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March 2009

Just like Brian Wilson Did......

Saturday, March 28, 2009 0

I defy anyone not to have, at some point in their lives, to not admitting to singing in the shower. It’s one of those things no human being can possibly ever not do at some point or another. For a start, the acoustics in most bathrooms, with their tiled walls, are the perfect place to belt out a few tunes.

With this in mind, I was highly delighted when I stumbled across a bunch of videos on YouTube from one of my favourite bands; The Barenaked Ladies. The title for the video set is “The Bathroom Sessions”, and is mainly the lead singer, armed with a guitar and some sort of video camera belting out some of the bands greatest hits.




I don’t know if the concept is original or not, but I like it. Music in its purest form, directly from the original composer, rather than some user-generated content of a guy in a bedroom equally (or perhaps not), as talented with a guitar.

Anyone know of any clips of famous singers or bands travelling in a car, singing along to their own tracks on the radio? Tour buses don’t count by the way!

Jon Stewart is "da man".....

Saturday, March 21, 2009 0


In the run up to the US elections and as the worlds attention turned to look at what was going on in the US and the race for the 44th President, I started, and soon became, an avid watched of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, a mock satirical news show from “Comedy Central’s News Headquarters in New York”.

It’s seems that Jon Stewart isn’t afraid to speak his mind or tackle any of the big issues. He’s taken on the economy (in his running “Clusterf*ck To the Poorhouse” segment), the Presidential race (even securing interviews with Mr and Mrs Obama on separate occasions), a media spat with Jim Cramer and CNBC culminating in Mr Cramer appearing on the show and summarily being torn apart by Mr Stewart (that show even reportedly attracted the attention of the President as well as Stewart’s biggest audience figures ever), Dick Cheney, the ego that is Ricky Gervais (which just has to be seen – it was brilliant), Twitter and so much more.

Despite the show being based firmly on US politics, I’m just simply drawn to it (and have the show on series record on my media centre), due to its blurred lines between actual news and comedic spin and mixture of interviews and special guests that appear in the second half of the show. It seems every time I browse to Digg.com, there’s at least two or three stories or references to Jon Stewart’s latest ‘report’.

Right now, I think “The Daily Show” is up there as one of my favourite shows on TV, and even though I’m struggling to find or persuade other people in my circle to watch the show, I’m more than happy to continue to tune in and enjoy, even if others are missing out or just don’t get my love of the show.

Long may “More 4” carry the show and I urge more of you to tune in, watch, give it time and then enjoy as much as I do. (Tune in: More 4 channel, daily at 8:30pm GMT, Monday to Friday).

Crimping ‘eck….

Saturday, March 14, 2009 0

Right or wrong, love him or hate him, if there’s one thing we can all agree with Jeremy Clarkson on is that “health and safety” has gone mad in this country. No one in the UK seems to know why we are so health and safety conscious – perhaps we have been looking at the States too long and their “sue for anything” culture, putting in place endless H&S procedures to counteract the same culture happening here to the same degree.



But alas, the H&S events also bring with them some classic stories, most of them involving someone going completely over the top with protection beyond the level of protection. I know I’ve blogged before on over-protection for no apparent reason, and writing about it again does make me sad, knowing I have more than one story on the same subject.



But do not fear, this one is comical and I believe should be shared – for precisely the reason of over-protection and the point where you have to see it in order to actually believe it. I even breached the “no photography” rule on site at work in order to get this photo to post with this blog, but I felt it was worth it: evidence, exhibit A if you will to show how far things have gone.



When I first heard about this, I laughed, when I saw the evidence I laughed harder and longer and recoiled when it hit me just how ridiculous things have gotten. For anyone who works in IT, will know that occasionally ‘home-made’ network cables need to be made, whether this is because they should be ‘cut-to-length’ or because pre-ended, factory moulded cables are in short supply. In order to make said ‘home-made’ cables, you need to have in your possession a “crimping” tool. A crimping tool allows the RJ45 plugs to be attached to the copper cabling (but enough of the techie), and included on most crimpers is a blade which is used to cut the cable from the reel.



If you haven’t guessed the ending yet, here is it – at work, my boss – in his ultimate wisdom – decided that it was unsafe to have these blades on the crimping tool and set about unscrewing and removing the blades from the tools so that no one could possibly hurt themselves…….or now use the tool for its intended purposes!



Instead, our engineers now have to use not only the crimping tool to attach the end to the cable, but also have at hand a pair of scissors sharp enough to cut through copper cables and their plastic coatings. The dangers of using scissors hasn’t be noticed yet….and when that is realised, I fear, we may have them taken away, to be replaced with plastic, blunt scissors incapable of cutting anything – just like those used in most children’s nurseries.

Next Generation, Much Improved….

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No one likes being ‘number 2’, ‘second best’, the ‘runner up’.

It was with this in mind that I took offence at, knowing I was entered into an phone ‘address’ book as “Craig 2”, as there already existed a “Craig” in the telephone directory.

As much I tried to lobby to be changed from “Craig 2” to “Craig B”, which not only alphabetically would be correct, but also allows the “B” to stand for my initial. To me, it just made logical sense……but no, it can never be that easy. I was either destined to be “Craig 2” forever or come up with something better (or my final plan involved buying the “rights” to ownership of the name “Craig” in this particular phonebook, which would have been madness!)

Once I had set my mind in motion to get the change made, the answer actually came pretty easily. As a techie the answer was obvious.


That’s right, the answer was to re-invent myself, just as the web has developed itself after the “dot com bubble” and become much like “Web 2.0”, “Craig 2.0”. Not second best, but a refinement, an improvement and better Craig, the next generation of something already good.

I may not be the first Craig on the phonebook list, but I’m rather proud to be “Craig 2.0”.

Cineworld: Listen Up…..

Sunday, March 8, 2009 0

Cineworld, listen up!

 

How can you justify increasing your “Unlimited” card prices again?  Especially in these uncertain economic times.

 

I love going to the cinema as much as the next person, the atmosphere, the lights, the darkness, the big screen, the trailers and the magic of believing that just about anything can and will happen in a cinema.  The “Unlimited” card is a God send for those who wish to sample and reach out to touch that Hollywood magic and enter these alternate worlds of fantasy and make-believe.  But the price increases are all wrong.

 

I signed up for the “Unlimited” card at £9.99 a month.  A bargain price – it permitted me to see as many movies as I wanted for a pre-set price.  If I saw three or four movies one month and not a single one the next, I didn’t feel cheated or upset about paying the money.  Similarly when the price went up to £11.99 a month, I was equally as happy to pay the price for my slice of cinema gold.

 

The latest price increase however, is all wrong.  £13.50 a month (that’s £162 a year)!  Yikes!  Just what are you thinking Cineworld?  I realise that the economy is bad right now and making money to cover all of those costs that were spiralling out of control and not a problem during the happy pre-crunch days, but is increasing prices really the answer?  Really?

 

Hollywood and the film industry is going through one of the toughest times at the moment, not only is movie piracy eating into their profits and investments in future productions, but the platform and medium on how films are delivered is on the bubble of change.  Seeing a film is no longer a ‘treat’, its something that can be done by anyone at any time of the day, simply by firing up Sky Movies, using the Sky Anytime multi-start channels or pre-recording to Sky Plus services.  On-demand movies from iTunes and iPlayer like services are also starting to find their feet, meaning customers aren’t going to leave their comfy sofas and large LCD TVs to go to a cinema, full of coughing people who rattle sweetie papers too loudly and get over charged for coca-cola and popcorn.

 

DVDs and Blu-Ray are too easily obtained, watched and then sold on via eBay channels once watched and illegal downloading of movies is still the number one concern for film distributors – hence the reason why it makes absolutely no sense to me why they continue to show adverts against piracy and theft to those who have bought a ticket and are supporting our local cinemas.

 

These are the times when attracting customers is the biggest challenge to any business, not the time when you should be alienating them and making them turn away to look seriously at the alternatives.  Lower the price of popcorn and drinks, offer promotions, re-structure the bar, offer food, but don’t increase the price of a movie ticket!

At The Car Wash….

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Is there anything more exciting for a kid than being in a car whilst it is going through a car wash?  The huge rolling washers moving around the car as jets of water are sprayed directly onto the car…..as you check your windows is wound all the way up to the top for one last time!

 

I, myself, am still a child and I still love the feeling of being in the middle of a car wash as the rollers roll and jets of water are sprayed onto the glass.  I enjoy it so much so, I decided to video the whole experience to share the moment and the excitement with you all forever….

 

Its what my Flip Video was made for!

 


Car Wash from Craig Butters on Vimeo.

Ever Felt Like Your Being Watched?….

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These days there’s a sign for everything. 

 

some are more useful than others.  The one, whilst out at a garden centre with the family, particularly caught my eye; particularly as I felt like I was being watched…..

 

 


Concealed Video Cameras from Craig Butters on Vimeo.

A Promise….

Saturday, March 7, 2009 0

Right, I admit I might have left this site alone for a while, but I most certainly haven’t forgotten about it.  Plus if you want to read anything from me, you know you can always catch my latest blog post weekly on Deadly Revelations (how’s that for a shameful plug?)

 

Whilst the posts have been a bit thin on the ground, I do have plenty of material stored up to get writing about and post here and I promise I will start working on getting that stuff written up and on here soon-ish.

 

I have no excuses and I do not beg for your sympathy, but I promise more is to follow soon.

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