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Tuesday 19 February 2008

Sudden Mother’s Day email barrage

Two days ago it was the fourth anniversary of the death of my mum.

Tonight, four emails within thirty minutes:

Tesco: ‘spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day’

Kodak: ‘remember Mother’s Day’

Asda: ‘treat your Mum this Mother’s day’

Ancestry.co.uk: ‘don’t keep mum about our great family history gifts’

One or two is fine but by the fourth one I began feeling a bit annoyed. Is there some central place sending these out? Mother’s Day isn’t until 2nd March, so it seems a bit of a coincidence these all arriving at the same time. Not a pleasant effect.


Filed under: General,Personal — GS @ 9:19 pm
Saturday 19 May 2007

Reports problems to your local council with Neighbourhood Fix It

The Neighbourhood Fix It website is an effective way to highlight and report problems in your local neighbourhood.

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Filed under: Environment,Politics — GS @ 2:21 pm
Thursday 11 January 2007

Dealing with email spam

It surprises me the number of friends who tell me that they get 200 spam emails a day or something similar. I get very few.

(more…)


Filed under: Net & technology — GS @ 7:08 am
Wednesday 25 October 2006

Questions that Manchester Pride, Marketing Manchester & the Manchester Evening News don’t want to answer

On 18 August 2006 I wrote to Manchester Pride with the following questions. I received a reply from Marketing Manchester, saying that I would get a ‘prompt reply’ just as soon as Pride was over. More than two months later I am still waiting…

Here is my letter:

(more…)


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:14 pm
Wednesday 23 August 2006

Rushes: bluescreen test – mailbag

UPDATE (October 2008): this video has ‘retired’ into the archives. I’ve left the production notes below.

Posts that begin with the word ‘rushes’ contain unedited footage, tests, bloopers and experiments.

I mess around with a lot of stuff which, up to now, has never seen the light of day. Also I’m a bit of a perfectionist and can easily spend twelve hours editing a four-minute video.

But, in recent months the tapes of master footage have been piling up, with not enough time to edit them.

I’m not sure how this will work or where I’m going with it. Some edits always have to be made for privacy and copyright reasons. But at least this way you get to see something. I think it can be fun to see what does and doesn’t work.

Either you can take a look at the rough stuff or ignore the posts marked ‘rushes’ and wait for the polished final products :-)

I wanted some practice at building a sequence using a bluescreen effect. It’s fairly simple if you stick with one wide shot only. But what happens when you cut in for closer shots? You need extra backgrounds from a narrower angle, possibly blurred to give that ‘zoomed in close-up’ effect.

We were thinking of including a mailbag section in our Bargain Hunters show, where we would read some of the email we receive. I shot still pics for the backgrounds (video would be nicer) and we ad-libbed this. The ‘indoor’ sound quality is a dead giveaway (as it was a test we relied on the camera mic).

It’s also a bit more experience of what lighting works best. I used an amber filter on a backlight. This warm rimlight is meant to help the separation between the subject and blue background to give a cleaner ‘keying’ effect. Strangely the backlight seems to work best at head height, even though that isn’t very naturalistic. Though in theory it could be from the sun setting I suppose.


Filed under: Rushes — GS @ 2:34 am
Wednesday 22 February 2006

Birthday

One of the nicest birthdays I’ve had in a while…

I woke up to find an email with a small video attached: my two little nephews, aged three and six, singing ‘Happy Birthday Uncle’. Very sweet.

Then, lunch with Peter and two of his friends at our favourite curry place. After which we visited two pubs. I don’t drink much so I was feeling distinctly merry after two pints of cider.

Then I went to meet ‘L’ & ‘T’. We saw each other from opposite sides of Deansgate. Their three-year-old daughter was waving and jumping up and down, holding my birthday card. We went to a Turkish restaurant where she sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. I’m not a very sentimental person, but it nearly brought to a tear to my eye. Twice in one day! My Ghanian friend ‘K’ arrived too.

Then we did a bit of shopping and I got home about 9pm.

When I saw the children singing, I had a flashback to when I was about six years old and at school. Unexpectedly, the teacher lifted me up so I was standing on the table and the whole class sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.


Filed under: Personal — GS @ 11:10 pm
 
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