Friday, November 17, 2006


Yesterday morning was spent having some rather interesting dental surgery carried out. I was due to have a bone graft in preparation for a couple of implants in 6 months time when the graft should have integrated properly. The graft was going to make use of a titanium mesh to form a surface on which the graft could take hold and give it shape/structure. The procedure was going to be so interesting that my normal dentist and nurse had come along to assist the consultant actually doing the work, and cleared his appointments!

But unfortunately for them it turned out that I'd had some good healthy bone growth in the site. So much so that it meant that I didn't need the mesh, but that the implants could be inserted as well as. This has knocked off 6 months from the whole process, and also means that I don't need an additional surgery.

The grafting process was fascinating. They started off by almost taking bone from my chin, but ended up using bone scrapings from the implant preparations, with the bone caught in a trap on the surgical suction. There was also a bit of cow bone used, but much of the graft was my own bone.

The temporaries I've got covering the site aren't fantastic, and basically let me smile and talk. No apples for me. They are also so temporary that I'm half expecting them to fall out at any minute. But so much better than the denture I've had for 3 months.

I hope to eventually get a full photo record of this procedure, and all the previous work carried out...


Niles, Duncan Borrowman and Colin Ross have already blogged about the PagePlus training held in Birmingham last weekend, but I have the photographic evidence.

In the picture, Duncan is demonstrating kerning using the word COTTAGE (if the kerning is too small then the double T become joined by their cross bars).

Barely visible in the pic are Alex Foster and Helen from Chesterfield.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Direct to close first account

Its some time since I've closed a bank acct, but I will be doing so as soon as I've dug out the paper work following the announcment of First Direct's charging structure for those who pay in less than £1,500 pm.


went off to the NEC arena last night to see Muse on their first of two nights there. I reckon its 16 years (nearly 1/2 a lifetime!) since I was last there, and that was to see Iron Maiden (that involved driving after School to Northampton, then train and then the return journey with dropping people off in various villages).
Anyway, back to the present. The lighting/video and sound production was absolutely fantastic. As I'd expect it was earshatteringly loud, but with no loss of hearing in the morning. The stage and lighting had an asymmetric design to it, with the drummer at stage right. Above him was a array of leds that could be raised/lowered to hide him! Stage left had a huge display screen, behind which were a set of big colour changing spots, that were also height adjustable.
The asymmetry of the stage was rather spoilt for me, from where I was sat/stood, because there was an architectural vertical piece of scaffold that restricted my view of the stage rear, and the drummer/visuals :( On paper it was probably a fantastic design.
Muse is a strange 3 some because they never refer to the synth player who I assume is a session musician. Anyway, he was tucked away at the back of stage left, and never came out from behind his instruments.
The set list consisted of quite a lot of their current album, and rightly so as it is full of anthemic songs, and Knights of Cydonia is a stomping end of concert piece, only spoilt by not having a live trumpet. The rest of the set was most of their truly awesome other anthems (Plug in Baby, Bliss etc).
One thing I've noticed about gigs nowadays is the plague of mobile phone cameras. During black outs on stage you can see a field of view finders as people photograph the stage.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Edwards rest in peace

Although never a regular at Edwards No8, it was the first club I went into when I arrived in Birmingham, so its with a sense of sadness that it burnt down on Saturday night. It wasn't quite my cup of tea, the music being a bit too heavy metal. As it happened we were at what has become my main indie club of choice, Snobs.
The fact that no one was seriously injured in the fire should be a testament to the skills and training of the door staff. Trying to move 500 pissed people out of a building at 1.30am is not the easiest thing in the world...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Firework Spectacular

fireworks3Sunday evening was spent watching tonnes of chemicals go up in smoke. I'd been invited to the Edgbaston Firework Spectacular, but as I'd never been before (last couple of years I've either had my own fireworks, or been to someone elses to let them off), I wasn't prepared for the most awesome display I've had the opportunity to see properly.
Each show lasted about 40mins, with about 15mins of "chart acts" and promotional videos, and then a sort of musical around the world by music and light.
There were 3 separate displays, and the event management seemed to go like clockwork as there were effectively 3 audiences that had to be seated and then exited, and the show reset within 40 mins! By my calculation there were over 20k in the audience.
I tried out my new Canon 5D full frame camera on one of the shows. Firework photography is difficult. You need a camera with quick focussing, and an ability to push the ISO to 1600 without too much noise creeping into the picture. You then need a fast lens, and to be able to expose for as short a time as possible (maybe 1/50s...). My keeper rate from the evening is probably as low as 5% (I'd normally like to get something like 25%, although with digital it doesn't matter too much).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shootout for seats

Gunfight for parliamentary seats: Well, not literally...
The Labour party has a problem in South Birmingham, basically 3 parliamentary seats become 2 seats. And the 3 current incumbents want to represent the 2 seats. Because of the way the boundaries have been re-drawn all 3 could have some form of notional claim over either of the resulting 2 seats.
The resulting applications make it clear which are favourites for the new seats of Hall Green and Selly Oak: Godsiff and Jones have applied for Hall Green, while McCabe and Jones have applied for Selly Oak. My prediction is that Lynne Jones will have to find another seat, and there is a seat in the city where the incumbent is not going to be restanding as a Labour candidate.

"nothing to hid, nothing to fear"

The title comes from something I vaguely heard on Today this morning with respect to the DNA database, but I think it can equally be applied to the Commons debate yesterday on calls for an Iraq inquiry.
The quotes from the foreign secretary, in the BBC report, sum up all that is wrong about our current government leadership mentality:
In the House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said: "I have no doubt that there will be a time when we want to learn lessons."

Subtext: "But we don't want to learn about them now, when we may be able to do something about it. And we definitely don't want there to be a chance that there is an admission of error while we're up to our necks in the mire."
By opposing an inquiry you can only be lead to believe that there is something that they don't want to come out into the open while we still have troops on the ground.
Interesting to see which serial rebels voted with the opposition. Most of the usual suspects, but no mention of Selly Oak MP, Dr Lynne Jones, which is disappointing.