Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Land peel furniture revolution

Every now and then you run into something that is just absolutely, undeniably, awesome. Very, very rarely does anything to do with furniture fall into this category for me. This is an exception. I really have no idea who Shin Yasmashita is, but she is apparently a Japanese industrial design student, and is plainly one with an amazing talent and unique vision. Just take a look at these photos (originals here).

The idea is basically to have a kind of floor mat that can be reshaped to suit your furniture needs of the moment. This is definitely an idea that has a very Japanese complexion to it. Here in the west I think we are too wedded to the idea of our chairs and sofas to really ever consider ways of making sitting on the floor more comfortable.

I really like the idea of having this one totally configurable bit of furniture. Just being able to grab and manipulate your environment to shape to your needs at that moment. I think this is just a prototype at the moment, but if it goes into production I would be very interested to try it out.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Airbus A380 excitement

I am a big fan of machines. Bigger. Faster. Louder. That is my mantra. To my mind one of the coolest, and biggest machines is the Airbus A380. This is a really supersized 21st Century Jumbo jet. Aviation moving forward. Concord being retired and the end of supersonic passenger flight was a major setback back, and made me very sad. The A380 is a shining step forward.

Double decked along its entire length the Airbus A380 8000 can pack in an astounding 853 passengers. It has 50% more space than the outmoded Boeing 747. The 747 was introduced in 1969, the same year as Concord by the way.

I’m no plane spotter, but I really want to take a flight on one of these. I must admit I felt more than a little bit excited to read an announcement that flights to Manchester from the UAE will be using the new airliner. Next time I have to be taking flights to Dubai for work I hope that the airline that flies me is running one of these epic sky-whales.

Monday, 29 March 2010

More cool electric vehicles

OK, I know I have talked about electric cars before, what can I say, when I get a bee in my bonnet, its in there for a while. This is different though, hear me out, because before I was talking about cars and today I'm talking about the wonderful world of bikes.

You gotta love a motorbike, the speed, the freedom. The very idea of a motorbike is excitement. I have been ragging bikes around since I was big enough to reach the handle bars, and I hope never to stop. The problem with electric bikes so far has been that the have focused too much on keeping the weight low.

Most electric bikes have basically been push bikes with a weedy little electric motor to help the feeble-legged get up hills. The have lacked the raw-meat excitement of a proper motorcycle. That's why when I saw this.

Wow, huh? This little beast is made by KTM and is totally electric. I'm trying very hard to get a test drive of one of these - I will keep you all posted. Of course part of the appeal of bikes is the ability to get around congested cities as well as the thrill of tearing up a dirt track.

Anyone who has been to a city with truly awful traffic will appreciate what it is like trying to get around. Paris is (for me) the worst. You hope that if you sort yourself out with car hire France will open up for you. Instead you find yourself sucked into the Stygian nightmare of navigating Paris's streets and confusing parking regulations.

One answer to this problem in cities has been suggested as being vehicles like the pricey Segway. The problem with this is really one of self respect. You just don't look cool riding one. You look like a fat, rich, idiot who is too lazy to walk. What can be done? Well perhaps this:

By combining the kind of easy to balance parallel wheels with a motorbike style seat and handlebars perhaps some of the problems of the Segway are solved. Not would the rider look better hunched daringly, athletically over the controls but having a seat could make it more suitable for longer journeys. What will make or break this gadget for me (and probably many other traffic maddened city folk)is the range and the speed. If it can go fast enough and long enough, then sign me up!

Friday, 19 March 2010

cutting corners on flights

I don't mean to come across as whining, but I take a lot of flights with a lot of different airlines and the attitude of some of them really, really sucks. One Irish budget airline that shall remain nameless in particular. The amount of hidden charges they throw at you really takes the... well you know where I'm coming from. I was winging about this online to a friend of mine today and they sent me a link to this video on youtube.

It made me laugh, but it is pretty close to the truth actually. Well I have had enough. From now on all my flights to London are going to booked with a carrier who know how to treat their passengers with a bit of respect, and as always, you get what you pay for.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Electric cars

With concern about global climate change running as high as it is, there is a lot of pressure for individuals to reduce their carbon emissions. A proportion of carbon emissions come from personal transport, the cars we all drive. I love cars and driving, and though I want to do my bit and be a responsible citizen of the world or whatever, I never want to stop driving. They will take my car keys and my pink fluffy dice from out of my cold dead hands.

Because I want to keep driving, and because I don’t want to kill penguins (how could I?), I have been paying a lot of attention to electric and hybrid cars. To be fair most of them haven’t done anything for me. This is either because of their looks, their performance, or the fact that they just would not be practical for me.

There is one electric car I would absolutely love to drive though: The Tesla Electric Roadster! Just because you are saving the planet does not mean that you don’t have places you need to get to fast. Take a look at this video of one of the slick looking road-beasts going head to head with a meaty v8 powered Dodge Viper:

That is certainly no milk float. The only thing that is missing is that throaty sports car roar. I think if I could afford one I would put in a monster sound system and play a CD of raw monstrous engine noise at full blast wherever I went. That wouldn’t be as anti-social as it sounds, at least people would be able to hear me coming and get out of the way!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Lingerie and Sofas

I don’t know what it is, about lingerie videos and the Internet. Just recently I have been running across loads of them. To be fair some of them seem a little bit questionable, but a few of them really make me laugh. Like this one for instance:

I think it is really creative the way they have taken the traditional lingerie photo shoot and put a fresh spin on it. The models look fantastic in the clothing, and it genuinely looks like they are having a lot of fun. It would have been so easy to just have had them lolling around on sofas or pouting in soft focus. I really love to see something taken out of one context and put into another. The brand message that seems to come across really connects in a way. Rollercoasters are fun and exciting, and to me that’s just what lingerie should be.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Formula One

I am very excited at the moment because of the start of the new formula one season. There is no doubt in my mind that formula one is the greatest motorsport that has ever been. The combination of white-knuckle racing with the technical battle really sucks me in. This year there are a couple of big human stories that it will be fascinating to see play out across the season.

The man drama is of course the return of retired Formula One legend Michael Schumacher to the driving seat of an F1 car. If this was a Hollywood movie, Schumacher would definitely be the main character. He would probably also be played by Tom Cruise, so maybe best not to follow this metaphor too far!

The other human drama that I think will prove captivating is the rivalry between the two British drivers on the circuit. Between them Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have bagged the last two driver’s championships. Last season they were on opposing teams, this year they are united at McLaren-Mercedes. Of course being teammates will not stop the rivalry, and now the world will find out who truly is the better driver, as both will be competing in identical cars.

Any great sports story requires a plucky underdog. For the 2010 season this has to be US F1. The sport of F1 has never really been huge in the USA. Why this has been the case has been the subject of some debate. Possibly it is that American motorsport fans don’t like seeing cars driving very fast around anything other than a perfect oval. Possibly it has been the lack of Americans to get behind the competition. Poor US F1 have set out to change this, but have been unable to get any kind of car ready in time for the start of the season. They are unlikely to get any kind of fairy tale ending to the season, but it will be interesting to see how they do once they actually start, and whether they can hold it together for 2011.

So that is the cast of characters and some of the main plot elements, but the drama that is F1 would be nothing without its jaw-dropping, globe-spanning backdrops. The first race of the season was in Middle Eastern Kingdom of Bahrain. The track looked like it supplied some good racing, but construction equipment visible gave it a half-finished appearance. Certainly it lacked the wow-factor supplied by the other Arabian fixture in the calendar.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was an outstanding visual feast last year, with a unique day-night format and some amazing use of lighting on the grandstands. This year it is to be the climax of the season, the very last race. It may very well be that the next Formula One world champion is anointed at Abu Dhabi. That is and the end of the season though, for now the teams, the cars, drivers and all, will have to catch their flights to Australia and set their eyes on the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Best dresses of the Oscars

So the Oscars were last night. Everyone else on the Internet is busy reporting on who won what. That is not what we are about here - because we are going to be looking at what they should have a special statue for. Every year the 'best dress' category is every bit as much worth looking out for as 'best picture'. This year was no exception with some truly spectacular dresses on show. Take a look at some of the pictures that I got from The Guardian.

That is Vera Farmiga right there, looking amazing in one of the hottest dresses for a long time. Looking great in the photo, but, lets be honest, 'Up In The Air' was a real dog of a movie.

That is Diane Kruger, also looking great in a dress. This particular dress is Christian Lacroix (oooh!). I like it a lot. I could see myself getting away with wearing a dress like that, which is not something that you can say about this last one, being worn by the gorgeous Zoe Saldana.

You have to dress to impress, and its hard not to be impressed by these dresses.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Oh dear....

I just looked at what I wrote yesterday - um... sorry for the over share there...

Monday, 1 March 2010

A guy from Mumbai

So do you believe in love at first sight? Most people don't I think, and it might seem a little silly to some. How can it be that two people can know that straight away? Mind you, they do say that you from like 90% of your opinion of someone within 5 minutes of meeting. If you go on to have a relationship with them maybe you look back, know that you had a good feeling about that person from the start.

What started me thinking about this? Well you might have guessed I have met a guy. It was on that new web-cam chat thing where you get connected to randoms. I was about to leave the sight because, well, take a look for yourself. Its like visiting the monkey house at the zoo. Like I say I was about to give up on the whole thing then this really sweet looking guy appeared on my screen.

Right away I knew he was different. Unlike most of the other guys on there he was fully clothed. Not only that but he didn't seem to be touching himself inappropriately. Plus he was wearing a necktie. That's when I knew he was a class act.

So we got talking - and talking and talking. Honestly we just spent hours chatting about everything under the sun. I think that is when my head began to catch up with my heart and I began to realise that this could be the one.

Luckily he was feeling the same way. We have been talking long-distance since then and I think this could be pretty serious. Only one problem. He lives in Mumbai. Not that I have anything against Mumbai its just it is just so far away. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm usually doing my thing either in the States or my home-away-from-home, England. I get back and forth quite a bit so I'm well used to taking lots of flights.

So I'm looking to go out there and meet up in person. I really can't wait. I have been reading up on Mumbai and India. It's fascinating, so much stuff I never know. I found up my doctor about getting vaccinations and stuff, blackmailed my boss into giving me some more time off and now all I need to do is to book some flights to Mumbai. Wish me luck, my experiences with meeting men over the Internet haven't been that great before - but if you fail, try try again as they say.