All entries for June 2005

June 23, 2005

Batman Begins

Went to see Batman Begins last night – great film. Bale is pretty dark and brooding, which is as it should be. There is a lot that is really pretty scary for a 12A too – the hallucinations were quite shocking at times. Atmosphere was back to the first Burton film – gothic horror all over.

The other nice thing about it was the pace – Spiderman films always seem to drag a bit as we get bogged down in the internal struggle of Spideys brain, when all we really want is the cool spidey action. Batman managed to do all the "why me" stuff and still keep the action motoring along.

I wonder if they will do another Joker film – would be worth a look.

June 21, 2005

Buying a bike

Hmm – I want to buy a bike but things appear to have moved on a bit since I last looked.

I want something for mainly road use with the odd spot of light off road (tracks and trails rather than the crazy Chris May style downhill lunacy…)

I am not sure whether to go for a tourer, trekking, hybrid etc. Nor am I sure who is worth looking at these days – especially since budget is modest. I used to cycle around 40miles a day after I left University and couldn't afford a car, and now I live in the sticks I am starting to miss cycling on the country roads and lanes.

Any advice from our many cyclists…?

June 20, 2005

End of civilisation #1

Ordered some fish from an online cornish fishmonger – in the sea on thursday, arrived at our house on friday – good so far.

Nice selection of fillets of Bass, Sole, Haddock and Gurnard (?) – on the packaging reads…

Allergy Advice: Contains Fish

Wow – so a fillet of Bass (which was a fish last time I checked) contains fish, glad they told me that. Hate to think what hideous errors I might have mistakenly made.

As a follow up, my Dad told me that he bought a Hosta with a label on it saying "Not for culinary purposes" – sorry, did I miss out on the spate of Hosta related poisonings. Is this a food scare story that has been kept hidden from us – we should be told!

I better finish and polish off my clematis and foxglove salad from lunch…

June 10, 2005

Why you shoud never piss off your designer…

Writing about web page

When your designer annoys you, don't piss them off – look what might happen.

June 09, 2005

Kitchen Nightmares

Finally caught up with Tuesday's Ramsey – and it is the first one he has done that actually made me want to go and eat there. He looked like he was really enjoying himself, and it was noticable that the swearing was less common than in previous instances.

What was particularly nice about this weeks episode was that in all the other restaurants they seem to be pushing the modern british/mock tuscan/faux med concoctions that you would find in any half decent place these days, whereas here it was something a little bit different. Gordon seemed to get off on trying something other than bruschetta with the latest fad or pasta with wild mushroom etc.

I was hungry after watching it.

June 02, 2005

Comms disaster

Great comms disaster unfolding. HEERA have been trying to set up an email system for a while now and just can't seem to get it right – each time they fire off an email they get a load of 'out of office' replies and angry responses from people who haven't signed up for the service.

This makes me smile for a few reasons:

HEERA say that they are:

The Higher Education External Relations Association (HEERA) is a professional body working across the areas of press & public relations, marketing, alumni relations and fundraising in the higher education sector. It is a membership organisation that offers a wide range of networking, professional development and other support activities and facilities, as well as encouraging the sharing of good practice, experience and knowledge.

If they knew anything about communications they would know…

email newletters I haven't asked for are SPAM - if I wanted your communications I would ask for it. Go read Permission Marketing and get to grips with the idea that interrupting people when they haven't invited you to do so is a bad thing – especially when email gets clogged up with pointless rubbish I never read – why add to the pile?

don't blame my system for your problems. The latest email puts the blame on the circulation of out of office messages down to the members universities – sorry? So I get an email I didn't ask for, followed by a bundle of OOO emails from people who also didn't ask for the email and you blame their systems for sending it. Not only that but when you get a message asking to be unsubscribed from the list because of the OOO messages you reply (to the list btw – ha ha ha) saying you are too stupid not to have read our initial message which clearly stated this is nothing to do with us but is the fault of those Universities not clever enough to set up blocks on OOO replies to email lists – sorry, but that sucks big time.

If you are going to send out uninvited emails, maybe take a lesson from the genuine spam merchants and actually tell me why I might want to stick with the group rather than just ignore your stuff – maybe actually sell me something rather than just say oh here's a list maybe you want to use it. Why should I actually want to pay attnetion to your stuff – there is nothing in the initial email to indicate what the list is for – what can I get out of being a member.

inbox insite – a great example of something that people weren't asked to sign up for, but as it is actually really really useful – it makes sense for those who get it – so people actually don't mind.

The only reason I am not unsubscribing from the HEERA list is to see how many more irate emails the admin gets – 10 afte 5 mins and counting!

EU – a PR Problem?

I was listening to Lord Kinnock last night and this morning and find myself getting more and more irritated with the following idea:

There is nothing wrong with the EU, we just need to explain it better – then people won't get confused and vote against us.

Now, I am a big fan of Europe – I would always rather be in bed with the europeans than the yanks – and I have always considered myself to be European before British and certainly before English. This does not mean I have a blinkered view of the insitutions that govern Europe.

The EU as it currently exisits seems to be a self-serving oligarchy perpetuating the ideals of a disconnected political elite without reference to the democratic wishes of the people who pay for it and are affected by it (some might draw a parallel with national governments as well – hey, it's a political meltdown!).

So is it an issue of bad PR?

Well, classic corporate communications strategy suggests that an identity of an institution is comprised of:

1. The insitutions representative symbols
2. The institutions culture
3. The institutions behaviour
4. Communication activity

I am going to put an emphasis on 2 and 3 – it is not enough just to communicate more effectively – there needs to be a pretty seismic shift in the culture and behviour of the European institutions and (perhaps more importantly) the politicians who comprise them before there is going to be any shift in the public image.

I would add to this that critical to proper communications is an appreciation of the nature of your stakeholders, their world view, their desires and wants. I think that the no results of the past few days demonstrate that the EU politicians have no connections to their stakeholders – and that is what is refreshing about the no votes. They are not a rejection of the EU, they are a rejection of the EU as it currently exisits. It is about time someone realigned the insitution with the needs and concerns of the millions it represents rather than the political machinations of the few who actually govern (does this ring true at the state level as well?)

June 2005

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