Blood Donation – Refused

Plastic-blood
I just went to donate blood at work.  But, I was refused as a donor because I lived in the UK for 3 consecutive months between 1980 and 1996 (actually I lived there the whole time).  Apparently they (the Singapore health Authority or whatever it is) are worried about Mad Cow Disease.  Now, I am no medical expert but this continuing ban seems a little excessive… I've had my blood tested about 5 times since I have lived here.

I blame Thatcher.

Call of Duty – World at War

Call-of-Duty-5-World-at-War-1665 I've had this game a few days now and already I'm enjoying it just as much as I did the last one (Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare).

Several reviews have said that it's just too much like the last one.  Well, that's just absolutely fine with me!

I just love the dramatic and cinematic action scenes, the clear 'route' through the game and the focus on a good narrative and game-play.

Great visuals, a truly atmospheric and immersive experience and a gritty story. Perfect.

Stockbridge Consultants – Update

Thieves

Since I first wrote about Stockbridge Consultants there have been a few developments and a few comments on my blog.  Whereas some people have shared my concerns about Stockbridge Consultants, the last person to comment actually parted with his money and is now busy trying to get his funds back.  He didn't go onto any details though.

I found this article on the Motley Fool site and there's some stuff there written by someone who clearly knows a lot more about these jokers and their ilk than I do.  Apparently they are called 'boiler rooms'.

A colleague of work has been approached (phone call followed by brochure – a familiar MO) by a company called Cambridge Consulting / Consultants  also based in Korea.  We compared brochure styles and, let's say, we'd be amzaed if both Cambridge's and Stockbridge's respective collateral weren't from the same place!

Let the saga continue!

An email to Simon Mayo and Mark Kemode’s Film Review show on BBC Radio 5

Simon mayo mark kermode

I just emailed this to their show

Dear Bill and Ben

Thought you may be interested in a story I
have just read about MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) along
with a handful of former Hollywood Executives and their plans to 'Save
(Film) Story telling'….

Although I haven't heard Mark use his infamous phrase for a few
weeks now, I'm sure that the "Death of Narrative Cinema" and all that
that entails is never far from his mind!

This is a quote from the article:
"I even saw a plasma screen above a urinal," said Peter Guber,
the longtime film producer and former chairman of Sony Pictures
Entertainment who contends that traditional narrative — the kind with
unexpected twists and satisfying conclusions — has been drowned out by
noise and visual clutter.

Full article can be found here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/movies/18story.htm?_r=1

Cheers Guys!!!



Carl (from Singapore)

Money From Blogging

This article is a response to a piece on the Web In Travel website where Siew Hoon talks to a guy who wants to make money from his blog.

Blog_adsense_money

Wow! What a question – “how can I make money from my
blog?" 

I'm surprised at this question – I think people who ask this
question are asking the wrong question. 
But I suppose I should clarify exactly what I mean.

Bluntly put, I think people who write blogs to make money
are going against what, for me, is the underlying ‘giving’ notion of what
blogging is.  A quick look on
dictionary.com yields the definition: ‘an online diary; a personal
chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page;’

People who used to (and still do I suppose) write diaries
and log their thoughts on paper never, for one minute, expected to make any
money from it.  It was a very personal and
private endeavor in almost all cases. 
However,   the internet has, of course, provided those
people with the possibility to link with thousands of readers and, in turn,
encouraged those who may never have dreamed about keeping a diary or a log, to
begin to write driven by the idea that it might not simply be a solitary
activity given the possibility that thousands may end up reading their thoughts
and musings. (There are countless examples of fame and notoriety of course from
the most unlikely of sources through blogs and other forms of User Generated
Content
).

So, basically put, I don’t think people should make money
from blogging.  Blogging should be an altruistic
and non- commercial activity.  I’m
encouraged to see how many companies now are using their own blogs to keep
their customers abreast of product development, new releases and other company activities.  I like this idea of a blog – it’s a platform
for engaging with customers in a fairly personal and accessible way – kind of,
this is what we’re up to, thought you might like to know and, by the way, there’s
a place where you can let us know what you think.

But, let me be clear, I think attaching some advertising to
one’s blog is fine – a few banners here and there of course and some Google paid
stuff.  Covering one’s costs or even
making a small amount of revenue in a pretty stealth kind of way is fine.  This indeed may have been the approach of
Siew Hoon’s friend in the article – I do hope so. 

Anyone who blogs to make money doesn’t deserve to make
money.  If you want to make money, then
come up with a commercially viable on-line application or service and sell it
but don’t jump on the wholesome notion of blogging and look to make a quick
buck.

My Relationship with Ricky Gervais

Ricky-gervais

I have been a fan of Ricky's for a long time now.  I can even remember him on 'The Eleven o'clock show' on Channel 4 a long time ago – probably before most people had heard of him or started admiring him.

Then of course came 'The Office' and all the other great stuff that's come from this comic genius. 

I have been living in Singapore for over five years now and it wouldn't be unfair to say that, from my perspective, it's a cultural void to a large extent when it come to edgy, satirical or intelligent comedy.  There still seems to be a penchant for visual gags here where someone entering a room with a pair of stupid glasses on and a wig is still considered funny.  I say 'still' because I remember a time when that 'Benny Hill' approach to humor was popular in England when I was growing up.

I mention this because this void had led me to almost reach a point of craving humor of Ricky's type and then his podcasts and audiobooks came along.  They first started appearing a few years ago and  suddenly my walks home from work were delightfully enhanced and I found myself almost skipping to the train with a permanent grin on my face.  It would not be unusual for me to burst out laughing on the train either and, believe me, that's not something that's encouraged here!

It was, I suppose, at this time that I began to form a kind of relationship with Ricky.  It was no more than him making me laugh I suppose but it was the fact that it was a solitary experience for me (iPod and headphones you see) – not sharing my laughter with anyone:  Just Ricky, Steve (Merchant) and Karl (Pilkington) and me.

Recently I have taken to reading Ricky's Blog. I suppose it has a lot to do with Ricky's writing style and his incredibly open approach to blogging that that has further cemented my relationship with him.  I've read so many blogs – professional blogs, blogs of friends, mySpace stuff etc but never have I felt so openly invited into the life, feelings, musings and, above all, wonderful comic energy and ebullience as I feel when I read his blog.  It feels like the connectivity that the internet offers coupled with the whole notion of blogging all wrapped up with the genius and complete lack of pretence of this man has somehow opened up a new communication channel for me that feels really fresh,vibrant and, at the same time,incredibly intimate and almost naiive and child-like in its appeal.