Monday, June 30, 2008

And at Glastonbury 2008......The sun shined!!! Mostly

Yes, Friday was waterlogged, and I was forced to dance in wellies (my dogs are proper barking this evening lol)* I've had a super long soak in the bath, and a nice beer to unwind with, checked my 77 emails(!!), and started to upload my photos. Can't believe the crazy is over.
*it means my feet are killing me :)

I went with my friend Francis from Canada, who is over for a month long trip of Europe. Mainly dance festivals in Holland, Berlin, and UK it seems, lol, but good for him!

Being a proper dance kid, Francis didn't see one band not in the Dance Field, so I mainly stayed with him - but I did catch Neil Diamond who rocked!! I love the main stage on a sunny afternoon, everyone singing along with some master of their craft in full swing. Love it! And the crazy costumes, and good naturedness of everyone there make it a perfect, if fairly surreal experience :)

But I mainly danced. Hence the dogs! lol

Saw some fantastic DJ's and acts. Friday night was perfect (wellies or no). X-press 2, James Zabiele, Roisin Murphy, and the Stanton Warriors were all perfect. Then onto the after hours acts. There is a new field called Trash City, up by the Green Fields and Avalon fields. It is where all the crazy modern sculptures, fire dancers, nightclubs that look like half and airplane, and get this, a 1970's New York gay disco run by transvestites called NYC Downlow. It was bloody fantastic!!! lol. Still classic Glastonbury, with loads of mashed ravers looking for a last dance, but was also pretty full of loads of other gay clubbers too - and played an fast house/disco mix that was brilliant. Went back on Saturday night too. Fantastic place lol.

Saturday night was more so-so until the headline act of Dance West - DJ Dave Seaman (no, not the footballer lol). I have fond memories of Dave as he is a Leeds DJ, and used to play at all the clubs and raves I went to in 1991/92. I havent really seen him since, so it was great to hear him play. And he was plain amazing!! A few of the acts had been a bit up-their-own-arses and pretentious, but Dave Seaman played a perfect big set, full of anthems and classic, to very receptive crowd!

But I leave the final word to Mr Seaman, who really was the act of the festival for me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monthly moon round-up - Dione

Size: 1,120 kilometers - 4th largest moon of Saturn
Orbital radius: 377,400 kilometers - 6.26 Saturn radii - within the E ring
Orbital period: 2.737 days - about 1/6 of Titan's
Discovery: 1684 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini

Dione's globe is dominated by a star-like pattern of bright "wispy terrain" -- or so it appeared from the Voyagers' distant views. It was long speculated that the wispy terrain represented relatively fresh volcanic flows of icy material. Close views from Cassini have revealed that the wisps are not volcanic features at all. They are exposed cliff faces, a terrain created by the fracturing and faulting of Dione's surface. In fact, there are fractures to be seen everywhere on Dione, representing multiple generations of tectonic events. Some slice up craters, while others have craters superimposed on them.

Features on Dione are named for people and places from Virgil's Aeneid, which complements similar Tethys' naming scheme (the Odyssey).

Like Tethys, Dione has little rocks keeping it company in its Lagrange points: Helene occupies the same orbit as Dione, 60 degrees ahead, while Polydeuces occupies the same orbit, 60 degrees behind.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Glastonbury Festival 2008

Yup, I'm going again! Oh please, Gods of the Weather - can we have sunshine this year? I have a horrible feeling that we wont, but I can only hope!

But at least I still have my wellys from last year. See you in the mud!


Pyramid Stage:Kings of Leon, The Fratellis, The Editors, The Gossip, The Feeling, KT Tunstall, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, The Subways, Kate Nash

Other Stage:Panic at the Disco, The Enemy, We are Scientists, Foals, The Hoosiers, Ben Folds, Vampire Weekend, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, Be Your Own Pet, Hilltop Hoods

John Peel Stage:The Cribs, Reverend and the Makers, The Kills, MGMT, The Ting Tings, The Young Knives, Lightspeed Champion, Make Model, Glasvegas, Patrick Watson, Royworld

Jazz World Stage: Jimmy Cliff, Estelle, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Very Special Guest, Candi Staton, Alabama 3, Very Special Guest, Phantom Limb, Mankala

Acoustic Stage: Seasick Steve, Sinead O'Connor, Newton Faulkner, Arno Carstens, Eddi Reader, Camille O'Sullivan, Eleanor McEvoy, Devon Sproule, Acoustic Stage Blues Club With Grainne Duffy

The Park Stage: Pete Doherty, Dizzee Rascal, John Cale, Very Special Guest, Edwyn Collins, The Duke Spirit, Operator Please, Sons & Daughters, Santogold, Beggars, Magic Wands, Island Line, The Langley Sisters


Pyramid Stage:Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, Manu Chao, The Raconteurs, James Blunt, Crowded House, Seasick Steve, Martha Wainwright, Shakin' Stevens

Other Stage:Massive Attack, Hot Chip, Elbow, Duffy, The Wombats, Neon Neon, Black Kids, The Golden Silvers, The Travelling Band, Los Campesinos!

John Peel Stage:Biffy Clyro, The Futureheads, Band of Horses, The Black Lips, Vampire weekend, The Courteneers, British Sea Power, Holy Fuck, The Teenagers, Hilltop Hoods, Emmy the Great, Dogtanion

Jazz World Stage:Ethiopiques, Buddy Guy, Imagined Village, Joan Armatrading, Eric Bibb, Massukos, The Blessing, Very Special Guest, Bedouin Jerry Can Band

Acoustic Stage: Gilbert O'Sullivan, The Swell Season Featuring Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Glenn Tilbrook & The Fluffers, Seth Lakeman, Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders, Thea Gilmore, Sid Griffin & The Coal Porters, Emily Maguire, Acoustic Stage Blues Club with Grainne Duffy, The Travelling Band

The Park Stage: CSS, Battles, MGMT, Very Special Guest, Music Through Unconventional Means with Shlomos Vocal Orchestra & Special Guests, Kool Keith & Kutmaster Kurt, Special Guest, Alphabeat, St Vincent, Jape, Eugene McGuinness


Pyramid Stage:The Verve, Leonard Cohen, Goldfrapp, Very Special Guest, John Mayer, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Martina Topley Bird

Other StageGroove Armada, The Zutons, Pidgeon Detectives, Scouting For Girls, Mark Ronson, Jack Penate, Newton Faulkner, Black Mountain, The Hoodoo Gurus, Black Cherry, Emmy the Great

John Peel Stage:: The National, Spiritualized, Crystal Castles, The Long Blondes, Brian Jones Town Massacre, Stars, Rocket Summer, Friendly Fires, The Whip, Yeasayer

Jazz World Stage Very Special Guest, King Solomon Burke, Eddy Grant, Dub Colossus, Asere & Billy Cobham, Balkan Beat Box, Almasala, Portico Quartet, Sense of Sound

Acoustic StageJoan Baez, Suzanne Vega, The London Community Gospel Choir, Stackridge, Tom Baxter, Tift Merritt, Foy Vance, Acoustic Stage Blues Club With Grainne Duffy, Amsterdam, Lazenby

The Park Stage My Morning Jacket, Tunng, Vetiver, Caribou, Laura Marling, The Mystery Jets, Kathryn Williams & Neill MacColl, The Cave Singers, Alberta Cross, Mumford & Sons, Alan Tyler & The Lost Sons, Redbridge Brass Band

Plus loads more live acts, DJs, entertainers and performers across Avalon Stage, Left Field, Queens Head, Dance Village, Lounge Stage, G Stage, Pussy Parlure, Silent World, Igloo, Glade, Late N Live, Poetry & Words Tent and the new late night Shangri-La Stages

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sundogs and Pyramid Ice Halos


What if the atmosphere above you became one gigantic lens? This actually happens when a nearly transparent sheet of pyramid shaped ice crystals falls from the sky in a common orientation. These ice-crystals act together like millions of miniature ice mirrors, with external and internal reflections from different faces creating arcs and halos of different radii. An amazing display of pyramid ice crystal halos was captured on June 5 above Tampere, Finland. Visible above are very unusual sun halos of 9, 18, 20, 23, and 24 degrees. In contrast, thin and flat falling ice crystals will produce a halo of 22 degrees only. The high clouds containing the ice crystals are faintly visible, as are some sundogs. The usual Sun image was covered behind a light post, and the above image was significantly digitally sharpened. It is not currently known how large areas of nearly uniform pyramidal ice crystals form.

What if you woke up one morning and saw more than one Sun in the sky? Most probably, you would be seeing sundogs, extra-images of the Sun created by falling ice-crystals in the Earth's atmosphere. As water freezes in the atmosphere, small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals might be formed. As these crystals flutter to the ground, much time is spent with their faces flat, parallel to the ground. An observer may pass through the same plane as many of the falling ice crystals near sunrise or sunset. During this alignment, each crystal can act like a miniature lens, refracting sunlight into our view and creating parhelia, the technical term for sundogs. Sundogs were photographed here in a cloudy sky above the Very Large Array of radio telescopes. The real Sun is near the center above the train tracks. A bright sundog is visible on the far right, and a dim one on the far left. Ice-crystals can create other strange illusions of the Sun and Moon including halos and pillars


Presenting Eta Carinae. She's gonna blow REAL soon!

How did the star Eta Carinae create this unusual nebula? No one knows for sure. About 165 years ago, the southern star Eta Carinae mysteriously became the second brightest star in the night sky. In 20 years, after ejecting more mass than our Sun, Eta Car unexpectedly faded. This outburst appears to have created the Homunculus Nebula, pictured above in a composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope taken last decade. Visible in the above image center is purple-tinted light reflected from the violent star Eta Carinae itself. Surrounding this star are expanding lobes of gas laced with filaments of dark dust. Jets bisect the lobes emanating from the central star. Surrounding these lobes are red-tinted debris captured only by its glow in a narrow band of red light. This debris is expanding most quickly of all, and includes streaming whiskers and bow shocks caused by collisions with previously existing material. Eta Car still undergoes unexpected outbursts, and its high mass and volatility make it a candidate to explode in a spectacular supernova sometime in the next few million years.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig.....

"What's a good recipe for preparing Martian soil? Start by filling your robot's scoop a bit less than half way. Next, dump your Martian soil into one of your TEGA ovens, being sure to watch out for clumping. Then, slowly increase the temperature to over 1000 degrees Celsius over several days. Keep checking to see when your soil becomes vaporized. Finally, your Martian soil is not ready for eating, but rather sniffing The above technique is being used by the Phoenix Lander that arrived on Mars three weeks ago. Data from the first batch of baked soil should be available in a few days. Pictured above, a circular array of the Phoenix Lander's solar panels are visible on the left, while a scoop partly filled with Martian soil is visible on the right. The robotic Phoenix Lander will spend much of the next three months digging, scooping, baking, sniffing, zapping, dissolving, and magnifying bits of Mars to help neighboring Earthlings learn more about the hydrologic and biologic possibilities of the sometimes mysterious red planet."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I now have my own website!! :)

Please check it out, and feel free to message me back saying what a load of old tosh it is :D

It was suprisingly easy to build once I got going. They have website builders designed for even the biggest spazz's like me.

I think I got carried away with posting photos...and I really should have ordered my 250 new business cards AFTER I created my website lol

Oh well! I'm not known for doing things the easy way.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I got my first proper paid job

So I'm very happy.

I got a phonecall out of the blue 2 weeks ago from a production company in London called Loki Ltd They called because they are making a promotional video for a company called Westfield who are making a £340 million shopping development in the centre of Bradford. Their brief called for a video showing Bradford as a modern, affluent, vibrant, and frankly cool place to live, work, and invest! lol

Actually when you stop laughing lol, you might be surprised to realise how much investment has gone recently into Bradford. It has many iconic buildings in the centre like the National Media Museum, the City Hall with its magnificent clocktower, the Alhambra, St Georges Hall,Little Germnay, and Wool Exchange. The brief also wanted to show Bradford as the gateway to the Moors, so some shots of beautiful countryside needed to be shown.

So I went around the centre of Bradford with my camera last week snapping like crazy. I also went to Haworth (home of the Bronte Sisters), showed them Ilkley with the famous Cow and Calf rocks, and into Saltaire to see the renovated mills. I also had to find them a suitable location with a elevated view of the city to do the interviews they had to conduct - with various bigwigs from Westfield, Bradford Council, and the architect. I got them use of the chief of the National Media Museums office on the top floor over-looking the city :)

The director wanted to do lots of high angle time-lapse shots, so I have been to a few places that the public dont often get to - like the top of the clocktower in City Hall where I had to where a hard hat and climb passed cogs and wires and bells lol, and also the top of the library which is about 12 stories high. I've seen the city from some amazing heights this week.

The great thing was that the Westfield site is being made with the full cooperation of the City Council, so we interview the Chief Exec in his palatial offices in City Hall - and were therefore granted access to everything and anything we wanted to film at. If only getting permission to film was always this easy! lol I even got them to film inside an Indian resturant kitchen too.

The crew were a great bunch - am mixture of staffers from London and free-lancers (like me) from up here, and I seemed to nail the gig by the thanks everyone was giving me for the work I had done. I am a very happy camper at the end of this week! Roll on the next corporate job! :) And what a camera they had! The poor DOP's on the various shoots I have done so far would have sold their Granny for this bad boy! lol

PS. I also got offer my second paid job last week, doing 2 days on the new multi-million pound adaptation of Wuthering Heights that is being filmed only 15 miles from here - but I had to turn it down as it overlapped with this job! Typical lol

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Fire Rainbow

"What is that inverted rainbow in the sky? Sometimes known as a fire rainbow for its flame-like appearance, a circumhorizon arc is created by ice, not fire. For a circumhorizon arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight like a single gigantic prism. Therefore, circumhorizon arcs are quite unusual to see. Pictured above, however, a rare fire rainbow was captured above trees in Whiting, New Jersey, USA in late May."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Forty Thousand Reasons

I worked on a short move all this weekend. It came about from when I met some people at the recent Yorkshire crew events and gave out my new business cards lol.It is a kidnapped/ranson gone wrong flick, with double-crosses, shoot outs, blood (of course), and running. Lots and lots of running! lol

It was the first time production of a working actor called Conor Ibrahim from Bradford. He wrote it and his cousin Imran directed it. It was co-produced by a fantastic actress called Pepper Rutter, who with her husband Adi (senior thingamy-bob at the National Media Museum) are very well known and respected in the Yorkshire film world. Adi actually runs the Bradford Internal Film Festival for the NMM. Pepper is a working actress and recently got a part in the new Wuthering Heights big bucks production being filmed 15 miles from Harrogate, but just found out the part had been cut for budgety reasons!. Turns out me and Pepper clicked like a house on fire, and working with her has been a real joy this weekend! And don't let me forget to metion what a first rate actress she is, having been trained st the Sylvia Conte school. Along with Conor who has been on The Bill, and did a racial drama that praised in the Guardian, they did some really intense kidnapped scenes that were amazing to watch. Proper hairs on arms stuff. It was certainly proper no budget filmmaking, but it was treated with absolute professionalism. Great to be a part of!

And the crazy thing, I was invited on board in the role of Assistant director. To be honest, apart from generally managing things, I spent most of the time watching the director and cameraman discuss and set-up shots. But I did direct a couple of scenes! lol And I loved it! :)

So all in all, a fantastic and stimulating weekend. And I met some really great people who all work in the Biz.

Current mood. Tired but Happy ;)