Saturday, April 29, 2006

Try The Chips...

Has to be said. When I was teacher training I'm very glad I was never placed in this school.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Throughout the 90s I lived in a literary black hole. Oh I read, I read lots, but it was all Star Trek. I lapped up as many Trek novels as possible and thoroughly enjoyed them but by 2000 and my first year of Uni I began to grow tired of the written adventures of the various Enterpri.

I ventured into the world of James Bond and soon worked my way through the entire collection. A flatmate introduced me to Harry Potter - I scoffed at first shunning it a child’s book but soon became enchanted by the wizard world.

Even so I still felt I wasn’t challenging myself. I wanted to try new styles of writing and different novels. It’s taken a while but through discovering the SFX Forum, and their book discussion threads I’ve now been reading some excellent novels.

This year I’ve read the two new James Bond Junior novels, Terror Firma and Before and After by Matthew Thomas. Dan Brown’s Deception Point - far more enjoyable than the much hyped Da Vinci Code. I’ve also read I Am Legend, Freakonmics, The Yes Man by Danny Wallace and Louis Theroux’s Call Of The Wild.
While these are not the most challenging books in the world I’m glad that I have got out of the rut I was in. That’s not to say I don’t still read Trek - I especially love the William Shatner series but its nice to see what else is out there.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Och Aye....

So hopefully you followed my recommendation and took a visit to the marvels of Leamington Spa Lifeboat Museum? If you enjoyed that then I can certainly recommend a visit to one of Scotland's hidden treasures.

Torchwood House is one of Scotland's most interesting properties, with some sections dating back to the fifteenth century. The House was extensively rebuilt in the late 1600s, with further work then completed in the early nineteenth century.
Although it was a house built to impress, much of it fell into disrepair during the time of Sir George MacLeish in the 1800s. An eccentric man, Sir George was fascinated by both the sciences and local folklore. He was good friends with the Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert. Many a servant was kept awake waiting on Sir George and the Prince as they whiled away nights discussing the mysteries of the heavens!

Torchwood House even caters for weddings and lends it's name to a group set up by Queen Victoria to investigate the paranormal.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fresh Air

Fresh Air
Fresh Air,
originally uploaded by smeg_head.
It's weird that now photos have become digital more accessible we seem to do less with them. They no longer are lovingly filed in a photo album - instead they get tucked away on your hard drive or photo CD.

Following my joining Flickr I've been looking through some of my old snaps. I came across this one I took at Eden last August. I make no claims of being a 'photographer' but I remember being really chuffed with the results of this photo. Even more chuffed that someone's made it a favourite on flickr.

Eden is one of my favourite places on Earth. I love the stunning simplicity of the biomes and how it betrays the complexity of their construction. The way they fuse with nature to create such a beautiful corner of Cornwall.

If you've never been please go. You wont regret it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Losing Lost

After Doctor Who it was possibly the biggest TV event of 2005. Lost. I did once post raving about it during the first few weeks but then I moved house. Things got busy and stayed busy and I stopped watching it. I heard tales f how good it was, what I was missing but every time I tried getting back into it I just saw a very slow pondering show with too many flashbacks.

Instead I buried myself into Doctor Who, the excellent Life On Mars and the truly stunning new Battlestar Galactica.

These shows do highlight a shift in programme making. Gone are the days when you could watch TV shows in any order. Static characters and story of the week used to be the feature of all TV shows now ‘the arc’ is the buzz phrase. There is of course a problem. Now to watch a TV show you have to commit to it. You can no longer miss an episode for fear of being left behind. Producers tease you with plots, occasionally having the kindness to wrap some up but usually leading to more questions being asked.

There is a problem. The more you commit to and enjoy a show the higher your expectation. This means that ultimately when the TV show becomes unprofitable and the decision is made to axe the resolution will always be disappointing. Look at Babylon Five. The final season an utter mess. The X Files collapsed under the weight of it’s own mythology and became unwatchable. There’s also Star Trek Voyager. After seven years of journeying home they arrive at Earth and the show just ends – no emotional pay off whatsoever. Crap.

I’m just concerned that these shows I’m really into at the moment will end with a bitter taste of disappointment. The same goes for Book 7 of Harry Potter. I’ve invested 10 years of my life into Harry Potter – I want a damn good finale but I know nothing will live up to all the fan gossip and speculation.
After 9 months of business my life is easing up again. I have a bit more spare time and I’m finally getting into Lost thanks to a few DVD loans. I just wonder why I’m doing it. I know the shark will be jumped and the ending will be crap. Still I guess the journey is what counts.

Want more Lost?: Answers Questions

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Today’s Blog is not written by Smeg. Instead he's handing it over to the Daily World Tabloid Editorial.

“Shock! Horror! Prince Harry in busty lap dance scandal.

Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, was caught red handed last night as he celebrated in topless nightclub with army pals.

“He was loving it.” Said one fellow punter.

The royal prince paid for a full lap dance and was grinning like a Cheshire cat when the Russian beauty gave him the works.

We think it’s a poor example set by the Royal. In a weeks time he’ll be performing at his passing out parade in front of his gran.

Perhaps he should think more carefully before he visits a club again. The royals shouldn’t been seen treating girls like sex objects.”

Meanwhile turn to page 3 for 18-year-old Lusty Linda’s view on the bird flu crisis. “Giggle, as long as my two pet tits don’t get it I’m not bovvered.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Blue Peter Appeal

So Am I now the proud owner of a BP badge? Obviously you can’t wait to find out. What did the letter from Blue Peter say? Did they laugh at my anecdote? Did they thank me for reassuring them that the children of the new millennium still watch their fine programme. Did they promise me they’d look into running a feature on blogging?

Ladies and gentlemen my letter from Blue Peter in full:

Dear Smeg,
Thank you for your e-mail which we enjoyed reading.
Best wishes

Um. That’s it. Just 13 words, 62 letters. That’s not even the alphabet three times. Well Blue Peter, sod you. Didn’t want a crappy plastic badge in the first place oh and you know what? Tracy Island was a big pile of shit all along.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The '201st Post' Blue Peter Spectacular.

It all began back in December. My quest to win a Blue Peter badge. This week that quest was fired once more with news about the BBC's annoyance at the ebay Blue Peter auctions. I finally wrote to Blue Peter. This was my letter:

Sorry to hear about your problems with Blue Peter Badges on Ebay. I must admit
I’m mildly amused by the story as literally a few weeks ago I was wondering
about Blue Peter Badges and how it was my biggest disappointment as a child. I
always wanted one but failed to come up with a spark of imagination to write
into the show – despite watching it religiously through the golden years of Mark
Curry, Yvette Fielding and the sadly missed Karen Keating.

As an
ex-primary school teacher you’ll be pleased to know children are still watching
the show as avidly as back in my day despite the modern day distractions of the
internet, iPods and Playstations. The class used to laugh when I spoke of my
attempts at building Tracy Island, which then spent about four years on top of
the wardrobe half finished.

A while back I discovered one of my
friends once won a Blue Peter badge. He even started wearing it to rub in
knowing that I failed to win a one. (It’s dumb isn’t it – two grown men teasing
each other about Blue Peter badges.)

So I logged on to ebay to have
a look. At £70+ I was instantly priced out of my ‘dreams’. You have to
understand I wasn’t going to bid online to get into attractions free – it was
just for the pure prestige of owning a Blue Peter badge!

Oh well.
Perhaps I’m too old to ever win one but just thought you might find the tale
amusing. Oh and here’s an idea for the show. Don’t know if you’ve covered it but
what about a look at ‘Blogging’ and Internet Journals. It’s fascinating to read
Blogs from around the world and of course write your own. You could tie this in
with an item about internet safety etc.
Good luck with the badges, it
would be a shame for a British institution to be stalled by a few online

Today I received a reply from the Blue Peter offices. But I have I won a badge? Could my dreams have been answered? What did BP have to say about by letter?

You'll find out tomorrow.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Leamington Spa's Gorgeous Coast

With the sun shining yesterday morning I decided it was too good to waste. So I decided to head to Leamington Spa. I’d been that way roughly a year ago when Miss Smeg & I took a trip to Warwick Castle. The town, of course, is gorgeous but that’s not what I was there for. No I decided to visit the world famous Leamington Spa Lifeboat Museum. For centuries heroic men and women have braved Leamington’s treacherous coastline saving souls in distress. (Over 12 in fact!)

It’s a great museum. There’s a musty exhibition of treasures found from wrecked ships – if it’s gold coins you want then the lifeboat museum has plenty!

But the history of the Lifeboat Station is as dramatic as the tales of people rescued there. It is, of course, long gone – destroyed in WW2 Nazi bombing raid which even tragically killed the lifeboat crew.

Then there’s the strange tale from 1930 when the lifeboat crew made the headlines when three of them were killed by what was believed to have been a bad wolf!

Next year the Lifeboat Museum is having a special exhibition on Old Rope. I’d recommend you check out the their website – explore it thoroughly. You’d be a fool not to…