Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tom & Jerry Annuals 1971 & 1972

I do have a blog dedicated to comic reviews though i've left it dormant for some months now (well until this week) and in any case i have crossposted some of the reviews here too, so here are a couple...

Tom & Jerry Annual 1972

If you are familiar with the Tom & Jerry cartoons then the annuals (the classic ones anyway) are actually very different. For a start the characters talk and often the story isn't "Tom trying to catch Jerry" but something often quite surreal... all with dialogue thats all quite hip (or was in say the 1950s).

Some of the stories in this annual for example include Tom as a hairdresser (trying to cut a  lion's hair natch) or trying to take a photo of an elusive snow rabbit. There are also a few comic strips starring Spike and Tyke, a pair of bulldogs.

What i like most about these stories are the ones that take place in Tom's house, especially behind the walls where Jerry lives with his friend Tuffy. The one where Tom forces Jerry and Tuffy do some home improvements for him is a highlight.

Tom & Jerry Annual 1971

Another collection of Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 60s (or earlier) and also some stories from Droopy and a Professor Putter too. If you haven't read one of these annuals before you are in for a treat as they are very different to the cartoons and often enter a quite surreal turn of events.

Stories in this annual include Jerry and Tuffy joining a circus (disguised as baby elephants), Tom being terrorised by a toy woodpecker and all three of our friends hitching a ride down South to avoid the winter in a box car.

One of the best stories involves Tom trying to get some maple syrup for his pancakes and being thwarted at every turn by Jerry, Tuffy and a bear. Its all great fun with a sprinkling of hep cat lingo.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting closer

I went up to Stratford's archives today to continue my evaluation of sources for my dissertation next year. The visit was very useful, i think i have managed to fine-tune my proposal a bit (though i haven't sent it to my tutor yet...) I am also a little bit more confident that i have enough sources to play with when i get on with the research next year.

I'm still not 100% sure though, and that is the problem with the proposal. I know there are sources but i'm not yet sure they will be sufficient to answer the questions i have posed. What questions are they? Well i am going to research if new transport links (i.e. the canal and tramway) in early 19th century Stratford had an effect on the economy of the town. I have found one possible snippet that may show an effect, coal merchants increased in the town after the tramway was built but can i show the tramway (and canal) caused these changes? I don't really want to spend the next year trying to research something only to find its all a bit inconclusive. So anyway thats why i am not yet 100%.

I took a few photos around the town (naturally). The Christmas decorations are also up (though these were up last week to be honest).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Time for a new Mac

For the last few years i have been happily using my little Macbook but i have been thinking of upgrading for a few months. I did think of getting another notebook but i hardly ever move the computer around, especially since i got an iPad a couple of years ago so i am thinking that the next computer should be a desktop...

So perhaps the new iMac when it comes out next month. One problem with it is that it does not have an optical drive and (gasp!) i still buy a lot of CDs though an external drive connected via USB will do the trick. I do like the convenience when required of a notebook so nothing is set in stone yet...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

March to the EMA

The last TMA of A825 has been sent now there is just the little matter of my EMA before i can complete part 1 of my Masters degree. The EMA consists of writing a dissertation proposal and a research essay which is derived from that proposal and that little lot has to be done before Christmas! (Technically early January but the end of year festivities may get in the way a bit...)

To make matters more complicated i need to get my proposal agreed informally by my tutor before i can do the research essay part (though its only 3000 words) so that can also eat into a bit of time. I know more or less what i want to do now, i shall be researching the economy of Stratford-upon-Avon and the effect new transport links had on it in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Well that is the plan anyway (i won't call it plan A as there is no plan B really) and the next week or so i need to do some final feasibility research. That involves searching existing research to see if anyone has done this topic before (it doesn't seem so though there have been similar studies of other towns) and also seeing what is available sources and material wise to see if i can actually research the topic! I have investigated some sources already and will be going to the archives in Stratford again at the weekend to check out some more.

Then assuming all is fine i can start "negotiating" with my tutor about my proposal from next week and getting it fine tuned. I can start the research essay once i have a green light on the topic so do not have to wait until the proposal is perfect. November will be spent researching and December writing. I'm not 100% sure what the research essay topic will be yet to be honest but it may involve passenger traffic on the tramway.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mince pies

Its been some time since i did any baking (not that i have done a lot), last week i made some mince meat and then my wife helped me make my first mince pies. Tonight i flew solo for the first time as a baker and made some more mince pies. They taste fine though are a bit crumbly. I should be a great baker being a descendent of the Grants who had bakeries in Birmingham and Oxford but maybe i just don't have the genes. Or need more practice...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A weekend in London

I've had a birthday week this year, "festivities" which started back on Monday in Stratford ending this weekend in Stratford (but London this time!) I had a few days down in #ThatLondon culminating in dinner in Kimchee Korean restaurant which was amazing. I had my first bibimbap and it was great! It was the first time i have been to a Korean restaurant in this country (i have been to one before in Beijing but it was rather different, dog indeed was on the menu there!) I settled for chicken this time...

I also had another trip to Little Venice which is fast becoming one of my favourite parts of London. I took a few photos in London and you can see them here.

The week hasn't all been fun, amid the restaurants, travelling and concerts i also had an essay to write! This is the final TMA of my course, i just have to tidy and polish it a bit over the next couple of days and then i can move onto my final EMA and dissertation proposal...

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin live at Birmingham Symphony Hall (Oct 18 2012)

Some may think its a bit of a departure from the electro synth indie noise terror i usually listen to but on Thursday evening i enjoyed ... some folk and country rock in an acoustic setting.

In fact i have been a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter since i was a teenager and as those years are (ahem) some time ago i thought it was about time i saw her live. Here the two singer-songwriters were without their bands, just them on stage with a bunch of acoustic guitars.

And it was great, despite being in a (nearly full) big hall the feel was intimate. Carpenter mentioned how the two of them often just played songs to each other in their kitchens, this was a bit like that only sans coffee. The banter between the songs was great especially from Colvin, the little stories adding much to the songs that followed. As for the songs, they were a mix of old and new and performed well.

Carpenter plugged her new album quite a lot (which is brilliant by the way) but there was a cheer when the golden oldie "This shirt" was played. That indeed was a song off the first album of hers i bought so many years ago...
I'm early as usual

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ending the 2012 building season

I could have gone on for maybe one more kit but i have decided that Project 041 which is now complete will be the end for model building in 2012. The DHC Chipmunk makes it 16 kits completed this year which is more than previous years though some kits were simpler railway kits which were done in parallel. Its still a good achievement and now i can build up some stock ready for the 2013 season which will likely start in February or March next year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A nice birthday

My birthday was today, as usual i was not at work (in fact i have never worked on my birthday and i never will). Instead i went to Stratford-upon-Avon, for a change. I know i do go there a lot, and indeed have been there 3 times over the last 3 months. However my dissertation is likely to be based on Stratford so i will be visiting a lot to access the archives there. I took some photos today anyway, today was a day of relaxation not work. I shall return to my essay tomorrow...


I haven't mentioned my latest model project much. There is no reason for that as Project 041 a DHC Chipmunk has gone fairly smoothly (though today i was about to start putting on the decals when i realised the white bands on the wings were supposed to be painted on not decals!)

I think this will be the last model project of the year though i could revisit some early projects to do some upgrades. Next year i will do some warship kits, two of which i bought today ready for the 2013 season.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day School 3

Yesterday was the third and final day school for my current course A825. It was held at Leeds Met University, the first time i had been there and indeed been to Leeds! The day school was useful though the next few months of my course will be tough with a final research essay and a dissertation proposal due by early January (which in essence means before Christmas). As adverts keep telling us Christmas is getting closer...

I took a few photos around Leeds with my iPhone. You can see the photos here including the post box painted gold in honour of Nicola Adams who of course was the first woman to win a boxing gold!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Along the Rhine

Yesterday I found a pile of photographs i took during a couple of visits to the Rhineland in the late 1980s (i think 1987 and 88). I was surprised that i took so many photographs to be honest as i haven't seem them for a long time (and forgot all about them!) I got a Praktica SLR for my 16th birthday so i suspect this was one of my early opportunities to test the camera out. Some of the photos are actually rather good, and you can see the scans here (i think it includes a few in 110 format too).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another Spitfire

Project 040 is now pretty much complete (i just need to give it another coat of varnish) and is the latest Spitfire to join my fleet. I did get another Spitfire kit (a F22) at the weekend but i think that will be kept for 2013. I might be able to fit in 1 or 2 more kits before the season ends in November (and it becomes too cold in the unheated kitchen extension where i build these babies.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pype Hayes

Time for another walk, this time much closer to home. I only live a mile or so from Pype Hayes Park so i walked up there (which seems a lot closer in the car to be honest), had a walk along part of the Plants Brook and then back through the park. Its a very scenic and green part of what still is fairly urban Birmingham. My Great Aunt lived in Pype Hayes back in the 1930s (and beyond presumably) so its a bit of an ancestral land. The photos i took can be seen here.