Tag Archives: smiling

A mixed bag

20110306 Smiling Paper Bag 150x150 A mixed bag

Hello everybody!  Yes I’m still alive!  Unfortunately I have been incredibly busy in the last 6 days with not a single night to myself – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.  Normally I post updates on Thursdays but I was out. 🙂

I know everyone is eager to see more posts, so I’m going to make it up to you by posting five pictures this week (including this one).  I am actually busy again most days next week, but through the magic of scheduling I can write my posts now and make it appear as if I’m actually posting at a later date and you’ll be none the wiser! 😉  Incidentally, I’ve noticed I’ve got some fans in South Korea – that’s great!  If you’re one of them, please post a comment – it would be great to hear from you!

The last 6 days have been hectic and a mixed bag – they have been up and down but at least I’ve had four consecutive days off and one more tomorrow before it’s back to the grind, including a meeting in north Wales…

Last Thursday I bought a new jacket to replace my old one, the zip of which had completely broken.  My friend had to unzip me in the middle of a restaurant on Monday night, which was a bit embarrassing.  The chicken wings made up for it though.  New coat on Thursday, but by Friday one of the pop fasteners had come off… They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Also on Friday, I finally reformatted my laptop (hence no posts until now) in anticipation of reinstalling Windows 7.  I had ordered a recovery disc from Toshiba, as my laptop shipped with Windows 7 preinstalled but only a Windows XP recovery disc.  Unfortunately I found out they had sent me the wrong disc so it’s back to XP for the time being.

In a way these trivial little things are a metaphor for life: Setbacks happen – that’s life and nothing is perfect.  That said, the concept of perfection depends on your frame of reference.  Take the concept of a “perfect” apple: there is no such thing, as every specimen will be blemished in some way.  But wait a second… apples are natural objects and this is what happens to things in the natural world: they decay, get blemished, have discolorations and natural variations.  It is a law of nature.  A corollary of this is that every single specimen of apple, disfigured or otherwise, is still an apple and is doing exactly what an apple in the natural world is “meant” to do, ie. decay, get blemished, etc.  Therefore, surely the perfect apple is the typical apple, which is in fact, any apple.  It if were unblemished, perfectly spherical and #ff0000; (that’s an HTML reference for all the geeks out there) it wouldn’t be an apple.

If it weren’t for setbacks and solving problems, my job as structual engineer running projects and designing solutions wouldn’t exist.  Retail space, student residences, pumping stations, offices and defence-related infrastructure would simply appear out of nowhere, which would defy the laws of thermodynamics.

I like a challenge, but I do like it when things just happen.  Sometimes things happen for a reason though, even if the reason isn’t always immediately obvious.  I lost my job over a year ago because of the recession but actually ended up in a better role and it has done me good. 

Good things come to those who wait, and the makers of a certain brand of beer would agree.  You waited, but surely this picture of a happy smiling paper bag was worth it, no?  Still it begs the question as to what benefit I stand to gain from Toshiba’s mix-up.  In the end it is best not to ask and simply get on with life and keep smiling.  Life’s always a mixed bag but that’s what makes it worth living.  Take your bag and put a smile on it! 🙂

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Random order

20110126 Random order 150x150 Random orderOh yes, it’s time for another update…  I invite you to look at the picture on the left.  Look closely and what do you see?  Why, apart from the empty can of lychee juice (I do like lychees), the kitchen roll and a plant, there’s a Four Lions DVD in the top left-hand corner.  Trust me, there is!  People who know me personally will tell you I don’t really “do” films, especially on DVD and I tend to go to the cinema for the experience more than anything.  I’m more of a music man and like a variety of genres including 90s guitar bands and jazz… I did enjoy Four Lions enough to buy it on DVD, though.  If you like Chris Morris, this is right up your street!   But I digress; We all know this photograph has nothing to do with music, DVDs or indeed kitchen roll.  What you are looking at is the aftermath of a dinner party I had at my flat some time ago.  Look closely and you may see a face lurking in there.  The two candles forming eyes stand out because the wick of the candle on the left broke off, meaning I couldn’t light it.  The smiling mouth is formed by a piece of wire casually tossed onto the coffee table.  In a way this is a metaphor for life and our very existence.  If you consider the probability of your parents meeting and their parents meeting and their parents meeting and… ouch, my head hurts.  Continue that all the way to the start of the universe and the chance of you sitting here reading this, looking at this picture are incredibly small.  Now consider the probability of leftovers from a party creating order out of randomness and smiling back at you!  Impossible?  Improbable… probably.  When I was at school my maths teacher used to ask whether there was such a thing as “a random order”.  Who knows, but this is order out of randomness… or simply a vivid imagination.

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Reader Submission: Nick

Handbag 150x150 Reader Submission: NickBox Face 150x150 Reader Submission: NickThese pictures were submitted by Nick.  Both are quite abstract, but if you stare long enough you’ll see a face in both pictures.  It’s a bit like Magic Eye… maybe… 🙂  Stare for a bit longer, and you can see into the past… not really – more than likely you’ll just end up with eye strain.

Thanks for the submission, Nick!  Remember folks, communication works two ways; this is an interactive site, so don’t be shy!

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Sucker for a smile…

20101226 Vacuum Cleaner 225x300 Sucker for a smile...You know those Henry vacuum cleaners with faces on? They are an iconic design and a whole family of vacs exists in that range. Not only are they iconic, they are kind of cute. I wonder what inspired the designer to draw a face on it… I visited my parents over Christmas and spotted an accidentatal face in their vacuum cleaner. That’s the second vac I’ve seen with a face on, the other one being my good friend Vic. Makes me wonder if there is a trend here. Maybe designers are hiding faces in their vacuum cleaners in a nod to Henry, in an attempt to subliminally persuade the public that their vacuum cleaner is just as cute. Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for a smile. Ha! Sucker! See what I did there? [cue: tumbleweed]

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Blue’s the new grey

20101031 Psychopathic Robots in Bristol City Centre 300x225 Blues the new greyAnyone familiar with the centre of Bristol will undoubtedly have noticed the new Radisson Blu Hotel in what used to be the Bristol & West Building Society offices. I once read some architectural spiel somewhere about the cladding, that it was clad in varying shades of blue to make it blend in with the sky, so as not to be as intrusive. To be honest, when it had the exposed aggregate concrete finish for years, it stood out like a sore thumb and no-one cared… In any case, with the weather we get in this country (i.e. grey skies), making it blue would only make it stand out more. No? Never mind that – have you ever noticed the building adjacent? This shot was taken from Pero’s Bridge and shows what appear to be three grinning faces. For the record, I quite like the blue cladding!

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20101030 Abstract Building Catenary 225x300 Hyperbole?I was walking through Castle Park in Bristol City Centre the other day and looked at the Finzels Reach development, which they seem to have been building forever. As a Structural Engineer I do take an interest in buildings, particularly in their unfinished state and took a moment to look at the temporary works keeping up the existing facade. I spotted the adjacent building and noticed a smiling face formed by two windows making eyes, with a cable forming a smiling mouth. I do like a hyperbolic cosine… Geek? No, chic!

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Another dimension

20101014 Oce Scanner Console 300x225 Another dimensionForget looking at things from different angles (A Different Perspective and Part 2), the new perspective is 3D, apparently. This seems to be all the rage at the cinema these days. The only film I have seen in 3D so far is Clash of the Titans. I can’t remember the story. I have an appalling memory for films and film “stars” and have been told by someone I know that I am the least star-struck person they have ever met. I always proudly tell everyone I didn’t recognise Tom Cruise in Lions for Lambs. This cheeky little chap reminds me of Pinocchio. It is the scanner console at work. Just watch out that he doesn’t tell lies when you’re operating it, or he’ll poke your eye out!

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A Different Perspective Part 2

20101013 Fridge Door Handle 300x225 A Different Perspective Part 2In my previous post, A Different Perspective, I talked about tilting my head to reveal an image of a face where otherwise the image didn’t exist. Well, I spent the next two days walking around with a tilted head. Nah, that’s a lie. I wish I had, though. Imagine the looks you’d get from people and then having to explain that you’ve been “seeing things” and you’re “looking for faces”. Hmmm… yes… This whole thing reminded me of a conversation I once had with my brother (I think). It went along the lines of: if you’re lying down on the sofa watching TV, why do you still perceive the image to be the right way up? To be honest, I’d never thought about it, nor noticed it before and wondered what would happen if you put the TV on its side so its “up” was the same as your own “up” lying down. I’m pleased to say I’ve never been bored enough to try it… The face? It’s a fridge door handle. He’s happy. Enough said.

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Introducing Victor Suckerbag

20100926 Vacuum Cleaner 300x225 Introducing Victor Suckerbag

Drilling into MDF creates dust and I believe it’s not the most healthy of things to inhale. Fixing my mirror resulted in only minute quantities of dust but enough to warrant getting my vacuum cleaner out of hibernation. Well, he seemed delighted, if a little shocked! Good ol’ trusty Vic with his bug eyes, and gormless open mouth. I bought him from Argos several years ago and he’s still going strong. Also notice my slippers. I think they were given to me as a a birthday present a few years ago… Oh the joy. I don’t feel old enough to be getting slippers for my birthday. Saying that, I’m beginning to go thin on top. It happens to the best of us, I’m told. Hey-ho.

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Picture Hook

20100919 Picture Hook 300x225 Picture HookI recently moved into my new flat and in an idle moment noticed an unused picture hook staring at me. Considering it’s been hanging on the wall, presumably hidden from daylight by the previous occupants for years, it looks extremely happy. Kind of makes me wonder what its secret is. Maybe it knows something I don’t. Maybe it’s laughing at me. Maybe it’s just happy to see the light of day. Who knows. Who cares. It’s a picture hook.

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