stufforama

Superheroes via Ikea

Posted in creative, Ikea by Tony C on February 15, 2012

What do you do when you have a piece of furniture that’s not looking it’s best, often if it’s something cheap from Ikea you’ll throw it away. But they can be given a new lease of life even if it’s a £7.49 Lack coffee table.

Superhero Table 1

The table is £7.49 for a reason, the laminate surface it really thin and even with light use water will eventually lift the fibre board underneath.  Much if not all of the process was an experiment, particularly as the artwork was on glossy paper rather than something more akin to newsprint.  First job was to remove the legs and second was to give the damaged top a  light (and I do mean light) sand with fine wet and dry paper (in dry mode of course).   The surface was then sealed with a thin coat of primer.  For the artwork I cut the images from an old copy of Mythology by Alex Ross, after all is art is rather special.  I tried PVA glue but the glossy finish on the paper caused it to bubble  when stuck down so I reverted to photo mount, but the thickness of the paper meant I had to be quiet generous.

Superhero Table 2

To finish it was given five coats of satin coat polyurethane varnish.  This might seem a little over the top but if gives the finish a depth that blends the edges of the images together.

Next time I’d like to tackle something larger.

Eurovision 2011.

Posted in Eurovision by Tony C on May 16, 2011

imageOnce again the Continent comes together in a mash up of Euro pop musical clones, obscure cultural references and the downright camp.  And that’s just the presenters.  One of them is apparently a comedian but you’d never guess.  The venue was hugely impressive and the Germans must have bankrupted the city of Dusseldorf to convert it from a football venue to one filled with cheering, flag waving Eurovision fans.  Don’t worry they took the grass up.  Here’s how the runners and riders fared.

Finland Low rent Bruno Mars/Olly Murs rip off if you can possibly imagine such a thing with added eco nonsense. Lyrics thin hence the title “Da da dam”.  Going first is a tough. Poor lad.  A well deserved 21st.
     
Bosnia and Herzegovina Dull and musically pointless made all the more bizarre by the pseudo ‘street’ trumpet player. The lead singer was strumming away on a nice Gretsch though; faux strumming mind as the piano player proved Eurovision is live singing against a backing track.  How this got 6th is a puzzle that will vex Eurovision watchers for years to come.
     
Denmark Speaking of singing the Danes were the first who didn’t sound flat although going for a black leather meets McFly clone lacked originality.   Nod to Jedward with the hair.  5th was probably about right.
     
Lithuania This Andrew Lloyd-Webber inspired number, they must have seen his effort a few years ago and mistakenly thought ‘Yeah’, included dry ice and a white piano.  It was as average as the 19th place suggests. 
     
Hungary The Vizslas were disappointed by the tall blonde in a blue dress that must have been sewed together about tens minutes before going on stage.  The dress not her.  She’d been listening to Celine Dion to be sure but the dancers at the back must have wandered in from next door.  22nd was maybe a little harsh but not much.
     
Ireland All the energy, daft shoulder pads and dafter hair can’t hid the fact Jedward are poor even by Eurovision standards.  We for some reason I can’t fathom gave them 12 points.  And no they can’t sing either.  An overly generous 8th.
     
Sweden Even Justin Bieber won’t be threatened by this.  Staging included a glass box which many must have hope included a hidden gas dispenser.  Maybe the singer was a fan of David Copperfield.  3rd was very, very flattering.
     
Estonia Another copy cat, this time Katy Perry.  Really not sure what the London Eye was doing in the staging.  By Eurovision historical standards a solid effort but oddly ignored by the voters and stuck at 24th.
     
Greece Now the Greeks often go large but not his year as the entry reflected their struggling economy.  Confused and reliant on outside influences.  Rapper meets ballad, burger meets kebab.  Too generous by half at 7th .
     
Russia Unoriginal but entertaining nevertheless.  New Kids on the Block are obviously still popular in ex communist countries.  Leather jackets and an electrocution from the embroidered LEDs avoided.  Mid table 16th
     
France No idea why this was the favourite as opera probably isn’t a big Eurovision staple.  He had a great voice but there’s a time an a place and this wasn’t it.  The voters of Europe thought so too.  15th.
     
Italy More French than Italian in a jazz sort of way.  One of the evenings better offerings by some way and probably deserved 2nd.
     
Switzerland Didn’t really work Eurovision wise although but the standards of the rest evening not that bad.  Run out of lyrics like the Finns.  It’s an upside down competition when this kind of effort only gets 25th.
     
United Kingdom "I Can"…sorry lads you can’t but not as bad as you might think.  Any other country offering up Blue would have done better and after we gave the Irish 12 points reciprocation was the least we could expect.  Alas not.  11th was better than many expected history being what it is.
     
Moldova Now we’re talking Eurovision.  Pointy hats, bouncy tune and a women on a unicycle.  A dash of the Chillies and the B52s.  Just for the hats alone they should have done better than 12th.
     
Germany Last years winners tries for a double.  The locals obviously love Lena but this attempt at musical sophistication was somewhat diluted by the dancers in silver wet suits.  Woody Allen is suing I’m sure.  Not bad so 10th.
     
Romania They could sing and a few people in the audience were undoubtedly tapping their feet.  Included Mel and Kim tribute dancers with trumpets.  Not half bad by Eurovision standards.  A puzzling 17th.
     
Austria An attempt at a power ballad that was rather weak.  Jessie J haircut and shoes.  18th looks about right.
     
Azerbaijan He can (on occasion) but she definitely can’t.  Flat, insipid and generally awful.  Proof as to why Eurovision still confuses the British even thought one of them lives here.  If the 6th placed Bosnians is a head scratcher this will take someone with the conundrum solving skills of Fermat’s Last Theorem to tell us why this was 1st. Even flatter when they had to sing again.
     
Slovenia The best of the night from the demi Zena clad singer.  Even the backing singers have some vocal chops.  Superior in every way to the Azerbaijan effort but seems no one apart from me and the rest of the Balkans agreed.  13th was just wrong.
     
Iceland A weird pub band, Take That, Mumford and Sons experiment that sort of worked.  A travesty that it only managed 20th.
     
Spain The usual typical Spanish offering.  Bubbly Iberian pop.  Criminally ignored at 23rd.
     
Ukraine The sand painting distracted from what was a passable Euro ballad.  Not sure what the feather shoulder pads was about but at least she could sing but not sure it deserved 4th however.
     
Serbia A surprisingly good retro 60’s inspired number right down to the haircuts and costumes.  Not I wager particularly Serbian but certainly one of the better acts.  A mid table 14th was a shame.
     
Georgia Only country that decided to throw in some metal inspired riffage.  A sort of Goth meets cartoon costume designer oddity that allowed the guitarists to cut some axe based shapes which made them look even sillier than normal.  Song and setup didn’t match.  Still it managed a flattering 9th.

 

As Eurovisions go this was rather a dull affair with only a few even attempting anything ‘avant garde’, thank you Moldova.  If say the Greeks or the Irish had won they’d have to go once again cap in hand to the IMF; it’s almost as if many countries sensing monetary oblivion didn’t want to win and instead opted for the austerity staging.  Azerbaijan might have to dig deep into the oil revenue to pay for 2012.

UFO reboot

Posted in Movies, reboot, TV, UFO by Tony C on January 15, 2011

UFO preview movie poster

After the debacle that was Jonathon Frakes’ remake of Thunderbirds, Gerry Anderson called it "…the biggest load of crap I have ever seen in my life”, it is with some trepidation that I notice that Hollywood, currently in a frenzy to reboot anything they can lay their hands on, apparently have UFO in preproduction.  Rumour has it they are aiming more for BSG than Spy Kids because unlike Frakes who confessed to having never seen an episode of Thunderbirds, Matthew Gratzner has from what I can see been saying all the right things, "There’s a reason UFO has a following, there’s a reason that Gerry Anderson has a following, and for us to overlook that or take that for granted would be foolish."  And based on how good the Moonbase Interceptor looks on the preview poster, not I grant much to base an opinion on, it surely can’t be worse than the remake of Thunderbirds.  I shall be watching this one closely.

original_shado_logo_ufoshado_new_logo

 

If you don’t remember the original series here’s the brilliant opening sequence in HD

The Moon and Jupiter.

Posted in astronomy, photography by Tony C on January 9, 2011

After watching the excellent Stargazing Live (a proper series has to be in the offing) and watching their guide to taking pictures of the stars I thought I’d give it a go.  London is not the best place in the world for taking photographs of the night sky, far too much light pollution from street lights, buildings, passing traffic and depending where you are passing aircraft, but here’s a few first attempts.

The waxing crescent of the moon. 

Waxing Crescent

Jupiter.  Not a great shot but you can make out the moons.  The one top left is probably Ganymede, then Europa, Callisto is obscured by the brightness of Jupiter and just peeking out on the bottom right is Io.

Jupiterandmoons

Happy Birthday Ajax

Posted in birthday, dog, Vizsla by Tony C on January 5, 2011

IMG_0324

Ajax the Hungarian Vizsla is four today.  Happy birthday fella!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part of the First.

Posted in Harry Potter, review by Tony C on December 29, 2010

As the books got longer so did the movies, so much so the last film in the Harry Potter series comes in two parts.  One we have now, the other we’ll have to wait for until next year.  The question of course is will it be worth it? 

Many reviews haven’t been kind, claiming that like the book it’s the not just the weakest of the series but also plain dull; my expectations were then set accordingly.  I’m rather glad they were as I enjoyed it, yes at over two hours it could have done with a bit of a trim but I never felt any particular scene over stayed it’s welcome.  There is a lot of running and hiding then wizard based explosions, then more running, hiding and wizard based explosion as the trio try and track down the remaining bits of Voldermort, he’s carelessly left lying around, whilst trying to find (in true Dungeons and Dragons style) the three parts of the Deathly Hallows which will be handy in the ‘final battle’.  Hermione looks wind swept, Ron looks like he’s just finished a weekend bender and Harry as if he’d joined Ron but changed his mind.  It’s also very dark as we see a number of favourite characters take one for the team, including a large number of the wizarding community in general.

For Potter fans a must see, for everyone else it’s close retelling of the first half of the final book might be a little slow and far too long.

A rough guide to the History of the Royal Navy

Posted in BTHP, podcast, Royal Navy by Tony C on December 24, 2010

Royal Navy

I’ve recently posted the last podcast looking at the History of the Royal Navy.  The nine episodes start about the time Alfred had longboats built to see off the Vikings until the present day.

Canon S90–full manual

Posted in Canon, photography by Tony C on December 22, 2010

Without doubt one the Canon S90 is still one of the best digital compact cameras you can lay your hands on, although Canon have recently updated it to the S95 which includes the ability to shot HD movies.  Rare for a camera of this size is the ability shoot in full manual where you can adjust multiple parameters independently of each other allowing you to do things only possible on a full DSLR.  Here’s a few examples of motion blur… in this case a slow shutter speed and a large F-stop.  These were taken on two separate early evenings at Wimbledon Station, oh and I’d like to make it clear I’m not claiming any artist ability with these.

 

Spooks: end of term report

Posted in Spooks, TV by Tony C on November 9, 2010

image

Spooks has shown some legs as the ninth series comes to and end and a tenth being promised in 2011.  Utter hokum as it obviously is despite the producers regular attempts to prove otherwise, any drama about MI-5 is going to sail close to current events eventually, the lack of sentimentality for major characters and their regular culling has kept it fresh; only Harry Pearce and Ruth Evershed seeming able to dodge the regular barrage of bullets and random explosions. 

This series along with usual stuff about rogue states, assassins and the cold war that never ended, sees Lucas North ( he of the prison tattoos and chromatic flashbacks) as his past catches up and reminds him he’s not actually Lucas North.  As all this is going on the two new recruits Beth Bailey and Dimitri Levendis are rather side-lined after some cursory backstory fleshes them out but it’s soon heads down as Lucas sets off the four episode timer marked ‘self destruct’.  For a split second at the end I thought they might let Lucas escape into the tenth series but the end result was rather anticlimactic.  I’m not sure Harry will be out a job for long.

Should I stay or should I go?

Posted in football by Tony C on October 27, 2010

The conspiracy theorists have been working over time trying to weave even more intrigue into the will-Wayne-or-won’t Wayne story, the key one being that by inflating Rooney’s wage bill to something near an estimated £200k a week mark when he does eventually leave his new employers will have to dig very deep for his services.  It could also go a little way to offset Manchester United’s mounting debt.  All this is of course denied by Manchester United, however Ferguson is not one prone to sentimentalism and if he has read the excellent Why England Lose he’ll know that at some point Rooney will have to go.  One of the golden rules it outlines, ignored by most clubs, is that you sell a player if another one club comes along and offers more than he’s worth; one thing is certain Rooney is not worth what he’ll soon be taking home. 

January should be interesting.

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