Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Oh god I think I'm heading down the Kate Winslet route

I was shocked to see the BlackLOG didn't make the Times 100 top blogs. If I'm honest I doubt it would even make the Times 200 million top blogs but that does nothing to ease my sense of disappointment. Still what chance did I have when I'm up against such gems as Runningfromcamera.blogspot.com which features a Dutchman who puts his camera on self timer with a 2 seconds delay and then runs as fast as he can into each picture. So you don't even get to see the sad gits face. I guess I could set up a site with pictures of Bishops Stortford taken with the lens cap in place. If I call it something imaginative like picturesofBishopsStortfordwithlenscapinplace.blogsbollocks.com I'm bound to make next years Times top 200 Million Blogs. As an added bonus this creative site would allow people with broken PC's (sadly relevant if you read further on) or even the blind to enjoy the same pictures as everyone else.....I hope I get acknowledge soon otherwise years from now all that I will have left will be to making a pathetic Kate Winslet style speech.

Single handedly I am attempting to rescue our trashed local economy (well one shop, anyway). Not sure Mrs B sees it that way though.....
For my 20 year anniversary with my firm I received a length of service bonus which I had been looking to put towards a decent Digital SLR Camera. My father had been a Canon user and I had inherited his old Canon A1 35mm film so I naturally assumed that I was end up going down the Canon digital route. I had waited patiently for the release of the Canon EOS D5 Mark II and was preparing to make a purchase. While searching around for reviews I came across the Nikon D700 and found myself liking the sound of it more and more. I was also fortunate to read a number of direct comparison reviews between the cameras and it became clear to me that the Nikon would be more suitable for my needs. While the Canon is said to be superior for Landscape shots the Nikon beats it in every other aspect, portrait, sports, animals and Low light shooting. My one misgiving was that While the D700 has 12 Million pixels the Canon breezes in with almost double that. The gadget freak inside me kept screaming go for the most pixels, go for the most pixels. While the practical side said what do you need that amount of pixels for. OK, if I needed to blow the picture up so that it could be cover the house then the 21 million pixels would be what I need but there are only a few times in my life where I have needed this ability.

1) The time I wanted the house to look different for a national disguise your house competition .....

2) When Shuffler threatens to visit and I am not in the mood to see her (unlikely these days as she has sold her car)

3) When we have wanted McG to stay out and get some exercise. (I guess we could just lock the cat flap but where would the fun be in that)

4) When we come to sell the house and want to make it look bigger.

Besides finding such a big printer and large size paper might prove a bit of a bitch. The choice was made easier in the end as the D700 has been around for a few months I was able to pick it up for around half the price of the EOS D5 Mark II. So I have done something that I thought I would never do and changed my allegiance, going over to the dark side. Canon to a certain extent have themselves to blame, while almost every Nikon lens from the past 30 odd years still fit the new range of Nikon's, Canon have not been so obliging which has left my old lens collection obsolete and ultimately not tying me to the brand.

The next problem was that my research had told me that the kit lens sold with the D700 was one of the worse that Nikon had ever produced so I had purchased the body only (The strange thing about that is up to the point when I decided that I was going down the Nikon route instead of the Canon, Canon accessories seemed much more expensive. When I checked the day after I purchased the Nikon a whole reversal had taken place and Nikon prices seemed to have gone through the roof - how does that happen..... ). I had worked out what lens's I wanted and went onto the Internet to purchase them, a week later not one of them was available. The sites were all willing to take the orders and many said they had them in stock but it soon became clear that they did not. The result was that I managed to miss all the opportunity to take any decent snow shots. In desperation I contacted the local camera shop in Bishops Stortford expecting to have a laugh at the price they wanted and for them to bring out old stock from the 1950's. I have over the last few years become addicted to the Internet so it was a huge surprise to find that the prices were not only competitive but they also had the actual lens's I wanted in stock. I was down to the shop quicker than McG gets through his dinner.

Taken in action
The D700 even makes Bishops Stortford look romantic. If only I had left the Lens cap in place I could have launched the new web site....

Mischief keeping an eye on the competition

Our friend Kirsty said this photo made McG look like he had lost weight. Harsh, Kirsty, harsh. I'm too much of a gentleman to say what McG said about the photo's of Kirsty

Our friend Vinnie looks like a mean guitar player

My sisters cat Fluffy, not looking particularly fluffy

Mischief - looking less than impressed

I got some surprisingly good results just playing around taking shots of the cats and some friends so decided to take it with me to Mrs Bs sisters, JL's, Birthday party.

I'm not sure what happens to me when I meet up with JL's friends I seem to go into some warped overdrive. Last time I met them I was wearing a straw hat and for some reason, that even I can't explain, I refused to take it off all night (I'd like to put it down to being a bad hair day but to be honest I have been having bad hair days for most of my life and have given up worrying about it. In fact I have more of a problem on the rare occasions when I have good hair days because Mrs B then can't understand why my hair can't be like that all the time. Aaaarrrrggghhhh). I had totally forgotten about this event but was soon reminded of it, evidently it was the only thing that any of them remembered about me. For this latest meeting I spent half the party looking like a half crazed photographer snapping everything in sight before ending the evening in a dance off with a German break dancer called Clause. Not bad for someone who has not had a drink for 20 years. The dance off was going particularly badly when I slumped to the floor with one of those 'god what am I doing here moments' that afflicts people when sober and doing something spectacularly daft. I'm not sure where it came from but I launched into this whole rebirth routine, rising from the floor like a phoenix. I suspect it would not have looked good to anyone sober, fortunately the audience had not been holding back all night (thank god for free bars) and while there was no rapturous applause and standing ovation they seemed to approve in a blurry, sway back and forth kind of way. Poor Clause knew he was beaten and promptly resigned from the competition. If I had left it at that I probably would have got away with it but I guess it went to my head and I managed to blot my copy book by dancing with Mrs Bs dad as he was leaving. Even then I probably might have got away with it but for unfortunately the song that was playing happened to be Prince's "Sexy Mother F***er" Ouch. If I had not already given up drinking I probably would have had to so after this, does this mean I now have to give up going out sober?????

As a post script I managed to accidentally delete all the pictures on the memory card

Tears and much gnashing of teeth. How was I going to explain to JL that all the time I spent either blinding her guests or giving them flashburns, there were going to be no actual results.....

I managed to get a program from the Internet that retrieves deleted files.- Hope, so much hope

It worked and I managed to retrieve them all, - big celebrations

Then the home PC promptly crashed and died

Time to give up.....

It was the best of days is was the worst of days
After six weeks my brother in law Richard finally had his funeral service (If we learn anything from this it has to be don't die in France, the red tape is just horrendous). These events are always difficult but to find out how genuinely Richard was respected and loved in the Industry he worked in was uplifting. Mrs B and I realised that we had only seen a very small part of Richards life and it is testament to his character that he did not boast about his achievements. For anyone interested I have included a couple of links to memorial sights

Richard Spöhrer's Life in the Industry

Richard Spöhrer - Rest In Peace

Fittingly the final song for Richard was Monty Pythons "Always look on the bright side of Life" which summed up his attitude

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...

It got me thinking about how I would like to be remembered and what sort of memorial ceremony I would like. So far I have come up with

Being remembered
Ideally I would like people to be sad that I had gone but glad that they had known me. I doubt I will make a big splash in the world but hope I will at least make a little ripple

As for the ceremony
No ties - I just don't like them.
Nothing religious (gave up believing in god when my dad died - I like the idea of a supreme being, just not happy with the whole organised religion bit which just seems to have become corrupt to me)
Lots of music (still working on that list, hope I have a good 60 plus years to make the choice)

Now comes the difficult part for all of Richards family and friends, constructing a life which does not include him other than as a memory. That's it for another BlackLOG thanks for tuning in.


  1. Having six weeks before the funeral could take place must have been a horrible wait in limbo. I've just scanned through the two links you gave for Richard, he was obviously very much admired, respected and the sort of person who just got on with things and people.

    Can I just say I like the look of the pixel farm t shirt!

    Changing the subject now, congratulations on managing to get a photo of St M's with no new tower blocks in the skyline - you must have been on the undeveloped side of town!! Something tells me you like cats, although I could be wrong.

    And as for the whole 'sober' story, I really don't know what to say.

  2. IMO My sister really went through it during that time, it is amazing how supportive some people have been while at the same time the vultures have also been gathering.

    The T-shirts are great wherever I have worn them people have come up and talked about them - Just goes to prove that simple designs can be so affective.

    It is amazing how the dark can hide a multitude of sins, which also goes to prove the lens cap on pictures of Bishops Sortford could prove to be a real winner. I Love animals in general but with Mrs B and I both out at work all day it would not be fair to get a dog.

    Probably just as well I don't drink I hate to think what I would get upto.....

  3. My mother-in-law's husband comes from Bishops Stortford and is always very complimentary about it. He lived in a house called "Pantiles" which always struck me as a very English house name - doubt there are any houses north of the border called that. Anyway, he might be a potential subscriber to your proposed website.
    I have just read that back and it might be the dullest comment I have ever left anywhere. Sorry!

  4. Thanks for dinner last night, so sorry to miss the wife, she works too hard...drove home safely and miracle of miracles, boys had even cleaned up after themselves..the youth of today - I don't know what the world is coming to. Loads of gram. errors in your post, but its just too heartless to list them all....

  5. Loth Don't worry you can only work with the material you are given....

    Skipper It was my pleasure, pleased to see the two of you.


Your Social Comment

This is just your opinion so feel free to say what you like...