Monday, January 31, 2011

A Room With A View - The Basil Fawlty Way

I thought we'd start the week with a laugh.

Fawlty Towers has long been a favourite, and it's incredible that they only made 12 episodes.

Here's a clip with the wonderful Mrs Richards, who does nothing but complain...

Friday, January 28, 2011

40 Days and 40 Nights...

OK - this is the first of many posts this year about Formula 1.

If you've being reading this blog for a while, you'll know how much I enjoy watching and following the 'circus' as it travels around the world.  I mean, let's face it, if I could, then I'd happily travel with them.

From the heat of the Middle East, to the cool running in Europe (well Silverstone anyway!) Formula 1 has long held the idealistic way of life for most people.  See far flung corners of the globe, meet interesting (and not-so-interesting people) and do a job you love.

In 40 days time, the teams will be in Bahrain, for the first practice for the first race of the season.

Once again, I'll be rooting for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, and their drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Over the next few months, amongst the many other posts, there'll be plenty about the racing; in the meantime, the teams will soon be unveiling their 2011 cars - and when they do, you can see them here.

Roll on 13th March....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review - The Reversal

If you've never read a Michael Connelly book, you're missing out.  I came to him late on; it was a couple of years ago when I read my first one, "The Overlook" and ever since, I've been playing catch up.

In fact, I've listened to a number of them on audiobooks, which is a great way to absorb the story; especially on long car journeys.

Michael Connelly has a couple of protagonists, who have stories in their own right.  In "The Reversal" he brings them together, properly, for the first time.

Mickey Haller is a defence lawyer, who usually operates from the back seat of his Lincoln town car. (The film "The Lincoln Lawyer" is out later this year). 

Harry Bosch is a detective from the LAPD, with 35 years on 'the job'.  Between them, they need to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a convicted killer; released after 24 years, is indeed guilty.

This is the summary:
When Mickey Haller is invited by the Los Angeles County District Attorney to prosecute a case for him, he knows something strange is going on. Mickey's a defense lawyer, one of the best in the business, and to switch sides like this would be akin to asking a fox to guard the hen-house. But the high-profile case of Jason Jessup, a convicted child-killer who spent almost 25 years on death row before DNA evidence freed him, is an intriguing one - particularly since the DA's determination to re-charge and re-try him for the same crime seems doomed to failure. Eager for the publicity and drawn to the challenge, Mickey takes the case, with Detective Harry Bosch on board as his lead investigator. But as a new trial date is set, it starts to look like he's been set up, with the renewed prosecution merely a tactic to prevent Jessup from successfully suing the state and county for millions of dollars. To avoid humiliation, Mickey and Harry are going to have to dig deep into the past and find the truth about Melissa Landy and what really happened to her all those years ago.
It's a cracking read, well-paced, descriptive, with an explosive ending.

Finally, here's the trailer to the afore-mentioned "The Lincoln Lawyer"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pokerface

No; this isn't a post about Lady Ga Ga!!

Poker - a family of card games that share betting rules and usually (but not always) hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown (in some games, the pot is split between the high and low hands), limits on bets and how many rounds of betting are allowed. (Wikipedia)


I have recently taken up the game, playing online, on my iPad and in a pub league.  No, I don't play for big money; I play for fun.


Actually, it's quite cathartic.  It's a game where you, quite literally, make the decisions yourself, play on your own and, whilst there is an element of luck (depending on the hands you are dealt) there is also an element of skill.


I'm not writing in depth about the game - there's too much to explain in a short blog.


The version I play is Texas Hold'em.  You are dealt two cards face down, and then, through the course of the hand, up to five other cards are dealt to the table.  Percentages and experience help you decide if the initial cards are worth betting on.


I can understand why people get so passionate about the game.  The straight faces, the pysch-ing out of each other, with banter around the table.  The exciting feeling of winning a hand; especially when you've bluffed your way to the pot!!


It's a rush - or should that be; flush!





Tuesday, January 25, 2011

AFC Bournemouth - Brighton Rocks

Last weekend saw The Cherries knocking at the top spot in League One.

A 62nd minute goal by Liam Feeney took Bournemouth to 2nd place in the league, and boy, they deserved it.  This was the first home game for caretaker-manager Lee Bradbury, and a sell-out crowd turned out to see the victory.

Now just three points behind Brighton (although they have 2 games in hand!) it will be very exciting to see them in action, and whether they can consolidate their win.

The next game is away to 15th place Plymouth.

Everything is crossed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review - Patternlock for BlackBerry

Always on the look-out for useful applications for my phone, I came across this lovely little utility.

PatternLock offers a great way to lock / unlock your touchscreen BlackBerry. 


When setting up PatternLock, you define your lock pattern. The next time you see the lock screen, you trace your finger in the pattern you drew before and the device will unlock. Any other pattern and in any other order will not unlock the device. 


PatternLock can lock individual applications, the call screen, and the whole device. This is a feature rich lock application, with options that range from notification icons, integration with weather apps, security features (such as password protecting your options), and lots of customization options.


I had tried BerrySlider, but found that it drained the battery quite quickly.  I've been pleasantly surprised by how well PatternLock works, and with the configurable options, it's easy to use.


There are two versions available.  The Lite version is free, and offers only the basic pattern set.  The full version allows you to change the background, colours of the pattern, which applications to lock and much more.
It's also possible to set a maximum number of attempts, before the phone locks - this isn't as bad as it sounds, you just set how long to wait until you can try again.  I've not used that option!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Virgin On The Ridiculous

You don't need me to remind you that the price of petrol and diesel has gone through the roof; with additional duty, followed by the increase in VAT; a couple of weeks ago.  This didn't bode well when I accepted a new contract, in Crewe.

Now back in the world of mobile phone retailing (for a large supermarket chain, where every little helps!) I travel from Manchester to Crewe on a daily basis.  Once upon a time, I used to drive almost the same journey for nearly 7 years.  The M60, the M62 and the M6.

My oh my!! The volume of traffic has increased exponentially over the interim years, and the journey has become nightmarish.  You may already have seen comments to that effect, on Facebook!

So, I decided to try the train.  This is as simple as a tram from my local station, to Piccadilly; then a lovely Virgin train, to Crewe; followed by a not-too-bad perambulate for the final 10 minutes.

The overall journey time is no quicker; but it means I don't get all stressed about sitting in traffic; I can read a book, or even doze for a few minutes!

With the price of fuel ever rising; it's also cheaper than driving; especially as there's no wear and tear on the car (or me!)  The walk is also proving to be quite beneficial; from a health perspective

As they say - everyone's a winner!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

AFC Bournemouth - The Year To Date

The Cherries have got off to a pretty good start, since the new year.

They won their home matches against Brentford and Plymouth (in both matches, scoring three times).
Their latest match, away to Colchester, started well, but the home side managed to contain and finally overcome the visitors, and they lost 2-1.

This places them fourth in the league, behind Southampton, Huddersfield and Brighton.

Their next game is away to Rochdale, on Tuesday, followed by hosting the league leaders, Brighton, next Saturday.

However, Eddie Howe, the man credited with building the team; along with his assistant, Jason Tindall, has decided to move on, after he was wooed by Burnley.  Last Fridays game at Colchester was his last in charge.

In the interim, Lee Bradbury has been appointed caretaker manager, with Steve Fletcher, the club captain, as his assistant.  The overall response by the fans has been positive, and I only hope they manage to maintain their form, and continue to challenge for promotion to the Championship.

Eddie Howe did a fantastic job; it would be a shame if changes were made, just for the sake of it.  If it ain't broke; don't fix it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Welcome to 2011

So - how was it for you?

The excesses of the last couple of weeks have taken their toll, and now it's time to go back to work.  However, those excesses also relate to the extra duty on fuel, the additional VAT and snow!!!

I've been reading about the social 'jet-lag' that may affect some, as the lie-ins and late nights catch-up, and sluggishness sets in, until our body-clocks are back to normal.  Has that happened to you?

We've also had an inordinate amount of snow and ice, so imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to another 'white' view.  How exciting it can be when it first happens and how boring it gets after a while.
On Christmas Day, we drove down through the country, to Bristol - it was white the whole way.  It looked beautiful and picturesque; and it was very cold (-13!) at points.  Soon though, the novelty wore off, and all we want is normality to return.

Looks like we'll have to wait a little longer.

This New Year, don't get caught in the 'resolutions' business.  You only get out of life, what you put in.
Make the most of it - and if you don't like something, change it.

Happy New Year

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