My photo for me, art and photography.

Monday, 26 July 2010


Hello readers! just to let you know over the next few days I'm trying to redesign this blog so apologies for it looking a bit funny - it will get better very soon, I promise!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cancelling LoveFilm

I’ve been with lovefilm for about a year and I don’t use the service – my last dvd had been sitting around on a shelf for about 3 months, so I thought – there’s no point in shelling out every month for something I never use. So on to LoveFilm I went, thinking it’d just be a case of clicking a button and closing my account. Not so. In the ‘account’ section there was indeed a button to press to say ‘cancel my account’. I’m a total phonophone- I detest making phonecalls, so if I have to deal with things, I’d rather press a few buttons, shoot off an email or get on a bus (in that order) even when I’m ill I’d sooner drag my sickly arse out of bed and walk 10 mins to the doctors to make an appointment than phone up. I know. It’s weird, but that’s just the way I am.

ANYWAY. So I pressed cancel, naively thinking it would take me to an ‘are you sure you want to cancel your account with us? yes/no’ page where I’d click a button and that would be it sorted. No, the next page was with a number saying that I had to call up to confirm my cancellation, and I seem to remember that number being a premium one. So.. as there doesn’t seem to be any way around it, I called, and it took me to some indian call centre where the woman on the other end of the phone was doing everything she could to make me stay – offering to downgrade my account (which was already the lowest) and giving me a free month. I don’t want ANY month! I WANT TO CLOSE MY ACCOUNT!!

I realise call centres do a fair amount of good generating jobs in poorer countries, but I’m sorry, I have better things to do with my life and my money than sit around having a chat to some random woman in India and paying through the nose for it and in the end not coming away with what I wanted. I had to settle for the free month for two reasons.

One, I stuck my disk in the post that day. Appaently they had already got it and had sent out another disk (though how they could have received my disk already is beyond me) and that she’d give me a free month while I get THAT disk and send it back, and then Id have to call again.

So basically the deal is like this: They won’t put a black mark against my name so when they get the disk back it cancels the account automatically so I don’t have to ring up. They won’t cancel my account while I still have some disks and until the disk is returned the account remains active.. yet the second a disk has been returned, they’ve automatically dispatched the next one. Which, in my opinion is utterly ridiculous.

Browsing around on some forums and such to see if anyone else has encountered these problems, it seems I am not alone. Seriously, just type ‘cancel love film problem’ into Google and see just HOW MANY angry people there are out there.

Here are just a couple of examples:


Apparently there is a button to press to cancel the subscription without needing to call up, which mysteriously appears to a select few between the hours of 10pm and 5am and then vanishes again. Yeah. Fat lot of use. And there is another one which has been very cleverly hidden, but a kind user on one of the forums had posted up a direct link, which is the one I used today.

I’ve got a mark on my account and a confirmation email from them which seems promising so I’ll let you know how it goes!



In the mean time, this is what I’ve done to help myself out a bit:

1. Made a note of the day which I’m supposed to be billed next, In my case it’s the 26th so they have PLENTY of time to receive my DVD back and cancel my account. Also means that I know exactly when to check my account. Apparently they’re sneaky about it and once you cancel, they don’t appear on your bill as ‘lovefilm’ but just as a generic payment. I’ve also made my bank aware of the situation and I’ve got the number of my card company so if necessary, I can call them up and get them to block those transactions. Hopefully I won’t need to.

2. On my lovefilm account, I’ve gone into my list of dvds pending and totally wiped it. If they don’t know what’s next on my list, they can’t send me anything! See my logic there, eh?

3. When I posted my DVD I got my post office to give me a proof of postage certificate, so if they try and say ‘oh we never got your DVD’ I can say ‘well I sent it and here’s the proof.. suck on that’.


Hope these links etc help some of you guys out if you’re having the same problem – if you’re considering going with lovefilm, do so at your own risk. I’ve had no problems with them sending me things- that’s been fine but this cancellation process and the insult of having to pay a premium number to get put through to an Indian call centre and not even have my account cancelled at the end of it and basically jumping through hoops for something so simple has really put my nose out of joint and I can safely say I won’t be going back to them purely because of that. I may well be making a mountain out of a molehill, but when I’m paying for something I have got very little patience when it comes to people trying to screw me around.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Alec Egan Art Show

Alec Egan, one of my favourite artists with a pulse is having some art shows starting from September this year.

I love his work. It’s very dark, leaves me feeling quite unsettled and mildly disturbed, but that’s why I like it: Because it makes me think. It’s not just grotesque or bizarre for the sake of it, like some of those so-called ‘artists’ who have a pile of bricks in the middle of the floor or a painting of a severed hand or something. His style is very choppy, very roughly done but you can tell that he’s put a lot of thought into what he’s doing – particularly in the blue men series and that there is a message in there he’s which he’s trying to put across if you take the time to look at it with your eyes and mind open.

Click the painting from his latest series, ‘The Art of Thinking Backward’  below to go to his website and check him out.




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Monday, 12 July 2010

I Heart Rocket Dock

My computer had to be reset and frankly – I’ve never used anything but Windows, and I find the cost of imacs morally objectionable, but I do like how simple and shiny all of Apple’s stuff is. And I am a BIG fan of simple things. I HATE the way Internet Explorer looks and use Safari instead, purely because it’s shiny. I remember when I got my Vista, there were a load of tutorials on how to pimp your XP out to make it look like Vista…So onto Youtube I went to watch some tutorials to see if it’s possible to make my Win7 look more like a Mac. IT IS!!! So I fancied a change and thought I’d give it a go myself.

And F.Y.I, yes, I am THAT much of a geek that I actually love computer stuff. I don’t understand most of it, but I like trying.

Anyhoo… all of them were banging on about this thing called Rocket Dock and how you install that, install a ‘skin’ and a few shiny icons click ok, unlock your Win7 task bar – shove it somewhere else, click click click, and job done! Normally I watch these things with an eyebrow raised and an sardonic ‘haha AS IF it’s really going to be THAT simple’ smirk on my face. The weirdest part was A) It really was SO EASY that I didn’t even stuff up once, and B) it actually worked and my computer hasn’t kicked the bucket. Both good things!!  I downloaded the ‘mac snow leopard’ skin from the rocket dock site for this and a bunch of icons from various places. Main one is if you go in Google and type in ‘free icons’ it’s the second one down (icon archive).

And here to demonstrate my new pride and joy in all its shiny new glory is the lovely Jensen Ackles :)

(I didn’t make that wallpaper btw.. if I had it wouldn’t have such stupid writing like ‘lil devil’ on it and his face wouldn’t be green… I’m just saying….)





All the icons I need are in the bar below – no crappy windows 7 tasklbar hogging the limelight. No icons on the desktop clogging up the space… still have a couple of the vista gadgets – the calendar, a couple of sticky notes and a nice big clock.. And when you roll over the task bar, the icons bug out (as you can hopefully see from the one on the bottom) You can change this though, should you not want it to do that.  And you know what the best thing of all this is? (other than Jensen’s face staring back at you) It is all FREE. Yes. That’s right. The rocket dock makers regard their programme as a ‘peace offering from the mac community’ because they feel for us aesthetically challenged Windows users.

desktop4<<<<<<< The rocket dock taskbar is really simple to navigate and use, and it’s ridiculously easy to add things to the bar. All you gotta do to add… say… MSpaint to your bar, is grab the icon from the desktop and drag it over. It’ll appear in the bar – and you can customise it with new icons if you want to make it look more shiny. To add a shortcut to an internet website like the youtube or twitter icons that you see here, on your desktop, right click >>>new>>shortcut>>> then type in the web address and press ok. Then drag that to the rocket dock bar and apply an icon (or not) job done.

The Shutdown ‘docklet’ is also a fantastic feature. Just click it and your computer shuts itself down. None of this faffing around with pressing ‘start’ first. These docklets are also relatively easy to install. It’s mainly a question of copy and pasting bits from your ‘downloads’ into the rocket dock ‘icons’ folder and clicking and dragging something down to the bar.

My only criticism of Rocket dock is that when you have multiple windows open in, say, Safari or Internet Explorer – with Win7 you roll over and it shows you  thumbs of the windows you have open. Rocket dock does not do this, so I’ve not really made my Win7 toolbar completely redundant. You can’t see it on the screens I’ve posted, but I promise you, It’s still there :) As are all your icons still!! I’ll tell you how to do that now:

If you wish, you can make all your desktop icons invisible with a couple of clicks. It means that when you want to find something you just       repeat the procedure and unclick one thing!






On your desktop, RIGHT CLICK, click ‘view’ then where it says ‘SHOW DESKTOP ICONS’ you just click it. This screenshot says is unticked because mine are already hidden. If yours are visible, it will be ticked and you will need to untick it. That’s all you have to do, and to reverse it and get your icons back, just do the same thing, but tick it where it says ‘show’.


Simples ;)


And finally – the not-totally-redundant win7 bar…


desktop 3

See? Up the right hand side? still there… and still with the ‘rollover to show open windows’ capability.

Basically what I did was when I installed rocket dock, I right clicked on the win7 bar, unticked it where it said ‘lock’ and dragged it off to the right hand side and locked it again, then right clicked it again, clicked ‘properties’ and then clicked ‘auto-hide the taskbar’ (which is on the taskbar tab in that window) you can also change its location here in the ‘taskbar location on screen’ options, but i just click and dragged it. Same difference. Click apply and then that’s that done, so it will be invisible on your desktop until you hover your mouse over it and then it’ll magically appear. I actually prefer it being up the right hand side for the already open windows tabs. It means you also don’t lose your ‘start’ button, although to be honest, I use it so rarely that I don’t miss it, because I’ve had icons and shortcuts cluttering up my screen for years. However, there is a ‘search’ Docklet on rocket dock that I might install…


If you want to watch a tutorial on this, just you on Youtube and type in ‘make windows look like mac’ or ‘rocket dock tutuorial’ or something and you’ll find out how to apply skins and customise icons and such in there :)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Judy Garland

Just a few scribbles I did of the late great.. unable to do the colour correcting fandango because I had to reinstall windows and haven’t got around to finding my Corel disks and reinstalling PSP.

image image image

I’ll also have to figure out how to get these posts looking like the old ones too because I’ve had to reinstall Windows Live Writer (which is what I use to write my blogs) so all my settings were gone. Technology is a massive pain in the arse, but where would we be without it?..


… oh yes, having lives.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

AGES 13 – 16. Survival.










Q: SATS: How important are they?

A: While you’re in school – for me, it was basically to determine if you were put into the classes with the smart kids or the dumb kids. Just to kind of assess where you are and what level you’re working at. I remember my SAT score was 666… dunno what the hell I got that in – I just remember the number. English Maths and Science maybe? If I don’t even remember what they were, that’s a good sign they’re not overly important. It’s not really something anyone is ever going to ask you about.

Q: GCSEs: How important are they?

A: Honestly, not horrendously, but at the same time, pretty important. English, maths and science are the ones you need to do well in because they’re the basics and if you want to teach you need to pass all these otherwise you’re gonna have to go back and do them again. When applying to university – you apply before you get your A-level results, so universities kind of look at those and your predicted grades so they can see what you have under your belt already and your potential as a student for them. On your CV, people look first at your university degree, if you have one, and your A-levels. Those are the main 2. If you’re working somewhere, for example, in an international school, it helps if you can speak more than one language, and here your GCSE German/French is useful to say ‘yep. done it.’ Aside from that… because you’re 16 when you’re legally allowed to leave school and go to work – if that is your intention, you’re gonna need the best grades you can get, basically. Because if people who have spent years in higher education getting a-levels, bachelors and masters degrees are really struggling to get jobs with their lovely long list of academic qualifications, then good luck if you’ve left with only a handful of C/D grade GCSEs.


It is pointless saying to a teen ‘don’t do this’, because… let’s put it this way – I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a non-rebellious teen. You’re gonna press every button you can and see what you can get away with. I did it, and even though your parents will deny it, that they did too. But here are some  things to bear in mind:


It’s normal for friendships to blow hot and cold. It doesn’t make it any more fun or any easier, but just know this is kind of normal. Especially in all girls schools, there is a LOT of bitchiness and backstabbing and gossiping. I’m sure it’s not much better in mixed schools or all boys schools, but I suppose boys are more thuggish and less catty. Choose your friends wisely and don’t try to change yourself just to fit into a crowd. Be who you are and keep being who you are – that takes balls sometimes, but it’s worth it. Nobody likes a fake and the only person you’ll be fooling really is yourself.

If your ‘friends’ don’t respect you, your views, opinions and values and try to change you, or bully you into being someone you’re not or to do something you’re not comfortable with and don’t want to do – then those people are not your friends. If you don’t want to do something – don’t do it. The people around you should be mature enough to accept that not everyone is into the same things.



1. THE GOLDEN RULE : if someone comes up to you and offers you something and you don’t know what it is, just say no and walk away. ALWAYS let your parents know where you are. If you’re secretive about stuff they’re going to come down even harder on you because they’ll worry and they’ll be less likely to be ok with you going out again if you’ve kept them up all night worried sick. If they know where you are and what time you’re planning on coming home they’ll be much more relaxed, and if something happens to you, they know where they’ll have to pick you up from.

2. DRUGS Don’t do drugs, because drugs are bad. Drugs are also expensive, and teenagers are not rich. So chances are, if you’re 13 and get your hands on some drugs, if  you can afford to buy them with your pocket money, they’re going to be the lowest grade available – as in mixed in with a load of other crap so you don’t even know what’s in it. Which is not only dangerous, but stupid to risk your health/life just for a high. Someone I know did drugs when he was a teenager and he has ruined his life because they totally messed up his brain and now he’s schizophrenic, almost 30 and having to live at home with his parents because he can’t be trusted to live on his own and be able to look after himself. Do you REALLY want to end up like that? No? then don’t do drugs.

3. ALCOHOL. Everyone does it – it’s a learning curve – part of growing up. I had my first drink when I was 12 and the first time I got drunk I spent my 13th birthday in bed with a hangover. I am really REALLY lucky with my parents – they’ve, for some reason, always trusted me. My mother is very cautious but I think they were both smart enough to realise that if I wanted to do something, I’d do it anyway and if they told me not to do something it would make me want to do it even more.  So they basically let me do what I want (within reason) because if they let me do stuff and we were open about it, they wouldn’t worry, because they knew what I was up to, even if they didn’t agree with it – which is better than not knowing and assuming/fearing the worst. Since I was a tot, when they had a drink, they’d let me have a bit, so by the time I hit my teens I knew I hated whiskey and Vodka and wine, and the mystery of booze was kind of eliminated. Still went out and got ratted and woke up under radiators in people’s houses. I never got in trouble for getting drunk, because I got (and still get) the most horrendous hangovers so me spending the next 2 days unable to move without wanting to throw up was punishment enough.  Anyway. My alcoholic past out of the way – some basic things to remember.

1. Don’t drink cheap stuff because it tastes like arse and it’ll make you sick

2. DON’T MIX YOUR DRINKS – that is just stupid. Avoid snakebite black – your friends may all be drinking it now, but give them 2 hours and they’ll be the ones on their knees with their head down the toilet wanting you to call their mum and saying ‘sorry.. sorry.. sorry’ over and over again for an hour while you’re holding their hair out of their face, force-feeding them bread and water and feeling a little smug that it’s not you who everyone is going to be saying ‘haha can’t hold his drink – what a loser' about the next day. Also, if you’re aware of what you’re doing you’re less likely to do stupid things and get into fights and have rumours spread about you at school.

3. When you first start to feel sick, that is when you should STOP and swap booze for water and go and get something to eat. Preferably stodge like bread or chips. I say ‘stop’ the minute you start to feel sick, because that’s just the beginning of the wave that’s going to come crashing over you. If you keep drinking past that it’s just going to make you feel EVEN WORSE.

image4. Sounds gross, but it’s true: Better out than in. If you feel sick, don’t try and act cool and keep going – go to the loo and throw it up. You’ll feel much better for it and your hangover won’t hurt quite so much the next day because you haven’t kept it in your system. Drink WATER after that and eat something.


5. BE SAFE: Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know, never have a drink you haven’t poured yourself, never leave your drink unattended and if you have a bottle, keep your thumb over the top of it while you’re walking around. It is SO EASY for someone to spike your drink. It’s happened to at least 5 of my friends – even big tough guys – when they thought they were being careful, and at university – where we’re all older and wiser about keeping an eye on our drinks. Basically spiking: if you’ve had one drink and feel like SH*T – really dizzy, really sick, feel a bit like you’re going to die.. chances are your drink has been spiked. Tell a friend so they know to keep an eye on you, and call your parents and tell them to come and pick you up. If you’re at a party where someone is going to do that to you, you don’t want to be there, because once you pass out, you don’t know what else they may do, and it’s not worth it.


Hope some of that is useful to you


Friday, 2 July 2010

David Bowie - Heroes (live)

The most sexy man to ever walk the planet?

I think so.