Thursday, March 30, 2006

No Photo is Real

If you want to see how much work can be done on a photo by a professional, check this out. If you role your mouse over the image, it shows the original.

Greg Apodaca's Digital Portfolio

Funky Wheels

The video says it all...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quinn 'considers Sunderland bid'

Whether this is real or not remains to be seen. Of a bigger concern though is what will happen to Pete if it is taken over? Will Niall want his own guy to come in and work for him. I guess one thing he does have in his favour is he already knows him from when he played up there. It may be an interesting couple of weeks.

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Sunderland | Quinn 'considers Sunderland bid'

Bogus badge holders force Blue Peter to suspend free entry perk - Britain - Times Online

Can you believe this - fake badges (some for sale on eBay) are now causing the free entry perk to numerous museums, zoo's, parks etc to be stopped. I always wanted a badge when I was little, but buying it sort of defeats the point.

And the question I was wondering was, would this have become such a big deal if The Times had just left the story alone, and didn't give it so much publicity? I think the answer is in the before and after prices of the badges on eBay. Free market forces in action....

Update - it's even on Wikipedia with a bit of a story - this must be a big deal back home at the minute,

Bogus badge holders force Blue Peter to suspend free entry perk - Britain - Times Online

Terri and Ryan?

And I always thought he was gay ;-)

Maybe he still is - the pics look a little staged to me, and that kiss isn't exactly bursting into flames of passion. Maybe Ryan hasn't kissed a girl before, and is a little tentative?

No doubt they'll be in the gossip columns and magazines nonstop for the next 6 weeks, and then when Idol is done, and Desperate Housewives gets it audience levels back up, they'll have some dramatic break up and go back to being their normal single selves (am I getting a little too cynical here?).

Anyway, more pics and a "story" here.

Strikers halt production at BMW plant in eastern Germany - Autoblog

Sometimes the stars just align, and you know you made the right choice with the car you got.

Apart from the fact that I've been grinning from ear to ear since I got the car (which was closely followed by the new and happy and healthy neice), you see an article like this that makes you chuckle a little more. If Dan from HM Brown hadn't found my car tucked away at a dealership in Nebraska, I imagine this bit of news would have sent me into eternal turmoil as my wait for a car might have gone past the initial 3 month estimate.

Anyway, it all worked out great, so I'm a happy camper.

Strikers halt production at BMW plant in eastern Germany - Autoblog

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Technical Issues

Sorry if you're reading this on IE, but it appears I have some bug that pushes all the posts down a few scrolls. Not sure what the deal is, as Firefox works just fine. Maybe it's time for you to switch?
Anyway, took all the ads off, as last time this happened it seemed to fix it, but looks like not this time. I guess that means I'll have to take another look and see what I can do - wish me luck, my techie skills have been waning a lot lately (but I am a master of Word and Exchange use...)

Avery Korinne Myhra

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
Welcomed into the world on Friday night around 9pm, Avery becomes our second neice to have a birthday on the 24th March! We managed to get some better pics than the blurry camera photo I posted from the hospital.

She was 7lb 5oz and both baby and mother are doing well (good job Sheri!). And Brian didn't faint during the birth, which is always a good thing.

Extra pics here

Luque can play

And here's the proof

Friday, March 24, 2006

Avery Korinne Myhra

Avery Korinne Myhra
Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.

Friday is a busy day!

Birthdays abound today - Meaghan hits the grand old age of 5 (is it that long since she was born???), so hopefully we'll have some pics to post later on from her "grown up" party (the kids one was yesterday - we're hitting a burrito place tonight with her). Also, Sheri was induced this morning, so Avery should pop out at any time - we're just waiting for the call. I just hope she has it a little before or after the party with Meaghan, so we don't have to do double duty at the same time. Future years should be interesting I guess, trying to fit in two kids parties in one day - as long as they both don't choose Chuckee Cheese we might survive.

And Happy Birthday to Faye here in the office, a star on the project for picking up the really difficult work and just getting it done.

M3 is here

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
And parked in the garage. All nice and shiny, and I thought I better take a pic of the wheels before they got all dirty.

Didn't drive it too much last night, but the weekend will be filled with travels (all at under 5k RPM to run everything in properly, just like the manual says).

It's by far the best car I've ever driven - seems to get smaller and smaller, and very go-kart like in terms of feel and response. I'm a happy man.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

M3 all mine today!

5 o'clock is my allotted pick up time. Real pics sometime after that if I can pull myself away from driving it for 10 minutes.

Apparently only 8 miles on the clock, and the brakes are "very very huge" my salesguy said more than once.

It's going to be a fun night.....

Tip of the Day

Courtesy of The Fiver


Chicken Little gets kicked off 'Idol"

I knew it was coming - he was probably the worst singer left in the group, but I thought maybe "the grannie vote" as Simon put it, might keep him around for a few weeks yet. Guess not, which is a shame (although now that normal TV has sort of resumed after the Olympics). However, I'm sure he'll be doing the rounds for the next little while on the talk shows etc, and pulling as many women as he can with his new found sex symbol(!?) status.... - 'Idol' boots another; group now 10 - Mar 23, 2006

Heidi's Baking Cakes Again

Princess 3
Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
The first one impressed Meaghan no end, although by the time you read this, there is a good chance that her friends from playgroup have joined forces to devour the whole thing.

Second cake a work in progress, deadline tomorrow night when we're going to hit the town and eat some burritos! We just have to make sure Meaghan doesn't do too much of that dancing around in the long black skirt. It could all be a bit embarassing....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rix sacked as Hearts head coach

Apart from the fact that a footie club is named Heart of Midlothian (that's the Scottish for you), the most interesting thing is seeing how the different styles of rich Russian takeover affects your club. On the one hand, you have Chelsea, stable management, financial backing, and the chairman staying out of the management side of the business. On the other, Hearts, with a guy who obviously believes he is the manager, so continually clashes with anyone he appoints into that position. He's picking the team, buying all the players without consultation (but still blaming the manager when they turn out to be a bit crap), and then when they still aren't doing quite as well as he hoped, he sacks the manager, coz he obviously won't sack himself.

Now this whole thing puts the fans in a difficult position - their team is in the best position it's been in for years, they have better players, they didn't go bankrupt (which is always a possibility for the Edinburgh clubs, which I got a little insight after I had a drunken chat with a banker from up there), but the owner is obviously either a complete control freak, or a bit of a nutter. You know that before long, there won't be any decent managers who will go up there (for any money) coz they'll only be around for a couple of months at best, and the team they put out will be chosen by someone else. Actually, maybe this is Steve Bruce's next job after the shambles of a team he put out last night?

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Heart of Midlothian | Rix sacked as Hearts head coach

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

HDTV shortage may force Euro viewers into pubs

Not that it would take much, as everyone knows...

Anyway, this is purely to gloat, as having to watch the crap quality of picture for the last 8 years of my existence (and forgetting how bad it was until I went home and watched some real telly), I now have the luxury of my 15 or so HD channels hooked up to the fancy tv in the bedroom. The thing is, the picture quality isn't actually going to be that big a jump back home, so even without the shortage, I can see people holding off on this for a good few years yet (and before I get complaints, I realize it's better, and it's widescreen, and there's more of those darn pixels in it, it's just UK tv quality was so much better than my cable box at home already).

HDTV shortage may force Euro viewers into pubs - Engadget

US military probes Iraq killings

Sometimes the big media guys worry me, so I always try and get my news from a few different places (and implicitly trust the BBC probably coz I grew up with that). Anyway, a case in point this week was me logging on yesterday morning to the top story on the BBC being about an investigation into the murder of 15 civilians in Iraq (7 women and 3 kids included) being done by US Military. Now obviously this is pretty big news, as it's claimed the Marines went on a rampage in a revenge attack for a roadside bomb, and killed some of the civilians inside their home. The deaths at the time were said to be from the initial roadside blast, which has now been confirmed as untrue.

Anyway, I expected CNN to have something similar on their site (and probably headline news), but it was nowhere to be found. It took some digging around in their search tool with a few different wording combinations before I found the article. Reading it makes for an interesting comparison though - the tone is definitely very different from the BBC version in terms of what could have happened, and the amount of background or external sources for the story. You can read it here if you want.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | US military probes Iraq killings

Fiver Takes Me to Strange Places (or spaces)

For some strange reason, The Fiver (my daily lunchtime entertainment for finding out whats really going in the world of footie) had a link to this website. I haven't listened to any of the songs yet, as I'm at work, and the titles look bad enough. Anyway, I've always managed to avoid Barnsley (for the most part - think I might have been there once for an away match when I was younger), and the whole "about myself" section here leads me to believe I made the correct decision. I get a very "lets jump on the Arctic Monkeys bandwagon vibe" about this whole thing (although the fact that I used the word vibe on these pages must be some sort of mistake, or I've been here too long). Awesome dude!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Who Ever Said Labels Were Misleading? | A Socialite's Life

Oh how I chuckled. This post is especially for Anne.

Who Ever Said Labels Were Misleading? | A Socialite's Life

Quick Update

OK - no posts for the majority of last week - a few thousand miles on planes, working til close to midnight every night, and no time for anything will do that to you. It was all pretty hectic, but survived, and ready for the next week ahead.

A quick update on stuff that's been going on. We had our first wedding anniversary this week, which was a blast. We stayed at The Sanctuary on Camelback down in Pheonix. In traditional fashion (after our cyclone experience on the honeymoon), we were in the desert for a rain storm... Still, that was just Sunday when we were flying back - Saturday was a slightly chilly but nice Spring day. Not what I was expecting, but it was all good.

Other things - I ordered the new car. The guys at HM Brown once again came to my rescue, and Dan over there found me a fully loaded M3 (and by fully I mean I think it's got every single option box checked) that was already in the country. It's on a trailer on its way into town as we speak (I think anyway, I had to jump on a plane Friday after saying yes), so should have it as some point this week. Interlagos blue and competition package are the main things, but sunroof, heated seats and navigation are probably the things that will keep the wife happiest. I'm just hoping the snow we're forecast for tonight is going to disappear, coz I don't want to have to go out and buy new wheels and snow tires before next winter. I need some time driving on those 19's 8-)

No word on the baby front from Sheri yet (although she did call on Saturday to wish us a Happy Anniversary and totally freaked out Heidi, who thought the baby was coming). Gareth had his birthday last week, and Meaghan's birthday is this week (along with father-in-law Ron) so a pretty busy time all round.

Think that's it - gotta go and see how Tony from The Sopranos is doing after gettign shot last week. I promise I'll try to get a couple more posts in this week (and no travel!!!!!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Current Car Thoughts

Hopefully I'll be sorting out the payment for the car that is no more by the end of the week (well, next week in reality), so the search is heating up. I even rang up the insurance company today to run a couple of cars past them to see how bad the damage was going to be (S4 - same price as my STi, Golf GTi - 15 bucks less, M3 - only 12 bucks more a month). I was expecting all of these prices to be higher, so I'm hoping the insurance agent didn't screw up when she was working it all out. However, the rumour is that you really do get discounts for putting all your insurance through the one company.

So, the 3 cars mentioned are still in the running. However, I did run the numbers and create a couple of hundred spreadsheets to work out that I could afford the Beemer or S4, especially with their included maintenance packages, meaning I won't have any nasty surprises (apart from the obvious burning through tires at a rapid rate, and the compulsory in Denver winter wheel/tire set). So, if I was a betting man, unless someone is very generous at the Audi garage and throws me something substantial in terms of rebates or free options, I may be signing on the dotted line for the M3 next week. However, given the number of times I've changed my mind in the last little while, combined with the sleepless nights, it could all change in a flash (and definitely before I get the check in my hands).

Thing is, the main thing that seems to be occupying my thoughts about the car situation these days seems to be do I get the leather with alacantra option for the seats, or go for the full leather. Same price, just guessing the alacantra will hold me in place better when I'm going sideways around the bends.....

Maximizing your ROI at Pizza Hut

Not really relevant for over here in the land of the plenty (and plenty of free refills, top-ups and visits to the buffet bar) but it did bring back memories of those epic visits to Pizza Hut in my student days when you spent your last 4 quid on a meal that could last you a few days until your next grant cheque.

I really really suggest you click through and look at these pictures - it's the first time I've laughed out loud since that bastard stole my car (or maybe not that long, but definitely today anyway). And Daniel and Matthew, the challenge has been set - get practising.

Maximizing your ROI at Pizza Hut at blog

Guinness Surger

What could be better - Guinness and Gadgets, all in the same little package. Did someone just invent this for me? I doubt it, given you can only get it back home, and I'm here.

Jenn turns 30

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
A long overdue post on Saturday nights entertainment. All in all, it was a pretty fun night - good food, friends and one or two drinks here and there. The the midnight hour approached, a bounder with very short man syndrome (and shorted temper) decided to pick Ben up by the throat (Ben isn't the smallest guy in the world, and actually used to work the doors in a past life), and so our fun at Martini Ranch ended. One police report later, we all managed to meet up again at The Front Porch, along with Tonks and Ally and a few of the Accenture crowd (Molly tried to run off with a random guy I seem to remember).

Anyway, a heated conversation comparing the passion of UK footie fans and US (American) footie fans resulted in me also being asked to leave the bar. Luckily for me, it was the wife doing the asking, and purely for my own health...

Rest of the picks here (including Brecke's infamous pose that for some reason seems to be getting more views on Flickr than any of the other photos.....)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Never go to a garage

So yesterday we had a couple of hours in between work, pregnant sister-in-laws, eating and chatting to the police about violent and over excitable bouncers (I'll probably write more about that later) so given I'm without car, and unlikely to get it back anytime soon, we hit a couple of garages just to take a look (more for delivery times than test driving, coz I think I've got my mind made up on what I'm going to get in my different price categories - the difficult bit will be deciding how much I'm going to spend).

So the VW garage was first on the list (actually, the only one on the list for me as I had sort of decided on a new GTi) and I just wanted to work out whether or not I could get any discounts, and how long it would take me to get the car I wanted. Now this might be a little hard for you to believer, but I couldn't find a salesman to talk to. Normally those guys are the worst - they hover around, follow you, hassle you and are such a pain that you're desperate to turn and run. So, the one time I actually want to talk to one, no-where. We looked at the cars in the lot (and they had a couple, which was a good sign), and then frustrated, headed inside to talk to someone. There was a line - can you believe that, a line to talk to a sales guy!! So we obviously turned around and headed back to the car. The thing that worried me about this wasn't the fact that I didn't get the info that I need - I've got the web and the phone for that - but if they can't even have enough sales guy to sell the cars, what's the service going to be like if I bought a car from them? Is it a 4 week wait to get booked for a service?

So, frustrated, we ended up in the BMW garage - this probably wasn't a good thing. Service was great, guy was friendly, knowledgable and in no way pushy. We discussed the merits of certain cars versus others (my favourite topic these days, ended with a "have you considered the M5?", "yes, but if I'm spending 100k, it's going to the Porsche garage" conversation), and all in all it was pretty great. I say unfortunately, because there is now in my head the knowledge that I can get a spot in the production line of the BMW factory for a shiny new M3 in Argos Blue (or some other name that I can't quite remember), with the Competition option pack, 19inch wheels and a very large smile on my face. Weird though it is, one of the cool things is the fact that automatically get 4 years of free service with the car, so you never have to pay anything extra apart from your loan payments and the insurance (which I'm sure isn't cheap). So another few sleepless nights are ahead before I make my decision I guess (and I haven't even been to see the second hand Porsches or the Audi garage...).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

When is a laptop not a laptop

When it's got a 19inch screen and weighs 16 pounds (that's twice the weight of a decent sized new born baby he says due to the recent influx of friends and family babies).

I still want one though (the laptop - the baby I'll leave to the rest of the population for now).

Voodoo's Envy u:909 19-incher - Engadget

Sony Ericsson Cameraphone

A new concept phone (whatever that means) from Sony Ericcson, which I have to say looks pretty damn gorgeous. Apparently the screen is OLED which is why they don't have to have a big broder around it.

Given the name, I was wondering if it would, half way through use, decide to throw you head first into the snow? Maybe just if you're name is Aaron (or Ervan for that matter). Just watch out for those rocks!

Sony Ericsson Black Diamond - Gizmodo

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Press Mentions (continued)

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
Obviously not from me, but from Mr Walker himself, pictured here looking like he just realized he hadn't forgot the ring (which he hadn't of course).

Given Newcastle aren't the only North East club without a manager, there's obviously some speculation over who's taking over the Mackems as well, so Pete tried to quell the flames of anticipation.

My only concern is that he's talking to the Daily Express - I didn't even realize anyone read that paper anymore (or that it had survived). As everyone knows (and I keep telling the wife), The Sun is the only national newspaper for sport (it has nothing to do with Page 3 at all).

Anyway, Sky Sports story is here

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Garmin StreetPilot c550, c510

This picture made me sad. Someone is currently in position of my old Streetpilot - apparently if I had registered it, I might have had a shot at tracking them down, but the whole conspiracy theorist in me would make this concept a little too freaky for me to deal with.

Anyway, Garmin announced a couple of new versions this week, and some of the higher end models now have real time traffic updates included (as well as Bluetooth, but not sure exactly how that would work or what it would do).

Given I had one of these for a couple of months, I have to say I really enjoyed it - I used it a lot more than I thought I might, and when travelling, they are real lifesavers.

Garmin StreetPilot c550, c510 - Gizmodo

The next car?

I could have put pics of around 10 cars on the left, such is my indecision.....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Scarlett Alexandra Ross Armstrong Jones is born

and immediately asks for a shorter name ;-) Just joking Rach, I couldn't resist.

So Rachel and Tim had their first baby, a beautiful girl, who decided she'd like to stay in more than pop out for a bit of sunlight. Luckily the docs were on hand to make sure she made her first entry into the world in a safe manner.

Details for the girls are as follows - born March 6th 2006 at 4.38am (GMT), 8lb 1oz and with a decent sized mop of dark hair. Apparently takes after her Dad, but I'm waiting for the pics to confirm this. Rach is alive but knackered, and still in control of her senses enough to make an international phone call.

Pics to follow as soon as the proud parents can tear themselves away from the new baby to get to a computer (obviously not top of the list at this precise moment in time). If you can't be bothered to wait for the daisy chain of copy and paste, their website is here

The New Bedroom System

The New Bedroom System
Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
No car, but a new TV for the bedroom. The bar below is the surround sound thing from Yamaha, associated slimline sub is in the other pics here.

The DVD quality was crap (Zenith 50 buck thing), so that's going back and another one is on the way - Samsung Upconverting majiggy thing so that should fix those issues.

The first thing we watched was the HD version of the Oscars last night, which was kind of apt given the number of movies we watch. I may struggle to go back to normal TV now - the difference in quality is completely ridiculous.

Technical details - TV is a Sony Bravia KDL-V40XBR1 (40 inch LCD screen), surround sound is the Yamaha YSP-800 Digital Sound Projector, and the DVD that should be arriving in the next couple of days is the Samsung DVD-HD950 HD Conversion DVD Player

UPDATE - turns out the quality issue was some dodgy Monster cables. Still getting the new DVD though :-)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Official Wedding Photos

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
We bought the copyright to our wedding album photos, so they're now up on Flickr here. If you need a high res copy to print out, just let me know the filename and I can get the original to you (although the ones I posted should be a decent size for most normal size photos).

Swimclub Big Night Out

Happy to be back
Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
So you know how it goes - quiet dinner out with friends turns into a monster. The food was great (although Lauren had to wait 3 hours for a pizza!!), the company was even better, and the time just disappeared at a ridiculous rate.

And then Ash ordered a round of purple hooters - it was just like old times when we were all about 5 years younger (except my hangover this morning seems a little worse..)

I'm just glad I'm not Cush and Gretchen this morning, doing the house tour thing....

Rest of the photos are here

Friday, March 03, 2006

Noble for me? (Nope, but nice pic)

It's a goody, but apparently not coming here. Which is a shame, unless its the usual "not coming here officially" and you can in fact buy it from 1G Racing or whatever they're called, in little pieces and put the puzzle all together. Anyway, crossed it off my list already - don't think it'll handle that well in the snow, and I ain't walking to work in the winter.

Noble to Release All-New Supercar in April - Jalopnik

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Someone stole my car. I'm not happy......

Update - still no word from the police. I'm not holding out much hope, and as someone said today, would you really want it back now, not knowing what the theives were doing to it all this time.

So, thoughts turn to what I should get next, and thats where the trouble starts. The Porsche fund is currently sitting at around 500 bucks, so I'm not really in a good position to make a purchase of anything decent - it would mean a big big loan... Usual suspects are in my head - a straight replacement with an 06 STi, a Golf GTi so I don't have to spend any more money than I'm likely (or is that possibly) going to get from the insurance company, S4 or M3. And then there's the Mr Thompson approach of buying an older expensive car for the luxury cruising around.

Totally undecided (well, the Porsche is seriously tempting, but the wait list thing might be bad, along with the terminal debt for the next 5 years), so we'll just have to wait and see. It's guaranteed that as soon as I decide, my old car will turn up...

Alfa Romeo Spider

Still at the conference (although avoided the beer last night, so feel much better today), but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to post a pic of the new Alfa Spider. I think I've wanted one of these things since I was about 8, but given their non-US policy at the minute, and the old reputation of falling apart (but at least the rust is fixed these days), it's unlikely I'll ever get one.

On a completely seperate note, the wife put on her feisty negotiation tactics yesterday with our electronics sales guy and managed to get a $300 discount over the price we signed up for. She's great! Install is this weekend, so look for posts and pics on Monday on how it all went.

Geneva Wrap-up: Alfa Romeo Spider - Jalopnik

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Apple Mediocre?

Well, not the whole company, but yesterdays announcement (sorry for the delay - in conferences/meetings/heavy drinking sessions/creating ESI stories for the scrapbook type situations almost 24 hours a day).

A hi-fi boombox thing for your iPod, a leather case and then just new processors in the Mac mini (which was the best announcement of the 3). And that's it - no tablet, no video iPod, still no plasma etc etc.

Still, now that the TV is ordered, the mini is looking mighty tempting with the bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so that I'm fully connected for picture in picture surfing and watching mode. It'll have to wait until the tax comes back now though, as I've blown all my spends for a little while now.