Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Deep Chalk

Haven't tried this one yet, just found it on JayisGames.....looks like it might be worth a try from the description! "the atmosphere is captured fantastically, augmented by the complex and shadowy visuals" and "Otherworldly music sampled from Boards of Canada permeates the black-and-white Samorostian landscapes. No guidance is offered; it is up to the player to figure out what can and what must be done." Apparently only three short levels so far, but more on the way

Play Deep Chalk

The kitchen of the future

There's a short video Czech video (1957) here to make your mouth water for the future.....I wouldn't mind one of those fridges! And watch out for the robotic serving trolley at the end

Animated knots

Don't know your Munter Mule from your Clove Hitch or your Crown Sinnet from your Monkey's Fist? Help is at hand at Animated Knots

Vintage tech support

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's that time of year again

No, surely not! Less than a month to go and the excitement is rapidly building (???) Check out the latest hot news here (eg "Who will join Rodolfo Chikilicuatre on the plane to Belgrade?", now personally, I just can't wait to find out!) Watch the videos and read the press releases, dig out the tinsel and order in a case of Lambrini.

Previous winners can be viewed at Eurovision Winners (videos slow to load.....but you know it's worth it!)

And the wikipedia entry

Personally, I don't think the UK has ever matched the heights reached by Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson with "Sing little birdie, sing" in 1959.....we were robbed, only scraped second place!

Get Schmapping

Free interactive tourist guides to more than 200 destinations worldwide available here You can use them online or download the lot to use on your desktop (big download, broadband recommended) can even create your own with the downloaded version (maybe we could do one for Haltwhistle or Whitley Bay!) to embed on a blog or webpage. Newcastle already has (a limited) one. Try Amsterdam or Berlin to see a more fully-developed guide

Mouth of the Tyne 2008

There's a website, but not a lot of detail yet. Despite that, tickets have already been booked for the Saturday night concert at Tynemouth Priory, any family members wishing to join the party on the grass call John or Mo for more details. Anyone else....this has always proved to be a good night out, weather permitting of course!

Responsive face

Strangely satisfying. Responsive Face at New York University Media Rsearch Lab. Click the buttons to alter the expression

Cello Challenge

Take the Cello Challenge, kindly provided by the Berliner Philharmoniker.....with scant regard for anyone with musical sensibilities sharing a living space with someone with none at all....or cats for that matter, mine sniffed disdainfully, shook his tail in disgust and left the building.

"Use your mouse and keep your cursor in time with the cellist`s bow, playing Saint-Saëns' The Swan and learn a bit about bowspeed and direction in the process. It’s not as easy as it looks ... if you do it wrong, you’ll hear it ..." and boy oh boy, do you hear it!

Papercraft pinhole cameras to download

Five different snazzy designs to download and make here

and here you'll find a slightly more conventional (retro) model, the Dirkon....originally printed in a Czechoslovakian magazine in the 70's

Monday, April 28, 2008

War of the Worlds update

Latest find.....
"An examination of the power of mass media to create panic. In Radio Lab's very first live hour, we take a deep dive into one of the most controversial moments in broadcasting history - Orson Welles' 1938 radio play about Martians invading New Jersey. And we ask: Why did it fool people then? And why has it continued to fool people since? From Santiago, Chile to Buffalo, New York to a particularly disastrous evening in Quito, Ecuador. "
......from WNYC Radio, listen online or download

LATER....definitely worth a click!

ALSO....From the Internet Archive, Studio One: The Night America Trembled (1957)
"The War of the Worlds broadcast is re-told in dramatic fashion. It is interesting to note that Orson Welles name is pretty much left out of this re-telling. Still, a fascinating look into the effects that night had on the average American citizen. Also, look for a very young Warren Beatty playing cards."

The Flat

Immersive Fiction.....Explore a haunted, abandoned council flat where remnants of a narrative formed by its previous inhabitants still lingers. Use the mouse to explore. Requires Flash 8+.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree tops....

I've always had trouble sleeping on a Sunday night (suspect it's a hangover from the days when I hadn't done my physics homework as a teenager!) so I thought I'd give some restful environmental sounds a try rather than the usual scifi/crime dramas I tend to listen to at bedtime. Closet of Curiosities has loads to chose from, birdsong, croaking frogs, whales, you name it....there's a regular weekend post. I've opted for "Wind in The Trees" for starters, will report back!
LATER....Partial success, sent me off to sleep OK but I kept dreaming I was camping!

Vintage magazine cover art


The Metro ain't so bad after all!

In Japan’s, oshiyas or "pushers" are employed to squeeze people onto trains....I feel pissed off when I can't get a seat (which only happens maybe half a dozen times a year)

Pageant of the Century, Page 334

Click on the image to enlarge

Printable Paper

All manner of printable (pdf) paper available here.....dotted, lined, graph, music, ledger etc. Also check out here for blank certificates, business cards, signage etc

Previously posted PrintFreeGraphPaper

A ghost story...The Grey Man of Bellister

Here's a story that Dad told nearly every time we were driving home from a visit to Haltwhistle when we were kids. This is the start of an early printed version (The Local Historian's Table Book of Remarkable Occurences, Historical Facts, Traditions....etc etc, 1846) I happened across at Google Books

"It was at the gray of the evening twilight, about half a century ago, that a stripling held his way towards the castle of Bellister, with the view of entering into service there. Having crossed the Tyne at Haltwhistle, he found the darkness increasing fast ; and although the distance he had to travel was not great, yet in those days, bad companions were more common than welcome on the unfrequented roads after nightfall. Leaving the Ferry, he passed a thicket of willow bushes, and then his route lay along a broken road, which he had been directed to follow, as that which would conduct him to the castle."....

Read the rest of the story here

And there's a more up-to-date version here (also the source of the moody picture)

Fast forward to the early years of the 20th Century when Granda could have been no more than a teenager. He and some friends decided that they would do a bit of ghost hunting and lie in wait for the Grey Man. They took fright at what was probably just a piece of paper blowing in the wind and hot-footed it across the bridge back into Haltwhistle, terrified out of their wits. When they got there they met with one of their original number who'd got there before them....and Sammy Teasedale was soaking wet. Apparently he'd been so scared he'd not bothered with the bridge and had 'gone streyt ower the watter'

Photos with a local flavour

David H (Jarrow) has some great ones on a look.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Telly Savalas goes to Birmingham

Telly Savalas and the Quota Quickies

Saturday 26th April, 10:30, BBC Radio 4

"In the 1970s, Birmingham attempted to reinvent itself as a city of the future - and recruited Telly Savalas to voice the narrative. A world of multi-storey car parks, concrete shopping centres and motorways...In 'Telly Savalas and the Quota Quickies', Laurie Taylor recalls a series of 1970s B-Movies, created by the late Harold Baim, in which Hollywood star Telly Savalas waxes lyrical about the charms of certain British cities not generally recognised as tourist attractions."

"Listen Again" available, but I don't know how long for!

The Baim Collection

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mid-week's been a bad week so far so don't expect cheerful!

"You are an unnamed, unknown survivor of a nuclear holocaust, eking out a meager existence with your family in a bomb shelter-like house, struggling against the inevitable knowledge of your own impending mortality. A lonely life, really, sadly mundane. Until, one night, you wake up with a strange feeling in your belly, and look out to see the house surrounded by fog...." (Jayisgames)

Play it here

at last...something to do with the weeks left-over milk!

Natural history eyecandy.....

....from the Natural History Museum's online collections. Above we have a spendid rendition of the Banded Goatsucker (it's much prettier than it's name!) from the First Fleet Artwork Collection

Magnificent mutations

"Mutapic is an online picture generator. It is a free tool you can use to rapidly create original art." Loads of fun to be had here! (There's also a 'Pro' version available for $30 which allows you to use your own pictures as a source if you get bitten by the bug)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Remember Clippy?

Build your own and somehow everything feels that little bit better!

Not in front of the children....

This post is prompted by reading an article in the Whitley Bay NewsGuardian, (Mortimer at Large) last weekend "Uncle Mac, the runaway train and all those bogus sofas exposed" In this erudite piece Mortimer bares his soul, reveals his childhood fears and debunks the received wisdom that a generation of children spent every early episode of Dr Who huddled behind the nation's sofas, whimpering. OK, so I can go along with most of his argument, but how on earth could he forget to mention Sparky's Magic Piano in his list of "most feared"....I can only presume he's blocked it out.
So, in an attempt to quell my inner demons (because it scared the shit out of me!) I've searched the soundtrack out......prepare to be very, very scared

PS....There's lots more 'tracks to scare the children with' salted away on time it could be 'Tubby the Tuba' or 'Itsy bitsy, tweeny weeny, yellow polkadot bikini' that comes to haunt your dreams!

Mash Van Update

So it was true then! An Aunt Bessie's Mash Van was spotted in Northumberland St this lunchtime.....and despite the warmer weather there was a queue to give them a try.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Childrens TV

After listening to a programme on the radio about the demise, or rather the americanisation, of UK TV childrens programming I got all nostalgic....but then it doesn't take much! Cue YouTube search.....

Muffin the Mule Part 1

Muffin the Mule Part 2

Watch with Mother
On Monday it was Picture Book....

Tuesday, Andy Pandy

Wednesday, Bill and Ben

Thursday, Rag, Tag and Bobtail

....and Friday, The Woodentops

Some background here

.....jut don't get me started on Pinky and Perky, Sooty and Sweep and Crackerjack!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

War of the Worlds....yet again

Bongolongland has a great "War of the Worlds" post with links to downloadable audio files for 6 very different versions. One of them is the 1967 BBC radio version which I just happen to be listening to right now (interesting fact, the sainted Martin Jarvis only got to play the "assistant" to the main player in those days, only making it to episode 2 of 6). This is what appeared in the Radio Times at the time, click on the image to enlarge.....

You can listen to yet another version online at "Streaming Audio Entertainment"

LATER....Mars Attacks...bubble gum card set archive

Teaching grannies to suck eggs

Like we need to be told how!!

From BBC Radio4, "Questions, questions", April 10th 2008

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside.....

The Rendezvous Cafe introduced me to the joys of a steaming mug of Horlicks (in a branded cup that had no hole in the handle to loop a finger through) as the ultimate reward after a wet and windy Sunday afternoon walk rather too many years ago than I wish to remember. The alternatives were (an even then 'retro') frothy coffee in a glass cup or, if you had the teeth and stomach for it, a Knickerbocker Glory or Strawberry Sundae.

Some links
Classic Cafes
Rendezvous Cafe

This one's for Daizy and Hails

Daizy (because she adores Mario) and Hails because he'll no doubt marvel at the patience it required to set it all up in the first place! - Watch more free videos

Local interest

Not sure whether I've already posted to The North East England History Pages, so I'll just presume I haven't. Here's what the site says about the origins of Haltwhistle as a place name...

"The name of this Northumbrian town in the heart of Hadrians Wall Country would seem straigtforward enough and not surprisingly is often interpreted as a railway station halt where locomotives blew their whistles. In the nineteenth century Haltwhistle was certainly the site of a Victorian railway station but the name is not in any way connected with this and is first recorded in the thirteenth century as Hautwisel. There are two parts to the name the first, haut, is Old French and means high ground. The second element is Twisel or Twisla and is a word of medieval origin meaning a fork in a road or river. In the case of Haultwhistle the twisla is a fork in the river where the River South Tyne is joined by the Haltwhistle Burn. Haltwhistle is situated on high ground located in the fork formed by the conjunction of the two watercourses. Other twisels in the north include Twizel near Berwick, Twizle near Morpeth and Twizell between Chester le Street and Stanley."

Old Food

"From Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, The Old Foodie gives you 400 words each weekday on a topic related to the day, plus a historic recipe, and sometimes a menu. And how much fun is that!"

Check out the post for 11th April....all about dandelions but more particularly Dandelion and Burdock, which I remember being delivered every week by "The Pop Man" when I was small.....ah, halcyon days!

Coffee time clip

Charles Darwin Online

That's right, the whole shebang scanned and digitised for your viewing pleasure.

They say....."This site contains Darwin's complete publications, thousands of handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published"

Visit Darwin Online

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Have some madeira m'dear...

Listen and watch to some vintage Flanders and Swann....just because you should when you get the chance!

Finding this tonight on YouTube had me searching for the "The Complete Flanders and Swann" 3 CD Boxed Set that I bought years ago.....mission successful and currently listening to "At the drop of a Hat" (recorded, according to the notes, at the final performance at the Fortune Theatre London on my 8th birthday)

And the reason for the "wrap-around-funnel-with-integral-condom" contraption would be...?

Let's be generous and assume rotten tooth induced drool!

From ModernMechanix

Millie the Model

I'm saying nothing.....except there's a great post at Learning2Share

Monday, April 14, 2008

Extreme Mah Jongg?

Just a taster from "The Pageant of the Century". This comes from 1924....and who's to say whether this is the "sub-aqua" or "strip" version, because there's no mention why the players of this game of Mah Jongg seem to be in state of semi undress and in 2 cases sporting uncomfortable rubber goods on their heads....but hey, it's probably better not to ask!

Who took this one?

Filched and scanned from Ma's photographic suitcase archive a few weeks ago. Where, who, when, what and why?'s a good snap!

UPDATE....Apparently Dad/Grandad, somewhere on the Tyne, sometime in the 80's

St Tropez report

Apparently Chris and Nick are still watching dvd's in the "less than stylish"'s "House" tonight. So much for the Med!

Fanfare for a new (old) book

Bought this on the Haltwhistle visit. Published in 1933 and covering the period from 1900....700 pages of sepia pictures for 50p. Expect occasional extracts when I can't think of anything else to say!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

All is not what it seems

And there's a blog to prove it! Photoshop Disasters is always worth a visit.

The British Museum Image Database

If you have an hour or six to spare, some small picture frames, ink in your printer and a wall to fill, you could do worse than visit the advanced print search page at the British Museum. With free registration you can request up to 100 images a month (they email them out to you within a day or so) Just as an example to show the size of the collection online I searched for "design" and I got 17071 results

UPDATE....I received the higher res version of the above in an email this morning after ordering it yesterday, it printed out well at almost A4 size.

More cats....

.....this time "The Engineers Guide to...."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some laid-back Saturday morning listening

By the way, the above album comes courtesy of Jamendo, "On Jamendo artists allow anyone to download and share their music. It's free, legal and unlimited" (and as of today, 8285 albums available online)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Probably a good thing it never happened!

From ModernMechanix....

"Pleasure-Tower Half Mile High
Towering almost half a mile above the ground, dwarfing such gigantic structures as the Empire State Building and the Eiffel tower, a huge concrete tower 2300 feet high, surmounted with a beacon and built with a spiral ramp for autos to climb up its sides, stuns the imagination with its vastness. It is the design of the French engineer, M. Freyssinet, intended for the 1937 Paris Exhibition. He estimates the cost at less than half the Eiffel Tower, or in the neighborhood of $2,500,000. It will be called the “Phare du Monde,” or Lighthouse of the World- The project appears far removed from the visionary and a new all-time “high” in buildings seems in a fair way to being achieved." let's get this straight, you drive up to the top, turn round, then drive back down again? Wow...they certainly knew how to live!

Boxing Cat

Bow Street Runner.....Update

All 5 Episodes now available to play online

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dynamic Architecture

I can see problems....let's say you live on the 13th floor and Mr Arbuthnot in the appartment next door decides he wants to face North while he paints a series of watercolours, meanwhile you, being a keen gardener and having a seed tray of prizewinning leek seedlings on your windowsill, favour the South..........

A mystery to be solved....or a hoax?

From Wikipedia....
"The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious illustrated book written in an indecipherable text. It is thought to have been written between approximately 1450 and 1520. The author, script and language of the manuscript remain unknown.Over its recorded existence, the Voynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including some top American and British codebreakers of World War II fame (all of whom failed to decrypt a single word). This string of failures has turned the Voynich manuscript into a famous subject of historical cryptology, but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is simply an elaborate hoax — a meaningless sequence of arbitrary symbols."
Scans of the book on Flickr

Late April Fools...or a good idea?

From the Metro today.....

"Food company Aunt Bessie's claims it is breathing new life into the fortunes of the ice cream van by replacing the 99 Flake with an all-weather alternative." Now, replace that ice cream cone with a crispy Yorkshire pudding look-alike and their "Mash Van" fleet might just make a killing!

Isadora victim

Chris and Nick are apparently currently sheltering in their (apparently not very stylish) caravan from the (St Tropez) cold watching dvd's tonight....oh, the wonders of SMS!. But today they saw the hotel, close to which Isadora Duncan was throttled by a floaty scarf. Her reported last words were: "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire"......though how she managed even that short statement after being garrotted leaves some questions! Some links.....
On Wikipedia
On YouTube

Newcastle....the insiders guide

Newcastle: The Insider Guide from James Hill on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Online Web Publishing

Create your own magazine, convert it to pdf and upload to Issuu for some free, slick, web publishing. And before you ask, no I didn't do the one embedded above!

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