Tag Archives: Photos

Flying Boat Over San Francisco Bay

Boeing 314 over San Francisco

Picture of the Day: The Boeing 314 Flying Boat – Nicholas Jackson – Technology – The Atlantic.

Beautiful picture and plane. The SF-Oakland Bay Bridge is obvious, with Yerba Buena/Treasure Island right below. But is that red tower on the north shore to the left the start of the building of the Golden Gate bridge, or is it out of frame? The bridge was started in 1931 and completed in 1937, and the Boeing 314 was built in 1936. I think the former. Cool.

Either way, beautiful shot, beautiful plane, beautiful city.

JosephNils: God’s Army


JosephNils: God’s Army.

Lake of Fire? I’ve not heard of that bar. Sounds awesome.

Razorblade Kisses

This post was floating around in my drafts for ages. Then recently I’ve just got around to sorting out my photos, so the attending slide show is ready.

I’m not your regular hairy bloke. That’s not to say that I’m an ethereal blonde-eyelashed Eloi, but I definitely have trouble growing a beard. When things of that nature started  growing, I wondered for a while what would happen if I left it. Another kid at school did just that and ended up with just two bunches of bristles, on on each side of his chin, which brought to mind (just now) Wells’ description of the Martians:

In a group round the mouth were sixteen slender, almost whiplike tentacles, arranged in two bunches of eight each.

That put paid to any thoughts of seeing what my face would look like unshaven. Even any attempts to grow sideburns resulted in some sparse and gappy growths which petered out as they approached the hair proper.

Time passed.

In 2002 I got the part of Benedick in a production of Much Ado About Nothing. One of Benedick’s traits is that he is a bit rough around the edges, rougher especially than his fresh-faced friend Claudio, to whom he refers disparagingly as “my Lord Lackbeard“. Unfortunately, my friend Mike, who played Claudio, doesn’t so much have 5 o’clock shadow as 9am shadow, whereas I had trouble sprouting something visible in three days. We didn’t want to use false beards, or dodgy dabbed makeup, so we just kind of worked around it. He’s shorter than me, so I guess it worked alright. Lovely voice too.

Time passed once more.

In 2007, Cassie wanted to see what I would look like with a beard. A reasonable request, I guess. Check out the capabilities of the new catch. So, in the month before Xmas, I stopped shaving. When I travelled to LA and she saw the result, she was pleased I had tried, let’s put it that way, and on Xmas Day after most of the festivities in Orinda, I repaired to the guest bathroom to end the experiment. The purification was documented here.

As you can see, it was only a passing fancy, not worth pursuing.

My slow follicles do have advantages. I don’t need to shave every day; twice a week is sufficient. This means I can spend more time on it and make it a grooming ritual rather than a hasty necessity. I use my Dad’s old razor, a metal Simplex safety razor which takes standard blades (actual blades, not cartridges). I’ve been fascinated with this since I was a child. He didn’t use it as far as I know; I think (and hope) that it belonged to his father. I remember playing with it as a child, pretending to shave – without a blade in it of course that would be crazy ha!

I bought a pack of Derby blades from Amazon – $15 for 100 blades. Amazing value, considering each one lasts for about 4 shaves. It could be more if I sat it in mineral oil after use. I have a badger-hair brush from the tobacco shop on Victoria Street. For soap, I go between a quickly rubbed-in cream when I’m in a hurry, or this wonderful West Indian Lime soap from Trufitt and Hill. It smells amazing, has this iridescent texture, and the current jar has lasted well over a year so far.

I’m not the most image-obsessed man around, but I do like these small efforts. And it seems so much more elegant than a plastic hunk of markup sold by CGI and yelling – although I probably wouldn’t think that if I had to shave everyday. Doing things the old way is fun when you’re not forced into it. Like making soap. Or cooking.

On-brand Seasonal Message

Happy Holidays to everyone!

I wish you all the best wishes of the season, and a happy, safe, fun and prosperous New Year! See you all in 2009, I hope.

Love from Matt and Cassie, and Gordon

LA Xmas Lights

This photo was taken by Cassie, who would otherwise be in it. It was taken while walking along the Los Angeles Department Of Water And Power Annual Holiday Light Display And Bake Sale, which was a nice brisk walk through a cold Griffith Park, checking out all the imaginative displays, eating churros and drinking hot chocolate.

San Diego Comic Con 2008 – Photos

About time too. Still need to get round to writing about it, but here are the photos.

Geek Bonfire Burny Burny Fun Time

Went to a San Diego Geek Bonfire last night, organised by Mitch Wagner of Information Week, and Gina Trapani, editor of Lifehacker (which I comment on sometimes). We met at one of the concrete fire pits provided by the city in this lovely little cove. When I arrived, there were already a bunch of people there, and there were a couple of families with children playing in the water.

I stuck on a ‘Hello my name is…’ badge and dived in to talking to people. I met several nice friendly geeks, many of whom were told about the High Speed Rail link I’m working on – some were even interested. (joke) Vote yes on Prop 1a!

Among the new people I met and swapped geek info (Twitter usernames, moo cards etc) were the above mentioned Mitch and Gina, A Kovacs, Lightwave Will, and many more. (I left the cards I collected at home today, soz)

Small World Update – one of my current crop of blogs I read is Bad Astronomer, which I mentioned the other day, and it turns out A is a friend of Phil Plait, and was lucky enough to be on the recent Galapagos trip. It was fascinating hearing about that, especially the sea lions.

We hung out, ate toasted marshmallows and drank soda-pop-drinks, and discussed all sorts of stuff. Short incomplete list below.

  • What is a geek?
  • Ringtones
  • Cartones (I reserve a TIE fighter sound for me)
  • Twitter on iPhone vs Palm (iPhone wins because of weird code on the site)
  • Spaced
  • Doctor Who
  • Marine Boy
  • Speed Racer
  • Battle of the Planets / Gatchaman
  • Daleks
  • The Clone Wars
  • Trains
  • Maglev from LA to SF, suspended over the 5, and why it won’t happen
  • California High Speed Rail
  • Vote YES on Prop 1a this November
  • … and many other geek topics.

One set of photos is here. After the beach got a bit too dark, despite the roaring fire, I drove to O’Connells Bar for some “Tech Karaoke”, which was pretty good fun. Despite a huge range of songs, I couldn’t decide what to sing, and ended up doing My Life by Billy Joel again. I left before I was due to do Veronica by Elvis Costello, which is probably a good thing.

More geek fun please!

Album Filler

The is a bit old now, but fun. It was seen on Capt Renault’s blog, and elsewhere. Make up a band name and album title, and then create the cover!

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
    The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
  2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
    The last five words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
  3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
    The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
  4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post it on your blog.

Here we go.

  1. Golden Orb – cool, if a little hippy-ish. Maybe a bit Boards of Canada?
  2. Core Beliefs Of Their Audience – Nice. Definitely Boards of Canada.
  3. Interesting – but sod you for blocking people from using it. Ha! PrintScreen!
  4. Tada!

My first album cover by my band? Brought to you by the amazing online photo editor Picnik, which lets you edit photos directly from Flickr and elsewhere, then save or post them anywhere.

Just for laughs, here’s my second attempt.

  1. Dorothy de Rothschild – I can see where this is going. A singer-songwriter?
  2. Walking is man’s best medicine – uh-oh, she goes barefoot. I hate her.
  3. Singing in the rain – OK, goes with the style.
  4. Not this time.

And just one more for luck.

  1. Olimpiysky National Sports Complex – British Sea Power? Or more Post-rock?
  2. The same mistakes, only sooner – cool!
  3. Splat! – that doesn’t really go, does it?
  4. Maybe later.

I can see this being useful though. Hmm.

It Was Full Of Comics And Toys

Comic Con - Thursday evening Now that I seem to live in San Diego (don’t quite know what happened there) it only seemed fair to go to the famous Comic Con at San Diego Convention Centre. Brian’s friend got us free weekend passes, which was very kind, and he is staying in my guest room for the weekend. Sadly I had to work yesterday, but I scurried down the road (the Con is about 6 blocks away) after work, and met him after his full day of seeing the sights.

The place looked just as crazy as the news reports show, with swarms of people laden down with poster tubes, bags, badges and all the paraphenalia you would expect. By the time I arrived, it was winding down for the day, but there were still many people dressed up to the nines in appropriate (and some inappropriate) costumes.

We had a quick look round, and I took some photos of a couple of things that caught my eye. B knows so much more about this stuff than I do, so I’m happy to let him guide me around. I was taken with the film props for sale at $20,000 and up. Yes please!

Food was required at this point, so after braving the swarms from the Con overwhelming the Gaslamp Quarter, we drive up to Lefty’s Chicago Pizza in North Park, which is so word-of-mouth it doesn’t even appear in my Garmin! We enjoyed a couple of slices of delicious sloppy cheezy goodness, with fresh tomatoes and basil, then swung by one of B’s old haunts, the Zombie Lounge, which he was sad to see had been changed into The Radio Room by new owners. The old electric sign remains though, as does his old friend who is a barmaid, so if she’s there next time I go, it may be worth dropping a name.

Later in the evening, we got the call to drive out to Winston’s over in Ocean Beach, where klown-fi micro-circus crazy band Gooferman were playing, supported by Dr Madd Vibe, AKA Angelo Moore from Fishbone. The Doctor was playing when we got there around 12am, and he has an amazing voice, some keen moves, all over a laptop playing grooves and chunky instrumental backing. Then the klowns stepped up and did more of the laptop rock thing, with added guitar and deep bass, and a melody line played on a rubber chicken. All this with whiteface and leaping about.

Then home with the seabreeze blowing in the Volvo, and a possum crossed the road. B says they’re vicious.

1966 Seaman’s Strike – Photos of Stranded Ships

I found these photos in my Dad’s stuff. In May 1966, a strike by seamen caused several cruise liners and other large ships to be stranded in Southampton Docks. My family were on holiday down there at the time, and they went on a boat trip around the docks. My Dad took these photos (click for larger versions, or here for the full set in Flickr). Amongst the ships are the SS Canberra and the Queen Mary.

Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike
Southampton, 1966 Seaman's Strike

Photos Of Miracles

My lodger/roomie, Yusuf is a photographer by – not by trade, not yet. By what then, paying hobby? He takes pictures which go up on walls and in magazines and people pay for them and have them framed and hang them in their homes. Nice pictures too. I don’t know much about photography, but his thing seems to be capturing juxtapositions in everyday scenes, usually on the Tube. The compositions are quick snaps, the sort of thing you often see in and around a big city with large adverts and masses f people. He’s got a knack for grabbing interesting combinations. His site has all his work and info about shows and buying prints. He’s had a couple of displays in galleries and the like, most recently at Flaxon Ptootch, a salon/bar/gallery in Kentish Town. Run by the flamboyant and welcoming Michael Flaxon, it seems to be a social focal point in the area. All the hair-cutting stuff was covered up for the evening, and a pair of decks stood ready. There was a good turnout of people (including my friend jkneale) to look at the photos, and also to hear a new band perform. My ex, now friend, Mairi, had formed a band, and this was their first gig. The band, Of Miracles, was playing covers this time, but they are working on original stuff.

They describe themselves on MySpace as indie/alternative - I see them as a shoegazey kind of thing, with guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, Mairi performing these two last. Delicate vocals, nice synth lines, and Roman tends towards the harder edge of the guitar, with his multiple effects pedals. Nice combination. Sorry, juxtaposition.

I’d already seen Of Miracles at their first invitation-only rehearsal, which took place in basement flat in a sports-car filled street in Chalk Farm. The set at the gig above was reordered from the rehearsal, but contained the same set of good covers. I don’t remember the full set, or the order, but it contained the following:

  • British Sea Power
  • Echo and the Bunnymen
  • The Manic Street Preachers (always a favourite of hers)
  • Tainted Love, done in a rollicking rock version.
  • The Jesus And Mary Chain
  • and many more

It was a great first gig, and I look forward to their next. I hear they’re writing
original stuff, with a new drummer. Good luck!