Sunburn protection… on the inside.

22 04 2012

Ever fallen asleep in the sun, with your mouth wide open?

No – me neither, but if it’s a risk, I have a possible solution!

My son has several Asian friends, and they’ve introduced him to a Korean drink by Paldo, made of Aloe Vera (yes – the stuff they make sun cream out of). It has a faint taste of processed grape juice – as many North American drinks do too – but is quite refreshing and has “floaty bits” just for good measure.

Paldo: Sugar free Aloe Vera drink

Obviously I don’t recommend you assuming it has any sun-oriented benefits whatsoever…

Wikipedia: Aloe Vera



22 04 2012

So someone invited me to join Google+, and I did so in a moment of weakness.

I forgot all about it (while, like a ravenous leech, it’s probably sucking every iota of personal information… and potentially dignity… from my very being) until today.

Today I came across this. I know a few iOS and Linux addicts who might find it a little offensive. For that reason alone it was worth posting. I’m like that! ūüôā

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone….

22 04 2012

OK – so forget the political angle on the original posting, and just concentrate on the human aspect in the photo. Whether it’s father/son, long lost friends, not-quite lovers, or rescued dog from the pound. Nothing says “I care – really”, like a great big hug.

A Nine Pound Hammer....or a woman like you, either one of these will do

You’ve got to show them that you care.

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I’m a Rambler……Postcard from Wales

22 04 2012

Now I live in BC, it’s easy to forget the hard-won rights of access that the UK now enjoys. Even 10 or so years ago, I remember farmers “accidentally” ploughing up paths over their fields to discourage hikers. The “use it or lose it” clause can eventually mean they can remove the path if it remains unused by the public.


It is the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass in the Peak District which led to the opening up of much of the British countryside to ramblers. Hundreds of people risked imprisonment to walk up the then publicly inaccessible peak of Kinder Scout.

The effects of this remarkable action are still with us today. Many battles have been won but there are still many to fight (see related articles at bottom of post).

A Success Story

The official opening of the All Wales Coastal Path on 5th May will mean Wales will have the first footpath in the world around a whole country’s coastline.

Here is why Lonely Planet made Wales its No 1 world destination for 2012:

‚ÄúWhat a wonderful thing: to walk the entire length of a country‚Äôs coastline, to¬† trace its every nook, cranny, cliff-face, indent and estuary. How better to¬† truly appreciate the shape ‚Äď and soul ‚Äď of a‚Ķ

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We’ll be glowing in the dark

22 04 2012

So you remember how I said the Mother Mother concert was beyond awesome? No? Then go read it here.

Well it’s not surprising that the somewhat larger budget of Coldplay lent itself to a correspondingly further step beyond awesomicity in Vancouver last night. They have so much sway that the Canucks/LA Kings playoff game was postponed to tonight just so Coldplay could take over Rogers’ Arena, cover the ice with some 8×4’s and rock the joint (I can attest to this latter part from all the heady fumes being wafted my way.) Hopefully the Canucks didn’t waste the extra day… we’re 3:1 down at the moment!

Though the concert was to support the Mylo Xyloto album, there were plenty of old favourites in the nearly two hour show. My favourite “Green Eyes” was not there to share in the mix though, sadly.

We arrived at around 7pm which was the “doors open” time, but there was already a support band in full swing. The Pierces. Meh. Wasn’t too upset we missed most of their set. A bit like a¬†karaoke¬†version of Fleetwood Mac. The sound mix was all to cock, and too distorted. On reflection maybe that was for the best. Anyway, as we entered the venue, we were all asked to take a wrist band. It seemed like a bit of a naff¬†souvenir, but what the hell…

We made our way to our seats in the arena, caught the tail end of The Pierces, and watched the main support band, City and Colour. This is basically Dallas Green (City/Colour, geddit?) from Alexisonfire, and a bunch of rotating musicians. There was a most unlikely suit and tie clad slide guitarist in last night’s lineup. Kudos! I’d not heard any of his stuff before, but it it was interesting enough to track some down, though one or two of the offerings went on a bit…

So then the lights go down and the roadies get the stage together for the main event. During this time, the screens (which were bloody distracting – I had to keep forcing myself to watch the actual band. We are so conditioned to watch screens, George Orwell‘s Big Brother would cream himself) kept showing instructions on how to wear the boring looking bracelets and assuring us they were part of the show. OK – I’m convinced.

Then firstborn sends a text. She and beau have been forcibly ejected from their seats (all the way on the other side of the arena) due to a problem with their tickets! We’d all been barcode-scanned on entry, all the tickets (6 in total – 2 eldest plus their drooling beaus, Mrs Elephant and I: well away on the other side of the show) had been bought via TicketMaster… what could be the issue?

Anyway, it turns out that a Canucks season ticket holder had bought tickets to the Coldplay concert, and he had preferential access for HIS seats. No matter that TicketMaster had already sold them to us. With only 15 minutes to go before the show kicked off for real, and a sold out stadium, this was NOT good news. Thankfully my wife was off dealing with it, otherwise there might have been expletives and RCMP involvement (actually VPD, since Vancouver is too poncy to rely on the RCMP: they need their own police force.) Being Canada though, the lady dealing with seating was all polite and helpful, and firstborn and beau were quickly re-seated with the disabled people in a much superior viewing spot. The only slight downside being that she felt unable to get up and dance when the mood took her, out of consideration of her new permanently-seated neighbours.

So, disaster averted, Mrs E. returned in good time (with a small tub of¬†H√§agen-Dazs) to resettle before the show began, and all was well with the world once more. Until she couldn’t get the lid off the ice-cream. I’m ashamed to say that with two degrees and not a little engineering background between us, the removal of the lid took several minutes. No matter – the ice-cream wasn’t too slushy by the time we¬†succeeded, and had returned the blowtorch and wire-cutters.

And then the lights went down and it began…

The wrist bands were actually strings of very bright LEDs Рpresumably triggered by some RF signal. The entire black stadium erupted into a sea of bright colours as the music began, and the fastest two hours of my life shot past. (Well, not counting those spent on Friday night over drinks).

Chris Martin is a great showman, and parodied the common airline spiel with: “We appreciate you have a choice of entertainment for your Saturday night and are grateful you chose to spend it with us.” At one point, air blowers threw out what appeared from up at the top in the cheap seats to be confetti, but looking at photos from closer in, I now see were tissue paper butterflies! (Oops – update… that was a photo from the Viva la Vida tour in 2009. This year there were a few different shapes.)

Flickr: by spacehindu

There were many visual elements to the show, with UV lighting picking out neon colours in the stage, on the instruments and the band’s casual clothing (no Sgt. Pepper-esque clothes for THIS album!) balloons of the globe were released from the ceiling and at one point large inflatable icons were produced in the galleries to add to the lights. These too included a giant butterfly.

During “God put a smile on your face”, Martin further endeared himself to the local crowd by tweaking the lyrics and assuring us we were going to beat the Kings 4:3 in the play-off series, which obviously went down a storm! There was one awkward moment when he threw his guitar into the air and let it smash down onto the stage. It made for a great slo-mo on the screens, but was very un-Canadian and a waste of an apparently perfectly good guitar!

Yellow was a great number, with the lights obviously being mainly, well, yellow…

Warning Sign had me closing my eyes to “be in the moment”, so I was glad to see someone had posted it to YouTube!

Charlie Brown was VERY colourful, with wristbands being a key part of the rendition, lasers everywhere, neon by the bucketful.

In the end, a very traditional close with a solid 20 minute plus encore beginning from within the crowd where they just suddenly appeared after a quick change into dry T-shirts, and the band eventually all lining up to take their final bow.

For more photos, go and check out Flickr!

The whole setlist is here if you missed it and want to recreate a local facsimile.

By the way, UK street artist “Paris” was key to the entire styling of this album. Read more¬†here.

Fresh 102.7: Coldplay‚Äôs Resident Graffiti Artist, Paris ‚Äď ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs The Ultimate Dream Job‚ÄĚ

Snow Patrol on 30th. Fiona Apple in July (if I can still get tickets and find someone to go with who appreciates her style).

Who says old people got no rhythm? (Don’t answer that…)

The Sexual Politics of Finger Food

21 04 2012

Food and fingers. Finger food.

Been thinking about the deep philosophical connection lately.


I get bored easily. There was nothing on telly. Aw come on – nobody’s¬†making¬†you read this. Stop moaning! OK – stop¬†whining, moaning’s actually totally OK.

Flickr: licking fingers

So regular readers will be aware of my recent trip South of the line.¬†I¬†met some new colleagues for the first time and much flavoured ethanol was imbibed whilst consuming less than healthy food. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. I consider it economic foreign aid, and I sleep guilt-free. Well – a bit.

We ate things with names like “rattlesnake balls”. Thankfully these turned out to be¬†jalape√Īo¬†flavoured finger food, and not actually anything to do with¬†herpetology. Much conviviality, and good humour with various snake-related travel tales. The deep fried balls of flavour were shared amongst us most politely with the use of forks, and made no particular impression on me at the time. (I usually like to dip¬†jalape√Īos¬†in habanero sauce just for shits and giggles – sometimes literally). Last night though, I met up with some old friends from my previous company. Folk were in town from Australia, the UK and all over the shop. I ordered nachos for the table and everyone tucked in.

At this point however,¬†I¬†noticed the communal behaviour. I consider myself a Canadian now. Blue passport and everything. However, I was brought up in the UK for several decades and as well as being fond of using words like “whilst”, “petrol” and “lift”,¬†I¬†have a personal space issue. Also table manners. Whilst (see – just can’t help it!) the communal sharing of rattlesnake testicles via fork struck me as unremarkable, I was much more alert to how people were sharing the nachos, since fingers were directly involved.

I think there are some pretty universally accepted behaviours. No “double-dipping” (which prior to moving to Canada I always thought referred to some dodgy sexual activity), which for the still uninformed is actually no more than dipping a chip (fry) or a crisp (chip) into a sauce, biting off the end, then repeating with the same item – thus theoretically sharing your spittle,¬†gonorrhoea¬†or whatever with the assembled group. The fact that the fingers themselves might be unwashed since their recent meeting with an eyebrow, dirty door handle or itchy scrotum does not however seem to cause any concern at all.

An example of a finger cot

An example of a finger cot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So we’re not exactly consistent in what is and is not acceptable group eating behaviour. As well as taking from the group plate, there’s also the possibility that someone may place items on your plate or even directly in your mouth using fingers. Usually items they don’t like and know you do. From general members of the group this is definitely verboten, but from particularly close friends, lovers or relatives this goes without notice as merely not wasting good food (for a given value of “good”), or perhaps even a sensual act. I’m not convinced even these criteria would excuse it if the doner was not of whichever sex you’re into. I look forward to reading thoughts on the matter. Being offered grapes directly to ones mouth seems particularly erotic. But enough – this was a pub, and no unfermented grapes were on offer, alas.

And then there’s the sexual aspect. There’s always been something sexy in watching a woman licking or sucking fingers. Either her own or preferably yours. I’m convinced this is the whole rationale for finger food in the first place – just to give men an excuse to put sticky sauce on food and pretty much guarantee the women in the gathering will be forced to lick their fingers.

And Esquire is always good for a comment on finger sucking too. Click the picture for the vaguely entertaining article.

Esquire: Why women suck mens fingers

She said “Wha’?”

21 04 2012

Just re-acquaniting myself with some Kate Nash music.

If you’re not familiar with her, I recommend “Birds” as a good introduction.

Kate Nash: Birds

She was waiting at the station
He was getting off the train
He didn’t have a ticket
So he had to bum through the barriers again

Well the ticket inspector saw him rushing through
He said “girl you don’t know how much I missed you but
We’d better run ’cause I haven’t got the funds to pay this fine.”
She said “fine”

Well so they ran out of the station and jumped onto a bus
With two of yesterdays travel cards and two bottles of Bud
And he said “you look well nice”

Well she was wearing a skirt
And he thought she looked nice
And yes, she didn’t really care about anything else
‘Cause she only wanted him to think that she looked nice
And he did

But he was looking at her, yeah all funny in the eye
She said “come on boy tell me what you’re thinking
Now don’t be shy.”
He said alright, “I’ll try:

“All the stars up in the sky
And the leaves in the trees
All the broken bits that make you trip up
And grassy bits in between
All the matter in the world is how much I like you.”

She said “what?”
He said “let me try and explain again

“Right, birds can fly so high
And they can shit on your head
And they can almost fly into your eye
And make you feel so scared.
But when you look at them
And you see that they’re beautiful
That’s how I feel about you

Right birds can fly so high
And they can shit on your head,
And they can almost fly into your eye
And make you feel well scared
But when you look at them
And you see that they’re beautiful
That’s how I feel about you
Yeah that’s how I feel about you.”

She said “what?”
He said “you”
She said “what are you talking about?”
He said “you”

Right birds can fly so high
And they can shit on your head
And they can almost fly into your eye
And make you feel so scared.
But when you look at them
And you see that they’re beautiful
That’s how I feel about you

Right birds can fly so high
And they can shit on your head
And they can almost fly into your eye
And make you feel well scared.
But when you look at them
And you see that they’re beautiful
That’s how I feel about you
Right, that’s how I feel about you

She said “thanks, I like you too”
He said “cool”