I Love Free T-Shirts But I Don’t Like Sweary T-Shirts

Thank you kindly to the guys at Sell Sell for sending me a free t-shirt. I love free t-shirts. When I get sent them I’ll blog about them or Tweet them or whatever. I’m a free t-shirt-whore-blogger.

Here’s the t-shirt they sent:

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I don’t know why it is, but I find swearwords on t-shirts incredibly offensive. So much so that I couldn’t blog the picture without blanking them out. Which is really strange because I don’t mind a bit of colourful language in real life. I use it on my blog. I use it on Twitter. But I feel like there’s something just really crass and vile about sweary t-shirts. Or maybe I’m just becoming a prude.

I guess it’s the fact that your swearyness is being imposed on other people. In the same way I don’t like people shouting swears on the street. But if someone has opted in to the odd swearword through following me on Twitter then I have slightly less reservations about it.

I don’t want to appear ungrateful. But at the same time I suppose I am being really ungrateful. Oh, and whilst I’m in full-on ungrateful git mode: XL is really massive (for anyone wishing to send me any kind of t-shirt medium is a good bet – the Poke address is as good a place as any to mail things).

This t-shirt actually makes me feel sorry for Jonathan from Spotify. I don’t like the idea of people hating him this much. I liked light-hearted ribbing of him – and calling him a Croc-Wearer, is about as far as his crime goes in my book. This t-shirt based fatwa is a step too far.

Jonathan, if it makes you feel any better I won’t be wearing this t-shirt.

Sorry Sell Sell guys. But thanks for the t-shirt. It was a lovely and kind gesture. I’m sure there will be people who like the t-shirt, and some of them might hopefully see it here.

Walk On The Wild Side

On Saturday evenings at roundabout 6pm on BBC is my favourite new TV show. It’s called Walk on the Wild Side. The premise is very very simple. It’s people doing funny voiceovers on top of lovely nature footage.

It’s the shorter simpler ones that work best for me I feel like some of the longer, more involved ones just unravel a bit sometimes.

Perhaps I love it because it reminds me of Animal Magic from my childhood:

Or maybe I love it because it’s just bloody brilliant.

Aside from “Alan” the other sketch that has me in stitches are the scratching badgers (if you’ve not seen it that will mean nothing).

Who Stole My Inner Reading Voice?

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I don’t know what’s happened. My inner reading voice changed. It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did. It’s as if someone stole the old one and did a switcheroo.

Thankfully now I’m writing a bog-standard blog post it’s changed back to normal. As I write (and re-read) this the voice that speaks the words back in my head sounds reassuringly like me (actually it sounds more like how I’d like to sound rather than how I actually do).

The funny ‘internal-reader’ theft happened in the middle of writing up an idea for a client. It’s not a particularly grand idea, not in the grander scheme of grand things anyhow. But I guess if I’m being honest I suppose I was writing it with a bit of pomp to set things up. I went back to the beginning, to skim what I’d written, and all of a sudden I could hear bloody Morgan Freeman reading my words back to me.

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He was using his ‘March of the Penguins’ voice rather than his ‘Shawshank’ – so at least he’d had the decency to pick the right voice for the job. I wonder how much he’d cost to actually come and do the presentation for me? I think he might just sway it…

iPhone Advertising Hits New Low

There I was reading an article about The Top 5 Myths About Yahoo! on Howstuffworks on my iPhone. I got to the bottom of page one, and clicked ‘read more’ like you do.

Then a new page launches and…

Holy fuck…

It is…

Noooooooooo…

It can’t be…

But it is…

THE POP UP AD IS BACK!!!

Bastards.

Here’s what the page looks like:

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It’s a simple full-page 2-frame animation. It’s for a good-cause-style-website. But that doesn’t make it any better. It’s vile interruptive advertising of the worst sort. What really bugs me is that it’ll show loads of impressions and probably get a whole bunch of clickthroughs in the short term. But that doesn’t make it right.

Just say no!

Interestingly if you visit the same page on the web and click the read more link there’s no such ad…

In B Flat

in Bb 2.0 - a collaborative music/spoken word project

This is great.

http://www.inbflat.net/

Last year I blogged about the idea of doing something a bit similar. But this lovely chap took a different (much better and more realistic) approach, and made something that really works. It’s been compared to the awesome Kutiman Thru-You stuff. But it is very different. People have sent these pieces in to be a part of something collaborative. And it puts you in control in a lovely lo-fi way.

Nice.

Outside A&E

This was the ground outside the Accident and Emergency Department of The Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. You may be able to spot:

  • Discarded frilly pants
  • A number of cigarette butts (it’s a No Smoking area)
  • A splodge
  • A feather
  • A bit of unidentified brown

The reality of hospitals is very different from what I’ve imagined they were like for years. I’ve been really lucky in not having to spend much time in hospitals in my life. In my head hospitals were full of people with saucepans stuck on their heads. Or kids having their tonsils out. In reality it isn’t like that. It’s full of lots of people who look really sick. Grey people wheeling their drips outside so they can gasp a fag.

Not nice.

It’s not the fault of the NHS though.

This Week In Dadville

So far it’s been a pretty good week. Eleanor and Josie got demoted (or promoted, I’m not sure which) into Nursery 2 – where the care is a little bit less intensive. And in theory the number of beeps coming out of the machines is slightly lower. It’s still pretty bleepy though. Imagine a room with 8 machines like this one all going off at the same time.

It’s odd but you get used to it. Your brain starts to filter it out. And you start to hear only the things inside the gaps.

I’m not sure what the constant bleeping is going to do to our musical tastes, or the musical taste of our girls. Oddly, I have noticed that I’ve not been listening to any minimal techno this week. I think anything that involves electronic noises that could have been generated by a medical instrument might find its way off my playlist in the short term. Maybe in years to come I’ll find it strangely comforting and nostalgic. Who knows?

One thing I did find myself pondering the other day was what’s the first machine that ever went beep? And who invented the beep? Wikipedia’s entry on Beep (sound) doesn’t have the answer – but I’m sure someone out there must know. Anyone, anyone?

Anyway that’s a digression from my transition into full-on baby bore…

So, Eleanor and Josie are in nursery 2 now. I’ve done that bit. They’re drinking mum’s milk through tubes and they’re starting to put on weight. They’re still tiny and covered in wires and probes. But the numbers of tubes seem to be decreasing slowly. Which is great. And the best thing of all, is that it means that we’re able to take them out of the incubators for a cuddle for a couple of hours a day.

‘Cuddle’ is one of ‘those’ words. A word that I never thought I’d be able to write in public. The fact I can is symbolic of the massive level of change that this whole experience has brought about.

Here’s a picture of me and Sophie with the girls out of the incubator. Sorry about the lack of clothes. We’re in a special nudists ward where they’re banned. That’s just how things are done in Brighton.

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Seriously (if you’re interested) the real reason is because skin to skin contact with parents has proved to be a massive contributing factor in accelerating development of premature babies – it’s called Kangaroo Care – and besides we do have clothes on under the sheets.

It’s fantastic that it’s good for the twins, I’m certain that it’s good for their parents. Holding them like this makes everything in the world seem like it’s going to be OK. Here’s hoping that the next few weeks are as good as this one…

You’ll have noticed that I’ve totally decided to ignore what I’d said before about not turning this into a dad-blog. I got so many lovely, wonderful supportive emails that suggested I shouldn’t be shy about posting this stuff that I’ve decided to give in to popular opinion. Plus it’s impossible for me to think about much else right now.

To be honest I’m not sure that it’s my fault, this article from Slate about ‘What fatherhood does to the body and the brain’ hints at a hormonal shift that might have occurred in me. They say:

There’s also preliminary but tantalizing evidence that fatherhood can change the brain.

Yes! See. It’s not my fault.

A 2006 study found enhancements in the prefrontal cortex of the father marmoset. After childbirth, the neurons in this region showed greater connectivity, suggesting that having young children could boost the part of the brain responsible for planning and memory…

Oh, that’s not quite what I was looking for. Never mind…

And one last thing for the baby fans, here they are…

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Crackunit is not a Dad-Blog

As soon as I found out I was going to be a dad I vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to turn Crackunit into a dad-blog. That was about 6 months ago. And I’m still determined that this isn’t going to become a dad-blog.

But as of last week I’ve decided that I need to make an exception. Just once.

It’d be rather strange not to. Carrying on posting normal stuff as if nothing has happened would be odd. Because something has happened. Something amazing. Something wonderful. Something shocking. Something terrifying. In fact something that has pretty much whacked me and Sophie with every emotion going.

Last Sunday morning at 9am Sophie gave birth to our twins. Two amazing little girls called Eleanor and Josie.

It wasn’t a total shock – we knew there were twins on the way. But they decided to arrive 12 weeks early. So they’re very very tiny. Eleanor weighed in at 2lbs 11oz and Josie at 2lbs 13oz.

They’re in a special baby unit wired up with tubes and sensors and are being looked after by some of the most amazing wonderful doctors and nurses. There’s nothing like a difficult delivery in an operating theatre and a spell in an intensive care baby unit to make you feel like everything you do is worthless. Saving the lives of mothers and babies, that’s a proper job and no mistake.

Here’s a photo of Josie:

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And here’s Eleanor – she’s under a lamp to help sort out a touch of Jaundice – hence the Kanye West style shades:

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The girls are doing OK. Their breathing is good. All the vital signs are as good as they can be. And they seem to be getting stronger day by day. Having said that it’s a real rollercoaster – one minute things are great. The next something looks a bit scary and some new procedure or course of treatment has to start.

Sophie is doing well too. There’s nothing like going through something like ‘that’ to make you realise how much you love someone.

Our friends, families and random strangers have all been amazing. The congratulations, positive thoughts and promises of keeping things crossed have been amazing. Almost without exception every kind email or text message has in some way managed to make me cry (in a good way). In fact everything is able to make me cry right now. I’ve never cried such complicated tears before. Each one contains: pride, love, happiness, joy, fear, worry, relief and much more besides.

But we’re going to hold off on celebrating until we get a bit closer to the finish line.

As you can imagine blogging about social media doesn’t really seem that important right now. Maybe it never will again.

QR Enabled M&S Orange and Mango Juice

Here is Sophie’s Orange and Mango Juice from M&S. It was bought this morning in Brighton.

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Looks nice doesn’t it? Then I noticed…

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Flip the bottle round and sure enough…

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The I remembered I had a QR app on the iPhone so I thought I’d give it a shot. First of all it fetches a URL as you’d expect.

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I don’t know about you but the URL http://www.mands.mobi looks really horrible and alien. It took me a few scans to realise that it’s totally legit.

Like me you are probably very very excited about what the Orange and Mango Juice page looks like. Well here you go…

M&S_juice

It’s got info about the product. Cool. It’s got an offer. Cool. And there’s a bunch of ‘stuff’ too. I was a bit bothered by the fact that the info wasn’t about the actual product, it was just about generic Orange Juice. But maybe I’m being unfair and anal.

Some of the pages aren’t great – they feel like someone has just dumped some text on a page without very much care and attention. Again the anal me has a problem with the fact that the bullet points aren’t even proper bullet points. It smacks of ‘copy and paste’ to me.

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And of course, things like Joke of the Day were never going to be much more than Christmas Cracker fodder…

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Overall I was really at a bit of a loss to know what to think.

It’s not bad. I’m glad that M&S are playing with this stuff. And I quite like the fact that they’ve not over-cooked it. It feels like an appropriate level of content for a bottle of juice. Although the fact that it was just for generic Orange juice still bugs me a bit. And it could have been better designed. And the copy could have been more interesting. And ‘joke of the day’ is a bit, meh.

Sophie made a good point. She said that she wouldn’t bother going back after seeing what was on there. And I guess that’s the real point isn’t it? If peoples’ impressions of this QR stuff is that it’s a waste of time, it’s going to be that much harder to get them to do it again. Not just for juice, but for any kind of product.

So on the one hand Marks and Spencer are opening the door for mainstream QR usage, which is great. I just hope that in the same gesture they’re not slamming it shut for us too.

Where The Wild Things Are and Pissy Pants

Latest trailer for Where the Wild Things Are is out. I quite want to see it.

I’ve no idea why I’m sharing this. Perhaps because it’s Friday. Or perhaps because I have to confront my demons in order to move on with my life. But when I was 5 years old I played Max in our primary school version of Where The Wild Things Are. I had to wear green woolly tights, under shorts. I’d never worn tights before. I didn’t know how they worked. As a result I wet myself. I cried.

That is all.