The theme for Nej's Birthday this year was Wrestling, I've never been a big fan but didn't want to turn down the opportunity to dress as a Sumo.
( Much love to Serena for the picture - I didn't want to smile, wasn't sure if Sumo's actually smile).
As you can see the realism of this costume is simply amazing, if you hadn't noticed everything below my head is fake. The suit is fan powered and is constantly filling up the inside with air (think how a bouncy castle works).
Walking around Shrewsbury town was an interesting experience and if you suffer from low confidence or self esteem then I would highly recommend drinking plenty first. I spent the night sober after drinking far too much on Friday night in Liverpool.
It was interesting all the attention the costume got, most people found the it funny and we turned heads in a number of restaurants we walked past, I guess this is how Tom Cruise must feel.
Here my costume is fully inflated. Much love to Nick for being my tag team partner. I was expecting more trouble from the costumer however even in a club most people just laughed.
The costumers came as a pair off Ebay for about
Last weekend Laura and myself booked a holiday to Hong Kong for 12 days going the 1st of October. I wanted to do something different this time rather than just spending a week on a beach or round a pool. I wanted to see some culture and visit a place completely different.
Hong Kong seemed an ideal place to book and I'm really excited! If anyone has been there before or lives there and can suggest any really good places to visit then please let me know.
Knowing what to wear for a fancy dress party is always a pain, I normally try to keep to something topical. With the recent Transformers film out it was the perfect opportunity to come as Optimus Prime!
I recently came across this video which gave me the initial concept for my Transformer. The idea is that I could be both the robot and the truck of Optimus Prime.
Here is a video of how the costume worked.It's basically made from one cardboard box split open apart from one hinge. I've then attached it to my back with a belt and added two other boxes to support it on my shoulders - this way its high enough above my head to close and the weight is evenly distributed.
I've then attached another bit of card to the shoulder boxes so that I can freely move up and down (if I had strapped it to my chest I wouldn't be able to bend and you would be able to see my feet.) The slots in the bottom of the card are so I can move my legs while crouching.
It looked the following while crouching:
Half way up:
And standing up:
Benjie had come as a giant Tetris piece - it made a handy drinks holder.
Here is a better picture of the side of the truck.
Who would ever have thought this was not a real truck...
Group photo - hint: I'm in the middle.
The giant wings proved difficult for getting through doors.
A full set of pictures of the evening can be found on my Flickr account.
Much love to Beanie and Nej for hosting the party.
I've been using Safari since I got a Mac, it's a nice browser and looks great within OS X. At work and on my laptop I use Firefox and now I've decided to ditch Safari for Firefox. The following reasons finally pulled me towards Firefox:
- Extensions - At work I love the Web development extensions, they make debugging so much easier and me so much more productive. On my laptop I love Stumble Upon, being able to sit there and just click one button to find an interesting web page is so effortless. Between work and home I have Google Browser Sync, this handy extension keeps all of my bookmarks, preferences and tabs synced.
- Speed - While Safari renders web pages very quickly there are some pages it struggles with. I'm not sure if anyone else has this problem but when browsing Digg.com the browser becomes unresponsive for 20-30 seconds while it loads a page (the more comments on a page the worse it is). Firefox doesn't have this problem and just loads the page as it would any other.
- Search - This has been fixed in the Safari 3 beta but it bugs me how the search opens a small box rather than being integrated into the browser. This means when I search I have to click on the box to give it focus.
It's been just over a week now since all of England's pubs, clubs, bars, work places and shops went smoke free. You can hardly miss the millions of no smoking signs that have now gone up in our high streets and vehicles but how has the smoking ban effected the way we go about our lives?
I'm a non smoker so welcomed the ban though was concerned about the social effects it may have. It's hard not to see the health benefits and I think in general the ban was welcomed.
I went out for the first time on Friday night since the ban, we started in our local Weatherspoons - The Shrewsbury Hotel as it has cheap drinks. The place was as always rammed with people there for the same reason I was, bar waiting times were no difference however I felt along with my friends the youngest in there.
Apart from us everyone inside was old, let me clarify old as in forty plus. Outside was different with its usual mix of old and young. It could just be that I hadn't noticed the old people mixed with the young before but there certainly seemed more of them.
Our next stop was Yates, this place is normally chav infested however bar waiting and fighting time was significantly reduced. The nice bar maid informed us that we had missed the busy time. Finally we ended up in our local club - Liquid, it was again pretty dead.
Of course the smoking ban might not be the only reason places were less busy:
- It was rainin so perhaps no one fancied getting wet queueing for the club then waiting for the taxi or walking home.
- People may be more interested in Big Brother this year therefore did not want to come out - though I find this one unlikely.
- Wimbledon highlights are almost as enthralling as teletext pages though might have kept people at home.
- Interest rates went up a quarter of a percent, not that many young people have mortgages and Yates hadn't yet started supplying copies of the FT.
- Reading the thousands of iPhone reviews is taking longer than expected.
It was nice not going out stinking of smoke and a drunk friend I bumped into in Liquid even mentioned how nice it was with no smoke which I thought was an interested topic of conversation considering his state and the fact I hadn't seen him in months.
The taxi driver on the way home said that the weekend before when people could still smoke was equally as dead so it looks like more than just the smoking ban is having an effect of peoples drinking habits.
So has the no smoking ban effected the way we live our lives? Well for me so far no and it hasn't put my friends off going out but I think its too early to tell the fuller extent of the ban.
I've been writing this for the past three months but with the launch of the iPhone in America later today it seems a good time to finish it. It's a sad fact that I can't live without a phone, its become like an item of clothing that I wouldn't dare leave the house without. I've had a phone for almost 10 years now ever since I got my orange brick - the Bosche 509e, since then I've had a range of phones and contracts but none of them have been perfect.
When I first went to university I thought it was time to grow up and leave my PAYG phone behind, I got a nice new Sony Ericsson k700i after seeing the advert in the Cinema the day before. It was one of the first generation phones to have a camera though unless the subject was well lit, not moving and reasonably close the picture quality was poor. Compared to my previous phone it was great and until the various parts on it started to break I was happy.
My next phone was a Nokia 6230i, feature wise it wasn't a huge upgrade but after the poor build quality of the Sony Ericsson I wanted a change. Compared to the k700i the 6230i had a different way of doing things, the menu structures were different, none of the options were where you expected and the camera equally sucked.
I had to wait another year before plunging into an 18month contract with T-Mobile for a MDA Vario. The Vario was a new league for me, it was a smart phone that looked sexy and had loads of functions. It had a full keyboard that would slide out under its huge screen. It was slightly bigger than my previous phones but still sat snugly in my pocket. Aesthetically it was perfect and that was the main reason I brought it.
Unfortunately in the shop I didn't spend enough time playing with the software on the phone, it was running Windows Mobile so had a huge number of features however everything run incredibly slow. Just when doing simple operations it would lag like opening a text message would take 5-10 seconds or when dialing a phone number you had to wait after hitting every button. In the end this made the phone so frustrating to use that I got my 6230i unlocked and I have been using that ever since. The Vario just sits in my car for my Sat Nav (I brought a cheap GPS receiver).
If the iPhone is to succeed it not only needs to look great but the software has to have a lot of functionality and be responsive otherwise people will just get frustrated. The iPhone has caused some of the most hype ever over the past few months, I was reading this morning that 1.5% of all Blogs have mentioned it in some way. Lets hope that all the hype is worth it and when we get the iPhone over here in the UK it will be worth buying!
Shrewsbury Carnival is the yearly event where people stand on the backs of lorries and drive around the town centre. This years theme was the magical world of theatre. It helped bring together dance clubs, nurseries, schools, orchestras and local media.
The influence of many musicals were apparent such as Fame, Grease, The Lion King, Wizard of Oz and Snow white and the seven dwarfs. A lot of work went into decorating and preparing the floats and it was clear to see when they wee driving round town.
Here are a selection of photos taken on the day:
This local talent were performing the musical Fame.
These people weren't sure after all the rain we had been having whether it would flood again, fortunately they had sand bags. I'm sure I saw this man on Britain's got Talent this week?
It looked like the teachers had fun on this float.
This float was selling Viagra, as you can see we caught this man purchasing some.
This man made a better effort than I did to look like a robot.
These people had lost their lorry so decided to walk.
This year other attractions in the quarry included a fire engine, army trucks, inflatable dingy rescue boats and a helicopter that was later on show for everyone to watch take off.
We think this helicopter was recreating the 24 musical - the part where Jack Bauer hijacks the chopper to go kill all the terrorists and save his nephew whilst stopping world war three - all in one hour.
Photos thanks to Laura Askey.
For all the photos and high resolution copies view our set on Flickr.
Sunday evening I was in the audience of Castaway helping to support Robina on her quest to get on the show.
It was quite an interesting experience and my first appearance on TV. (My only other real fame was being on the front cover of Micromart. ) We arrived in London at about 2:30pm, the studios were in Camden town, we didn't have to be there till 6 so have time to look around the Camden Market. This was rather surreal and not like any other market I had visited.
Once at the studio we watched the bbc 1 episode of castaway so that we knew what the exposed show was going to cover. Roughly 30mins before the show started we made our way into the studio where there was a quick rehersal and the show went out live.
The 25 minute show seemed to go very quick and it wasn't long before we were back on the motorway to get home.
Here are some of the pictures of us on TV.
We were all very interested in what Richard Bacon had to say.
I wish i was as cool as Ewen Macintosh.
An over view of the entire studio.
Robina playing the little quiz.
More on ImAFish
Castaway is the BBC reality show where fourteen people were put on a remote island near New Zealand and expected to live off the land for three months.
It's now almost six weeks into their ordeal and it is us, the small but dedicated viewing public have the chance to change the future of the island and help write history. There are four lucky individuals fighting for the chance to fly out on the 23rd of April to join the castaways.
One of our most active forum members, Robina (Beanie as she likes to be known) is one of the final four and she needs your vote to get her on the island! You can find out more about her, watch her video interview and cast your vote on the BBC website.
If you were watching BBC 3 last night you will have seen Robina win the castaway quiz and you may even have seen me in the audience.
More pictures coming soon!
Update: Robina was featured in the Shropshire Star last night.
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