Open Evening Fun “7”

At this very moment I am sitting in an empty sixth form building at our school, wondering why I am wasting my time like this. Why, exactly, am I?

Well, tonight I have volunteered (rather graciously, I think) to help out with the schools open evening. It's an event where all the parents of the children coming to the school next September will be coming along and checking out the buildings.

It will be my job, or so I have been lead to believe, to guide the parents and children through the school to the different faculties. I also get free sandwiches.

But it means wasting about three hours of my life moping around in this building, because it would be logistically incorrect to bother going home (a 20-minute journey) to just have a bit of dinner, and then have to come back. Let's face it: that's giving me a chance to be late. And as the law of Fintan goes; if you can be late you probably will be.

Oh well. I think I might just go off and do an impression of that Fat Boy Slim music video where the security guard runs around the shopping centre.

British TV: The Bottom Line “18”

This started out as a question from Kevin, and I have decided to make a post out of it because the answer is pretty large.

In the UK we receive 5 channels on terrestrial (through an aerial). Those are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

In the UK we pay a TV licence of about £80 a year for each property. SOME of this funds the BBC. The BBC can't advertise so they have to make do with this cash. They are as impartial as possible and definitely not government controlled.

ITV, Channel 4 and C5 are independent establishments, and separate companies. Channel 4 is my favourite, because they consistently push the envelope on what can and can't be broadcast. ITV is for old people, mostly. And I can't get C5 because it's a terrible channel that no one likes (except those from the BNP [a racist, sexist and homophobic party who have a shitty website {read it to see for yourself} and many despise]). They are always showing either documentaries about the Nazis or Porn.

Channel 4 is cool because it has all the 'HBO' shows and makes loads of really funny stuff - like So Graham Norton (who has defected to BBC3 [or Comedy Central the US]), Ali G (bizarrely showing on HBO) and, now, Green Wing. Plus it shows Nip Tuck (brill!), the West Wing (brill!) and Six Feet Under (brill!), which is nice.

Recent controversial programmes from C4 include an abortion and a live post-mortem. I watched them both and thought they were interesting.

There are loads more channels available on digital satellite - run by Sky - but it costs a lot. Digital terrestrial is free, and gets you 6 extra BBC channels (that are also available on Sky), plus others. DS is where you can also see the… erm… brilliant Fox News, which makes me laugh almost every time I watch it (when there aren't any ads on, which is rare).

For people in the US, BBC World is available. It does pretty decent news coverage, and is like what we get over here in the form of BBC News 24 (a digital channel). I'd suggest it hands down over CNN, Fox, CBS and ABC - all of which I have seen and thought them to be a little too political. ABC is my favourite out of those, and I sometimes watch it on weekdays on BBC News 24 at about 1.30 in the morning. CBS is aired at 0.30 on Sky News. Peter Jennings seems quite a nice guy, and Dan Rather looks like he wares a wig. We get the evening news and world news tonight editions. ABC WNT has a really catchy theme tune, too!

Cable is a dying beast - about 30 channels max are available and it costs quite a bit.

The most important thing for you to know is that no British TV is, to my knowledge, government controlled. This isn't Russia! Yet again, from what I've read, the US govt. seems to have a pretty tight grip on the media over there.

Now that was quite a lot of text, but I just have to say that I put the links in quickly to demonstrate points and give meaning to my words. The last one was just a quick link that I have never before seen, so don't take it too seriously.

Disneyland Paris! “5”

Whoop! Did I forget to tell you? As part of our media studies course we get to go to Disneyland Paris!

Why? For a conference on the Disney brand. I honestly think I'll be the only one interested in the whole thing - everyone else will be in the park.

Owch. “9”

Today I managed to take the dog out for a walk and cut myself on some barbed wire while trying to jump over a fence.

You may be thinking: "Doesn't he mean 'Today I took the dog out for a walk and managed to cut myself on some barbed wire'," but I assure you I don't.

I'm lazy.

Anyway, I had to was my thumb in Detol and then in Carex and then not let it touch anything for about one hour. Over-cautious? Naahhh...

The Independent Does Design “6”

I was rather happy to open up my copy of The Information (a supplement of The Independent) to find it devoted to design. What an interesting read! Everyone should go out and buy it; it's even inspired me to draw a bit... which isn't too good.

The Best Game Ever “8”

I've found the best flash game ever. Check it out!

Looks Like A Discus Thrower “13”

A Darkened Tree “11”

EMA & Its Uses “10”

I bought some seriously interesting books with my well-earned EMA the other day. They were delivered today, fresh from Amazon.

Designing for Newspaper and Magazines isn't what I expected, but is good none the less. I was expecting it to be produced in the same fashion as the others, with lots of pictures and guides to help you along and give you demonstration of what is possible.

Instead you get a bit more theory, but it is (or appears to be, since I haven't read it yet) very useful theory, and should come in handy when deconstructing printed media for Media Studies (dropping in some professional terms is always a plus in essays).

Logo Designs That Work is an amazingly interesting book that just had my jaw dropping the second I opened it up. It is, as a graphic designer, exactly what I want to see.

Inspirational and revealing, it gives some insight into the development of the logo, but doesn't really deliver on its "secrets of successful logo design" slogan. It's really good, though, and is simply a pleasure to own. It makes you feel all designery (yet another word I have made up to express something rather... erm... original).

Production for Graphic Designers is a massive book. I delivers the goods for the price, and is basically a manual of pre-press and press happenings. It even includes a look at the history of the press, and a look at typefaces and their values when it comes to print design.

There are plenty of pretty pictures to look at while you revel in its orange glow and thick paper weight. It can also be used as inspiration for print design itself, being layed out beautifully.

Six Feet Under “10”

Last week on Channel 4 Six Feet Under completely rocked. And that's no overstatement.

For those of you in the USA who are graced by HBO (it's free for us - hee hee hee!), it was the one where David was carjacked and... well... um... generally abused. It was amazing. The quality was pro-cinematic, and I truly hope it wins some kind of award.

This weeks' episode airs tonight on Channel 4 at 23.00 - in exactly half an hour. I urge all UK residents to close there electronic boxes and tune in. It is bound to be good.

Change Is Coming “17”

I am rather tired of using someone else's template for this blog, so I have decided to go flat out and make a really nice alternative template.

It will be appearing on my other website, which will also be part of the redesign. The hope is that I will be able to have a photo archive and keep all my other content together on the same site.

I have done all of the designing and constructing today, and am doing some of the final bits now.

I hope it all goes well!

Helping Out “4”

At our nice little school, the 6th form students are forced expected to do the school a service or two.

It's all based in the ingenious logic of the school's administrators, who have cleverly worked out that if we do something to help our fellow students out, not only will they improve, but we will be able to write something impressive out on our UCAS university application forms.

This usually consists of helping out underachieving (or, indeed, overachieving) students to improve in maths, science, etc. But I have decided that my time is a tad too valuable to be wasting on teaching a 12-year-old how to find x in a quadratic equation.

I have decided to pass down my gritty knowledge of the internet and design to a group of kids in years 9 and 10 (who are going to be about 13 to 14 years old). It'll be done in the form of a few after-school sessions, and hopefully they'll be working towards producing a few (well designed!) web pages each.

I don't know about you, but I think that sounds a little bit more interesting than just doing quadratic equations (despite their importance). On top of that, it might just catch Oxford or Cambridge's eye when it comes to the university crunch.

I love Google definitions.

A Swarm of Cows “3”

Unusual Omen “3”

Uniform Countryside “3”

Stonehenge. Oh, the Exitement. “5”

I won’t say too much about this picture. I took it on Sunday as we passed the spectacle of British heritage.

That’s exactly what it was, because British Heritage, the charitable organisation, have decided to fence it off and charge you about £2 to get within 20 metres of it, to my disgust.

Hence, the far-away shot. I was hoping for a really amazing angle on it. But my distance stopped that. I’m thinking of buying a telephoto lens for the camera. It should make this kind of thing much better.

Too. Much. Work. “2”

Well, not really.

But it does take up an awful amount of my time. The homework seems to be more time-consuming than challenging. But it does leave me with little time to work on my blog. Sadly.

Never mind. I'll stick some photos up soon.

The Award Thing “6”

Hey! I found this out ages ago but I may as well say it. I got an award for getting more than 5 A's at GCSE level from my school. (Erm... whoopeee.)

What is my highly-anticipated prize, I hear you cry? A car? No. A free fountain pen to the value of £50? No. A book token? Yes!

Well done! In just three guesses, you have managed to pin down what I will have to sit through a two-and-a-half hour ceremony to get.

And then afterwards there is the sixth form party, which I am looking forward to. I wonder if I will even get served? Hmm... seems like I'll have to put on my stern 20-year-old student face again.

Green Wing, Tonight on 4 “3”

The second installment of the... Interesting comedy "Green Wing" will be aired tonight at 9.30 on 4.

I think it's worth a watch because it is a new and well produced format for a comedy sketch show. The characters are funny and interesting, the actors are rather good, and the editing is overall well done.

I mean, when was the last time you saw a comedy show that was edited like Green Wing? Exactly.

Getting Excited! “0”

I saw this page and wondered what it was all about!

I later found out, and was unimpressed... ;)

Cut, Ready for a Harvest “8”

Sun Hits Lake: Photographers Bedazzled. “3”

Did I Ever Mention? “4”

I wonder how many people know that I did the artwork for the Sarah Payne Memorial Plaque? It's a tragic story, but I have to say that she has some fine designs commemorating her.

In Flight. Barely. “4”

I didn't even consider this picture for publishing until a few minutes ago. It's actually quite nice to see a bird (in this case a pheasant, who are grown and shot for sport around these here parts) in a kind of semi-flight. It just took off, and completely startled me.

That's why the pictures heavily blurred. I have enhanced and cropped the image of added artisic effect, which I think makes it an overall decent snap.

These birds are horrendously hard to photograph. Believe me, I have tried.

Look Sideways “1”

This isn't any kind of a traditional angle, but the result (after a little cleaning up) is an unusual and kind-of-interesting perspective. You all must be sick of this dog by now. But I have to say that he's quite interesting to photo, and does some really funny facial expressions sometimes.

Bikers! “5”

There was a bit of a bikers' rally held in (or near) my village today, and loads (LOADS) of bikers went past my house in all sorts of bikes. Which meant that it was great practise for me to take action shots of moving vehicles!

High Up “0”

Not Another One! “4”

*sigh* I suppose I'm just so e-popular! :D

Dusty Morning “4”

There's history to this one. Basically I woke up at about 5.00am one morning to let Buster out, and looking out of my window I saw this amazing sight - the entire valley (and lake) covered in fog.

Sadly, my camera isn't that good at taking pictures with low light levels, so this was my best of about 7 attempts. It has been cleaned up as much as possible, and hopefully with give you a little insight into the breathtaking view.

This one is dedicated to Alison.

Free GMail Invites! “3”

I have 6 GMail invites up for grabs at the moment! If you want one, all I ask you do is stick the following link on your blog/website!

Buster Tests GCSE Revision

Once I see it on your site (in the form of a post or whatever) I'll send you the invite right away! Just leave a comment to this post so I know you have stuck up a link. First 6 get the invites.

The First Day of Sixth Form “0”

There isn't too much of interest that I can tell you about today's proceedings, other than it was a mixture of profound dreariness and unexpected elation.

De basically had to do some admin stuff, and work out our timetable from an extremely large table of classes. That took quite a while, but once it was over we were free to return home.

Tomorrow I have one-hour lessons in physics, media studies, chemistry and, if I have worked out my timetable incorrectly, statistical maths. It should be an interesting day.

My, that's a Strong Breeze! “1”

That Mountain of Work “2”

I have loads of unwelcome chemistry and mathematics work to do before I go back to school tomorrow.

It's simply dull, and sometimes frustrating. On top of that, I have to revise the entire GCSE Physics syllabus in about a day to prepare for three tests I'll be forced to take when I go back.

On the other hand, (the hand of the consumer, that is) I spent £30 on stationery supplies. It wasn't much of a shock, though. I was going around Staples only buying the best quality stuff I could find - and 50 black Bic crystal mediums (my favourite pen of all time).

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