Category Archives: Inspiration

Other people’s bright ideas

Hawaiian Rollercoaster

I like Disney movies, I think its fair to say. As I grew up I loved the characters, the colours, the music and the adventures that typified the output from the House of Mouse. At some point between then and now my tastes became a little more sophisticated and I lost touch with those movies and the stories they told.

To be fair, they are children’s tales, made predominantly for them and those that usher them into cinemas, or buy DVD discs for them to watch at home. As I’ve got older, I’ve recently found myself gravitating back towards the family friendly films from Disney. Maybe because I don’t always want to be presented with some dark, impenetrable art-house flick, maybe because life is tiring and I just want to be sure of a singsong and a happy ending.

Lilo and Stitch is one of my favourite movies, as well as coincidentally being a Disney movie. It has lots of the anarchic slapstick humour that I used to love in Tom and Jerry cartoons. It also tells a really good story about how it can take a while to figure out where you fit into the world around you. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched and re-watched it, and to be honest, I don’t think I was ever keeping score.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Inspiration, Movies


Tags: , , ,

Sorted Hats

I’ve been working my way through the Harry Potter series of books over the last year or so. Finally I’ve begun “Deathly Hallows,” so the end is in sight. It’s almost a shame that there is so little left. At first I was reading these books out of curiosity, then somewhere in the middle it was out of a sense of obligation (I’d started… so I was duty bound to finish).

Now that the films have all been shown on TV many times, my brain is fast forwarding to the conclusion because I’ve seen what’s going to happen so often. Not to worry though, I can put my reading-brain into a lower gear and force those images to the dark corners add the back. The place where I hide things that don’t need to be seen again.

Heading been to a Catholic school, the witches and wizards of Hogwarts aren’t a million miles away from the nuns and monks that I remember. As for their dusty books of ancient magic and mumbo-jumbo, well… they speak for themselves. However, for now I’ll see Harry and his chums to the end of their adventures and then the next story, of another band of heroes, will come calling.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Books, Inspiration


Tags: , , ,

A Window to Faraway

I’m currently sat out in my garden, skimming through today’s news whilst listening online to the recent EU Commissioner debates (The other big competition that’s brought to us citizens of Europe by Eurovision). The sun is shining as I enjoy my breakfast, in fact if the weather reports are to believed, today will be the hottest day of the year in England. Unaccustomed as we are to sunshine in this country, this makes it very easy for me for me to imagine that I’m actually far away from where I actually am.

The weekend has arrived and I’m only four working days away from going on holiday – when I really will be far away from here. Thankfully the list of things ‘to-do’ that stand in my way between now and mentally clocking off are relatively few. The Blackberry will be switched off and its nagging red light will not be pestering me for attention – the LED equivalent of Japanese water torture. Whilst some of my colleagues are happy to check their emails whilst on leave, I find nothing admirable about it. It’s a mistake to think that you’ve been productive or effect just because you skim read a message from the accounts department whilst sunbathing with your wife/husband/2.4 children etc.

When I am on holiday, the mental energy that I normally expend on work-related matters is far better spent on reading menus, booking tickets for excursions and finally finishing books that I downloaded during the Kindle sale last Xmas. Instead of sprinting between Tube stations to make connections I want to be reclining in coffee shops watching the rest of the world pass by me. Weekends that bookend busy weeks don’t always present enough opportunities to do these things, but trying to making the time stretch so that it fits is always desirable. On this, the sunniest day of the year, making the time fit feels a little bit easier for me.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Holidays, Inspiration


Looks Like We Got Ourselves A Reader

I’ve always read a lot, recreationally as well as also a means to learn and explore new things. I’ve always enjoyed using books and comics as portals to other times and places since an early age. Over time my reading rate has risen and fallen depending what I’ve been doing at various times in my life, but I’ve never lost the sense of joy found from diving into a new story.

As well as traditional tree-books I’m a compulsive eBook downloader, my Kindle is never far from my side and the convenience of having a book shop in your bag is amazing. I also love audiobooks and radio plays. From the cassette Walkman, through the MiniDisc and to the MP3 player – I also like to hand the story telling duties over to a professional and let them shape the worlds and characters in my head. I’d be lost without a good pair of headphones.

I don’t have a preference between any of those formats, I think I just love stories and so I don’t mind what method of deliver I use. My ideal is probably a mixture of those over time, just to give things some variety. I never think of it as escapism, more like meeting up with friends who let me have a window into their lives for a while. Some of these friends live in mundane worlds, much like mine that are grounded in hard reality, some live in fantastic faraway places where the impossible happens. They’re all fascinating and I never want to leave them for long.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Books, Inspiration


Tags: , , ,

A Secret Journey

Whilst traveling on the train to work I often see little signposted footpaths that snake between the fields and farm houses that fill out the scenery as I flash past. In all likelihood they’re just dirt tracks that have been trampled into the landscape over time and have eventually been coated with Tarmac and turned into cycleways.

Without actually stepping off the train and exploring these paths I can’t say for sure. The signs whizz by at such speed that I have no way of telling if they say, ‘This way be monsters,’ or ‘Abandoned horde of Dwarvish gold 200m.’ However, it’s only by following these paths that you can know for sure if you’ll make your way into The Secret Garden or the land of Narnia.

So as I rattle along on my daily commute I find myself wondering if anyone has charted ‘The Improbable Destinations of Seldom Trod Pathways.’ It wouldn’t necessarily be an accurate or an actual guide book but an account of the interconnected intersections between dream worlds and the routes that (might, just might…) take you there. I’d enjoy reading that…

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Inspiration, Outdoors, Travel


Tags: , , ,

More Pi Please

This weekend I bought a new computer, my second Raspberry Pi – a cigarette packet sized, Linux powered PC that costs about £25. I pre-ordered my original 256MB Raspberry long before the release date so now that the 512MB, made in the UK version is available I wanted to upgrade. The extra RAM and better build quality may only be small improvements, and for a large desktop Windows machine wouldn’t make a difference. However, the Pi makes great use of limited resources so doubling up the RAM (at no extra cost) is significant.

I ordered my Pi through the ModMyPi online store, which is a great place for Raspberry related accessories. They also make first rate cases for the Pi, which still ships as a ‘naked’ board so needs a separate case to be purchased to keep the dust off. Compared to their first batch, the new ModMyPi cases have also had a tweek. To match the new model boards there are now anchor points and screws (provided) to allow you to firmly attach the Raspberry to the lower half of the case.

I’m running the latest version of Raspbian for desktop use, which has a little more spring in its step with the extra memory. Now the Raspberry has its own app store there should be plenty of new software being made available to try out. The Pi Store may not be iTunes but it will make it easier for small scale developers to show off their wares. I also tried out RaspBMC with the new board and navigating menus is much quicker now. I’m having less system crashes as well, but that might be down to the latest nightly build rather than the extra RAM. All in all, I’m very happy with the refined version of the Pi and would recommend it even more than ever to anyone who wants to dabble in the world of Linux.


Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Equipment, Gaming, Inspiration, Technology


Tags: , , ,

2012 – 2013

Another year over, another Doctor Who Christmas special out of the way. Probably not everybody’s chosen milestone for the passage of time but it’s as good as any really. I liked everything about this year’s festive episode, from Richard E. Grant’s villain to the potato-comedy from Strax. Love the new/old style TARDIS interior though I would have liked Matt Smith to wink in the opening credits like McCoy used to.

I’m the same as most people in that I’ll head into the new year with optimism. There will be more good than bad in 2013, despite what the television news says. The year will be filled with scientific discoveries, the success of human ingenuity and the occasional tribulation that we can all bounce back from as a collective. All we need to do is make it happen!

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Inspiration, Sci Fi, TV


Tags: , , ,