Friday, 31 March 2006

Happy 30th Birthday Apple!

Try this wee quiz from the BBC News website.

I scored 6 out of 10, which was disgraceful for a Mac evangelist like myself.

Here's a more considered tribute, drawing a parallel with the other 30th anniversary of the week.

And let's hope Apple emerges victorious from the twin struggles with that unlikely axis of evil - the Beatles and the French!


Doctor Who - Series 2 - The hype begins!

Tuesday night at last saw the press launch in Cardiff's Millenium Centre, but the effect of the publicity campaign has been a little more staggered this year. An embargo meant the press coverage did not hit until Thursday and we're told not to expect the new TV trailers until this Saturday night. Plus very little except series opener "New Earth" have actually been revealed, even though almost everything is 'in the can' (Saturday is also the last day of filming it seems ... possibly on the very last scene in episode 13).

Rumours and speculation continue to fly in this info-vacuum, with openly filmed location sequences of Autons and Slitheen for episode 10 largely written off as "flashback scenes".

Anyhow, click the title link to take you to the CGI-heavy "New Earth" gallery - I'd imagine the more spoileriffic shots will be added after transmission on 15 April, but as I speak only 15 pics are up.

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Sunday, 26 March 2006

Scotland - The Smoking Ban

This is the second year running that the weekend the clocks go forward, and 26 March specifically, has been notable and much looked forward to. In 2005 it was the return of "Doctor Who" but this year it's the Scottish smoking ban.

I rather have to pinch myself that I'm not dreaming - I can't believe what I'd always hoped for (well since about aged 6) has come to pass so decisively without any John Reid style idiocy. And if the Scottish Parliament never does anything else worthwhile, I'll praise them for this measure - the one in which we embarassed the rest of the UK to follow.

Smoking is also one of the 2 main things that has blighted my social life since returning to Scotland. I'm meant to go to gay bars and clubs being a gayer myself, but apparently there is an unwritten rule that all gayers should smoke and, if they've been unsuccessful at the qualifying round, they should put up with those who do for there are no 'non-smoking' areas in gay bars.

This week I may have a chance to visit some otherwise fine establishments in Glasgow, who allowed smoking throughout without a thought to proper inclusivity, and I can promise that if any bar is breaking the rules I'll be reporting it. Does anyone have the number by the way?

Oh, and anyone who knows some "anti-PC" non-smoker who promises they'll start smoking in spite of this 'draconoian' measure, please pass them the fags and call their bluff.

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Scottish Rugby - Sean Lamont

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Whatever Happened to the Lycra Lads ?

Sorry, I couldn't resist the triple temptation of using that pun, congratulating the bestest ever Scottish performance at any Commonwealth Games (6th in the medals table as I type, but 4th at the height of the pool and velodrome activities), and putting in a few tasty scans.
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I had to edit out an impressive Aussie bulge on the bronze podium here, but above is the joint euphoria of Scotland's gold medallists in the cycling sprint trio last weekend (Craig MacLean, Chris Hoy and Ross Edgar) with England's silver medallists (Jamie Staff,Jason Queally and Matt Crompton) to the left.
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Above is swimming double-gold medallist David Carry with silver medallist team-mate Euan Dale. In the below right pic the duo reappear with Andrew Hunter as they score another team silver in the pool (watch that suit doesn't slip down too far dears!). Bottom left is handsome devil Ross Edgar again, this time in full lycra action!
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Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Hoorah for BBC4!

I've been itching to big up BBC4 for a while now. A station whose schedule began with just a mite too much fibre than flavour has now reached the peaks of my admiration.

Not only has this month alone brought us the triple bounty of single dramas in "Fantabulosa!", "The Chatterley Affair" and "A for Andromeda", but even the channel's repeats are so wonderfully considered and complementary. Quietly residing in the BBC4 listings have been "The Avengers", Our Friends in the North", "Ripping Yarns"and "Yes Minister" as well as themed evenings based on diverse topics such as "Jackanory" and Nigel Kneale. Comedy is also given a refreshing twist in offerings like "The Thick of It" and "The Mark Steel Lectures".

Fridays are also nicely given over to largely musical diversions, with a healthy dose of niche material coalescing around the likes of "Jazz Britannia" and "Folk Britannia", as well as concerts by the likes of Neil Hannon and Cream.

Now I hear that another 'considered repeat' is to be "Life on Mars", which only completed it's first series last month on BBC1. It goes out on Sundays from 2 April. Backing up in true BBC4 fashion is a 1973-themed batch of programmes, which I'm delighted to report include the fondly remembered "Doctor Who" story "The Green Death" - it's the one with Jon Pertwee and a bunch of giant maggots down a mine.

Monday, 20 March 2006

More star names for "Doctor Who"

I'm continually astounded at the calibre of names attached to the forthcoming series - Shirley Henderson and Marc Warren will now feature alongside Peter Kay in the last episode to be filmed, "Love and Monsters". It will screen tenth and features the Abzorbaloff, winner of the "Blue Peter" "Design a Monster" competition which was judged by Russell T Davies and Gethin Jones.

Preston and Kevin Zegers in "Attitude" magazine

We've become used to seeing past "Big Brother" contestants posing topless on the front of the Sunday papers, but I was surprised that the first of this year's "Celebrity Big Brother" contestants to do so was (Samuel) Preston, descendant of former UK PM Earl Grey and lead singer with retro beat combo, The Ordinary Boys.

Now that Preston has consumated the relationship with CBB's non-celebrity winner, Chantelle Houghton, he's well on course to be one of the faces of the year. He even had the possibly dubious honour of gracing the cover of the last ever "Smash Hits". Certainly a cover shoot for this month's "Attitude" magazine nudges him further into the stratosphere. And what a face! I make no excuses for reproducing one of the many monochrome portraits that appear therein.

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Second cutie scan is actor Kevin Zegers, currently to be seen as Felicity Huffman's estranged son in the film "Transamerica". For his role as a hustler he researched by actually "selling himself" on the street for an agreed price of $350 - he chickened out of going through with it of course, abandoning the client in a hotel room. Bit of a culture shock for the kid out of Disney's "Air Bud" movies!

This photo is by the renowned Greg Gorman.
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Thursday, 16 March 2006

First "Doctor Who" series 2 DVD revealed !

Outpost Gallifrey present the first of the forthcoming DVD covers for the series 2 "vanilla" releases. Tomorrow (Friday 17th) sees the US premiere of series 1, while this DVD we know will go on sale on Mayday.

However we still don't officially know the series 2 launch date, widely suspected to be 15 April, which will debut with "New Earth" itself (a follow-up to "The End of the World").

All should be revealed on 28 March when the press launch blasts Cardiff. Expect the TV trailers and billboards from then on.

Commonwealth Games - England Rugby 7s ... naked

My mate Stuart and those excellent folk at Famous Males have drawn my attention to the phenomena that is the current England Rugby 7s team competing in Melbourne.

BBC Sport are apparently responsible for the original footage.

You may be swayed too ...

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Monday, 13 March 2006

Linda Thorson in "Emmerdale"

Last Thursday's "Sun" revealed that Ex-Avenger girl Linda Thorson is popping up in the Dales' soap, as prospective mother-in-law to Patsy Kensit's character. Looks a bit Krystle/Alexis to me.
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Sunday, 12 March 2006

Gratuitous "Doctor Who" totty pic 2

For our male heterosexualists (and PJ in particular) I present Ms Eve Myles in a state of undress during the BBC Wales show "Belonging".

She is due to be the female lead, Gwen. in the BBC3 spin-off "Torchwood". Anoraks like me will also point to her role as Victorian maid Gwyneth in series 1's "The Unquiet Dead".
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Gratuitous "Doctor Who" totty pic 1

Taken (surprisingly) from a photo-shoot for Panini's "Doctor Who Magazine"(issue 367) here's Noel Clarke aka Mickey Smith showing his pants. He also reveals in the accompanying interview that the forthcoming 2nd series features Mickey stripped down to his boxers and tied to a chair!
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2 weeks to British Summertime ...

These even snowier pics taken in my garden around 7 this morning. The first two feature an unfortunate pot of daffodils, which had been the only ones I'd seen so far this spring!
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The third includes the neighbouring B916, Aberdour Rd, but you'd be hard pressed to tell.
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Saturday, 11 March 2006

Scottish Rugby - Simon Taylor

Tempted to put in fellow Scotland team-mate Simon Webster and "Welsh England cricketer" Simon Jones here but here's some recent scanned shots of the SRU default male model, Simon Taylor
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March weather

This was taken from my office window in Friday 3 March, during a short-lived snow flurry.
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Dunfermline landmark

A February 2006 shot of one of Dunfermline's landmarks under a fairly rare azure sky.
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Oban area selection - May 2005

Here's some of the favourite shots I took during my modest hols between 7 and 14 May last year. The weather was more summer-like, as you can probably tell.

The first is Oban from the south-west
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This is looking to the southwest.
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The approach to McCaig's Folly - as seen atop the first pic.
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The Connel Bridge - once a railway route.
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Looking down on the Connel Bridge and surrounding area.
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The village of Benderloch (and beyond).
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Prologue 120206

It's a long time since I did this but here goes ...

Who'd have thought 2006 would have been so newsworthy so soon? We've had classic "Celebrity Big Brother' throughout January, Denmark sparking an unlikely cartoon WW3, plus the triple Lib Dem scandals leading to (wait for it) a historic and unexpected by-election victory in an otherwise obscure 'safe' Labour seat last Thursday. That seat was my own. Truly it is the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

I'm on somewhat of a downward spiral despite all of the above and a continued good showing by the new "Doctor Who" on Christmas Day and beyond (in awards). Though in December I was enthused by a successful double of an assertiveness course in Bedford immediately followed by a self-planned office outing to Belfast then 3 weeks of Christmas (I came back on 12 January) it's been trying to make something out of nothing ever since.

Being banned from Outpost Gallifrey's forum on 27 January was more of a body blow than it first seemed, and I'm only now beginning to realise it was a mistake to meekly move to Meldrum Court last June, sharply compounded by my gaining a generally useless promotion ticket 2 months later. It's a combo of the three that has lead me to the latest malaise.

The music at least has been unusually good lately - in January I was particularly fond of Texas' "Sleep". And again (on the unexpected front) Leo Sayer's second No1 at age 57 and after a 29 year break happened this weekend.

Also on the up was my INR treatment being handed over to a real turn-on of a twenty-something pharmacist. Being in a confined space when the regular deed is done (scanning his package and VPL) is even more of a hard-on situation. Especially when he keeps bending over the desk. He can prick me anytime..

But I've had no 'lurve-action' since 7 May 2005 and as my body-clock moves on this gets to be more and more of a grievance against circumstance, for it is circumstance that is foiling me. As I now get regular 9 or 10 scores on my Gaydar 'Sex Factor' from complete hunks and honeys from far abroad I know this is the case but can do little about it. Relationships seem even further off - I'm a pragmatist/realist enough to know that sex will come before a relationship blossoms, not the other way around.
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