what will be in Jo’s Blog Mark 3 just yet. For now I shall describe it as “anything I think is interesting”, because that just leaves me with all the scope in the world.

I shall sign off with a question aimed at you, the random reader who doesn’t actually know me but started reading my blog in the hope it may contain something worthwhile (alas, it does not). The question is this: What is the correct etiquette when you walk through a door and someone is a little further back down the corridor? Should you break your stride, hold the door open, but make said person do that funny little half-run as they speed up to reduce your waiting time? Or should you pretend you haven’t seen them and breeze on, as the door slams inches from their face? Although I agree both have their entertainment (funny half-run vs door in the face. Both are classics), what is the most acceptable? It’s a moral dilemma. Discuss.


August 18, 2007

Open for business

After over a year of inactivity, I am reopening this blog.

I know that maybe no one will read this. Undoubtedly blogs are little ‘uncool’ but what the hey. It makes me happy.

If no one is reading, then I can say things like, ‘You all smell’.

But if someone is reading….....

I am open for business.


June 08, 2006

Photo 28 – strawberries!

We went for a picnic in the park, and I took a picture of the strawberries! Not sure I got the focus completely right, but I think it came out well all the same! Oh how I love summer–time :)


June 03, 2006

The Dream is Dead

Due to increased activity on this blog which has offended me greatly, this blog and its blogger is entering a period of hiatus.

Since people are unable to reply in uniformed manner, stereotyping me as I stereotype others, and being pursued across the blog system for ideas, and ideas only, I am closing this blog for a while.

I am tired of trying to explain my points and my own beliefs, and just having them trodden on. If you wish to explain your own beliefs in a uniform manner, please make an entry on your own page.

If anybody wishes to discuss my views and listen then contact me via this blog.

For now the period of inactivity is now effective.

This is the second time I have had to close this blog due to offensive material towards me. I hope all commentators are happy. You've squashed another dream.

Karl.


May 29, 2006

Bright Idea

Bright Idea – Orson

When I first heard No Tomorrow way back in Februray 2005 (yes, it was around that long ago, and yes, Im very up on my music), I knew that this band, or at least hoped this band, would be a big sensation. I tried to get everyone to listen to it. I played it from the rooftops, but all my friends and family said that it was American pop–rock pap. Now a year and half later those same people are claiming they never said these things but are secretly hanging their heads in shame for doubting me.

Orson have been a big hit in the UK. Fame has eluded them for years in the USA and to try one last time, they packed up and moved to the UK to try again. And this time, the public listened. The debut album from this pop quintet is loaded with, well, bright ideas. Their fusion of pop and rock is so pure in sound and so utterly loveable from the word go that this album is like listening to the breeze. Totally noticable and as if its been here for years. This is the music we've been missing.

The album starts off with the title track and their first single. An excellent starting combo, although Bright Idea as a track is one you need to let grow on you. Then suddenly the album dips, for the only time I might add, but it does. Happiness is not as promising as the first two tracks and things are picked up with Already Over. But then the album just goes mad and says, 'Right lets give them everything'. And they do. There is not a single bad track on the whole album. One cannot, and does not, want to pick apart the lyrics or guitars or drums because if you do, you lose a little something.

Highlights include 'Trying To Help' and Look Around, possibly the best rock power ballard Ive heard in a long time. This album just provides exactly what you want. A sequence of good songs that leave you feel great. Each track doe shtat thing where you hear a song and look at the stereo as if to say, 'Hmmmm thats interesting'.

Will it last for Orson though? Who knows? I feel as though they've got a long way to grow as band, and Im sure any future albums will be solid pieces of work. For now, lets revel in a band that isn't a: British to the core, b: not self made on the internet, c: edgy without being northern and d: just plain bloody good. And yes I was talking about Arctic Monkeys.

9/10

Download: well…..everythign really. If you can't be bothered then get No Tomorrow, Tryin To Help, Look Around, The Okay Song.


May 25, 2006

Shouting

Dont you hate adverts that shout at you? If I wanted to buy windows or a sofa, I dont want to be shouted at to come to that store and buy them. It give me a freaking headache.

May 21, 2006

Rock Takes Eurovision

So they did it.

Lordi, the 'Satanist' rock group, are officially Eurovision winners. Ive been backing them since the quarter finals and by god does it feel good to be supporting a winning team. Just a shame I didnt have a bet on them.

Of course this group are not really pure evil. They only dress in costumes for a bit of fun. They even have songs about how Satan is a loser, and that they just want to have fun and rock.

Well they did, and the rest of Europe (with additions of Turkey, Armenia and other countries that are NOT in Europe) think Lordi rock too. Woo.

Just listen to the song. You can imagine all the people of Northern Europe on top of hills with their big blonde hair and horned viking helmets singing this song. Espcially the bit about lightning, power and might.

Album is out soon so go buy. Or just get the song online. Its so funny.


May 20, 2006

Lyrics

Follow-up to Eurovision from Dreams of Karl-ifornication

Here are the lyrics to Lordi's Hard Rock Halleujah:

Hard Rock Hallelujah!
Hard Rock Hallelujah!

The saints are crippled
On this sinners’ night
Lost are the lambs with no guiding light

The walls come down like thunder
The rocks about to roll
It’s the Arockalypse
Now bare your soul

All we need is lightning
With power and might
Striking down the prophets of false
As the moon is rising
Give us the sign
Now let us rise up in awe

Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived
Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
In God’s creation supernatural high

The true believers
Thou shall be saved
Brothers and sisters keep strong in the faith
On the day of Rockoning
It’s who dares, wins
You will see the jokers soon’ll be the new kings

All we need is lightning
With power and might
Striking down the prophets of false
As the moon is rising
Give us the sign
Now let us rise up in awe

Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived
Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
In God’s creation supernatural high

Wings on my back
I got horns on my head
My fangs are sharp
And my eyes are red
Not quite an angel
Or the one that fell
Now choose to join us or go straight to Hell

Hard Rock Hallelujah!
Hard Rock Hallelujah!
Hard Rock Hallelujah!
Hard Rock Hallelujah!

Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived
Rock ’n roll angels bring thyn hard rock hallelujah
In God’s creation supernatural high

Hard Rock Hallelujah!


Eurovision

Hope we are all set in tonight to watch the UK make a mockey of themselves again with Daz and rapping schools. Daft chap.

Instead Im making a plea to everyone to vote for Finland's entry, Lordi. The metal band have been accussed by many of inducing and invoking Satanism among their fanbase. And from one look at them you would think so. But the song isnt that bad, and quite frankly one of the best Eurovision entries Ive ever heard. And its so shameless you have to laugh.

So support Finland tonight and make sure we show the pop world that their time is up. Now every throw your horned fingers in the air and scream.


May 18, 2006

Finally

So the RSC finally got back to everyone. And Im in…..

Im playing the part of Roselo's servent and friend Marin. Since the veiled names in the text are quite easy to work out, one can surmise that Roselo is in fact Romeo, and by consequence Marin in Mercutio. Im told the part is not as elaborate as the Shakesperian original but hey Im still doing it goddamnit.

All accomdation and travel is paid for. Wooo. And Ive got my summer planned now.

Stratford, here I come.


May 15, 2006

Grant

Its official. Ross Kemp can act.

Known better to the public for his role as Grant Mitchell in Eastenders, Ross has often been brandished with working the bad boy image in all his programs. From his role in Ultimate Force, to his Mitchell Brother, Ross has shown little actign ability, even to parody himself when taking part in Ricky Gervais' 'Extras'.

But after tonights scene on eastenders, Im now convinced of his acting work. He had a very touching scene with his long lost daughter Courtney, but to top it off Kemp actually brought a tear to his eye. As an actor, I know how dififuclt this is.

So well done to Mr. Kemp. Good work.


May 08, 2006

Supermassive Black Hole

So the new Muse single is upon us. This has utterly overshadowed my appreciation of Stadium Arcadium.

So heres the breakdown. First listen you wouldnt believe it was Muse. From the overcomplex bass of Hysteria and the orchestra of Butterflies and Hurricanes, the trio have really gone to their utmost basics. The track sounds incredibly dance like at first. But upon other listens we start to hear Bellamy breaking through. Theres an element of Beck about it too.

The theme of the song sounds typically Muse. Epic space stuff. Blackholes may feature heavily on this album. I predict, like a black hole, we may see some of Bellamy’s genius getting lost in the audio-universe. Maybe hes at the end of his musical peak? Of course not.

Once you get used to such a different jump in style, you start to realise its genius. For a song based heavily on drums with effects, it works. The bass is typical Muse, though screams a bit b-side compared to the major epic pieces found on Absolution, and even the driving bass of Origin. The guitar plays little part other than over-laying the bass. No more crazy sounds and picking, no more harmonics and wibbly bits. Just nice simple dark music.

The song grows on you. After a few listens you really get into the simplicity. As a preview for an album, i predict good things. I feel Muse are going in a not wholly different direction. I feel this single doesnt push Matts limits. Lets hope when ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ is released, I am proved very, very wrong.


May 07, 2006

So Dark The Con Of Man

With the imminent release of The Da Vinci Code upon us, I thought it was time to throw up all the hullaballoo about the book and film.

My own personnal stand point is that this is a piece of fiction. Based upon conspiracy theories and conjecture it is an interesting, yet wholly harmless, book. People however are getting very up tight about it. I was reading Empire and saw how many people have tried to stop this movie being made. The bets one being a nun who protested outside one of the churches where they filmed. The nun protested in silent prayer for around 12 hours.

I think it is important to have beliefs and convictions. And of course one should defend them. But I think people are getting wound up about nothing. I understand however that if those who dont believe could be driven from it and those already believing could lose faith over it.

The importance is the standpoint. The Church are working fromt he point of saying its fiction, but campaigning as if it were fact. As long as we realise that it isnt fact then there is no harm. But I would like to start the discussion about this. What does everyone think about the book, the film, its theories and so forth.

Just let go. And believe.


May 06, 2006

Woe

Its now officially time to freak out. Ive been doing Classical Views from the beginning of the week and I have no idea about any of the things in it.

I have no problems with Tragedy, and Im sure Roman Comedy will be fine. But im worried that if I dont have Classical views as a backup I might not get onto my Masters. Arghhhhhh!!!!

Help me.


May 05, 2006

Million Miles of Water

So as my love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers grows day by day, and my anticipation for Stadium Arcadium also grows, I bought the Dani California singles (yes both of them). This is to obtain all the B–Sides. Make sure you go and buy the one with Million Miles of Water on it. Its so good.

So only two and a half days till Stadium Arcadium. Who else is excited? If you see me at all next week its all I will be listening too. I cant wait. I hope its as good as Im making it out to be.


Lib Dems

Upon watching BBC News this morning, they had a short interview with the new Liberal Democrat Leader. When asked about how important the youth factor of David Cameron's campaign was, we got this startlingly funny reply.

"Youth isnt everything. Just look at that woman recently who had a baby at 62. Of course Im not suggesting I will be emulating this behaviour"

What a star!


May 04, 2006

Yay

Who has recall for the RSC play?

ME!


April 30, 2006

Shuffle

Amusing….

Go to your music player, set it to shuffle/random, and answer the
following questions with the title of the FIRST song that you skip
to each time. No cheating!

If you reached the top of Mount Everest, you would scream:
Fashion

The next time you stand up in front of a group of people, you'll say:
Helmet In The Bush

Your favorite thing to say when drunk is:
Millionaires Against Hunger

Your message to the world:
Dream A Little Dream

Your deepest secret:
Pure Morning

Your innermost desire:
San Fransisco

Your oldest memory makes you think:
Staring Problem

Somewhere in your wedding vows, you'll include:
23 Go In To End

On your deathbed, you'll whisper:
Of Wolf And Man

Your friends say behind your back:
The Bends

You say behind your friends' back:
Win

Your opinion of MySpace:
Monsters In The Parasol

When you wake up in the morning, you mutter:
Another One Bites The Dust

If you found yourself lost on a desert island, you'd yell:
If YoU Want Blood (You've Got It)

Right now, your feelings are:
Under The Influence

What's your excuse for reposting this bulletin?:
Find The Colour

Your life's soundtrack:
She's Over It

Well that amused me for about 4 minutes. God I love sundays.


Photo 27 – Auntie

This was taken last weekend at my cousin's wedding. It's a photo of my other cousin (the bride's sister) who was a bridesmaid talking to her Aunt who is admiring her flowers.

They didn't know I was taking the photo so it's a nice informal one. I like the light (it was a lovely sunny day) and also the look on my cousin's face.


April 29, 2006

Living

ive got nowhere to live next year. i dont know anyone who hasnt already got a group of friends to live with. This sucks.

I dont want to move back onto campus. I want to live in Leam. I dont want to live by myself though. Oh man this is so bad.

Anybody got any ideas? Or anyone who has got a group but hasnt got a house, fancy one more?


April 25, 2006

Master

Master of Classics is pulling your strings
For two more years I'll be reasearching…..

If anyone knwos Metallica its funny. Also I got my offer to do a Master of Art in Classics. Im going to change it to a 2 year part time course.

So…....

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


April 24, 2006

Photo 26 – Spring

This was taken at Rutland Water near my new house on the Thursday before Easter. The sheep were incredibly tame and I managed to get close enough to take this cute picture without even using any zoom!